Hitchhiker

It was a rainy, gloomy winter’s night and Dave wanted to test out his new tyres on the sodden country roads, his older brother James decided to tag along as he was tired of his wife badgering him about pointless things.

As they raced down the roads, watching the puddles tidal wave over the windscreen, the two brothers embarrassingly sang their hearts out to ‘Take That – Greatest Hits’ feeling very content and enjoying the company of each other.

The rain was bouncing off the car very wildly now and the wind was howling through every infinitesimal space in the car, sounding like a ghostly creature hidden in the clouds.
“Wouldn’t like to be stuck out in this!” Said Dave followed by a nervous laugh.

Suddenly out of nowhere, like a deer in headlights stood a remarkably beautiful young girl. James yelled at Dave to stop the car, Dave panicked. The car swerved. The girl did not move a muscle. James opened the car door, the rain hitting his face quite powerfully as he shouted across the road.
“Get in love, you’re shivering like a dog after a bath!” Without even a small smile, she placed herself on the backseat of the car. Dave turned around to ask her where she wanted to go but he found himself mesmerised by her. She had the fairest hair. Wispy but wavy and it fell just below her waist. Her skin was so pale but completely flawless and looked soft as silk. But her eyes, her eyes were something else. So bright. So vivid. They shocked Dave with their splendour. After admiring her beauty for what felt like hours, Dave handed her his dry overcoat and managed to ask where she needed taking, although he could only manage to get the words out with a little stutter.

“It’s just the next road on the left.” She whispered with such a calm and soothing voice.
Once they had dropped her off and driven away, the men sat in silence before James announced that they had forgotten to take back the overcoat.
“It doesn’t matter.” Dave sighed, still mesmerised by how stunning she was but his brother begged to differ and persuaded Dave to go back for it in the morning.

The next day arrived and the weather completely contrasted with what it was like the previous night. The sun was shining and there was a mild breeze. The brothers began driving to the girls house listening to the radio, Dave parked up slowly and they both stepped out of the car in unison, an elderly woman opened the door of the house before the men could walk up the path. She was shaking a little and she looked puzzled. The men explained that they were here to collect a coat but the woman still looked baffled. Dave stepped forward and described the girl they had picked up. The elderly woman’s face began to slowly fade to a light grey colour. Both men were aware that she was trying to speak.
“She… she sounds a lot like my daughter, exactly the same in fact.”
Dave asked if they could get the coat from her but what the woman said next shocked the brothers.
“My daughter was killed, 15 years ago…”
James shook his head and tried walking back to the car but Dave grabbed his arm.
“I don’t believe you.” Dave said with a stern but worried voice.

She started to make her way across the road and signalled to the brothers to follow her. They reached a ghostly graveyard entrance and even in broad daylight it was unnerving. They walked through the rusty gate over to an old looking grave stone. There was a small photo frame laid on the grave showing a photo of a girl, it was very damaged but you could identify who it was. And it was her.

Both Dave and James stood still, speechless as their whole bodies rapidly started to get colder and colder. Thinking that nothing else could frighten them, they were soon proved wrong as neatly folded on the headstone was the overcoat that Dave had kindly handed the girl he thought was alive and well just the night before.

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Unheralded Danger

Ever since the haunting night when I tragically lost Emily, nothing was the same. Weekly traditions were broken and I felt lonely at least 3 times a day. But I braved a smile as often as I could and managed to continue with my daily routine despite how difficult it was to do so.

Months had now passed but I still missed her every day. Her deep blue eyes and her adorable freckles that multiplied in the sun… I would do anything to hold her in my arms again, to kiss her rosy cheeks and I would certainly kill to tell her how much she meant to me once more. I felt myself sinking into my past with her and I was losing control so I shook myself off and headed out of the cemetery with my signature false smile spread right across my face. New York was an incredibly busy city, even at night. There were people everywhere I looked. So why did I feel so isolated and alone?

I walked down a quiet alley close to my flat but before turning left towards my home, I couldn’t help but glimpse over at the little traditional Chinese take-out with the florescent waving cat sign. Emily and I used to get dinner from here every Friday night without fail. I sighed. Was I ready to go back in there or would it leave me feeling nostalgic? I had to get a grip; it’s just a take-out. I slowly made my way over to the entrance, but I eventually made it in and was greeted politely. I remembered what I was missing out on over the past 5 months and it made me sad, the staff were all so friendly still and unlike mine, their smiles were real. It made me feel warm inside and as if I belonged here.

