Making Changes

Hey everyone hope you are well!

Last night before I fell asleep I was overwhelmed with anxiety. Most of it was due to it being Christmas and then New Year. New Year for me has never been something I look forward to, because I have never really known what the year will have for me.

This time, I have a plan but I’m still terrified.

I decided I don’t want to wait till the 1st of January to start making the necessary changes. So I thought I would immortalise my ‘resolutions’ here in the hope it will motivate me to continue.

Read At Least One Book A Week

Now, I can read anywhere from 3 to 6 books a week on a good week.

However I am in my last year of University and need to dedicate most of my time to academic research and reading.

One book a week feels doable.

Focus On University/Dissertation

As some of you might know, I have been at Uni since 2014. I have had a very hard time during uni, I’ve suffered a loss, been through unimaginable pain and suffered with debilitating depression and anxiety.

I feel I’m slowly coming out of it, but I won’t succeed unless I truly focus.

I would like to think I’m an intelligent person, but my grades don’t always reflect that. But that’s due to me never actually trying 100%. I didn’t revise for my GCSE’S but managed to coast through. I then didn’t revise for my A Levels and again managed to get by.

I want the grade I know I deserve and I’m the only person who can make that happen.

Revise Maths Every Day

I failed two GCSE’s: French and Maths. But the issue is I failed my maths GCSE 7 times. I got a D, 7 times.

Of course my dream is to one day be a published author. But I also want to be a teacher. My university let me in without maths but to be a teacher you need it.

I have always struggled with maths. Numbers don’t make sense to me, I can’t visualise any numbers in my minds eye, the way I can with words and sentences and story ideas. Maths has always been my worst enemy.

That’s got to change. I need to work hard on maths because it doesn’t come naturally to me. I want to revise for at least an hour every day, until I can sit my exam in June. If I start now, who knows a miracle could happen and I might get more than just a C.


I hope you enjoyed this post and if you have any resolutions you’re putting off until New Year, maybe think about starting now!

Signed,

Jen X

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

Mr Picasso: A Short Story Part 1

Authors Note: Hey everyone hope you are well. I am sorry about my lack of blog posts recently. I have gone back to University and it has taken up a lot of my time. However that’s not the only reason for my silence. I was worried about publishing this story as I love the main character a lot, but I felt hesitant to post it incase readers didn’t agree. Ultimately I decided I won’t know unless I try. I hope you enjoy and please like and comment so I know you want the second part

EDIT: By the way, I plan to develop this story further so please feel free to leave any feedback in the comments!

(9 minute read)

I was so tired the day after, she took a long time. I thought it would just be another quick one, but it turned out to be much more than that. I’m still shocked it even happened. I mean she was a bit of a challenge but, it was worth it. How did I meet her? Well, I’ll tell you. It was about 9 o’clock on the Monday, 2nd of January. I remember getting ready making sure to perfectly gel my hair, put on a nice pair of jeans and a clean top. Women love a well-groomed man, makes them feel like you’d take care of them too.

She was standing by the bar and caught my attention almost instantly. I bet you’d like me to say she was provocative? That she was standing there half naked, flirting with every guy in her line of sight? Well, sorry to disappoint but she was perfectly modest and respectable. That’s what attracted me to her. There was something about her, something fragile and innocent. It was something I realised as I gazed upon her green eyes that were intensified by fear.  It was something I needed to own. If it was mine, I could destroy it.

I decided quickly to approach her. I could tell she was the kind of woman who would appreciate a gentle touch. She reminded me of a lost baby chimp. As though she had been abandoned and left helpless to predators. In a room full of women practically waltzing around in their underwear, her long black jumper dress was alien. Perhaps if we were standing in a coffee shop in November it would have been considered acceptable. She obsessively put her dark brown hair behind her ear, to only pull it out again moments later. She shuffled from foot to foot and was visibly nervous. She was perfect.

“Can I have a double whiskey please?” I said to the barman as I took my place beside her.

“And one for the lady?” I asked with my most genuine smile. The one I’ve been practicing for God knows how long.

“Yes. Yeah. I mean, thank you. I’ll have a shandy.” A shandy? I remember squinting and rubbing my eyes to focus my vision, in case I’d mistaken an elderly lady for a suitable match. The barman brought over our drinks a few minutes later and she still couldn’t keep eye contact with me. I noticed her holding a lighter and that’s when I knew I could do this.

