Sycamore Grove

October 11, 2017
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The sky was blue, dotted with soft, wispy clouds reminding those who watched of the peaks in newly whipped cream. The sun, warm in its embrace, shone down on the earth, glistening through the clouds. A soft breeze floated through the air rustling the leaves on the trees in the sycamore grove. Soft grass, flourishing purple columbines and rhododendrons sat undisturbed, swaying in the breeze. A soft sigh rises through the air as Vivian, a young woman adorned in white, slowly slides to the green floor below her. Lying on her back, she observed the clouds. Her deep blue eyes gleaming as she watched them transform from shape to shape, wildly different, yet, still the same. A soft, melodious sound filled the air as Vivian hummed a sweet tune. She ran her fingers through the grass, rejoicing in the feeling of the earth around her. Two grey squirrels bickered over her head, fighting over an acorn. Vivian laughed watching them, a bright tinkling sound, like that of ringing bells. She watched, her eyes shining with unabashed joy. Then the world went silent. Vivian stilled, something was not right.
She shot up as she heard the deafening cries of an air raid siren pierce the air, her back rigidly straight. Ever so slowly she picked herself up from the ground and made her way to the cliff at the edge of the clearing. She looked over the miles of forest to the small village, her village, nestled within. Eyes wide, she watched as four bombers appeared on the skyline, flying over the outcrop of mountains towards the village. Her breath hitched, and she started to shake. She knew that there was nothing she could do. Tears began to stream down her face as she watched them fly closer and closer. The siren silenced as if the villagers knew there was nothing they could do. A sign of incoming doom.
When the first bomb dropped, it seemed as if the world stilled, forever suspending the life taking object, making the wait for impact feel like years. Vivian stood transfixed, stiff as a board, and watched, consumed by the deafening shrieks of the bomb, and the rumbles of the planes. For a split second the initial impact was silent, nothing happened. Then the carnage came. In a resounding boom, the village exploded, producing a mushroom cloud of dust, shrapnel, and utter annihilation. Vivian sunk to her knees, her arms wrapped around her body, her head lowered to her chest, avoiding the sight before her. She shuddered uncontrollably, tears streaming down her face as she took shaky breath after shaky breath. She watched as her village was completely and utterly destroyed, and realized that there was nothing and no one to go home to.
When she could no longer hear the roaring plane engines, Vivian heaved her heavy, unwilling body from the ground and looked up over the forest to the smoldering remains of the village. There was nothing left. The library she frequented as a child would no longer stand proudly in the village center, the bakery at which she worked would never again smell of rising bread and fresh berries, spreading throughout the small community. There would never be another community dinner, with the resident old crone, Mrs. Mayer, arguing with old Mr. Winkler, the owner of the General Store, over the exorbitant price of carrots that season, while the rest of the village laughed. Vivian shook her head slowly, more tears leaking from between her closed eyes.
A branch snapped behind her, echoing through the silent forest. The small hairs on the back of her neck started to stand on end as she heard the telling sounds of heavy boots on soil. She stood stock-still, her arms tense by her sides. She heaved a deep sigh, slowly turned, and walked back to the clearing, dread filling every step, weighing her down. A man in a green uniform appeared on the other side of the orchard and watched Vivian approach. She stopped in the center of the orchard, her white dress blowing softly in the cool breeze, as she glistened in the light of the darkening sun, slowly being covered by dark clouds. She gazed at his shadowed face, and piercing blue eyes and nodded, resigned to her fate. He walked forwards, crushing the rhododendrons and stopped before her. A single tear slid down her face.
A chilling bang pierced the air. Bright red splattered purple and white as she fell. A loud thud resonated through the clearing. As the bright, glittering light in her eyes faded, she gazed at the purple columbines, and sycamores swaying in the breeze.


 






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