Posted in Writing, Blog, Creative Writing

Whispers In The Dark

I spoke to God but it was too late. He was sympathetic, but ultimately, there was nothing he could do. I don’t know what I expected, but there was nothing else left to do but to find him. There was barely anything left, you see.

It all started with the secrets. We all had our secrets, until we didn’t, and once they were done with our secrets, they wanted something more.

God asked me when it all began… how long it had been, but all I could do was point behind me, strangled by choked sobs, and let him see my situation for himself.

He was aghast, his jaw dropped as his eyes widened in terror. I tried to explain but I couldn’t get the words out, and even if I could, there was nothing that God could do. It was too late.

It all started with the secrets. They were hungry for secrets, ravenous. Their minds lost to their aching hunger, if they ever had minds to begin with, but they wouldn’t leave you alone after they had consumed your darkest moments. They wanted more. They’d developed a taste. They had needs and you were expected to fulfil them. I was holding out on them, and they knew it.

I’d hear it all night as I tried to sleep. Just beyond reach. Just out of sight. Always whispering, always waiting, and I knew that it was only a matter of time before we had nothing left to give.

I thought God would keep me safe. I had never felt safe. My big sister vanished when I was a kid, and I suppose I never got over it. She went out to the shop one day and just never came back. My parents just seemed to move on. It never made any sense to me, and I’d go out looking myself, once I got old enough to reach the lock on the front door, in the woods, down by the river, but I never saw a sign of her. I’d call out to Chelsea everywhere I went, scolded by my parents who just wanted to forget, but when she left us, something left me, and I was never the same.

I’d like to tell you that I came to God with a humble open heart, but the truth is, none of us here really has that wholesome story. I wanted to feel safe, and God seemed like he could do that. If all it took was swearing off men, vices and the outside world, I was willing to try.

The abbey was a beautiful place, full of song, friendship and worship, and I’d never felt safer anywhere else. I thought that things would always feel that way, until Sister Frances went mad. It happened all at once, that was when they came to us, and since then, we have never known peace.

She collapsed into insanity, wandering the halls, wailing and screaming, her words, a jumbled storm of nonsense as she thrashed and lashed out at everyone that tried to comfort her. I can remember so clearly. She cornered me in the dining room one night, pulling me close with a tear stained face, screaming about secrets. As the other girls pulled her away and back to her room, I was heartbroken. She was so lost, and there was nothing that we could do. We didn’t know what to do, captured in fear as our leader fell apart. Nobody heard our prayers and no help came, but we never stopped believing that she’d be okay.

Every night, she’d keep us all awake, moaning and crying, calling out to unseen horrors and begging for relief. It broke our hearts that we could not help her, but we tried. We’d take turns holding vigil at her bedside, mopping her soaked brow and praying as the night’s hours slowly slipped by, always believing, always faithful, but lost in a way that we’d never felt before.

We began to hear it too. It was just mumbled whispers at first, something we could barely make out, but as Sister Frances lost her mind, the voices found a way to get closer, and clearer.

“Unburden yourself my sisters.” They would whisper, all through the night, and as I met the tired eyes of the other girls every morning, I knew that we were all being tormented by the same presence that was stealing Sister Frances from us, and so, I prayed.

Faith is hard to explain to someone who doesn’t have it, and maybe, to those who don’t believe, we seemed delusional, childish and naive, but each of us believed that our prayers would eventually be answered and that Sister Frances would be saved.

I stopped believing when Sister Frances was found in the lake, and our sister who was watching over her was found in the basement.

Sister Edith was supposed to be watching her, and she swears that she did. Things had been quiet, with Sister Frances finally falling into a soft sleep, until the clock struck three and the older woman awoke with a start, letting out a long, pained scream.

Sister Edith says that the windows flew open, the wind flying through the room as Sister Frances was carried from the bed towards the window, begging someone to leave her in peace… Edith tried to tell us more, but she broke down, sobbing in our arms as we tried to console her.

She would never explain how she came to be in the basement, or what had taken Sister Frances, but I knew that I had to find out.

The police came by a few hours later, informing us that Sister Frances had been found in the lake, and we grieved, praying for peace and relief from the strange and unsettling events. I played along, but part of me was unable to truly believe anymore. It made no sense.

Sister Frances was a good woman, God’s loyal servant, and yet, her life had been taken, in such a cruel way, and all we had were questions with no answers, fears that would not go away, and prayers that never seemed to be heard.

I began looking for answers. I bothered Sister Edith for details until she grew sick of me, spent hours in Sister Frances’ room looking for a sign, but there was nothing, until they paid me a visit.

It was late, and a storm had surrounded us. I was in Sister Frances’ room again, staring out the window wondering what to make of everything we’d been through, but I couldn’t. None of it made sense, until they began whispering in my ear, closer than they’d ever been before.

I couldn’t see them, but I could feel them, everywhere all at once. The room was suddenly suffocating, their fingertips all over my body, and their voices, swirling together into one, whirling around the room, inescapable and intolerable.

“Unburden yourself Sister Allison.” I tried to shut them out, convinced it was a dream, but they were persistent. They picked and prodded at my flesh, their whispers, warm like flames against the back of my neck, burning hotter with every second, red eyes flashing in and out of view around the room as I ran towards the door, my legs heavy as they clung to me. “You’ll feel so much better.” The whispers became a wail, tall and terrifying. “We just want to know what happened to her Allison…” I fell towards the door, watching it slam shut as my fingernails dug into the carpet before me, my heart racing.