“Want to pop out for a cigarette?” I asked her while grabbing one from a fresh pack and offering another to her. Beth silently nodded and we made our way to the smoking area. Luckily for us, it was surprisingly empty. I mean apart from a couple drunk girls sitting on the floor in the corner. I couldn’t tell you if Beth noticed, if she did, she didn’t make it obvious. Her eyes barely left the floor at first. But I soon got her talking didn’t I.

“So, Beth what is a nice girl like you doing in a grotty club like this?” She looked embarrassed and her cheeks flushed a little bit, but I didn’t bring it up. I let her reply in her own time.

“Well, I just wanted to go out, I guess. I don’t have many mates and the ones I do have aren’t into clubs. This is the first club I’ve ever been to. I don’t think I like it either.”

“There are a lot of better places to go out to. This is more of a…I dunno, even I don’t like it sometimes.” I lied so easily. That was the first time I’d ever been there too. So far, I was loving it.

“What’re you doing here then James?” She asked with a tight smile. Finally, I thought, a bit of life. That’s’ when I knew it would be interesting.

“I was stood up. A girl I’d been seeing was meant to meet me here an hour ago. Tried calling but she won’t pick up. Thought I’d drown my sorrows.” I downed my drink in a couple of gulps. I reckon it added to the story. I saw her eyes studying me, as though she could tell I was lying. But she just asked me the usual questions. How long were you seeing her? Did you really like her? What does she look like? It’s funny how territorial some girls can get in such a short amount of time. I have been told it’s down to my stunning God given looks, but I say that’s bullshit, it’s all about the attitude.

“What is it that you do for a living then Beth?”

“I’m a student I study primary education with a specialisation in English. I live in a host-family home down on Harris Street. They’re moving soon though, gotta try find somewhere and that’s been a right nightmare.” She tilted her head down, diverting her sad gaze elsewhere. I couldn’t believe my luck. I decided to probe further.

“I’m sure you could stay with your parents no?”

“Oh, no actually. They aren’t around anymore.” She said without looking up. It was time to step up the charm. I gently lifted her chin up and looked into her eyes. I felt her recoil for a moment, but I knew how to put a woman at ease. You must make them feel special. Like they’re the most perfect thing walking the Earth. You compliment them, look lovingly into their eyes. You make them trust you.

After a few more rounds, I decided she was sufficiently drunk, and I asked her to come back to my flat. She agreed. Beth wanted to come back to mine, I asked her multiple times in front of the bouncers. She told me yes. I called a cab and we were soon within the safety of my home. It’s a nice enough place. I don’t like mess, so I only have the necessities. I didn’t have a washing machine, got the laundrette for that. You meet people like that, standing by an ancient washing machine that squeaks with every spin, you get chatting. You get to know people sure, but more importantly they get to know you. Other than that, I had a bed, a cooker and a fridge. A simple life is a happy life.

Anyway, when we got in, I offered her a glass of water and said I’d sleep on the sofa if she wanted to have my bed. It’s only a single anyway, wouldn’t have been enough room for the both of us. She came over to me, or rather she stumbled over to me. I had to steady her before she collapsed on the floor. I was surprised she hadn’t already considering the amount she drank at the club.

“You should go to sleep now Beth” I encouraged, I needed her to fall asleep. It just wouldn’t work with her like this.

“Why? We… We haven’t spoked at all though.” Beth was swaying again and for a moment I was sure her face flashed a light shade of green.

“You’re too drunk. Go to sleep,” I grabbed her arm, quite firmly, and pulled her toward the bed. Beth did what I said and got under the covers. I was glad she’d finally caught on. I left the door slightly ajar, sat outside and waited. Within the space of five minutes, she was asleep. Once I was truly convinced that she was out, I started to prepare.

The adrenaline running through my veins was probably enough to power a space shuttle.  I remember having a little bounce in my walk, yeah, I was excited but there was something else. A desire for something a bit more, adventurous shall I say. I decided to go a bit further than I had done before. The ideas floating around my head were irresistible. She was perfect.

