Creative Writing · Short Stories

The Status: A Short Story

Authors Note: Hey everyone hope you’re doing well. Welcome back to another short story. I wrote this as a quick writing exercise to help motivate me to work on my book. Spoiler Alert: It didn’t work. But I hope you enjoy it anyway, if you do, let me know in the comments what you thought 🙂


“Due to personal reasons I will be disappearing under mysterious circumstances.”

When I posted the status, I never thought things would turn out like this. On some level, I knew people wouldn’t believe it straight away. Within seconds of it going live, friends and family members had already “liked” the status, and comments began to flow in.

“LOL Rachael, can I come with you? Sick of these bloody kids running around! Xx”

Hilarious, I thought. Another comment appeared a few minutes later, this time it was a co-worker.

“Make sure you give in your notice then Rach! 😊 Lol.”

I remember smiling behind my laptop screen and feeling elated. People thought it was a joke. They laughed together at my apparent humour, tagged other family members and friends, who were in awe of my comedic talents. A month had passed when the first roots of doubt began to sprout.

“For real though, has anyone actually seen Rachael at all?”

The comment was made by a close-ish family friend, Callie. I clicked on her profile and was met with a grinning face adorned with wrinkles and makeup that only served to punctuate her ageing facade. For a while, nobody replied. I envisioned them frantically scanning their memories, in search of the answer to Callie’s question. Of course, only I knew the answer.

“Come to think of it I ain’t seen her at all this month…”

Someone else finally commented, though I forget who.

“No, she hasn’t been to work. I thought she must have taken a holiday or something…”

Another co-worker added, her inference seemed to calm the other commenters down.

Of course, I must just be away on a lovely holiday, frolicking in a clear sea, drinking mojitos and loving life. I remember laughing a full bellied laugh at their stupidity. It’s astonishing how humans will try to boil everything down to such simplistic terms, just to make themselves feel better. To ignore reality and carry on living their lives. Pathetic.

After many days that seemed to bleed into one another, everything finally came to a head. People posted links to various news articles on the status.

“HUSBAND OF MISSING RACHAEL STANHOPE FOUND DEAD AT HOME.”

My work had finally been discovered, and all it took was a little talent and a lot of patience. When I read the article, I obsessed over every word, every tiny detail again and again. I couldn’t believe how much they’d revealed to the public. They even included screenshots of my status and hundreds of comments. It was comical, watching the fear and worry increase with every new comment.

Though after a time, the excitement fizzled out into nothing more than a soft buzz. Her screaming and fruitless attempts of escape had even come to an end. It was time. I opened Facebook, clicked on the status bar and began to type. My fingers were furious, my ears were whistling, and my mind began to clear. I checked the monitor; saw she was asleep and posted the status without hesitation. Before I could wonder what was going to come of it, my legs had already taken me to her room. I unlocked the bolts, one by one, making sure to do it as loudly as I could. I needed her awake.

“Hello little miss sunshine.” I said, momentarily taken aback by the unusually deep tone of my voice. Buying that voice changing device seriously changed the game, but it always took me by surprise. The skeletal woman said nothing. A few months ago, she would have tried to get to me, in spite of the short chains she was held prisoner by. Though that day, she simply looked at me. Secretly praying to develop x-ray vision so she could see my face. What a fool she was.

“Well, I don’t appreciate silent treatment. Especially as today, I’ve decided it’s time for you to go.” I held my breath as a twinkle of hope burned in her hazel eyes. Though the ember died before it had the chance to ignite properly. I smiled tightly behind my mask and waited. She averted her gaze but as I took a heavy step forward, she cowered in the corner and silently pleaded for mercy.

“Oh, don’t be such a little baby Rachael. I’m not going to kill you if that’s what you thought.” I laughed and took another step. My heavy boots left large footprints in the dust that had built up since she got here.

“Before you go though, be a dear and clean your room, will you? Gotta leave it all clean for the next guest.” I pulled a needle from my pocket, without looking away from her. I wondered for a moment if she had any veins left at all. I wasn’t sure where to inject her when she so rudely interrupted the thought.