The room fell into darkness, and the voices fell silent. All I could hear was my panicked, frantic breath as the seconds slipped by. I closed my eyes, trying to steady my breathing, hoping it was all just a horrible nightmare, but as I opened them, red eyes lit up ahead of me, curious, staring into my own. I gripped the carpet, struggling to stand but falling back down as the eyes watched without a word.

“What did you do to her?” I whispered, a weight I could not see holding me down on the floor as the fingers found me again, gently brushing my ruffled hair from my eyes and tracing down my eyelids as a sigh surrounded the room.

“What did you do to her?” They mimicked, sick, mocking tones filling the room. “Your God cannot save you.” The eyes came closer, my skin burning under the touch of the phantom that surrounded me and I cried out in fear and agony. “Sister Frances believed right to the end, even though she knew she was going to hell.” I wept, watching the eyes narrow, their cruel words invading every inch of the air. “She did sinful things and thought she could hide them under a habit.” I shook my head, placing my hands over my ears but they still broke through and made their voices heard. “All those unclean things with all those unclean girls… God saw it all.” The floor burned beneath me, and I howled in pain, writhing in agony and falling back to the ground every time I tried to stand. I sobbed, the sound of my anguish finally towering above their torment, and within a moment, the room was flooded with sunlight, and I was blissfully bereft.

-x-

I didn’t know what they were or how they came to be, but that night, Sister Edith cornered me at dinner, shooing away the other girls and sitting across from me at the table.

“Why won’t you tell her, Sister?” She seemed panicked, nervous and like she hadn’t slept in days, and in that moment, I realised that I’d been so wrapped up in looking for answers that I hadn’t checked in with her at all. I opened my mouth to ask who she was referring to but she raised a finger to silence me, shaking her head. “It feels like there’s loads of them, but it’s just May.” She picked up a spare fork and plunged it onto my plate, dragging a generous helping of pasta up to her mouth and barely letting it pass her lips before she continued. “I only noticed, because she can’t ask me, if she’s asking you.” Her eyes softened, overpowered with sadness as she glanced over my shoulder. I turned to look at where her eyes had landed but she raised her hand to my face, gently holding it in place with a sorrowful smile. “She’s whispering to all of us, all of the time, but right now, she wants your secret, so…” Sister Edith trailed off as she rose from the table, taking one last look at me and running.

It made little sense, but it was all I had to go on. I continued to eat, trying not to think about what Sister Edith had looked at, and what everyone else in the dining hall was now doing their best not to stare at, just over my shoulder. Each of my sisters passed by the table, tender hands on my shoulder, awkward, apologetic smiles, but never any words, and never looking me in the eye. They were always looking at them, or her, or it, whatever lay behind me. Whatever had sent Sister Edith screaming down to the basement. Whatever had forced Sister Francis down to the bottom of the lake. I had her attention.

It was right behind me, just a glance away, but I didn’t dare look. As time went on, I began to feel it, or them, or her. Whatever it was. I could feel it behind me. Hands running up and down my back, slinking around my waist and up and down my legs, all hours of the day, no matter where I was, I could feel them. I would hear their whispers, all the time, so much louder than before. So insistent. So many voices. So many questions and demands. They wanted my secrets, but I had nothing to give. They’d laugh, showing off the secrets of everyone around me, cackling and cooing as I began to realise that these things, this beast, May, it, or she had always been stalking the halls of our abbey, but had only just got round to me.

I looked back in the archives, finding the diaries of all our abbey’s past occupants, and just as I’d suspected, that thing had always been there. You had to really look to see it, but there’d be scratched out entries, barely visible but just about there, panicked logs about whispers, shadows. Every now and again, a nun would go mad and it would stop, except… this time, it didn’t stop. May wasn’t satisfied. She thought she could find a bigger secret, so she wasn’t giving up.

All of a sudden, I knew everything about everyone. Sisters from the past and sisters that I shared my home with suddenly had no secrets from me. Sister Francis found her faith in the end, but only ended up here because she was a lesbian. Sister Edith had her vices too. Cigarettes, roulette and liqueur. She’d never been touched by a man or a woman, but she was a fiend for the wheel and a good whisky. As for me? I had no secrets. That’s what I’d tell May, again and again, over and over, all night and all day. Nothing was a secret. I had no secrets. I belonged to God and I shared all I was with him. All the usual. She got nothing from me, and it infuriated her, or it, or them…

There was something about me that May couldn’t quite let go of, and as time wore on, and she whispered to my sisters, their sympathy for my plight seemed to fade, replaced by frustration. May wanted my secret, and they wanted me to give it too, seeming to believe that our suffering would end, but I repeated again and again that there was nothing to tell, and nothing for me to give.

I’d lie awake at night, listening to all the secrets May had gathered. I still knew nothing about May, but I knew more than I cared to about everyone else. As strange as it sounds, I grew used to May and all her hands, poking, prodding and troubling my body as the night wore on. The whispers began to fade in and out too, it was like I could push her away. I’d focus on one corner of the room, right over by the window.

I fixed my eyes on the nothingness, and something about it soothed me. May was still all around me, but I had a little peace, just a sliver of sanity that she, or it could not reach.

She found a way. May always finds a way, that’s what I’ve learned.

She found her way into my empty little corner. I was staring at it one night, my eyes heavy as the long night lingered, and for a moment, just one moment, I let them fall, my head sinking into the pillow as my eyes fluttered open again, May’s big red eyes were in the corner, but not hanging in the air as they usually were. They were fixed to a small face, pale skin, blood clashing with the snowy, soft cheeks of the child, dripping slowly down from the straggly, stringy red hair that hung in pigtails. May’s eyes glared from the child’s body, forcing a wicked smile onto her lips, and I was suddenly wide awake, watching the child totter towards me, my body full of dread.

