The girl in the rain

Raindrops were falling thick and fast, hitting the top of the yellow umbrella, bouncing off the rippling surfaces of the expanding puddles. Everywhere there were feet; encased in shiny black boots, worn out shoes, muddy wellies, loud heels, socks and sandals. The fresh smell one always associates with rain hung in the air as the cobbles were pelted and the skies released their fury.
Hurried footsteps echoed loudly around the now deserted streets as a lone figure dashed down the road. Except they weren’t alone. Another figure, bigger, darker, with a bolder and more harsh outline was slinking just out of sight round the side of the hulking bins, drawing on a pipe with the brim of a hat masking their face. The small brightly coloured blur flitted past the shadow, and in the blink of an eye was gone. Just like that. The person had simply been taken off the street as if they had not been there in the first place. The shadow had faded and suddenly there were people everywhere, hoods up, huddling under umbrellas and awnings.
It was as if they had always been there – the shoppers, going about their business without interruption or pause even with the torrential rain. It was nothing. And yet. Something had happened. Changed. The air was no longer sweet, laughter did not rise from the crowds; a ripple of uncertainty had passed through the area and the afternoon light was sagging with the weight of the stars.
It was quiet, the street was empty and stars pushed through the dense blackness of the heavens. There were looming obscurities in every corner, at every turn, and from every angle the flash of colour, of a yellow umbrella unchanged by the amber glow of street lamps was caught in the corner of the eyes of the ones who watched.
The essence of the girl with the umbrella remained trapped with the rain; she fell through the air with the drops of water encasing everything that she was in each droplet. Every second as more rain fell, she became more visible, until reality was drowned out by the buckets of water that held the buckets of memories. Trapped.
The rain started to slow, from sheets of solid water, to a torrent of molten glass, to individual rain drops, to nothing. Nothing, except the hundreds of shoppers going about their daily business as if nothing had happened.

 

Written by Ro_Lucy

Alternative ending for Jane Eyre

(continued from page 520)
One morning at the end of the two years, as I was writing a letter by candlelight to StJohn to persuade him to visit, the light I was using flickered as if a cold gust of wind had fallen upon the flame. I could perceive nothing out of the ordinary in my study, but within my very bones I felt that something was wrong. Wrapping my shawl about my shoulders, I had a strong sense of déjà vu from a time ago when I had once before crept darkened hallways in pursuit of something that should not be. My skirts whispered with every step as I headed towards the nursery to check that all was well. Edward would be by the fireside in our room by now, waiting for me to return from my tasks of the evening before we went to bed.
Passing the door to the dining room, my candle was extinguished with a gasp of smoke and I was left in oily darkness to feel my way – as my blind husband would do – to the window where the light of the stars aided me in gaining my bearings. My hands were shaking with fright by now, I had not been this afraid since I saw the ruin of Thornfield and had thought my old master, my beloved, dead. Trying to assure myself that the open window was the only cause of my candle going out I moved on, but I had a strong urge to call for someone, anyone; if only I wasn’t worried about who would be there to hear my cry.
I was blessed to have walked these halls so often that I knew my way even in the blackness presented before my darting eyes. Had I not known my way to the nursery I would have tumbled headfirst down the cold stone steps to the kitchens which were situated next to the door of the place I was seeking. Placing my hand on the door with the intent to push it inwards, I saw in the shadows by the light of the moon shining through the window behind me that the door was already open. Such was my shock at seeing the great wooden door ripped off its hinges and splintered by the entrance to the chamber where my children were sleeping, that I staggered backwards in terror and nearly lost consciousness.
Trembling from head to foot I crossed the threshold of the room and hurried to my son’s crib to find the sheets cold and empty. Forcing air in and out of my desperate lungs I rushed to my daughter’s bed to find it too unoccupied. Think Jane! What could have happened to them? I banished the thought of my daughter running to find me from fear of a night terror and instead tumbling down the kitchen steps from my mind, but no fantasies came to me regarding my son who was too small to leave his crib of his own will. Freezing tears trickled down my cheeks as I screamed for my children, my beautiful, sweet Helen and darling baby John, my throat burning from the pain of my loss.
I had to find Edward, he would help, he would know what to do, he would find our children. But as I turned, I came face to face with an animalistic creature, haggard and bloody, its eyes rolling and hair rugged. Bertha. My mind reeled as I took in the scene before me, trying to reason that what I was seeing could not be the truth. Bertha was dead, and yet surely even the dead had more colour in their cheeks, more familiarity in their eyes. I was drawn to the bundle she carried; John, my baby boy was fast asleep, cradled in her bony arms as a wicked smile framed with mangled teeth shone from her mask of a face.
My screaming stopped but the tears did not cease, as the knife came down, first on my son, then on myself, but the only pain I felt was that of a mother seeing her lifeless children lain side by side on the hard floor with crimson smiles. I was slain and off to my Father and Saviour along with my infants who had barely to experience the turmoil of life before they were snatched cruelly by the jaws of everlasting sleep. My dying heart was broken before I hit the floor, and as I faded I felt my body being dragged by a creature with chipped fingernails and stagnant breath back out the door and away from this life.
Bertha
I had waited and waited in my dark room with Grace for years and years to have my revenge. The girl had gone, scared off by my husband no doubt. To think that she had dared try to marry my beloved, my world, my oyster, my husband, Mine!…She would pay in blood and anguish and I would get to keep him forever. My time to escape came when Grace once again succumbed to drink, the fool. My lover was at home on his own, apart from Grace and I when I found her wedding dress in a room I had not visited for a while. I set the dress on fire and watched the orange flames lick the fine material with relish as they devoured it. Leaving the dress to burn in the hall I climbed my tower prison to kill my captor. She had kept me all this time, and for that I ended her. I flung her from the battlements wearing my gown to burn on the ground below so everyone would think it was I who had perished.
After that the grounds of my regal house became my home. I found food, slept in hollows and grew strong and wild. I watched from the tree line as my house was rebuilt and my beloved and his new ‘wife’ moved in and started their life without me. Their first child was a pretty little thing, but it wailed a lot and had a horrid temper. The second was much nicer but almost boring to watch. It just sat there propped up on pillows next to its mother on a picnic blanket. They would both have to go, I couldn’t bear the thought of my Edward loving another. He would be mine, all mine. I forgave him for turning me aside when he thought I was dead, but I knew he would love me all the more for disposing of his boring little family. My chance came when the maid left the back door unlocked on her way home. I went inside and put an end the stupid girl’s brats, and then finished the job with the usurper herself. Their bodies were light with death as I pulled them into the forest where they could slumber for eternity.
Her room was much more richly furnished than when I had dragged the wedding dress along the length of the burning house. She had some pretty gowns, and my wild life had made me thin enough to fit them. I washed and combed my hair before my well trained fingers arranged the long locks into curls. My skin was shining and with a dab of her scent, a blind man would not have known me for his wife.
I walked the halls, my bare feet savouring the plush carpets lining the floors. The room was bathed in firelight when I entered and there was my beloved, seated in a chair before the fire, his unseeing eyes gazing into the light. His ears were keen for his face swivelled in my direction as I approached him. “My love?” he asked, and I replied in the voice I had practiced that it was I. He beckoned me to come to him so I perched myself on his lap and fell into his, strong loving embrace. I was revenged, I was home.

