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

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

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

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

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 · 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

Creative Writing · Short Stories

Lost Love: A Short Story

Authors Note: Hello everyone, long time no see! I hope you enjoy this new short story. I do suggest if you don’t enjoy dark stories, maybe give this one a miss. If you do, and you enjoy it, let me know your thoughts and feelings in the comments.

(15 min read)

My knuckles sting as I punch the wall again and again. Blood is seeping into the patterned cream wallpaper. The crimson liquid follows a swirl in the design and for a moment, I am memorised. I stop punching the wall and allow a memory to envelope me. It’s her. She’s sitting on the mini Barbie chair, the one I bought for her 2nd birthday. She looks so beautiful. Her curly blonde mane frames her round face perfectly. Her grey eyes glimmer as she raises her head to look at me. I expect her to smile and giggle as she usually would, but instead her eyes brim with tears and she screams an awful scream. It pierces my heart and shatters the image of her. I try to hold onto the pieces as they scatter around me, but they are too swift and disappear from my reach.

I return my gaze to my bloodied and bruised hand. It’s swollen but I can’t feel a thing. I prodd the open cuts on my knuckles and am disappointed when I feel nothing. After all the blood and effort, I am still numb.

I stiffen as I hear the front door open and close. I wasn’t expecting him back today. I curse myself for not bolting the chain, it would have given me more time to clean the wall and myself. I have no time to hide the empty wine bottles, overflowing ashtray and sort out the sour smell that’s permeating throughout the small living room.

“Andrea? You in?” Lewis calls down the short hallway. I can hear him taking off his jacket and hanging it in the coat cupboard. I silently appreciate him for doing so, he usually throws it over the banister. I try to hide every empty bottle I can find and dump the ashtray out the sliding door that’s still slightly open. I thought I would have time to light a candle or two but Lewis now stands in the doorway, his kind brown eyes fixated on my hand.

“What the… Andi what did you do?” He says as he rushes towards me, taking my hand gently in his. I snatch it away and divert my gaze to the sock laying on the floor. It’s frilly and pink and staring right at me. Lewis is trying to tend to my cuts but I ignore him completely. I’m too busy wondering how the sock got there. Did it fall off her foot as I carried her through to the garden? Or did I just drop it while putting away the washing? Lewis is staring at me and I fear he may somehow see into my mind.

“Nothing, I’m fine. I cut it on…” The lies don’t come easily and for a second that drags on too long, I’m speechless. My mind is thick with cloudy thoughts and broken memories, making it impossible to speak.

“I’ve punched enough walls to know that’s what you’ve done.” He says, placing the palm of his hand against my puffy cheeks. He always knows exactly what I’m up to. But this time, I need to be smart. I consider telling him most of the truth. They say stick as close to the truth as possible, it’s easier to remember the lies that way.

He’s pushing me to tell him why I did it, but I still cant bring myself to say. Instead I close my eyes to block him out, but a rogue tear escapes and he’s quick to wipe it away. His kindness softens me slightly, so I look up into his worried eyes and allow him to embrace me. I feel so safe in his arms. Our bodies have always fit together perfectly, like we were designed for eachother. But Lewis doesn’t know what’s happened. A stab of guilt forces me out of the comfort of his arms, it’s a comfort I no longer deserve. I feel the rift between us widen and I fear the events that occurred this morning will send us hurtling in opposite directions, with no chance of any future reunion.

“Andi, what is the matter? You’re not… surely you can’t be drunk right now can you?” His voice cracks as he spots an empty wine bottle sticking out from the bottom of the sofa. Shit. I need to compose myself. This is going to be absolutely brutal. I take a breath and turn away from him. I’m not strong enough to see his heart break.

“I am drunk. Yes alright I have been drinking and thought I could stop myself after one glass, but clearly I couldn’t. But that…” I pause, I can feel his glare searing into my back.

“That’s not important…”

“That’s not important?!” He booms as he swings me around to face him. His usually gentle hands are now tightly gripped onto my shoulders.

“Do you realise what you’ve done Andrea? Do you? Because I don’t think you do. You’ve just thrown away 6 years of sobriety.” He releases me and walks to the other side of the room. I’m shaking now because this side of him scares me, but I know it’s about to be a million times worse.

“I realise that Lew. I do. I need to tell you something, okay? I need you to sit down. Please.” His eyes flash with worry as he does what I ask. He can sense the urgency in my voice and I can sense the fear in his heart.

“What is it? Is it about one of the girls?” He stands up as the thought of something happening to one of his little girls sends him hurtling towards their room. I struggle to stop him opening the door but he overpowers me easily. It’s empty.

“Where are they?” Lewis asks calmly. I can tell he’s trying so hard to not grab me and shake me until I give him answers. I open my mouth to speak but the words retreat back into my throat. He pushes me hard and I fall to the floor. I don’t blame him. I would burn the city to the ground to find my babies. Especially if my recovering alcoholic Wife relapsed and they were no where in sight.

I decide he’s too angry to tell him here. Lewis is now looking in our bedroom so I take the opportunity to run into the bathroom and lock the door. Within seconds he is pounding on it, demanding to know what I’ve done with our children. I fight the screams that are threatening to erupt and slide down to the floor.

“Lewis, please. I’ll tell you, just please stop shouting at me. I can’t think when you’re shouting.” I hear him take a deep breath and he also slides onto the floor.

“Where is Lilly and Bella?”

The sound of their names transports me to the past. Like the day Bella was born, Lilly was so excited to be a big sister. That was until she realised it now meant Bella would get most of the attention. We tried to include her in everything. Feeding time, bath time and even reading time before bed. But Lilly showed no interest in her. That all changed though, once Bella was old enough to talk. Lilly would ask her baby sister: “Can I have your cookie? Say yes.” Sure enough, she said yes and since that day, Lilly realised there could be benefits to being a big sister.