“No! Not that, please. Let me go home without it!” Rachael begged while tears pooled in her eyes and her body shook violently.

“But you need it. Look at you, your body knows what this is” I said, flicking the needle to pop any air bubbles, “You’ll feel better for it.” She screamed as I lunged towards her before she could reply. Her frame was so tiny I feared I would snap her in half, but sheer willpower kept her solid. I overpowered her easily of course, but she gave me as good as she could. I respected her for that. The dose must have been a little high, as almost instantly, her grip loosened, and her body could be likened more to soft spaghetti than a person.

After an hour, it was time. I scooped her unresponsive body into my arms, bundled her in the boot of my car and drove. Alongside Rachael sat the clothes she wore the day she left and in her jacket was a baggie of heroin. It was hidden within a new pocket I’d sown, so she wouldn’t find it and throw it away. I braced myself against the winter air, opened the boot of the car in a back alley and simply walked away. She was still passed out but I was hopeful someone would discover her soon. The thought of her discovery calmed the butterflies that had taken up residence in my stomach, for a while.

I had to physically restrain myself from checking the status. I needed to be sure she had gotten home. I left it a week before I built up the courage to see what had become of little Rachael. Nothing could have prepared me for what I saw.

Rachael Stanhope says:

“Due to personal reasons I will be reappearing under mysterious circumstances.”

It had over 1000 likes and almost matched that in comments.

“OMG I can’t believe you’re back!”

One person said, while others were not nearly as relieved.

“I heard she’s a junkie, she probably offed her husband!”

Another said, though after further inspection, she wasn’t even friends with Rachael on Facebook.

My personal favourite was posted by one of her husbands’ friends. It was a link to an article published by The Guardian.

“MISSING WIFE RETURNS AND SUSPECTED OF MURDERING HUSBAND”

“Rachael was a friend. I never thought she could be capable of such a crime. She killed Harry, ran away and has returned a heroin addict. Maybe she always was one. But she’s trying to evade justice, saying she was kidnapped. Though she never saw their face, she doesn’t know where they live or why they took her. She claimed to not even know he was dead until she came back. Let’s give Harry the justice he deserves.”

I’ve read it so many times, its like the Lord’s prayer. Forever imprinted in my memory, forever on the tip of my tongue and forever my guiding light.


Signed,

Jen X

Creative Writing · Short Stories · writing

Painted Nuisance: Flash Fiction

Authors Note: Hey everyone hope you are doing well! Welcome back to my blog. This is the first story I’ve posted in over 2 weeks now. I wrote this about 4 months ago and I forgot about it due to getting a new laptop. I thought it was a cool story and thought some of you might enjoy it. If you do, let’s have a chat in the comments and let me know your thoughts!


I’m evil. At least that’s what I’ve been told. People take one look at me and decide I must be a demonic entity, determined to cause trouble and misery wherever I go. It’s the reason I’ve had so many homes. I’ve been swapped, sold, thrown out and worse. For a long time, I wasn’t sure why those who visited recoiled from behind the glass in fear. Some studied me closely noting every detail of my body; while others refused to look at me for fear of becoming possessed. There’s only one person who truly loves me. Kay brushes my long black hair, shines my shoes and talks to me everyday. She’s never kept me behind glass, like the others did. I live out my days centre stage, stood upon a brilliant marble fireplace.

Though today, I’m alone once more. I’ve been waiting for her to return for what feels like a lifetime. I’ve barely closed my glassy eyes for fear of missing her. Finally, I hear the front door open and close. A few seconds later the living room door swings open and, in the doorway stands Kay’s daughters, Jemma and Kitty. But no Kay. They sport matching red faces and puffy eyes. I stiffen as Jemma’s eyes catch mine, though she says nothing, as usual.

“We need to sort out what’s going where.” Jemma says, as she retrieves a roll of bin liners from her handbag. Kitty turns to her sister as fresh tears begin to fall.

