Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Writing

I Need You So

Meredith is the most beautiful girl in school.

There’s something about her that drives me wild. I can’t describe it, it’s like I can’t think straight around her.

She has the most gorgeous eyes. I see them everywhere I go, and I feel like they’re something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life.

Did you ever see eyes like that? Just so stunning that they knock the wind right out of you? I doubt it, unless of course, you’ve met Meredith.

I see her eyes in the stars at night, in the streetlights as I walk home and wait for the next day to arrive so I can see her again.

It’s crazy to think I didn’t ever notice her before, and then, boom, suddenly, there she was, with those eyes, lighting up the darkness.

We had just finished PE, my team had won netball and I was on a high, but feeling pretty thirsty, and she just… appeared. She let me have some of her water and as I drank it down and looked up at her face, I saw her eyes and it was like my soul left my body. All at once, I fell in love, like they do in films or love songs. It was like my whole life began again. Our life.

I felt so shy around her all of a sudden, stumbling over my words and tripping over my shoes, but she didn’t seem to care. We just connected. We spent the whole of our lunch break talking, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of her eyes the whole time.

It all happened so fast, she used to be some girl in the background and then, she was the only girl I noticed. The only girl I’d ever wanted. I couldn’t stay away from her.

We’d meet in secret between lessons, just to be together away from prying eyes. I didn’t want anyone else to look at her, not the way I did. We didn’t touch. We barely even kissed but there was this irresistible electricity between us in those moments, and when we were apart, I couldn’t stop thinking about those few minutes we would have alone, just the two of us.

We’d stay up late on the phone until she fell asleep. I didn’t say much, I just wanted to hear her voice, and when she finally drifted off, I’d fall asleep to the lullaby of her soft breathing, dreaming of the day she’d fall asleep in my arms.

We didn’t tell anyone. It’s a small town, with a lot of gossip and a lot of backwards attitudes, so our love had to be a secret, but we’d make plans to run away together all the time. I started saving my pocket money and even got a Saturday job so that I’d have enough for us to start a new life. Meredith had always wanted to go to Paris, so I saved my money, even learning a little French to get us closer to our new life.

It was all so perfect, just like her, and her eyes. You really have to see them, except you can’t, because they’re mine.

At least I think so. I want them to be, and it feels right, like we were always meant to be, but sometimes, she makes me feel like I’m losing her. That’s love, I guess. It has ups and downs.

We had been together a month when things started to change. She’d forget to meet me at break time, or she’d take a little too long to text me back, and I could feel her slipping away from me.

It was Darcy, her stupid, so called best friend. I never understood why they were friends in the first place. Meredith was so sweet and kind, but Darcy was a stone cold bitch. It was absolutely pathetic.

I knew she was a bad influence on Meredith, infecting her with her shallow, salacious behaviour, even trying to fix her up with one of the boys in our class. Meredith would make excuses for her, talking about how Darcy didn’t know she wasn’t into boys, and was just trying to be helpful…

Let me ask you this. What kind of “best friend” doesn’t know that their best friend is a) a lesbian b) already taken. I knew that Meredith was lying to protect her. Darcy, for all her faults (and there were many) was Meredith’s best friend. She must have told her about us, and Darcy still decided to try and set her up with some hideous boy. It was disgusting.

You have to understand, something needed to be done. You can’t just let these things happen, you know? And it’s not like I hurt her, or anything, so I never really got what all the fuss was about. I was just going to scare her off, put some distance between them, for Meredith’s sake. I knew she was too shy and sweet to tell Darcy to back off, so I had to do it for her.

I was going to let her out of the store cupboard. I just needed to spend some time with Meredith first. How was I supposed to know that it would catch fire? The ropes weren’t even that tight. She could have got out if she wanted to. If the school decides to stock a cupboard full of flammable materials, that’s really on them, and not me, right? Like I said, I was going to let her out, but it just… caught fire first. What’s a girl to do?

Meredith stopped spending time with Darcy after that, and it was good. Really good. She needed me, and I took care of her, like a good girlfriend is supposed to. I even spent some of the money I’d saved so we could spend the weekend at a nice hotel, just the two of us, alone at last. I told my parents that it was a school trip, and we set off into town for a few days of spa treatments, late night movies and preemptive wedded bliss. We were going to be together forever, so what was the harm in practicing early?

I didn’t want it to end. It felt like we were in our own little world, just the two of us, nobody else. That was how I liked it. The moments of silence were serene. I’d just look at her, and realise that she was the one thing in my life that made it complete.

We even snuck into the restaurant and had alcohol with dinner. I felt so grown up. The barman probably knew that we were underage, but he didn’t say much to me when he gave me the drinks. He was enthralled by Meredith though. I got a bad feeling about that. He’d look at her a little too long, asking her questions, asking for her name a lot, even asking if she had any ID with her, probably to try and find out her real name so he could look her up on social media when we left. He kept asking if she was okay. She was fine. It wasn’t his business. She was absolutely fine.

