8:50 Monday morning, I found this under a pile of papers in a knackered folder at the back of my laptop marked 'The day is bright'. The disturbing thing is that I have forgotten when and why, but not whether I wrote it.
A fine rain of brick-dust and plaster falls continually from the dense cloud that hangs above the streets. It sparkles softly in the pale filtered light and trembles with the shock of each explosion. Despite the endless roar of collapsing buildings and the scream of falling shells one can still hear footsteps on the pavement: their urgent tapping bounces back off the smothering cloud of dust.
The street is a trench cut into the city, a grave without end whose five-storey sides are belching gouts of smoke and spattered with shrapnel flowers. Heaps of rubble lie forced to the roadside, burying the pavement but for a thin, strangled rat-run.
In an agonising pocket of silence, clenched about with the endless fists of detonations, two blurred and bundled figures stumble this way, whimpering. Two women, a mother and daughter perhaps, clutching their family relics. They scuttle past the boarded shops and toothless doorways propelled by the violent wind.