The Elevator.


Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash

‘ Come in here, and we’ll take the lift ‘ . His voice gruff and commanding. It was what I expected from someone like him. The red checks, large beer belly, the result of much good living and little exercise. He was tall, and had the complexion of one who spent much time in the outdoors, and lived on a bad diet.
Like many of his age, he always wore a suit. It was just the way of it, for men of that time. The people round us hurried about their business. It was never the happiest of places. Too much human tragedy likely to happen here at any moment a distinct possibility. As was happiness and joy. Well more relief at the outcome, and then the freedom.
At last the lift arrived at the ground floor, the other’s exited it. Watching them it was hard to tell, how it went. Many people are hard to read. He went first then I followed. No one else decided to join us. The dull grey interior of the lift, badly in need of a clean, and spruce up. The ever present scent of disinfectant, that even now takes my mind back to that place. The double doors shut, with a resounding swish like sound. He reached over and pulled the inner gates across and the lift began it’s journey upwards. He never let go of the loosely wrapped plastic package he held under his arm. It looked soft, so I assumed it was clothing .  The lift silently make its way upward. After a few moments, he reached across and pulled the inner gates apart. The lift came to a juddering halt, and we both fell forward towards the grey steel doors. I looked at him, but his expression was plain, non committal.
He reached above my head to the copper colored control panel, that housed the different floor numbers and the open and close switches, an emergency phone, and the interior light, which he flipped to turn the interior to total darkness. I tried but could not see, not even my hand. I called out to him, but he did not answer. Alone in the darkness, I was afraid. Again I called out, but he did not answer.
It was unpleasantly warm to the touch. That rough hand on my bare thigh, as it slowly moved upwards. I silently cursed myself for wearing short trousers, as I cursed God for making the weather for being so warm. Then just as quickly I asked God if he would forgive me, for cursing him.
In the silence and the darkness, his breathing loud, fast and guttural. The scent of the earth, alcohol and cigarette smoke from him, sickening to my young senses. His movements were rough, brutal, and urgent. The soft package slipped from his grip, where he held it tightly, as he fumbled urgently at his clothing, and at mine. I struggled to escape, but in the small space I was trapped. He was stronger than I. The only sounds his moans of excitement, wrapped around quietly spoken swear words. It continued for a few moments. I closed my eyes and thought of the ocean, and the freedom it offered.
When he was satisfied, I tidied myself up in the darkness and the silence, as did he. Reaching across to the control panel, he flipped the switch, and the darkness turned to light. I knew the drill, not to look at him, nor speak. So I just stood facing away from him, and stared into a corner of the lift. He pulled the black wrought iron gates back together and the lift continued its journey upwards. When we reached our floor, we marched down the dull grey corridor towards the general ward.
She was sat upright in bed, reading the newspaper. Looking reasonably healthy, as the sun shone throw the windows. Everybody it seemed was in good form. That’s what the good weather can do. The nurses was smiling. The other visitors gathered round the beds of their relatives were laughing. It seemed like no one was really ill in the sunshine.
I followed behind him, as we approached the bed. She smiled and put down the newspaper, seeing us approach.

‘Welcome’ she said.

Written in response to a photo prompt seen here :


The Faces of the Invisible.


The Faces of The Invisible.


Photo by Joe Keating on Unsplash

He was invisible to them. Nobody noticed him, or at least pretended not to notice him. He sat like the rest of us, in the railway station waiting room, seeking refuge from the bitter cold outside. At least it was warm. We sat with our luggage, and warming tea and recently purchased, quiet expensive sandwiches.
He sat huddled with dirty track bottoms, and dirty shoes. A black anorak, with a hood covering his head, and slim frame. He had no hot tea, or sandwich. His arms folded over covering himself. Never once did he raise his head, to see what was going on around him. Never once did he ask of any of us in that waiting room for a few quid to help him out. He just sat with his eyes closed, head pointed down towards the ground, the whole time I watched him. He was no more than nineteen years old I guess.
I studied him, and the people around him, and wondered did the other travellers not even see him. Did he not exist in their minds. Was he a non entity ? Could they not see another human being obviously suffering and down on his luck. People nearby read there newspapers. Played with their expensive mobile phones. One or two of the more obnoxious travellers conducted business deals, excited, smug and self satisfied with another deal successful concluded. Oblivious to this young guy, within ten feet of them. The middle aged ladies discussing their travel plans, and the relatives they would be visiting. Some played games, caught up with emails on their tablets. Other studied the screen as it displayed and reloaded the upcoming train times. reorganising their plans. I wondered where would he go, when he would inevitably be asked to leave the shelter of the warm waiting room, and what would he do tomorrow and the next day, and the next. How had life brought him to this.
As I watched the other temporary inhabitants of that waiting room, I silently questioned their humanity. I also questioned my own, as I left the warmth of the waiting room, to catch my train without stopping to offer him help, of some description. Was it embarrassment, fear of his reaction, or did want to draw any attention to myself. What ever it was, I never figured it. Would I act differently in a similar situation again. That I could not say. I would like to think I would be more humane, but who knows.