“What did you do to her Allison?” The voices began to fill the room, all over me, everywhere, excruciating. “Why don’t you confess?”

Blood was all over the child. Her hands, her face, her dress, under her nails and baked onto the soles of her shoes. She was filthy, dirty, her pale skin made a show of the bruises on her arms and legs, and her little hands reached out towards me, her fingers extending ever closer as I dived under the covers.

May took the one, small sliver of solace I had left, filling it with horrific, hazy visions and all I could do was wait out the night, hiding under my duvet with tears in my eyes. I waited for the morning. Sometimes, I thought it would never come. I waited, watching the girl with May’s eyes through a crack in the blankets, lost in a whirlwind of the whispers, praying, even though I could not believe.

It lasted long after the night. May was always with me, and with her was the girl. My sisters would look past me, never meeting my eye, and I began to fade away, as if I only existed for the spectre that stayed by my side. I prayed, out of habit, my beads shaking in my hands as I hid under the covers, waiting for God to wake me from my nightmares, but he never came, it was just me, May, and the little girl who sat by my bedside, ancient eyes burning into me.

“Kayleigh was a nice little girl, wasn’t she Allison?” The blankets were torn from the bed, and Kayleigh stared down, her stony stare freezing me in place. I knew who she was. I’d known since May showed her to me, and yes, it was true that I had my secret, but I’d kept it for Kayleigh’s sake. “How did she get this way?” May’s voice was right in my ear as Kayleigh crawled onto the bed, her blood soaked fingertips clutching my nightdress as she stared with an anger that I knew I deserved. “You can tell me, Allison, I won’t tell a soul.” I couldn’t take anymore. I held Kayleigh close to my chest, weeping into her hair as she struggled against my grip. “Why did you do it, Kayleigh?” May whispered as Kayleigh sank into my embrace, quiet and still at last.

“I wanted to play with my sister.” I was surrounded by my words, feeling the small girl disappear from my arms, the two of us, finally as one again. I hadn’t heard my name in such a long time. It had been everywhere at the time. Little Kayleigh Fisher, the devil child of Dartford. Oh, she’s done such dreadful things. Such a sweet looking girl, with such a stain on her soul.

Why did she do it? How did she do it? A little baby, brutalising all those boys like that? Body parts turning up in the park and down by the river? How did she do it? How could she do it?

I never had an answer that I was willing to share.

I didn’t crave power, and it gave me no thrill. It just felt like a game, I suppose. I’d call out to Chelsea and she’d call back, and the boys were just a game that we’d play. I’d wake up, by the shore of the river or out in the woods, soaked in blood and surrounded by a body. Chelsea would be gone. I’ve never known if she was really there, but I’d clean myself up, get rid of them and go back to my life.

I never confessed, but they had enough to put me away anyway. Caged like a circus animal. The world’s new fascination. I went from young offender’s institute to young offender’s institute, and then off to a women’s prison, where I stayed until they decided I’d been rehabilitated.

I could never be sure if I had been, that’s why I’d always kept to myself in prison, just in case, but when I was out, with a new name and a second chance at life, it was harder and harder to keep my secret, and to keep myself in check, so I threw myself at God’s mercy.

God can only do so much.

The abbey was the first place I found myself after prison. The outside world was too overwhelming, and there was something inside of me begging to get out. I could feel it, knocking on my head at night, whispering and screaming, pointing out everybody that passed me by, pointing at the blood that pumped through their bodies.

I found peace at the abbey. It was safe, and I was safe, for the first time in my life, until May.

“It wasn’t me, you know.” She hissed, as if answering the swirling thoughts that plagued my mind. “There was always something bad inside you, and that sister of yours, that’s why we like you so much.” Tears fell from my eyes as she stared, unblinking and unwavering with her big red eyes. “There was something bad inside me too.” I ran, and I kept running, all through the abbey, my eyes, blinded by the truth and my heartbreak, my fingernails finding new blood, and the screams finally releasing me from the torment of May’s whispering.

Had she been with me all along? Or had the darkness in me drawn her from some faraway place to walk by my side? I couldn’t say. All I knew was that I was made this way. Allison. Kayleigh. It didn’t matter.

I was just the way God made me.

And so, I went to God, a trail of his children in my wake, and May, with her bright red eyes right behind me, staring at him as he stared back in horror.

“Why did I do this?” I asked, but all he could do was cry.

Posted in Writing, Blog, Creative Writing

Whispers In The Dark – Part Two

I didn’t know what they were or how they came to be, but that night, Sister Edith cornered me at dinner, shooing away the other girls and sitting across from me at the table.

“Why won’t you tell her, Sister?” She seemed panicked, nervous and like she hadn’t slept in days, and in that moment, I realised that I’d been so wrapped up in looking for answers that I hadn’t checked in with her at all. I opened my mouth to ask who she was referring to but she raised a finger to silence me, shaking her head. “It feels like there’s loads of them, but it’s just May.” She picked up a spare fork and plunged it onto my plate, dragging a generous helping of pasta up to her mouth and barely letting it pass her lips before she continued. “I only noticed, because she can’t ask me, if she’s asking you.” Her eyes softened, overpowered with sadness as she glanced over my shoulder. I turned to look at where her eyes had landed but she raised her hand to my face, gently holding it in place with a sorrowful smile. “She’s whispering to all of us, all of the time, but right now, she wants your secret, so…” Sister Edith trailed off as she rose from the table, taking one last look at me and running.

