The place turned out to be an old lighthouse perched high up on the cliffs. It had been converted into a house quite a few years ago and now was vacant. Apparently it was one of Jacqueline’s writing friends who was away for a few weeks. Jacqueline seemed to have access to loads of resources all over the country. I began to wonder if she maybe was higher up the resistance hierarchy than she made out.
‘Stay low, there are people after you, don’t wander far, get some sleep and I’ll be back later’ Jacqueline said before leaving us.
There was a large living room with some comfy looking sofas. I sat down exhausted into one. Zee plonked herself down next to me resting her head on my shoulder, my hand went back in hers feeling the comfort that skin to skin contact brings. I felt in a blur as if the last twenty-four hours had been a cruel dream and I’d soon wake up in Sinead’s arms in our tent, ready to start our wedding day. I felt my eyelids drooping and consciousness fading as I slipped into an uneasy sleep.
I woke, back in the tent. The sun was just beginning to rise sending shafts of light and a little warmth through the thin sides of the tent canvas. I stirred feeling a body next to me, it had been a dream after all, here I was back in the familiar environs of my tent. The roughness of the blanket irritated at times, I must look for a new one when we go into Newcastle I thought. However this morning after the night I’d just had it felt soft to my skin. I smiled and snuggled down a little further. The ground which often felt hard, in spite of the bed mat beneath us, today it felt soft, almost like a mattress.
I lay there for a few seconds taking in the dream I’d had, I knew I had an overactive imagination but that was a seriously vivid dream, the emotions I’d felt were scaringly real. I lay there uncomfortable, was our day going to turn like that or was it just a bad dream? So far none of my dreams had ever turned real, although I would have to admit that didn’t apply to some of my fantasies though. My mind wandered off on a tangent, as it often did, as the dream of minutes ago faded from my head replaced by a memory of the time Sinead and I had first met. A warm glow spread through my body warming me. How could anything happen…
After those uncomfortable minutes, I slipped back into my happiness mode, a smile replacing the frown. I turned to face the bulk under the blankets that I knew was Sinead. I could tell by the way she gurgled slightly in her sleep, not quite snoring and not too annoying but defiantly Sinead. She was laid with her back to me as usual in the morning. I slipped my arm over her and kissed the skin on her back.
She stirred in my arms and I squeezed her tighter hoping for a morning cuddle. I felt her move and roll onto her back. I smiled and closing my eyes I leant down to kiss her anticipating our lips moving together. There was no response though, not tactile feedback, just coldness. I opened my eyes and pulled back, wondering what was up, expecting to see her smiling face.
Instead I saw her lifeless un-focussing eyes staring into nowhere. Then I was aware of a gaping hole in her chest, dried blood stuck to the sides of this perfectly round hole. At that moment a geyser of hot scarlet red blood erupted from this hole and squirted up into my face temporally blinding me.
I railed back, anxious to get away from this body, obviously dead but yet seeming to have life. I opened my mouth to scream but nothing else came out. I flailed my arms trying to free myself from the blanket and withdrew to the furthest place in the tent. Pulling my legs to my body with my hands I tried to hug myself, put feeling back in a body that less than a minute ago was warm and alive. Looking across the tent through crunched up eyes I saw Sineads body laid lifeless on the ground. As I watched, I saw another jet of blood emitting from her body. Then she sat up, her arms reaching towards me. I thought for a moment she was alright, but the empty eyes told a different tale. I sat scared to move as blood started to squirt out of every orifice of her body. It was at that point the sound returned to my voice. I screamed for help, I shouted out Zee’s name, wanting her to come and rescue me, turning to the one person I felt I could rely on.
I felt arms around me, I heard Zee’s voice in my ear telling me I’d be OK, felt myself being pulled backwards. The tent started to fade as I felt arms around me and then blackness. I screamed and screamed not sure what was happening, all the time the arms around me felt reassuring, comforting. Slowly the quiet calm voice of Zee became stronger and I realised the arms around me were hers.
I slowly started to take in the new surroundings. It was as if someone was turning the dimmer switch and bringing light and colour back to my world. The first thing I saw was Zee’s face quite close to mine, her voice was soothing although I couldn’t yet make out the words. I felt her stroking my forehead as she talked, a comforting feeling. My breath was still coming in gulps, the heart I could hear deep in my chest beating like a jackhammer.
Gradually I saw other faces recognising Ahlaam, Prez and Lily looking down on me. The room came more into focus and I realised that I was in the lighthouse. The realisation hit me, the tent, was the dream and the reality was Sinead had been killed. Through the wave of my emotions I couldn’t work out if I was happier that Sinead was dead or in that zombie like state where I had just left her.
I slowly sat up and took in my surroundings, a little scared that I’d see people in the shadows, that someone was out to get me. My paranoia was increasing with every minute since the shooting. Was it really less than twenty-four hours ago that Sinead had been ripped from my arms so violently? Her parents had been right hadn’t they and Sinead hadn’t been safe in my arms. I’d had not just failed Sinead by joining the Movellian movement, I’d let down her family, her sisters and brother.
I started to cry again, huge tears running down my cheeks. Up until now my tears and sorrow had been for me and no one else. It was a terrible thought, I’d lost track of everything in my own grief, didn’t see the viewpoint from anyone else. Sinead was loved by so many, not just me. Her family didn’t know she was dead. How would they find out, who would tell them?
I felt Zees arms go around me again, comforting and human contact that I craved right now. I held her tight frightened that if I let go she would vanish like Sinead and I’d be on my own.
‘It’s OK, I’ll stay with him’ she said to the others, ‘he’ll be fine now’
They nodded the approval and left the room, rubbing the sleep out of their eyes.
‘What time is it?’ I asked
‘It’s about lunchtime,’ she said still holding me tight, ’you fell asleep and we left you rather than disturb you. We’re sleeping for a while, didn’t get much last night did we’
I shook my head, feeling a little pathetic.
‘You OK now?’ she asked, the note of concern etched on her voice.
‘Yes, just everything, really bad dream.’ I replied, aware that I was still looking towards the shadows hoping nothing was lurking.
‘Tell me about it,’ she said.
I spend the next few minutes describing to her what I’d seen, what I had experienced, it still felt so raw and vivid. At the end I half collapsed back as if the emotion of telling her had drained the life from me.
‘Oh Tom,’ she said, ‘that’s awful, no wonder you were in such a state. Don’t worry I won’t let anything happen to you. I’ll stay while ever you need me’
I looked up at her face, seeing the strain and compassion in her eyes. She smiled down at me. Gradually I fell asleep and whilst the dreams weren’t happy, the nightmares kept away. Once or twice in the night I awoke and felt comforted by the fact that Zee was laid beside me.