Carrying On (flash fiction)

Carrying On

I loved her more than she ever knew. She meant everything to me, but one day she stopped talking and then she was gone. I gave in to despair and darkness, then one night I found myself in a warm bath armed with a sharp knife working away on my wrists till the bathwater turned red. How I survived that night I have no idea, sometimes I wonder if I did.

I know a part of me still hoped that things could get better; that the only way to survive all this was to carry on and eventually heal.

Joanne Fisher

Not really fiction…

This was written with the prompt carry on provided by the Carrot Ranch November 11 Flash Fiction Challenge.

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

Going Home (flash fiction)

Going Home

Kaylee was beginning to see the world clearly again, not just in the dull grey colours that had clouded her vision. She didn’t know how long she had been here, but it had been some time since she had been found in the warm bath with her wrists cut open. They had stitched her up and sent her here.

Today the doctor said he was pleased with the progress she’d made. She hoped she would eventually get out of here and return home. She knew now this would happen, that she would be whole again, that she would survive.

Joanne Fisher

This was written with the prompt to write a story that rephrases “light at the end of the tunnel” provided by the Carrot Ranch January 21 Flash Fiction Challenge. This is my second one.

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©️2021 Joanne Fisher

Thought Disorder

Last year I fell in love with someone I shouldn’t have. She already had a partner and early on she just saw me as a friend, until it all got weird. It created all sorts of issues. But I can’t choose who I have feelings for. My problem is when I fall for someone my feelings go very deep and are hard to get rid of. The only thing that works is time and letting the feelings die but that can take a long while, even years. And though there are some days I’m fine, there are also many days where she is on my mind and on these days I have to hold tight and weather the storm. The best thing I can do is keep myself occupied and in fact this whole blog is just one really big attempt to stop me thinking about her, or at least help me get over the bad days when I’m feeling a lot of emotional pain, as I am today. But at least I’ve been constructive with my time.

When I look back at the last year I’m really proud of the stuff I’ve written and the projects I’ve started and finished. A year ago I didn’t think I would be putting up my own fiction on this blog as I’m doing now. It really just started as articles of things that interested me and my poetry. I think it’s proof that some good can be created out of a bad experience or situation. If I wasn’t able to write or express myself I would have finished myself off a long time ago I suspect, as I almost did last year. If I hadn’t survived I would never have completed my sequences The Return or Volcano City, and what is rapidly becoming my first ever completed novel, The Sky-Pirates of Durn, would never have come to be written. Sometimes you never realise the value of holding on.

I do often wonder how she is doing. I have no idea if she is reading my posts or ignoring them, but I imagine it’s probably the latter, even though if it wasn’t for her they may have never been written. A lot of great work was probably also created by similar circumstances. I think there are many artists and writers that were left behind or unwanted and this helped fuel their creativity.

The title of this post comes from the song Thought Disorder by the New Zealand group Tall Dwarfs. Listen to it here.

Has unrequited or lost love caused you to create work you are now proud of?

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Conversations in the Dark

 

1957

 

Conversations In The Dark

 

I awoke in the middle of the night. It was dark for there was no moon in the sky. Deciding to get a drink I went down the stairs. I walked through the living room then into the kitchen and filled a glass full of water from the kitchen tap. When I looked out the glass sliding door in the dining area the glass I was holding slammed down onto the bench and water went everywhere, but I didn’t notice. There was a figure standing there looking in at me through the glass. It was a woman with white skin and long black hair, dark eyes, and she was wearing a long black dress. She seemed ageless and she intently stared at me. Overcome with fear I ran straight back up to my room and locked the door behind me. I knew there was no point in contacting the police or waking one of my flatmates. She would no longer be there when someone else came. I knew what she was. The next night I crept into the living room and peered out the door, and sure enough she was standing there again. On the third night, feeling a little bolder, I walked up to the door and faced her. Her black eyes stared at me.

“Who are you?” I asked her through the door, but there was no response. Against my better judgement with my heart beating wildly in my chest I unlocked the door and opened it. The door slid down on it’s rail and so now the only thing in-between the both of us was empty air, but she continued standing there.

“Who are you?” I repeated to her.

“My name is Annifrid.” she answered softly in an unrecognisable accent.

“My name is Sara.” I told her, not knowing why I had given her my name. She smiled at me.

“I know.” she said.

“Why are you here?” I asked her.

“I want you to invite me in.” She replied.

“And what happens if I invite you in?”

“I will kill you.” She stated rather abruptly.

“I don’t think I will let you in then.” I informed her feeling shaken.

“You will let me in, eventually.” she said with certainty. A cold sensation swept through my body.

“I don’t think so.” I replied to her as I slammed the door shut and locked it. I backed away from the door with her still looking at me. I returned to my bedroom and curled up into a small ball under the blankets while shaking with cold and terror. The next morning was warm and I sat outside in the sun pondering the previous night. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t tell anyone about it as they would think I was going crazy, which probably wasn’t far from the truth.

The next night I walked down to the door and slid it open again. I sat down on the floor cross-legged. Frida did the same, mirroring me. We looked at each other.