It made little sense, but it was all I had to go on. I continued to eat, trying not to think about what Sister Edith had looked at, and what everyone else in the dining hall was now doing their best not to stare at, just over my shoulder. Each of my sisters passed by the table, tender hands on my shoulder, awkward, apologetic smiles, but never any words, and never looking me in the eye. They were always looking at them, or her, or it, whatever lay behind me. Whatever had sent Sister Edith screaming down to the basement. Whatever had forced Sister Francis down to the bottom of the lake. I had her attention.

It was right behind me, just a glance away, but I didn’t dare look. As time went on, I began to feel it, or them, or her. Whatever it was. I could feel it behind me. Hands running up and down my back, slinking around my waist and up and down my legs, all hours of the day, no matter where I was, I could feel them. I would hear their whispers, all the time, so much louder than before. So insistent. So many voices. So many questions and demands. They wanted my secrets, but I had nothing to give. They’d laugh, showing off the secrets of everyone around me, cackling and cooing as I began to realise that these things, this beast, May, it, or she had always been stalking the halls of our abbey, but had only just got round to me.

I looked back in the archives, finding the diaries of all our abbey’s past occupants, and just as I’d suspected, that thing had always been there. You had to really look to see it, but there’d be scratched out entries, barely visible but just about there, panicked logs about whispers, shadows. Every now and again, a nun would go mad and it would stop, except… this time, it didn’t stop. May wasn’t satisfied. She thought she could find a bigger secret, so she wasn’t giving up.

All of a sudden, I knew everything about everyone. Sisters from the past and sisters that I shared my home with suddenly had no secrets from me. Sister Francis found her faith in the end, but only ended up here because she was a lesbian. Sister Edith had her vices too. Cigarettes, roulette and liqueur. She’d never been touched by a man or a woman, but she was a fiend for the wheel and a good whisky. As for me? I had no secrets. That’s what I’d tell May, again and again, over and over, all night and all day. Nothing was a secret. I had no secrets. I belonged to God and I shared all I was with him. All the usual. She got nothing from me, and it infuriated her, or it, or them…

There was something about me that May couldn’t quite let go of, and as time wore on, and she whispered to my sisters, their sympathy for my plight seemed to fade, replaced by frustration. May wanted my secret, and they wanted me to give it too, seeming to believe that our suffering would end, but I repeated again and again that there was nothing to tell, and nothing for me to give.

I’d lie awake at night, listening to all the secrets May had gathered. I still knew nothing about May, but I knew more than I cared to about everyone else. As strange as it sounds, I grew used to May and all her hands, poking, prodding and troubling my body as the night wore on. The whispers began to fade in and out too, it was like I could push her away. I’d focus on one corner of the room, right over by the window.

I fixed my eyes on the nothingness, and something about it soothed me. May was still all around me, but I had a little peace, just a sliver of sanity that she, or it could not reach.

She found a way. May always finds a way, that’s what I’ve learned.

She found her way into my empty little corner. I was staring at it one night, my eyes heavy as the long night lingered, and for a moment, just one moment, I let them fall, my head sinking into the pillow as my eyes fluttered open again, May’s big red eyes were in the corner, but not hanging in the air as they usually were. They were fixed to a small face, pale skin, blood clashing with the snowy, soft cheeks of the child, dripping slowly down from the straggly, stringy red hair that hung in pigtails. May’s eyes glared from the child’s body, forcing a wicked smile onto her lips, and I was suddenly wide awake, watching the child totter towards me, my body full of dread.

“What did you do to her Allison?” The voices began to fill the room, all over me, everywhere, excruciating. “Why don’t you confess?”

Blood was all over the child. Her hands, her face, her dress, under her nails and baked onto the soles of her shoes. She was filthy, dirty, her pale skin made a show of the bruises on her arms and legs, and her little hands reached out towards me, her fingers extending ever closer as I dived under the covers.

May took the one, small sliver of solace I had left, filling it with horrific, hazy visions and all I could do was wait out the night, hiding under my duvet with tears in my eyes. I waited for the morning. Sometimes, I thought it would never come. I waited, watching the girl with May’s eyes through a crack in the blankets, lost in a whirlwind of the whispers, praying, even though I could not believe.

It lasted long after the night. May was always with me, and with her was the girl. My sisters would look past me, never meeting my eye, and I began to fade away, as if I only existed for the spectre that stayed by my side. I prayed, out of habit, my beads shaking in my hands as I hid under the covers, waiting for God to wake me from my nightmares, but he never came, it was just me, May, and the little girl who sat by my bedside, ancient eyes burning into me.

“Kayleigh was a nice little girl, wasn’t she Allison?” The blankets were torn from the bed, and Kayleigh stared down, her stony stare freezing me in place. I knew who she was. I’d known since May showed her to me, and yes, it was true that I had my secret, but I’d kept it for Kayleigh’s sake. “How did she get this way?” May’s voice was right in my ear as Kayleigh crawled onto the bed, her blood soaked fingertips clutching my nightdress as she stared with an anger that I knew I deserved. “You can tell me, Allison, I won’t tell a soul.” I couldn’t take anymore. I held Kayleigh close to my chest, weeping into her hair as she struggled against my grip. “Why did you do it, Kayleigh?” May whispered as Kayleigh sank into my embrace, quiet and still at last.

“I wanted to play with my sister.” I was surrounded by my words, feeling the small girl disappear from my arms, the two of us, finally as one again. I hadn’t heard my name in such a long time. It had been everywhere at the time. Little Kayleigh Fisher, the devil child of Dartford. Oh, she’s done such dreadful things. Such a sweet looking girl, with such a stain on her soul.

Why did she do it? How did she do it? A little baby, brutalising all those boys like that? Body parts turning up in the park and down by the river? How did she do it? How could she do it?

I never had an answer that I was willing to share.