“I don’t think I can.” She says in a voice peppered with sadness. I feel dizzy with confusion. I scream at them to tell me where she is, but they can’t hear me. They never could.

“We have to try, we promised dad we would make a start.” Kitty wipes her tears, takes a deep breath and nods her head. She starts clearing the shelf nearest to me, looking at photos and an assortment of knickknacks when finally, she notices me.

“What about Rosie, do you want her?” She says while lifting me off my stand, “Mum loved her.” Jemma looks at me the way she always does and says:

“No way! Doesn’t it creep you out? She’s evil Kitty, we’re better off setting the thing on fire.”

In that moment, I decide to fulfil the prophecy people like her have burdened me with. It’s time to give them exactly what they want. I lunge for Jemma. There’s a piercing scream and at last, I feel free.


Signed,

Jen X

Creative Writing · Short Stories

That's Not My Baby: A Short Story

Authors Note: Hey everyone hope you’re doing well. Here is a new short story for you, I hope you enjoy it and if you do, lets have a chat in the comments!

8 min read


“That’s not my baby! That’s not my baby! Where is she?!” Screamed Jess, a sickly thin woman with green eyes murky with tears. She struggled to press the alarm but once she did, nurses and doctors stormed in within seconds. She’d already met some of them, yet their equally worried expressions made it hard for her to tell the difference.

“That’s… She… That isn’t my baby. Where’s my baby?” She continued, realising her legs were threatening to give up entirely. A young male nurse managed to steady her, and she allowed him to hold her up while she fought to take in a full breath. A doctor, Dr. Hadley Jess thought, rushed over to the wailing infant that lay restlessly beside the bed. She checked the tag around the her ankle, frowned and checked once more.

“Mrs. Johnson, the tag says she’s yours. This is your daughter Poppy, look.” Dr. Hadley said, trying her best to speak as softly as she could, as not to upset her further. Though her efforts were in vain, as Jess immediately protested with the force only a mother could possess.

“No! You’ve got it wrong. I just gave birth to her, I know the difference! That’s not my baby. Find my baby!” Jess retorted through gritted teeth while repeatedly scraping her greasy blond hair back. She managed to gather enough strength to stand on her own and waddle over to the baby who was still crying. If that was her daughter, surely, she would’ve felt an instinctual need to comfort it? But Jess felt nothing at all. She wanted her baby.

“See? My baby had a little red birth mark on her calf. Look, see this baby hasn’t?”  For a moment she felt hope. She thought she’d provided enough proof for them to lock the hospital down and search room by room. Though her hope was soon snatched from her grip as she noticed the nurses and doctors exchanging expressions of collective doubt.

“What’s wrong Jess?” A tall man called as he hurried to her side. “What’s wrong? Is it the baby?” He added, his voice slightly breaking at the thought. Dr. Hadley studied his expression when he finally gazed upon the child. He placed a gentle hand on her cheek, his breath catching in his throat as he realised, she was okay.

“George, no! That’s not our baby somebody has swapped them over. Don’t touch it!” Jess then wedged herself between the baby and George, like a human border. He ran a trembling hand through his brown hair and began ripping at the skin around his fingernails. He then attempted to rest an assuring hand on Jess’s quivering shoulder, but she pushed him off with an angry grunt.

“What are you talking about Jessica? Of course, she’s ours. Look at her, she looks just like- “

“Are you blind as well as stupid? That isn’t my baby. I need to find her.” Jess yelled as she snapped her head toward the few doctors that remained, with gritted teeth and clenched fists. Her eyes no longer housed sadness alone, anger and fear had moved in and made their presence known.

“Jessica, I promise you, we will do everything in our power to sort this out for you. But first, you need to take a deep breath and sit down please. You’ve just had a C-Section, you can’t risk ripping your stitches this soon after.  We’ll find your baby.” Dr. Hadley soothed as she gently guided her towards the worn chair in the corner. By some miracle, Jess conceded and allowed herself to be comforted by the chairs experienced fabric. She wondered how many tears it must have absorbed over the years and how many of them were born of such fear as hers.

