Blog · Creative Writing · writing

One Year Anniversary!

Today marks one year since I registered with WordPress. I can honestly say it is one of the best things I’ve done for myself and I’m so glad to have taken the plunge and started posting on my little slither of the World Wide Web.

I want to thank every last follower, every liker, commenter and lurker for your support. Thank you for being by my side throughout this journey. Thank you for reading my stories and investing your time into the characters and worlds I’ve created.

I thought I’d do something a bit different for my next post. If you have any questions you want me to answer about my writing process, how I come up with ideas or anything else you want to know about me and I’ll do my best to answer them all.

I’ve had writers block for a while now so I’m sorry about the very distinct lack of stories recently. It’s been a very stressful time for me (excuses keep on coming don’t they?) But as soon as my results reach my inbox, I hope my creativity will return.

Let me know in the comments any questions you have and thank you for everything.

Signed,

Jen

Creative Writing · Short Stories · writing

Day Of Contrition: A Short Story

Hello everyone, I hope you’re doing well.

Today, I gave in my final piece of work. My dissertation is complete and my university journey is nearing it’s end. I’m not sure how I feel if I’m honest. I feel a bit lost and a bit sad that my grandad isn’t here to see it.

This is a short story I wrote for a competition that I haven’t heard back from. The brief was along the lines of ‘life writing’ a piece that is intended to be true but also fictional. It was confusing so I chose to write about regret. This short story is based on real events that I experienced and have never been able to forget.

I hope you enjoy.


I was so ungrateful. Teenagers are awful sometimes. I still can’t believe, even after all these years, that I behaved in such a way. But belief has nothing to do with it.  He was probably expecting some form of gratitude and I did feel it, I just couldn’t show it.

“I’ve got us tickets to Brighton Sky, I’m gunna take you so we can have a look at your Uni, how does that sound?” You said, in your usual light and friendly way. It sounded terrifying. For years University had seemed like a distant-future abstract idea. But in that moment, reality demanded to be acknowledged, and with that came the dread.

“Thanks grandad” I mumbled, though I remember trying to smile. I wanted to be excited, but your kind gesture only served to provoke the fire of fear that burned within. The fire I could often contain and manage, but not then. It erupted and threatened to incinerate me completely. You simply smiled, chuckled and exited the front room I was lounging in.

“Do you want a hot chocolate?” You called from the next room. You’ve always been so good like that. I often spent many days of the week at you and nan’s house. It offered a sense of safety and tranquillity, something I struggled to find anywhere else. Every morning, you would bring me up some cereal and a hot chocolate in bed, or if you were feeling fancy, a full English breakfast. I was always thankful. I will always be thankful for those mornings.

When the day came, I was awoken by black butterflies that had managed to infiltrate my body overnight. Sleep is not a friend of mine, it evaded me mostly. Even when it decided to play nice, it was underhanded kindness. My dreams were tormented by the butterflies that swarmed like bees.

“Here you go girl, be quick we have to catch the at 8.09 and then change at London Bridge and get the 8.59 to Brighton. It’s a fast train so we should get there by about 9.57.” You said while handing me a bacon sandwich and a hot chocolate. I devoured it, hoping it would boost my energy levels since we were up at such an ungodly hour. You were always an early bird.

“Have you got everything you need? Your phone, your Oyster card, your purse, your money, your sense of humour? Or did you leave that at home?” You teased. I was always forgetting things. I remember you’d stand at the door waving me off to school or wherever I was headed, holding something I had forgotten.

“What’s so funny?” My nan asked you once, as you sat on the sofa giggling to yourself.

“I asked her if she had everything and she said yes…” Then you held up my Oyster card and you shared a playful laugh.

But I was too worried for jokes that day. Too worried for laughter, or joy or even a simple smile. At least that’s what I told myself. It was days like that, that made me yearn for confidence. I wanted to be like you in more ways than one. You could speak to anyone, unafraid to ask questions, or directions. You’re unapologetically loud, unique and present in every situation. Whereas I would often disguise myself in the background, amongst the dusty shelves and ornaments. Unseen and unnoticed.

After a surprisingly short journey, we set foot in Brighton for the first time. I was shocked to see the ocean just at the bottom of a road that was so long, it seemed to bleed into the sea. The sun was burning hot, I remember because I’d dressed in all dark clothes, sporting black jeans and one of your hoodies. I felt like a slob which only added to the terror of confronting a future I wasn’t sure I wanted.

“The bus driver said we need to get on a 25 to get to your halls, so let’s find the bus stop.” It sounds ridiculous now, but I had an unhealthy aversion to busses. Especially busses you couldn’t simply tap a card and walk on by without an exchange of empty words.

