Fragments of The Past

Submitted for Contest #51 in response to: Write a story about someone who's haunted by their past.... view prompt

102 comments

Jul 25, 2020

Mystery Sad Fiction

They come to me in snippets. Every moment of that day, of that incident, flashes behind the lids of my closed eyes. I plaster a smile on my face in the hopes that my darling sister is always reassured that my battle to stay in the here and now was won many years ago.


I am fine. I have no more panic attacks; no more random moments of panic where nothing but pure fear of the past seeping into the future consumes me. The flashbacks stopped as soon as I stopped seeing my therapist years ago, I swear.


All of these unspoken words are communicated to a sister I would protect with my life, an aunt who worries about me, and a mother who doesn’t want to believe that her ongoing relationship with the man that caused all that trouble years ago is the reason behind any trauma I may--or “hopefully” may not--have experienced.


The memory of the events of that hour come to me in snippets. They’ve overshadowed my happiest moments for the past five years. Dinners with my family are always filled with laughter. When asked to grab another spoon for any guests who happen to join us, I opened a drawer and found a piece of the past I can’t seem to shake. My hand lingers on the handle of the drawer as my eyes gloss over the curved edges of the only spoon that doesn’t belong with the others. Smells of my comfort food are replaced with a damp, musky scent that used to permeate his whole house. Voices raised in their aggression ring in my ears. And then the images come in rapid succession: the meals I ate with the spoons in his house when we were merely happy visitors; the meals I ate with those same spoons when my mom, my sister and I moved in a year later; the spoon I used to eat my last meal in that house fifteen minutes before the incident.


The memories surrounding the incident are just as vivid as they were five years ago. One could almost believe that they’d happened yesterday. Every year without fail, an entire motion picture of snippets flood my brain on the 4th of February. Regardless of how distracted I am, I can still feel the ghost of a cool metal car door against my fingertips. I can see myself squeezing the last of my clothes into the already overflowing back of the car. I follow my sister’s gaze to the closed front door, where three inquisitive huskies stare unblinking through the glass, their tails deadly still. I exhale a shaky breath into the cold morning air, which fogs up immediately. I tell my sister not to worry; that I’ll go fetch mom and we can leave. I tell her not to follow me. My exposed shin brushes against the soft fur of my favourite for what I’d soon discover to be the last time before I take in what the husky sees through the glass. My hand immediately grasps the doorknob and I barge in without a second thought.


After five years, the memory of the aftermath is still more vivid than the incident itself. Snippets of comforting a crying sister in an empty classroom follow me on a daily basis. I can’t seem to shake the feeling of a strong resolve. I didn’t shed a single tear. Snippets of my first lesson of the day: sitting behind my desk in English, pretending the cracks in my heart weren’t spreading with every passing minute, worrying for my family without a thought for myself, receiving a message from my mother and immediately going into defence mode.


My heart is broken, Anna.

Mom, it’s okay. We’re gonna be okay. None of this is your fault. You were blinded by love. That isn’t a crime.


I shouldn’t have said that. I really shouldn’t have said that.


You just need to get through the day and we’ll be with you after 12. You aren’t alone mom. This isn’t like the divorce with dad. You have us this time. We aren’t little anymore. We can help you through it this time.

I’m worried about you, Anna.

About me?

You shouldn’t have to go through what you went through this morning.

You don’t have to worry about me.


I shouldn’t have said that. I really shouldn’t have said that. Because that was the moment when all of this started. That was the moment I’d chosen to take on a responsibility that I can’t afford to shake off; that I no longer want to shake off. Maybe if I’d let her be a mom, if I hadn’t told her not to worry about me and that flying blind in love isn’t a crime, I wouldn’t have had to suffer the consequences. She wouldn’t have announced her decision to rekindle the scattered ashes of a failed relationship with the man who forged the trauma contained in my daily snippets.


The aftermath is more vivid than the incident because I am still living through it. Five years have passed, but not a day goes by without me being reminded of that day. Every Saturday sees a mother leaving at six in the evening for an overnight stay at the house full of history and the man of my nightmares. Every Saturday sees a mother being hugged and sent off by one daughter while the other stays locked in her room to secretly regain control of her shaking body and lungs that refuse to let her breathe. While the mother can be seen having fun dates on Sundays, I wait anxiously by the phone with family emergency contacts and the police on speed dial in case history develops the sudden urge to repeat itself.