I picked up a menu after about 5 minutes and decided to order a Chicken Chow Mein with Singapore fried rice, they gave me a selection of fortune cookies but only Emily was into that kind of thing yet I decided to keep one and handed the rest to a shivering homeless man a couple of feet away from the take-out. I arrived back home and sat down on my sofa, about to begin my meal before remembering that Emily and I used to open our fortune cookies before eating and discuss the message. Naturally, I smiled thinking about it and opened the cookie for old time’s sake. My smile suddenly dropped along with my stomach. My hands began to shake and I felt a shiver slowly crawl down each section of my spine. I read the message over and over again in my head until eventually the words just stumbled out of my mouth: ‘Your life is in danger, say nothing to anyone. You must leave the city immediately and never return. Say nothing’

Leaving the city didn’t sound too bad, I think I deserved a holiday… Bora Bora or Fiji… I could really do with that but fantasising was the last thing I should be doing. Or am I being ridiculous? It’s a fortune cookie; messages like this are printed in all of them. I laughed it off and tucked into my meal, it was just as delicious as I remembered. All of a sudden I heard a knock on my door, I never had visitors… I opened my door and nothing was there, I looked down and noticed a note on the doormat so I picked it up and turned it over. ‘Leave’ was all it read. I felt my stomach turn a little but I ignored this note too.

As I lay in bed all I could think about were these signs, it would be so different if Emily was here, we would make a joke out of it. As stupid as it sounds, I was genuinely quite frightened. I turned over to kiss the photo of Emily and I on my bedside table but to my shock, Emily had disappeared from the photo and instead, my arm was around a black figure. My heart began to beat exceedingly fast and I felt like I was living a nightmare. I packed as many bags as I could, jumped into my car and drove until sunrise. I was heading towards California where my parents and little sister lived.

The next day arrived and I woke up to a giant black cloud surrounding my car. The weather was never like this in California. I panicked and tried to carry on driving but my engine wasn’t switching on, I tried to open the windows, they wouldn’t budge. And then I noticed something in my mirror, someone was sat in the backseat of my car, and it wasn’t just anyone, it was Emily. I turned around and felt a tear roll down my cheek as she reached her hand out. Nothing else mattered now, I was about to feel her soft skin against mine again. I reached my hand out to touch hers but as soon as our hands met, something strange happened, the giant cloud began to get tighter and tighter and Emily’s face began to turn grey until all that was left was a black shadow… I stared down at my hand which was interlocked with hers seconds ago and mine was also turning grey. I was confused, scared and anxious. I shouted for help but nobody could hear me. I had a flashback of all the spooky happenings from the previous night and I stared through the back of my car in epiphany, watching as everything around me disappeared into nothing.

Distance

In the depth of the night, I lay in my bed on my almost archaic mattress where it was possible to feel the springs physically punch you in the back for the duration of the night. I pull my faded pink floral duvet up past my neck as I try my best to feel even remotely comfortable but no matter how much I tossed and turned, I was left feeling cramped and shivering like a little lost puppy. The strong breeze that managed to seep through a tiny crack in my window each and every night was now far past frustrating and I would do anything to sleep somewhere other than my room.

There was one thing that helped me through the majority of these restless nights and that was him. I didn’t even need him beside me to feel warm and safe. Purely knowing he was mine and the fact that I would be seeing him shortly was enough to keep me going.

But when I’m lying alone in bed, holding my pillow as my  teeth are chattering away, I can’t help but wish he was holding me and talking to me about whatever would pop into his head. Sometimes his company is all I would need at ungodly hours of the day when I’m feeling lonely. It is moments like this, when there is nothing else to do but think about everything and then you suddenly understand how distressing distance is. It’s not like you can hop on a bus at 4am to go and see him even if it’s all you want at that particular time of day.

You begin to crave the moment you can finally hold him, laugh with him, watch films with him and the night seems to feel much longer and even more excruciating. But when that moment eventually arrives, the relaxation and the happiness is overwhelming and you struggle to think of anywhere you would rather be.

Laundrette Girl

She came in every Saturday morning. Looking remarkable each time, without fail. Her blonde, wavy hair gently fell just below her shoulders, so perfect. I could never take my eyes off her. The ringlets in her hair were incredible, the only time I had seen hair like that were on the women in 70’s Hollywood movies. Her eyes stood out for miles. A deep, blue colour, similar to the shade of the ocean and the sky, blended together. I had never been lucky enough to get lost in them but I longed to because every single time she walked into the laundrette, everything else in the room went out of focus and all I could think about was her. She always looked so defined, as if she made the effort to look remarkable all the time, she fascinated me, in so many ways. Her lips, always such a rosy red, plump and soft. I paid attention to the tiniest of details, I just didn’t know her name yet. I worked in the launderette every weekend and she would come in every Saturday and she was the only thing that kept me sane for the whole day. I would hear the little bell ring each week at 10:30am as she strutted through the glass door in her kitten heels and tiny floral dress, fitting her petite figure perfectly. I would rush to hold the door open for her every time so she didn’t have to struggle with her basket through the door and as embarrassing as it is to admit this, I wanted her to think I was a gentleman. She seemed so classy, too classy for me that’s for sure. After all, I was only a boy from London working in a launderette for a living. I doubt she had ever even looked at me twice but I really wish that she would.

