Category Archives: fiction

Why Lie?

Why lie?

Why lie?

Dear Ms Bréagadóir,

You stood there, looked me in the eye, showing concern, and that you cared. Surrounded, as we were, by hypocrites, I took your consideration at face value, because I had seen no involuntary withdrawal, nothing at all to indicate you were anything other than genuine.

In the following weeks, I discovered you were, in fact, being false, accumulating ammunition, and lying your scrawny freaking arse off!

I have no idea why you felt the need to lie.  It would have been so much better if you had been honest, and told me you didn’t want to speak to me.  So many people there that day wanted nothing to do with me, and I was okay with that. They made it very clear that I was so much less than pond scum, and it was their right to do so.  Apparently, you also felt that way, so why pretend?  Why stand there and tell lies?  Why betray me and add more pain to the hurt I was already burdened with?

To say I am disappointed is a mighty understatement.

So, you don’t believe me?  Who cares?  Ninety-nine point nine percent of everyone who was around us in that moment don’t believe me either.  My respect for them, however, is in tact.  Why?  Because they did not lie.  They did not pretend to have any concern or consideration for me, or my feelings, at all. They were up-front and honest – they don’t like me, they don’t believe me, and most of them even hate me.  So?  They are entitled to their opinion.

You, however, stood right in front of me and expressed disgust at the actions being described to you.  You blatantly lied about your knowledge, and that of others.  You told me we should keep in touch.  You hugged me.  You expressed concern.  You reminisced about the ‘good old days’ and things I had done for you, and that we had done together, in the past.

All the while, I now know, you were being fraudulent.  Everyone, I have been told, knew everything there was to know about what was going on – from one person’s perspective, at least – and they had also spent many an hour discussing the situation and bad-mouthing me and those who support me.  You, I now know, participated in those conversations, and many that have been had since that day.  Your thoughts and feelings of the situation were in total opposition to mine, and yet you deliberately set out to make me think otherwise.

Did you find it funny? Was it ‘good value’ from a practical joke point of view? Did you get plenty of mileage from the ‘hilarity’ of deceiving me?

How lucky for you that you weren’t the one molested and raped.  Imagine what it would have been like if you had been.  Have you ever wondered, what if it is true?  Have you ever considered what it might be like for someone to experience that?

Your mother asked me once if I would ever take any action.  At the time of the conversation, I said I didn’t think so.  I told her I believed he would have to account for his actions to someone other than me – my meaning was to God, or some other Higher Power.

Now I wonder how you will account for your actions.  What will you say when it is time for you to atone for your life on earth?  How will you excuse your duplicity?  What reasons will you provide?

I wish you well when the time comes.

Regards,

Fírinne

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Hear no evil

Hear no evil

Hear no evil

“Seriously, why can’t all you ‘survivors’ just shut the fuck up?  Why do you have to ruin people’s lives?  I mean, it all happened years ago, right?  So, why can’t you just get over it?  Why can’t you leave it be?  Why do you have to drag it all up, and destroy other people?”

“Steve!” Enid exclaimed.  “Don’t be so rude!”

“Oh, that’s okay, Enid.  Steve is entitled to his opinion.”

“But…”

“Enid, don’t be embarrassed.  There a lot of people out there who think and feel just like Steve.  So, Steve, do you really want to know why we ‘survivors’ speak out?  Or, are you just letting off steam?”

“Oh, I’d really like to know.  I am so sick of hearing about people having a good old whinge because they were abused as a child.  I wish you’d all go die in a hole together somewhere, you know?  You’re all a mob of sooks – wimps who can’t take a well-deserved thrashing, and now want everyone else to pay.”

“Really?  Steve, you have a daughter, right?”

“Yep.”

“And how old is she?”

“Four.”

“And you wouldn’t dream of having sex with her right?”

“Are you kidding?  She’s my daughter, for fuck’s sake!”

“True, but some people do have sex with their children, and even when the kids are younger than your daughter.  All you have to do is pick up any newspaper and you will see it is happening all the time.”

“I hadn’t really noticed.”

