The Funeral - Competition Entry
On a muggy July morning, the sky the colour of fresh ash, the sun failed to break the clouds. Two black cars arrived. My family was all around me, but no one spoke. I was led into the car. The seats were strange, they ringed round like a giant sofa. Silence filled the car. Tears fell on all the faces except mine. I was five years old. I felt I should cry but nothing happened. The car drove through the flat Essex fields, along the cracked motorway, to the Crematorium.
† †The carpark was full of people smoking. Everyone smoked. Some passed around bottles of brown liquid. I watched them drink it. After they finished they breathed out in a mixture of pain and relief. Cheap blended Whisky. The crematorium was a large brown church with a chimney instead of a bell tower. We filed in.
† † †Inside was dark, the walls were as black as the cars we drove up in. The sun had broken through the morning cloud, but it made no difference to the hall. The windows were small and high up. The pews were caught in the shadow of the walls. There was a pulpit, next to it, reefs of flowers on easels. The flowers soaked up the darkness of the room, and were washed over with grey light. I felt the room grow bigger. The walls rose, the pews rose, the man on the pulpit rose up, and the darkness deepened.
† † †A priest addressed the hall in a language few understood. The rambling tongues of priest filled the hall, his voice was like a weight of iron, and it seemed to go one for hours. When the priest was finished my great uncle took the parapet.
† † †He didnít look sad, he looked as if he were feeding off of the attention, he was going to perform the grand eulogy. My mother seethed with rage at the sound of his voice. His pathetic attempt at consolation only made the pain worse. She had lost her mother. I wanted to get out. I tried to escape. My Grandfather shot me a look, as did my aunt. If my mother wasnít there I would have got a beating. We left the darkness of the crematorium.
† † †ĎWhatís that smell?í I said. Nobody answered
As we left I saw the next line of black cars arrive. Someone else had died.
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