It was a sunny afternoon with a slight breeze and I was sat at the desk finishing my breakfast, watching the time and preparing myself to hold the door open for her. It was 10:28am so I headed over to the door and stood by it, glancing out of the glass door, I spotted her come around the corner of the street. That beautiful hair glistening in the sunlight and those icy blue eyes looking straight towards where I was currently standing. I suddenly felt a flutter of a thousand butterflies swarm around my stomach. It was a pleasant feeling but still made me feel nervous at the least. She was like my drug each week. I waited and waited until I saw her, getting more and more worked up each second of the day but as soon as she was next to me, everything suddenly changed and it felt like we were the only two people in the universe let alone in the city. She was approaching the door fairly quickly now and I could feel a big smile begin to form on my face. She winked at me as she stepped through the door. I’m glad the sound of the bell ringing covered up the sound of my heart beating. I pretended like that wink meant nothing however, it was as if the thoughts in my mind were jumping up and down on a trampoline and all crashing into each other. It was just a wink for Gods sake, I had a tendency to over think and over analyse absolutely everything and it needed to stop. I slapped my wrist. She turned around. I panicked. What if she thought I was a psycho?
“Is this washing machine out of order?” She asked. I stuttered, a lot. But eventually the words crawled out of my mouth one by one…
“Yes, sorry about that, I’ll help you get your garments into the next machine.”  I sighed with relief inside and tried not to show this on the outside to prevent myself from getting embarrassed. She smiled beautifully and thanked me. Her teeth were so straight and so white, she had a perfect smile and that made her even more angelic. I began to help her with her basket of clothes and she thanked me again, she was so polite.

I decided that if I was ever going to talk to her, now would be the best time. I took a seat on the bench next to her, not even taking it into account that she may have found it slightly strange but I couldn’t help it. In the heat of the moment, I felt it was the right thing to do, taking an opportunity you felt was necessary. And it was necessary; the outcome of me finding the confidence to go and sit by this woman was overwhelming for me. I had lost control and found myself staring right at her, she looked to her side and I just managed disguise the fact that seconds ago, I was admiring her. To my surprise, she struck up a conversation, it was blatant small talk for a good 10 minutes but it was better than nothing. Usually when she was waiting for her laundry, she would make her way over to a small vintage tearoom a couple of blocks down, I knew this because she always left the paper coffee cup with their logo on in the launderettes bin. However, today she sat down beside me on the bench and we talked for hours on end about every little thing. She was a beautiful woman with a beautiful outlook on life and I could already feel myself getting attached to her. She had so much to say, I was almost speechless. Throughout our conversation I heard the washing machine beep a number of times but this didn’t stop her from talking to me. She continued and I certainly wasn’t complaining. Hours passed and the sky was getting darker.
“I better get going” she giggled. I told her it was lovely talking to her.
“You too sweetie” she said as she smiled that beautiful smile of hers. I went to hold the door open and all of a sudden, she kissed me on the lips, so gently but I was lost for words, I couldn’t explain my feelings. I honestly thought my heart was about to make its way out of my mouth.
“I’ll see you soon” she whispered, followed by her signature wink.

All I could do at this moment in time was nod and smile, I felt so shy and I could feel my cheeks gradually turning bright pink. I thought I was dreaming. Since that moment, I haven’t been able to function or concentrate on anything, I couldn’t comprehend what had happened, it was completely out of the blue and I was asking myself so many questions; did she like me? Would I see her again? Should I ask her out? It was driving me crazy! But I knew patience was what I needed most in this situation. I was looking forward to seeing her again, wondering if I should ask her to dinner, I was nervous, I looked at my watch, it was 10:27am, 3 minutes to go until she walks through this door, I checked my watch again, 10:28am. How can only a minute have passed since I last checked? Time was going so slowly as I waited for her by the door. A whole hour had passed now and this was unusual for her. I sighed, giving up and went to sit down. The weather outside was sunny but this definitely didn’t anticipate my mood, I felt glum. And this made everything else seem glum too. Maybe she’s hanging her clothes out on the line, I thought. I didn’t even know why I felt so down, I just really wanted to see her.

