The Train Ride

I breathed a sigh of relief as I slid into my seat, which was thankfully unoccupied. Plonking my belongings on the plastic table with the typical Monday-morning monotony. The familiar feel of the ridge where the seat had worn with time was a strange comfort. As the train clunked into motion, groggy as the bodies inside, my hand pressed deeper into the cushiony filling with the curiosity of a child.

***

Just in time. I catch my breath as the train pulls up. Fumbling for my ticket, a jangle of keys and coins, and relieved sigh puffs from my lips. I straighten it out, smoothing my fingers over the creases.

***


After sliding my glasses back up for the hundredth time, I dumped them on the table, perhaps a little too carelessly. The fuzzy shapes merged together like I’d dunked a painting in water and the colours had seeped into a blurry brown, vaguely resembling the original shape. I loved playing this game at night, driving through the city, watching all of the lights twinkle against the blackness.

 ***

The air is tangy with the scent of stale coffee. I scoot into the nearest seat. Beside me, behind the pages of a newspaper, is a wrinkled forehead. I wonder whether the wrinkles are from concentration or age, and settle for a bit of both. Still, the guy is oblivious to me. I shift my gaze, scanning the carriage like a bored child in search of amusement. Immediately a pair of dark eyes lock on to mine, peeking from under a thick, black fringe. Before I wonder why, my eyes wander to her mouth. Lips slightly parted, the kind of mouth that speaks without words. Just a creeping smile or tentative twist of the lips movement will tell you everything;. Her eyes are still fixed on me. She’s too far away to tell, but there’s a lost look in her. Is she daydreaming? She looks too resolute for that. Do I stare back? A wave of embarrassment flushes my cheeks. I fiddle with the ticket, smoothing out the creases. When I return my gaze she has gone.

***

My glasses bobbed up and down slightly as I hurried down the stairs. Curly black tendrils flew wildly in the wind. I’d missed my stop. A taxi was my only hope to get to the meeting on time. Why did I let myself lose track of time again? Between heavy breaths I let out curses. I needed to pull myself together. And start running.

The taxi driver asked a second time where I wanted to go. As I stared at the stranger in the car, who waited for my answer, forehead creased, I didn’t tell him the office building. Quietly, the name fell from my lips as I remembered. Jake.

***

I am walking. My legs take me to the space she left. It’s only on reaching it that I realise what I am doing. I stare at the seat, torn and faded, with stuffing poking out of the corners. Scratched into the plastic table is a wonky flower. An empty coffee cup and a newspaper. Peeking in the corner of the first page is a yellow post-it note. “Don’t be late for meeting! Bread. Cheese.” Then underneath, crossed out twice, “Break up with–.” Beside it, crossed out once, “Tell Jake.” Poor guy, I mutter. I slide into the seat, examining the long, cursive letters. My foot meets an object on the floor. A glasses case. The same looping handwriting is inside the empty case. Dorothy Poole.

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The Endless Web

In the silver dusk the slender black limbs stretched towards the last glimmers of dwindling light. Winter had stripped leaves and cast a stony silence in the air, only to be cut by the shrill sounds of the wind.

Within the depths of the sinews below – winding ribbons the ashy shade of a thunderous sky – a movement broke the stillness. The weaving strands seemed to cavort, twisting and turning, until a spiral opened up the dry earth. Pale fingers arose. Through the haze delicate arms were revealed.

She clambered upwards, untangling herself from the silvery sinews that had entwined her body like a spider’s web. In the struggle to pull up the great plumes of her skirt, the red ribbon that held her hair neatly was ripped against the black bark of a nearby trunk. As she rose to her feet, sleek, a soft cascade of chestnut hair flowed down her back. Her startled eyes drank the scene.

Before she could step forward, a creature swept towards her with white wings, speckled with gold. The owl plunged not at the girl, but to where the twisting streams of her entrance. Exposed, the red ribbon was laid limp, like the body of a wounded soldier left to die. Rescued by the soft feathered creature, the ribbon was carried to its owner. The sharp talons left only half the ribbon in the hands of the girl. She clutched at the strand, staring first at the frayed end; then, fearfully, she eyed the huge bird before her small frame. A quiet gasp. Dark eyes rimmed with deep blue just like her own. But these had a strength to them – these eyes were wise. She blinked and yet the flutter of her eyelashes did not change what she saw.

