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HONOURING THE DEAD
Izak Sher

The Sixth Form College, Colchester

Alice walked the grassy tundra, treading the gradual incline. The air was stagnant and tainted with decay, the copper urn in her bag weighing down her steps with memories. She reached the crest of the hill, red-faced and sweaty, yet her cold eyes surveyed the landscape, ribs caged with the weight of the past. She was hit with a gust of wind, whistling like a scream, a scream which sounded strongly of a richly familiar voice. She spat out a white, stringy glob of spit.
        She stumbled down the hill to where the grass and sand began to merge, the grass unruly, scratching at her bare feet and legs. Mindlessly groping her scarred forearms, she thought of the small throbbing pains left by her mother after every lash and slash. She looked up, the wind blowing fiercely into her eyes and ears, carrying words of hate. Tears brimmed and fell just like they had done all of those years ago. She felt her mother in all of the surrounding landscape, harsh, loud and cold. Alice’s heart swelled as she thought about how she had always done what she was told. She held out the urn and poured its contents into the grass, smiling as she defied the last wish of her mother. She thought about how her mother had fallen short of her expectations at every point in their time together, so Alice now fell short of her mother’s expectations, metres from the sea.
        ‘Mother mine,’ she uttered, ‘you let me down, and now I have no love or joy for you, yet I shall bless your remains with the only warmth I can muster.’
        She hoisted up her skirts and pulled down her pants and pissed all over the ashes. Then she dressed and left, walking home with a lighter step.