The next morning on my way to the launderette  I slowed down as I approached the little vintage tearoom in the hope that she would be sat inside. And there she was. But she wasn’t alone. I watched her as she leaned in to a handsome looking man and kissed him gently on the lips, just as she had done with me only a week ago. I realised she had given me false hope and I swear in that moment, my heart shattered into millions of tiny pieces.

And I still didn’t know her name.

 

The End

I looked into his eyes for what I thought would be the last time. His deep, brown eyes were always so mysterious before I got to know him so well. We shared so many memories, memories I can’t ever bring myself to forget, memories I wish I could forget and memories I have managed to forget. We were only young but I have realised that someone can still mean so much to you that it hurts, no matter what age you are. I never expected to fall for someone so quickly and I never expected it to last so long. He made me feel euphoric most days yet other days, exasperated. We experienced so much together, trips to the cinema, walks in the summer and cuddles on the sofa. But thinking about the arguments we shared makes me feel almost disordered. I must have spent 2 nights out of 7 a week crying myself to sleep, arguing with him was the thing I hated more than anything. However when we were together, smiling in each others arms, I happened to lose every care in the world. I could never imagine him making me feel unhappy even though it was obvious that he did.

It was a sunny and breezy Saturday afternoon in the middle of August and we decided to take a walk down to the river in the small village where we live. He held my hand and that always made me smile. He opened his bag and he had packed a picnic rug and a flask of orange juice, I smiled at him and gently kissed his cheek. He was so caring and he made me feel so special. We lay down and talked for hours whilst listening to our favourite song on repeat until the sun began to sink and it started to get colder, he took his jumper off and helped me into it to keep me warm. He put his arm around my waist and we headed back home. We took the long route home so we could spend a few extra minutes together and as we reached my house he gave me a hug and a kiss and I went back inside, the smile couldn’t be wiped off my face.

Back at school, he seemed different, very distant and as if he didn’t care about anything I had to say. It made me feel wistful. Rather than confronting him about how I felt, I held back even though I knew the outcome of this wouldn’t be great. I sat in class but all I could think about was what I had done wrong to make him be like this with me. And once I begin thinking about something, I cannot stop myself. It’s as if you think of one thing and so many other thoughts branch off that initial thought and take over your mind, practically killing you inside. I think my friends could tell I was down and they tried to cheer me up. But I loved him, so if one thing was even remotely upsetting me about our relationship, I was upset about every other thing in my life. I looked over and he was laughing with another girl, it made me wonder if things would be better if I let him go, whether he’d be happier experiencing things with other girls. I didn’t want to make him feel tied down but I didn’t want him to think he could get away with anything he wanted to either. Relationships are so much harder than you’d expect, especially when you’re a teenager.

As soon as I got home I knew he would text me asking what was wrong but I just didn’t want to speak to him. I switched my phone off and went to sleep. I think my family started wondering what was the matter with me because as time went on, I became more and more discontented and I just knew I wasn’t as happy as I was in the Summer. I was sick and tired. I tried to blame it on my school work and the stress of exams but deep down I knew it was my relationship and the way he would change his personality so often. I was constantly receiving mixed signals from him and I didn’t think I could take it anymore despite the fact I was always so afraid of losing him and seeing him with someone else. The idea of someone else making him as happy as I had for so long made me feel more than feeble. I spoke to a few of my friends and each of them had different opinions on what was best for me but the more I thought about it, the more I wondered whether I could be truly happy without him.

A whole day passed and he hadn’t even tried talking to me. I was beginning to get paranoid and was making up crazy scenarios in my head about what he was doing. Maybe I wasn’t ready to let him go, or maybe this was the sign that it was the right thing to do. I didn’t know, I just wanted to speak to him.

I spent a night thinking about all of our happy memories but I realised the arguments overruled the good times. He eventually contacted me and we arranged to meet up to spend some time together. The moment I saw him all the negative feelings disappeared and I just wanted to hold him. I looked into his eyes and smiled, it felt as if I wasn’t even upset about anything. But I was, and I couldn’t keep letting these feelings build up because eventually I’d break down and say something I would regret. We sat on the bed, watching TV and there was complete silence. We sat there, neither of us saying a word. I couldn’t do this anymore, I was constantly fed up. I wish it was easy to go back in time, when there were no worries or complications but that was easier said than done.

