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Sam’s World

This piece was written for my English A Level which i took last year. Much of the piece is influenced by George Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty-Four, but as with much of my writing i came up with the majority of the narrative by “accident”- in this case on the afternoon of christmas day two years ago!

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Sam’s World

Sam’s World


-1-

Sam passed alongside the local newsagents. It was growing dark; it was like that nowadays, always early. The street was as clean as it ever was, with the exception of the rubbish chutes over flowing, cascading their luxuries out onto the road. Recycling points stood bare. Poster upon poster advertising auditions for the “Dome” covered every lamppost, wall, street corner and house. It was the growing obsession. Tiresome in fact.
Crossing the barren park, firearms could be heard in the distance; the odd burst of light would crack across the departing sky, and a small ricochet of sound found its way back to Sam’s ear.
Typical. In the state that the city was in, all they could do is open up the arena….
By now the synthetics had automated, filling the lank pavement with a soft, yet distorted glow of purple light, revealing the end of the pathway just a few yards away. Sam strode on, his feet marching beneath him, his rhythm continuous and precise. The whirring of the pylons could be heard further away. That or it was another bomb scare- no surprise there.
A specific shot fired somewhere and, naturally, Sam turned, only to hear an answer: small bursts of screams.
God… what was happening here?
Reaching the other side of the park, to Livesington Street, Sam stepped out onto the rubble of tarmac which was all that was left of the road. Passing under a synthetic, a wash of purple light ran over his engraved features, picking bitterly at the greying hairs on his face. As quickly as the light encased him, it vanished, simply, as though someone had switched the light out. Sam’s feet marched further on, his pace the same. The metallic scrape of handles could be heard across the road as each store closed down, causing a lurid roll of sound under Sam’s feet. After the daily four hours of business, they were no longer “required” to stay open. Each window, doorframe and keyhole, was wrapped in the safety of blunt metal, its continuity of bars, obstructions and dreary advertisements haunting Sam’s vision.
It was as if no-one wanted to get out.
Once again a crack of light erupted on the horizon, stationary above the Dome. With a small sense of self assured beauty, the firearms created patterns of bright colour across the imminent, black sky, until becoming pliable wisps of smoke, temporarily hanging in Sam’s vision.
Sam stopped for a second. He’d just seen a patch of blue, a hint of natural sky. Probably only chance though, the cloud cover was so dense now it was hard to tell whether there was any genuine truth in it anymore.
Sam moved on, his pace increasing with the slightest hint of speed. With a quick swift movement, a rushed figure streaked across his path and around the corner. Before he could determine this abrupt stranger, a surge of wind swept the scattered remains of the street, catching in Sam’s eyes, scratching at his face. In a final attempt, Sam looked up, only to see the rubbish dance down the street as though it had the lightness of leaves.
Leaves. Trees. Just thinking about them brought a surge of fresh air to the lungs.
The only form that was left of them were secured in the sanctuary of clinical walls, each day another scientist testing their theories of why the plants wouldn’t grow outside anymore. Instead, they had been replaced by irrefutable test tubes, all on a vast scale.
One man’s air conditioner. Another man’s chance at biological warfare….what an easy target.
Just at that moment Sam passed through one of these “steamers”, an arched pathway of delicately pressured pipes, containing the ideal levels of oxygen, nitrogen and other acclaimed gases that supposedly kept the city alive. It was sickening. Even walking through, Sam felt the apprehension creep up his spine, lingering at the base of his neck.
Get a grip man, they’re only tubes.

              -1-

The children saw it as a place to play “hopscotch”, an old playground game that brought them great fascination when jumping through the jets of steam.
If only everything could be perceived with such affection.
Instead of turning the corner, Sam’s feet led him on, reflecting the curve of the street with his own footsteps. Sam could see no other face, hear no other voice and smell no other’s skin. He was walking the derelict pathways of the city, each building so heavily covered in metal, iron shaft and old mesh that there was no distinction between one house and the next. The stench of urine wafted on the air and playing host to street corners stood old, diesel fuelled car wrecks, their empty structures standing distinctly still. The buildings that stood bare loomed down over the street, their frames were waiting blank spaces, bold stark dark squares, watching passers by in the road below.
They look like eyes. Watchful eyes.
Sam pulled his rough collar up and his eyes down. His feet were marching again, continuous and precise. Slipping through a tight alleyway, Sam breathed out an exasperated sigh that had been pressing on his chest. Looking to the sky, he saw the same patch of blue.
The claustrophobia that had been drowning Sam was gone now in between the two ageing walls. Leaning against the cold brick, Sam gratefully placed his hot skin against it, closing his eyes with a dull ache.
With a great heave of exhaustion and one last glance to the sky, he carried on, his pace relaxed and with only a narrow pathway in front of him. Taking the familiar steps onto the heavy brick staircase, Sam was immersed into darkness. No point taking the lift. He pressed the tips of his fingers softly against the coarse comfort of brick. Sam gladly appreciated the small, constant presence of these constricted walls. His thoughts were on his feet; delicately keeping track of the steps he had already taken. Feeling a shudder of coolness fall upon his head, Sam stepped out into the exposed air.   
From the immense height Sam could see the glow of the Dome, its low roar of audiences accompanying the firearms in the day’s deep sky, still shrouding him in shadow. Walking forward on the harsh gravel, Sam felt its small tips prick the soles of his feet, as though to reprimand him for being on such a clear space of territory.
The air’s fresh up here. Clean, natural… the way things should be.
Looking across the skyline Sam felt a great surge of sadness. The volume of silence caught in his throat. Tears were verging to spill from his bitter vision and onto his grey skin.
There’s nothing that you can do to change it.
The tight alleyway looked wider from up here. As Sam’s feet lingered on the beam, contemplation got the better of him. With a heightened roar of the Domes crowd, Sam simply let go. The rush of air billowing through his ears, his soft scream being caught on the wind and the crack, of a skull bouncing onto the familiar brick, flooding iris’s of eyes with thick, warm blood, staining the grey of the pavement.

.
Feeling the dampness of his cheeks, Sam slowly opened his eyes. Looking to the small patch of blue sky, he stepped off the ledge, his steps placed once again onto the small pricks of gravel.


©  Meg Burrows 31/3/09

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