Thursday, 3 May 2012

'The Last Time' Writing Prompt

I've written this for The Lightning and The Lightning Bug:

The last time..........

The last time I went to Dawnie’s was when the rain began. It fell like it would never fall again. But that was a lie. Because it would. The ast time I went to Dawnie’s was when the world turned upside down. The last time I went to Dawnie’s was the last time I’ll ever go to Dawnie’s. It’s not Dawnie’s anymore, it’s owned by a new girl called Rachel. She’s not like Dawnie. She’s normal, not quirky. She doesn’t make me laugh, she makes me sad. She makes me sad because every time I see her, I remember what happened to Dawnie.
It was on a cold, December morning – I’m not entirely sure of the date. Dawnie and I were 17 at the time. Dawnie had a lovely boyfriend called Jack who had messy brown hair and gorgeous eyes. He and I had always been quite good friends, but not friends of that sort, if you know what I mean, so I was okay that Dawnie and he were together. In fact, they both deserved people as lovely as each other. Anyway, Jack was at his Dad’s house at the time, a good few hours away, so I decided to keep her company. 

We organised a sleepover and then I packed everything I’d need straight away; toothbrush, pyjamas, change of clothes etc. I stuffed it into a rucksack, hauled it onto my back, left a message for my parents on the kitchen table and cycled over. Mum and Dad both had full time jobs in London, an hour from where we live, so in the Christmas Holidays they weren’t home all that much.
As I reached Dawnie’s house, a small blue cottage, with perfectly cut hedges and lovely flowerbeds, I found her mother working outside on the garden.

“Hey, Kate!” I said. Her parents were like second parents to me. They both worked at home, so I saw them more than my own parents.

“Hey Steph! Dawnie’s in her room upstairs”. She said, a big smile on her face.

“Thanks” I said, mumbling, noticing it had just started to rain. I raced up the stairs to find Dawnie tidying her bedroom. A few years back, she had decorated her bedroom walls with the map of the world. She had always dreamed of travelling everywhere and living in some place other than England.
Dawnie has pitch-black hair that fell to her shoulders. Her eyes were green and had a sparkle of life in them. She had a sharp jaw line and feline features. Her hair was thick and luscious and had always made me jealous.

For the next few hours, we sat and chatted about life. Well, you know – all the things teenagers chat about. Boys, people at school, lessons, exams, driving tests and so on. It was only when her mum came upstairs to tell us that Dinner was ready that we noticed the rain outside. It fell like no tomorrow! Buckets upon buckets slapped at the pavement. I started to wonder how it would feel having that land on you.
We went down to Dinner, a very normal dinner, as the thunder started to growl. It was right above us. I’d always loved thunderstorms – they had some power to them, a sort of natural beauty, shown and heard right above you that you couldn’t escape. But, somehow, this had a different nature. The thunder growled like it was truly angry – like it was truly taking revenge, and the lightning struck like it was defending something truly precious – its baby, perhaps.

Dawnie and I sat up for hours, watching the battle from her bedroom window seat. Through the reflection in her window, I could see her eyes sparkling with delight. There was something natural in Dawnie – something that told me she’d easily spend a day in a forest rather than her bedroom. She had a sort of fire-like quality about her. Something I always wished I had. She suddenly leaped up, made a noise like the thunder and made a full-scale attack on me. I was knocked backwards onto the floor and, laughing, I wrestled her off. We decided to go to bed, as it was 11:30 now. But that night I couldn’t go to sleep, so I just lay there, listening to the ferocious noises coming from outside, wondering what the thunder was so angry about.
I held a fascination in the noises; desperate to join them in their fight; a strange, innate need to express my natural side, instead of lying in the luxurious man-made bed, with warm man-made covers and man-made pyjamas.

Dawnie slept on soundlessly. The thunderstorm had hardly affected her compared to the way it had affected me. In fact, she seemed bored with it by the time we went to bed that night. I watched her sleep peacefully, hardly daring to breathe, in case I woke her from natural sleep.

At last, the light began to shine outside, but there was something different about it this time. It seemed more like a lamp light had been switched on to illuminate the world within her room. I tiptoed across the room and opened the curtain to peer outside. Although I knew it was morning, it looked like a giant torchlight had lit up the road and houses outside. The dark alleyways inbetween houses were dark with shadows, while the main road was lit. It was still raining like the clouds were releasing everything they had ever stored. I looked to Dawnie as she blinked her eyes open. She sat up and looked at the digital clock on her bedside table before registering me standing by the window looking at her.