I walked back into the bedroom and just watched her for a little while. She looked so peaceful all sprawled out on my bed. I was so close to her face I could count the blonde hairs on her forehead. I know she was knocked out, practically sedated, but her face was a vision of peace and prospects. I had to take it.

I stood up towering high above her and lifted her up. She was so small, it was like carrying a little kid. She barely stirred. Her head flopped painfully to one side and her arms and legs flailed around like they had a mind of their own. It was a short walk to the back of the flat, I lucked out when I found this place. It’s on a run-down estate with mostly empty flats all around. It was scheduled to all be knocked down and the council had plans to rebuild luxury flats instead. Most tenants decided to move as quickly as possible, you never know when they’d be back with bulldozers. I was on the top floor of a 50-floor tower block. There were no neighbours for as far as the eye could see, or the ear could hear as it were. She was perfect and that was perfect.

I caught a glimpse of myself in the hallway mirror and noticed my blonde hair had fallen from its former high stance. I thought I must have sweated all the gel away, what with all the anticipation and preparation. I quickly re-focused on the task at hand. Beth’s breathing began to get quite shallow, but I wasn’t worried. I closed the door to the back room and laid her down on the table I had put in the middle. The room was fully soundproofed, of course you can never be too careful in these kinds of situations. Hey, I even locked the door with ten different bolts I’d installed the week before. Never too careful.

I then took off her jumper dress and let it fall limply beside my foot. I could then finally see all of her. She was very pale and quite skinny, she was a bone to put it plainly. I examined every inch of her body and I remember seeing long angry cuts all the way up both arms and both legs from the knee up. Now the long dress and tights makes sense, I thought. She was ashamed. It was interesting to say the least. How do I always manage to track down those kinds of women? The broken kind. The damaged kind with deep daddy issues. I think it’s a gift personally.

You know what I did next.

No?

Signed,

Jen X

Saving You Saved Me: A Short Story

Authors Note: Hello everyone! Here is a new short story I’ve been working on. It isn’t the one I discussed in my previous post about adapting short stories, that one is still in the works. It is a lot longer than my previous stories on this blog, but I hope you enjoy it regardless!

(14-18 minute read)

When you make promises to somebody, you should go to the ends of the Earth to honour them. If somebody treats you right, puts you before themselves and never allows anybody to exploit you, you must do the same for them. Even if it means you go hungry. Even if it means you sacrifice your own warmth for theirs. Loyalty is everything. I am and always will be loyal to Harry.

Harry ‘s my brother and my best friend. He rescued me from those horrible men who ripped me from my mother’s womb and tried their hardest to force me to fight. They starved me, beat me and locked me in a cage. Harry was there but he would sometimes sneak me scraps of food, that I could smell had been taken out of a bin. On rare occasions he would half a sandwich he’d managed to get hold of ,though these luxuries were far and few between. I knew he wanted to help me, but those men, who stank of stale sweat and thick alcohol, had imprisoned him like they had me. They forced him to steal others like me from people who loved them. They forced him to watch the atrocities they committed and through it all, Harry stayed true to who he was. He refused to partake in the abuse, and would be beaten himself as a punishment.

“I’m sorry little one,” Harry said to me one day after a particularly bad beating, “I’m gonna get you out of here. I can’t right now but when the time’s right, we’re out of here!” I don’t know why but I believed him. I could see it in his eyes every time he was forced to witness the beatings. That look was there when they taunted me with food and then cruelly took it away. Every time I was confronted with a new competitor, Harry apologised with his eyes, reminding me of his promise. Somehow, he knew I only killed them to survive. My initial instinct upon meeting my latest challenger was not to kill them. Nor was it to bite and rip and gnaw at them until there was nothing but blood and flesh in every direction. I hated the taste of their blood in my mouth, their cries and the sound of their lungs exhaling their final breaths. I didn’t want to kill them but I had to . I did it to stay alive long enough for Harry to take me away from it.