I didn’t crave power, and it gave me no thrill. It just felt like a game, I suppose. I’d call out to Chelsea and she’d call back, and the boys were just a game that we’d play. I’d wake up, by the shore of the river or out in the woods, soaked in blood and surrounded by a body. Chelsea would be gone. I’ve never known if she was really there, but I’d clean myself up, get rid of them and go back to my life.

I never confessed, but they had enough to put me away anyway. Caged like a circus animal. The world’s new fascination. I went from young offender’s institute to young offender’s institute, and then off to a women’s prison, where I stayed until they decided I’d been rehabilitated.

I could never be sure if I had been, that’s why I’d always kept to myself in prison, just in case, but when I was out, with a new name and a second chance at life, it was harder and harder to keep my secret, and to keep myself in check, so I threw myself at God’s mercy.

God can only do so much.

The abbey was the first place I found myself after prison. The outside world was too overwhelming, and there was something inside of me begging to get out. I could feel it, knocking on my head at night, whispering and screaming, pointing out everybody that passed me by, pointing at the blood that pumped through their bodies.

I found peace at the abbey. It was safe, and I was safe, for the first time in my life, until May.

“It wasn’t me, you know.” She hissed, as if answering the swirling thoughts that plagued my mind. “There was always something bad inside you, and that sister of yours, that’s why we like you so much.” Tears fell from my eyes as she stared, unblinking and unwavering with her big red eyes. “There was something bad inside me too.” I ran, and I kept running, all through the abbey, my eyes, blinded by the truth and my heartbreak, my fingernails finding new blood, and the screams finally releasing me from the torment of May’s whispering.

Had she been with me all along? Or had the darkness in me drawn her from some faraway place to walk by my side? I couldn’t say. All I knew was that I was made this way. Allison. Kayleigh. It didn’t matter.

I was just the way God made me.

And so, I went to God, a trail of his children in my wake, and May, with her bright red eyes right behind me, staring at him as he stared back in horror.

“Why did I do this?” I asked, but all he could do was cry.

Posted in Writing, Blog, Creative Writing

Whispers In The Dark – Part One

I spoke to God but it was too late. He was sympathetic, but ultimately, there was nothing he could do. I don’t know what I expected, but there was nothing else left to do but to find him. There was barely anything left, you see.

It all started with the secrets. We all had our secrets, until we didn’t, and once they were done with our secrets, they wanted something more.

God asked me when it all began… how long it had been, but all I could do was point behind me, strangled by choked sobs, and let him see my situation for himself.

He was aghast, his jaw dropped as his eyes widened in terror. I tried to explain but I couldn’t get the words out, and even if I could, there was nothing that God could do. It was too late.

It all started with the secrets. They were hungry for secrets, ravenous. Their minds lost to their aching hunger, if they ever had minds to begin with, but they wouldn’t leave you alone after they had consumed your darkest moments. They wanted more. They’d developed a taste. They had needs and you were expected to fulfil them. I was holding out on them, and they knew it.

I’d hear it all night as I tried to sleep. Just beyond reach. Just out of sight. Always whispering, always waiting, and I knew that it was only a matter of time before we had nothing left to give.

I thought God would keep me safe. I had never felt safe. My big sister vanished when I was a kid, and I suppose I never got over it. She went out to the shop one day and just never came back. My parents just seemed to move on. It never made any sense to me, and I’d go out looking myself, once I got old enough to reach the lock on the front door, in the woods, down by the river, but I never saw a sign of her. I’d call out to Chelsea everywhere I went, scolded by my parents who just wanted to forget, but when she left us, something left me, and I was never the same.

I’d like to tell you that I came to God with a humble open heart, but the truth is, none of us here really has that wholesome story. I wanted to feel safe, and God seemed like he could do that. If all it took was swearing off men, vices and the outside world, I was willing to try.

The abbey was a beautiful place, full of song, friendship and worship, and I’d never felt safer anywhere else. I thought that things would always feel that way, until Sister Frances went mad. It happened all at once, that was when they came to us, and since then, we have never known peace.

She collapsed into insanity, wandering the halls, wailing and screaming, her words, a jumbled storm of nonsense as she thrashed and lashed out at everyone that tried to comfort her. I can remember so clearly. She cornered me in the dining room one night, pulling me close with a tear stained face, screaming about secrets. As the other girls pulled her away and back to her room, I was heartbroken. She was so lost, and there was nothing that we could do. We didn’t know what to do, captured in fear as our leader fell apart. Nobody heard our prayers and no help came, but we never stopped believing that she’d be okay.

Every night, she’d keep us all awake, moaning and crying, calling out to unseen horrors and begging for relief. It broke our hearts that we could not help her, but we tried. We’d take turns holding vigil at her bedside, mopping her soaked brow and praying as the night’s hours slowly slipped by, always believing, always faithful, but lost in a way that we’d never felt before.

We began to hear it too. It was just mumbled whispers at first, something we could barely make out, but as Sister Frances lost her mind, the voices found a way to get closer, and clearer.

“Unburden yourself my sisters.” They would whisper, all through the night, and as I met the tired eyes of the other girls every morning, I knew that we were all being tormented by the same presence that was stealing Sister Frances from us, and so, I prayed.

Faith is hard to explain to someone who doesn’t have it, and maybe, to those who don’t believe, we seemed delusional, childish and naive, but each of us believed that our prayers would eventually be answered and that Sister Frances would be saved.

I stopped believing when Sister Frances was found in the lake, and our sister who was watching over her was found in the basement.

Sister Edith was supposed to be watching her, and she swears that she did. Things had been quiet, with Sister Frances finally falling into a soft sleep, until the clock struck three and the older woman awoke with a start, letting out a long, pained scream.

