This is part two of the TMA 01 assignment for my OU course. I have edited a couple of words as per my tutor's comments, but otherwise the piece is in it's original state.
(Inspiration -- interview on Radio Four -- Hoon is ‘sorry’ for soldier’s death.)
Tracy rolled up the sleeves of her red sweater in a purposeful manner, before sliding a knife from the pine block on the counter and flicking the radio on with one nonchalant finger.
‘Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon has said he is “extremely sorry” about the death of a tank commander … ’ it began. Tracy paused to listen as she tucked a dark curl of her hair behind one ear, before commencing to slice a pepper into thin slivers of crimson.
‘His poor family,’ she murmured.
‘Hmm.’ Behind her, Graham’s lanky frame hunkered over the breakfast bar as he read his newspaper. A black mug of coffee hovered mid-air, as if he had lifted it to drink and then forgotten about it in the process.
‘It must be terrible for his wife.’
Tracy looked down at her knife, a gleam of deadly silver with a thin vein of red pepper juice running along the edge. Her hazel eyes narrowed.
‘I wonder what it’s like, facing death every day.’
‘That’s a pretty gruesome thought,’ her husband observed, before turning another page and finally raising his cup to drink. Tracy closed her eyes and tried to picture the scene as the newsreader burbled on. The radio faded into a blur of static, the sound scraping through her head. The world seemed to shift beneath her like a monumental hiccup.
Something detonated so close that all the other sounds that followed seemed distant echoes. Her eyes jerked open and she blinked, her heart thundering like a million fireworks exploding inside her chest. Shattered, fire-scorched ruins faced her. A body lay on the ground, the corpse so thickly layered with dust it seemed moulded from the ground itself. Another explosion spat a huge plume of smoke, flame and debris into the air and blinded her with a spray of dust; pain stung her right cheek. She tried to draw a breath around the tight knot in her throat, to move, to scream even, but fear and shock held her as immobile as stone.
Finally she did scream, but the cry was lost in the chaos surrounding her, more explosions pummelling the ground beneath her feet into a quivering mass.
‘What the hell are you doing?’ a voice yelled. ‘Are you crazy?’
Something slammed hard into her side, driving the breath from her body. Arms squeezed her tight; too tight. She struggled.
‘Tracy, for god’s sake … ’
She froze as Graham’s deep voice cut through her panic, the sounds and sights of battle gone.
‘You fell. Did you faint again?’
Shivering, she levered herself up from the cold slate floor of her kitchen and stared at him. He was crouched beside her, one large hand coming to rest on her shoulder. His grey eyes, so concerned, flickered to the side of her face.
‘What the hell have you done to yourself?’ he demanded. Tracy put a shaky hand to a cheek that still stung with remembered pain and drew her fingers over it. They both looked down.
Her fingers were smeared with blood.
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