It was at this moment, during her realisation, that her mind was cast back to the last time she had visited the forest. Her face had been even more delicate, yet to be carved with the beauty, the raised cheekbones of a princess. While her hands were not built with the strength of a woman, her slight body was able to wind its own way out of the tangled streams.

She remembered those years of stumbling through different worlds, falling into the depths as the spiralling bands pulled her dainty feet. Sinking into darkness and rising up through the next weaving ribbons of grey. Aimlessly wandering through the abandoned places until her next fall.

Those had been long forgotten memories, just bad nightmares, until now. Now there was no escape.

***

The owl had gone when she opened her eyes. She felt the prickles of sweat beading on her temples, but began to run. She was so fast, dashing to dodge the towering trees, that her feet were unharmed by the threatening looms of ashen grey. But soon she became tired. Not because her body was exhausted, but because she was lost. Everywhere was the same: desolate silver air pierced by the shrieking wind; misty grey sky shattered into pieces by the fine branches. She felt a ring of the cold grey vine snag her foot. Like an animal she had been caught. She felt herself lose control of her body, plummeting down. Soon the darkness encased her completely. She closed her eyes, to shut out this strange and haunting world. But this couldn’t stop the dizzying feeling as she tumbled through time, spinning madly. Her hands trembled, still clutching at the ribbon.

When she finally felt stable and the dizziness had died away, she opened her eyes slowly. She could feel the dim light of her next world filtering through the threads above her. This time she didn’t reach up and explore the next place. She couldn’t bear it any longer. Even the weight of the strands pushing down on her shoulders was too much knowing what it was. Knowing that in every fibre was the soul of another of the dead. That was what pulled her down every time – their desperation. She knew that if she stayed she would only join them, she would only be consumed by the darkness and become eternally ensnared in the endless web. The only other hope was to become a guardian. But hers had left her in her thoughtful daze, so how could she hope to become one?

Maybe it’s time, she thought. A last look into the pale light. For the last time, she closed her eyes.

***

Her wings were beautiful and golden.

(748 words)


This is a response to the Grammar Ghoul Press Writing Challenge #14

Word prompt:

Cavort (noun):
Jump or dance around excitedly.
(Definition #1)

Visual prompt:

may-the-reunion

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The Necklace from Last Christmas

“Hi Mum, I can’t talk right now. Sorry, I—” he pushes the ‘loudspeaker’ button and drops his phone on to the armrest of the car seat.

“I know about what happened, Jamie. Your sister told me she bumped into Sam today.” She clutches the phone so tightly to her ear that her hands began to slip with sweat.

“She spoke to Sam?”

“Listen, Jamie, there’s something I need to tell you. I know I should have told you this before—”

“Told me what? When?” he turns to the phone, but doesn’t pick it up.

“I saw Sam with Stewart in a coffee shop a few weeks ago.”

Silence.

“Jamie. Listen, I’m really sorry.I understand if you don’t want to talk to me.”

“No, you don’t understand!” the words tear “How could you not tell me? You just let me carry on, thinking that she loved me. For weeks!”

“I know. It hurt me too much to tell you. But I should have found a way.”

“But you didn’t.” A muscle throbs in his jaw.

The words stifle the air between them; two mouths twisted with hurt in two different cities.

“You don’t love her still, do you?”

He hesitates, “Well how can I, mum? After what she did…”

“You know, I didn’t know if you’d even believe me if I had told you.”

He sighs.

Her voice is quiet but presses on with growing strength as her mouth spills words of attempted comfort:

“I was in the loft earlier and you’d never guess what I found,” she pauses her false cheeriness, hoping for his reply. When there is no sound but distant traffic coming through the receiver she continues, stepping p the cheeriness to the next notch. Only, as her her cheeriness accelerates, so does her obvious desperation.

“Your old notebooks. Do you remember all those stories you wrote? And all the cartoons!”

“Mum, I lied.”