“Anyway, you knew my father quite well, didn’t you?”

“Yeah, that’s why I reckon you’re lying.  He wouldn’t have done any of the things you say he done.”

“Ah, but he did.  And his favourite age for young girls was six years old – not much older than your daughter.  Most of his friends have young daughters.  He would spend lots of time with their parents and, in the process, lots of time with the girl.  He would tell the parents he could mind their daughter if ever they needed time out…”

“Like he did for us?”

“Yep, just like that.  Over time, usually a few years, he would then start making the girl feel special – praise her for doing things that pleased him, giving her special treats, treating her like she was a little princess.  If they were a little older, he would play on their budding sensuality, flirt with them, tease them to make them blush, touch them ever so slightly here and there to get them used to being near him.  Talk dirty, occasionally.  I’m sure you’ve seen this happen?”

“Like he was doing with Jessie?”

“Exactly.  His favourite thing of all, was to take them away for a weekend or school holidays – camping or something similar – take them to somewhere they’d never been before.  All in the name of education, of course.”

“Didn’t he take Margaret to the city once?”

“Yes, he did.”

“That doesn’t mean he did anything.”

“True, but what if I am not lying, and he did?  How would you feel then?”

“Dunno.”

“From the way you have spoken before, Steve, it sounds like you hate me for speaking out?”

“Yeah, you killed him.”

“You are entitled to your opinion, but what if the things I am telling you are true?  How would you feel about me if I hadn’t spoken out?  If I hadn’t brought this to people’s attention, and he had continued grooming your daughter?  What if he had put his fingers in your daughter’s vagina because I hadn’t broken the silence and tried to stop him molesting other girls?  What if he progressed to raping her?  How would you feel about me then?  If I had known what he was like, but never said anything?”

“I’d be pretty pissed.”

“You would probably hate me even more than you do now.”

“But I don’t think he did what you said.”

“Go away and think about it.  Think about all the times you have seen him with your daughter, had her on his knee, tickled her under her shirt, showered with her.  Think of all the times you have seen him with other girls.  Really look at how he behaved.  The inappropriate double-entendres with prepubescent and teenage girls.  The eagerness to have young girls stay over.  The trips away with one or two girls at a time…”

“But his wife was always with him.”

“I was molested with my mother in the room.  I can guarantee it can happen in a split second and right in front of other people.  Where there is a will there’s a way, and he had perfected his methods.”

“That can’t be true.”

“Just think about it.”

“Maybe.”

“Steve, there are lots of other reasons we speak out, but the safety of those still in danger is often a major factor in the decision.  The reason it usually takes so long, apart from all the psychological damage that has to be worked through, is that most people who were abused as a child think they are the only victim.  If it’s only them, why bother?  But when others are at risk of experiencing what we’ve experienced, the matter becomes urgent.”

“I still don’t think it’s true.”

Moving

Moving

A moving story

Four days!  Four whole days!  Can you believe it?

I was relaxing by the window, just enjoying the view, when suddenly I was locked in a car.  I had no idea where I was going.  I couldn’t get out.  I had no room to run.  The car was jam-packed with stuff.  Stuff!

I cried.  I howled.  I expressed my unhappiness is so many ways.

The first day was not too bad.  It was a relatively short journey.  I was so excited when the car stopped.  I thought I’d have a chance to escape, but it wasn’t to be.  I was locked in a bathroom!  A bathroom!  You’ve got to be kidding?

No light.  No company.  Just me, the cold floor tiles, a shower and a toilet.  I was given a pillow to lie on, but what was the point?  I scratched at the door.  I cried some more.  Let me out!

Eventually I collapsed from exhaustion.

I saw the sun through the bars on the window the next morning.  I hoped to be going home.  She was talking to me through the door.  Telling me everything was going to be okay.  I didn’t believe her.

I was locked in the car once more.  I had no idea where we were going or how long it would take.  It seemed like forever.

The car stopped.  I was manhandled and told to go to the toilet.  Excuse me?   The indignity!  I didn’t need to go, well, I did, but I wasn’t going to urinate on command.

