I’m a writer. It may not seem like it considering I neglected this blog (AGAIN) for an entire year but words are my thing. I love to write and if I could do it full time for the fun of it without having to worry about money, you betcha I would. But I can’t, and sometimes that saps my motivation away.
Me, all the time.
But this year, after leaving my job and untethering myself from the working world entirely (hopefully not for too much longer, someone please hire me xoxo), I started taking Creative Writing classes and I feel energised again. I have ideas, I have purpose and most importantly, I have growing confidence.
I never let anyone read stand alone things I write. It feels so personal and vulnerable and like I’m literally ripping open my ribcage to let someone poke at my heart only to go ‘eh’ and shrug because it’s not good enough. In class, though… it’s a weekly open heart surgery and so far no one has seemed to find me lacking so maybe it’s about damn time I let some things out into the world.
So with that in mind, here is a little piece of Flash Fiction, driven by a prompt that the main character, whomever they may be, has been living a very sheltered life, until the death of their overbearing father forces them to realise how different their life truly is from the ‘real world’.
Currently untitled. Enjoy!
Don’t go in the attic. Don’t answer the phone. Don’t ride your bike on the road. Don’t talk to the neighbours. Don’t. Go. In. The. Attic.
Iggy’s entire life had been a series of Don’ts. He could recall perfectly every single thing he was not allowed to do, but had trouble coming up with things that he was that weren’t boring chores such as unstacking the dishwasher or unplugging the shower drain. Actually, even that last one had its pitfalls – he wasn’t allowed anywhere near the bleach, so it was always a very manual (and disgusting) job.
Maybe that’s why he’d felt more freedom than grief on the day he’d returned from school to find his father slumped over the kitchen table, dead from a heart attack. Iggy had sat quietly in the chair across from him without any trace of tears, merely staring unseeing at the top of his deceased fathers head. He noticed the balding patch, now, and the grey around his temples. It struck him then that his father was – had been – old. Of course, to a seventeen-year-old everyone over the age of twenty-five was old, but there was something about sitting opposite a very lifeless body that really hammered in the concept of mortality.
That freedom, though…
No more Don’ts.
The police came, and an ambulance even though Iggy had been very clear on the phone that his father was dead. They’d taken him away in a blur of flashing blue and red lights, and hauled Iggy behind in a police car as though he’d been the one to squeeze the life from his father’s heart.
He knew it was protocol to take him in to get a statement, but Iggy couldn’t quite shake a feeling of suspicion at how thoroughly he was being questioned about the event, and about who would be taking care of the house and its contents now that his father was gone.
“You’re seventeen, aren’t you?” The policeman asked, making a scribble in his notepad with a small crease between his eyebrows. “No other next of kin?”
“Yes. No. In that order.” Iggy answered, squirming slightly in the hard, plastic chair. “Can I go home yet? I just want to go home.”
“Soon.” The policeman said noncommittally and didn’t look at him. Instead, he darted a glance sideways at his colleague and a meaningful look passed between them that made Iggy very uneasy. He’d been at the police station for two hours – surely that wasn’t normal for just taking a statement? There wasn’t anything else to say and he was sure by now that any investigators would have found his alibi to be true, and found no foul play involved. So what was the hold up?
Another half an hour passed before he found out, and then he wished he hadn’t.
“Mr Cooper,” A new detective had entered the room, taken a seat opposite Iggy, and fixed him with a very serious look. “We are officially detaining you in relation to your father’s death. This,” he continued before Iggy could interject. “Is due to evidence found in the attic room of your home, which pertains to the death of your sister.”
Iggy was stunned into silence and his mouth parted slightly in horrified shock. After a moment, he gathered himself and shook his head. “There’s been some mistake. I don’t have a sister. I never had a sister-“
His protestations fell short as the detective slid an open manila file across the table to him. Iggy stared at it, seeing his name numerous times on a typed up sheet of paper and trying to focus on that instead of the morbid photographs that were spilling out. Photos of a girl who looked just like he had at her age – seven – with her neck twisted at an unnatural angle. Eyes blank, unseeing.
Shaking his head, Iggy stood abruptly from the table and backed against the wall. “No… no. Nonononono-“ He screwed up his eyes and press the heels of his hands against them, head aching with a sudden burst of fractured memory. He’d had a twin. Penny. They’d been playing, she’d fallen, he’d shouted, dad had come running…
And then Penny had disappeared. From life, from his memory, from everywhere. Don’t go in the attic, his dad had always said and now Iggy realised why. The only evidence of his sister, of what had happened, had been up there. That’s where they’d been playing, after all, when she’d fallen down the stairs. When he’d play pushed her a little too hard.
As his head felt like it might burst and his eyes burned with burgeoning tears, Iggy finally understood all the Don’ts that his father had imposed. He hadn’t been trying to control Iggy, but to protect him.
From everything, from himself, from what he’d done.
Thank u & goodbye ❤