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Another Night.



Photo by Asdrubal luna on Unsplash

She stood by the doorway, watching in silence. So many memories trying to force their way into her mind. He busied himself exploring the other rooms of the large house.

‘My God, what a house, and what a garden. Your so lucky to have brought up here’, as he stood beside her. His arms enveloping her fragile body. If only he knew.

She didn’t answer, but put her head in his large shoulders. Were he to see her face, he would see the tears, and the sadness it held. Again the memories pushed at the gates of her mind, where she kept them hidden. How could she share them with anyone, even him. How would he be able to trust her. She did not want to lose him. Some secrets are better left untold.

‘So when can we move in ?’, he asked, with childish excitement. The wide smile, and happy eyes, features that attracted her attention when she saw him across the shopping mall, that Saturday, not so many years ago.

‘Well, anytime now’, she responded. Hiding the memories and images behind her pristine smile
‘Well that’s, brilliant. I’ll get things moving’, and he held her close once more. Again she felt somewhat safe, and secure in his arms. She loved his enthusiasm. His drive and determination to achieve a goal, once set. They left her family home, just outside the small prosperous town, that was surrounded by wide fields of corn, and the high mountains and forests that were visible from every area of the town, adding to the beauty. They drove past the lake, where she had spent many summer days. He yelped with delight, and smiled at her, as the stunning scenery unfolded before them, and headed back to the tiny Manhattan apartment, in the overly busy, slow moving, mainly gridlocked traffic. Surrounded by the other near claustrophobic high rise blocks, that loomed large, so close by. There living space were tiny, cramped, with their goods and belongings  packed high and tight. The space and freedom would be more than a welcome relief to both.
It was a struggle at times, living in such a small cramped space. But they were in love, and they struggled with the living conditions together. He set about the task of packing up their belongings with boundless energy. Their dog joined in with unabridged enthusiasm, sensing the excitement.
She left him to pack their belongings, using a brief shopping trip as an excuse for time alone. Time to consider her past, and her future. She sat alone in the corner of the darkened coffee shop, in the quiet street. Grateful for the peace and solitude. The staff sensible and intelligent enough to know when one of their patrons needed time to be alone, to reflect upon their life, or write their memoirs or just be allowed the luxury of thinking. The cafe being a haunt of many whom liked to write, to reflect, and needed the peace and solitude.

She watched the few people passing on the street, and wondered about their lives. Did anyone, she considered get out of this life without, the drama and heartache. Did anyone, anywhere among the billions, actually get an easy ride through life. She doubted it. she considered there future together. Like many before her, and like many would in the future, she considered was he the one. Was he the man she was willing to spend the rest of her life with. Was now the time to settle down. To possibly have children with him.  An option she had yet to consider. What of her career. Did he have enough to offer. She began to mull over his positive characteristics, which were many. His kindness, empathy, and gentleness. His ambition, and determination, while impressive, had yet to lead to any substantial success. But he certainly had potential, and that was good enough. His honesty, reliability, and discretion, were certainly attributes to be welcomed. His loyalty was unquestioned. As for his love making skills, although not stellar, were certainly not at the beginner stage, and like many, there was always room for improvement, as she smiled at her private intimate thoughts. But mainly she felt loved, desired and secure with him.

He was not a saint, a perfect human being, which she allowed. There was at times that his cutting sarcastic humour, regarding the misfortunes of others that she so disliked, and had scolded him many times for. The little too much reliance on alcohol, and that little bit too much time, spending some of her funds in the casinos. His at times, flippant and childlike refusal to take life seriously. At attribute she found engaging and repellent all at once. These were the only negatives she could see at present. While serious enough to some, to her, they were not a deal breaker.

It was the ringing of her cell phone, that she had carefully layed on the darkened coffee table, that shock her from her imaginings. Its flashing screen , and shrill ringing tone, taking her back to real life. She knew it was him, checking up to see what she was up to, and was she okay with that. So lost in her thoughts, time had passed very rapidly, and he was becoming very slightly concerned for her, which she mostly welcomed.

‘Hi, yeah I know. I’m sorry. I should have called’. There was silence at the other end, holding the phone on the palm of her hand.

‘Do you think your actually going to get it. To get the damn house. To live the happy ever after life. Do you really think that’s how it’s going work out for you’.

