Troubled Minds

A short story written for my English GCSE Coursework.

The sun descends as it is forced from its position by the ever-growing darkness. Shadows are cast across the waters’ surface, and the wind, no longer warmed by the suns’ rays, is icy to the touch.

I should be getting home now, although I no longer see it as home. I’ve been sitting, dreaming, outside for most of the day. Here, I can be alone. Here, I’m able to appreciate the only positive aspects in life.

But now the sun’s gone down, things don’t look so bright anymore. The night brings darkness, fear, and the quiet realisation that you are all alone. With a sigh, I haul myself up with the aid of the tree on which I had previously been leaning against. My legs are stiff, so it’s difficult to walk at first. It’s not too dark yet, so I decide to divert away from my usual route. The lamp-posts spark on in a synchronised fashion, spot-lighting the pavement, like they’re lighting the way for me. It’s a nice thought.
My home is about a half mile up this hill. I walk slowly, but eventually I find myself on my street. I can’t recall any more detours, so I guess that I can’t avoid it any more.
The stones crunch under my feet as I cross the gravel drive, and I stand there, with my back facing away from the door. I slide down into a cross-legged position, and gaze at the stars. Its quiet; only the wind creates a sharp whistle as it swirls around its every obstacle.
I clutch my jacket close, and my eye catches the house opposite. Inside, it looks warm, bright and happy. A proper home. A dinner is delicately set upon the table, and the mother gently spoons it into her child’s mouth. It’s hot, and the child pulls a funny face. The mother laughs, and continues doing so as she lifts him from his seat. She cuddles him, and the father carries him upstairs.
I was quite happy just watching that house, imagining that I was there, laughing along with them. But eventually the curtains were closed, and the house grew dark.
A cold wind whips through my hair, and I’m shivering so much that my ribs ache. I practically fall through the front door in my haste to escape the cold; not that it’s any warmer inside, but at least I’m protected from the shrill wind.
The stairs crumbled long ago, confining me to the ground floor. I mainly use the living room, as it is the cleanest, brightest room, and in the absence of lighting I am aided by the huge arched window. Moonlight shafts through onto the carpet, illuminating my pile of blankets, and a stumped candle. I drape a moth-bitten blanket over my shoulders, and light the candle. It’s slightly warmer now, but no amount of comfort can rid the empty feeling of loneliness that I endure each day. Tomorrow, I will once again walk aimlessly through the neighbourhood, with my thoughts being my only companion.

The door slams open in the howling wind, but the moment I open my eyes the candle is extinguished, plunging me into complete darkness. I stumble blindly in the dark, falling into walls, and slipping on hot wax. The kitchen seems the most promising, as the rising sun creates the only visible area of the house. I can’t tell what time it is yet, so despite the hard, cracked linoleum, I curl up into a ball on the floor. I don’t understand why I’m here, or why I’m alone. I should have left a long time ago, but I just couldn’t bring myself to.
I’ve told myself to have faith, but now even my faith has deserted me. I can’t bear the loneliness any more.

“So why did you stay?”
“I’m still not sure. I think that maybe it was the
only place that was familiar to me.”“And this is the house in which your family perished?”
“I try not to think about the fire. The ground floor wasn’t badly 
damaged, and I guess it was the only place where I 
could feel close to them.”
“So, you were living alone, and fending for yourself. Why didn’t    you seek help, if you couldn’t move on?”                                            
 “I was scared. Scared that they would take me away, put me in a home. They would have turned my life upside down.”               “Worse than it already was?”
“I didn’t think about that. I’d had to deal with myself for so long,
I didn’t want to be controlled. Do birds wish to be held captive?
I felt free, or at least, I thought I was.”
“Did you see that as a good thing?”
“I did at first. After I had dealt with my parents, and everything, 
I tried to make the best out of things. But as time went on,
my freedom turned once again to captivity. I was locked in
that house, a slave to my own needs. I spent every day trying 
to make things better, to make life easier.”
“So why didn’t they put you into care after the funeral   proceedings?”
“They did. I spent time in many different houses, with many
different families. I ran away so many times, I’m sure that they 
eventually gave up looking for me.”
“Did they really stop searching for you?”
“I don’t know, but still, I watched over my shoulder, just in case.”
“How long did you stay in this house?”
“About 2 years, I think, but it’s hard to keep track.”
                                      “And then you ran away?”

The End

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