Finally, the day came. Harry’s not a very big man. He’s actually quite short, boyish and dangerously thin. His dirty tracksuit bottoms hang so loosely around his waist, he has to use a hair tie to keep them from falling to his ankles. But that day he came to rescue me, he looked like some kind of God that finally decided to intervene. That day, I was alone in the garage, tied up and locked in a cage so small I couldn’t stand up not to mention I hadn’t eaten in a week and was ravenous. The sound of the garage doors opening sent shockwaves of fear through my body. Although I couldn’t stand, I could feel my legs shaking uncontrollably. That was until I saw Harry’s shock of black hair and those kind brown eyes looking down on me. That was the first time I had ever smelled alcohol on him. The scent was so strong for an awful moment, I thought they had finally broken him. I thought he had become one of them. I searched his face for answers, but he was frantically trying to unlock the cage.

“Hello boy! We need to be super quiet okay?” He said as the lock finally clicked, and the door swung open. It was always a struggle getting out of the cage. I stretched my front two legs in front of me and then shuffled the rest of the way. I could see Harry was terrified because every second he was looking out for the demons that were intent on destroying us. He took a piece of rope, tied a loop and put it around my neck. At first, I couldn’t walk at all. I was so weak my legs refused to cooperate. Harry saw I was struggling and scooped me into his arms. The pain was unbearable and a low growl managed to escape my throat.

“Shhh boy, I know. I know them fuckers have hurt you but…” he hesitated as he swallowed his rage, “We have to be quiet okay, I don’t know when they’re coming back. I’m getting us out.” He rubbed my head so gently, the love I already had for him doubled. That was the moment I knew, once I was able to, I needed to protect him at all costs.

He ran as fast as he could, through the estate, through the park and he kept on running until it was dark. The day had left and an uncertain night had taken its place. Harry scanned every street, every alley way and every shop entrance until he found one he deemed suitable. That was the best night of my life. Harry never left me alone. He carried me until I had the strength to stand. He rummaged through shop bins giving me every piece of food he found. Luckily for us, Harry bumped into someone who was dressed similarly to him. She smelled awful but I could tell she was kind. She gave him one of her duvets and a bottle of clear alcohol.

“That’ll keep you warm,” she said to Harry. He accepted, thanked her and set up our bed for the night. It was a very quiet street but almost every shop entrance had people sleeping there. Others had small groups of people, men and women, talking and drinking. Some huddled up close to protect each other from another chilly night. Harry laid the duvet down on the ground and we both sat on top of it. I laid down as close to him as I could, hoping to radiate enough warmth to stop him from shaking. He took long swigs of that drink he was given and stroked me until he fell asleep still sitting up.

That was our life. We moved around a lot, almost every day. That was the one and only time we slept at night. Harry told me it’s much safer to sleep for most of the day and then move on during the night. For a while, it was fine. Some days Harry collected enough money from strangers to be able to buy proper food for me to eat. Harry’s so good like that. He’d happily go without so I could eat.

“I need you to be big and strong so you can protect us, don’t I? You’re the best dog ever boy!” He would say after feeding me as much as he could. To this day, I’m not sure if boy is my name but it’s the only thing Harry has ever referred to me as. So, it must be. Up until recently, we had not run into much trouble. Here and there a few people would tell Harry to fuck off, or they tell him how horrible it is to use me to gain sympathy. I would scream and shout at them, but they never seemed to understand, he saved me. He wasn’t like the other men. The ones I see sharing the same guardian. The ones who don’t care for them like Harry cares for me. Harry would never react how I did. He would always stay calm, apologise and move on if he needed to.

I don’t know how long we lived on the streets, but after what felt like a lifetime, Harry was given a room to live in. It was a tiny room, but it was better than a cold stairwell. For a while life was better than ever. Harry stopped drinking, he ate more food than I ever saw before, and we had a warm bed to cuddle up in. Of course, I never really felt 100% safe. Something inside of me told me to always keep an ear out. I’d never let myself get too comfortable, I would tell myself to sleep with one eye open.

On a day like any other, there was a light knock on the door. Harry opened to door, probably expecting it to be a delivery. Standing in the doorway, was a giant man, not dissimilar to the men who kept us prisoner. He was broad, large and bald. Why are they always bald?

“Hello, I’m looking for Harry? I’m here to serve an eviction notice. I need to inform you that the landlord has decided he wants to redo the bedsits and make them into bigger flats for more rent. Once the renovations are done, he is stopping accepting housing benefit so unfortunately you need to move out.” The man at the door didn’t notice me that day. Harry already told me not to shout every time the door went, or every time a letter was posted through the letterbox.