“I spoke to him about the busses here, you can get a single or return ticket with cash, or you can get a day ticket” you said, handing me my paper ticket and reading the bus stop sign we came across. I felt fear clawing at my throat, but I also felt safe knowing you were with me.

After a short bus ride, we jumped off where the bus driver told us and there it was. My halls of residence. It was hidden amongst a long row of trees that I later realised was a lovely woodland walk, of which I only ever visited once during my time there. What a waste that was. We crossed the thin road which led to the entrance of Varley Park.

“Look, Chalvington Close, that’s your one ain’t it?”           

“Yeah, that’s crazy” I managed to say. There was another bus stop situated just inside the entrance, and it was full of students. The sight of them made me suddenly feel like an imposter. As if somehow, they would know I wasn’t a student yet and send security over to escort us out.

“Do you want to go in?” You said while you scanned the buildings and grabbed your phone from your pocket.

“No, we’re not allowed in probably”

“Don’t be silly, what’re they gunna do? Shoot ya?” I laughed but it did nothing to soothe the blaze that kept me stationary, for fear of it spreading further.

“No grandad I can’t. There’s too many people”  I insisted, though you were already halfway up the hill by that time. I stayed where I was, frozen in my sweaty converse’s. You took a few pictures of the buildings and returned to my side. Silent tears swam in my eyes, though I tried my best to hide them.  I must have failed , you put your arm around me and gave my tight shoulders a reassuring squeeze.

“Don’t worry girl, it’s alright if you don’t want to go in.”

Your kindness softened me, and I smiled the first genuine smile of the day. With that, I got my phone out to get directions to my campus. After changing directions multiple times, you’d had enough of going in circles.

“S’cuse me mate, do you know the way to Falmer?” You confidently asked a man about your age, who was walking his dog. I felt bad for the guy, he was probably just wanting a bit of peace and quiet and there we were, disturbing him. I stayed a few paces behind as the man told him the quickest way to get there, as well as an alternative route on foot. To my surprise, he was more than happy to help.

Once again, we were met with the intimidating presence of the University, of which overlooked beautiful rolling hills. Remember when you spotted a map and led me to it?  I had no clue where my lectures would be held, but you wanted a picture of it. Even worse still, you wanted a picture of me in front of it.

“No grandad I look horrible, there’s people coming down the stairs as well.”

You simply tutted and positioned the camera. I felt embarrassed, but not of you. I was embarrassed of myself, of my behaviour and of my feelings. They always seemed to take precedence over what was right. It would have been right to be happy, I’d been given the chance to visit my future city. It would have been right to walk in, look around and make the most of the day. To make the most of it being just the two of us. But instead, I wore a long face and a bad attitude.

“Right, shall we go in and have a nose around?” You asked me once again and once again, I was rendered immobile. I looked upon the towering glass buildings, imagining the intelligent people it hid behind it’s walls. I felt like even more of an imposter as I faced what was now expected of me.

“Are we allowed? Surely you have to be a student to go in?”

“You are, that’s gunna be you in a few months”

“I don’t think we should grandad” I said after a short while. You tried to gently convince me, but it was as if I’d tuned you out. So, I decided to take a closer look at the map, in part to distract you from my childishness. I knew it was pathetic, but my anxious mind had already been made up.

“We’ve come all the way here, and we aren’t even gunna go in?” You said light-heartedly, as if you knew I would be like that.  The guilt washed over me and drenched every facet of my being. I wanted so badly to be strong. To ignore the butterflies.

“I’m sorry grandad. I don’t know why I can’t just – I want to, I just can’t. Maybe we can come back again before I start?”

“I can’t, I’m gunna be working. Don’t worry. You’ve seen it now, and I know where you’re gunna be don’t I?” I smiled at my loving grandad, who’s only priority was to keep me safe and happy. The rest of the day flew by as if someone had pressed fast-forward. The horror subsided as we guzzled coke and burgers in town. We walked along the shore for a while, taking in the scenery as we strolled.

“I’m sorry grandad. If I could go back, I would have swallowed the fear, expelled the evil thoughts and appreciated you more. Every time I pass that sign, my heart drowns in sorrow and guilt” I say, as I wipe heavy tears from my eyes. I’m momentarily distracted by an older couple who have undoubtedly come to pay their respects to their loved ones.

“I hope you’re listening grandad. I know you’re not here, but I wish you were. I’m sorry I was so ungrateful. I’m sorry I didn’t go in. I regret it every day.”