“Mr. Johnson, can we have a word outside?” George nodded and began to walk towards the glass door. Before he passed the threshold, he stole another look at the baby, who had managed by now to sooth itself.

“What’s happening Doctor?” He asked, fear radiated from him like a log fire.

“I’m not sure. It’s possible she is having some adverse effects from the pain med’s she’s had. Or it may be possible she’s right. But that’s why I wanted to talk to you.” George continued to peel the skin around his nails until beads of blood adorned his fingers like rubies. He hardly noticed.

“But… The baby, she looks like she’s ours. How could anybody mix them up? Is that possible?”

“I checked her identification tag, it says she is Poppy Madison Johnson. But something your wife said struck me as a bit odd, just before you came in. She said her baby had a red birth mark on her calf. This baby doesn’t. I checked her chart and there was no note of any marks. Do you remember a red birth mark? Maybe it only became visible later.”

It was as though somebody had stolen the colour from his cheeks and the air from his lungs. He simply stood there, a former shell of the man Dr. Hadley had met the day before. He swayed unsteadily, opening and closing his mouth as if the words he wanted to say were jagged blades.

“George, what is it? It’s important I know everything, if something’s happened to your baby, we need to start looking for her. But if you know something, we- “

“Our baby did have a red birth mark on her calf.” He managed to whisper. Dr. Hadley took a deep breath and, in that moment, prepared herself for what needed to be done.

“Wait… Our baby did have a red birth mark on her calf,” George battled the tears and steadied himself against the wall, while Dr. Hadley shot him a puzzled look. His eyes were full of torment as well as something else. Something more. After a short and uncomfortable silence, he finally spoke.

“But she’s gone. She was um…” George gave up the fight and allowed his tears to fall like hot rain during a storm. “She was Still Born. She had the birth mark.”


Signed,

Jen X

Blog · Book Recommendations · Creative Writing

A Tough Story To Write

Hey everyone, hope you’re doing well. If you haven’t already, please check out my latest short story. Part One is here and Part Two here.

For today’s chatty post, I wanted to discuss a piece I’ve just finished. It’s for a competition and the brief was simply “Life Writing” or in other words it needs to be about an experience of the authors that’s “intended to be true, but not fiction.” At first I was a bit confused, so I decided to just pick a prominent experience I’ve had in life and write about it.

I usually tend to lean towards more sad experiences. I believe sadness is such a powerful emotion, it is often the dark times that wedge themselves into your memory rather than the happy. Or maybe that’s just my pessimism.

I decided to write about regret. I wrote a short story of around 5 pages based on an experience I had as a teenager, that still visits me in my moments of contentedness. Almost as if it demands to be acknowledged, and for it to be acknowledged, I need to feel all the emotions that come with it. Grief, anguish, sadness, regret and then some more regret.

It’s the first time I have ever written about my grandad. For those who don’t know, I lost my grandad in 2017 and it has taken almost 3 years to be able to think of him without crying. However, as I reflected on this moment in my life that I shared with him, I did cry. I cried when I remembered the day, I cried after I wrote my first sentence and I cried once it was finished.

It was extremely difficult to write. I hope in writing it, I will somehow find the strength to put the regret I feel to bed, for good. I’m not feeling it just yet though.

Maybe once the competition is over, I will post it here.


To end this post on a slightly happier note, here is a book recommendation.

I said this was a happier note? Apparently I don’t know the meaning of it. Although this book is sad, it follows a group of friends who undergo awful treatment, but still manage to salvage something from it. Small victories in a life full of large downfalls, are still victories worth celebrating.


Signed,

Jen X

Creative Writing · Short Stories · writing

Mr Picasso: A Short Story Part 2

Authors Note: Hey everyone hope you are doing well! Here is the long awaited second part of Mr Picasso. If you haven’t already, please read part one here. This story has been a tricky one indeed. I wrote this story months ago, but I was unhappy with the ending. I decided to be brave and just post the original ending here, largely unedited so please forgive any mistakes. I have been adapting it over the months so some things are a bit different now. But I truly hope you enjoy it nonetheless.