Her whole body drops. In those three words she hears the way his face is screwed up to hold back tears. Her arms sag, useless, unable to wrap themselves around him. Unable to catch the tears on her fingertips until they’ve gone.

“I still love her.”

“Oh, Jamie” she whispers.

A small series of sounds, like the whimpering of an animal in pain, are released from Jamie’s lips. Her face is taut, this time to prevent her own tears.

“Does she know?”

“She wants to be with Stewart.”

“Where are you, honey?”

He isn’t listening. His eyes are fixed in a glazed stare.

“Jamie? Where are you?”

He holds the stare.

“I’m in my car. I can see her from here. She’s still wearing the necklace I bought her last Christmas.God, she’s so beautiful”

“No, Jamie, don’t! Don’t do this…please don’t do this to yourself.”

Silence.

“Wait. I’m on my way”

Hey, Angie

‘Hey, Angie’.

There’s a nervousness in his dark eyes that bemuses me. My gaze flicks from his smile to his hands, which are twirling something green. Mistletoe.

‘Really?’

‘I found it while helping your mom set up the party,’ he smirks.

For a moment it’s just us, as I press my lips to his; Angie and Jake in our perfect cocoon. But then I feel him draw away and detach from me. I follow him to the window. ‘So you stop kissing me just to watch a red squirr–‘ The ball of orange fluff I’d snatched a glance of disappears as a black SUV hurtles past. We are still. The doorbell rings.

(113 words)


This is a response to the Grammar Ghoul Press Writing Challenge #13

This week the prompts were:

Word prompt:

Mistletoe (noun):
A leathery-leaved parasitic plant which grows on apple, oak, and other broadleaf trees and bears white glutinous berries in winter.
(Definition #1)

Visual prompt:

squirrel

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Just Let Me Fly

Water trickles from the tap weakly, cold and numb on my hands. I slap my cheeks and stare at the puffy circles beneath each eye in the grimy mirror. Stale alcohol lingers on my breath. Distant voices blare from the hotel-room’s old TV. I can’t tell what the program is-I don’t care. It’s better than the silence.

I dry my face, dragging the rough cotton over my face. Falling on the linoleum with a small crack, the rail breaks from the wall as I throw the towel. I don’t think. I just kick it against the yellowing bath tub. I kick again and again, as the curses spill from my lips.

I am on the floor. My throat is raw with the taste of bile. Flexing my fingers, I feel jagged pieces of plastic dig into my skin. There’s a pile of them circling my aching body. I slide them into a line. None of the edges fit together anymore. I stare at the wall and the only signs of damage are the two metal hooks, which are still intact. Leaving the broken pieces, I drag myself out to the balcony, letting the noise from the TV drift from the open door. A stretch of blistering orange behind bleak buildings. The street below is empty, apart from two children who are chasing each other up and down. A boy of no more than twelve and a girl of eight. She screams as he darts towards her with a stick. I don’t understand what they are saying.

***

Two sets of eyes stare down at me. I can’t hear the words they whisper. Neither of them remove their gaze from my face. Knotty brown tendrils fall from the young face and tickle my cheek. Still not faltering the stare, as she lowers her face towards mine I feel her small hands curl round my shoulders. She bats away the older arms that try to pull hers away.  Attempting to shake me, her face contorts with the strain. I don’t move. Then, droplets splatter on my face and in my eyes. Some fall down my cheeks and into my mouth. I can taste her salty tears. She closes her eyes slowly, tears coating her long eyelashes. An arm embraces her and she is pulled away.

I stare up at the thinning strip of sun. I cannot move. All I feel is the hard concrete beneath me. Sticky pools of crimson glue my limbs to the ground. Why did I jump?

***

In the breeze, my t-shirt ripples across my back and chest. My knees shake slightly as I edge my feet forward slightly. My heart beats fast in my mouth, my head, and my ears.

I whisper to the air: Just take me, just let me fly, even if I fall. I don’t belong here. I don’t belong anywhere.

I want to turn up the volume of the TV, but I have gone too far to go back. I remember the bridge. Looking down at the grey concrete I wonder, would the river have been any better?