As for the incident itself, it only lasted ten minutes. Ten minutes were all it took to traumatise me past the point of psychological recovery. Ten minutes have been playing on repeat in my mind for the past five years. I fake a smile and hide behind a shield of humour to hide the fact that I’m stuck in the February of five years ago. I watch as my sister grows into the beautiful young adolescent she was destined to become. I gladly shoulder every burden and protect her from every danger as she does. As long as she remains unaffected and minimally tainted by what happened, I don’t mind not being able to change no matter how much I want to move on.


Besides, there’s only so much you can do to move on. There’s only so much therapy can do for me when the man whose acts of aggression made me like this still has his presence anchored into an aspect of my life: my fool of a mother who is so blinded by love that she will always see my smile and never the anguish hidden in my eyes.


The date today is 4 February 2020. The face of my watch currently reads 06: 05. Like clockwork, the memory of the next ten minutes from years ago comes to me in its usual, fragmented snippets:


The two of us waiting for mom to drop us off at school.


Mom coming into the lounge with the news that Marcus is kicking us out again and to quickly pack our stuff.


Lauren muttering that this isn’t the first time and won’t be the last.


The three of us packing the car.


Marcus watching us pack with an irritated expression.


Marcus snapping at mom to stop pouting and playing the victim; to just take her brats and leave.


The two of them disappearing into the house for a long time.


Lauren pointing out that something is wrong because of the usually hyper dogs being so still and focused.


Telling her to stay where she is while I go and fetch our mom.


Seeing his aggression through the glass door.


Rushing into the house and pushing him away from my mother.


Him channelling the full extent of his rage towards me.


Vulgar words spilling from his mouth as he towers over me.


My sister crying in the doorway for him to leave me alone just as his hands wrap around my throat.


My mom shattering an empty vase over his head to get him to release his tightening grip around my neck.


And the three of us hastily driving as far away from Marcus as possible with our mom’s false promises of protection and a better future.


Knowing that nothing would ever be the same again.






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102 comments

Isha Singh
06:30 Jul 26, 2020

Totally love it! It got a bit predictable halfway through the story, still when I read it in your words it hit at a whole another level. The inner thoughts of the protagonist were spot on. I could feel that it would haunt her forever and that she would never escape them, which is so painful and sad. Also the way you stuck to the title was just mind-blowing. Like, you kept true to the "Fragments". Also I know this too much to ask for, but can you please go the site in bio and review my book their. If you feel like buying it please do, bu...

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Jade Young
08:04 Jul 26, 2020

Thank you for the feedback Isha! I'm glad you felt exactly what I was hoping to achieve 😊

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Niveeidha Palani
21:58 Jul 27, 2020

Hi Jade, you asked me to read so, (without hesitation), I'm here! :) This story was good! There were minor grammatical errors, but otherwise, a really captivating nice twist at the end! Looking forward to reading more like this! :)

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Jade Young
22:20 Jul 27, 2020

Thank you so much for the feedback! Would you mind pointing out which errors? Words like "realize" are written as "realise" where I come from, so I might not be able to pick up on this stuff, and I'd like to improve my writing wherever possible :D

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Niveeidha Palani
22:07 Jul 28, 2020

Hi Jade, I must have missed your comment. I read through your story and couldn't find any! They must be checked or I might need to get glasses! I love the story though! It seemed very dark and mysterious! Hopefully, you will do a sequel on this?

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Jade Young
00:01 Jul 29, 2020

Thank you for getting back to me! It was approved a few hours after I published it on the site, but I can empathise with the needing new glasses. my prescription needs to be renewed, but it's kinda hard to do in quarantine :( I hadn't thought about a sequel... but I'll try see what I can do if an appropriate prompt pops up in future🙌🏽

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Niveeidha Palani
03:30 Jul 29, 2020

Haha, I meant the glasses thing as a joke ;) But anyways, this quarantine thing is such a bother now, it's hard to stay at home and do nothing... 😕 Sure! If you do make up a mind for one, be sure to tell me about it! I'll be the first to read your sequel!

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Zion Hintay
22:27 Jul 28, 2020

This really hit the prompt right on the head. Really enjoyed reading this. Good work, Jade.

