author, Short Story, writing

A Different Trip: A Short Story

I stared up at the glowing board, carefully doing the math in my head. 2pm boarding. Diaper change at 1:45. Get milk ready on plane. When is he supposed to nap? Will he even sleep in the air?

My husband glanced over at me, concern etched into his eyebrows. I could feel my leg jigging up and down, a nervous twitch I never outgrew. My son was playing in the stroller, happily smashing toys together, oblivious to his mothers distress.

“We were allowed his diaper bag to carry on, right?” I questioned, suddenly doubting everything I’d heard from the staff.

“It’s fine,” replied my husband.

He sounded slightly annoyed. How many times had I asked that? So many scenarios were running through my head. What if they didn’t let us bring his bag on? What if they think we stole this airport stroller? What if the plane leaves without us?

“Stop,” grumbled my husband. “You’re going to start an earthquake.”

The jigging. The stupid leg jig. I pushed my hand down into my leg, determined to stop it moving. Stupid habit.

I heard our flight announcement over the speakers. Boarding opening for parents with children. Our turn. I quickly ducked into the parents room and changed the diaper. We hurried to the gate. I knew he was starting to get grumpy, nap time was about 30 minutes ago. Why are planes never on time?

We took our seats, my husband putting our bags overhead while I held onto the diaper bag. We booked him his own seat, even though he didn’t really ‘need’ one. Figured it would be easier to have him between us rather than on our laps. Also saves someone else from sitting next to a baby. Possibly a screaming one.

Take-off was delayed. Baby getting more and more tired by the second. When we finally started to move I quickly whipped out the bottle and started feeding him while we took off from the ground. I read somewhere that it’s supposed to help. He was still fussy though so I don’t know how well it actually worked.

He wasn’t happy being contained on a plane. He finally fell asleep in my arms and that’s where he stayed for hours. Not comfortable at all, but it was more important to me that he sleep. The hours went by incredibly slowly. I watched a few movies, desperately hoping to fall asleep. But sleep never came for me.

My husband was fast asleep beside me. Since I had to hold bubba he was able to spread over two chairs. More room for him, less for me. I knew he’d sleep, but it still made me mad. I couldn’t sleep and had a baby in my lap. Felt somewhat unfair.

We finally started descending. Baby woke up as we started dropping in the sky – the air pressure wasn’t comfortable for me, so it must have been really hard for a little bubba. My husband made a bottle quickly. The air pressure change was irritating him and although I was still unsure the articles were right I was willing to give it a go. I started feeding him as we descended, desperately hoping that the bottle trick did actually work. I think it had some impact, at least he wasn’t screaming. When we finally landed bubba was happy. I was exhausted.

We waited for everyone else to depart the plane. It wasn’t worth fighting the crowds with a baby – he’d get grumpy surrounded by a lot of people. My husband grabbed the carry-ons and we slowly left the plane, smiling at the flight attendants as we finally departed.

“Well, that wasn’t so bad,” said my husband.

I’ve never been as mad as I was in that moment. Easy. Easy for him. It did go better than I expected but I’ve never been so tired in my life, not even when bubba was a newborn.

author, Short Story, writing

Return To The Abyss: A Short Story

The cabin in the woods had been abandoned for years, but one night, a candle burned in the window. I stared out my window, unable to pull my eyes from the sight. A candle was burning, there was no mistake about that.

My family and I lived within view of the old, abandoned cabin. Despite begging for a different room for years, my window stared straight at the creepy cabin. There were many different rumors about what happened there – an old man who was killed, an old witch coven, a woman murdering her own children, and the most recent rumor, the gateway to hell.

I never believed any rumors. They were all farfetched and strange… but I still hated looking at that cabin every day. I often kept my blinds shut so I didn’t have to see it, but tonight, of all nights, it was too damn hot to keep my window closed.

The cabin was abandoned. It was definitely abandoned. There had been no sign of life in years. I recoiled from the window when I saw a shadow pass by the burning flame. “What the hell?” I muttered, finally tearing my eyes away.