Sister Edith says that the windows flew open, the wind flying through the room as Sister Frances was carried from the bed towards the window, begging someone to leave her in peace… Edith tried to tell us more, but she broke down, sobbing in our arms as we tried to console her.

She would never explain how she came to be in the basement, or what had taken Sister Frances, but I knew that I had to find out.

The police came by a few hours later, informing us that Sister Frances had been found in the lake, and we grieved, praying for peace and relief from the strange and unsettling events. I played along, but part of me was unable to truly believe anymore. It made no sense.

Sister Frances was a good woman, God’s loyal servant, and yet, her life had been taken, in such a cruel way, and all we had were questions with no answers, fears that would not go away, and prayers that never seemed to be heard.

I began looking for answers. I bothered Sister Edith for details until she grew sick of me, spent hours in Sister Frances’ room looking for a sign, but there was nothing, until they paid me a visit.

It was late, and a storm had surrounded us. I was in Sister Frances’ room again, staring out the window wondering what to make of everything we’d been through, but I couldn’t. None of it made sense, until they began whispering in my ear, closer than they’d ever been before.

I couldn’t see them, but I could feel them, everywhere all at once. The room was suddenly suffocating, their fingertips all over my body, and their voices, swirling together into one, whirling around the room, inescapable and intolerable.

“Unburden yourself Sister Allison.” I tried to shut them out, convinced it was a dream, but they were persistent. They picked and prodded at my flesh, their whispers, warm like flames against the back of my neck, burning hotter with every second, red eyes flashing in and out of view around the room as I ran towards the door, my legs heavy as they clung to me. “You’ll feel so much better.” The whispers became a wail, tall and terrifying. “We just want to know what happened to her Allison…” I fell towards the door, watching it slam shut as my fingernails dug into the carpet before me, my heart racing.

The room fell into darkness, and the voices fell silent. All I could hear was my panicked, frantic breath as the seconds slipped by. I closed my eyes, trying to steady my breathing, hoping it was all just a horrible nightmare, but as I opened them, red eyes lit up ahead of me, curious, staring into my own. I gripped the carpet, struggling to stand but falling back down as the eyes watched without a word.

“What did you do to her?” I whispered, a weight I could not see holding me down on the floor as the fingers found me again, gently brushing my ruffled hair from my eyes and tracing down my eyelids as a sigh surrounded the room.

“What did you do to her?” They mimicked, sick, mocking tones filling the room. “Your God cannot save you.” The eyes came closer, my skin burning under the touch of the phantom that surrounded me and I cried out in fear and agony. “Sister Frances believed right to the end, even though she knew she was going to hell.” I wept, watching the eyes narrow, their cruel words invading every inch of the air. “She did sinful things and thought she could hide them under a habit.” I shook my head, placing my hands over my ears but they still broke through and made their voices heard. “All those unclean things with all those unclean girls… God saw it all.” The floor burned beneath me, and I howled in pain, writhing in agony and falling back to the ground every time I tried to stand. I sobbed, the sound of my anguish finally towering above their torment, and within a moment, the room was flooded with sunlight, and I was blissfully bereft.

Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Writing

It’s A Match

Dearest Diary,

Christmas is over, and there was one gift on my list that I didn’t get. It’s been on my mind for weeks, consuming my every second, reminders screaming at me from the street of the one thing I lack.

Valentine’s Day is coming, but I can’t even think of a candle lit date with a lover. Lovers are ten a Penny. I can find a new plaything in an instant, but there was another craving, something so essential that I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t function, until I had what I needed.

I needed to be a mother.

I’d see them everywhere I went. Happy women with bouncing, blossoming babies. They’d share smiles with their little ones, a kind of love I’d never quite captured, and as I watched them pass me by, I felt empty and alone.

My dolls were no help, staring back at me in silence as I sobbed, until their stares became glares, and that was the moment I realised that they shared my need. The flat was so quiet. We needed a child of our own to be a real family. My dolls dreamt of someone to play with them, and I dreamt of a child of my own to give all the love that soared within me.

It wasn’t easy. Babies are so heavily guarded. Mother’s instinct, I suppose, a protective, possessive power that keeps their infants shielded, so a baby was out of the question. I tried, of course, but I could barely get close. Those witches, selfish and furious, wouldn’t share their blessings with me, so I had no choice but to look elsewhere.

As children get older, it seems their parents care less. They let them play a little further away in the park. They let them walk to school in little groups. They let them go to the corner shop all alone, and that was how I met my daughter.

She left the shop with an armful of sweets, and our eyes met as I sat on the bench across from the door. I waved, her eyes lighting up as she spotted the huge pile of sweets beside me on the bench. It didn’t matter that she already had sweets of her own, every child wants more, and I had plenty to spare.

She ran towards me with a bright smile, and that was when I knew I’d found my little girl. She may have been born to someone else, but she was always meant to find her way to me. She was always meant to be my daughter.

We talked for a while as I watched her, overwhelmed with choice, picking through the sweets. She told me that her name was Chelsea, but I made a note to change it later. It just wasn’t the kind of thing I envisioned for my little Princess, you know?

She was about to go, worried about getting home to do her homework when I asked her if she’d like to have a tea party with my dolls. She was only six years old, after all, and there was plenty of time for homework, so why shouldn’t she have a little fun?

She couldn’t say no, taking my hand and walking back towards the flat with me, her face glowing with the biggest smile I’d ever seen.

I thought she’d be surprised, maybe even a little frightened when she got home and saw my dolls. I’d dressed them up nicely and made them look their best, but they can still be a bit of a shock the first time somebody sees them, especially Marilyn, due to her difficulties since Pumpkin’s fixed her up for me, but Violet wasn’t scared at all.