The voice was still recognizable, even after all these years. She could sense the mental sickness, the illness through the handset, which she had left fall from her hand in shock. Nothing seemed to have changed. She was at once back in the family home, with her deranged older sister. She was at once the cowering, scared young girl, that she was many years since, as her sister worked out through one of her many psychotic episodes in the family home. The wicked screams. The seething empty accusations. The physical violence and struggles. The intense paranoia, that terrified her. The visionary uncontrolled hallucinations, and the voices. The never ending voices that told her to trust no one. Those voices that give her the detailed instructions of whom to harm. Her refusal to take her prescribed medication. The rapid slide into illegal narcotics, decadence and the most extremes darkened corners of the fetish sex scene.
Encouraged by the new friends and acquaintances from that sordid side of life, that were attracted like vampires to her vulnerability and and obvious psychosis. They swooped in quickly, using well honed abilities to suss out another victim to be used, abused and discarded, when the time was right. Their toxic, manipulative ways, hidden under the guise of instant friendship and camaraderie. There blackmail, emotional and otherwise, trivialized. Words such as loyalty, honesty and trust, and their meanings ment nothing to them. Idea’s such as that, they only laughed at. She was way too far gone. Too mentally unwell. Just too lost, in some form of Orwellian, dystopian world to see them for what they were. she was just being used by them, for their own gain. A world of extreme fetish sex. Myriad uncontrolled drug use. Criminally, blackmail, dishonesty. Mental illness, and insanity all rolled into one.

‘That’s right bitch. I’ve never gone away, and I’m coming to claim what’s rightfully mine. Do you think you can take my inheritance. My family home. It’s my home, not yours. Never was, never will be. Your not entitled to it’.

She was at a loss for words. The coffee shops lights seemed so dim. Her head was swirling and light. She gripped the wooden table for strength. She physically reeled at the onslaught. The shock. The sister she thought, had thankfully being removed from her life, was now back like an unwanted and destructive force of nature.

‘I’ve being following you. I’ve being watching your life these past few months. Do you think I don’t know whats going on’.
She did have that nagging feeling she was being watched those past few months, but had put tit down to an over active imagination, and dismissed it.

She pictured her sisters face as she spoke, and correctly imagined the twisted and ravaged features, spewing such anger and venom. The eyes, narrowed with hate. The bad skin, and unhealthy scarred, pale complexion. Her energy toxic in the extreme. Her body releasing itself from it’s physically tight hold as the mental and emotional chains were undone. She began to unleash her palatable madness. Her tangible mental sickness.

‘Do you think he will want to stay with you when he knows what you did, and are capable of, do you ?’
‘No man would ever want you, no man would ever trust you, ever’.
‘Your damaged goods, sweetheart’.
‘Do you hear me’, the voice so loud, so poisonous.

She put the phone back on the coffee shop table, and switched it off completely. Her hand shaking. Her breathing shallow and rapid. The perspiration formed above her lip and on her forehead. She was litterly shaking, and tearful. She sat at that table for many  hours. Her body weak. Her engery drained. she sat their until the the coffee shop closed and they asked her to leave. She walked the darkened, quiet, rain soaked streets, for what seemd like hours. Trying to clear her mind. Could she tell him. Should she tell him.  Would he ever trust her, for withholding such a hidden part of her life. Had they not promised each other toal honesty and disclousure in their relationship, from the start. Would he be able to understand that some aspects of one’s life, are just to hard, difficult and painfull to share. Would she mean nothing to him, were he to know.
Would her own deception, and non self disclousure, be her downfall, and the end of the relationship she had come to cherish, and wanted to last forever. After many hours, she arrived back at the apartment. She knew he would be waiting, most probably angry, and expectaing an explaination for her long abstnce. She was ready for the confrontation.
Tentatively she entered the lounge where he was sprawled out dozing in front of the tv. The flickering light from the tv illuminating the otherwise darkened room. She tripped over the resting dog, and the sound woke him.

‘Oh sweetheart, your back at last’. He got up from the couch and smiled and embracced her.
‘I tried calling you a few times, but your phone was off.’
‘Yeah, I know. I needed time to think’.

She was grateful for his calmness and peacefulness, enjoyed the comfort and security his phyisical touch offered her.

She reached down and took his hand, and looked into his gentle eye’s.

‘We need to talk’.