I don’t mean to judge, but it’s really not right for a grown man to take such an interest in a seventeen year old girl.

He ran into the road and was hit by a car. Nobody really knows why. Meredith was terribly upset. I tried to tell him that a car was coming, but he just kept running, and screaming about a knife. I’d only used it to cut my steak, I thought he could take it back to the kitchen for me. I guess it was just a misunderstanding.

She was really quiet when we went back to our room, probably just tired. She fell asleep in my arms and it was everything I’d waited my life for, but when I woke up the next day, she was packing her bags.

We still had another night in the hotel, so I asked her why, and she just burst into tears.

She asked me about Darcy. I couldn’t believe it, everything had been so perfect, and she had to bring up Darcy. Dumb, dead Darcy, still managing to ruin our relationship from beyond the grave.

She asked me about the barman too. It was just a horrible accident, and then… well… another horrible accident. Accidents happen, you know, but she got upset. Hysterical, in fact.

She just started whispering about how she hadn’t meant for “this” to happen. I kept asking what she meant but she shook her head and just cried. I tried to hold her but she’d push me away.

She said that it wasn’t real. Her tears flowed, the seconds turning to a minute, and then another, and I just stared, bewildered. She said it again. It wasn’t real. Nothing that I felt about her was real. I covered her mouth with my hands, my own eyes filling with tears as she pulled away. She said that she liked me, so she cast the spell, but it messed me up and… she was wrong. She kept repeating herself but she was wrong. Sometimes, love means never having to say you’re sorry, but sometimes, love means telling your lover to be quiet because they’re confused, or they’re lying or…

She said it was just the spell. It didn’t make sense. None of it made sense. She said I drank and the spell was cast, but she couldn’t be right, because I could feel it in my heart, burning in my bones, screaming in my soul. I loved her with everything I had, and she told me that it wasn’t real. I had thought about her non stop for so long. She had been my entire world. How could it be anything other than real?

She said that she was sorry, and I just couldn’t believe it. There was nothing to be sorry for. We had done nothing wrong. She was just confused, upset about the accident the night before. She’d get over it and she’d be okay again. We’d be okay. I tried to tell her. It was going to be okay, and I loved her, but she just cried.

She said that it had gone too far. She said that it was a mistake and I just stood in silence, my heart still pounding and crying for her. It wouldn’t stop. She rummaged in her suitcase, pulling out the bottle and she shoved it in my face. She said that nothing I felt was real, but she was wrong, because it was all still there. Her name was carved into my heart, and my heart was heavy with all the love it held.

I had to show her.

She cried. She pushed the steak knife from my hand and I pushed back, watching her fall to the bed. She just cried, and cried, staring right past me as I grabbed the cord of her dressing gown from the floor, wrapping it around her struggling wrists, as she said it over and over. It wasn’t real.

She had to see.

It didn’t hurt too much. I barely felt it, because I could see her eyes as the blade burst through my skin. They were full of tears, red and full of fear, but I knew what she was afraid of. Her greatest fear was the same as mine. She was afraid of losing me, and I was afraid of losing her, but as I dug my fingers into my chest, the blood on my fingers felt warm and my head felt light and hazy, so the fear melted away.

I would always be hers and she would always be mine.

I fell onto the bed next to her, the clean, cotton sheets stained with my devotion, my hand full of my heart, so that she could see it truly belonged to her.

I gazed up at her face, so full of pain, so much sorrow, my own pain beginning to spread across my chest. It didn’t matter though, because I looked into her eyes and my heart, encased in trembling fingertips, softly whispered her name.

It was real.

Posted in Blog, Creative Writing, Writing

Northlay Falls – Chapter Three

The next two days were a blur. I counted down the seconds until Wednesday, when Willard and I were scheduled to meet, but as is always the case in Northlay Falls, it was never going to be that simple.

The beast returned on Sunday night, while we were sleeping. My mother’s scream woke me early the next morning. I unlocked my bedroom door and ran through the house, following her voice to the front lawn, where my mother was knelt in the grass.

“Mum, what’s going on?” My father walked past her in silence, walking towards the pub without looking back, and I ran to her side. “Mum?” I fell back in shock as I reached her.

It was Richard, or what was left of him. His head and a few fingers were strewn on the lawn, blood splattered across the grass and flowers as my mother reached across to me and grabbed my hand.

“What would you like for breakfast?” She brushed the tears from her eyes and walked towards the house. Once again, carrying on as if everything was normal. It wasn’t a surprise to me anymore.