With that, I kiss the plaque that says Richard Patrick Lee, 1958-2017, and get up from the bench I’ve been sat on for over an hour. The sun is shining, like it does every time I visit the cemetery. It lets me know you’re here, listening and silently protecting me. Just like you always did.


Signed,

Jen

Blog

A Bit Of An Update

Good evening everyone, hope you’re doing well.

It’s been a while since my last post and I thought I’d give you a bit of an update. I tried to look through my stories to see if I had any worth posting, but to avail. So you’ll just have to put up with me for a while.

I’m currently finishing my dissertation for my Undergraduate degree and it is bloody hard. I know what I’m writing, I’ve analysed the data and yet I still detest opening the document and can’t seem to find the motivation to continue it. But I must. I will.

I’m looking forward to the 5th of June, as that is the day I finally wave goodbye to my degree and to my University. I like my Uni, the lecturers are amazing and they have been more than accommodating to us during this trying time. I just can’t wait to finally be done with my degree, 5 years after I started it. (To be fair, I did take a year out!)

I love my course too. I will miss it. But I have plans to become a teacher in the discipline I’m studying, which will allow me to do what I love everyday and even learn a few things from the students themselves. It’s a goal and I do hope to reach it. Although that does include another year of study, but I’ve made my peace with that issue.

Well, that’s about all I have to say. I hope it wasn’t too dull for you to sit through. If by some mini miracle you’ve made it this far, please let me know in the comments how you’ve been and what you’re looking forward to in the future.

(I will have a new story for you very soon!)


Jen

Creative Writing · Short Stories

The Voice: A Short Story

Authors Note: Hey everyone hope you’re doing well. Here is another short story for you to enjoy. I found a draft of this story on my laptop and stayed up last night to finish it. I hope you enjoy it and please let me know your thoughts in the comments.

6 min read


I expected darkness. I wanted to be engulfed by an endless void of nothingness. It’s all I could think about, despite my success and my apparent happiness. It was a struggle to handle the sharp blade. I kept it hidden inside an old book since the last time I tried. Or shall I say the last time I failed.  I was certain Aiden had never even opened a book, let alone the one I’d hidden it in. It was old, leather-bound and well-read. Though if it were up to him, it would have been used as a door stop. Once I was sure I wanted it to end, I held the blade with such care, almost as if any kind of mishandling would cause it to disappear from my hand. I wouldn’t let it fall from my grasp again. I needed to succeed.

The pain was nothing compared to the fear of someone finding me. I locked the front door, followed by the bedroom door and finally the en suite. Yet, I still froze with every creak and croak that dared to invade the silence. The house I was born in taunted me as my blood pooled and whirled around my wrists. I watched the crimson liquid spill onto the white tiles while my mind began to empty of all thoughts, it was like I’d pulled a plug in my brain when I made the incisions. I was emptying as my body was. The blood soon found its way into the grouted highways between the tiles. Each line began to meet up like veins, the blood flow eventually slowed and with it, I began to feel, dead. Or at least close to dead.

I felt my heart slow and thought, finally. I’m free. You would think I was successful. My body had been emptied of blood, of thoughts and of pain. Though I awoke. I didn’t see the blood. I didn’t see the knife. I was on the edge of a bridge overlooking an angry river. Rain pelted me from above, as if it were guiding me towards a watery grave. My foot slipped and before my body slammed against the rivers freezing surface, I caught a glimpse of my reflection. I wasn’t in my own body. I mean unless I forgot I was a white man with black hair. Then, darkness.

Sure enough, I opened my eyes once more. For a fleeting moment, I thought I’d been given yet another chance. I slipped last time and blew it but whoever was looking out for me, I wanted to thank them. That was of course, until I felt my arm, their arm, lifting something up. Something heavy.

“Stop!” I screamed but my mouth didn’t move. The hand got closer and closer. By the time I worked out what was happening, I was deafened by a sound I’d never heard before and was greeted with nothing once again. Only black.

Imagine waking up in the body of a stranger, a teenage girl. Imagine watching them cry into the mirror and feeling the hope drain from her heart.  Imagine seeing blonde hair littering the sink and not being able to stop her from ripping it out from the roots. I felt sick. Not just because the sight of her desperate face broke my heart, but because she had taken a fatal cocktail of drugs.

There’s nothing I can do. I can’t stop them. They can’t hear me when I scream and beg them to wait. To think about those who love them. To wait for the pain to pass and for clarity to return. I have no control.

Bang. I’m dead again. Jump, and again. It never ends because they never hear me.