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Jade Young
23:58 Jul 28, 2020

Thank you so much Zion! I'm glad you liked it :)

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Sam T.
09:01 Jul 28, 2020

This was wonderfully written, the emotions of the protagonist were expressed very well... great job!

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Jade Young
09:07 Jul 28, 2020

Thank you Sam! I'm glad you enjoyed it😊

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I C
02:07 Jul 28, 2020

Loved it! The descriptions of the snippets were amazing and kept you wanting more and more to know what happens, slowly building the suspense. Excellent job!

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Jade Young
06:30 Jul 28, 2020

Thank you for taking the time to read and comment! I'm really glad you liked it :D

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Michelle Bynum
01:10 Jul 28, 2020

This was amazingly haunting. The pace was so poetic. I loved how everything happened in snippets just as memories uncurl themselves. You stayed so true within your character that I could feel her and it placed me in my own head and I was reliving my own story, allowing me to tap into that emotion even deeper. Wonderfull.

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Jade Young
06:34 Jul 28, 2020

Thank you so much Michelle! I'm really glad you were able to empathise with Anna and that you enjoyed how the snippets that unfolded into a much broader memory :D

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Jen Park
22:45 Jul 27, 2020

First of all, I loved the repetition of 'they come to me in snippets. Don't know how you got the idea of repeating it, but it was genius. I liked the way how you were very faithful with the title. These are literally fragments of the past of Anna. I have got lost in the middle but that's maybe what you intended. Memory does not flow in one direction, right? However, these fragments conveyed perfectly that the character was haunted by the past. I also learned that pressure comes with responsibility, especially with the responsibility ...

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Jade Young
23:03 Jul 27, 2020

Oh my soul, thank you so much for not only reading my story, but for giving such a detailed response! I'm so glad you picked up on the repetition :D And yes, that was the intention. I wanted to show how even something as insignificant as a spoon can have such a huge effect, and how people tend to reflect on specific, individual moments in the past that powerfully influence their present. And I'm glad you were able to feel Anna's pain, and recognise the main reason why she won't let go: because forgetting the past means forgetting that he...

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I love how I felt when reading. The emotion from protagonist was amazing. I can picture this as a scene from a movie. Great job, I can't wait to read more from you!

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Jade Young
21:43 Jul 27, 2020

Thanks for taking the time to read and comment Melony! I really glad you liked my story❤ I hope you cam enjoy my future stories as much as this one ;D

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No problem. I’m excited to see more from you.

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Brianna Grullon
20:46 Jul 27, 2020

I love the suspense! I was desperate to find out what happened! You were so focused on your central theme and stayed on topic the entire time. It was a fun read and It felt so real. I felt like I experienced this with you!

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Jade Young
20:49 Jul 27, 2020

Thank you Brianna! I'm so grateful you took the time to read and comment on my story😊 Your feedback really means a lot to me! I'm glad I was able to make you feel the raw emotions that come with being haunted by your past. I hope you end up enjoying all of my future stories as much as this one❤

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Brianna Grullon
20:56 Jul 27, 2020

Oh, no problem :)! And yes, I found myself racking my brain trying to figure out what the incident was! Your use of foreshadowing had me at the edge of my seat I ended up reading quickly, the suspense was truly killing me! And I'll be on the look out! :)

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Jade Young
21:08 Jul 27, 2020

Thank you so much❤

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Ananya Bhalla
19:19 Jul 27, 2020

Here as requested! I really loved the almost backwards story structure you had as you showed us ‘fragments’ of her memories and pieced them all together at the end. The ‘ten minutes’ detail was brilliant. It really showed how just a snippet of time can haunt a person forever, even if others don’t realize it. A moment has the power to define a life, doesn’t it? The bond between Anna and her sister was one-sided and slightly toxic, because one sister was always giving and the other always taking (even though she doesn’t know it). I actually ...

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Jade Young
19:32 Jul 27, 2020

Thank you so much for reading and commenting! I'm glad you liked it😊 As for the relationship between the sisters, I hadn't thought of it that way. I feel like I'm looking at it in a completely new light now🙌🏽 Being an older sister myself, I always figured the responsibility to protect comes with the title. Kind of like how our parents struggle alone to protect us, even though we don't know the full extent of what they're going through. You really opened my eyes. Wow🙌🏽❤ Thank you once again for such detailed feedback❤ Your comment really ...