“So you can’t enter this house unless you’re invited in?” I asked her after a silence.

“That’s right.” she said.

“So what makes you think I will let you in?”

“Because you want to die.” she replied while gazing down at the scars on my left wrist. I hid them from her by turning my arm over. “You are very lonely, and that’s what will lead you to inviting me in.”

“How will my loneliness lead me to inviting you in?” I asked wanting to know.

“I will love you.” She said. “I will touch you. I will hold you in my arms and do anything to you that you want me to. After that I will feed on your blood and you will die.”

“Do I have to die?” I asked her.

“Once I start feeding I don’t stop.” She stated.

“Are you going to turn me?”

“No. I want to kill you.” She replied starkly.

“I can’t let you in. It doesn’t matter what happens to me, but I live with others. If I let you in I also place them in danger.” I said to her.

“If you let me in I promise only you will be harmed, I will not touch the others living here. You have my word.” She told me.

“How can I believe you?”

“You will have to trust me. I have only been truthful with you. I have no reason to lie.” I looked down at her hands. She had long narrow fingers and long nails that all ended in sharp points. I looked up at her. She smiled at me with a wide grin. Her fangs were long and sharp. I shivered.  “It’s only you I want.” she added darkly.

“I can’t let you in.” I said as I stood up  and then closed the door behind me. I went back to my bed and eventually fell asleep into dark dreams.

Over the next few days she was there every night waiting for me. Sometimes we talked and sometimes we sat in silence looking at one another. Slowly thoughts began to creep into my head. How good would it be to be with someone again? To be held in their arms even if it was for just one last time? I could let go of the hurt that was in my heart, the emptiness that Louise had left, the loneliness, the anger that was slowly eating my insides away. I would finally let that all go.

One night our palms met. I could feel how cold her skin was. She suddenly grabbed my hand, pulling my left arm outside the doorway. I held my breath in suspense as her icy fingertips slowly traced over the scars on my arm and wrist.

“You must have been in so much pain when you did this.” She said staring intently at my skin. “You know I could just pull the rest of you out of the doorway and kill you here in the garden?”

“Then why don’t you?” I asked her belligerently. She looked at me and smiled. It was a soulless smile. There was no happiness or joy or love in that smile.

“Because I want you to invite me in. Then I’ll know you’re ready.” she replied releasing the hold on my arm. I quickly pulled my arm inside and then moved a few steps back from her.

“I’ll never invite you in.” I told her defiantly, though my voice lacked conviction.

“You sure about that? Let me free you from that pain you’re carrying around everywhere you go. I can sense it. Just let it all drop away like baggage. You’re lost in the darkness and I am the only one that’s here with you. Let me help.” She said in a surprisingly tender way.

My heart was racing and I could feel the words forming on the tip of my tongue. With all the effort I had I stood up and quickly made for the stairs even though my legs felt heavy. When I got to my bedroom I sat on my bed shaking until the dawn. Once it was light I collapsed onto my bed and fell asleep from exhaustion.

I spent the next day in bed. In the early evening I had something to eat and drink. I intended to stay in my room that night, but once it got dark I found myself at the door again.

“You were so close last night. There’s still some resistance in you. That won’t last long however.” Annifrid informed me.

“Why me?” I asked her.

“What do you mean?” She regarded me quizzically.

“Why have you targeted me?”

“You called me. Your pain called me to you.” She replied.

“Can’t you leave me alone?” I implored her. “All I want is for everyone to just leave me alone!” But she just looked at me intensely.

“I’ll always be here for you.” She said mockingly with a twisted smile. I withdrew from her.

The truth was she was right. Part of me wanted to fight on, but the reality was that eventually she would wear me down anyway. It was only a matter of time until I succumbed. Every day I was just surviving with the pain that wouldn’t go away. Sometimes the pain lessened, but it was always there in some form slowly eating away at me, and one day there would be nothing left. So why not give myself over to her? At least I wouldn’t feel it anymore. She could finish what I started.

Several days of nightmares followed. I found I could only sleep for brief periods until another one would wake me. I was spending more and more time alone usually hiding in my bed with the covers over me sheltering from the light sobbing uncontrollably. I couldn’t eat or drink anything.

I felt done. I felt I needed peace. I was too broken.

One night I went downstairs and walked towards the door. My heart was beating quickly. I knew I had to be strong. Shaking I opened the door and, as usual, Annifrid was waiting there. She looked at me expectantly.

“You promised me that if I let you in you wouldn’t harm the others living here.” I stated to her.

“Yes you have my word. I promise no harm will come to anyone living in this house, other than you of course.” she answered.

“Please come in.”

 

 

Author’s note: The idea for this story was in my head when I awoke a couple of days ago…

1961

The Night I Wanted To Die

1016

For anyone who has triggers or has no wish to read about issues regarding depression, suicide/suicidal thoughts, childhood abuse, or self-harm, then please do not read this article.