10 min read


I destroyed her innocence. I took it for my own, handled it in my grasp and then… I simply destroyed it. It was nothing personal to Beth. I’m sure she would’ve carried on her self-harming behaviour until one day that pain wasn’t enough, or it was too much, and she would’ve died anyway. I may have taken her innocence, but I made her into art. I saw that in her and decided to give her something nobody else could.

Of course, she wasn’t my first, you know that. I started with older women and for some reason they just kept on getting younger and younger. I guess the younger you are, the more open you are to a predator. She was however the first true masterpiece I ever created. Our names will be intertwined with each other forever. That’s what I was thinking once I had finished cutting off her limbs, flaying her skin into intricate patterns and positioning her into her final resting place. That was until I led you to her.

I’d tried for about a year after to recreate that piece of art. I carried with me the polaroid pictures I’d taken. They never left my person. I would gaze upon them and the urges just became too strong to ignore. But every time I tried to re-create the artwork, it never felt the same again. Even when I stuck hundreds of pictures all around the room and used them for reference, it was just not the same. Nothing could top, or even match my masterpiece. I had twelve more failed attempts before one day, as I was carving off the leg of a fourteen-year-old girl called Lilly, I couldn’t go on trying to capture the essence of my greatest works by recreating it. I must do so, by telling my story. By getting people to write about it, to write about me and Beth, Lilly, Poppy, Andi, Rose, Anna and all the rest of them. You know their names. Beth would never be special or beautiful or appreciated until I had destroyed what was preventing her from reaching her full potential.

I helped her reach her full potential. You wouldn’t be here ten years after she transgressed from mere mortal to timeless art. You wouldn’t be here, interested in recording me for “educational purposes” if it wasn’t for what I did for that girl, for all those girls. I took my time with Beth, she took ages because art takes time.

                The film suddenly paused in the lecture theatre at a rather unfortunate moment, as James looked directly into the lens of the camera. His eyes were empty, but he smiled with satisfaction. The room was silent while the criminal psychology students processed what they had just witnessed. They were warned of the documentaries highly sensitive and possibly upsetting content. It was at their own discretion to attend the guest speaker lecture.

The speaker, Casper Taylor, took his place behind the podium and looked intently around the room. He saw many tearful eyes and enraged hearts. He patiently waited for the right time to continue his mission and remained silent until he saw every person in the room waiting for him to speak once more.

“Thank you for listening to my documentary so attentively. I understand it is not an easy thing to do, a few people did indeed need to leave the room. That is perfectly fine. What matters is you opened your eyes and your minds and decided to learn about one of the most heinous criminals we have ever known.” He took a moment to clear his throat and collect his thoughts. No matter how many times he got up on stage, his legs still swayed beneath him and words still managed to escape him. He would often try to boost his confidence by reminding himself that he has extensively researched and interviewed the worlds’ most prolific murderers. Its fine, he thought, you can do this.

“As you may already know, I am a true crime author and I have published nine books looking closely at the most heinous criminals in our generation, including James Knotts, or as the media named him ‘The Picasso Killer’. Can anybody tell me, why it is I showed you this clip? What is the significance of it?”

For a few long seconds, the room froze. Nobody wanted to raise their hands for fear of embarrassment. Before Casper could offer the students any reassurance, a man who looked a bit older than the rest, raised his hand. He was wearing a black jumper with the hood up and was visibly trembling. Casper couldn’t quite make out all his features as he was in the first row of the upper balcony, never mind the shadows his hoodie cast on his face,

“Yes, thank you, you up there?”

“I think you showed us this to prove a point. You wanted to show us the story through the eyes of the one who did it. It’s all good and well writing books about it, but it doesn’t have the same effect as actually hearing it from the horses mouth type thing.” Casper was taken aback by the booming voice that erupted from such a slender man. But what intrigued him more so was just how correct he was.

