Rubble. That’s all I could see. Mountains and mountains of rubble, dust floating about in the air around us. I picked my way across the unsteady ground.
“Are you okay, sir?” I heard someone ask.
“I’m fine,” I automatically replied. Turning, I saw that it was a young girl, her clothes tattered and dusty and her face filled with worry.
“You’re trembling, sir,” she said.
“I am,” I croaked, “but no need to worry.”
“It was an explosion, sir. No one knows what happened. Could it have been a bomb, sir?”
“Don’t be silly,” I said.
The girl was crying now. I turned away and continued across the rubble, heading towards a group of policemen standing not far away. Something gave way beneath me after a few steps, but I quickly regained my balance. I felt like crashing down and burying myself in the pile of rubble, but refrained, pulling myself back together just enough to speak to the copper closest to me.
“What happened?” I asked.
“It was an explosion, sir. We haven’t yet established the cause.”
“Was anyone hurt?”
“We are still assessing the site. No casualties to report yet.”
I swallowed, and then, seeing the eyes of the other policemen suddenly on me, I muttered a quick “thank you” and then began to climb away.
One of the policemen was climbing after me. He reached me, out of breath, and I realised that I must have climbed over a mountain of rubble in my hasty retreat.
“Are you looking for someone in particular, sir?” he asked. His eyes held a sorrow within them. He didn’t appear to be one of the emotionless types.
“I- I guess I am,” I replied.
Slowly and carefully, he said: “So far we have found a number of possessions beneath the rubble, but no bodies.” He sighed. “Among these possessions was a tattered brown satchel and a grey coat. But, again,” he said, “no body attached.”
“Have you looked in the bag?”
“I’m afraid not, sir. We did, however, find a small piece of jewellery nearby the bag. It was hard to tell what it was.”
A breath caught in my throat. “Gold or silver?”
“Gold, most certainly. A small chain with a couple of hooks on it. There may have been a charm or two attached.”
I tuned out of the policeman’s words and into the world of chaos around me. People were screaming and crying, families holding each other on catching sight of the devastation. The world was grey and thick with despair, despite the blue sky up ahead.
But in my mind’s eye I could see a woman with a brown satchel, a grey coat and a small gold charm bracelet around her wrist. She was smiling, as she always did. And through it all, through everything that had happened, she still wore that bracelet.
Up until the end, she had still kept my gift.
Every day during February I’m going to write a piece of creative writing inspired by a prompt. The prompts have been taken from here, although I may shuffle some of the days around if I fancy.