Photo by Masaaki Komori on Unsplash

She stood at the doorway, and looked into the bedroom. It had being many years since she had seen the room. Not something she really wanted to do, yet she just had to. Like watching an accident unfurl before one’s eyes. You know you should look away, but you just can’t.
Images and memories cruelly flashed through her mind. She stood by her side, with her hand gently on her back, offering her strength and support. She bit her quivering lip. She tried the deep breathing, like she had practised. But it was not working now, when she needed it most. Her chest and shoulders began to shake, with her breathing becoming rapid and shallow. Tears and distress not too far away now.
She gently encouraged her, with her persuasive words.

‘You’ve got to face it sometime, love. You cannot keep running away’.
‘You are safe here. You will not come to any harm, while I’m with you. Do you trust me ?’

She looked at the older woman’s, kindly, sincere face. Could she really trust her. She studied the dark uniform, and the official accessories. The walkie talkie. The mobile phone, attached to her stab proof waistcoat. The silver handcuffs secure within the snug compartment of the wide black leather belt. She did not note the missing body cam. Perhaps if she had…..

They needed her to break, to show vulnerability. They could then show her the false kindness and concern, that could be used to confuse and entrap her once again.

‘Why don’t you go and sit on the bed’, the police officer cajoled. ‘It’s only by facing your fears, that you’ll break free of them, once and for all’. Her words, soft, sincere and believable.

She slowly moved towards the bed. Those horrible images, and sounds, hidden for so long from her everyday consciousness, came to life in her mind. That putrid scent, of tobacco, cheap aftershave and alcohol. The loud, crazy fast, thumping music. Their insane maniacal laughter, as they were about to satisfy there perverted lustful desires, on another unwilling innocent, echoed in the recesses of her mind, torturing her, yet again. She began to feel light headed. Her legs weakened and she quickly sat on the bed, before she fell. Her school satchel drooped to the floor. The police officer helped her to lay down, and soothed the childs lightly damp hair, and flushed face.

‘There, there, it will be alright’. She gently carresed the childs pale skin. So soft, and inviting to the touch. The full luscious lips, and wide innocnet brown eyes. Her heart beat faster, and the chemicals in her stomach began to break free. Yet again she was on the verge of intruading on, and stealing yet another innocents childhood. She moved her face towards the young girls lips, who turned her head away, and struggled to move from the bed. The police officer grabbed both her wrists harshley and lay her body on top of her young captive, trapping her.

It crackled into life, the voice was serious and urgent. He spoke fast.

‘Get out now, her Mother is entering the gate, and you know what a mad bitch she is, get out now’.
‘Ok’, she hurridely whispered into the walkie talkie.

‘Ok, so you heard all that’, her face so close to her young captive. ‘Say nothing to anyone, especially your Mother, or I will bring a whole lot of heartache to this family. Do you understand’. The voice, even and full of ugly menace.

She nodded, while the older woman, moved away from her, and stood up by the bed,  readjusted her uniform, and calmed her ardour. They both listened as the key was roughly inserted into the front door, and she entered the house.

Written in response to a photo prompt seen here :


That was the word that filtered down. That’s what he, she or whatever ‘it’ was preferred to be called. I did not no where to look, or even what I felt. My mind a myriad of emotions, and none of them good. Fear, bewilderment, anger, disgust, mixed with compassion, love and loss. Many deeply felt emotions, too confusing to try and name and describe.

I didn’t want to think, let alone feel. Did not want to see ‘it’. This monstrosity. This God almighty freak, that was now part of this family. Part of the family , that I by some unfair fluke of nature was related to. What in Gods name, had gotten into this person. What madness had somehow seeped into their warped, sick mind. My feelings towards them vacillated between, embarrassment, shame to acceptance and sorrow.
To say peaceful nights and mellow days were hard to come by, would be quiet an understatement. I had not seen him, her, whatever the bloody hell this  monstrosity was, since that crazy statement filtered through all those months ago. Like some sort of sick joke, from the depths of a warped, depraved, and perverted mind.That they had decided they were transitioning or whatever the politically correct term is.
In my own language, they had gone all bloody peculiar and odd. Sick in the head. That’s how I described them. Never mind their transitioning, change or whatever…
How was this going to effect us, as a family. My brothers and sisters. Would we not be the laughing stock of the small town, of the area, if not the whole country. The closed, narrow minds of small town Ireland, would never, could never understand, nor comprehend  something so foreign and alien to them, to their world. Perhaps were we in a large anonymous cosmopolitan city. Perhaps their people would be more accepting and understanding, and could care less. Too busy with their own lives to care.
Through other family members I forwarded my pleading, sensible suggestion. That they move to a large cosmopolitian city, to save us the shame and embarrassment, were this family secret to come to light. I left the small town the very next day. Took my own suggestion and lost myself in that large annoymous city. From that day to this I have never looked back. What became of that family member, I neither know nor care.