I turned and looked at him, the look on his face made me nervous and I told him we needed to talk. He looked worried, and I was too. I was worrying about every little aspect of this situation. Whether he would be upset, whether he wouldn’t care or what if he had found someone else. I was overthinking again and I knew that was a bad idea. I explained how he made me feel when we argued and he didn’t even seem to feel bad about it, it was as if he didn’t care which made me angrier. I still loved him. I still wanted to be with him, we had just shared the perfect summer together and to feel it coming to an end was heart-breaking but how was I supposed to know whether I would be happier without him if I hadn’t been for such a long time? Maybe I was just used to being with him, and had been settled down for so long I had forgotten what it was like to be alone.

After a tearful hour-long conversation we agreed it was best we waved goodbye to our relationship. I didn’t even know how to feel, I was devastated, heart-broken. But also relieved, everything that had happened whilst I was with him was a lesson and I had learnt everything I needed to know about relationships. He had hurt me more than anything ever had before in so many ways which pains me to even think about. I cried for a few hours straight and wondered how he was handling it but knowing that I had now gone from having everything to nothing was a slight shock to the system.

Time went by, I thought about him every day and I still do even though so much time has passed. I know he is happier now and I am too, I get lonely most nights and I feel pitiful a lot. I sometimes miss him but remembering everything he did and said to hurt me helps me understand I miss the bond we shared. It was an extremely hard thing to get over but knowing that he was happier without me was a good thing. Friends are the most amazing people you can have in situations where you lose the love of your life. They took my mind off everything and made me smile every day. I thought I was in love with him but after having so much time to think, I question myself whether it was true love or whether I was worried about having nobody.

When one door closes another door opens; but we so often look so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us. – Alexander Graham Bell.

A Christmas Date.

I remember when I was a child, walking outside and breathing out warm air, telling my little brother that I looked like a dragon. Strolling down the cobbled streets, holding his hand, trying hard not to slip over. That memory of my childhood was so vivid, especially in the winter, we used to do that walk every day to school. I missed him. Now that I was older, I imagined it to be different but I still got the same wintery feeling I did when I was younger. The city was a lot busier now though, it always was near Christmas. It was 3 days before the 25th and I had a date tonight. I was nervous, I hadn’t properly communicated with anyone since I lost my little brother in the crash. But I think I was ready, I was lonely and this would help me, of course it would. I wandered down the streets of London, window shopping for a festive dress. I was thinking red, maybe a royal blue. I stopped outside a posh looking shop, and a dress in the window caught my eye, it was perfect and I had to try it on. I entered the shop and the atmosphere was strange, a variety of smells hit my nose. Cinnamon, mulled wine, gingerbread… I spotted a little old lady sat at the till, sewing something and humming along to Cliff Richard- Mistletoe and wine I made my way over to the dress…
“How much?” I asked
“£25 my dear” The woman replied.
I smiled and took my size off the hanger, I tried the dress on and it was perfect for the occasion, I couldn’t not purchase it. I was getting butterflies about this date. How do I act? My mother always told me to be myself but I wasn’t sure if I liked myself so why would anyone else? I left the shop and an icy breeze hit my face, I could feel my cheeks turning rosy red. I put my hat on and made my way back home, I had 2 hours to prepare myself. I practised my smile in the mirror until I felt comfortable. I looked at my wrist watch and my date was arriving in 15 minutes. The butterflies began fluttering again. I heard my doorbell ring, it couldn’t be him. He was early! I looked through the peep hole but all I could see was a red blur. I slowly opened the door and there was a gentleman holding a large bunch of roses. He gave me them with a note which read ‘See you soon beautiful. Love William.’ Wow. I was speechless, the man handed me the flowers and I admired them, the colour matched my dress exactly. I replaced them with some Lily’s which had been in my favourite vase for a few weeks and I smiled to myself, this man was definitely going to be someone special.
I powdered my nose, combed my hair and took a deep breath, my doorbell rang again. I took another deep breath and opened the door.
“Hello you.” He said in such a sweet, calm voice as he grinned. I didn’t know how to react so I giggled and said greeted him back, matching up to his friendliness. The first thing I noticed was his eyes. They were a deep hazel colour, they reminded me of the fresh bark on a growing tree, they were huge and his eyelashes were thick and long, I looked into his eyes and found myself getting lost so I shook my head and followed him out of the door. He brushed his hand against mine as we walked down the street and I took hold of it, I had never met this man before, but it felt right already.
“Thank you for the roses, they are beautiful.” I thanked him.
“You’re welcome.” He replied. We strolled down the cobbled street which reminded me so much of my little brother, I felt myself tearing up and grasped Williams hand harder, took a deep breath, looked up at him and smiled. I admired the Christmas lights, my favourite one was the dancing Santa which was above the bakery where I bought a donut for my brother every Tuesday afternoon. We entered a small Italian restaurant where we had reserved a table.
Time went by and we had shared a creamy carbonara pasta dish and a delicious black forest cheesecake and chatted the whole time, he had so many stories to share and so did I. He was such an interesting person and I didn’t feel bored at any moment. Why had we clicked so well? I asked myself. We were very similar and that helped us get along a lot. But I started asking myself whether he was feeling the same or whether I was being a hopeless romantic, what if I had started interacting with others too quickly after my brother’s death? I felt it was helping me though, I had to stop overthinking and panicking, he wouldn’t have sent me flowers or let me hold his hand if he wasn’t interested. We walked outside and the temperature had definitely dropped from before. I looked at him and he had rosy cheeks like me, He looked at me and smiled. I suddenly felt a lot warmer, his smile was enough to make any girl feel like a princess. We took a stroll by the Thames and he suggested we visit the German Market. It was very romantic and Christmassy, I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible in the space of this night. But it started to get late and I was feeling sleepy, he noticed it, I thought that was so lovely. He walked me home, still holding my hand. He stopped and put his hands in his pockets. Had I done something wrong? I worried, but he brought his gloves out of his pocket and gave them to me. I was really falling for this man. He reminded me of someone but I really couldn’t put a finger on who it was. He continued walking back to my apartment, the temperature constantly dropping. My thoughts were invaded with things such as ‘will he kiss me?’ ‘should I kiss him?’ ‘will I see him again?’ but I tried not to panic.
We reached my front door and the moment had arrived. He held both of my hands and looked deep into my eyes. There were the butterflies again.
“I’ve really enjoyed spending time with you, I’d love to see you again.” Inside, I was screaming and dancing and all things crazy you can possibly think of but on the outside, I remained calm and collected.
“Me too William.” I kept it cool and I was proud of myself despite the fact I was actually going crazy due to my excitement. He began to lean in. Oh my. What do I do? He is going to kiss me. I was panicking. But I wanted to kiss him, I really wanted to kiss him. But my mind started overloading and all I could think about was who this man reminded me of. His lips were nearly touching mine and then it came to me. It was my little brother. He reminded me of my little brother who was tragically killed in a car crash 2 months ago. He paused and caught my eye, I felt myself welling up again.
“I’m sorry.” I said, and entered my house.

