Printed from WriteWords -

Golden 2012

by  Barny

Posted: Saturday, June 29, 2013
Word Count: 467
Summary: A woman and her daughter shelter from a world where society has broken down. (I wrote this in Feb 2012)

Golden 2012
Emma huddled close to her daughter to keep warm in the cold dark bedroom in their cold dark home. She knew that Ashley couldn’t get to sleep.
“Mummy, can you tell me again about the Olympics?” Ashley asked.
One of the other mother and children pairs sleeping in the room stirred and muttered.
It wasn’t fair to disturb them, but she couldn’t ignore her daughter. “You want to hear about it again?”.
She could feel her daughter’s head nodding against her chest.
“Your Dad and I were there on August 6th,” Emma said quietly. “Even though the race was at 9 o’clock at night, the stadium was as bright as day because of the lights. We watched Usain Bolt win the 100m gold medal, breaking the world record for the fifth time. He’d already broken the record in June in Berlin - a warm-up race according to him - then here in London he went even faster, down to 9.55 seconds. Winning looked so easy. Jason and I were out of our seats shouting like the rest of the crowd.”
“Did you enjoy seeing all those people from different countries?”
“I was excited about the Olympics like everyone else, and they went really well. There seemed to be a glow of pride about the country. We all had something in common, you could stop and talk to anyone about the games, including tourists. And the weather was so good that the whole summer seemed golden, not just the medals.”
Ashley was quiet, and Emma held her breath, hoping that sleep had come.
Ashley stirred. “I’ve seen pictures of the lights. Why can’t we have lights?”
The useless bulb hung above the bed. All the windows of the house were boarded inside and out, but not to block light. Emma knew there was none tonight apart from moon and stars.
“A couple of months after the gold medal Greece finally went bankrupt, because they couldn’t repay their debts. And then the rest... well it ended up with us in England not being able to pay our bills either. The electricity came and went for a while, then stopped properly in March when you were three. There had been riots, but that’s when the gangs took over and your dad was killed.”
Thinking about Jason, she felt tears welling in the corners of her eyes.
“Shush now,” she said quietly to her daughter, “go to sleep. I’ve got to go out tomorrow to get some water, so don’t worry if I’m not here when you wake up.”
They needed food as well as water, and with no cash and her not strong enough to do manual work there was only one way to pay. She shuddered and felt a tear trickle down the hollow of her cheek.