9 comments

Fiction Drama Sad


Warning: This one is nasty. 


Grey, lifeless water slid silently beneath her in the darkness. The lights from the village, where she used to play, blurred hazily on the horizon, merging with the inky sky. 

Her mind, unlike the numb air that clung to autumn cobwebs, had never felt more alive, more awake. The cold ironwork of the bridge felt like it had electricity running through it. Her feet dangling, she slipped off her shoes and watched them drop, drifting away into the night, bobbing in the flow like tiny boats. She loosened her grip slightly, his blood still wet on her hands.

Being intelligent was one thing. Being chosen was another.

Her white, wishy-washy parents, in their beige, wishy-washy house, might, by now, be wondering where she was. Why had she not made it home in time to lay the table for tea? It’s ok, they knew where she was, they had taken her to the pastor. Handing her over to him like a gift, oblivious to his ways. Oblivious or aware, it was the same. Their faith was too strong for them to see. It blinded them. He was their link to the creator, their way out of this sin-ridden hellish existence. She’d be safe with him. He was the pastor, after all, insisting she attend church. As her wishy-washy parents had insisted they all did. Never questioning. Never asking. Never thinking. Just believing. Blindly. Seeing only what he wanted them to see, blinkered by his words and promises. 

Her tentative protests were smothered and quieted with quotes from the creator, accompanied by disapproving looks and whispered disappointments. She was such a nice girl, they would say. Such a sweet child. How could she speak of the pastor like that? He was a good man.

Muted as her tentative protests maybe, they were there for all to hear if they cared to listen.

“The path that you choose to follow, child, may not always be the obvious one,” the Pastor had said. His slim feminine fingers touching her arm just a little more often than she would have liked. She felt his eyes on her young body, his fingertips cold and clammy against her skin. She had become his favourite. He had made sure of that, giving her little tasks around the church at Sunday service to make her feel special, collecting the donations and distributing the bibles. He took his time: he was patient and methodical in his grooming. As he always was. Making sure she stayed behind to help out after everyone else had gone. Rewarding her with a head full of promises. Full of lies. Taking the trust she had given without question, choking her innocence with her newfound guilt over and over. 

“The choices you make along the way are all at the will of the creator. He will guide you. You must have faith in what he decides. We must always please him. We are his children after all,” he had said, touching her with those delicate fingers in places she didn’t even touch herself. Like she belonged to him. Sedating her with his words. Her intelligence was of no use to her. No one would hear her stifled tears in the middle of the night. It was her fault. She was a sinner. 

Being intelligent was one thing. Being chosen was another.

Her idea, when it came, was both powerful and simple. An epiphany some would say. She had been so confused at first, but maybe some of what the pastor spoke of was true. The creator had come to her in her time of need. Given her inspiration. More than that, he had shown her what to do. She belonged to him now and him only. Her parents wouldn’t understand. They wouldn’t listen. They had not been chosen.

She watched as her mother prepared chicken for Sunday lunch, skillfully slicing out its insides with that innocent looking blade. 

Can you show me that again please mummy? She had asked that Sunday morning. 

A mother never misses the chance to pass on whatever skills she can however mundane. And her daughter had been so withdrawn recently she couldn’t remember the last time the two of them had done anything fun together. 

“Happy too,” her mother had said, her face beaming. Passing on what life lessons is a gift to the next generation. Little did her mother know how important a gift this was to her baby girl. She watched, wide eyed, as the insides of the chicken slopped into the bowl on the worktop. They both laughed at the noise it made. 

“I’ll do the washing up today,” she had said. No one noticed the missing knife. She wrapped it in her mum's favourite neck scarf. The one she always wore for church. The pastor always remarked that it was his favourite, too. This made her smile. The creator was at work.

The Pastor was right about lots of things, but he was naive to the real truth. He was merely one of the creator’s delivery boys. And had lost his way. Nothing more. He would, no doubt, have to answer for it in heaven.

 A single candle flickered at the altar, throwing eerie shadows against the thick walls. He lay on the icy cold floor of the church, his church. The church where he claimed to help sinners repent whilst sinning himself. No one would hear his stifled tears that night. It was his fault. He was a sinner. He watched his blood pump from the gash in his stomach over the neck scarf and down into the cracks between stone slabs. His insides, still pulsing, laying on the floor beside him. As he faded into oblivion, and as he watched his blood trickle downwards, it dawned on him that he might not be going to heaven after all.

Being intelligent was one thing. Being chosen was another.

This was the only way she could get them all to hear her. Her connection to the great creator was without doubt.

He had chosen her. 

She let go.


September 17, 2021 19:36

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9 comments

Jonathan Blaauw
16:48 Nov 09, 2021

Wow Phil! I chose this one because of the nasty warning. Is it nasty? Hmm dunno. It's uncomfortable and shockingly direct, which is just what one wants in a short story. And it addresses an ugly aspect of real life we'd rather not think too much about. But isn't a writer's job to shine a light on those very issues? To explore the dirty edges of reality we tend to otherwise ignore? I think so and when done right, as you have, it can be very powerful. Some things I really enjoyed: you set things up so strongly in the opening. The village wher...

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Angel {Readsy}
16:16 Oct 30, 2021

Would you please comment my story

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Angel {Readsy}
16:16 Oct 30, 2021

Wonderful story

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Michael Regan
17:15 Oct 04, 2021

I liked the foreboding in the first two paragraphs, letting the reader know how the story would end and wondering how it would get there. Well crafted and an enjoyable read.

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Phil Manders
18:05 Oct 04, 2021

Thank you Michael, very nice of you to read and leave a comment. Much appreciated 😊

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Leah La Bree
23:45 Sep 22, 2021

Hi! Well written story, I must say! There are a couple areas where I would have used one of your lines as an extra paragraph, but that's just my style. You make it work here. I do have one tiny suggestion: In this sentence, "Taking the trust she had given without question, choking her innocence with her newfound guilt over and over." I would take out the second 'her'. Since we already know the guilt would be hers, getting rid of that second 'her' would make the sentence tighter and stronger. Excellent word usage and style. My hat tips to...

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Phil Manders
11:11 Sep 23, 2021

Hi Leah Thanks for reading and leaving a comment it means a lot. I completely agree with your suggestion. I’ll be sure to edit the original version. Thanks again.

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Bruce Friedman
15:51 Sep 18, 2021

You are right, Phil. Nasty but very well written. Fascinating how you have interwoven the religious themes with the child abuse and murder. I have a question about the word whilst. Almost completely obsolete in the US, even in literary works. To what extent does it persist in the UK?

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Phil Manders
16:01 Sep 18, 2021

Hi Bruce Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment, it means a lot. That’s a very good question. I had originally written the word while but on one of my re-reads something made me change it. It just felt better. Something at the back of my brain must have been triggered. Now you’ve pointed it out it does sound a bit dated. But I like it.

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