It was pulling her hair and she scratched her head, but she didn’t look. She didn’t believe me when I told her. I’m sorry, I really am. She just would have needed to look and it would have gone away. I didn’t want to hurt her, okay?
I need to get out. It can get in here. It always comes in when I look away. I need to look or it will come close. It can’t get close.
WHY WON’T YOU LET ME OUT?
Doc, PLEASE LEAVE THE LIGHT ON. Why do you always turn it off? I know you say this is just for me as therapy and secret, but I know you will read it. I know you will. Please, please, PLEASE leave the lights on, okay? Continue reading →
Usually it’s just a number. I read it. I skip past. Fourteen per cent. Now things are different. Now I think “What if my daughter was one of them?” Seven billion people and fourteen per cent of them hunger. And I sit here, well-fed, stare at a screen and feel a tug inside my throat; a surreal tug, one that’s not there and not true. But one that takes my breath and twists my stomach. A tug that says “What if my daughter was one of them?”
The first time I arrived at the club I could think of nothing but my brother.
Bare walls covered with dirty blue tiles, foldable wooden chairs, a net on top of what used to be a pool. Five men inside.
Not a place you find in the newspapers; a place to which your friend brings you along. A place where you know that whoever is running the show must have a lot of friends and certainly the right friends – because if they don’t the place would long be shut down.
When you have crossed the parking lot the first thing the two large men ask for is your name. They don’t ask for you ID, but they ask for your name and if your name is not on the list then you won’t get in. The list says whether you’ve been there before; the list says whether someone trusted you enough to bring you along the first time. The list also has the name of the friend that brought you along and if you mess up then that friend will have a problem. Continue reading →
Trigger warning: This short story contains episodes of graphic sexual violence.
Gray tiles, some already chipped, all with greenish stains. Large sinks, rarely cleaned. Showerheads, large and too high to be reached.
Push the button. Wait for the water to get warm. Jump inside and quickly wash. Make sure that no one else sees too much. At that age it’s scary to be seen. What if the others have more hair or bigger things down there? Just don’t be seen.
Scary age. You grow into it and you when you think back you can’t see when you got into it. Maybe it was that first PE lesson after the summer; the one with the new teacher that said that we are soon men and will start to smell and all have to shower.
I was always one of the first. We all rushed in there, quick in, quick out. Not be seen. Continue reading →
A light cough. Then a heavy, throaty cough. I still go to class. Still do sport. Still have too much to drink. The pain starts. Itching and a scratching sensation inside my chest and throat. The cough syrup makes my throat explode in flames of pain. A morning with a throbbing headache; two or three weeks after the first cough. I am eating cereal rings. Another cough. Something liquid and the taste of iron in my mouth. Another cough. The red slowly mixes with the white of the milk. Two hours of plastic chairs and blood in my mouth. I open my mouth and he presses the wooden ladle so hard on my tongue that I gag. “Wow.” Doctors should never say “Wow.” Continue reading →