Wind had battered the shoreline all day, howling great monsters had brought trees to the ground and waves had been higher than the tallest ships in the harbour. It was as if the sun had never risen; cold, grey miserable skies lurked casting a dreary sleeping spell over the quaint fishing village of Little Bass with barely a soul escaping their front door. Spring had only passed a few days prior but it was as if the Witch of Winter had risen undefeated and ready to charge at those who dared to place tulips or daffodils in their windows.
Matt hurried down the steep winding street. As much as it was beautiful to live in a tiny terraced cottage on the quayside, it was a pain to have to park so far away in terrible weather and to have to rush back to the safety of his own home. However, having witnessed the plumes of smoke lift from the chimney tops as he drove over the cliff tops Matt was warmed to recognise the distinct scent of coal fires bringing a wave of comfort over the freezing raindrops that pricked and stabbed at his burning red skin as he now chased down the glimmering cobbles.
Behind him the wooden gate post banged closed as old dry twigs of rosemary seemed to disintegrate and fall to the overgrown grassy pathway. Matt rushed in through the sage door shaking the raindrops from him and was instantly awakened by the essence of thyme and cinnamon. Quickly peeling off the layers he dived over the couch to the kitchen to witness his beautiful wife leaning on the counter top as pots and pans bubbled over, she seemed immersed by the old radio set blaring out in the windowsill.
“Hello my gorgeous girl… sorry I’m a bit late, Greenery Street was flooded again so they put us on to a diversion rou…” he grabbed the copper kettle balancing it on the hob and reached for two hand painted and heavily chipped mugs. At this moment he realised Evanna wasn’t really paying any attention to him or his presence. Concerned he paused reaching for her hand pressing it tightly with his, “darling, what is it?”
Evanna blinked back to life at the touch of his cold hand and quickly grabbed a warm tea towel, “I’m sorry my love, just awful news in the city again. Another attack, four dead.” She gently took hold of both his hands, his fingers were frozen and she began to warm them between the soft tea towel. “I don’t know how I’m going to face the children at School tomorrow. How do I explain something like this? They dream of moving to big cities but these tragedies just keep happening.”
Matt could see the pain in her eyes, usually a pale blue they seemed to turn deeper when her emotions were running high. He gently wrapped his arms around her, dampened but heated within her embrace. It was at this moment that he realised the radio was declaring the news of another major attack in London with four more killed, dozens still injured and suffering whilst the rest of the population merely ambled on in fear that they would be next. His wife was fiercely empathetic, something which put her one step ahead of the others in her role as a teacher but equally weakened her from the fragile state of the world.
“I’m so sorry, I can’t explain it any more than the next person. We just have to stand tall.”
“I feel so helpless, we moved to this beautiful place to feel safe and live in our own paradise but as each day passes I’m not sure if we could ever be from harms way. Merely the threat of it all is exhausting to live with, remembering our friends in the city and our family at home…”
Tears began to fall and Matt pulled her closer resting his head atop hers. “We just have to grieve for this moment, but then we carry on. This is our home and here in this small cottage no one can harm us, okay? And although we can’t physically steal the pain of others, we can spiritually heal them with our wishes and thoughts. We have the power to teach my love, so let’s teach compassion and kindness, empathy and respect. The power is in our hands, you must never forget that.”
Later that night Matt and Evanna were settled on the sofa watching the news repeat itself continuously. No more news on the casualties but more witnesses were coming forward with horrific tales of gunshots and screams before being locked down in various surrounding buildings. Matt could tell Evanna was struggling, her heart was fragile and now the fear would only increase even though they lived miles away in a quiet hidden village. Little Bass had been their safety net when they moved well before their retirement years to live by the sea, but it had become clear that wherever they went, the tales of danger would follow.
However, as the clock ticked by Evanna realised how true her husband was. She had thrived in London in her early years as a teacher. Literature was her first port of call but she encouraged others to read of love and of happiness in the hope they would hold on to these values for life. She had brought the same passion with her to Little Bass. Tomorrow she would continue, she would take stock to reflect on those who had been so devastatingly impacted by an act of cowardice and then she would fight harder to give her students the future they deserved.
Before she crept into bed she knelt by the small coffee table at the bottom of the bed. Lighting a smudge stick she breathed in the pure smoking scent and made wishes that this purity would carry on with her in to the weeks to come. Most of all she made a wish for peace and calm to those who were still fighting for survival in what they called home. But deep inside she knew London was strong, London was courageous and London was brave. And no one could strip that from them. As she laid in bed listening to the rain battering the shore as it had done so all day, Evanna held her husband tight in her arms grateful for all the good life had given her. Softly she spoke as she fell to sleep, “we will not live in fear.”