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Grace Howatson

Thirty minutes until the happiest day of her life, and it’s official. No, chin up, shoulder back, brighter smile. Twenty-eight minutes. Twenty-four minutes. Gazing around, thinking back to what she had imagined this day would be like. It looks as if plucked straight from her dreams. There was just something. Different.
            Wandering through the building. Every step echoing against the damp walls. Sixteen. Her dress flowing around, like the thoughts in her head. She notices the best man by the archway, that frames the altar. Thirteen. He sees her looking at him. Smiles at her. Glances longingly at her dress. She returns his nod of greeting and watches as he walks away. She glides over to where he was stood, checking that things were how they should be. Ten. She quickly organises the vase of flowers, and hurries back.
            The happiest day of her life. Two. The shuffling of feet alerts her. As the doors open, she begins walking towards the beginning of the rest of her life. Perfectly planned. Thirty seconds. When a loud creak emits from above. The vase of flowers she had arranged, crashes to floor, shattering. People stirring in their seats, when the meticulously created archway falls. She watches it in slow motion, as her groom is hit by the falling archway. It’s all a rush from there. Zero. She begins to crash to her knees, a noise clawing its way from her throat that would put a horror film to shame.
            Two weeks. That’s how long it has been. Here they are. Instead of a flowing white gown, it’s replaced with black. Standing there, as her former fiancé, the man she would have spent her life with was honoured with hymns and prayers. Muffled cries and words of sympathy. At the front she stands, when she feels a hand on her shoulder. A comforting hand. She knows who it is. He’s been with her since ‘the accident’. She places her hand on top of his, and smiles with him, for the first time in a long while. The beginning of the rest of her life.