He Hadn’t Seen Her Since The Day She Left High School.

Lounging Back Against The Bar Counter, He Surveyed The Scene. As The Music Of His Youth Played Out From The Speakers, The Laughter And Chatter From Some Of The Groups Gathered Round, Reacquainting Themselves. He Had The Words And Thoughts To Describe Them, His Former Classmates, And Not Nice Words. Quick To Criticise And Find Fault With Others. It Helped Him Deal With His Own Sense Of Inadequacy. So Much Easier To Look Outside. Rather Than Within To Find The Source Of His Own Spiritual Discomfort. His Own Inability To Find Some Peace Of Mind And Self Acceptance.
                   Like An Angry Animal Looking To Pounce And Attack Some Unsuspecting Prey. His Eyes Scanned The Dancehall For Any Who Were Brave Enough To Meet His. Few Dared, As They Had Known From Past Experience How Unpleasant It Was To Be On The Receiving End Of His Caustic, Acerbic Attack. Not A Physical Attack, He Was Too Cowardly For That, Although To Those Who Had Experienced It, That’s What It Felt Like. A Brutal Assault, That Left Them Reeling, And Questioning Their Own Value And Worth As Human Beings, Scurrying For Cover. Many At This Evening’s Reunion Dance Had Noted His Angry Snarl. Piercing Hateful Eyes, And Suspected Little Had Changed About His Demeanour From There Times Spent Going Through The Education System Together. People Were More Than Happy To Keep There Distance
             He Scanned The Dancefloor With His Hateful Eyes, And Did A Second Take, As He Vaguely Recognised That Face. Her Face, Those Frightened Eyes. From Long Ago. Now Emanating A Sense Of Strength In Them. That Hunched Over, ’please Don’t Notice Me’, Body Language Now Replaced By A More Resilient And Self Reliant Pose. He Could Not Believe It. Was The Same Person, He Had Know And Bullied And Teased All Those Years Ago, And Was Sure He Had Left Her Floundering Like A Lost Gentle Deer In The Wilderness. She Now Possessed A Confidence. An Easy Going Charismatic Manner, That Drew Others To Her. He Watched As The Laughter Flowed So Easily And Freely In The Group Gathered Round Her. Standing On The Sidelines Of The Dance Area, Just As It Had Being When He Was Younger. Criticising And Sneering At Those They Disliked And Disapproved Of.  With The Few Friends He Had Managed To Keep Since His School Days. But Truth Be Told Not Many Wanted To Be Around Such A Critical, Unhappy Person. Life Had Moved On For Most. But For Him. Life Was Not Moving In The Direction He Had Hoped For,And Imagined It Would. He Was Still The Angry, Frustrated Person Of His Youth. Just Older, Plain For All To See.

He Held The Glass Of Alcohol Tightly, In Front Of His Chest. Almost Crushing The Glass As His Hands Tightened Around It. His Jaw Held Tightly. His Breathing Hard, Guttural, And Snarling. He So Wanted To Punch Something. Somebody, To Release The Tension Held In His Body. The Beat Of The Seventies Music. The Flashing Disco Lights. In The Darkened School Hall. Bringing Back Memories Of How It Was When They Were All Young Teenagers. Coming To Terms With Life. He Stared At Her Again From Across The Dance Floor. His Mouth Turning Down In An Angry Sneer. That She Was Now Successful Was Obvious. With The Well Cut, Expensive Clothing. The Confident Upright Body Language. The Easy Smile. All Proclaiming To The World, Even If Unconsciously, Her Sense Of Self Worth, Inner Contentment And Happiness.’

                           He Loosened The Tie Around His Neck, And Adjusted His Cheap Electric Blue Suit. If Nothing Else It Certainly Got Him Noticed, And Perhaps Laughed At, Quietly. He Could Take No More, And Hurried Outside Away From The Rhythm Of The Music. The Flashing Disco Lights. But Mainly To Get Away From Her. Her Self Importance. Her Confidence And Popularity. He Took A Cigarette From The Packet In His Jacket,And Lit It. Angrily Inhaling The Smoke. So Enjoying The Kick It Gave Him In His Chest. As He Greedily And Hurriedly Inhaled Again And Again. To Feel Yet Another Kick In His Chest, As The Nicotine Began Its Damage To His Body. He Didn’t Care, As It Seemed The More He Inhaled The Smoke The Calmer He Became. As His Anger And Bitterness Calmed Down Somewhat.

