How could you?

She sat in the cafe listening to the buzz of conversations droning on around her.  It was like sitting in a garden listening to bee hives. Picking out one or two words or phrases every now and then, most people discussed what they’d bought. The rain splattered the window, reminding her that summer was quickly passing away, being shredded by the cool mists of autumn.

The mobile phone on her table buzzed quietly, slyly informing her of another tweet that had come in. No, it wasn’t from him directly. Never was. He didn’t know she existed. Despite her attempts to grab his attention, jumping up and down in the way you do, she knew he would never come to her.

But she loved him all the same. She just knew it was love. When she saw his name light up the phone, her heart soared. Every word he uttered would transform her day into something light and fluffy, other times would leave her in the depths of despair. She missed him when he didn’t tweet, when there were silences. In her head, she had said goodbye so many times and yet… And yet each day she was pulled back in, his subtle phrases beguiling her, teasing her, drawing her back into his world.

There were others he dallied with. She knew about them and hated him for it. Brazenly, he talked about them and it irritated her so much. He was hers and only hers. In her head, her heart and dreams.

Just as he was in the dreams of the other 44,758,153 followers.

Who left the flowers?


It was some days after the funeral, when all the flowers had been gathered up and put on the compost heap that I noticed a new wreath had appeared with a card next to the simple grave marker. It said “with all my love”. I didn’t recognise the writing, but then it might have some florist’s careless scrawl, hastily done with the phone in one hand, scribbling a quick message to fulfil an order.

Still, I was intrigued. I had been to the graveyard every day and had seen nobody. Then again, I was too busy feeling sorry for myself, focusing only on my own grief. The truth was that I… the truth was that I was devastated by my own loss. I didn’t care about anyone else and how they might be feeling.

The flowers withered and died so I carefully tidied up the grave. The next day another fresh wreath appeared with the same cryptic message. Again, I had seen nobody approach. The funny thing was the flowers were some of my favourites, in the colours I love. Someone had impeccable taste.

I started appearing earlier and earlier to see if I could catch the mystery donor. I sat on the bench from dawn till dusk, in rain and shine but still didn’t find out who it was. The flowers were regularly replaced and the message never varied: a veritable lesson in constancy. I would have liked to meet the person who cared so much and yet, our paths never seemed to cross.

It was only after a year that I finally found out the truth. The gravestone was replaced on a cold, damp morning. I had forgotten that you have to leave the earth to settle before doing this. On this day a yearning had come over me, a yearning to be close so I hung around, hoping against hope that I would finally find out who was leaving the flowers.

Yes! Someone was coming along the path. A man who looked very familiar, very familiar indeed. He was carrying a wreath which he placed carefully on the grave, touching the headstone gently. He looked unbearably sad, then he spoke.

“Well darling, it’s a year to the day that I buried you. I brought the flowers like I said I would. You know, I miss you so much. Even though we spoke about this when you were in the hospice, I still can’t get over how hard each day has been. If only you were here, so I could hold you once more.”

I wanted to comfort this man and reached for him. Stretching my hands out, they passed right through him. I turned and looked at the headstone in a state of shock. There, in solid black letters was my name and the date of my death.

He shivered, wiping his eyes, turned and walked away. Now it was my turn to cry.

Lies #short story

“You’ll always be beautiful” Momma said when we talked on the phone. How she knew that, I don’t know, for she hadn’t seen me for a while. She didn’t see the bruises that distorted my face where he’d hit me.

“You’re so clever” she said. How could I be clever when I stayed with him after he broke another promise not to hit me again? I wish I had her belief in me, so I can break free. I wish I had the courage to stop this once and for all.

“I love you” she said.

“I know, Momma, I know. I love you too. It’s all good.” I whisper back.

That’s the hardest thing to bear when I end the call and drag myself back into the house where it starts all over again.

That I have to pretend that all is well with me, when really it’s not.

Music to my ears

I wish I’d been able to warn them. Well the human part of me did.

“She’s catatonic.  We’re not quite sure why.”

I was listening.

Listening for the music that was the warning of things to come. Music that only I appeared to hear. For those surrounding me, I was to all intents and medical purpose locked into a vegetative state.

“There’s no response.  We’ve done so many tests.  No response from her whatsoever.  I’m sorry.  There’s nothing more that we can do.”

Eyes flickered behind shadows, belied the diagnoses of doctors, condemnations of me by those who should have known better.

“Should we consider moving her to another hospital?  We can afford to pay.  We have insurance that will cover it.”

Betrayed by my own dad. He, of all people, should have known what I was listening for. I heard him holding back the tears, breathing heavily, trying to control himself.

“Well there is a place.  I’m just not sure they’d take her right now.  I’ll make a call.  If you’d like to wait here for a few moments.”

Click. A door closing.

Again. I heard it again. That subliminal sound. Right at the top of the range, almost outside human hearing. I heard it. Minutes passed with it boring its way into my brain.  The final note now fell into place.

A chord, heard only by those who had been infected, calling us to battle. That’s what I’d been listening for.

Click. Click. Click. A door opening.

Yes, you’re in luck… they said they’d take……”

In the room there was silence. The eerie silence you get when the monster within finally explodes out of and kills.   The silence of shock and horror that is unable to utter a word, nor scream.

The invasion began.