So, yesterday was a bit of a ‘ghost day’ for me. Haunted. A past incident I was involved in unfolded around me. Encircling. Containing. Actuality dissolving into the early 1990s. The battleship grey of a Tangi landrover dully defying the sharp blue of the morning sky. Dark blast marks radiating out like teeth from where the weapon tore through the armoured skin, and on through flesh and bone. The heat of its passing cauterising some of the ragged wounds of its wake. Blood drips still. Red rivers chase one another down over uniforms, over skin, over boots. Pooling among the shadows of footwells.
The silence is louder than the explosion. It’s louder than the cracks of the Heckler & Koch HK33, the piston-punches of its working parts. Chaos drowned in silence. Seconds of blood and flame. Aeons of silence. Of stillness. The mind scattered with a shock of steel. Synapses sluggish. If you move you might die. Better to take cover behind stillness. Let your mind empty itself onto the asphalt. Cordite perfuming the air with its decaying flowers.
Still, that shinning sky dazzles above. Only a thin comb of cloud drifts across it. In a garden your eye hooks itself upon an apple tree’s sway. The pressure in your chest slowly presses towards your spine. Lips tear their dryness open. Breath no longer a stranger. Voices float between a suddenness of electronic chatter in your ear and someone screaming. I’ve never seen pain crystalize like that before. Becoming something almost solid. An apparition?
It can be hard to escape the folds of this reality. Time is of no consequence. Never within the clasp of this past. The tightening grip of fear. The unstoppable scent of seared flesh. Charred cloth and the heat of blood seeping amidst the air.
Not until your mind ceases its writhing and the tremors stop convulsing through muscle and sinew. Not until then can you begin to see the threshold of the past. To force your whole body to step across it and out onto the gaping wound of the present. A thinness of steel flickers across the inside of your forearm leaving thin red furrows. Just enough pain to break the chain. Just enough pain.
Someday the past will claim me. For now, I must live amongst its ghosts.
One thought on “Ghost Days”
Beautifully written as always. Savagery exposed with a gentle and poignant narration.