Restraints: A short story.

From the moment I saw her, I felt like nothing else in the world had a meaning. Her eyes were a deep, crystal blue, with skin as soft as fresh snow. I felt like it was impossible for anyone not to fall in love with this woman once they had looked into her eyes, they were so big, full of secrets, bad secrets, the kind you’re best not knowing. Yet something drew me to her, they made me want to know more about the kind of person she was, the kind of life she was living. I saw her every day, and I looked forward to it, every day. I had worked at the asylum for years, and not once had I built up the courage to even say hello to this woman. Hell, I didn’t even know her name. So how was it possible that I felt all these feelings for this woman? How did I want her so much? I didn’t know anything about her, and it scared me. I studied her face for longer, her hair was thick, a golden brown colour, like the sun, beautiful. Her tiny waist, I longed to hold her in my arms, hold her fragile hands, and feel her touch against my body. I wanted to hear her voice whisper sweet words into my ears, I just wanted her to notice my existence. If I felt this strongly about a woman I didn’t know, I was sure she was the one for me.

I looked at him from a far, he always seemed so happy, so composed. I asked myself questions about him constantly, wondering if he looked at me how I look at him. I caught him looking once, but I didn’t know if I was dreaming. I admired his facial features, he had the perfect cheek bones, his face was ever so defined. His lips looked soft, I had imagined kissing them, feeling them against my shoulder as we lay down, staring at the ceiling. But why did I feel this way? Maybe it’s because I’m crazy, I didn’t know, all I knew was that I was drawn to this man. He was like an angel, his eyes were perfect, and I felt like I could look into them for hours without getting bored. They held so many stories and I wanted to hear them, I needed to hear them. I couldn’t approach him though, he knows I’m crazy, he would just think it was my illness which made me want to talk to him.