I will be glad when 2017 finally ends. It has been one of the worst years of my life, and there were times I never thought I would see the end of it. Seriously. I have a darkness in me. Sometimes it threatens to overwhelm me, as it almost did this year. I have survived to this point at the years end, certainly not unscathed. but still here. This is a very hard thing for me to write about and I’m not sure where to start.

I am a writer, and I’m also a loner, and an introvert. I don’t mix well with others, though I wish I could. If people get close to me they usually get sick of me or bored with me, and I find it hard to deal with rejection especially since I reach out to so few people. I think it’s best that I keep to myself at times. If I am intimate with someone, they will eventually lose interest in me or push me away, and it hurts. It hurts a lot.

There were two things that went on to spark a crisis for me this year. Firstly at the beginning of the year, following a resolution I made to try to sort my life out, I finally began talking about how I was sexually abused when I was eight years old. I had never talked about it before. A therapist suspected that was an issue when I was being assessed as a 17 year old and tried to prise it out of me, but failed. There was also another time, a couple of years ago, I resolved to talk to a therapist about it, but she couldn’t see me for over a month and by the time the appointment came I had lost my courage to talk about it and canceled. I’m a member of a secret small group of friends on Facebook. There we talk about things we don’t necessarily want other people to know and it was in this group that I first talked about what happened to me. Talking about was like opening a Pandora’s Box. All this stuff came out. Yes I was glad I had got it off my chest, but a whole host of other feelings came with it. I had to finally admit that it had happened to me. For years I had suppressed it and now having to confront it made it more real for me. I was embarrassed, I was ashamed, and I didn’t want people thinking of me as a victim. I also became full of anger and rage about what had happened to me. And this rage began to dominate me, and began to spill out at inopportune times.

The second thing that happened was at the same time this was going on I fell deeply in love with one of my flatmates, which I shouldn’t have. She already had a partner, and she was a flatmate. But I can’t control who I have feelings for, and can’t switch off my feelings for people. It would be nice if I could. We used to talk a lot about various things in our lives and I treasured every moment I spent with her. I even ended up smoking again as it gave me an excuse to hang out with her. I wished I could spend more time with her, but she was with someone else, so it couldn’t happen. When I have strong feelings for someone it can bring out the worst in me. I get jealous and possessive. Which is another reason I think it’s best I keep away from others. Then one day she began pushing me away and it made me feel hurt and angry. In March, after an altercation, she unfriended me and stopped talking to me. I was devastated. I had never felt so wretched. I ended up drinking a lot of whisky and cutting my arm up with a craft knife, not as a suicide attempt, but as a way to punish myself for my actions which had led me to this. We eventually did begin talking again, but it was very civil. I was now just a flatmate, not a friend, something she reiterated several times over the next few months. She would also engage others in the house with conversations, sometimes directly in front of me, but not me, in fact she would ignore anything I said. And that hurt. Eventually I ended up screaming at her one night, and I’m not proud of that. I thought she was deliberately trying to hurt my feelings. Then in late June after another altercation I resolved to kill myself.

At the time the house was mostly empty. Flatmates were away elsewhere in the country. I was severely depressed and had run out of hope and I no one to talk to about it. I wrote a suicide note and then ran a bath of hot water. I took into bathroom with me my iPod, whisky, and a knife. It took a while to gather up the courage to cut myself, but once I did I began to cut myself with a focused determination. Unfortunately, or fortunately, the knife was too blunt. No matter how much force I put into it I couldn’t do a deep enough cut. My arm was bleeding but not enough to cause harm. After a lot of frenzied cutting I eventually gave up. I just ended up sobbing until the water became cold. When it became clear I was no longer going to kill myself that night I got out of the bath and collapsed in my bedroom. My arm was cut up and bleeding but my blood clots up quite quickly, so it wasn’t that much of a problem. I did resolve to sharpen my knife and do it again the next night, but by that time the strong desire to die had lessened. As it was the middle of winter I don’t think anyone noticed the cuts on my arm under my sleeve.

I learned that night that given a sharp enough knife I would probably kill myself. Since then the woman I was in love with and her partner have moved out and that was probably the best option for both of us. I no longer see them or hear them all the time,  and in fact I no longer see them at all. I have slowly begun to heal, but it is slow going.

I am proud of my writing. I am so proud of my poetry. I don’t care if no one else likes it, because I like it and I feel it is good. But it’s not enough to save me from the darkness. I know I should probably go back into counseling to talk about my abuse and what’s happened this year, in fact there is a government agency willing to pay for it all, but I’m mindful that I withhold information from therapists. I don’t tell them everything, I keep stuff hidden. It’s what I’m used to doing. So I’m not sure it can help me, or ultimately save me. The thing is if I have resolved to kill myself I’m not going to tell anyone, not if I want to really die. I am too brittle for this world. I want to be a better person, but I’m not sure how to do that. I don’t know if I will survive in the end. It all depends on how strong I am when the next crisis or severe depression hits. Up till now I’ve always been strong enough, though I nearly wasn’t this year, and that has shaken my belief that I will always come through it. I am a survivor, but the darkness is always there.