A strangled shriek shoots my eyes towards the little girl. She is yanking her brother’s arm, pointing at me, but it is too late He sees me, too. Shaking my head, I step down, off the edge. ‘I wasn’t going to-‘ I stop because they don’t understand. With all my strength I tug the corners of my mouth upwards. But I cannot smile. Even from this distance, I can see her lips trembling. My head is still shaking. I step away from them; I don’t want their innocent eyes on me. They can’t see me, not like this.

I perch on the bed again, staring at the TV, but not watching it. Just shapes moving around, just colours. I recognise the voices…Richard Gere. I try to focus on the shapes. Slowly, the figures on the screen become clearer. It is Richard Gere. And what’s-his-name. I know the film because it’s Jeanne’s favourite.

***

I can feel her laughing. Her golden hair falling in waves down her back. She shouts, imitating the accent, “Did you see that bodacious set of tatas?” Laughter bursts from my lips.

What is the name of that goddamned film? I turn the TV off.

***

Even if I had stayed, even if she were sitting beside me in this moment, she would still be a hundred miles away. A distance I will never get back.

(742 words)


This is a response to the Grammar Ghoul Press Writing Challenge #6

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This week’s prompts were:

Bodacious

homesickness

Homesickness by  René Magritte

Also, the film I was referring to was ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’, which was where I found the inspiration of how to use bodacious in my story.

When I Could Finally Breathe

I watched the sheets of water crash down on to the pavement, which glinted in the pale moonlight. Once again, the thoughts rose in my belly and into my throat. He was choking me. The dark eyes, the familiar earthy scent wrapped around my skin, encasing my body in the memory of him. He’s not here anymore, he has gone, I tell myself. But my mind wanders on through every trace of him that is left to swallow. The blue T-shirt. The deep laugh, a contagious rumbling. I hadn’t laughed for months.

***

The hat still rested on the table, ‘Taylor Swift’ printed across it. Running my finger over the stitching, I could feel his smile.

‘Okay, okay,’ he waved his hands in the air in surrender. His arms were so long that they nearly hit the roof of the car.  ‘You’re right. I did like the concert. She actually can sing.’

‘Actually can sing!’ I scoffed, ‘You loved it!’ His smile burst into a chuckle. He mussed up my hair, grinning as I scowled at him and plonked the hat on top. Then, he leaned in to whisper, ‘She’s pretty hot,too.’ Laughing at my poor attempt to punch him, he grabbed my waist and the war began. Fits of giggles erupted, as we tickled each other, filling the air with our flood of happiness.

‘I love you,’ the words escaped his lips breathlessly. It was the first time he had ever spoken those words to me. My mouth dropped open. And slowly, it curved into the biggest smile. ‘I love you,too.’

He shifted the handbrake and we drove home.

***

Zipping up my coat, I cursed as it jammed. Screw it. I threw the layer of warmth and protection on the floor. The thud of the rain hitting the pavement like bullets entranced me, guiding me to the front door. With one swift motion I was under the fire of the blades of water.

Every strike pierced another memory. Carrying every trace of him, flowing over my skin and away, coursing along the shimmering ground. My skin was alight with the explosions of each tiny droplet as it fired against me. The grip around my throat had melted away, soaked into my sodden clothes. The buzz of numbness, the shock of the coldness against my skin made me alive. Electricity fired through my veins. No longer the heavy shroud of pain. My heartbeat raced faster than it ever had with him. That’s when I could finally breathe.

The Hub Challenge #2: Planting a Lyric Seed

The Prompt – Run (or walk) to the nearest music playing device (radio, iPod, record player, 8-track) and turn it on.  Select a lyric from the first, random song you hear.  Use that lyric in a piece of writing of your choosing (fiction, non-fiction, poem, letter, etc.).  The Twist – work the name of the artist into your writing as well.

I was inspired to write this by Taylor Swift’s “Clean” from her new album 1989.

Unrequited Love

In the bitter air Guy’s lips trembled slightly. He took time wandering across the bustle of the city street, secretly revelling in the chance to watch the tall figure who hadn’t yet seen him.  Against the black sky, the object of his stares stood, his jaw illuminated by the streetlight. With his arms crossed over his chest, the man leaned and threw casual glances every now and again to check his friend had not passed by. He didn’t understand how impossible that could be.