“I can’t do this anymore; you can’t keep doing this to me.” I hear their words as if they were my thoughts. Voices ring and jingle in my head, pain etched into every syllable. Whoever this is, they’re not quite sure yet. They’ve been calling their partner over and over again for about an hour. He’s got a gun. Every so often he shoves the barrel in his mouth as hot tears warm his ghostlike face. But for the 10th time, he lowers his hand and curses himself for being too scared to do what he must.

“Just do it.” I say, almost to myself at this point. No one’s ever heard me before, why would they now? The distraught man freezes. Now I’m interested.

“Pick it up and do it. You know you want to.”

“Who is that?” He screams as he flicks his ear, gun in hand. I feel something reminiscent of excitement rise within. Within what exactly, I don’t know. But within me. My soul.

“Give into the darkness, you can do it. Nobody will miss you.” I almost can’t believe what I’m saying. Although, something tells me he’s already decided. You don’t control him, what’s the harm in speeding up the process?

The man sheds thick tears, nodding his sweaty head in agreement. He knows it’s true. I’m bored of waiting for him to do what he’s planned to do.

“Fucking kill yourself!” I scream.

Bang. Dead again.

Creative Writing · Short Stories

A Letter From 2022

Authors Note: Hey everyone hope you are well. I’m sorry for my lack of posts. Since this pandemic started I have battled with anxiety that has been off the charts for the first time in a long time. I wish this was a happy story. Perhaps it is depending on how you look at it. But if you don’t want to see anything negative regarding the current Covid-19 situation, perhaps give this post a miss. I hope you are keeping safe. See you in the next one.


If you’ve found this letter, the year is 2022. The strict periods of social distancing and short lived periods of normality have taken its toll on the world. Coronavirus struck panic and uncertainty into the hearts and homes of us all. The government oh so heroically stepped in as our saviours. They paid our wages and protected our homes from loss. They lent money to the poorest of us and provided a safety net for the privileged.
People started to get ill, then they started to die and then they took advantage of that.
Today, Coronavirus lives on and it’s taken up residency in our homes and our minds.
Today, the final period of normality has ended. The Prime Minister has announced, the virus is back and its back with a vengeance. It’s mutated and due to our long periods of isolation, those who managed to avoid its predecessors wrath, were hit harder than ever anticipated. The young and healthy, now devoid of the capacity to fight it, were taken; meanwhile we enjoyed the freedom of sitting in a pub garden with our friends, laughing and singing, almost as if nothing had ever stopped us from doing just that. While we danced and sang and hugged and laughed, others took their final breaths.
Today, the Prime Minister tells us to go home, close the door and to not open it again. But they’ve so graciously given us permission to answer the door to the drones that will, from this day, deliver all essential items. All jobs will be moved online and any that can’t, will be abolished. We must rely on the government for everything. Children are still expected to complete all mandatory schooling, the most skilled of them being promised important roles within central government. They’ve taken care of everything. There’s no need to leave the house. Everyone has been supplied with a treadmill and free workout shows on every network. You still hear people praising the government, comparing them to poorer nations who have had no choice but to let their citizens die. Oh at least we aren’t there, they say. Though, it’s only a matter of time before the Internet is completely censored. That’s why I’m writing this note. If you’ve somehow come across the time capsule you found this in, I hope things are better for you. I hope one day things return to the way they were and you are not bound by the suffocating restraints we are currently enduring. Considering the fact I’m burying this right in the middle of Greenwich Park, merely hours before my freedom is taken from me, you must be free. I hope you are.


Signed, Jen x

Creative Writing

Could You Imagine?

Imagine fighting with a thought that won’t leave you alone
a thought that hasn’t left you alone since you were a child
Imagine fighting with the desire for it to end
a desire you feel guilty for having at all
Imagine pleading with yourself
Imagine fighting with yourself to stick it out
a fight you are too tired to have anymore
Imagine wanting to dissappear
But not being able to.

Blog

I’m stuck

Hey everyone hope you are well.

I’m sorry there hasn’t been a new story in nearly a month, yikes. A month is a long time. But I do have an explanation, I promise.

I’m a final year University student and I have been forced to dedicate most of my time to research and essay writing. But when I’m not doing research, I feel guilty writing stories. My desire to do well this year is fighting with my desire to write stories and ultimately my book. My poor poor book thats been left on the wayside while I try to organise my priorities.

That’s not to say I haven’t had any ideas for stories. I have a whole folder filled with half thoughts as well as a few developed plots and characters.

I have an essay due on the 28th of the month. After this deadline has come and gone, I will aim to post a new story/some kind of post at LEAST once a fortnight.

Thank you for coming to my pointless Ted Talk.

Happy Thursday and see you all in the next one.

Signed

Jen X

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