Back in the car.  Hours and hours and hours went by.  The light began to fade as the sun went down.  Again I was dragged out of the car and dumped in a small room.  At least it wasn’t a bathroom, I guess.

This time there was a comfy bed.  Some nice food, and some milk.  I still cried.  I still voiced my disapproval.  I just wanted to go home.  Why was she doing this to me?

Day three and it was back in the car.  I was too drained to fight.  The heat was unbearable.  I was panting like a dog.  A dog, of all things!  She stopped the car and put a rope around my neck.  She took me to a river.  I froze.  Petrified she was going to drown me in it.  I couldn’t move.  I didn’t know what to do.  The heat!  The flies! 

I didn’t drown, but I almost wish I had.  Back in the car!  This time I just hid.  I buried myself under all of the stuff.  Who cared about the heat?  I didn’t want to know.

Another small room as the sun went down.  Another bed, but not so comfy.  I slid under the covers and curled up tight.  I just hoped this would all end soon.

Day four.  She was excited.  Her voice became shrill.  It was painful to hear.  She was waffling about how great it was going to be.  Great?  Locked in a car for days on end?  What planet was this being on?  This was the furthest thing from great I could think of.  How dare she drag me away from home?  How dare she keep me from escaping?  How dare she even think that I would enjoy this?

The car stopped.  “We’re here!” she shrieked.

Where’s ‘here’?  What?  A house?

My confused mind had been addled by the trip.  I no longer knew where I was, what day it was, and I almost forgot who I was. 

Four days!  Four whole days!  It took four days to get here – to my new home. 

You look fine

Hidden pain

Hidden Pain

You look fine.

Can you not see my ugliness?

You look fine.

Can you not see the scars I carry?

You look fine.

Can you not see the sadness I feel?

You look fine.

Can you not see that big Black Dog that has been at my heels for the last three decades?

You look fine.

Can you not see the huge, heavy,  black box inside me that oozes sludge, pus and monsters?

You look fine.

Can you not see the blood I have lost?

You look fine.

Can you not see the bruises I have had?

You look fine.

Can you not see my body silently screaming in pain as it remembers the trauma it has lived through?

You look fine.

Can you not see the pain of an adult penis being jammed into a nine-year-old’s vagina?

You look fine.

Can you not see the terror of knowing your father could get you pregnant?

You look fine.

Can you not see I would rather be dead?

You look fine.

Can you not see all the things I cannot put into words?

You look fine.

Can you not see the pain my anger has caused others?

You look fine.

Can you not see how a song, a smell, a memory can cause me insanity?

You look fine.

Can you not see the nightmares that keep me awake at night?

You look fine.

Can you not see how your ignorance and arrogance cause me despair?

But, you look fine.

Senility

I just don’t understand.  Everything was moving forward, falling into place, and dragging me along for the ride, but now… nothing.  Worse than nothing.

What am I going to do?  I made all these promises that now, I can’t keep.  Dozens of people are relying on me, but I can’t come through for them.  I’ve lost everything.

Slowly I am drowning, dying, disappearing into nothingness.  Maybe they won’t notice.  Maybe… maybe I don’t really exist.  Maybe everything I think is real, really isn’t.  I thought what I had was real, but it wasn’t.  Maybe I am hallucinating.

Oh, what am I going to do?  No job.  No home.  No family.  Nothing.

This grass is cold.  My bum’s all wet from the dew.  My face is burning, but I don’t know why.  I don’t think I care.  I just need to work out how it all went so wrong. 

I smell.  I need a bath.  A shower.  Where was that pond I passed yesterday?  Why don’t they put taps in parks anymore?  What caused me to be here?  What did I fail to see, or do?

Dad always said I’d amount to nothin’.  How did he know?  “Useless as tits on a bull,” he said.  “Thick as two bricks, and not much bloody smarter.”  Well, I guess he was right.  I can’t be too smart to have lost what I’ve lost.

There’s no way out.  I’m pretty sure.  I mean, what can I do?  I have nothing to give, nothing to make up for everything.  It was all going so well.  What went wrong?