I hurriedly shut my blinds, resigning myself to sleeping in the heat rather than staring at the candle all night. I felt an insatiable urge to go up there. I had to check it out. But, I wasn’t stupid… I’ve seen horror movies. I would go check it out in the morning when the sun was bright and nothing could hide under the cover of the moon.

Sleep did not come easy. My mind was racing, conjuring ideas of what was happening in that old cabin. The most reasonable explanation was that someone broke in and was doing something there, like some teenagers hooking up. But that also felt unbelievable… no one ever trespassed. Everyone was too afraid of the old cabin.

I knew my family wouldn’t be awake for a few hours after the sun rose, and as soon as light spilled into our house I raced out of bed, threw on some jeans and a shirt, and flew out the front door.

Going up to an abandoned cabin on your own first thing in the morning probably wasn’t my smartest move, but I had to know if I was losing my mind or if someone really was at the cabin last night. My body seemed to pull me there, I had a strange urge that I had to go. I had to see what was happening in the cabin.

The shrubbery was thick. No one had travelled the path between our houses in a long time. I vaguely remember my mother taking me down this path when I was younger – when the path was clear and safe. Now, the trees were dense and weeds covered the splintered cobblestone path. I pushed past the thick vines and emerged in the overgrown front yard leading to the old cabin.

My heart skipped a beat as I slowly made my way to the front door. It was hanging off its hinge, creaking slowly as the wind rushed past. The entire area felt eerie and unnatural. Something did happen here in the past, I could feel it in my bones. My eyes scanned the broken porch, familiarity settling in my mind. I felt like I’d been here before.

I carefully navigated the rotting steps and bypassed the creaking door. There was no light within the cabin – sunlight didn’t even breach the fractured windows. I moved carefully, not only afraid that I would fall through the floor but also terrified that I would alert someone that I was inside.

I could feel my heartbeat in my ears. I refused to believe in fairytales or witchcraft, so why was I so afraid? Why did my hair stand on end and my body tremble? I slowly peeked around the corner leading to the dilapidated living area. Old furniture had been covered with white sheets and a layer of dust coated every inch of the room, so thick that I could feel it in my lungs. I could see a candle sitting in the window and my heart started beating faster.

Slowly, I approached the candle, my eyes still darting around the room. I felt like someone was watching me, but there was no sign of life anywhere. As soon as I drew close enough I knew what I had seen during the night wasn’t a hallucination. Warmth still emitted from the candle and fresh wax had dried onto the crumbling windowsill.

Wind brushed past my face, blowing my blonde hair to the side. I was standing at the only window in the room, which was still intact and closed. My breathing grew laboured as the temperature plummeted, fog escaping my mouth with each shallow breath. Something flickered in my peripheral vision, moving quickly out of view.

I internally swore, cursing myself for being so stupidly curious. Goosebumps rose on my arms as I slowly turned, a scream never had the chance to escape as the white figure embraced me.

A familiar and yet terrifying snarl echoed in my ears as my vision blackened. “Welcome home.”

Home. I had forgotten. I was born here, intended to be a sacrifice. Firstborn blood to initiate a ritual. My mother… adopted mother took me. She stopped the ritual from occurring when I was a child. I felt blood trickle down my body as I lay motionless on the ground. Relief flooded my body as the darkness grew closer. My task was complete. My sole reason for existing was coming to fruition. The dark days were about to begin.

author, Short Story, writing

Love Between Weavers: A Short Story

Alette scanned the clear blue water surrounding her as she pursed her lips. Eryx had been here the day before on his kayak. He usually went out on the lagoon every morning, he said it was perfect training for the lakes nearby. Not too shallow and not too deep. Crystal clear with no waves – the perfect conditions. But he never returned. It had been days and Alette had finally had enough of waiting.

She waded into the water, careful with every step she took. Her slender fingers traced the top of the water, gently coaxing it for information. She felt the power surge through her hand, drawing up the memories that the water held.

