31 Dec 2009


I was having a shit when I heard the first sirens. Even though they weren’t that close or particularly loud, they startled me and I instantly knew it was something big.

There were layers of sounds – high and low pitched, filling the air outside the window, and in the distance, voices. Shouting, screaming. A state of mass panic just outside the house. I was focussed on it and pulled up my pants to go see what was happening. I opened the door and saw the orange hue. A warm glow over everything. It was beautiful for a few seconds until I realised it was all burning.

The flames weren’t separate from each other – like lots of fires all over – it was as though the whole world was engulfed in a great inferno. One thing – one event seemed to have occurred so quickly that no one even had time to run. A small blond girl in a black and glitter Hello Kitty T-Shirt ran past me, I had to turn away. When I did I was faced with a guy about my age with burning knees. I had never pictured what burning knees would look like – but there they were. He had on shorts and a t-shirt and all I could think was, it’s December? Why are you in shorts? Then I saw the squash racket still in his hand – melted in. Further away, the fire trucks and ambulances lined the top of the hill on the main road, like a barrier stopping anyone from going down into the main town. Maybe that was the centre. Where it had hit. Whatever it was.

The emergency services people were running back and forth, organised, professional, which for some reason was surprising to me. Everyone else was on the verge of insanity. It seemed that they all collectively realised that The End had come and there was nothing they could do about it. Not one goddamned thing. Yet this realisation was irrevocably mixed with the human survival instinct of; we can’t fight, but if we run we may survive. But there was nowhere to run. I walked up the street – feeling the air on my bare arms get hotter and hotter, thicker and blacker, and stopped in front of the steps of the college.

The noise was deafening, people trying to escape, trying to find each other. I was thankful I was alone in the world. A huge roar like a jumbo jet inside your ears was coming from – everywhere, and getting closer. I breathed in long and deep, closed my eyes and tried to make my last thought a good one. And in that moment – in all the terror and chaos I realised, damn...

I forgot to wipe.