Guy composed himself, but he could not control his racing thoughts. Approaching his friend, they shared a greeting smile.

‘Patrick,’ his breath flowed out in plumes of white in the cold air. Glad of this distraction from his burning secret he was sure his eyes and fixed mouth betrayed, he allowed his friend to speak.

‘It’s great to see you! I’ve been so busy since Caitlin had the baby. God, the business has taken off, too-I’m working late almost every night. But, honestly, it’s great,’ he sighed with a pensive smile, ‘Anyway, enough of me. How are you, Guy?’ He shoved his friend’s arm, which was considerably smaller than his. Guy nodded and shifted his weight from side to side.

Following Patrick’s lead, they advanced to cross the street. Patrick was oblivious to Guy’s peripheral glances, stolen and short. ‘I’ve been good. Yeah, just um,’ he paused. He was distracted, lost in the strong lines and curves.

‘So what made you recommend here?’ Patrick motioned to the facade of the museum, aged and invaded by moss, long from its former glory.

‘I’ve been getting into art again, especially Bacon,’ he raised his voice over the buzzing engines as they reached the other side of the street. Slick with fresh rain, the pavement glimmered. It was yet to freeze over.

‘Oh,’ Patrick turned to his friend, a surprised but amiable expression crossing his face. ‘Have you been painting anything yourself?’

‘No.’

Guy almost forced his hand to his forehead out of frustration. He had said it too quickly. He was sure his lies had been revealed. Yet Patrick continued his confident stride up the steps, absent-minded. Relief filled Guy’s chest. Nothing could stop him from thinking of his paintings. They flashed in his mind. All beautiful and strong, just as he had imagined it would be, but he had always go the same thing wrong. He could never get the mouth right.

‘It’s a shame,’ Guy adjusted himself as they entered the warmth of the museum, which was white with sparkling polished floors. ‘Caitlin always loved your work.’

Guy almost laughed. But he managed to restrain himself. She certainly would not love his most recent work. He thought of her body, limp and lifeless, broken and beaten-dead. Stop, he told himself. He had to be more careful.

‘She’ll be here in half an hour,’ Patrick flicked the glare of his phone screen off and shoved it back into his pocket. ‘Do you think we could wait in the entrance for her, or did you want to start?’

I could wait all night, Guy’s lips crept into a smirk. ‘Yes,’ he turned to the doors, where the rush of the city could still be faintly heard, ‘Sure.’

Seated in the tired old chairs of the museum entrance, surrounded by cabinets of faded leaflets, Patrick tried to question his friend. Concern, unable to be concealed, twisted his mouth. The small talk was over, now he had to ask the question. Guy was preoccupied with his carefully laid out plans. If it wasn’t for the thrill of thoughts of what was to come of the night, he would have snatched more lustful looks.

‘How are you, really? Are you okay?’ Patrick looked down, ‘I know it’s been two years since your… breakdown, but–‘ He trailed off. He didn’t know how to end that sentence, or, more importantly, if he wanted to.

‘I’m fine,’ he tried to look sincere, but he was annoyed. Why did he have to bring that up?  

Soon, he would get what he wanted. He held in a burst of excitement as he imagined their screaming faces, contorted with pain. Slipping his hand into his coat pocket, he felt the cool blade of the knife. Soon. Then, he would get the mouth right-the mouth would be perfect. Through the glass door he saw her blonde head bob out of the taxi. Now it’s time. Now, whatever consequences I reap

(743 words)

FrancisBacon-PopeX


This is a response to the Grammar Ghoul Press Writing Challenge. 

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Glitter, Blood and Tears

A whirlwind of profanities flew from the glossy red lips of Jessica. The driver waved her manicured fingers dismissively in response, though she bit her lip.

‘No phone signal’ muttered Sarah, who hadn’t spoken for some time. Far from their usual haunt, the small broken-down car was swallowed by the green hills of the seemingly endless countryside. Against the bleak grey clouds, they looked like a trio of clowns in their sequins and makeup.