The lagoon swirled under her touch and liquid figures rose from the water. Alette recognised her brother, but the other person was unknown. The mystery figure seemed to yell something before pulling Eryx out of his boat and across the water.

Her concentration broke and the water fell lifelessly back into place. Something had moved in the corner of her eye. Alette waded across the bank, fear drowning her senses as she recognised her brother’s most important possession. The kayak had washed up on the banks of the lagoon, broken beyond repair. Black burn marks snaked around the base, identifying the perpetrator that attacked Eryx. A fire weaver.

But that didn’t make sense. The water weavers and fire weavers had a truce. There hadn’t been an attack in nearly 30 years. The mystery figure also pulled Eryx across the water, almost like an air weaver.

“Crap,” muttered Alette. “What the hell happened?”

“Alette?” She spun around, frowning as her mother stared her down from the trees. “What are you doing?”

“I’m looking for Eryx.”

“That is not your job. The trackers are on the mission.”

Alette sneered. “The trackers didn’t even come here. They’re useless. The water showed me that Eryx was taken – his kayak is broken. He was attacked!”

Her mother glanced at the kayak, her brows knitting together. “The water and fire weavers have a truce, Alette. We cannot break that truce because of this.”

“They already broke it attacking Eryx!”

Her mother silenced her with a single-hand movement. “That is enough, Alette. Return to the village and allow the trackers to do their work.”

Alette grumbled under her breath but didn’t protest. Her mother was an Elder, one of the most powerful weavers in the village. No one dared to disobey her, especially not her children.

Alette quietly walked back to the village. Anger seethed within her, but she refused to give up. She had to find her brother. As soon as night fell and the village went to bed, Alette made her way out of the cottage and back to the shores of the lagoon. It glistened in the moonlight, the surroundings reflecting in the mirror-like surface.

She knelt beside the water’s edge, carefully tracing her finger along the still water. She felt something within the lagoon, something was not right. Alette waded into the water and started to swim. She could feel something pulling her from the centre, something important. The water worked with her strokes, urging her forward faster and faster. It sensed her desperation. Her magic crackled on her skin, giving the water life around her body.

Once she reached the centre, she dived under. The water magic allowed her to breathe underwater as she dove deeper, determined to scour the bottom for any clues.

Her jaw almost dropped as she recognised something at the bottom. It was another kayak – it was light in colour and the mark of the air weavers was branded on the side. It was undamaged, apart from the water embracing it as a new piece of the lagoon. She gently touched the edge, shock racing through her as images echoed in her mind. She closed her eyes and focused on what was being shown to her.

Eryx appeared, unharmed. He smiled, his blue eyes twinkling as he embraced a young girl with jet-black hair. They each stood on a kayak, embracing each other perilously across the cracks.

“They suspect something,” whispered the girl. “We can’t keep meeting on the lagoon. They’re following me.”

Eryx held her tighter. “I’ll protect you, Vita.”

The girl broke the embrace. “How? What are we going to do?”

Eryx gripped her arm and turned, seeming to face Alette. “Alette will protect us. We will leave, flee the area, and she will protect us. Won’t you, Alette?”

She couldn’t respond, but Eryx smiled as if she did. “Thank you,” he said. “I will always love you, dear sister. But I need to be with Vita. I knew you would find this message. Only you could control the water to see images and sense the emotions hidden within the lagoon.”

The young girl, Vita, bowed her head. “Thank you for protecting our secret. The air weavers and water weavers have always been on rocky relations. I was due to marry an Elder’s son, but I cannot. I love Eryx, and only Eryx.”

“Maybe one day we will see you again, dear sister. For now, I love you. Goodbye.”

He crossed onto the other kayak, holding onto Vita tightly as he set fire to his kayak. Fire engulfed the wood, damaging the kayak beyond repair. There was no turning back for Eryx.