“Exactly. I simply asked him to tell me about what happened that night in 1999. As you saw, I didn’t interject once. He saw an opportunity to talk about what he did to Bethany Lewis. Can anyone tell me why?”

The man once again raised his hand, of which seemed to be shaking even more than before. Casper nodded to show he could speak, considering nobody else seemed to want to contribute.

“He gets to relive it. When you talk about something, it’s kinda like reliving it all over again. Ain’t that what a lot of serial killers do? That’s basically what James Knotts was trying to do when he raped and murdered and chopped up twelve more women.”

“Yes…” Casper was about to choke on his words when the man continued to speak.

“He decided they were worthless alive, and he could make them better. He decided to drug them, brutally rape them, cut off their arms and legs while they were still fucking breathing right, peel their skin off and cut it into diamonds and ribbons and fuck knows what else, piles their body parts back up and took pictures. And you, you have given this grotesque foul specimen the platform for others to remember his name. He thinks he immortalised my mother? He immortalised himself and you helped him. He mutilated 13 women and then led the police straight to the rotting corpse of my mum. He left her in that room in a pile to rot and he thinks he made art? You made him the artist!” The man bubbled over with despair, his eyes were engulfed by a wildfire of rage. Other students looked upon him with deep sympathy while others were so shocked by the outburst they simply stared in silence. Tears streamed from his face and he realised it was the first time he had cried in a long time.

“What you failed to mention is the fact he kept them alive for days before he tore them limb from limb” the man said, addressing the rest of the lecture theatre, “he raped them when they were alive, and then he raped them again.”

Casper feared the man may jump to his death as he hung over the balcony screaming while the tears continued to flow, thicker and faster than before. Casper relaxed slightly as the man returned his gaze on him. Though that respite was short lived as the anger and hatred radiated from every inch of the man’s body.

Mr. Borthwick, the University Head, rushed over to Casper, though he could not tear his eyes away from the man’s hateful glare. The man yanked his hood off his head to reveal swooping black hair that fell into his face, covering one eye. He barely heard what Mr. Borthwick had said, but the penny had finally dropped.

“-ander Lewis…” Mr. Borthwick said for the third time, “that is Alexander Lewis, he doesn’t go to this University, we don’t know how he got in or why…I’m…I do- “

“He wanted to understand why someone would do this. The answer only served to fuel his anger.” Casper said with a blank look, as he imagined Alexander finding out for the first-time what horrors happened to the woman who brought him into the world. The angry 20-year-old man in front of him transformed into an innocent child. The anger was gone but it was replaced with ignorance and not the blissful kind. It was the kind only a child could possess. As a child, all he knew was that his mother was gone. He didn’t know where she was, or why she had left. Until the day came where he did understand where she was, six foot under, and he found out why, a psychopathic serial killer stole her from him. That was the day James Knotts successfully destroyed another person’s innocence from behind bars, and Casper helped him do it.

“I can’t get to him, so its gotta be you.” Alexander Lewis pulled out a gun and pointed it at Casper. He pulled the trigger but it flew a quarter of an inch from his temple. How could a lecture turn into a murder attempt? After a few seconds, the screaming finally pierced the bubble Casper had been floating in and the reality began to sink in.

“I made a monster famous and in turn created another.”


Please let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Signed,

Jen X

Creative Writing · Short Stories

Returning Traveller

Authors Note: Hey everyone, hope you are doing well! Here is a little flash fiction I wrote for a competition. The theme of the competition was “winter and should intend to bring a smile to the readers face.” I hope it makes you smile and if it did, I would love to chat in the comments.

They say no two snowflakes are alike, we are unique in our own way. But they don’t tell you snowflakes can choose where they want to fall. I could go anywhere on Earth, but I choose here everytime. I’ve watched kids grow up, screaming “snow day” whilst frolicking amongst us. When the sun begins to burn hot, it’s our time to leave. Though, we’re not sad it’s over, we’ve had our time. I can’t wait to come back again. I’m loved and appreciated here. That makes it worth the wait.