‘We’ll just have to walk to the nearest petrol station,’ Layla sighed. Turning to see vacant eyes, she slammed her hands against the steering wheel and left, alone. The clack of high heels gradually faded away as she stormed down the hill. Jessica continued cursing under her breath, stroking her fingers through her long brown hair. The day was dwindling away, darkness rising through the cloud.

‘Do you think Brad will find us?’ Sarah asked anxiously.

Jessica didn’t turn, just spoke through gritted teeth, ‘Not if you can’t ring or text him.’

‘I told him we’re lost, and he knows we’re supposed to be going to the club.’

‘Lost in the middle of nowhere. There’s no way he’ll find us.’

When darkness filled the sky, Layla had still not returned. The car keys lay on the empty seat. A little shoe key-ring glinted in the dim interior car lights. The low, steady snoring still didn’t calm Sarah’s nerves as she stared into the emptiness. Sarah reached forward and grabbed Jessica’s arm. Grunting, Jessica flapped her away. ‘Okay, okay.’ She brushed her hand across her face, rubbing the sleep away, and opened the car door. ‘I’ll go and have a look. Ten minutes. You stay here.’

Just like before, the clack of high heels against the concrete gradually died away.

As a light appeared, shining towards the car, Sarah shouted ‘It’s Brad!’ Her wide eyes focused on the bright headlights of the oncoming car. Hastily unfastening her seat belt, she slid out of the car into the night air. But as her jeweled high heel reached the ground, it slipped, twisting her ankle. Like a drunk, she lost control of her body, falling on to the muddy road. Her flailing hands were concealed by a blanket of blackness.

Gulping breaths of cold air, Sarah felt the sticky blood flow down her leg. Cowering underneath the body of the unfamiliar car, she let out a small cry. Immediately she felt the hands of a stranger pulling her out. ‘I’m so sorry. Oh my god. I’m so sorry,’ a hoarse voice spoke quietly. Dizzy, all Sarah could do was reach out to the man for support. Guiding her back to the car, wincing, the wrinkles deepened in the old man’s face, as he struggled to hold her up.’You’re not Brad,’ she whispered.

A sudden scream startled the strangers. The man nearly dropped Sarah, both out of shock and weakness. ‘Jessica!’ Sarah cried, recognizing the scream of her friend. The scream echoed through the hills again. It was distant.

‘I’m sorry, but I can’t help you any further.’

Sarah’s eyes-wild with pain and fear- stared into the stranger’s. She saw his pain and sighed heavily. Shaking her head, she limped forward, towards the screams. ‘I think you’ve broken your leg. You can’t walk on it!’ he protested. But she struggled forward. Speaking through shallow breaths, she told him she didn’t care.  As far away from the night clubbing she had imagined, instead of glitter and makeup, her body was adorned with blood and tears.

‘An ambulance is on its way!’ The man shouted, but she wasn’t listening. Blinking back the tears, she followed the screams. But soon she struggled to fight the blackness. It was so dark, she stumbled into thorny bushes. All over her skin, she felt the jab of thorns. Giving up, she allowed the pain to take her consciousness.

Just as her muscles relaxed, allowing gravity to push her body to the floor, the piercing ambulance sirens brought her back. Drifting in and out of consciousness, different faces appeared and disappeared again into the blackness. The old man. And ambulance person. Jessica. Words became blurred into a single noise. The last thing Sarah heard clearly before the blackness took her was Jessica’s voice. ‘Yes, her name is-I mean, was- Layla Richards’ She could hear the tears choking her every word. And finally, ‘Stabbed.’

The Grammar Ghoul Press Writing Challenge

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The Brown Leather Jacket

Writing 101: Third Time’s the Charm

It had been a long day. With only an hour to go, my weary eyes flickered from the clock to my work, and back to the clock. My hands continued to lift items from the boxes, but my mind was only half aware of those items. It wasn’t the brown leather jacket that grabbed my fading attention, but the contents of the pockets. At first, rummaging through someone’s pockets had seemed like an invasion of privacy. But after the days and weeks of having to look for any sign of the owner, I had become accustomed to this part of my job.

