Noah Smerdon - Look within (Winner of the Calderdale 500 words competition)

She was timid and moved with caution, her up-tied hair quietly rustling in the west ward blowing zephyr. Her cold, cracking palms gripped onto the worn handlebars. Rusting were the chains as they creaked along on their never-changing path in a rotary motion. With every blade of damp grass and every newly fallen dew drop pressed towards the elderly legs of the tree, she felt every gram of pressure slowly crumble off her burning shoulders, as if every crack of the leather belt’s angry kisses never hit her pale, unblemished skin. Colder grew the night and tighter grew the frosts grip round her face, Breathing heavily, she watched as each smoky breath elegantly glided skywards into the vast nothingness above her youthful face. She wished she could too; drift away and be swallowed up into the jet black abyss.

She dragged her scuffed suede shoes through the growing puddles which inhabited the small mass of illuminated country roads, surrounded by the ghostly shadows of the surrounding greenery that towered over.

Little did she know of the hideous creature lurking in the same shadows and the same dim street lights she previously ambled through. It carried rage on its back the way a rugby player carries his beloved oval ball, or the way a budding astronomer clasps his telescope. She never heard him nor did she see him for that matter, but she felt the eerie silence was purposeful and that everyone was quiet just so they could watch her trip or stumble then pounce like a group of paparazzi on laughing gas and ruin hermoment away from the cage of worrying and anxiousness inside her head.

She watched as the waves of fog rolled over the valley and into every crack in the ground and through every cattle shed adjacent to her. Her body was a mountain range home to thousands of pink mountains raised from her skin; hidden in heat but returning without fail in the icy nights she walked in.

Suddenly the hidden monstrosity caught up to her and no longer hid itself in the darkness. It went on a rampage smashing everything in its path, it was uncontrollable. The girl watched on in horror of what was happening, sat cowered in a damp corner, her eyes opened wide in disbelief. The beast came to a sudden standstill, and disappeared back into the unknown. Surprisingly unfazed by the experience, she sat admiring the fog as it danced through the valley.

She reached the top of the hill and stood glancing at the few cars with the engines still humming and wheels still turning and lay down. She was contemplating how to remove this beast from inside of her mind and with it regain herself. She could almost see as the anger and rage joined the dancing fog and flowed away into the vast nothingness above.