The Silent Witness? Essay

A shiver went down my spine. My heart began to race. My palms, so abruptly had become tense and pale as if the blood had been drained out of them. I desperately searched for the way out. By now the fog had turned into a thick blanket, which had surrounded me. There was absolute silence; all I could see was the vile black floor that seemed to have a hold on me. It was no use; I looked around in optimism, wishing I could see a way out or someone would come to take me away, but it was useless.

The, now unseeable, winding tunnel seemed to be endless. I could hear that echo again; that burly, menacing laugh that was pursuing me. Within a glance back I could feel this profound, hot breath upon my neck. It was too late, as I looked up I saw this vague, feeble figures reaching out at me. Their hands so diminutive but clawed and blood thirsty. I screamed with every last ounce of energy I had, though it seemed my voice as well as I was trapped. The laughter grew and no encircled me. ‘NO!’

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Thank heavens it was only a dream. I sat upright upon my bed, panting, sweat trickled down my face. Trying to regain my breath as well as my sanity, I repeated to myself, ‘it was only a dream’ several times. I began to gaze across my room, when my eyes became transfixed upon the old, tarnished window, which stood upright high on the wall, as if it was always overlooking me, I tried to turn away but I couldn’t. It felt like a force was drawing me towards it.

I finally gave into this sudden surge of temptation. Through the condensed windowpane, the swaying trees could just about be seen. The howling and willowing echoed from wall to wall, sending an unnerving chill through my bones. Perplexed at what the strong attraction could be between this flawed window that had been untouched for years and I, I cautiously stepped forward. I listened carefully, and to my delight the faint murmur of my parents could be heard in the far distance, giving me a sense of safety. The floorboards gave a shrill creak with every step I took, it was as though they were warning what lay ahead of me outside, that I was nearing.

The image of the dancing trees became clearer as I approached them, casting a strong shadow upon me. The windows, so abruptly slammed open and equally quickly closed, allowing a draft to leap into the room. My eyes, still uncontrollable now began to follow the swaying trees, which glimmered in the moonlight. Within an instant I was there. I gradually lifted my arm to pull myself up. Though as I did so, a sudden surge of dust, which previously lay on the window ledge, began to sort of surround me, but I was still eager as ever.

A strange and sudden drowsiness came over me, my arm became all numb. It felt as though someone was trying to prevent me from seeing what horrors lay outside. Carefully clearing a section of the window with my palm, I discovered that the street was empty. There was complete silence and in great disappointment I decided to go back. Though as I did so, a solitary streetlight caught the corner of my eye. I cautiously followed the beam of light to where it was being shed, when a strange looking, shapeless man stepped into the light. A worn, crimson woolly hat left his face in complete darkness, but clearly in his left hand he had loosely gripped a liquor bottle. His walked with a distinctive limp to it. ‘He’s probably just some drunk man,’ I though to myself. Though there was still this strong, unexplainable attraction between the window and I.

Tightening my grip on the disintegrating ledge, I continued observing. Now his face could be clearly seen. It was of a disproportionate structure, with his bridged nose occupying much of it. A gleam from his searching eyes gave the man a real sense of ingenuity. There were many myths about the man, some use to say that he was an ex-convict and others said that he wasn’t allowed out after daybreak because he was a menace to society. On some night all the lights in his house would just flicker on and off, uncontrollably, even though there was no one there touching the switch. Though honestly, I hadn’t seen any of this for myself.

I knew his son Rob, quite well too. His body was more supple and agile to his fathers, and like him, his face was also of inconsistent sized features. He was really quite though, probably shy, and whenever anyone asked of his father or family in public there would always be a grave silence afterwards, but I knew how fond he was of his father and the admiration he had for him.

The man’s piercing glare sent a sudden rush of blood into my arms. His standing position now had made him look almost unmanly, as if he was a beast, which had escaped from the wilderness. He stopped twisting open the bottle for a moment looked around in a bewildered manner, then muttered something.

As he did so another figure stepped into the light. He was much shorter and slimmer that the first. Though I could only see a vague image of him. A long hooded top covered the majority of him, so only his tanned skin could be clearly seen. He walked fearfully, as though he was trying to get past unnoticed.

Once again the bigger of the two muttered something, but this time raised his arm ever so slightly in an aggressive technique. My arms and legs began to quiver at the brutality of what I was seeing; helplessly I stared ahead, gasping in horror. My heart felt as though it had leapt into my mouth. I tried to draw myself away, but it was no use, eyes seemed to be transfixed upon the two men. I tried to shout, so the man would notice that he was being watched though my voice had deserted me. I looked in dismay at the savagery left at the scene…

‘Wake up,’ my mum called from downstairs, ‘or you’ll be late for school!’ Her voice had a peculiar, grave sound to it, completely different to her usual, upbeat weak-up calls. Rubbing my eyes, I cautiously got out of bed. For a brief moment all my worries had transcended into a tiny corner in my mind, which was left unexplored, until the dark residue from the window bought everything back to me. I looked up and to my dismay there was that small clear section left in my window pain, which I had created, and the blue flakes of rotted paint that had been scraped off by the sheer force that I had used to grip the ledge with.

