The Creative Writing Showcase: The Wind Howled
The Creative Writing Showcase is a sub-section of our City Projections Blog which aims to host a wide array of creative writing from writers all over the North West (and beyond). If you have a piece of original writing that you would like to showcase, please get in contact with us. Any and all forms of creative writing are welcome. There is no monetary element surrounding the Showcase, we simply want to offer a free platform for writers to project their voice. Every writer has pieces of work stored away somewhere, never to see the light of day - the Showcase gives those pieces a platform to be seen.
This is the third piece as part of The Creative Writing Showcase, and the first piece submitted through our website by an up-and-coming writer. Written by Leon Jackson, 'The Wind Howled' is a fictional, visceral stream of consciousness centering around an unnamed group of wanderers trying to find safety, and sanity, amidst a raging storm. Will hope be enough to keep them alive?
(Disclaimer: This piece includes strong language).
The wind howled, loud and angry, as if wrestling with the trees to rip them from the soil and cast them across the landscape. Leaves and weakened branches fell victim to its wrath and surged through the air in chaotic glory, as did anything or anyone else that didn't have the foundation to hold their ground, violently crashing against any obstacle that dared to stand firm in the face of the wind. The sky had taken a gloomy brown colour and behind the mask of the thick clouds the sun was nowhere to be found. It had abandoned us. Lord have mercy! In our desperation, we marched forward against the prowess of the storm, cursing the gods for the apocalypse they had bestowed upon us. It took every reserve of strength we had left to maintain our balance and not succumb to the fate nature had decided for us. Each step we took forward was an act of defiance, and one that drained us of our will. Onward we marched, gritting our teeth, refusing to surrender, hoping for the best and expecting the worst. We knew what needed to be done, we prayed we had the courage to do it.
The cottage stood strong atop the steep, muddy hill. To us it was a beacon of light in the mist. Nowhere within our view was another structure that might have offered us the same refuge and shelter from the storm. This cottage was our only hope. As we climbed tooth and nail up this hill, this damn hill! My mind raced, thinking about how we would be received by the residents of this cottage. Would they be kindly folk? Would they have sympathy for four wanderers caught in a storm? Please! Please lord may they have sympathy! I hope for this more than I had ever hoped for anything in my life! To meet the face of a man or a woman with compassion in their heart, who would welcome them into their home, offer them food to eat and a warm drink, a sofa to rest on.
Tired. So tired I am. But there was a foul feeling that dwelled in the bottom of my stomach, I wanted to ignore it but I could not. I tried to occupy my mind by telling myself we were going to meet good people, sympathetic people, but this feeling in my stomach beckoned to me. Demanded I pay attention to it. It told me that the people in this cottage hadn't a single shred of sympathy or compassion and they they would turn us away. It told me that all hope was lost, that soon enough our fatigued muscles would give in to the might of the wind, fall victim to it. Yes, this was the truth! I know it deep within me. I had seen it in a dream. In a nightmare. I know it, my companions know it too, though we haven't discussed it, we all know it. And we all know that we all know it. There is no hope. There is no sanctuary...
But what if I'm wrong? What if we're all wrong? Can there be hope? What if these are kindly folk? Please! Please, let them be kindly! We continued to soldier on up the hillside, relying on each other to grab us should we stumble. Time and time again the wind did her best to throw us back, and time and time again we showed our grit, our integrity, it seemed the more we resisted the angrier she became with us, yet still we refused to be bested: We could champion this wind just yet! And now finally, after what felt like hours of marching we had reached the summit of the hill. The house not ten metres away.
Doggedly, we walked over to it, the wind doing everything she could to upset us now that we were so close to safety. With all the strength that was left in me I knocked on the door, very loudly so that the wind would not stop me from being heard. Then we waited. The anxiety radiated from each of us so strongly you could smell it. Would they be kindly folk? Would they let us in so we could wait out the storm? They have to, don't they? Surely they don't have it in them to forsake an innocent band of wanderers and leave them to die at the hand of this storm. Do they? I mean, they might...
I can feel it, in my stomach. It's rotten. I want to be sick. They're going to forsake us. They're going to let nature decide whether we live or die. THE BASTARDS! THE EVIL BASTARDS!...
- By Leon Jackson