At the bottom of the road near our school, there’s a little cut-through called Crick Lane. It’s a really helpful shortcut if you’re aiming to avoid rush-hour traffic on the A41, but unfortunately it’s also a fly-tipping hotspot. In spite of council efforts to clean this area regularly, they can’t compete with the people who seem adamant to casually dump their unwanted items. There’s a whole range of items on display: everything from building waste and clothes to old sofas, discarded tyres and plastic children’s toys.
I’ve always wondered what sort of person thinks it’s acceptable to open their boot and throw its contents where they clearly don’t belong. It makes me so angry.
One lunchtime, my colleague and I took a walk down Crick Lane and I took some photographs. I then showed them to my Year 10 class and asked, ‘what sort of person does this to our environment?’ We then decided to write their story. It’s definitely not safe enough for us to go and pick up what’s been discarded, but we can use it as inspiration for our creative writing.
Here’s the first instalment of our Crick Lane Chronicles, written by a student in Year 10. She read this aloud in our lesson this afternoon and I think it’s just stunning and wanted to share it with all of you. She has given me permission, but I’ve anonymised the work.
The Crick Lane Chronicles: Part 1
I stare wistfully at the worn reddish bricks of the house that I have stood behind for my whole existence. Smoke-grey clouds drift sluggishly above me, dragged along by the winter breeze. Despite the wind being gentle, it has a damp iciness to it. Chills inject themselves through my needles, sending shockwaves down my branches and concentrating in my trunk.
Typically, at this time of year, my family would emerge from the house, clad in thick jackets and fur-lined boots, to wrap me up in strings of lights that would twinkle like fireflies in the evening sky. I have fond memories of the children hanging small decorations on me; every year managing to fasten them higher up my branches. But, this year is different. In the autumn, with the crunch of withered leaves beneath their feet, I listened as my family vacated the house for the last time. At first, I assumed they would be back soon, as they occasionally disappeared for a while and returned with glowing sun-tans. When I heard the click of the front door, after what seemed like an eternity, I was flooded with relief that they had returned to me. However, when the back door opened, a figure appeared who I didn’t then recognise: the new owner.
As the bleak sky begins to spit down upon me, I wish that I had the comforting embrace of the glowing fireflies to warm me. I am flooded with a melancholy frustration as I consider how my family betrayed me and left me behind with the new owner, who shows no concern for my well being. Here he comes. The man barges through the stiff door and marches towards me, his face shadowed by the hood of his raincoat. As he seems to stare me up and down, I feel a glimmer of cautious optimism and anticipation as he finally takes some degree of interest in me. Maybe, I was too quick to despondence. Maybe, he will be equally as caring as my old family was. He trudges towards the shed; I am struck with a sudden surge of excitement. When the father of the family entered the narrow, rickety shed, he would emerge with loaded boxes of lights and decorations, with which to adorn me.
The man emerges from the house, hauling an item that I don’t recognise. I have an immediate inkling that it is something bad. The item is shiny — like the decorations — but that is where the resemblance ceases. It is some sort of monstrous machine, with a huge jet-black handle and ferocious, jagged teeth. Sporting a pair of heavy-duty gloves, the man flicks a switch on the machine.
Instantly, the beast springs to life, growling and snarling like a wild dog. The man steps closer. I become painfully aware of my countless roots, fastening me to the ground; ensuring that I am incapable of altering my fate. The monster’s gyrating teeth seem to salivate as it approaches me.
The razor-sharp teeth slash at my branches, cutting clean through them. The agonising torment ignites me; every branch crashes to the earth in a violent burst of flames. The barbaric man hacks away at me until I am bare, unmerciful in destroying a lifetime’s worth of growth. Naked and feeble, I stand as half the being that I was earlier. I am so caught up in self-mourning that it takes me a second to acknowledge the throbbing pain as my trunk is severed.
I regain a drowsy consciousness, to find myself not in my usual spot. As my vision becomes less distorted, I realise that I am not even in my garden, at all. The idea of being somewhere else had always been completely incomprehensible for me. Now, here I am. I lie in a narrow alleyway, surrounded by masses of filthy, forgotten objects. My severed parts also lie in a careless heap on the jagged concrete ground. At this moment, it dawns on me that I will never return home. I will never return to the life that I assumed I was eternally destined to live.
A pair of boots march out in front of me. I can identify these as the footwear of my executioner. My thoughts are getting foggier, and the corners of my vision blacken. A repeating, ringing tune echoes through the alley. The sound dances around me, the volume and pitch fluctuating as if it is coming from different distances and directions. My vision goes blank. The ringing gradually fades to nothing.
“Hey, I just got rid of the old tree that was in the way. Is the hot tub ready to be delivered soon?”