I decided to call her Violet, because my mother always liked floral names.

When we arrived home, the dolls were sat around the table as Marilyn struggled to fix some sandwiches, her jaw dropped, but no scream audible as the knife went back and forth over her limp wrist. I ran and pulled the knife from her flesh, mopping the blood from the sideboard, and Violet just sat down at the dining table smiling over at me.

Once I’d cleaned Marilyn up and put her to bed, Violet and I shared tea and sandwiches, talking about her favourite books and cartoons. We braided the hair of my dolls with hair long enough and did make up for the rest, and as time went on, I forgot that someone else had stolen so much time with my little girl from me, and I got lost in how happy I was, smiling, just like all the women I’d seen.

As I tucked her in and read her a story, she began to ask about her “Mummy”, and after a little back and forth, we agreed that I was her Mummy and the woman before was just a nasty imposter. She still argued with me about it, even after we agreed, but that’s kids for you, so childish.

It was just a phase. She was up bright and early the next day, pulling at the front door and yelling, probably eager to get to school, but I pulled her back towards the living room, deciding then and there that she needed to be home schooled.

She began to cry sometime around lunch and she didn’t stop until long after sunset. I gave her sweets. I let her pick any doll she wanted to play with. I let her watch television, until she saw herself on a breaking news bulletin and freaked out. I tried everything, but she wouldn’t stop crying, and her crying had begun to become shrieking.

I didn’t want to resort to it, but I had no choice but to call an old friend. Within minutes, Pumpkins had arrived, Marilyn shrinking away in tears as she saw him stride past her in the kitchen. He rounded on Violet, eyeing up the restraints on the bed as she struggled against them, and simply shrugging, deciding that it wasn’t his business.

I didn’t want to do it. I’d have preferred my little girl to remain as she was, rather than becoming another living doll like Marilyn. I already had a living doll! And besides, Violet was my heir, my very own little girl, and I wanted to be able to teach her so many things, but… her screaming was going to attract unwanted attention, so if Pumpkins stealing her light would shut her up, then it was a sacrifice I had to make.

He winced at her weeping but knelt beside the bed, stroking her cheek gently as he kissed her forehead, preparing to snatch her soul, but as his lips lingered and her screams rang out, I realised that something was wrong.

“I don’t have anything for him to take, Mummy.” Violet whispered, her voice still and her sobbing silenced as our eyes met and her own flashed with anger.

Pumpkins backed away, giving me one last look of pity from the small holes in his mask before he ran from the flat without a word. Violet gazed up at me, motioning with her tied hands to the kitchen.

“Bring me some biscuits.” She snarled. “And a new dolly.”

Motherhood isn’t quite what I thought it would be. You see, dearest diary, I’ve finally met my match. I understand why her parents let her out all by herself when she was such a little girl.

She was no such thing. I still don’t know what she is. She has no soul and she certainly isn’t human, but, my dearest, darling diary, she is my little girl, and I will love her all my life, or as long as she lets me live.

Love forever,
The Puppet Mistress

Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Writing

The Madness Of Desire

The night that we met, I didn’t tell him what I wanted him to do, but I told him that I wanted him to do something for me. I couldn’t promise him that it wouldn’t hurt, but I promised him that it would feel good, after a while. His glance was curious, yet cautious, as if he knew that he should turn me down, but couldn’t quite bear to do so. He licked his lips, like he knew how delicious I could make his days if he did what I wanted. It was dangerous, and so was I, but I was too good for him to care.

Above all things, Brendan craved control. He had always felt left behind, forgotten, overlooked and undervalued, and I suppose that made him hungry for power in a way that he couldn’t control. He had tried to pretend that he didn’t care, and that he was satisfied with his life just as it was, but I could see the glint of ambition that still remained in his eyes, and I knew I could put it to good use.

He reminded me of my Father. Not because they were similar, it wasn’t that at all, but because he reminded me of the kind of men my Father had associated with when I was a little girl. I’d come home from school and there would always be some guy, sitting miserably in our living room, complaining about his lot in life. He’d turn them around, give them something to live for, something to believe in, and they all went on to do great things. The second I saw Brendan, I knew that he had the same potential.

My methods weren’t exactly the same as my Father’s, but things seemed to work out for me anyway. I just wanted to make my Father proud. It had been my only dream since he was taken away from me, and with Brendan, I could tell that I was finally close.

I let him think he had control of me. If you want control, you have to give it up, or at least convince someone that you have. I’d fawn over him, flutter my eyelashes, make a show of him in my very best baby voice.

“Oh Daddy, you’re so strong.” I’d coo, at the very littlest things he’d do, and he couldn’t get enough of it. “Oh Daddy, I can’t live without you.” He was addicted. It’s all about getting them hooked, you know? Everyone has a vice and the trick is to become that vice.

He thought that he was lucky to meet me, but I leave nothing to chance. He was always going to meet me, I made sure of that. I’d watched him for months, making notes on the downtrodden frown he’d wear, how it worsened with each day, with the storm clouds that followed him growing heavier each time he left the house. He liked to drink in the same pub every night, and he’d rant and rave about all the things that bothered him, but he could tell that nobody was really listening.

It was all too easy. You take a lonely, bitter man, bring a little sunshine into his life, and he’ll die for you, if you ask him too, kill for you without a second thought. I shone above him, like the sun, smiling across the bar from him, watching him smile for the first time in weeks as he realised I was looking at him.

It didn’t take long to wrap him around my little finger. All I had to do was listen, nod and smile. Pretty soon, he would die for me, if I asked him too, kill for me without a second thought, but I didn’t ask him to do either. I asked him to keep hold of something for me.

