The Verse’s Sam Kenyon-Hamp showcases his piece of creative writing called ‘A Petal in the Storm’.
I arrived in Hannover, shrouded in the early light. I was starved and hadn’t slept in two days. A young charity worker swam through the whitewashed corridors of the station, offering out battered looking sunflowers for a small donation. I did my best to ignore him. I was meeting an old friend in Amsterdam that evening and after being chased out of Salzburg the night before, I had no desire to hang around.
After half a day’s delay, the boards read ‘alle zuge stoniert’ – all trains cancelled. Police lined the walls, each equipped with a handgun and a scowl. Agitation stained every passage like foul smog. I could hardly breathe, no one would help me. Not even the cops, like they could smell my accent from a yard off. I hadn’t so much as glimpsed at a newspaper since I left England so had no idea what I’d gotten myself into. The storm had caught up with me.
The wind crashed eastward, never ceasing. Branches tore from their rooted limbs and scattered across the concrete. I had never seen anything like it – like everything not bolted down was being ripped away by an invisible tsunami. I was a prisoner to this storm now. I phoned my sister from the quietest corner, my body rigid with panic, my voice hoarse from exhaustion. She was calm and patient – as she always is and seemed unsurprised by my bad luck.
‘Have you spoken to Mum?’ her voice was light, like hands on my shoulders ‘Maybe it’s time to come home babe, things aren’t great here right now.’ I didn’t, couldn’t answer, which said enough. We didn’t talk for long, I merely explained, and she listened, and we formulated a plan. I could see out of the corner of my eye the young charity worker looming, his sunflowers looking worse than ever. Determined not to let the pest see me crying, I hung up.
In a public bathroom, I stared, shaking, at my meagre appearance. Hair matted back with rain and grease. Large lips purple, split, bleeding. Eyes sickly bloodshot like peeled plums, cowering into my skull. I thought I looked unpleasantly older. My hands throbbed a deep pink and flaked like pastry, ready to scab – with nails bitten to the roots. I needed a place to stay and the station was feeling more and more like a mental ward with each minute. Yet while staring through myself I noticed the young charity worker smiling at me in the mirror, he must have followed me in.
‘Geh Weg!’I spat and stormed out. Securing the straps of my rucksack I stepped into the gale, battered in all directions like a rag, it was impossible to stay balanced and the rain fell like powdered glass. On occasion I was thrown to my hands and knees, only to hear another gust of wind howling through the skyscrapers – a thousand boiling kettles screaming through the landscape. Two miles, two miles in the screeching storm then I saw it, a yellow haze in the wet mist, I tried the door, it held sealed, the receptionist inside merely shook her head and pointed to a neon sign a little to her right reading ‘The sunflower hotel is closed.’
Featured Image was created by Max Bandelow