It was a late Autumn morning and I arrived at work earlier than usual to set up breakfast for the patients, I sat at the table with my cup of tea and watched the caretaker sweep up the crisp leaves which had recently fallen from the trees, winter was swiftly approaching. I loved to sit by the window and think about everything. I thought about her, that beautiful woman, who I saw and admired every day. I had to know her name. I went to the reception desk, luckily there was nobody there and I checked each patients files, I must have done this in an impressive amount of time because it felt like I had been there for hours but only 10 minutes had passed, and I had found the file. Her name was Evelyn, Evelyn Carter. Even her name was beautiful. I couldn’t wait to see her again.

It was beginning to get breezy in my room and I was shivering in my overalls, waiting for the workers to hand me the jumper we get each winter. I missed being at home for winter though, I could barely remember curling up on the sofa by the fireplace drinking hot chocolate and listening to Christmas songs, surrounded by people I loved. And now look where I was, locked up, going out of my mind. I felt like I was ready to go home but I knew that was a phase. I wonder if I would see him today, I wonder if he will look at me today, all I could think about was him. My brain was overloaded with thoughts of him. His face, his voice and his body. I wanted to see him and I wanted to bring myself to talk to him.

It reached 12pm and I was preparing dinner for the female patients, this was the moment I would see Evelyn, I was getting ready to introduce myself, deciding what I would say to her, I felt like I was going mad! How do I act around a woman? It had been so long since I had experienced this. Do I say ‘Hello Evelyn’ or ‘Good Afternoon Evelyn’ do I even use her name? Would she wonder how I knew it? I was getting nervous and I didn’t know why, I am usually a confident man but I suppose in situations involving women I was the shy type of guy, the patients began entering the room and my eyes suddenly became focused. I was like a hawk spying on its prey. I looked out for her and noticed her instantly, her eyes stood out. Wow, she was even more stunning than I remembered, I felt mind blown. I panicked, I didn’t know what to say. She was approaching, she was smiling. Was she going to say something? My heart began to beat faster and faster, I’m sure the other kitchen staff could hear it however I could have been paranoid. After all, I think I was about to speak to the woman of my dreams for the very first time in my life. I was ready.

I looked at him straight away, I felt excited but nervous too. What if he didn’t like me? What if he treated me like a child just because I was a psycho. Who was I kidding? Why did I even begin to think it was a good idea to talk to him? He worked in an asylum, he knew the kind of people we were, no way in hell would he even look at me, I had definitely been imagining this, making stories up in my head as usual. However, deep down, part of me, a very strange part of me at that urged me to say hello, I asked myself whether I should about ten times until I released it was my turn to get my food, I looked at his eyes and the butterflies in my stomach felt like they had all suddenly transformed from caterpillars at the exact same time. I laughed, smiled and said ‘hello.’

My heart melted, was this real? Did this perfect woman just greet me? Was I mad for being attracted to a patient in the asylum or was this normal? I didn’t even care, it isn’t as if I could help it, she was beautiful. I greeted her back ‘Good afternoon Evelyn.’ She smiled at me and my heart melted a little, I smiled back, I couldn’t stop. Her eyes made it look as though she was looking straight into your soul, as if she knew things about you that you didn’t know yourself. I was so intrigued by her. Her face looked sad but happy at the same time, I couldn’t read her expressions, she seemed emotionless. I just wanted to get to know her. But this was different, I couldn’t just ask her out for a drink or to the cinema, of course I couldn’t, she was psychotic but I think I had fallen in love, she had a soothing voice and I noticed that from a simple hello. I needed to get her out of this place. I needed her to be mine. I was so determined, a rush of adrenaline made its way through my body, and again, and again and again. I needed this woman, I would do anything for her to be mine, as crazy as it sounded, I would kill for this woman, I was going to help her escape.

He had a strange look in his eye once I had greeted him, as if he was trying to say something to me using eye contact but I wasn’t that smart, I just smiled back, I wanted to be his, I went back to my room and sat, imagining what it would be like to curl up to him in the winter, sing Christmas carols with him, decorate a house with all the decorations and pretty lights. I was over thinking the situation, we had only said hello to each other yet, there was a connection, a spark, it felt right looking into his eyes and I could picture myself telling him I loved him, but I didn’t want to get carried away, it was unhealthy for my illness. I heard a knock at my door, and I saw a note slide through the crack at the side of the door. It read ‘I will get you out of here if it’s the last thing I do’ was I asleep? Dreaming? I peered through the crack and it was him, the man who had taken over my every thought. I read the letter over and over again. Was this real? I wouldn’t know. I decided I should help him, if he was serious about getting me out of here, helping him was my only option. I was desperate to leave, this man was my knight in shining armour. I was about to escape the place I had dreamt of running away from for over 6 years. I could not believe my luck.

