adventures in success

Cloudbusting — Kate Bush

Alice woke up lying on her left side with blades of grass tickling her cheek. She rolled onto her back and blinked her eyes open, she felt groggy and sick and had a growing pain like a pointed umbrella opening behind her eyes, her mouth was dry and where she had dribbled down her cheek it felt crusty. As her eyes slowly adjusted she became more aware of her surroundings. The grass felt long underneath the palm of her hand, but not damp, and her exposed skin felt warm – what time was it, she wondered as she started to sit up. She was wearing her usual work outfit of black cotton trousers, loose white shirt, watch, but no shoes or socks. Her breasts were supported by a brassiere and she could feel the cling of her underwear to her hips. She looked down at her feet and saw the grass was blue.

Blue grass? That can’t be right. She recoiled and stood up and took in her surroundings. She was standing in the middle of a field of short blue grass. Short, soft blue grass. She blinked a few times and it did not change colour. Where the hell am I?

Behind Alice was a thicket of trees, redwoods or something she assumed from the impressive height and copper-coloured bark, and further into the distance in front of her she could make out what looked like a barn or similar farmhouse structure. It looked to be silver and carved an impressive figure against the horizon, the light and heat skewing it behind a wobbly haze. She bent down to closer inspect the ground, tentatively stroking the blades of blue grass with her fingertips.

She took a handful and pulled it out, bringing it up to her nose for a sniff. Nothing extraordinary, it just smells like grass, she thought, and furrowed her brow as she inspected it closely. It was a completely normal handful of grass, some blades long and others short, some had small clumps of soil where they were yanked from the ground, whereas others were wilted, not all were the same shade, the blades less full of life were blue with a yellow tint, whereas the more youthful ones were a rich, deep hue.

Alice’s detailed inspection of the grass was interrupted by a shriek coming from the trees behind her. It was an awful noise, a strangled falsetto gurgle, and she jumped as a flock of birds dispersed from the tangled web of branches at the top of the enormous redwoods. The shrieking noise continued to echo off the bark of the trees until it was barely audible, drowned out by the flapping of the birds’ wings, until that too was sucked into the vacuum of silence coming from the thicket. As hard as she looked the trunks were so densely packed that she could only see 2 or 3 rows back so she was not able to identify the source of the scream – the scream? How did she know it was a scream?

She began to feel afraid.

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