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The dark stormy clouds roll over the sky and consume it in its dull, gloomy cloak.
The wind is whispering warnings as my hair is lightly lifted off my shoulder.
The atmospheric changes send shivers down my spine and I make a turn for home, meeting my brother part of the way down the hill.
He swings his gun over his shoulder and holds up his latest catch; two helpless rabbits stiffened by the life that has now left them.
When we arrive home, we notice the lights on and our uncle sitting in the kitchen, mum and dad's car gone.
We cautiously open the door, curious as to what's going on.
As the crisp air departs and we are met by warm muggy air, fed by the flames of the fire, our uncle stands.
He begins to talk as I fetch myself a glass of water, the running tap drowning his voice so it's merely a soft murmur in the background.
The glass shatters into thousands of small pieces, my knees giving away, as I plummet into the bed of broken shards.
My head is thrown into a whirlwind of despair and hurt, as my chest pounds a heart-breaking rhythm.
Hurting so much, yet no tears at all, as I sink further and further beneath the surface of what was such a perfect world, into an enraged torrent of relentless emotions, swirled by the complexity of life and death.
''He's gone, he's gone,'' is all that throbs through my head.
There's one frozen image that remains pencilled in my memory, although it threatens to fade as more time passes.
He stands there with a real Kiwi bloke stance, one hand clasping a drink, while the other awkwardly rests in line with the body.
He's probably just told one of his lame jokes, as his face is slightly scrunched, with a big smile, head falling back, as the image quickly plays the sound of his infectious laughter before pausing again and refusing to go any further.
Although the memory only gives me a few short seconds, I am sure I can hear one of his famous playlists in the background, entertaining a crowd of people.
See, for me, it was never a case of me loving him for one particular thing. I just did. He was family.
He had always been there right from when I was a kid through to my now teenage years.
He was woven into everything I knew and just like a rug, when you pull one thread out, the rest begins to unravel.
Handfuls of dark, damp soil are thrown over your wooden roof, spreading an earthy aroma as the silence is broken by the pitter-patters of our tears, like listening to the rain at night.
As you begin to depart, reality hits me and tears flow freely, seeping into my skin and staining my memories. I will not forget.
The final descent of the spade seals your departure and I take a moment to remember.
I take the moment to try and gather my feelings; hurt, angry, sad.
But as I gaze into the murky sky, breathing in the sea salt air blown by gusts of wind, I watch the sun break through.
I watch its hot rays fend off the clouds and there is a strange warmth to the now blue sky.
I will not forget. I know you have safely arrived as the birds sing a chorus of beautiful harmonies and the waves of the ocean gently scrabble away at the sand, soothing our surroundings, entrancing us with their peaceful serenity.
I am hurting but I am happy, because although you left us in sadness, you will now forever remain in happiness, sent to a place where the cruelties of the world do not exist.
I will not forget. I will remember.
• By Tahlia Moir, Year 13, Roxburgh Area School