I've thought long and hard about this (well a bit at least) and I finally decided to share this with you. Goodness knows I have banged on about BTL often enough and I thought I'd share the first chapter with you all. I don't know why I'm doing this I just am. I just think that I would like at least a few people to read a bit of it before I give up on it.
Hope you enjoy - but please make allowances.
BTL - Chapter 1
One minute I was fine and the next…well I’m not sure what I’d call it exactly because I’d never felt like it before but I was shaking and I could hardly breathe and all I could think was, Oh my God! What’s going on? Well to be honest there might have been the odd expletive in there as well but, oh my God! What’s going on? was the gist of it.
Surrounding me was what I can only say was an incredible light. It was like when there’s been heavy snow and your eyes struggle to adjust to the sun shining off it. You know, like when your eyes can’t really focus on anything because everything is so white. It was just like that, except whiter. My eyes instinctively screwed up to protect themselves like they would do on a really sunny day but this light wasn’t like a sunny day, not even a very sunny day. This light physically hurt my eyes.
I tried to open them a couple of times but it just hurt so much that I was forced to close them again and I was in complete panic.
I was breathing in short little bursts which I took in, held for a bit and then let out in stages. I didn’t know what was going on or what was wrong with my eyes but I knew that I was panicking. I’d never had a panic attack before in my whole life and I couldn’t understand what as making me have one now. I just knew was that I was having one.
But what on earth was that light all about? I asked the question over and over in my head. What is that light? What is that light? What is that light?
I also asked myself why it was so noisy. There was noise all around me. Loud noise like when I’m watching TV at my grand-dad’s house and he hasn’t got his hearing aid in. People were shouting. Lots of people were shouting and someone even screamed. I wanted to scream myself but couldn’t. It was taking everything I had just to breathe.
Oh my God, what was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I breathe properly? And, why were my teeth chattering?
The answer to all three questions had to be the same. I was scared. No, I was more than scared, I was petrified.
I tried to think.
Somehow I knew that no matter how much it hurt, I would have to open my eyes. It was the logical place to start because I knew that I would never work anything out unless I could see. I thought that rubbing my eyes might help so I gave that a go but it only made things worse. So now, as well as the light, there were circles flickering inside my eyes as if I had a migraine coming on. Ah, I thought, that’s it; I’ve got a migraine forming. It would be worse than any other migraine that I’d ever had before but that was the only explanation that I could think of. Oh great, not only would I have a blinding headache in a minute but I’d have the vomiting later. Yippee!
But that would have to wait. Right now I had other things to worry about. Slowly, a millimetre at a time I forced my eyes open and I blinked them rapidly in some desperate attempt to get them to adjust to the light. They hurt like hell, but I’d managed to get them this far and I wasn’t going to close them again so I forced myself to stop blinking by holding my eyes wide open. My facial expression was probably freakish but I didn’t care and anyway I doubt that anyone even noticed because when my eyes eventually did open properly I was able to see that I wasn’t the only one panicking.
To the left of me was a woman,
“Help,” she shouted. “Someone help.”
“What’s wrong?” I had to yell because the noise was suddenly deafening.
Apparently I didn’t yell loud enough.
“What’s wrong?” I said again, moving closer and shouting even louder.
But there was still no response so I turned around to look for someone else to ask. There was a man running towards me and I held my hands up in a gesture that made it obvious I wanted him to stop but he didn’t. He just kept on running straight at me and I had to jump out of the way as he passed by.
“Oh well thanks anyway,” I shouted, adding ignorant bugger under my breath.
I looked after him, stood on my tip toes to try and see where and what he was running to that was so important. I couldn’t see a thing. There were too many people in the way. Heads were bobbing up and down all over the place and the bodies were packed too closely together.
I looked around for someone else to ask but everyone seemed too preoccupied to even notice that I was there.
Hang on a minute, where was I anyway? Now that I could see I needed to work out where I was. Maybe then I’d be able to work out what was going on? But why didn’t I know where I was? How could I not know where I was? Oh my God, maybe I’d had a black out. Shit! I knew that I should’ve got those headaches checked out. I’d just dismissed them as nothing but it looked like they might be something after all. Okay so I’d ring the doctor in the morning but right now I had to work out where I was and what was going on.
What was the last thing that I remembered?
I took a couple of deep breaths and tried to calm down enough to think straight. I remembered being at Mum’s house. We’d popped round to check on her because she said she wasn’t well. She’d looked alright to me though and I was a bit huffed that she hadn’t picked Na……Oh my God!
“Naomi!” the scream almost burst my own eardrums but no-one else seemed to notice it. “Naomi,” I shouted, “where are you?”
I whipped my head around, desperately looking for my little girl.
“Naomi,” I screamed again, “Naomi, where are you?”
But there were so many people around and Naomi was just a little girl. I couldn’t see her anywhere.
“Have you seen my daughter?” I asked anyone who would listen.
But nobody answered me. No-one even noticed me.
But that didn’t stop me asking anyway, “Please, have you seen my daughter?”
Eventually one woman did speak. “God help her,” she said, “she never stood a chance?”
“Who?” I asked. “Who never stood a chance?”
But the woman was looking off into the distance beyond where the crowd had formed and I realised that she had been talking more to herself than to me.
So now I had another question to add to my list. In addition to:
What was the light?
Where am I?
And the most important question of all,
I now had,
Who never stood a chance?
Who never stood a chance? Oh my God no! Please anything but that. Please don’t let it be Naomi.
I may have been panicking before but now I was in overdrive. Thoughts of Naomi and what might have happened to her rushed through my head and there was a nightmare scenario starting to form.
Was she the reason for the pandemonium?
Had something happened to Naomi? I almost didn’t want to know the answer to that one because part of me knew that the truth might be more than I could bear.
But bear it or not, I had to know. I had to know what everyone was looking at and what had made the colour drain from the faces of the people nearby. I had to know what had made a woman scream in the street in the middle of the day. I had to know the reason but I was terrified of what the answer might be.
I forced myself to take some more deep breaths. I pushed my chest out as I took them in and puffed my cheeks as they came out. I didn’t do this consciously, it was like my body was working on auto-pilot and it did what it needed to keep me functioning.
I knew that the answer, whatever it was, was at the front of the crowd, and for the first time since the whole light thing had happened I was focused. I knew that I had to get to the front of that crowd and I wasn’t worried about who I upset to do it.
Surprisingly though, I didn’t upset anyone. I expected that I would have heard at least the odd grumble as I barged my way through them but no-one said a thing. In fact I met no resistance at all. It felt like everyone was moving out of the way so that I could get through.
“Naomi,” I shouted again and I heard a sob in my voice, “Naomi, I’m coming.”
And there she was.