The Village Green
It was, all were agreed, a most awful summer that year. If it wasn't cold, it was wet; windy it was foggy; or else school was in, and most of the village adults were at work.
It was, therefore, very surprising that the first day of dry, warm and sunny weather coincided with one of the late Summer Holidays that everyone could enjoy.
So the village greens across the County saw much activity, with families meeting up, grannies and babes in arms too. Ice cream vans, and the odd greasy cafe, were very busy; even the local bobbies had time and opportunity to meander, with no trouble reported anywhere.
By the afternoon the sun was shining strongly in a brilliant blue sky, between shallow white clouds, with nary a breath of wind anywhere. On our village green, impromptu football matches vied with frisbee games for space and the odd hopeful mite trying to get their brown-paper kite into the near-still air; whilst the local pub eleven took on a team from the next town, at a game of 20-over cricket. Despite the lateness of the season, the green was still verdant and alive with insects that came to feast on bare skins and then drowned irritatingly in granddads’ beer and aunties’ lemonades. Families mixed with couples and with groups who chose to come together and enjoy the chance to mingle and socialise, catching up with gossip and reminiscing on Summer days past.
Couples took opportunity to sneak off into the copses at the edge of the green, some strolling covertly away whilst others were more brazen, often to the hollers from others in the crowd. Some would then return with smiles on their faces, though one or two looked sheepishly and shyly as though they had done a guilty deed.
But nonetheless most were happy to enjoy the day and the events round and about the green, which makes the tragic events even more difficult to accept and understand. Much of the investigation that laid before the inquest was based on interviews where, by often digging painstakingly into detail and dragging painfully over a number of days, the halting testament from one of the couples who had slipped away into the shelter of the woods. Bit by bit detectives and forensic experts probed into the evidence, especially from John - normally the more loquacious of the pair, but it was from Martin that the greatest clues were obtained.
Both agreed it was the sky that changed first, in ways that both of them described as; 'disappearing', 'waxing and waning' and simultaneously darkening and whitening. In frightened tones, Martin would describe how the blue sky had suddenly changed white, then a dark red and purple tone appeared to be followed by a brilliant azure swathe that appeared across the sky from left to right, stretching from horizon to horizon, and into which grey and white clouds then re-appeared.
Both then watched as grass, shrubs and trees went through changes of colour and size; then disappeared....
The details became increasingly harder for Martin to describe; whilst John became sullen and quiet, often taking up a foetal position in the corner of the room when asked question after question.
They described how the public house, and the cars around it, disappeared, whilst confusingly returning as if in a cage, before bricks and smoke from the chimneys re-appeared; before they all vanished. Chillingly they told how heads on their friends had disappeared; arms and legs from different individuals would suddenly change colour, even their shape, and then become momentarily encaged ... then re-coloured before finally they were erased from view. They watched friends’ heads moving between different bodies, sometimes remaining close, whilst others were planted on bodies at the other side of the green.
Finally all that was left of the green, the copse, the public house and car park, and the multitude of people was a sandy brown scrape upon the ground.
And that is how the first arrivals to the emergency call described the scene; the sun shining strongly in a brilliant blue sky, between shallow white clouds, with nary a breath of wind. On the ground, though, not a trace of anything was discovered. It was though a giant JCB digger had literally scraped away all living things from a few acres of a village.
Only the sky was left, at the end, as it had been at the beginning. Within a week, though, a tinge of green quickly returned to the village as nature quickly replaced what it had lost; but for a few orphan babes left in child care, a few elders, and three convalescents, life would never be the same again. Officially the subject was closed after a few months as evidence became harder to understand. Unofficially UFO theories grew in an explanation of events; one blamed secret government WMD experiments that scientists had lost control of; whilst, for a time, the weird and the wacky had their moments on the web and national media.
15 months later, John was released from voluntary psychiatric care, but it was too late for Martin who never recovered and was found, after the inquest, hanged.
In London an art show for National Talent drew many artists, in many media. Of particular note, a watercolour entitled “The Village Green”, in an unusually realistic style, took first prize from both the public and art critics alike. It was praised for its realism, sense of occasion and its ‘charm’. Some said they could hear the gossip, happy voices of children playing, birds singing and the tap of a ball on willow........
 Tuesday October the 6th 2009. Eleven AM.
There was I, sat at the open window sipping a cup of coffee noir. Incidently, they'd over-charged me, but give them their due, they did accept their error and compensated me. Looking out the window, the pavements getting wet. People strolling by, one by one, or two by two - hand in hand; or groups of 3 or 4 - or more. He's on his mobile phone, she's listening to her iPod. He's carrying a bag, she, her coat over her arm; and the pavement's getting wet. There's a group of five, she's on her own. Ah! the first with cigarette, that's smoke's into my eyes; and the pavement's getting wet. Cobbles in the road, greys and whites, yellows and orange, and red; all shining in the wet. He's on his own, those two with a pushchair tiny hands up and waving. she's got a cap on; and the pavement's getting wet. She's a-smoking, drifting in my window. Baby in a pushchair, dad's smoking too; all the while, the pavement's getting wet. That's a nice red beret, a delivery van goes past. she's eating a baquette, he's chewing gum. they went that-a-way a moment ago, coming back no doubt; and the pavement's getting wet. Still no brolly, though as the pavement's getting wet. She's wearing red stilettoes and there's a pair of knee-high boots. orange shoes, Sir ! rather bright ? sunshades ! an optomist ! as the pavement's getting wet. That skirt is rather short ! and his cap is not on straight. There's a black cat sitting in the dry. still no brolly though; and the pavement's getting wet. That's a heavy bag he's carrying and that looks like a Prada, yes ? he's drinking water but she's into Coke; all whilst that pavement's getting wet. That Samoyed's got a limp black cat's skittering off. Policeman, Sir, your hat's not on square. Taxi passes slowly by and the pavement's getting wet. Life is passing by. Hey ! shouldn't you two be at school ? A-hah ! a brolly but rolled up ! Still, the pavements nice and wet.
 Untitled, by GeoffC
Without a thought the earth did roar; Two plates once bound for an age, or more did slip, and unwound. Distressed, at ocean deep Land once level, released, now sundered. Giants of waves no longer asleep, Delivered ashore, wild steeds, no mere white horses; we blundered. Galloping forth, unbridled, wanton, unchecked All in their path Were wrecked. What once was, now no more. Silence, Force now spent; But at deep it continued, defiant cadence. Until another, rent shook and earth did scream, again.
 Untitled, by GeoffC
There is poetry here? Where, I see no verse, Just ditties from him, And dotties from her, Oh dear, what a to-do...