The Stranger

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Flash Fiction #5

 

The feeling of unease is intense as I walk along hiding in the shadows of trees. The noise is there just behind me beating amongst the rain as it pelts hard against my skin. Footsteps, gaining on me, getting louder and echoing in my mind causing panic as I imagine the terror the other girls have felt before me. Forgetting my umbrella was the first mistake I made as I left in a rush. The second mistake was leaving my phone. The phone that right now could save me from the fate I’m up against.

I begin to quicken my pace as my heart beat thumps against my chest. I feel the cold against my skin as I can hear the slow rumble of thunder in the distance and count the seconds between the flash and crash of the storm.As I glance behind me he is still there, with his head bent forward, his fast walking pace shortens the gap between us. His form looms over me as I make my feet walk faster.

I look around for an open shop, but at this time of the night I’m unlucky, the street is dark and being so late, even pubs have long closed. I walk quicker to get to a safe place. As I turn the corner, up ahead I see the Tesco Extra and feel overpowered with relief as I see the lights on and someone dash inside. I begin to run as the heavens open and torrential rain beats down on my body making my sheer silk dress transparent. I feel the tension begin to slip, knowing I can get away from the stranger who has followed me for the last half a mile. Looking behind me again I see the stranger has begun to run too. My panic rising I feel my breathing quicken and my chest tightens as a panic attack threatens to challenge my escape.

I run faster and as I slip inside the shop, glancing over my shoulder, his shadow catches up and envelopes me as he follows me inside. Tensing as I wait for the attack, he bumps into me and apologises. “Sorry love, awful weather out there!” I lean against the drinks cabinet and sigh as I try to catch my breathe again, realising he was heading here all along and is not the serial killer everyones trying to catch!

My Sweet Dreams Turned Into a Nightmare.

 

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It began when I went to bed. I had just finished a long stretch of writing for my book and realised it was gone midnight and knew I needed to get up early. This is normally where my problem starts. Im not good at going to bed and I’m really bad at waking up in he morning. When i’m tired my mind plays tricks o me.Having anxiety also doesn’t help.

Deciding I was too tired to write anymore, I  pack up the Macbook, I shut off the lights in my hallway and glanced at the glass fronted front door. This in itself was my first mistake. I will advise you to never, ever, look out of the window as you’re getting ready to go to bed. Especially when there are no curtains. I mean this when I say that I scare myself.  I’d just finished writing a particularly hard chapter in my book,without giving it away, a knife was involved. I sharp knife, I’m sure I need say no more. Well, I stood with forefinger paused on the light switch, bracing myself for the long run up the stairs… I liked from front door to the stairs… I flicked the light switch and bolted up the stairs. I always have that feeling of being watched and tonight was no exception. Do you get that?  You ‘feel’ a strong presence in the room and think someone is there. It’s watching you, through the window, from the dark outside. Don’t think about it just turn and run!

Tired legs that barely hold me up, or comfortably  carry me up the stairs ache as I reach the top where the safety is. Before going to bed, I walk to the bathroom clutching my chest as my heart threatens to beat outside my chest and brush my teeth. As I write this I am now realising how many windows in my house have no curtains. I really need to fix that!

I go to bed and spray my pillow with the lavender mist. Settle into bed and think of my partner, Phil. He is working away in Bristol this week so I’m already feeling a little nervous in the house on my own with just the children who I need to keep safe. Really? I guess I could set the little toddler on any burglar. I’m pretty sure she is braver than me and she can be pretty intense and scary at times!

I lay in bed as I feel myself drifting off to sleep and think of my accomplishments from the two chapters I have finished and think of the progress I’ve made as I’m falling asleep. I realise I can officially call myself a writer. I’m writing so that passes as a writer. I may not yet be a published author. Anyway, I’m drifting off to sleep. I’m relaxed and asleep dreaming of how my life may change once I publish my book. The kind of thoughts when you want to turn your life around for you and your family. You have doubts but keep pushing forward because until the book is written, it can’t be published. I think of publishing deals and meeting other fellow authors. I’m comfortable and snuggled into the warm quilt… ice and relaxed as I drift off to sleep… or so I thought.

Do you ever get that leg kick in bed when you’re falling out of a plane, or slip off the curb. Yes?  Well, that! That, is what I experienced yet I was just stabbed. Repeatedly with a kitchen knife as I run up the stairs in my house and as I woke from the nightmare I realised that there is a shadow in my bedroom in the corner that is the shape of a tall man. Im under the cover at this point crapping myself, heart palpitating and I’m screaming as my teenage daughter comes in the room. Se sleeps in my bed that night because I was too scared to sleep alone.

Moral of the story is. NEVER look out the window into the dark as you go to bed.