I never loved Richard, but I wept at his side, running my fingers across his soft face as he stared up, with glassy, long gone eyes. My fiancé (his words, not mine) was dead, and I had a sinking feeling that I was to blame.

Nobody said anything about it, and I knew that they wouldn’t, but it still shocked me. I found Mr Hithe, giving his usual warnings outside my father’s pub, and I stood with him, telling him what I’d seen in my garden that morning. He believed that the beast was sending a message, and as we parted, he repeated Willard’s warning about the drinks.

I nodded and hoped, perhaps naively, that things would get better.

They didn’t, of course. I’ve never been that lucky. The next day, Mr Hithe was waiting for me in the garden. The beast had left him intact, for the most part, but had claimed one of his legs.

I closed the blood soaked front door and hid in the house all day. I felt like a coward, but I didn’t know what else to do. I just counted down the hours until Wednesday morning, so that I could meet with Willard, get on the boat and get out of Northlay Falls. Mr Hithe was gone, and I was all alone. It was my fault. So much death, in such a short time, and all of it traced back to me, but nobody said a word. Nobody cried. Nobody thought about it too deeply, or they’d go mad.

A loud crash woke me at about three AM on Wednesday. I didn’t remember falling asleep, but I was grateful to be pulled from the horrifying nightmares that plagued me as I slept.

I knew that the beast must have been hunting, and dreaded the offering he would leave in the garden.

There was light outside my window, which seemed odd for the time of day, and as I rubbed my eyes and leant up against the window sill, I saw a crowd gathering outside of the house.

There were candles and lanterns in the hands of the villagers, and I could see their mouths moving, almost in unison.

It was one of the strangest sights I’d ever seen, outside of the obvious. I opened my window, to try and get a closer look, or to see if I could hear some part of their conversation, and as the sounds became clear, a chill ran down my spine.

“The girl must die.” It wasn’t one voice, or even a few, it was a chorus of chants, monotone and emotionless. “The girl must die.” Every single person who was crowding our house was saying it, over and over, all at once. I was the girl, and they seemed ready to sacrifice me.

Willard and Mr Hithe were right. The drinks sent over by the beast were tainted. The beast was controlling them, somehow, seeping into our every day lives and bewitching us, or at least those of us that chose to drink from his nectar. That was almost everyone, of course. After all, there was nothing for anyone to do in that place but drink, so the people were helpless to his spell.

“Ivy?” I snapped the window shut, rushing towards my door and turning the lock as fast as I could. “Ivy, what did you do?“ My father’s voice on the other side of the door had a nervousness that was oddly reassuring. There was some kind of feeling as he spoke, which was more than could be said for the baying mob outside. “Ivy, I need you to open the door.” I stared at the lock, not knowing what to do. “Did you make him angry?” My father tried the door, fruitlessly fiddling with the handle for a few seconds as he spoke.

“Who?” My voice was a weak, mousy whisper.

“The beast.” Just as Mr Hithe said, the people had an awareness, they just didn’t want to anger him, and as I took another quick glance out of the window, I understood why.

“He took Ray, Daddy.” I leant up against the door, tears in my eyes as the pressure of everything I had seen caught up with me. “I just wanted to get away…” I ran my fingers across the lock, wondering what to do, unable to think clearly with the constant chaos all around me.

“Just open the door and I can help you.” He said softly, barely audible over the deafening crowd outside.

It’s easy to say that you’re a grown up, especially when you live in Northlay Falls, where girlhood ends as soon a man decides to make a wife out of you, which seems to happen sooner every year, but in that moment, I had never felt more like a helpless child. I was in too deep. I had made a mess that I had no chance of fixing.

The beast approached, with his army of spellbound subordinates, and it seemed that everything was so hopeless, so for once, after so much time, trying to be independent, I just needed my dad to hold my hand and tell me that everything would be alright.

“It’s all going to be alright Ivy.” I slowly pulled the lock back and opened the door. He pulled me into a hug, and the second that he did, I knew it was all over.

“You’re not my Dad…” I sobbed. Just like the sailors, like every fool in that village, the beast had tricked me. His claws dug deep into my shoulders and I saw my real father, down the hallway, stood amongst the crowd that advanced towards us. His eyes glazed over like the rest of them, the horrific calls for my sacrifice escaping his lips, just like everybody else.

Willard was there too, standing just in front of my father, giving me an apologetic stare as he broke from the pack and mouthed a single word to me.

“Sorry.”

In the end, I got out of Northlay Falls, but I will never truly escape. I can write our story but nobody will ever read it, and I’ll spend the rest of my life on this boat, with Willard and the rest of those traitors. Back and forth, back and forth across the lake. Always so close to freedom, but never quite able to taste it.

It’s like I said. Nobody leaves Northlay Falls.