            What Gave Her The  Right To Be So Successful, He Demanded. She Did Not Deserve It. That Was For Sure. Most Probably She Had Married Well, To Some Wealthy Business Man. Slept Her Way To The Top. These Were The Thoughts He Consoled Himself With. To Believe Or Learn She Had Become Successful Using Her Own Resources. That Would Have Being Too Much For Him To Take. Like A Knife In Plunged Into His Soul…One Of His Friends From The Dancefloor Had Come To Join Him Outside For A Cigarette, And Relayed The News He So Didn’t Want To Hear. That She Had Indeed Become A Successful Independently Wealthy Woman. An Entrepreneur Under Her Own Volition. Much To The Admiration Of Her Former Fellow Classmates. With No Well To Do Husband Or Partner To Ease The Way For Her.

Staring Out Over The Darkened Car Park, And Upward Towards The Evening  Sky, Asking God Silently Where Was The Justice In The World. His Thoughts Were Interrupted By A Soft Silky Voice That He Instantly Recognised.

                     ‘Hello, I Thought It Was You’.
                     ‘ah Yes, Nice To See You’, He Lied.

He Had Never Liked Her, Even When He First Meet Her All Those Years Ago As They Began Their Teenage Education Together. There Was Just Something About Her, He Did Not Like. Perhaps Sensing, But Not Acknowledging To Himself. That Underneath Her Shyness And Awkwardness, She Had A Certain Charisma, And Warmth. Which Were It Allowed To Shine.Well… He Just Could Not Allow That To Be.
              He Knew What His Mission Was. From The Moment He Met Her, All Those Years Ago, And Throughout Their School Time Together. It Was To Make Her So Miserable And Unhappy, That Hopefully She Would Out Of Despair Gave Up On The Particular School She Was At, And Move Away Elsewhere.

             His  Plan Was To Make Her Very Unpopular Among The Other Pupils. So That Her Time At School Would Become Intolerable. At Least He Had A Few Advantages Over Her. He Was Well Known In The Area. While She Was A Newcomer To The Town. An Outsider. He Already Had A Set Of Friends, Whom He Could Work With To Turn Others Against Her.

The Fact That She Was Pretty, but Quiet Worked To His Advantage. As He Could See Within The First Few Weeks Of Starting Back At School, How The Less Then Pretty Girls Were Quite Envious Of Her. So Began Many Years Of Torment. Which At Times Had Her Running Home To In Tears. Begging To Be Moved To Another School. Another Town. But Her Parents Were Not That Interested In Her Sorry Tales, And Just Told Her She Would Have To Learn To Deal With It. As They Would All Be Living In This Town For Many Years To Come, And There Were No Free Places At Nearby Schools. Distressed Beyond Belief. She Had Considered Running Away. Such Was The Torment.

It Was While Alone In Her Room One Evening Unable To Take Any More Torment, And The Future Looking Bleak And Hopeless That She Took Those Handful Of Pills Taken From Her Mother’s Purse.
         As She Lay On Her Bed And The Room Became Dark. She Felt At Peace. It Was The Rough Handling Of Her Body That Briefly Woke Her. The Shaking, She So Wanted To Sleep.
‘My God Child What Have You Done’, Her Mother’s Screaming Voice So Close To Her. The Distraught Face. The Pleading, Fearful Moist Eyes.
Screaming To Her Husband, Downstairs, ’call An Ambulance, Call A Bloody Ambulance’.

She Pulled The Lifeless, Rag Like Body Of Her Beloved Only Daughter Close To Her, And Held Her Tight. Stroked Her Untidy Hair. Willing Her To Wake Up. Her Husband Took The Stairs Three At A Time, And Clambered Into The Bedroom At Speed, Nearly Falling Over His Wife As She Held The Failing Body Of Their Only Child.

‘Did You Call The Ambulance, Well Did You’.

Unable To Answer He Just Took In The Scene Before His Eyes. The Unmade Bed, The Half Empty Bottle Of Pills Strewn On The Carpet.

‘Did You’, The Scream Jolted Him, As He Nodded Yes.

‘Jesus What Have We Done’….

          The Paramedics Arrived And Set About Their Work Swiftly. They Ushered The Terrified Parents Away From The Bed, And The Child. Turning Her On Her Side, Into The Recovery Position, If There Was To Be A Recovery. They Set About Resuscitating Her. Firstly By Putting Two Fingers In Her Mouth And Towards The Back Of Her Throat. The Unconscious Child, Retched And Coughed. But No Material Was Expunged. The Seasoned Paramedics,  Repeated The Procedure Again. This Time Putting The His Fingers Further Back Into The Young Girls Mouth, So That She Would Empty The Contents Of Her Stomach.
 It Was Some Weeks Later Before She Was Released From The Hospital. There Was Talk Of Psychiatrists.