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Jessica C
18:42 Jul 27, 2020

You are a lovely writer. I got a little lost in the main character's descriptions, but I realize that's what you're going for, right? Fragments. It definitely kept me interested; I was desperate to find out what happened when she went into the house!! This is very well done. Nice job!

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Jade Young
18:57 Jul 27, 2020

Thank you Jessica! I'm really glad you enjoyed it😊 and yes, that was what I was going for. I thought paying attention to details would show how it doesn't feel like it happened five years ago, but rather like it's something she goes through every day. She even clearly recalls the scent of his house as much as the events of that day. Thank you once again for the feedback; I really appreciate it😊

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A. S.
18:42 Jul 27, 2020

I really admire the way we could feel the main character through your writing. It was almost as if we were reliving this trauma with Anna, and the way you depicted that was stunning. Good job!

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Jade Young
18:54 Jul 27, 2020

Thank you so much! Your comment made my day😊 I'm glad you were able to empathize with Anna and feel that she would never be able to let go of her past.

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P. Jean
14:21 Jul 27, 2020

It is hard to live another person’s trauma but you went into the character and took me in with you.

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Jade Young
14:24 Jul 27, 2020

Thank you so much for the feedback! I'm really glad you liked this story! And I'm glad you could feel the emotions that Anna felt and continues to feel about the past that haunts her😊

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Daine Rodriguez
09:57 Jul 27, 2020

i loved the story so much and it was expressed beautifully . looking forward to more of your works

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Jade Young
10:22 Jul 27, 2020

Thank you so much Daine!

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Daine Rodriguez
10:27 Jul 27, 2020

always welcome jade (●'◡'●)

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Tvisha Yerra
02:50 Jul 27, 2020

That ending line... Wow. Just wow. The one thing that could've been improved was this part: I am fine. I have no more panic attacks; no more random moments of panic where nothing but pure fear of the past seeping into the future consumes me. Panic attacks are filled with panic, we don't need to be told that so instead change it a bit, maybe to something like this: I am fine. I have no more panic attacks; no more random moments when nothing but pure fear of the past seeping into the future consumes me. Amazing story!

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Jade Young
06:27 Jul 27, 2020

Thank you so much for the feedback! I will definitely keep this in mind going forward :D

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Avery G.
22:14 Jul 26, 2020

Hi Jade! I loved this story! The thoughts and the pain was truly felt. I could feel the pictures. It really would haunt her forever. Great job!

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Jade Young
23:26 Jul 26, 2020

Thank you so much Avery! I'm glad you were able to empathise with her and that you liked my story overall :D

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Avery G.
23:34 Jul 26, 2020

You're welcome! :)

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16:36 Jul 26, 2020

I absolutely loved this story, the way you built up the fragments to give the whole and the way the story flowed. It was beautifully written and I can't wait to see your other stories.

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Jade Young
16:42 Jul 26, 2020

Thank you so much Katherine! I'm really glad you enjoyed it :D

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Lata B
15:41 Jul 26, 2020

You did a great job on this. It's really well constructed, it has such strong feelings and the title was just perfect for this! Amazing job! :)

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Jade Young
15:46 Jul 26, 2020

Thank you so much❤ I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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Grace M'mbone
13:34 Jul 26, 2020

Jade you truly answered the prompt. I am amazed at your use of words and how you fashion your plot. I didn't notice any grammatical error. This was brilliant, amazing. My eyes were fixed on it from intro to conclusion which qualifies anyone to be a true writer. It would be really delightful if such a potential author took a look at just one of my stories. Once again, this was brilliant. I fell in love with this.

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Jade Young
13:41 Jul 26, 2020

Thank you so much Grace❤ Your comment made my day :) I'm really glad you liked this story! And I will most definitely look at some of yours🙌🏽

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Lauren Pagano
00:23 Jul 26, 2020

Wow this was an incredible story! The intensity and suspense had me hanging on edge the entire time! I really admire the way you seamlessly integrate the flashbacks. Such a great read. Looking forward to more!

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Jade Young
08:06 Jul 26, 2020

Thank you so much Lauren❤

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