I franticly ran downstairs and as I expected the local news was being broadcasted on the radio. ‘An Asian youth was attacked in the early hours of the morning, and left unconscious outside his car on 34th street. He is in a deep coma and doctors are worried that if he does come around, he could be disabled foe life. It is believed that it was a racial attack, and is not the first in the area. The police have urged any witnesses to phone up on 020 7514 1233. The police are in the middle of a house-to-house hunt for any witnesses…’

The kitchen was empty, as I furiously flicked the radio off. ‘ This is all a dream!’ I repeated to myself ‘soon I’ll wake up and it’ll all be back to normal,’ but truly, I knew it never would. I sat there, at the kitchen table for a while; the number seemed to be bouncing from wall to wall. It was inescapable. I knew that the right thing would be to tell the police, though there was this strong feeling of guilt inside me, not for the assailant, but his would be lonely child. There was a vivid picture of the victim, helplessly lying on the floor in my mind. ‘Help me,’ I could hear him pleading, the crude glare in the attackers eyes, as he looked upon down almost in a proud fashion. Then as soon as I thought of how brutal the attack was, the solemn face of Rob, came clearly into my mind. His mother was already lost and he had no one else.

Abruptly I was sent crashing out of thought by the faint ring of the bell. As I was the only one there I stood up, my body still not recovered from the harshness that I was a witness to. Through the window beside the front door there could see a mixture of blue and white. Then the words of the reporter came flooding into my mind, ‘the police are in the middle of a house-to-house hunt for any witnesses…’ my palms became sweaty, my heart once again began to race, for a moment though this glorious feeling came over me, it felt as though this huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. ‘God had made the decision for me!’ I thought, but then ‘who’s that at the door?’ my father exclaimed, almost walking through me. He opened the door, and a sure as ever it was the police. By now the fabulous high that I had been temporarily put on had all but disappeared, leaving the weight of the world upon me once more.

As the police entered they were immediately shown to the front room, though I’d made my mind up. I couldn’t live like this anymore! Then from outside his house stepped Rob, and once more all my sympathy was poised upon him. ‘Hurry along, you’ll be late for school,’ my mum told me as she pushed me out of the house,’

‘But I’ve got to tell you something…’

‘What?’ she interrupted in a disconcerted way. If only she knew I thought to myself. If only she could see how the world around me had crumbled away, how there was this huge burden in my mind. Then from the corner of my eye I glimpsed Rob, his joyous face, I couldn’t do anything to ruin that. ‘Nothing’ I muttered regretfully. As I left my home, walking side by side with Rob, I looked back. The police’s panda still parked up outside, now began to fade…

Throughout the journey to school, as Rob spoke, I was in a world of my own. I couldn’t bear to look at him and added the odd ‘yeah’ to the conversation so that he wouldn’t realise that there was anything wrong with me. My mind however was still strongly focused upon the attack. Every step I took, it seemed that I could hear a different opinion being muttered, ‘He deserved it! Asians don’t belong here!’ ‘Someone would’ve seen what happened, whoever done its bound to get caught!’ My conscious persisted in telling me that what I was doing was wrong. It felt as though it was physically eating me away, ounce by ounce. Though my brain continued to tell me that for Rob’s sake, I was doing right.

A sudden drowsiness came over me. Once again I found myself trapped in the mist. That strong, menacing laugh around me! ‘No!!!!’ the grim frail hand once more reached out, the laughter echoed, surrounding me in an even tighter loop. ‘What do you want?’ I demanded. The fog began to rise and thicken. A solitary piece of railing could be seen in-between the separate waves of fog. As I quickly gripped onto it, the numbness once again found its way to my arms and legs. ‘ I can’t take this,’ I thought to myself.

I stood there stationary; I could hear the faint cry of help echoing. I listened carefully and to my dismay it was that of the victim. It began to build up, becoming stronger and stronger. The laughter of his assailant also began to echo and grow, it was inescapable. I couldn’t move, and I was bound to listen. Then my mothers face appeared. ‘I thought I’d taught you between right and wrong?’ she said, looking down at me in disgust. ‘What’s happening? Why do I keep coming back here?’ Millions came rushing into my mind. ‘I have to tell the police! This is insane, I’m going insane!’ I screamed.

My legs and arms began to loosen up. A bright light appeared from amidst the fog and gradually began to widen. The blackness of the hole that I was in began to clear and change to white, as I ran. The voices that surrounded me now began to fade. Then in a moment, there I stood outside the police station. I looked around mystified, ‘How had I got here? I wondered. I knew what I had to do. Taking in a deep breath I walked up what seemed to be the hardest steps in the world, when I reached the top, once again I saw Rob’s face though this time it had a smile. ‘This is the right thing to do,’ I reassured myself…


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