“Look at this” I whispered. My voice seemed to have gone and had been replaced with a strange sort of awe.

She stumbled over to the window and blinked furiously as the light hit her eyes. She studied it for a while then looked at me.

“Weird!” was all she said. Just weird. She galloped down the stairs to the kitchen with me in tow. Her mum was downstairs preparing breakfast with a disturbed look on her face.

“Have you seen it outside? It’s...very odd” she said to us both. We nodded in reply. I nodded with a confused expression on my face, while Dawnie’s looked excited.

“I want to go out in it!” She exclaimed as she rushed to the main door and pulled on her willies.

“Dawnie, please don’t! You’ll get soaked!” said Kate, laughing at her daughter's rashness.

Dawnie didn’t listen. Oh, how she should have listened! That silly, impulsive girl! Oh, who am I to kid? I loved her crazy impulses.

Once she had her raincoat on, she raced outside, trying to find the source of the light.
“Her father didn’t come home last night.” Kate said, suddenly appearing by my ear. I stared to look at her, finally understanding her look of distress. “He always comes home...” She looked close to tears.
“It’ll be fine, he probably got stuck somewhere in the driving rain.” I reassured her, looking straight into her eyes to show her I meant it. Dawnie’s Dad liked to visit his parents every Friday – it had become a sort of tradition.

Suddenly, her eyes flicked outside and she was screaming.

“DAWNIE! DAWNIE! Come back!” The rain was no longer rain. Small electric currents raced through the air and hit the ground with a hiss. It was almost as if the lightning had merged with the rain and become electric bits of hail!

In a strange way, the rain was kind of beautiful. Our brains couldn’t pick up quick enough what they actually were until they had hit the ground and burned out. They were small lumps of rock, like lava from a volcano. Blue and white streaks, racing to the ground, like tiny little comets with blue fire.

“Dawnie!” I shouted, “Come back inside! Please!” hysteria now in my voice and my body ready to run to her aid.

Dawnie’s face no longer held excitement. She was terrified. She was tucked under the small shelter of the doorstep in front of the opposite house. The mother who owned the house poked their noses through a gap in a curtain in alarm. Ready to take the run, Dawnie began to sprint across the road, a sense of determination in her face. And all of a sudden, a huge rock came flying to the ground, where she had been only seconds before. All around her they fell as she dodged and dived, her clothes now almost shredded and her skin red and raw. Every time the rock landed, the earth shook with the force. It was a meteor shower, headed for Earth.

In a split second – a small moment in which her cat-like instincts had become distracted – she was burned to the ground. The image is bright in my mind. A meteor landed just by her feet and she was caught in its fire. All that was left was ashes. She had burned in seconds. I don’t recall feeling shock, like they would in the movies. I didn’t even scream or cry. I don’t recall feeling anything. It never really registered in my brain. One second she was there, and another...she was not. Those beautiful green eyes were lost to me forever. I stood, frozen. Her mother stood beside me, also frozen. She was the first to break free.

“I can’t live without her.” She said to me, no tears in her eyes, no expression in her face and no tone in her voice. And she walked out into the rain and waited till she, too, burned to the ground. I didn’t help her because she had told me not to in her expressionless words. She had told me to let her die. But I just watched. And I could live without her. I still do. Kate, my second mother, and Dawnie, my only sister, had disappeared right before my eyes, and I had just watched. I hadn’t thought about what those images would do to me. I just watched.

And that is why I never went back. Not because they died there, and not because that moment changed the world, but because the moment replayed over and over every time I drove through that road. When my wheels went over the path, I felt like I was killing them both all over again.

The rain finished after a few hours, and I made my way back to my house, dumb-stricken, to find it unharmed, as if nothing had ever happened. Piles of ashes and small, lava rocks the size of hail stones laid scattered around me. I stumbled inside and stared at my mother, who started shouting in my face, asking what had happened. I didn’t reply. I never did. I went upstairs and closed my mind, my heart, my soul off to the world.

Hope you liked it!
M. x


  1. I am unsure from reading, but I hope it's fiction. If not, it's an astounding tribute to your friend. If so, it's a riveting story. I kept waiting for the moment when everything would go wrong (great foreshadowing).

    1. Thanks! It's fiction - but Dawnie is based on one of my closest friends. (The topic of a previous post). I love writing this prompt stuff, it just makes my imagination flow!

  2. WOW! I hope it's fiction, too, but what a powerful story! I LOVED it!

    1. Thanks! I'm really glad you like it!
      M. x