Do you know what it's like to have a huge part of your life ripped out? It's painful beyond belief. It feels like someone had performed open heart surgery on you without an anaesthetic. My whole body appeared to be crying out in agony, every sinew in my frame taut with pain. Your body shuts down, events happen around you, blurred images flash past, a cocoon formed that barely lets in sound. You're alone, caught in the pain that no one else can bear for you. The brain shuts down at times, almost as if it detects that the pain can't be taken anymore and initiates an automatic restart.
In the immediate aftermath of the shooting, we’d taken to the road. Jacqueline drove through that first night halfway across the country to get us away from the scene. Three times in the night we’d changed vehicles at remote locations throughout England, each time the vehicle turned out to be older and more decrepit than the one that went before. I spent the period thinking about Sinead, thinking about the life we'd had together, how her parents didn't like us together and tried to stop us meeting. I thought of how we’d met and slowly fallen for each other, how I’d come to admire and respect her over an intense period of time. My feelings for her had gone from just being a friend to falling head over heels in love. Now in a few brief seconds she had been taken away from me.
We ended up on the south coast of England just as dawn was breaking. We had all disembarked from the van and stood in the days first light on a pebble beach. The saltiness in the air catching our faces, stinging our eyes faintly, as we stood in the slight breeze watching light come to the world. We could have been the first people on earth who had ever experienced this wonderful sight as slowly the sea revealed itself in all its glory. Sparkling shards of light reflecting from the sea, each a new life. Nature in all its glory coming to life from a dark sleep, the feeling of all life reborn, the start of another day.
I sank onto the damp pebbles, un-consciously picking up a pebble in my hands, feeling its smooth shape between my fingers, a tangible object to hold. I felt someone slip beside me and lean against me. I looked across and saw the slight figure of Zee. Her white gaunt face still smeared with Sinead’s blood. Her eyes misted over searching mine as if searching for an answer. I couldn’t think straight, hadn’t any answers, only questions. I lightly kissed her forehead and hugged her close, needing to feel the comfort of a person’s body at this time. I felt another person sit at the other side and felt their arm around me. Instinctively I placed my other arm around them pulling both of them close. I glanced to the side to see it was Lily, but not the happy smiling ray of sunshine I’d known the day before, but a haunted washed out person, someone who appeared to have no life left in their body. It was at the moment I let go of all my feelings, I could feel the warmth from Lily and Zee and feel their tears against my body. Until then I hadn’t cried, but here on that lonely beach with day breaking and the comfort of my two e-sisters the tears came uncontrollably. I felt my body rack with the sobs, my sight blurred by the water coming from them. I felt them fall down my cheeks and onto my shirt. We sat there until the sun was high in the sky, until there were no tears left in our bodies, and then we stayed huddled together each gaining comfort and succour from the other person.
‘We’ll get the bastards who did this to Sinead’, I heard Prez say. I looked up to see her looking out to sea, the automatic weapon in her hands and a faraway glint in her eyes. I looked across and saw Ahlaam and EH sat huddled together a few yards away from where we were sat. Both of them looking out to sea. I could see the tears in their eyes as they glanced across. How could the world be so cruel as to inflict such sadness and suffering on such a young group of people. Sinead had never harmed anyone in her life, why had she got to die?
I began for the first time to question the existence of god, surely a loving god would be able to stop such a tragedy happening? Surely a god wouldn’t let someone as young as Sinead die? I questioned the whole democratic society we were supposed to live in, How could someone from the government order the killing of a child? I wanted answers but most of all, scarely I wanted revenge.
‘You know that Sinead was pregnant didn’t you’ Zee quietly said.
I froze unable to hear the words clearly. I looked down not comprehending exactly what Zee had said. My mind raced backwards and forwards searching for answers in my cloudy brain.
‘Yes, she told us the other day when she fainted’ Lily said, ‘she was going to tell you after the wedding. She didn’t want you to think you had to marry her just because she was pregnant’
I didn’t have any tears left in my body, I felt only anger. Not only had they taken away the girl I loved, but they had taken away our unborn child. I stood up and walked to the water’s edge. I stood upright and looked out to sea, towards France where we’d once thought we’d run away to.
‘BASTARDS, F….ING BASTARDS’ I yelled at the top of my voice at the sea. Zee and Lily took my hands. I looked at each of them in turn and caught what was in their minds I nodded at each and they nodded back. We wandered back up the beach hand in hand towards Jacqueline who was sat with her back to one of the vans wheels.
‘We’re in this now Jacqueline, tell the resistance we’ll do whatever they want, but we want to be in the thick of the action. Gove will pay for this.’
Jacqueline looked up at the six of us and smiled.
‘OK, we’re staying down here for a few days until we can find another movellian camp. Sorry Lily, your sister will be here soon, but this has sort of cocked things up, she’ll be joining you as soon as we get a new place. Until then you’re staying at a place just down the coast.’ She said.