By Ro-lucy

Dystopia

Darkness. It swallows you whole and eats you up from the inside, clawing at your fears and drawing them out into a false reality. In this mirrored world, drained of colour and reason, your eyes play tricks on you in the dark and show you things that aren’t actually there.

As I stumbled through thickets of brambles, the darkness was absolute, but for thin slivers of the moons reflected in the stagnant bogs of the marshlands. Another tremor racked through my body as the impenetrable cold enveloped my bare skin, scarcely covered with a simple silk shift. My bare feet were scratched and bleeding but my frigid toes were unfeeling. Glancing around me, I saw another looming shape on the ground and looked the other way, not wanting to see the things in my mind turn to reality.

My insides were groaning, but I had no food, shelter, or any way of getting warm. The only thing I carried with me was a heavy sword stolen from a corpse I passed along the way. My heart was broken, shattered into a million pieces, and it would never be whole again. I was alone.

The marshlands were hard to navigate in the blackness, and my progress was slow. Falling into a bog was not an option as my fingers were turning blue and any more exposure to the icy bitterness would surely kill me. I missed the sun, and the tingling feeling of warming up after going out in the snow. I wondered if I would ever feel that again.

Suddenly, there came a gurgling, bubbling sound from the depths of the largest bog. I clutched my sword to my chest with brittle fingers as ripples lapped onto the bank. Slowly, a great figure dragged itself laboriously upwards from the murky sludge in the malodorous bog and towered over me, mud splattering onto the dead ground.

Seven feet tall and with hulking limbs the size of tree trunks, the creature had no eyes, only sunken sockets in which the slimy skin stretched grotesquely over the ragged skeleton. Spiky black ears framed the terrible face and the huge nose with dilating nostrils was turned in my direction, dripping with curdled slime and remnants of the sludge that had been the creature’s hiding place. Its mouth stretched in a jagged, scarred oval and let out a huge bloodcurdling screech.

Stumbling backwards, I could not keep my eyes off the foul, yellow fangs from which long tendrils of saliva wavered with the beast’s every movement. As it lunged at me, I slammed into the frozen ground, just missing the great hairy arm that had come from no-where to swat me like a fly. Quickly rising once more, I held the sword tighter and swung out wildly in front of me, jabbing and stabbing thin air as, bemused, the beast paused to consider my feeble efforts.

The world became deathly silent as everything seemed to stop. The few tiny blades of withered grass stilled as drops of cold sweat ran down my back. I saw what was going to happen before it did. In an almost graceful arc the beast charged at me, teeth bared and talons ready. Tripping over my feet I hit the ground for a second time and squeezed my eyes shut as a scream erupted from my very soul out into the darkness. Razor sharp pain shot up my leg from where it had crumpled under my weight. There was a moment of hot breath on my face, and then nothing.

Silence.

Cautiously, I opened my eyes a fraction to a sight that terrified me more than anything so far. For as I stared around me into the darkness, there was no-one there but myself.

– written by Ro_lucy