       He Had Not Reckoned On A Wiley Old Nun Who After Many Many Years Of Teaching Was Well Aware Of How Petty Jealousies And Psychological Dysfunction Manifested Itself In Teenage Children. She Watched From Afar Everyday How This Girl Was Being Ostracized And Sidelined By Many At The School. Having Come From A Dysfunctional Family Herself, She Knew How Wretched People Can Be To One Another At Times, Whether They Be Young Or Old, And Was Determined One Way Or Another To Help This Young Girl.

As She Yet Again Walked Alone In The School Yard, On A Bracing Autumn Day. The Nun Approached Her

‘How Do You Like Your New School’,

                   She Was Startled By The Voice, By The Approach, Somebody Actually Speaking To Her At The School. Looking Up From The Hunched Over Posture She Had Come To Adopt In School. To Become Invisible To Others. So To Hopefully Have Some Peace.

‘It’s Okay’, she lied.

   Sister Gertrude Was Wise Enough Not To Be Crass And Insensitive. She Knew She Would Have To Tread Gently. To Lift This Poor Child Up. To Restore And Rebuild What Little Was Left Of Her Self Esteem.

‘We Speak About You In The Staff Room. By All Accounts You’re One Of The Stars Of The English Class’, She Lied.

She Smiled At Hearing That. Not Having Heard Praise From Another For Quite Some Time.

‘I Would Like To Hear Some Of Your Writing, Would You Be Willing To Share It ?’

‘Well Come Here Tomorrow, Same Time, And We’ll Sit On The Benches Over There, And You Can Read, And I’ll Listen. I Have To Go Now. It’s Emily,Isn’t It.’

‘Yes’, Smiling Slightly, For The First Time, In A Long While.

Emily Made Her Way Back To The Classroom, For The Afternoon Lessons. Was Her Back, Just A Small Bit Straighter. Was Her Head Held Up, Just A Little Bit Higher. Was That Just The Beginnings Of A Small Smile On Her Face ?

                               The Afternoon Classes Seemed To Fly By So Very Quickly. In The Silent World She Had Become So Used To. Except When It Was Broken By The Cruelty, The Snide Remarks. The Looks That Could Kill, Of Her So Called Classmates. But None Of That Seemed To Matter Today, As She Looked Forward To Meeting And Reading For Sister Gertrude The Following Day.

                  The Evening Passed Quickly. Then The Night Time. But Sleep Was Hard To Come By. Was It Excitement. Dread Or Fear. Or Perhaps A Combination Of All Three, That Was Preventing A Restful Night. In The Morning She Arose Early, And Searched In Her Bedside Cabinet For Her Journal Where She Secretly Keep Her Writing Journal. In Which She Detailed Her Private Thoughts And Desires. Her Deep Sense Of Loneliness, Isolation And Emptiness. Her Yearning And Longing For Friendly Human Contact Among Her Classmates. Somebody, Anybody, to speak to her, in a friendly manner. Her Thoughts Of Anguished Despair. Her Violent, Angry Wishes For The Perpetrators Of Her Unhappiness, to be punished severely for their cruelty.

       No One Had Ever Seen The Inside Of The Journal. Not A Soul.

‘Are You Looking For Something’, His Smirke Telling Her He Had Yet Again Intruded Into The Privacy Of Her Bedroom. How Many More Times Must She Plead With Her Parents To Put A Lock On Her Door. She Was After All, Fourteen Years Old Now. Not A Woman, But A Growing Young Girl.

‘Give It Back, What Have You Done With It, Give It Back Right Now’.

She Chased. He Ran. Down The Stairway And Out Into The Garden. He Ran To The Bottom Of The Garden, And From The Bushes Picked Up Her Hard Cover Red Journal, And Waved It In Front Of Her. Teasing Her. The Sunshine Shone Down Onto The Garden, And Made The Pool Look So Inviting. He Stood One Side Of The Pool, And She The Other. Sneering At Each Other. He Held It Out Over The Inviting Blue Water.

‘You Pay Me $20 Or It’s Going In The Pool’, He Laughed.
‘Give It Back Now’.
‘$20 Or It’s Good Bye Journal’

Weighing Up Her Options $20 Didn’t Seem Too High A Price To Get Back Her Writing.

‘Ok, $20 It Is Then, I’ll Just Go Back To My Room And Get It’.

She Left The Garden, And Her Kid Brother By The Pool, And Ran Back Upstairs To Her Bedroom, And Retrieved The Cash She Had Been Saving In The Jar. Her Running Away Fund, She Liked To Call It.

She Ran Down The Stairs Again, Before Her Mischievous Kid Brother Changed His Mind.