It will turn you into a quivering wreck who has to be saved by your teenage daughter that is quite obviously braver than you!

Madison Ward

The Silent Destroyer!

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I went through a period of my life a few years ago where I got totally sucked in! Sucked into the life of gossip! Something I never was or had been but something I had become.

‘Don’t be a Bitch Witch’ … It’s a saying that I’ve used in recent months where I look back to times where I got sucked into a comedy coven of hatred!

How did I get sucked in? … I was working in a lonely job, you make a friend and they become a saviour to your life and suddenly your good friends! You make a friend through work, at the gym and the good ole’ mummy friends.

The gossiping became a slow progression from the odd comment of something you had heard and passed on to a  couple of years later and you’re a totally different person you once was. This is where you take a step back. Once you realised after a few weeks that you are no long the person you were,  you do the drastic thing of separating yourself from that life.

I’ve always been a kind, generous person and all always help people but when I stepped back I saw so many things I didn’t like and ways in which I was used and treated that you kind of feel detached from it. Like it wasn’t you it happened to. Some people can become so disallusioned that they don’t even realise they are the person that made you who you are today. Realise it and do something. Don’t be the person that is always taken from but when you need someone to be there for you, your left on your own. This was the heartbreaking thing for me. That I was always there for others but they were there when I really needed them. One friend was and I am very grateful for her friendship at the time.

It’s a case of ‘I’m the person you can take advantage of! Here is a list of ways to abuse me!’

  1. When I offer my help out of the kindness of my heart, take it and abuse it! But don’t forget to NOT say thanks!
  2. When I offer to have your child overnight … Make sure you take your time collecting them in the morning! I will get up ready for 9am but of course I don’t mind waiting in until 12 o’clock, cancel my plans and rearrange when you will do it again!
  3. When I come over to visit, make sure you interrupt me when I open my heart with things I need to get off my chest! It’s fine to talk over me too! Thats a new ‘thing’.
  4. When you need help with something, call me! You know I will do it for free!
  5. Don’t forget you have certain friends for certain things! The festival friend, The cinema friend, the workout buddy, the take away friend you wouldn’t be seen out with and of course the friend you can take the piss out off and laugh at who will laugh at herself with you!
  6. Don’t forget to bark on about the fat friend that makes you look skinny!

How did I not see what i was turning into?  The fact is you don’t see until your connection with that person is broken. It’s not that I was desperate for friends because I wasn’t. I have plenty of friends who I’m close to who even after years of not seeing them are still there as if time was frozen! I much prefer to circulate in small groups but there are always those people who give off  a persona that people want to like and once your sucked in you don’t see it.

After the ‘separation’ due to health issues you then go through the whole drama of the gossiping about you. You find out people have assumed you have fallen out, not talking or don’t meet up anymore when in fact it is probably that due to health reasons it wasn’t possible to meet in those situations any more.

These people then assume your avoiding them when in fact it’s just life or your health has changed. The way people treat you most certainly affects the way you deal with day to day life. Everything changes when your health deteriorates. Everything becomes much harder and when your friends are not there, it hurts! The friends you once had now become acquaintances or someone you once knew. They ‘think’ they know why you no longer meet up but never actually ask why. They discuss and make up their own minds for themselves without actually doing the decent thing and ask. If you are in this position and have a friend who has become distant, do the right thing and ask. You never know what personal demons someone is dealing with that can change the way they interact with people.

My advice to you! If you feel uncomfortable by something a friend says and your not in a position to tell them the truth without them totally flipping on you, don’t tell them! Don’t tell them personal details of your life! Share less and don’t tell them things you wouldn’t want your enemy knowing … you can sure as hell guarantee they will break your confidence!

Then there are the friends who make you see sense, they are the ones that are there when you need them. They are there when you are at your lowest point with anxiety and health problems. They are the ones to trust!

So what is the silent destroyer? It is ‘The untold truth!’

Madison

The Fiction Cafe Book Club

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The Fiction Café Facebook Group

I started writing my novel after my holiday to Cornwall in the summer of 2016. I read during some of the ‘research’ into becoming a writer that to be a good writer you need to read more in the genre you intend to write in.

I did what any other writer with no time does and created a Facebook group for other Coffee lovers and bookworms!

It is a very new, relaxed group where we share our love for coffee and books! (…and other hot beverages!)
We will be sharing our favourite books, you can post questions, ask for recommendations and discuss and review books that you have finished.
We will be hosting Reading Challenges throughout the year and events will be organised where the challenges can be discussed.

If you have any ideas for the group feel free to contact an admin.
We are a new group still finding our feet!
Please come and support us at The Fiction Café

Madison