Alette’s eyes shot open, and the water propelled her to the surface. She took deep, shuddering breaths, calming her heart and mind. They’d used air weaving to send her a message. A message only she would see. As she swam to shore, Alette willed the water to bury the air kayak. Nobody could know what her brother had done. She would protect him, no matter what.

author, Short Story, writing

The Hunted: A Short Story

There weren’t always dragons in the valley. Dragons had been extinct for years, and although there used to be dragons roaming the land, the land had been void of them for so long. There weren’t always dragons in the valley, until one cold winters day started to change the world as we know it.

“Genevieve, has your brother returned?” My mother shuffled towards me; concern etched on her face. “It is nearly sundown.”

“I know Mama,” I replied, turning my ice blue eyes towards the horizon. “He only went to gather wood for the fire. I can go find him?”

“Please do. We cannot be out after dark.”

My mother pulled her shawl tightly around her thin shoulders, her curly black hair caught between her neck and the fabric. She hurried back into the cottage, escaping the sharp breeze outside. I frowned as I examined the forest. William should have been back by noon.

I stepped carefully as I made my way through the forest. You never knew what was lurking around a corner. It was dangerous to be in the forest, especially after dark. I figured William would have gone to the Valley, that’s usually where he collected the wood from. It was empty and dark, but there was always plenty of downed trees. I hurried to the edge of the forest, desperate to collect him before the sun set.

A shriek escaped my lips as I emerged from the trees. Large eyes were staring down at me. The creature roared and large wings flapped, the wind knocking me to the ground. I heard a shout and my brothers arms encased me.

“What the hell?” I whispered, clutching onto him.

William carefully drew me to my feet. “It’s a dragon,” he breathed, excitement in his voice. “A dragon.”

“But they’re extinct.”

He shook his head and pointed at the creature. Large scales covered its body, glistening in the setting sun. Its amber eyes pierced through me, studying me. Wings beat in a steady rhythm, keeping it above the ground. It was a dragon.

“How?” I asked. “How is there a dragon here?”

“I don’t know,” replied William. “I got here this morning and it was here. It had injured its wing and I couldn’t leave it.”

“We have to tell the Elders.”

William gripped my arm tightly. “They’ll kill it. They can’t ever know.”

“That’s a crime,” I growled. “We need to tell the Elders of a dragon existing. It’s law.”

“She’s innocent,” replied William. “Please Genevieve! She’s gentle, she doesn’t deserve to die for just existing!”

I glanced at the dragon. A shiver went up my spine as its eyes connected with mine. A dragon was unheard of; they had been hunted to extinction. Its eyes softened as it stared at me, and it slowly lowered itself to the ground. It looked less threatening by the second.

“Fine,” I replied. “I won’t report it, but it can’t stay here. The Elders will find it.”

“Her,” he said. “The dragon is a female.”

I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. “It doesn’t matter William. What are you going to do with it… her?”

“I think she’s lost. There’s others, I’m sure of it. She needs to get back to her own kind.”

“How are you going to do that?”

William pulled a small device from his pocket. “I created this,” he whispered. “I didn’t know I could… but I felt desperate, I had to help her… and then this appeared. It is showing me the way to go, I think it’s where other dragons are.”

My eyes widened. “Magic?” I breathed. “But that’s impossible. Magic has been lost for centuries.”

“Since the dragons disappeared.”

Something clicked in my mind. “You don’t think that the old magic is tied to the presence of dragons, do you?”

He shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe it was in us the whole time and we never knew to use it? Maybe it is tied to dragons? I don’t know. But I feel it in my heart that we need to protect her.”

I sighed. “Mama is not going to like this.”

“She doesn’t need to know. Telling her will only implicate her. We need to keep her safe, keep her in the dark from it all.”

“What are we supposed to tell her? We’re going on a trip Mama, bye?”

William frowned. “You’re staying with her.”

“No, I’m not. You’re not doing this alone.”

“She needs you, Genevieve. We can’t both go; she needs one of us.”

I knew he was right, but I didn’t want to admit it. “The sun is setting. We need to get home.”

William nodded. He gently patted the dragon’s head. “You can follow us but be quiet. We’ll leave in the morning to find your family.”