I crept into the medication ward in the early hours of Saturday, everyone else was asleep but not I, my heart and determination were taking over my brain and all I could think about was running away with this woman and living happily with her. I quick scammed each bottle on the top shelf until I came across one labelled ‘Geodon’ I read the description ‘Can keep you asleep for over 5 hours’ I thought to myself ‘this will do’ grabbed the bottle and made my way to the kitchen, my plan was to spike the water machine with this medicine causing every member of staff to collapse so I could take Evelyn away and be with her, where nobody could stop us. I posted her another note, telling her not to drink out of the water machine in the kitchen and that everything was going to be okay. I waited up all night, I must have drunk over 10 cups of coffee to stay awake but I had made it and I saw the sun rise at daybreak.

What was going on? Was this man crazy? Anyone would think he was the one schizophrenic, not I. I heard strange noises outside my room, it felt late, normally I would be having breakfast now but nobody had come to get me, time went by and it began to feel as if I had been locked in my room for hours, I waited and waited for someone to let me out but still nothing, yet the strange noises were still coming from outside, they sounded like screams, as if people were in pain, I began to feel anxious, panicky, I began to hallucinate and I could feel myself about to start screaming at the top of my voice, it was times like these when I felt crazy, I could see nothing and all I could hear were the screams of others around me. I wanted the man to rescue me, he said he would. Where was he?

People were collapsing around me, I was scared. Did this make me a monster? Were they alive? The medicine said it would only make people fall asleep, I was terrified. I couldn’t believe I was doing this for a woman I didn’t even know, but I craved her. I double checked the bottle, I hadn’t checked the back where the small print was. My hands were shaking as I read about what happens when mixed with water, my stomach jolted when I read that it can burn away at your insides. What had I done? I broke down but quickly remembered what I was doing this for, I was doing it for love, an intense feeling of deep affection that I longed for. I had been alone for such a long duration of my life, I deserved someone to love and it was her. I ignored all the staff and raced to Evelyn’s room, I could hear her screaming from down the corridor, I kicked and punched the door so much but nothing was happening, I needed to get in, one of the guards behind me affected by the water had a huge collection of keys attached to her belt, I ripped it off and tried every single one. Halfway through, the door opened and she leaped at me and tried to hit me, I must have frightened her. I held her and I got a sudden rush of excitement. This felt so right.

I had a break down. But I recovered as soon as he held me in his arms because it felt so right, I felt like a normal girl and it was nice. We ran straight to the door, on the way out I grabbed what I thought was another patients bags off the floor which contained a liquid substance of some sort. My head was messed up. I told the man to drink it and it would calm him down without checking the label first. I shouldn’t be out of that asylum, I was ill and I was supposed to be in there no matter how much I hated it, I wasn’t safe out here. I was scared. I watched him drink it, intrigued by the way his lips wrapped around the bottle top. He fell onto me, his eyes rolling back and forwards, his skin went 3 shades paler and I panicked. What had I given him? I hadn’t even checked. I read the bottle and dropped it in shock. This wasn’t medicine, this was poison to get rid of rodents in the asylum kitchen.

My skin began to bubble, it felt as though something was eating away at my flesh. I felt drowsy and as if I was heading into my own little world, the last thing I saw were her eyes, her deep, crystal eyes, staring into mine with a look of concern, I could finally see her emotions. I was lead to believe she felt the same about me, the way she looked at me wasn’t just a look of someone who was an acquaintance, there was something there, something special. I was panicking, I felt like I had just rescued a princess from her tower and now I felt like I was about to die. I heard her voice in my ear ‘I’m going to find the antidote, I’m going to find the antidote’ she said it about 5 times before I found myself drifting off, not knowing whether I would wake up again or not.

It was a late Autumn morning and I woke up in a freezing cold room with padded walls and no windows. I looked to my side and the nurse was there, cleaning the end of the syringe and the needle. ‘Everything will be okay Daniel, it’s all over now’ what was she talking about? I had just rescued the girl of my dreams. ‘Where is she? Where is Evelyn?’ I panicked. ‘It’s been 10 years since you killed her Daniel, she isn’t here anymore’ I didn’t understand. I didn’t know what to do, I was lost, in my own mind and nothing or nobody could help me, not even my medicine. I didn’t even know who I was anymore. I stared into the nurses eyes, I felt like I was about to cry. ‘You’ve been hallucinating again Daniel’ the nurse explained. ‘They’re very common when you’re suffering schizophrenia, don’t worry, you can get yourself back to sleep now, your medicine will keep you safe.’ I looked at my door, wishing it was a window so I could watch the Autumn change to Winter but I was stuck in this life and I was never escaping it.