The sun’s up now.  It’s getting hot.  Steam’s rising from the ground as the heat boils the dew.  I can’t go back there.  I just can’t.  They’ll do things to me I just can’t bear.  The pain’s too much.  I need some peace.

“George!”

Oh, shit!  She found me!  I can’t get up.  There’s nowhere to hide.

“George!  What on earth are you doing here in the garden?  You’re all wet, and what’s that on your face?  Ugh, you smell like turpentine, what have you been up to?  Everyone’s been looking for you.  You were going to play the organ for the dance.  Come along now, George.”

“But it all went wrong.  I’ve lost everything.”

“That was years ago, George.  You’ve got a nice home with us now.  C’mon, the nurses will help you.”

A loss of creativity

Unable to think outside the box

Have you ever read something that you have written years after you wrote it and wondered, “Where on earth did that come from?  Did I really write that?”

That happened to me earlier tonight.  I was looking back at some of my very  early writing and while reading one short story had no recollection of writing it.  If it hadn’t been a rough draft in my own handwriting I would have thought someone else had written it.

Normally when I read stories or articles I have written I get memories of where I was sitting, what I was thinking, where the inspiration came from etc, but for this piece I have a complete blank.  Why would that be?

Anyway, going back over some of my old stuff will hopefully inspire me to write some new stories.  I have been overwhelmed by emotional issues for quite some time now, and as a result have been on medication which I believe has hindered my creativity.  Oh, I still get ideas, but instead of being sparks that last long enough to be fanned into something more substantial, these are like instantaneous flashes that die and fall away before there is any chance of moulding them into anything useful.

Now that I can acknowledge my lack of creativity and the possible cause of it, I hope to formulate a plan to get me back into some kind of writing routine.  I miss writing, a lot, and I really want to get back on track – I’m just not sure how to do that yet.

So, while I’m trying my best to get some kind of story down, you will probably see a few more contributions from my unbelievably talented young cousin, Lucinda.

Fire

The following is a guest post by my 11-year-old cousin, Lucinda Cubbard.  Please feel free to leave some feedback for her in the comments section below.

Nobody guessed that it would happen.  The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and I was enjoying listening to the Old Gum telling stories of ancient times.  It was always great fun to listen to him.  He would explain everything in great detail, and would recite his stories slowly and carefully, as if it would demolish the purpose of the tale if he were to mispronounce a word.  I usually interrupted him while he was mid-way through a sentence to ask what something meant, but he was always patient with me and didn’t seem to mind if I expressed my curiosity, unlike all the other Old Trees.

He told tales of all sorts.  Sometimes he spoke of aboriginal rituals and beliefs, and other times he tutored me on forest ways.  All in all, he’s a great tree. Today, he was telling me about how whip birds cried to each other as a way of talking.

“Truly beautiful creatures,” he rustled.  “You may think that whispering through leaves is the best way to communicate, but I’m telling you now youngster, the feathered critters are geniuses when it comes to speech.  They are also the best ones to rely on when it comes to sending messages. The tune of the bird song stays in their head you see, so it is nigh impossible that they would forget the message.  And their wings are an ideal way to travel, as it makes them faster than most animals and they can also get through places when nearly nobody else can.  As you can see, they are the ideal mes-…“

“How fast could they get over the mountains?” I asked. “Surely they can’t go any faster than a brumby.”

“Oh, they can go much faster than a brumby, youngster.”  He seemed very amused by my question.  “They can get over the mountains in about an hour or so.”

“Really?”  A small shiver from his leaves sent me an affirmative.

“So as I was saying, whip birds are the ideal messengers.  Curlews are also good messengers, but not as so.  Their strong voices can be extremely useful, but not to someone who’s a mile away.  No, if you ever have the choice between a whip bird or a curlew to take a message, choose the whip bird.  Now I’m going to catch myself some shut eye, as I suggest you do too.  I have a meeting with Boobook tonight, and it’s probably going to go on for a while. ”

And with that he dozed off.  I watched him sleep for sometime, but I quickly grew bored.  I gazed up into my leaves, seeking out the purple flowers that I was now old enough to have.  As a jacaranda, I was supposed to gain my first flowers this Summer.  It had been a week since the first of December, and I was getting worried.