The dragon let out a gurgle and gently flew into the air. It was barely visible as it soared the skies above us. We hurried back to the hut. The forest was full of creatures that emerged during the night, it wasn’t safe to be out while it was dark.

I saw a bright orange light as we neared the edge of the forest. It looked almost like flames. I stumbled as I watched it grow brighter and brighter.

“Fire!” yelled William. “Mama!”

We sprinted to the cottage. The Elders were surrounding it, watching the flames as they soared into the sky. The oldest, Theodore, turned towards us as we approached. “This may be an incentive, William,” he hissed.

“Mama!” I shrieked. “Where is she? What have you done?”

He sneered. “She is gone. A simple warning. You will be next unless William gives us the dragon.”

William’s eyes widened. “How did you know?”

Someone shuffled behind Theodore. His son, Arthur, stared us down. “I saw it,” he said. “I heard what you were saying. You were going to hide it from us.”

William twitched. “So, you decided to kill our mother?”

Rage simmered inside me. Our mother was sickly. She did nothing wrong, she was always loyal to the Elders. Always. William placed a hand on my shoulder. “We need to go,” he murmured.

The dragon roared overhead, startling the group. She landed beside William, smoke escaping her mouth. He took a step forward, hand brushing her wings. “She is not dangerous,” he said. “I will protect, especially now that you have killed our mother. We will never hand her over to you.”

Theodore snarled and I cried out as one of the other elders aimed an arrow at my brother. It was fast, too fast to dodge. I saw my brother drop like a rock. There was no way he had survived the hit. I took one step forward, staring at my brothers still body. The dragon roared behind me and I felt something surging within. I twitched and stared at our attackers, rage fuelling me. A scream escaped my lips, something warm exploding from my body as I screamed. My hands squeezed into fists and my eyes shut tightly as I screamed and screamed. I felt the power erupt from within me, a magical presence I never knew I had.

I don’t know how long it had been before I felt a gentle pat on my head. The rage left in an instance, and I slowly opened my eyes. The area around me had been flattened, my brothers body the only thing within reach. I glanced over at the Elders. All except one were on the ground, lifeless. Arthur was staring at me with wide eyes. He took a step backwards and violently shook his head. “Power… Too much power! This will be your end!” he screamed before sprinting away.

I collapsed to the ground, crawling over to William’s body. The dragon had already laid next to him, placing a gentle paw on his chest. I could’ve sworn I saw a tear escape her eyes. I gently dusted his face, my tears splashing on him. They’d taken him from me. All over a dragon. One dragon.

She picked him up in his claw and let out a roar before flying off. I let out a sigh and stared up at the sky as rain started to fall. We were on our own now. I had to continue William’s task. I had to get the dragon back to her own kind and away from those that would harm her. I had to protect her from this world, for my brother.

author, Short Story, writing

At The End: A Short Story

It’s strange how quickly life seems to fly by. One moment you’re a child, innocent and playing in the dirt, and then suddenly you’re an adult with responsibilities and obligations. In the blink of an eye, you’re old, waiting for your grandchildren to visit you. It’s strange how in my final days my mind continually wanders to my mother.

I remember being little and having my heart broken for the first time. I was six and my crush had told me I wasn’t invited to his party. “Boys only,” he said. Something about cooties may have been mentioned. I was sobbing as you picked me up, unable to contain my feelings. I don’t know how you understood my words through the sobs, but you did. You took me straight for ice cream, telling me that little boys just don’t understand girls yet. You held me in your arms, and I fell asleep in your embrace. I felt so loved and warm. You were my tower, keeping me safe within your loving arms.

I remember being a teenager. Oh, how those teenage hormones run wild. I remember slamming doors and storming around the house like having pasta for dinner was the worst thing in the world. It was my favourite, and you cooked it because you knew it was. I was ungrateful and rude. The teenage mind is confusing, even to me years later. I was thankful for you always caring for me and cooking my favourites. I could see the pain in your eyes when I would scream “I hate you!” but you never retaliated. You just continued to surround me with love.