It was just a little thing. Just a little favour for Daddy’s little sunbeam. I knew that he would do it, but frankly, I enjoyed watching him want to do it. I liked to watch him beg when I’d say “I don’t know Daddy, maybe it’s too much…” He’d plead with me to let him help, and it was divine. I’d um and ah, watching the man twist himself in knots with his desperation to prove himself and please me, and just when I could see him close to breaking, I’d relent, knowing that with each moment, his will was breaking, and there would be no going back.

I asked him to keep the pendant at first, around his neck, all the time. He swore to me that he would, and I watched as it dug deep inside of his mind. He didn’t know what it was, of course, so he had no way to prepare for what it would do, and that was half the fun (for me, anyway).

I’d stay up and watch him writhing in the bed, tormented and tortured by the terror of the visions I was planting in his head. Some might say I was being cruel, but it builds character.

My Father used to do this for a few nights, but I kept Brendan under the pendant’s spell for two whole weeks, and by the end, he was terrified to sleep, and a blubbering mess when he was awake, but one coy glance from me and he’d do his best to fake a smile. He wanted to impress me, make a show of himself, but both of us knew that he was falling apart inside, and I was only just getting started.

I put up my Father’s old mirror in the bedroom, high above the bed on the ceiling, and as he tried to get to sleep, I’d stare up into it, knowing that he’d stare too. It made a madman of him. He’d stare up at our reflection, his eyes heavy as the night wore on, and just as he was on the cusp of sleep, a ghostly hand would creep onto his reflected shoulder, or grip around the neck of his reflection, and he’d jump, suddenly wide awake as he searched the bed for what he was so sure he’d seen. That would go on for a few hours every night before his weak, little human body just gave in, and it was very entertaining.

I didn’t just want to freak him out a little, or even just break him. I needed him to be totally destroyed, mine to toy with entirely, and so, it was necessary to play with my food a little.

I would whisper to him as night fell.

“Astaroth.” He’d stare up at our reflection, his eyes wide and frightened, but he didn’t want me to stop, I could tell. “Come home to me Astaroth.” He didn’t know what it meant but the more I said it, the more he’d see in the mirror. I would watch the reflection with him, whispering, dropping kisses softly on his neck as I spoke, skeletal fingers wrapping around the throat of his reflection, and all he could do was whimper and cry.

I left the pendant around his neck, watching him weep every night as the nightmares chased him wherever he went, and as morning came, I would kiss his tear stained cheek, and ask him if he thought he was ready. He would always tell me that he was, despite me not even explaining what I needed him to be ready for. It didn’t matter to him, I suppose. He adored me, I’d made sure of that, but it wasn’t enough. There was something more I needed from him, and I needed him to really beg for it.

I told him to go off into the village and show me that he was worthy, and he came back with the head of a local police officer. I told him to find me somewhere safe, and we went on the run, making a little home in a new hotel room every few days, watching his face flash across the news broadcasts as the population began to panic. I told him to amuse me and he robbed a bank, bringing me home piles of bank notes and a handful of coins. I kissed him, letting him push me up against the thin walls of the hotel bedroom, hearing a little sob escape his lips as he sighed in ecstasy.

There’s always a part of them left, you see. I can take them to the edge, make them do things they wouldn’t believe, and they can’t stop themselves, but there is always a tiny little sliver of them left inside, a little part that doesn’t lose their mind, that is terrified of what they’ve become. If I ever loved him, that was the part I loved the most.

Last night, he came home, his hood low over his eyes, blood dripping slowly down his nails onto the hotel carpet, and he dropped to his knees before me. I rolled my eyes but held him close, listening as he sobbed against my knees, shaking, as he tried to swallow the few seconds where that small part of him would question what he’d done.

“Are you ready, Daddy?” I whispered, watching him look up at me with tear filled eyes and nod repeatedly. He clung to my dress, big puppy dog eyes pleading with me as the sky grew dark outside.

I couldn’t tell whether he agreed because he thought it would bring him relief from my torment, or because he truly craved the power I promised he would have if he didn’t deny me, but either way, I had played with him enough, and I was ready to take things to the next level.

I had tried with other men before, and I’d always got close, but never quite made it, but Brendan was something special, I was sure of it. In the end, I didn’t tell him how things would end. He didn’t need to know, and he’d be happier not knowing. Why couldn’t his last moments be a little joyful?

I placed the mirror before us, propping it up on the dresser and laughing to myself at the trouble he’d had carrying it to each of our secret hideaways. He held onto me, his arms tightly gripped around my legs as he sat, defeated by my side, staring into the mirror with me.

I had promised him power would pulse from his fingertips, and it wasn’t a lie. I promised him that he’d have control, and that was a lie, but it didn’t matter. He was too weak to stop me, and too weak to stop him. My Father grinned from behind our reflections, pulling Brendan towards him and prising his jaw open. I smiled back at my Father, watching him tear the pendant from his own throat and force it down the throat of the helpless, sobbing man in the mirror, while Brendan knelt silently beside me, clinging weakly to my waist.

His grip weakened as I watched him weaken in the mirror, blood splattered across the glass as my Father’s jaws closed around the last of his body, swallowing the last few bites with a smile.

“Hello Astaroth.” I whispered, looking away from the mirror and down to the man by my side with a hopeful smile.

“Hello my darling.” Brendan snarled, standing with a grin and pulling the pendant from his neck. He threw it against the mirror, watching the glass shatter as the pendant fell to the ground with a clatter. A low growl left his lips, and his green eyes were now red. At last, my little puppy dog was a great man, or, to be more specific, a great demon in a weak man’s body.

My Daddy was home, at last.