“They will come with time.”  Old Gum had told me when he had once caught me searching my branches for a blossom.  Lost in thought, I kept searching my leafy branches.  Five minutes passed and still no flowers.  I gave up and examined a bellbird perched on Old Gum.  I wondered if bellbirds were as good as whipbirds at messaging.

“Go to the Ancient Holly and tell him that his flowers are the finest in the whole forest,” I said to it.  The bird cocked its head and flew off.  Shock filled me.  I hadn’t intended it to actually work.  Oh well, the flowers were quite spectacular.

Suddenly, a curlew cried its blood curdling call from somewhere in the distance.  It sounded strained and panic filled.  I squinted in the direction of its scream.  Black smoke was rising from a few trees.  Horror blossomed in my trunk as I realised what the cause of the curlew’s alarm was.

“FIRE!! FIRE!!” I yelled. “FIRE!!”

The Old Gum was instantly awoke to my shrieks.

“What?” he yawned.

“FIRE!! FIRE!!”

The black smoke was approaching us quicker than a possum gliding through the trees.

“FIRE!! FIRE!!”

I glimpsed a golden flame slithering its way towards me.  Dread drowned my heart.  No longer could I scream.  The soil around my roots was suddenly dry and acid-like smoke was filling the small clearing that I grew in.  Flames whipped my trunk, setting it ablaze.  I cringed in agony as the inferno engulfed me.  It was as if the entire world was being set alight.  Through the flames, I saw many birds soaring from the trees.  Creatures of all sorts were shooting past my trunk.  I wanted to scream for help, but my throat was drier than a rock in the Simpson Desert.  And any way, who would stop to help a mere tree when their own life was in danger?

Glancing to my left, I saw that Old Gum was also alight.  But he seemed calm.  It was as if he welcomed the thought of death.  Well, I certainly didn’t!  Pain shook my body as my branches crumbled to ash.

“Hmmmm…,”  I thought.  “It looks like I won’t be getting any flowers today!”

I was disgusted by my own black humour.  With a sickening crunch, my trunk gave way, unable to bear the heat.  I tumbled down, and for a dreadful moment, the world spun.  Round and round.  The sky was now a charcoal black, or was that the ground?

That was when I blacked out.

*   *   *

With a groan, I reluctantly opened my eyes.  I had to blink a few times because of a shining light.  When my eyes adjusted, I saw that the dazzling light was the sun.  The sun, shining through what looked like black and white bones protruding out of the ground.  I looked closer and realised with a shock that they were not bones but trees.  Burnt trees.

Suddenly, memories started pouring into my mind.  I remembered that there had been a fire. I grimaced at the recount of my agony of being set ablaze.

This led me to remember that I had collapsed and rolled along the ground.  But if I was on the ground, then the world would be horizontal, not vertical.  I scanned the clearing, searching for my trunk.  I noticed that the ground did seem a lot closer to me now than it had before.  Ignoring this fact, I continued to hunt for my body.  And there it was.  A lifeless log was resting against another tree.  I recognised it as mine immediately.  Sadness filled me like water into a jug.  An empty jug at that.  It took me a while to realise what tree my body was resting on.

“Old Gum!” I exclaimed.  I was surprised I could talk after my voiceless episode last night. “Old Gum! You’ve grown!”

The ancient tree smiled down at me.  His trunk and branches were now white and black.  His branches were bare, which sort of disturbed me, for I had known him for my entire life, and he always had had leaves clouding his top half.  Only now that I saw the tips of his branches did I realise how big he was. He had known I was awake, but had chosen to let me recuperate instead.

“No, Jacky, you’ve shrunk.”

I stared up at him in dismay.  It was true.  I was now nothing more than a pile of roots and a small section of trunk.  The old tree saw my misery and then said, “You should be grateful to be alive.  That fire did some serious damage to you, but still, you survived.  And anyway, now I get to see you grow up all over again!!”

© Lucinda Cubbard 2011