Time had cracked the leather along the edges and frayed the lining. Inside the pockets, I fished out a scrunched up tissue. Just as I dropped it into the bin along with the countless other pieces of rubbish, out rolled a white stick. A pregnancy test stick. Leaning in to grab it, a piece of chewing gum stuck to my gloves. But I didn’t care; the stick was positive.

With a new pair of gloves on, the stick still in my hand, I stared at the two lines. So many questions bubbled to the surface of my thoughts. What had happened to this woman? Did she have the baby? Who is she?

My hands trembled as I placed the stick on my desk, on top of a fresh tissue. I went back to the jacket, nervous for what else I might find. This time, out of the pocket fell a crimson lipstick and piece of folded up paper. As I unfolded the thin sheet, I saw the words, written with an eyeliner pencil: ‘Dear Vince’

But there was no message to this Vince. Just the brown ring of a coffee cup and splodges of what could only have been tears. The questions buzzed in my mind, so many, I could not process them all.

Staring at the scrawled letters, I wondered if they would have ever been read by Vince. Was she going to finish the letter? Or was it destined to be lost, here or dumped in a bin?

Whoever this girl was, something told me that she wouldn’t want to find this jacket. She wouldn’t want to stare at the two lines on the little stick; she wouldn’t want to open up the words she couldn’t finish and she wouldn’t want to run her finger over her own tears of the past.

Dear Emma

Dear Emma,

I’m sorry about your funeral. I know it will be nothing like the way you would want it, but you never thought you’d have to  plan your funeral at twenty one. Your family probably mean the best for you, and I know how much they miss you. I want you to know that.

It’s been a week today. The funeral is this afternoon and I have my black suit laid out on the bed. I still wake up every morning and forget in that first fatigued moment that you’re not here anymore. But, I am beginning to accept, in small steps, that there’s no way I can bring you back. There’s no way to reverse time, reverse that car. You’d probably blame yourself, but I know you’re too careful.

My mind keeps replaying that night. You’d been gone for hours before I got the call. Your parents first, then some other relatives, then your best friends. And finally, Katie rang me. I wished so much that I didn’t have to meet your parents for the first time in the hospital through tears. Nobody expect Katie and Erin even knew me. The tall dark haired guy dabbing his tears with his sleeve.

I told myself and keep telling myself that you’d want me to be happy; and I know I’d want the same if our positions were reversed. God, why couldn’t it have been me?

Still, I can’t bear to put that suit on. How do I tell these strangers that I loved their Emma, when it is you I want to tell? I love you, it’s as simple as that. No frills necessary. You always knew that’s the way I am. And I like to think that you liked me because of it.

When we met at uni, only eight months ago, I remember how you hated me. I was too lazy, while you slogged away only to do just as well as me. Your messy blonde hair would always be buried in a book in the library. It took you weeks to realize that despite my laid back attitude, I frequented the library as much as you. Those first times we caught each other’s eyes, I remember the sizzle of surprise light up your big dark eyes. The first time you spoke, asking playfully if I was stalking you, and I had to remind you we were one the same course. Now I have to stalk through those long library corridors alone, your messy mop of yellow gone.

It took  me a long time to convince you to go on a date, and then it turned out to be a disaster anyway! Do you remember, I took you bowling and accidentally dropped the ball on your foot? Not so smooth… Yet, something made you allow me to take you out again. And again. Then, finally you were my girlfriend.

I never told you those three little words enough. You deserved so much better than me, so much more in this life you’d been working so hard to lead. I know you would have been a bad-ass teacher, and a bad-ass mother for that matter. You had so much love to give to the children you wanted to teach one day, and the children you never got to have. And all that love was taken away from the world.

I can hear Katie on the phone. She let me stay here, at her house for the funeral. It’s so weird seeing your hometown, your life before us. The suit is still folded neatly on Katie’s flowery duvet. My hands are trembling. Emma, I’m doing this for you. I will put on that suit and walk into the church and it doesn’t matter if I cry, or if I mess up my words, because I love you. I’m sorry for all the wrongs done to you in dying so young and so full of hope for the future. I’m sorry I wasn’t more worthy of you. But I loved you and I do and I will, forever. It hurts so much. I love you, Emma.

Yours,

Will

Prompt: Writing 101: To Whom it May Concern