Years later my boyfriend asked you if he could marry me. I was never close with my father, so you were the obvious choice to ask. I remember you telling me, telling me to not let him know but you were so excited. You loved him and you were so happy for me. I knew you were sad to see me go, but you never showed it for a second. You loved me so much you wanted to see me soar on my own. To marry my love and start my own family.

You looked so proud as you saw me walk down the aisle. You tried to hide it, but I saw those tears. I had my grandfather walk me down, more of a father to me than my own. He wasn’t able to walk you down the aisle and he was ecstatic at walking me down. You were so happy to see that day. Happy for me and everyone else. You hugged me tighter than I have ever been hugged in my life on that day.

I remember your face when I told you I was pregnant. I tried to surprise you, but you saw straight through me. You were overjoyed, excited for this next chapter for me and you. A new dynamic was coming. You were going to be a mother and a grandmother.

The first time you laid eyes on my son I saw so much love and joy. Your little grandson was perfect. Healthy and happy. You held him with tears in your eyes. I remember you kissing his little head and then cuddling me. “Great job mama,” you whispered. Those words sunk into my heart and happy tears flooded the room.

Years later you were babysitting, keeping an eye on the little ones while I had to duck to some appointments. You loved every second of it, playing with them in the backyard, showing them how to collect eggs from the chickens and how to water the veggies right. When I got back, you told me I was a great mum. I never told you how much I appreciated hearing you say that, but it was a marvellous feeling.

I remember visiting you in hospital. You were still young, only in your 60s. You weren’t supposed to be leaving us yet. You were sick, so very sick. I hugged you so tightly and cried so hard. Losing my mum was never a thought on my radar, and now I was facing it head on. You told me to be strong and that you would always be looking over me. You told me you loved me, and that was the last thing I ever heard you say.

Mum, I never told you this… thank you. For everything. I’m one of the lucky ones who had an amazing, loving mother. I’ve missed you ever since you left this world. I can’t wait to see you on the other side.

author, Short Story, writing

The End: A Short Story

Rachel squinted as she looked up at the sky. It was painfully bright. People bustled around her, panic in the air. She stood still amongst the chaos; she knew she was safe. She knew she wouldn’t be left behind on this dying planet. Her brown hair blew across her face in the hot breeze, and she glanced around the crowd, eyes focusing on what they were all here to see. A spaceship was several meters ahead of her. It looked like something out of the old sci-fi movies. Sleek and clean, but capable of leaving this galaxy behind.

A man stepped up on the podium and the crowd fell silent. He cleared his throat and started to speak, his voice echoing around the entire area. “This galaxy is dying,” he stated. “Soon the sun will die, and humanity will no longer survive on this planet. Space-Tech has spent the last several years perfecting our spaceships and we can now escape this planet and galaxy before the sun dies.”

The crowd murmured around Rachel, fear evident in their hushed tones. She wasn’t afraid though. She already knew what was happening.

The man cleared his throat again. “Unfortunately, we were only able to create one spaceship in the time given. This means that there is a limited amount of space for people.”

The hushed tones grew louder, panic setting in.

“We have devised a system to choose who will accompany us on this trip. A select few have been chosen due to abilities, such as scientific or agricultural knowledge.” Rachel smirked, her hand caressing the token in her pocket. “However, there are still 20 seats left on the ship.”

“Only 20?” yelled a woman in the crowd. “That’s not fair!”

People started screaming and crying. Rachel slowly backed away from the crowd, she could feel that chaos was about to reign. A man shoved several people to the ground as he raced up to the stage. “I’m not dying on this planet!” he yelled as he tried to climb the stage.

A single gunshot rang out and the man dropped to the ground, dead. A solider appeared beside the man, aiming his gun at the crowd. “If anyone tries to force their way up here, they will die long before the sun does.”

The crowd fell silent, too afraid to move. A sly grin appeared on the man’s face as the soldier disappeared behind him again. “As I was saying, we have devised a… competition of sorts. We have the brains to create a life away from this system but… unfortunately there is a large percentage of men on the ship. Thus, all men are disqualified from leaving this system.”

