The first moments of dawn brought with it a breeze strong enough to shunt a passing seagull off course, its outstretched wings blending in with the final few moments of a pinkish moon. The bird made towards land, its reflection gliding across the sea, rippling, following.
The screeching of brake pads pressing against hot rubber filled the morning air as a Ford Escort M1, that had seen better days, came to an abrupt halt at the edge of a cliff.
Renee wasn't sure what to do now she'd come this far. She was still getting her mind round why she was here in the first place. The sun was threatening to rise and she rolled the window down to take in the sea air. She spent a few moments, breathing in, out, and mentally engineering a ploy to destroy the solar system, if only it meant she could just rest her eyes. Just a bit of peace, a minute for her mind to... be. A little stolen time.
Instead, she reached for the glove compartment and pulled out her sunglasses, hooking them on her t-shirt. Life was all about making do, right? Plus, she figured, you can't go wrong in Ray-bans. And if you did, well; at least you'd be a suave looking mistake.
She paused for a moment, tracing her finger down the pile of tapes that were stacked by the gear stick. Her memory threw weak grappling hooks to thoughts of better days. She contemplated the weirdness … no, the strength of the mind, of how one song can transport you back in time.
She shut her eyes and felt green grass around her toes. Her bitten nail came to a halt on a particular cassette, her eyelids rose, and she remembered.
Back in the day it was all fields and making out, summer fayres and alcohol – decks, sex and electro. She missed the high pitched twangs of the top E, skittering around her ears like electric mosquito's in the breeze. She longed for the hot, wet summer days climbing over rocks in streams, sleeping under trees and walking home barefoot covered in pollen, the soles of her feet black with dirt and bruises. She still had the odd scar, and looked upon them as old friends. Scattered remnants of better days, a bloody map of teenage adventures, silvery lines of a life long since lost, but not forgotten.
Renee removed the keys from their leather and steel encasing, turned up the radio, and exited the car. The sun was casting long shadows across bits of battered tarmac, catching itself in nooks and pebbles, leaving parts of itself behind on its long stretch to the bottom of the cliff.
As the door swung shut, she glanced at her other self in the wing mirror. Ivory skin, freckles dotting around her face and straying over the lines of her lip, long auburn ringlets wrapped around each other in some eternal tangle that she'd never quite been able to tame. Turquoise eyes peered out of their reflective prison, golden flecks tinting them green in one continuous circular wave, like spilled champagne on the surf.
She dragged her trainers on the walk to the boot, scuffing lines into the dirt, contemplating, as she lifted the door.
Removing the sunglasses from her t-shirt, she brushed away an auburn ringlet and placed them over the docile green eyes of the limp, crumpled body in front of her. A pale, almost opaque arm lay over its chest. Renee's eyebrows faltered as she leaned over and gazed upon a girl she once knew, so well. A tear escaped her eye and trailed down her cheek, landing on the girls face, from one freckled maze to another. The reflection in the Ray-Bans was of someone she didn't particular know any more. She bent down and pulled the laces from her boots, held them up to trail in the breeze, then swung her leg backwards, forwards, and kicked off her shoes, straight over the edge of the cliff.
The sun was almost fully risen as Renee walked around to the front of the car, sat inside, turned up the radio and released the handbrake.
The seagull lifted his head out of the foaming water, a small black fish in his mouth as a great metal lump came plummeting towards the rocks. Pushing his feet off the wet sand, he flew to a higher distance and in the process, dropped his dinner. The fish fell through the air and straight into the birds watery reflection, causing the wings to part in obscure circular ripples.
Footprint marks trailed up the beach, followed by various metallic nuts and bolts, and the gull watched as a bare, bloody foot disappeared behind a rock; then turned back to his now peaceful reflection.
Ginny Ratcliffe is a 21-year-old Creative Writing student from Yorkshire, i.e. that place that looks a bit like The Shire but with less hobbits. She can often be found in dark corners and/or record shops questioning reality, or attempting to show her friends how she can psychically guess the contents of a Kinder Egg without even opening it.
She enjoys writing prose and screen plays, and has a slightly unhealthy obsession with Hacker the Dog off CBBC. Her favourite authors are the whimsical masterminds Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.