Heather Farley shares a a short story she wrote about a difficult topic. 


I. After she felt nothing. Her concern was for her parents; ‘where were you ’til so late, I thought you were just with friends?’ were their words; the specifics and smells for some reason stayed with her far longer than the events, the reality. In fact, reality never was, nor never will be truth on that godforsaken night. In its place; forget me nots and things she desperately wanted to forget. Truth was not something known that Hogmanay. The world came to them, partied, drank and discovered their dirty little secrets. Yet they lived above it all in a bubble of wealth.

The Mercedes was gone from the drive, ‘oh don’t worry darling, they’re at a dinner party,’ plastic’s painted face motioned to her, as she stepped into the wilderness people called socializing. Ever since her diagnosis people had become some distance creature the town’s folk tell you myths about in country western films. Alone and a little embarrassed she laughed to herself, seeing Nick with his beloved invitation. And thus, with Mr Caraway style, she drank. She drank with them, like one of their own, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, rather, a lamb in lion’s clothing.


II. They watched the fireworks explode. Their toxins pouring into their skies, bringing with it an adrenaline-fueled beauty. Rather like he did for her. He held her, she collapsed into his torso, the well-known Barbour wax scratched her face like sandpaper, but she did not feel it. She felt the alcohol, the slight spatter of socialites gossip and him. She felt him; his hand strolls down the side of her hip, shoulders flex around her head. He kissed her as the chimes roared and the hysteria of hugs began, drawing away she looked up at his cool blue eyes. It was quiet and destructive, the look in those eyes, so sincere; a dim light in the peace of that winter’s night. They walked the streets, wandered into his drinking cabinet, and waltzed to his bed. And slowly, but all at once; the forget me nots turned into memories she wished to forget. She was a deer in a forest without hunters; she knew there was something to fear, but was blind to her hunter. She felt the alcohol fail her as he mounted her. It wasn’t going to tide her through. Her conscious possessed her to stop. She possessed him to stop, begged him, literally on her knees. The deer died in oblivion and ignorance of its cold-blooded killer. His charm and smile would catch out a pretty little fool any day. He, the ‘baddy’ dressed up as the ‘goody’ in children’s tales. The grandma with big ears and sharp teeth. Harmless ’til he’s hungry and his little red riding hood is all he has left to eat. He held her as she collapsed into him again, like she had an hour, a year ago. This time he held her down, she only collapsed into his bed after he finally released his grip.


III. She felt nothing after. After ‘what’ was her most pressing thought, his being, compliments of her mouth. On that night, a night of two years, two individuals and one bed. A night that changes the fundamentals, 2014 to 2015, desire to despair, friend to stranger, angel to devil; innocent to corrupted.

That night more than beauty was broken, she was a fragile Russian doll with a perfect exterior. Open her up, like he did, and you find fragments of layers that once were part of her. He broke the insides and put her back in a beautiful cage. Selfishly let her carry shattered glass around inside her, while his armour remained in tact. That night, she didn’t know, wondered if she’ll ever really know what he took. How many layers he cracked, tore ripped apart with his strength…

Her mind cried flames of mental illness, burnt the rope tying her to him, burning the rope holding her neck. She screamed inside; smiles wide on the outside and begs herself to stop descending. A year, tormented relationships, diminishing friendships, sanity which faded like her drugs, all those black out nights later;

She knew.

He took something she didn’t even know she had lost. She saw it in the afterglow of her dreams. Felt it in the raindrops of poison drenching her face. That New Years night, she lived for seconds and died for moments.



Heather Farley