A loud roar echoed through the crowd but before anything could happen soldiers swooped through the crowd, pushing all the men out of the arena. Several wives and children followed as their husbands and fathers were forcibly escorted out of the area. Soon only a handful of women remained behind. More than twenty, but not by much.

The man at the front motioned to the soldiers and the young and elderly were quickly taken away. They only wanted younger women, fertile women. How were we going to populate a new planet without women after all? It felt barbaric. Rachel gently touched the ring on her left hand, immensely grateful that both her and her husband were among the first to be chosen. Both engineers, thank goodness.

Several men appeared on the stage beside the leader. The twenty men chose a woman in the small crowd, and those women were taken to the man and away from the area. Soon, the twenty women had been chosen and no places were left. The remaining women were pushed out of the area and large barricades swiftly appeared, placed well before the selection process took place. Rachel sighed as she glanced out of the clear barricades across the barren land. Those people would be left to die. The choice of who lives and dies left to one power-hungry man. She didn’t know if it was better to stay and die or leave with this lunatic, but she had no choice. She had to go with her husband, no matter the cost.

author, Short Story, writing

The Night: A Poem

The stars shine so bright
And the moon is high in the sky
On this cold winters night.

My room has a nightlight
Coming in from outside
The stars shine so bright.

I hold onto my blanket tight
Trying to stay warm
On this cold winters night.

The sky is a beautiful sight
And even when clouds roll in
The stars shine so bright.

My window looks white
As snow falls to the ground
On this cold winters night.

I can’t sleep tonight
I just stare out the window
The stars shine so bright
On this cold winters night.

author, Short Story, writing

Losing A Piece Of My Heart: A Short Story

“The baby,” I sobbed, gripping my husbands’ arm. Blood was dripping down my leg as he pushed me towards the emergency room. I felt like a brick was sitting on my chest, crushing my heart.

The nurses hurried over to me and helped me into a private room. I could feel their sympathetic stares boring into my skull. The anxiety peaked as a doctor soon arrived, confirming my worst fears. Our baby was gone.

My husband and I pulled each other close, crying into each other’s arms. We knew this happened to people, but never thought it would happen to us. Miscarriage seemed so unlikely, so rare… but more common that we realised.

We were part of the 1 in 10 to lose our child before it even opened its eyes to the world. Before we could name our baby or hold it… it was gone.

I felt like I was coated in a thick fog, unable to see or process anything ahead. How could I go on? How could I get through this pain?

My husband and I barely spoke on the way home from the hospital. I had miscarried, and there was nothing the doctors could do anymore. I was given some pain medication and discharged. Sent to the depths of darkness alone, to face this overwhelming sadness at home.

We liked to have things prepared, and now that organisation hurt me more than anything. I stared into my baby’s nursery, already set up and awaiting its arrival. We were so prepared, so ready… but not ready for this.

I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t feel. I curled up in the nursery at 1am, wanting to die instead of my child. My husband found my curled up next to the bassinet in the morning, clutching a little teddy bear to my chest. What was wrong with me? Why couldn’t I even carry my child safely? Why did I miscarry?

I couldn’t look at my husband for days. His face reminded me of the child that wasn’t here. The child we would never see. It hurt every time I saw him, every time he moved. I wondered if our child would have had his blue eyes or his curly brown hair.

The days turned to weeks and we slowly started to heal. It stung, and I would never forget my child, but we were moving forward together. It took time to communicate again. Time to stop crying every time he turned his eyes in my direction, but we got through the pain. We planted a tree to remember our child, and called it Charlie, after our baby. We didn’t know the gender of our unborn child, so Charlie seemed fitting.

As the weeks turned to months, we grew closer together again. The pain of losing our child still stung, but we learnt to lean on each other. We cried when we needed to and vowed to never forget our angel baby.

