Change of Heart

Submitted into Contest #135 in response to: Write a story where fortune doesn’t favor the brave.... view prompt


Crime Drama Fiction

Roxanne had always meant to follow in her father’s footsteps, up until this point she had loved her job. Ever since that dreaded night something had changed in her; no longer the same person, an empty shell of the woman she used to be. 

Thinking back, the shift had begun quietly enough but it wasn’t long before all Hell broke loose. On her break in the early hours of the morning she’d gone into a 24hr convenience store. Unfortunately for her, she had chosen the wrong time to do so, as two thugs in black ski masks barged their way into the store demanding the contents of the under till safe. As a new rookie only a few months fresh out of training, she attempted to creep up behind them undetected. She quietly and carefully slipped her gun out of its’ holster but just as the fingers of her free hand were fumbling around trying to switch off her police radio, a call was put out over it. Knowing her element of surprise was lost she yelled `Freeze!’ as the six foot accomplice spun around whacking the gun fresh out of her hand. Gripping her by the throat he lifted her into the air choking her.  She reached out her arms, extending them to breaking point, desperately stretching out her fingers to claw at his mask in an attempt to get it off, to see his face.  Flinging her legs about violently trying to wriggle out of his grasp, he lowers her just enough to thrust a knife deep into her.  The immense force, pain and pressure in her stomach made her wince and double over, as the robber tossed her hard to the side.  She felt as if she was flying through the air in slow motion, her life flashing before her eyes as BANG she hits full force against the wall like a rag doll. That’s the last she remembers. 

She recalls waking up to a surgeon who explained to her she had just been through a lifesaving operation to stop extensive internal bleeding but astoundingly the blade had missed all her major organs.  Her father was the next person she saw he leant over touched her arm looked her straight in the eyes and said `Roxanne honey, I’m afraid they got away’.  Being told this; knowing that her perpetrator’s wouldn’t be punished for their crimes after the ordeal they’d put her through! Roxanne turns her head away from her dad to hide the tears of frustration running down her cheeks. She doesn’t want to show weakness in front of her dad, he never gave any inkling of how he was feeling away, he was tough. Her upbringing he’d raised her to be hard-faced, closed off to “weak” emotions.  She’s infuriated the criminals slipped the net, but in the same respect she feels lucky to be alive. She’s been given a second chance at life. She mustn’t waste it, but the underlying fear of her close brush with death is overwhelming, suffocating her from the inside out.  

Each night following, she spends tossing and turning, waking up in a cold sweat, this carries on for so long, she can’t even remember the last time she actually managed a peaceful night’s sleep. The nights’ events forever haunt her, there is no escaping it. The moment her heart rate rises, she feels the robber’s hands gripping her throat and the cold sharp blade slicing through her and her heart in her mouth as she fell through the air. Every time it would feel as though she were back trapped in that moment, the minute she thought would be her last; freezing on the spot, fear dilutes her pupils.  Her breathing becomes fast and ragged she begins to gasp, splutter and choke as her airways close, unable to snap out of it, this time her head becomes light and she blacks out falling with a thud to the floor. Coming around she sees her work partner gently knelt over her, shaking her awake `Roxanne this can’t continue, it’s time to face your demons. The trauma you faced was life changing, you need to work through it and process your feelings.  Take the chief up on his offer of therapy it’s obvious you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Resume control of your life, don’t let those scumbags win! I’m sorry to be blunt but you’re no use to the Force in your current state or condition. In our line of work your head needs to be a hundred percent in the game. Or you put your life in danger as well as those around you.’ She realizes he’s right each attack has become progressively worse and had now come to a head, a point of no return. 

``` You’re right Ethan things can’t carry on like this, I’ll seek help. I’ve been an egotistical fool to think I could just sweep this under the carpet and carry on like nothing happened. I almost died and I need to face the fact that this has changed who I am. It’s actually ok to be vulnerable but I also realize I need to take back control if I want to continue in my current line of work and for all I’ve worked for these past years not to be lost. After waking up from my op seeing my dad I’d tried to carry on regardless. Now it has dawned on me, in this completely out of control of my feelings, re-defining life moment, I’ve had an epiphany - showing emotions isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s in fact a strength working through your feelings letting them out; it is the bravest thing you can do. Showing to the world you are human, you aren’t infallible! Facing up to what scares you the most that’s when you become who you are meant to be, embracing the whole of you, warts and all. I used to think I was brave, fearless even but this whole experience has shown me I was ignoring parts of myself. Not dealing with anxieties compounds them till they build and stifle you. I know therapy - re-programming my brain will take time and be a long drawn out process.  I’ll need a lot of patience, to spend the much needed time working to either resolve or deal with my issues surrounding the trauma of my ordeal.  But ultimately I will grow as a person, become my own woman not simply the woman my dad expected me to be. No longer trying to follow and fit into my father’s footsteps but instead finding my own path, my own way through. Standing on my own two feet is the height of bravery but as witnessed from the preceded chain of events, fortune doesn’t always favor the brave!  So the most important thing to take from all this, is I’ll finally be the person I was meant to be all along.

March 04, 2022 00:33

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Tanya Humphreys
22:40 Mar 15, 2022

It is interesting as a memoir, although a bit awkward to read. The paragraphs are too long and there are quite a few punctuation errors. I'd suggest during one of your edits you read the story out loud to yourself (or your dog like I do.) If you do that, you will hear the 'offness' of some of the sentences.


Rebecca Stack
21:19 Mar 16, 2022

Thanks Tanya I really appreciate the feedback and good advice. I will carry it forward to improve future entries. Thanks x


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