‘Ok, Here’s Your $20 Dollars’, And Like An Exchange Of World War Two Prisoners,They Met Halfway Round The Pool, He Handed Her The Red Writing Journal. With A Mischievous Grin And She Held The $20 In Her Left Hand, Possessed By Some Demon, She Used Her Other Hand To Slap Him Very Hard Across The Face. Such Was The Force He Fell To His Knees, By The Edge Of The Pool, Feel Forward And His Head Made Hard Contact With Marble Flooring. She Watched Transfixed As Blood Began To Seep Slowly From The Wound And Into The Clear Blue Water Of The Pool.

‘Get Up’, She Ordered Him. Familiar With Mischievous Ways. But There Was No Movement

‘Right You Two, Whats Going On Here ? , Her Mother Demanded.
‘He Has Being Into My Room Again, And Taken My Journal, And Its Private, And Personal’.

Do you think that matters now. Look at him,’ she screamed angrily and bent down and examed her son. She noted the perspiration on his forehead, and labored breathing. Gently she shock his shoulders, but he was unresponsive. For the second time in a few short months, an ambulance was called to the house. Emily ran from the scene , and her Mothers understandable anger and weeping, and back to her room, and locked her door. Her private diary mattered little, now. How she castigated herself for her actions. Alone in the darkness of her room, she listened as the ambulance arrived and took her young, unresponsive brother and now hysterical Mother to the hospital.

        A long sleepiness night followed. Thats what much regret and recrimination does that to a person. It was two days later before her parents returned home. She listened intently from her bedroom, as they argued and threw accusations back and forward between each other. To be finished by the slamming of doors, and then silence. Emily dreaded the following morning, where she knew she would have to make an appearance at the breakfast table. But she also had to find out what had happened to her brother, as the result of her actions.
Finally the morning arrived, and the dreaded breakfast time. Emily was first to take her place in the kitchen, followed shortly after by her Father. The slamming of the door upstairs and the heavy footsteps, and the angry calling of her name, announced the arrival of her Mother.

He’ll may never walk again, possibly never talk again, maybe be in a persistent vegetative state for life.  Are you satisfied now, you foolish, selfish girl’. Her voice, loud, angry and cold. The words cut deep.

She looked to her Father for comfort as she had done in similar situations in the past, but he just turned his gaze away from her, and onto the garden.

‘I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry. Please when can I see him’.

No one answered, again Emily retreated swiftly, from the cold, unfriendly atmosphere of the kitchen to the privacy  of her room, and locked the door. Many similar days followed. The cold , angry atmosphere changed little. She never got to see her brother at the hospital. The relationship between her parents seemed to get worse. Her Mother taking to drinking copiousness amounts of alcohol, nightly, to deal with the ongoing situation with her son, and his never ending hospital incarceration.
The relationship between Mother and daughter never improved much from thoses days. The relationship with her Father, who silently blamed her for his sons incurable condition, was not much better. Near enough being shunned by her parants, only added to her overwhealming sense of wothlessness and guilt, self hate and recrimation. Add to that the issues she faced at school, her life was miserable beyond belief.
It was through her writing where she found solace. Where she could divulge her innermost thoughts and desires, in privacy. Where she could write of her loneliness and despair, regret and guilt.




Photo credit :

‘You are free’, she whispered, and gently blew the ashes into the wind, that quickly swept them away, towards the ocean. Her favourite place, when she was alive. The place where she sought solace. Where she often walked alone by the ocean and  gained some peace, and strength, when life and the people in it, became unbearable.

Now she could have permanent peace. Away from them. Away from the others. Away from everybody, who strove to be cruel, to betray, to lie and deceive. People she felt and believed she could trust to the ends of the earth. Proved they were not the infallible humans she perceived them to be. Relationships she believed to be rock solid, were not, as it turned out, all that they seemed. Vulnerabilities shared, and now misused, as cruel, thoughtless weapons. Wounded taken aback by how quickly some people she thought she knew inside out, and trusted to the absolute up most degree, could turn for no apparent reason. To leave others reeling from the ferocity of their venom filled words. Trust shattered and now broken, forever. Would they care now ? Perhaps for a few brief moments, and then life as ever would move on quickly.
Was it a misunderstanding. A mis-communication. Not that it mattered now. She was gone, and would not be coming back. It was one way, the only way out  it seemed to her. A cowards way out to some. But who are they to judge. They didn’t have her life. A person trapped in impossible, never-ending situations she did not want, with people she’d rather not be with.

Perhaps life is better there, wherever there is, who knows. Is there even anything out there, again who knows. Her sister blew the ashes  of her troubled older sibling she knew only fleetingly, into the wind, and wished her love and contentment on her final journey to the hereafter.

Written in a response to a photo prompt seen here :