It is New Year’s Eve and, at last, Nicola is free. Just as she was hoping she would be.
“We’re free!” she shouts, running through the night, through the cold, damp streets with Christine, laughing and laughing, while the stars wheel and glitter in the big, black sky. They’re like sequins on a velvet prom dress, those stars, so pretty. Gazing up, Nicola feels her heart lifting, her body stretching and tingling as if she’s taking off, about to fly. She’s no longer simply running over the dark, glistening cobblestones, but leaping and soaring. She couldn’t stop laughing if she wanted to, and she’s sure that Christine feels the same. Christine’s eyes aren’t green out here, but black and glinting, and her teeth flash U-V white as she throws back her head, revealing a pale perfect triangle of jaw and her long, creamy throat. Her blond hair pours away behind her in a wintry stream. She’s beautiful, scattering bright, icy trail-backs into the night. Into this magical, fizzing, promising night, that’s filled with light . . .
The street lamps all have shimmering gold haloes and many of the tall, grey houses have Christmas trees, lit Christmas trees, in their big bay windows. They’re twinkling red and green and purple and blue, and the air, Nicola thinks, it’s so pure, though it still smells like smoky bacon!
She laughs then, even harder, loving the sudden hot lines of tears that come slipping and sliding and sparkling down her face. She’s glowing; she knows it. There are little lights, little whirling stars, inside her. It was Christine who put them there, Christine who gave them to her when she handed her that pill.
“Christine! Happy New Year!”
Extract from ‘The Dawning’ by Megan Taylor (Weathervane Press, 2010)