“How long till I have to leave then?” Harry asked, defeated. He wasn’t one for confrontation, that’s what I was there for.

“30 days, I’m giving you this to show I have served the eviction notice.” With that, he handed him the paper and walked away. Harry closed the door and just stood there for a while, reading it again and again. He eventually slumped down onto the ground with his head hanging low. I went straight over to him and nestled my snout into his neck. I could smell the salt in his tears that were now falling thick and fast. I placed myself in between his legs and looked straight at him. I wanted so badly to tell him it was okay. That we were going to be okay.

“You are too good for this Earth boy. You are too good for it.” He held me for a long while, before grabbing him phone and making a call. He seemed to be avoiding me all day until that evening. Harry put two tins in my bowl and for the first time, he left me inside on my own.

“I’ll be back soon, just need to pop out,” he said but as he did, I let out a low whimper to show my dissatisfaction. He smiled at me with such love, I started licking his face until I was on top of him. His laughter echoed through the tiny room and my heart was entirely full. Although I hate being alone, I knew there must have been a reason. He would never leave me unless he had to.

Before he left, he came over to where I was laying, kissed my head and stroked me. That was not out of the ordinary, as he usually made time for me every single day. He stood up while still looking at me and said,

“Saving you really did save me boy. I love you.”

Once the door clicked behind him, I found my comfy spot on the end of the bed and let sleep caress me. I woke up a while later and the room was dark. Too dark. I cried and cried until I eventually fell back asleep. When I opened my eyes once more, Harry was back. But he was acting odd. He was on the floor, reeking of alcohol and his eyes were rolling back in his head. I go straight for him and lick his face. He didn’t say hello boy, he didn’t stroke me. He didn’t even look at me at all.

The night turned to day and then day back to night and Harry was still on the ground. I didn’t leave his side once. I didn’t leave to relieve myself, I didn’t leave to grab the last bit of food in my bowl. I just stayed with him, with my head resting on his leg. I tried so many times to wake him up. I licked his face. I screamed and shouted until my throat hurt. I even nibbled at his fingers and toes like I used to when I wanted his attention. Nothing. Once again, my only escape was the comfortable nothing of sleep. I felt like I had been sleeping for way too long, when a knock on the door woke me up. It began as a polite three taps but then progressed into angry thuds that shook the door in its hinges.

“Hello, Harry Roberts? Hello sir, we are here to repossess the property if you could open the door please?” Said a man through the letter box. I remembered what Harry had told me and stayed put. I thought they had finally given up when a loud bang announced the entrance of three big men in black uniforms. I peeled my eyes off them and onto Harry.

“Fucking hell” said the bald man who was standing the closest to us. He pulled a piece of tissue out of his trouser pocket and used it to cover his nose and mouth. The other two men followed suit. One of them looked to be about the same age as Harry and he was using the end of his tie rather than a piece of tissue. The other one looked almost sickly, very pale, very slim and he didn’t look very steady on his feet.

“Jesus. He’s not… He ain’t… He’s…” The young one blurted to the bald one. I saw them scanning the room, but they still didn’t seem to notice me.

“Got another tissue?” The pale one asked. He used it to pick something up off the kitchen side.

“Look fellas, needles all over the sink area.” Their faces, as if in unison, dropped to the ground. Usually I would have reacted to them touching Harry’s things, just like those times people would try to take our sleeping bags or the money he’d managed to collect. But I couldn’t leave Harry, even if I tried.

“Poor guy. He’s only about 20, look at him.” The man named Bill said to the room. He rubbed his shiny head and I saw his brown eyes flash with tears.

“And the poor dog as well.” Finally, I thought, they noticed me. For a fleeting moment, I thought we were going to be okay. These men would help Harry wake up and we could go back to how it was. Bill, still covering his face with the tissue, leant down closer to me.

“He never left his owners side.” He was looking at me, but it felt more like he was looking through me.  After a reflective moment, someone finally said

“How long you think they’ve been dead for?”


Signed,

Jen X

Passing Comment: A Poem

Authors note: Hey everyone, here is a poem I just wrote. It’s funny because last night I was thinking about how I haven’t written any poetry and that was because I haven’t felt depressed in a little while. I felt surprisingly happy and was glad I hadn’t written any poetry as it seemed like a good sign. But today I haven’t been good. Today has been hard and a conversation I had earlier sparked this poem. I hope you enjoy it.