Several months later, I felt a pang of fear overcome me as we entered the doctor’s office. I cradled my stomach, desperately hoping that everything would be okay. When the doctor cleared us, relief rushed over me. The fear remained, but things seemed more promising. I knew there was always a chance, I knew we could lose this baby too… but a twinge of hope stayed in my heart.

We left the doctor’s office together, my hand gently resting on my slightly bulging bump.

We got out rainbow baby. A rainbow baby that was now 24 weeks, and able to survive if I went into labour now. A baby girl that would always know of her big sibling in heaven, watching over her every day.

author, Short Story, writing

Entering Short Story Competitions

“A word after a word after a word is power.”

Margaret Atwood

Short stories are so incredibly different than writing novels or poems. It can be hard to incorporate everything into a short amount of words. I am much better at writing novels and creating my characters, world and plot in at least 50,000 words. But, I do enjoy the challenge of short story writing!

I’ve set myself a goal this year to enter 5 short story competitions. It’s incredibly intimidating and hard but I’m determined to get it done. I’m still writing and editing my novel, but I wanted to do something else while getting my novel ready for submission.

I do enjoy the challenge that short stories bring. Pulling together an entire world in a small word count is a hard challenge, but extremely rewarding when you do manage to nail it. I’ve enjoyed expanding my horizons by writing short stories. It’s a good break from my usual novel editing journey and a fun challenge.

It is also, admittingly, a lot easier to write a short story while my son naps. He often only naps an hour at a time (maximum) so I don’t have a huge amount of time to sit down and flesh out my novel. I still want to write though, so smashing out a short story in those nap times works really well for me.

I have a few short story competitions picked out over the course of the year that I am intending on entering. Even if I don’t win anything it’s always a fun challenge to write and test yourself by entering competitions. I am excited to be doing this throughout the year!

First one closes in a few days – I’m almost ready to submit and I can’t wait!

author, Short Story, writing

Hunted: A Short Story

She waited in the shadows, staring at the five people through red eyes. She stood as still as a statue, not wanting to draw any attention to herself. After a few moments, the group separated, three went one way and two went the opposite. Her prey was within the pair.

He had abandoned her, turned her and left her to fend for herself. He used her to get what he wanted, then left. She was forced to turn into a monster, while he managed to control it. She had to abandon her family and friends, while he merely carried on with his pathetic life. Now, it was her turn to repay him, her turn to make him suffer.

She followed him down the streets, making sure to keep to the gloom. She couldn’t be seen now, not when she was so close. She’d only been this close once before, and she was caught. She couldn’t be caught now; she’d practiced so often. She’d been so careful when planning this out.

Tonight, was the night; she knew it in her blood. Her hate filled eyes glared at the black-haired boy as he kissed the blonde girl on the cheek. That blonde was his next prey; she knew the way he thought. She knew the way his mind worked. But he wouldn’t torment any more girls like he tormented her. She wouldn’t allow it. She would stop him no matter what. Now he was her prey. He was going to suffer like she did.

The duo separated. The blonde walked down the street and then veered into a magnificent white house while he turned and strolled down the dark, empty path. Perfect. He was alone and in the dark. She didn’t think he sensed her, at least not yet. That was good, very good. Maybe she’d succeed tonight. Maybe, just maybe.

She slowly followed him down the street, her padded feet suffocating any sound that might appear. She breathed softly; forcing herself not to pant like her entire body was telling her to do. She forced herself not to pounce, like her heart was demanding she do. She forced herself to continue following and to not be seen. She needed the right moment, the perfect moment, and then she would pounce. Then he would pay.

He stopped in the middle of the path, the moonlight shining on top of his head, giving him the essence of a halo; a malicious antithesis in her opinion. He was the devil to her, and the moon tormented her by giving him a halo. Once again, she forced herself to not pounce. Now was not the right time, he was in the light. He needed to move just a few centimetres forward, then she could attack.

Not a thing could be seen within the darkness, and if he moved forward, he would be hidden as well. An evil smirk graced her dog-like face as he moved those few centimetres forward, and she lunged.