Snapshot

by Molly Winton 2 years ago in fiction

A Short Story

Snapshot

Sorrow, all I can feel is sorrow. Everything else I’ve pushed away. Where there was once happiness and love, there is just an aching hollowness. It’s as if the rest of me has shut down. I stare vacantly at my bedroom walls and it doesn’t matter what anyone says to me, nothing will change. How can I feel anything else when she’s gone?

***

She was right. The world was far more impressive from up here. I shielded my eyes from the harsh rays of sunrise to scan the distant horizon. We were bound in by seven hills all decorated with autumn's rusty foliage. At least three had become plagued by new housing and construction, but I tried not to let that spoil my view. After all, this was my home. If you squinted, you could just make out the minuscule figures of the townspeople bustling by. The roads still looked hectic even from all the way up here. Watching on, I was glad to escape it all—just for a moment. There was a long pause and then I broke the silence.

"It’s freezing up here Amy. My hands are turning blue." I cupped them together and blew between my thumbs in an attempt to warm them up.

"You mean it's beautiful up here," she smiled, her eyes fixated on the view, wind whispering through her wild corkscrew hair.

"We should stand closer," she urged, grabbing my hands away from my face, pulling me towards her. As instructed, I followed her to the very edge and squirmed as she leant over at a right angle to peer all the way down. Watching her study the world below became so unbearable that I turned my attention back to the trees. They were beautiful this time of year. A single golden leaf caught my attention as it spun by in a spiral course of a sudden breeze. It shook quite violently before being whisked away by the powerful grip of the morning's icy wind. I held my breath as I watched it tumble and shuddered.

For a bright girl, Amy was and always had been heroically unwise. I guess for some unlawful reason her beauty and charm made her hamartia easily forgivable. I pictured us back at junior school when she’d been the only child brave enough to climb right to the top of the oak tree at the bottom of the yard. We’d been warned never to climb the old tree because it was "too dangerous." Amy didn’t care. She looked so wild and magnificent perched on the top branch waving down at us all. After an inconsequential telling off from Mrs. Hall, Amy became the class hero, respected by all. I’d always admired her, long before this and Amy knew it. She knew that despite my precautious nature, I’d always do exactly what she wanted even if (and it usually was) something that made me uncomfortable.

"We should take a photo up here!" she concluded. "I’ll stand on the edge. Phil you take it and get the view in the back."

"Amy come on you don’t need a picture," I scoffed laughing off her courageous but unsettling suggestion. She shook her head and shuffled further towards the edge. She smirked and watched me intently whilst tightrope walking the ledge as if she were amused at my unease.

"Come on Phil, take it!" she posed grinning at the phone I held out before me. "It’ll look great." The sunlight made her bold smile and flaming locks of auburn hair fiercer than ever. The corners of her eyes crinkled slightly which softened the rest of her sharp ivory features. I froze to admire her but also fear her. I always had done.

"Take it!" she yelled once more adjusting her pose.

Slowly one trembling finger pressed down on the button that hauntingly captured her final moment on this earth. Before I could even cry "Amy get down!" Amy Caswell stumbled and screamed and fell right over the edge.

She was gone. Just like that. Her life snatched away from her in seconds. I heard her hit the floor. That sound, the impact, knocked every thread of air from my lungs. I stood as if paralysed, unable to inhale, to exhale, to do anything. I tried to remember how to breathe. With my nostrils flaring, mouth opening and shutting, I gulped and gasped for just one breath. I cried for help but no sound came from my mouth. Rendered speechless and debilitated my brain desperately scrambled to make sense of anything at all. Amy had just fallen.

Amy had just fallen!

I ran to the edge, my legs folding with fear and peered over. There she was. Laid like a doll sprawled out over the pavement, her limbs twisted at awkward angles. She held her head in such a way that she couldn’t just be sleeping. Blood oozed through her hair and stained the streets in a crimson pool of gore. The expression on her face was still one of pure terror. Those green eyes frozen wide open.

From there I remember nothing.

Every day since her death I’ve just been living by the moment. From the moment I wake up in this hideous new reality to the moment I can take no more and allow myself to sleep. The days drag by. It’s like existing in boundless fog that refuses to shift. In this fog, nothing matters. You can’t see any light. You are lost.

"School girl, 16, Killed in fall from rooftop of derelict tower block."

Seeing her ghostly grin in the papers and posts online, posed for her latest school portrait, unsettles me still. She is everywhere and it makes my sense of guilt cut deep and often. Its sudden pang is like a punch to the stomach. I try to throw it from my mind but it eats away. Its persistent niggling drives me insane. We shouldn’t have been there that morning.

The urge to cry comes and goes. Tears spill down my cheeks and burn. The muscles of my chin ache as they shudder like a little kid afraid of the dark. In between these outbursts, sorrow sits heavy on my heart. I could have done so much to stop her. I should have saved her.

I see her in my dreams. The entire scene day and night constantly haunts my mind. It plays over and over and over. I still see the terror in her eyes as she fell with a final snapshot. It will stay with me forever.

fiction
Molly Winton
Molly Winton
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Molly Winton

Currently in my final year of studying English Literature with Creative Writing. I love writing short stories and poems. Check out my lifestyle and travel blog- https://mollywinthemiddle.blogspot.com/

See all posts by Molly Winton