“Lilly’s at my mum’s. My sister brought the girls down so she wanted to go too.” I feel the air thin a little and I find I can breathe again, but it’s short lived as Lewis asks the real question.

“So where’s Bella?”

My sweet girl. When she was born she had the thickest black hair. But of course, it all fell out and in its place grew the most beautiful blonde curls. She cried as she was born but almost never cried again. When she was hungry she made a bit of fuss but we didn’t have to endure hours of endless crying. She was a perfect baby. The thought of her makes my heart swell, until reality sticks in a pin and it deflates once more.

“She’s. She’s in the garden.” The panic sets in quickly as I realise I need to be blunt. He can’t go out there and find her like that.

“Lewis, she died. She…She was just… I just, snapped. She was crying about something and she wouldnt stop. I tried everything but she just wouldn’t stop. We were sat on Lilly’s bed, the top bunk and she was standing up. I was right there, but I shouted at her and…” I stop. The memory is like a kick in the teeth.

“She jumped, and fell backwards off the bed. The sound… It was a loud crunch and she wasn’t moving Lewis, she didn’t move. Lilly was in the bathroom at the time so she didn’t see anything. I kept her out and called my mum.” I realise after I finish saying the words, I sound monotone. Devoid of emotion yet manic at the same time. Have I said the right thing? Lewis says nothing but then I hear him running to the garden. I imagine him seeing our little girl, wrapped up in her favourite blanket. Thinking now with a clearer, less drunk mind, I don’t know why I put her there. I had already had 2 bottles of wine before I made the decision. I have bought countless bottles of wine over the years. When I feel tempted, I buy one and pour a glass. Though once in front of me, I think of my girls and pour it away. I wish I could say I was strong enough to pour the whole bottle too. Instead, I hid them in the Christmas section of the loft. Somehow it made me feel better if I knew there was alcohol somewhere. Two bottles later, I decided she needed to be out of this house. Away from where she died. I don’t know why I thought she deserved to be dumped in the garden like a bag of rubbish. That’s my baby.

“Bella?! Bella?” Lewis screams. He’s trying to hold onto that tiny piece of hope. The hope that I might be wrong. The hope that I was too drunk to realise she isn’t dead, she’s just been knocked out. But he didn’t see her. He didn’t see the way her bones bent in ways they never should. When that piece of hope finally disappears and is replaced with sheer heartbreak, Lewis violently bangs on the door; like a rat trying to escape a trap.

“You killed my daughter! How could you? Why didn’t you call an ambulance? Why couldn’t you take her to the hospital? Because you were too smashed out your head to even notice!” His anger is close to boiling point now, he’s banging on the door so hard, I scramble to the other side of the bathroom. A part of me wants to open the door and let him kill me. The pain is too much to bare and I don’t think I’m strong enough to live with this. But at least he’s spared of some pain, he would lose it completely if he knew the whole story. But he can never know, this is how it has to be.

“I’m so sorry. I’m so so sorry, she was my daughter too. I just…”

The door swings open but the man standing there is not my Lewis, but a tormented and heartbroken version. I expect him to grab me and beat me until I’m just as dead as our baby. But he doesn’t. He sinks to his knees and cries. The tears come thick and fast and all I want to do his cradle him in my arms. But I daren’t. I have successfully ruined this man’s life, for good this time. The first was when I nearly drunk myself to death. Way before the girls were even thought of, yet Lewis stayed by my side. Now, I have lost him forever.

“What are we gunna do Andi?” Lewis manages to say, through the painful groans and the tsunami of tears. I wish I knew.

“I’m going to the Police station. I need to confess.” I say, once again noting the absence of emotion in my voice. Before Lewis could say anything, the house phone rings. I motion for him to ignore it but he answers anyway.

“Hello you o-” I can hear the screaming from here. My heart sinks as the worst thought invades my mind. Adrenalin infects my veins as Lewis tries to understand what’s being said to him.

“What?! Are you sure it was Lilly?” I’m sure my heart has stopped. I feel the colour draining from my face and bile and alcohol bubbles in my throat.

“Is an ambulance there? The police?! Wh-What…” I turn to look at him and find he is already staring at me. The penny has dropped and it’s destroyed him. He tells my mum he’s on his way and puts the phone down. It takes him a few seconds to organise his thoughts, but once he does he walks towards me and sits down. I know what he’s going to say and I shake my head in rebellion.

“No. No. Don’t say anything. Please.” I plead with my eyes for him to spare me. I can’t hear it, but I know it’s coming.

“Heidi has fallen from the top floor window. Your mum said she saw…” He chokes before he could get the words out. But I already know.

“Lilly did it.” I say, the words feel like betrayal. I gave birth to her and swore to always protect her. I tried to get her to believe it was an accident. But I knew it wasn’t. I’ve stopped her from hurting Bella since she was born. We thought she would grow out of it, but instead she seemed to grow into it.

“She saw Lilly push her. She thought they were too quiet and as she opened the door, she shoved Heidi. Lilly said, that her mummy would protect her.” I fold myself into him and let it all out. I wanted to protect my baby. I tried to protect Lilly.

“It was an accident, you didn’t mean it. You wouldn’t hurt her on purpose like that? No. Of course not. Oh my God. Oh my…” Through the tears I saw Lilly’s face. She looked almost, proud.

“If we push daddy too it will be just me and you mummy” She said, smiling a sinister smile. It’s a moment I’ve tried to forget but not even four bottles of wine could erase that image. Nothing ever will.


By Jenny L.K