Signed,

Jen X

Creative Writing · writing

Untitled

Why does it hurt to cry alone? Is it because there’s no one there to console you? Or is it because you’re afraid? You’re afraid because there’s no one there to hear your cries. Maybe you’re not really crying at all. You’re not really hurting. If a tree falls in the woods but there’s no one around to hear it. Does it make a sound?

Creative Writing · Short Stories · writing

Christmas Dinner: A Short Story

Authors note: Hey everyone hope you are well. Here is a little story that has been floating around my head for a few weeks. I finally wrote it tonight and wanted to get it up before Christmas. Hope you enjoy and if you do, please let me know in the comments! Merry Christmas.


Dennis sat at the top of an empty table, paper crown in hand and a tear forming in his eye. He glanced at the cooling turkey he’d spent so many hours preparing, while black butterflies threatened to invade his chest. He watched the door, still hoping for someone to burst through, apologising for being late and showering him in appreciation for the Christmas dinner and fine hospitality. Something tried to convince him that nobody would show up. Yet he sat in his chair amongst the cold roast potatoes and vegetables, until a moonless night replaced the day. His stomach grumbled but he refused to make himself up a plate, it’s rude to eat before your guests arrive. Dennis considered tidying up as the food was more than likely ruined, though he couldn’t bring himself to do it; to tidy up is to give up and that was out of the question.

The aches that erupted from his arthritic limbs dragged him from the comfortable nothing of a dreamless sleep. He rubbed his knees and grunted when he caught sight of the clock on the dining room wall, it was just past midnight. He pulled himself up from the rickety wooden chair and found himself doubled over, unable to stand up straight. He cursed himself for falling asleep in such an awkward position and headed towards the door, he would deal with the mess later. To Dennis, it felt as though the door had been locked, for he couldn’t get it to open. He almost laughed at the thought, how could it possibly be locked? His bones continued to scream at him, as he tried again and again to get the door open, but it was well and truly locked. Dennis felt a wave of adrenalin course through him, questions tinged with mania began to infiltrate his mind: How could it be locked? Who would lock me in? Why? What if it’s just stuck?

Dennis began to scream.

“Help! Who are you?! Let me OUT!” Dennis continued to holler and yell until he could no more. If he were a decade or so younger, perhaps he could have kicked the door down. But instead of strong muscles he had bones that betrayed him. Resting at the base of the large door, Dennis allowed thoughts of his wife, Liesel, to consume him. She was the light of his life, the separation was difficult to say the least, but he took comfort in the knowledge they had not ended on bad terms. He took his jumper off and placed it underneath his balding head, grateful for the solace it brought him, he closed his eyes and let sleep take him once again. Liesel, as she usually did, met him in his dreams. Her blonde hair hung elegantly by her shoulders, her eyes piercing and glowing. Liesel reached for Dennis, but when he tried to grab her, he drove a knife into her heart instead. Her hair dropped limply and the glow in her eyes dimmed, as Dennis stabbed her again and again and again. At this point, he would usually wake up, but this time exhaustion clung to him and left him suspended in a sea of otherworldly pain and suffering.

Some hours later, a jangle of keys and metal clanking finally freed him from the confines of his personal inner hell. The metal door swung open and, in the threshold, stood a stern-faced woman.

“Mr. Harrold, why are you not in your bed?” She said, without a flicker of expression.

“My dining room door must have gotten stuck, I tried to open it but…” He paused as he noticed strangers walking up and down his hallway. “Uh excuse me, what are those…What are you doing in my house?” The woman shot a glance at another younger woman who immediately took her leave.

“And the rest of you too, go on, leave.” Dennis added as he struggled to get to his feet.

“Dennis, where do you think you are?” She said while offering a steady hand “Do you know who I am?”

Dennis pushed her arm away and instead used the wobbly chair to regain his balance.