It was just a passing comment

It was just a nostalgic trip

About how happy your childhood was

About how you look back with fondness

It made my eyes flash with memories

It made my eyes brim with tears

But you didn’t know how I was feeling

But you would never understand even if you did

I hope you know it wasn’t out of jealousy

I hope you know it wasn’t out of spite

Words have such power

Words can take you back

They take you to a place you have fought to escape

They take you to a place you have prayed to forget

It was just a passing comment

It was just

A

Passing

Comment.


Signed,

Jen X

I Need A Bit Of Advice: Adapting Short Stories

Hello everyone I hope you are doing well!

So I thought I would come on here and and ask for a bit of advice with regards to a short story I just finished.

As I was writing it, I fell in love with the main character, although he is not somebody I would ever wish to encounter in real life. He is a very complex character and the story itself ended up being around 3500 words. However when I finished the first draft, I wasn’t satisfied.

I intentionally left the ending open and there is definite room to expand this story into a book.

That’s where you come in.

I’m not sure whether to keep it as a short story, post it to my blog and call it a day. Or whether I should try to expand it and tell the whole story. Maybe I could even do both?

I’m really not sure.

It’s a very dark story that is quite troubling but the main character is strangely likeable. He seems too good of a character to end his story there.

What do you think?

Please let me know in the comments any advice you may have.

Signed,

Jen X

A Question Of Perspective: A Short Story

(under 5 minute read)

I can feel Emma on top of me. Her weight is evenly distributed, but heavy nonetheless. To be honest it’s a comfort, an early sign of what’s to come. The weight of her body lets me know that it’s nearly time to go home. Or as close to home as possible.

Emma’s family came to visit yesterday. I must admit I was very nervous for their arrival as I wasn’t sure whether these people were coming for another round of chopping, cutting, scraping and colouring. I was relieved to find out they only came to see Emma. Though her mother did mention how beautiful I was, she was the only one to acknowledge me at all. The rest of her family members seemed to look through me, as if I were invisible. However, I refused to allow their negativity to burden me further. It was the likes of them that brought me here and made me what I am today. I didn’t ask for this.

Emma and I were left to get acquainted in a small room of which boasted soft glowing candles and colourful windows. That was until we were transported to an even smaller room that moved, just after flowers had been placed on top of us by sullen men in matching suits. I saw other moving rooms as we made our way to a large field with a stone house in the centre. I spot Emma’s mum and her red eyes fill with tears as soon as she notices our arrival. She turns her back and cries into the shoulder of a man I’ve never seen before. He certainly wasn’t there yesterday with the rest of the family. He is very tall, thin and gaunt. His presence unnerves me for reasons I can’t explain.

“Why is she crying? Why does everyone look so… Red?” I ask Emma.

Silence. I admit defeat and promise myself not to dwell on it. Today is my day and she can’t ruin it for me. Even if we are being forced to spend the foreseeable future together, they do say time is a healer.

I notice everyone in the room turning to look at us as we are brought to the front, every row filled with long faces. After a short speech and a few songs, people start approaching Emma and I. Some people place trembling hands on me, while others are simply staring with glassy eyes. The men who carried us in here are big and strong, not dissimilar to the first men I ever met not too long ago. It’s hard to enjoy the attention when the atmosphere feels thick with despair and is swirling with sadness. The room empties and I am once again lifted into the arms of men.

“Earth you are, and to earth you will return,” says the man who is sprinkling a rain-like substance on top of us. Oh, how I’ve missed the rain. If only my roots were still intact, perhaps I could quench this dry thirst. I still feel Emma’s weight on top of me, but then I finally feel the cool earth underneath me. I take the opportunity to revel in the familiarity of the dirt and find myself holding Emma closer. I think myself luckier than most. Some never get the opportunity to be as close to home as this.

“I know it must be hard to leave your family and friends, but I’m going to help you return to the Earth. That way, you will always be near them.”


So, this is my little story. I do hope you enjoyed it and if you did (or didn’t) please let me know in the comments!

Signed,

Jen x