Blog · Book Recommendations · Creative Writing

A Tough Story To Write

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


Signed,

Jen X

Creative Writing · Short Stories · writing

Mr Picasso: A Short Story Part 2

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

10 min read


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes, thank you, you up there?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Please let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Signed,

Jen X

Creative Writing · Short Stories

Returning Traveller

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

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


Signed,

Jen X

Creative Writing · writing

Untitled

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

Creative Writing · Short Stories · writing

Christmas Dinner: A Short Story

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


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

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

Dennis began to scream.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

What do you think this story is about?

Signed,

Jen X

Blog · writing

Sleep? Where for art thou sleep?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Jen x

Blog

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

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

Creative Writing · Short Stories

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