“Of course, this is my home and you are trespassing. If you and your little friends don’t leave at once I shall be calling the police.” Dennis tried to locate the house phone that sat on the dresser, but it was no where to be seen. His heart rate quickened, and panic washed over him. The woman stood before him, motionless and cold. The younger woman returned with four men, each of them sporting matching white outfits and grim expressions. The sight of them made a bubble of familiar nausea rise in Dennis’s throat, but he stood as strong as could, determined not to waiver.

“Mr Harrold, you need to sit down on the chair please. We need to restrain you now; you pose a threat to yourself and potentially others.” The men in white uniforms grabbed Dennis by the wrists and legs, securing him to a chair with leather straps and metal buckles that pinched at his wrinkled skin. He fought as hard as he could, but it was no use. He was not a wolf anymore; he was the deer.

“What year is it? Do you know where you are?” The woman asked as she paced from one end of the small room to the other.

“I’m in my home, who cares what year it is, this is illegal!” A niggle of doubt poked at Dennis, as the sound of her heels clicking on the stone floor flooded his ears. Liesel’s heels never sounded like that.

“Okay. But we are obliged to tell you, you are not in your home. You haven’t been for the better part of 2 decades.”

Dennis swallowed hard and averted his gaze from her hateful face. He could see he was in his home, there are photographs of his children, Hollie and Jasper in his grandmothers’ frame. On the table still sat his Christmas dinner and in the corner by the fireplace was the tree he picked from the Christmas tree farm. Yet, something else inside of him tried to convince him he was wrong, but he pushed those ugly thoughts to the darkest corner of his mind. It was Christmas, the time of joy and cheer, not sadness and despair. Though he wasn’t sure he had felt the former in a lifetime.

“I know you haven’t been taking your medication. Since you’ve been here a long time, we thought we could trust you. We thought you understood and wanted to manage your illness. We had hopes for you to improve and carry on improving, perhaps then you might have been transferred to a lower security ward.”

“I have no idea what you’re on about lady. You come into my house, tie me up and talk this nonsense to me? This is an abomination. I demand for you to contact my wife, Liesel Harrold.” Dennis yelled, he struggled to remain composed while being physically restrained. The straps continued to leave angry red marks in their wake as he battled against their strength.

“Mr Harrold, Liesel is dead. You murdered her and your two children before attempting to take your own life too.” The icy tone of her voice took Dennis aback, how could she make such disgusting accusations with such little emotion?

“Don’t be ridiculous, I spoke to her not long ago. I refuse to listen to you any further.” He let the twinkle of his tree take him away from the nightmare he found himself in. He considered the fact this could all be the result of a wonderful Christmas with his family. Perhaps they had come last night, and a cocktail of cheese and alcohol had brought on a horrible dream. He hoped to soon be awoken by soft kisses and the smell of mulled wine heating up on the stove.

The woman sighed and motioned for everyone to leave. Before she closed the door behind her, she turned to Dennis. Though her face didn’t show it, her heart was breaking for the shell of a man who sat before her.

“Merry Christmas Dennis, I hope one day you find your peace.”


I hope you enjoyed this story, lets have a chat in the comments.

What do you think this story is about?

Signed,

Jen X

Blog · writing

Sleep? Where for art thou sleep?

On Saturday night I decided to deep clean my room the following day. Then I decided I better wait until Monday, everyone else will be at work and I won’t disturb anyone if I did it like that. I’d be completely free and alone.

It’s now 6.25 Monday morning, the day I planned to start the desperately needed spring clean, and yet sleep has once again evaded me.

I find when I have something planned for the next day, insomnia says “Ha, you really thought you could achieve that?”

I want to let insomnia and self doubt win. I’m too tired to fight it. I’m waiting for my boyfriend to wake up to go to work, I might even go to the shop with him on his way. I probably won’t though. More plans I will inevitably cancel.

Why is sleep so bloody tricky? Why can my boyfriend close his eyes and be asleep within seconds? How does he manage to stay asleep for so long? How does he turn his thoughts down?

I love sleep. Especially dreamless sleeps, the comfortable nothing of a deep slumber is all I want.

I will try to sleep for a few hours and maybe I will find the motivation to clean. I hope so.


Jen x