“After 3 we all get up” hissed Myra.

My heart hammered in my chest.

Were we really doing this?


I leapt up and made a beeline for the door.

The harsh air hit me as I made my way outside.

My legs pounding the pavement, I kept running for what felt like forever. My chest heavy with fear and excitement.

Finally my legs gave way and I stopped.

I placed my hands on my knees catching my breath.

I couldn’t believe that I had just done it. The old me never would’ve done this, I would’ve been scared shitless.

But I guess the added time limit I had, made things all that much different.

I looked round for the others, but I couldn’t see them.

Maybe they had been caught, hadn’t made it out.

Dangerous thoughts began to paint my mind. Maybe the restaurant had cctv and they would catch us. I was not ready to be arrested I jut couldn’t. The disappointed look of my mother’s face appeared as I was led off, cuffs on my wrists.

The sound of Myra’s ragged breath ripped me away from my thoughts, as she came bounding up to me.

“See,” she said. “How much fun was that?”

“Incredible,” I laughed back, punching my fists to the sky and letting my head fall back.

She giggled.

“Where are the others?” I asked

“Fuck if I know,” she smiled. “Hopefully they didn’t get caught.”

She linked her arm in mine and we began walking towards her car, that she had strategically parked 3 streets away from the restaurant.

“So 4 down,” she smiled at me.

“4 down,” I smiled back.

“You ready for the next one?”

“Like a heartbeat,” I replied.



My eyes are heavy, both from the lack of sleep that l’ve slept and the hard tears that I’ve cried.

My head feels clouded. A wave of confusion washes over me.

I can’t remember anything, what I was doing, what I was supposed to be doing.

I curse myself for being so forgetful.

I walk up and down the dark room, in a trancelike state. A zombie.

After what feels like an age, I look down at him.

His eyes have finally closed. His chest rises and falls in a steady pattern.

I smile. Success. Finally.

I place him gently inside of his crib, holding my breath at all times. Not wanting to wake him.

Not wanting him to start crying again.

I hate it when he cries.

I feel helpless. I want to scream at him to stop, but I know that I can’t.

He’s so young, so innocent.

I keep watching him. Love. This is what love is.

Love didn’t live here before. I didn’t think that my heart could ever feel such a feeling again.

But as soon as he was in my arms, I knew that I could never stop loving again.

He brought me back to life.

Even with all his tears and all the late nights. Just knowing that he is here. Makes me happy. Makes it all worthwhile.

I love him. My son.

My heartbeat.


Emma made her way down the stairs, one foot after the other.

The sea of faces looked up towards her.

Too late to escape now she laughed to herself, a smile forming on her face.

A guitar cord struck up, she glanced over to her father.

He grabbed ahold of her hand, giving it a quick squeeze.

She felt safe.

They began their descent down the aisle, the guitar carrying them along.

After what felt like forever, they reached the end of the aisle.

Her father kissed her on her cheek and let go of her hand. He was letting her go, his job was now over.

She turned to face Andrew, his eyes brimming at the sight of her.

“You look beautiful,” he mouthed to her.

She felt herself blush. A warmness running through her.

The man she loved, the man she had waited for was about to become her husband.

Nothing had prepared her for the feeling that she was experiencing right now.

A quick wave of fear ran through her, what if he changes his mind? What if he doesn’t want to marry me?

A look from him, reassured her. His own eyes reaching deep down into hers, speaking unspoken words.

He took her hands in his and they started on their journey together.


She tried to swallow but her mouth was so dry, she tried to fight back the tears that were forming at the corners of her eyes but she lost the battle and the streams began.

He looked at her searching for an answer. Hoping that it would all be okay.

But it wasn’t.

It would never be okay, never again.

She had not signed up for this. This was not supposed to happen.

They had all warned her, told her not to get with him. That he would hurt her. But she had been so lost in him that she allowed all her reservations to fall and float away in the wind.

“Tanya,” he finally said. Her name sounding foreign on his tongue.

She had to get away from him. She didn’t want to be here anymore. Everything about him was like a poison to her.

The smile that once made her melt, was like a thousand daggers. His scent, rotten to her nose.

He stepped closer to her, trying to take his hand in hers. She batted him away. He stepped closer again, his arms trying to circle her waist.

She tried to push him away, to stop him. But he succeeded. He pushed her closer to him, his head falling on her shoulder.

She felt hot tears wet the corner of her top. He was crying. The fucking arsehole was really crying.

Why did he have the right to cry? Who said that he had the fucking right to cry!

He was the one that was in the wrong. He was the one that had risked it all, broken something that was so pure and whole.

He continued to sob away on her shoulder. Words such as sorry, forgive, love bounced off his lips but she wouldn’t allow them to enter her.

She stood still, as the bulk of him pressed onto her. Her rage growing but contained.

She wanted him off her, as far away from her as humanly possible.

Love did not live here anymore.

Love was the furtherest thing that she felt for him.

After what felt like an age he let go.

All the anger that had been building up shot out of her and she felt her hand slap him across the face.

Her hand tingling after. His eyes still wet bulging in shock.

Steadying her breath, she turned around and headed for the stairs.

Without turning, she finally spoke.

“I want you gone.”


He touched her face.

His hand familiar but strange.

She wanted to remember, she wanted to know him.

She screamed inside. Hurt building up. She wanted to know him.

Wanted to remember all the times that he had placed his hand on her face previously, but the memories wouldn’t come.

His brown eyes bore into her own. As if he was trying to search inside for her. Trying to bring her back to him.

But she was lost. He knew that. She was never coming back.

He ripped his eyes away so that she would not see the pain growing deep inside of him.

Staring at the wall, memories of their life together fought their way into his head. He tried to fight the off, but they continued to come, refusing to let up.

A memory of the first time he had seen her crept inside.

A vision of pure and innocent beauty. She didn’t know he was watching her. She wore all black, as if she was in mourning. Her glasses struggling to stay up right. Every now and then she pushed them back up her face. Grimacing at the annoyance of having to do so.

She was so engrossed in her work, that she didn’t look up when her colleague asked her if she was coming out to lunch. So lost in whatever she was doing that the outside world could’ve crumbled and she would have been oblivious to it all.

He had wanted to approach her, to tell her that she was the most intriguing woman that he had ever seen. That he wanted to get to know her. That he had felt a connection to her. But he was too scared. Scared of the rejection he knew he would receive.

It would take a year before he uttered his first words to her. A year of unnecessary trips to her office, meetings about nothing, just so he could see her smile, see her wrinkle up her face in frustration.

“No,” he shouted balling up his fist, pushing the memory away.

Surprise washed over her face as he realised he had said this out loud.

She searched his face, looking for answers to her unspoken questions.

He suddenly felt claustrophobic, like he couldn’t breathe. He had to get out of there. He had to leave. He sprung up from his chair and left the room.

He ran down the corridor, dodging members of staff and other patients on his journey. His breath tight in his chest.

Reaching the end of the corridor, he sunk to the floor.

She really was gone. She was never coming back to him.

His heart began to break, hot tears sprang from his eyes and he sobbed deeply.

She was never coming back.


The rain patted against the window.

Droplets racing each other to reach the bottom, unknowingly to their deaths.

Grace looked on; huddled in her blanket, her face illuminated by a nearby candle on the bedside table.

She craved nights like this.

Secure in her warm bedroom, listening to the soft beat of the rain. It was almost as if she was in another world. All the things that had seemed important to her before, were now trivial.

All that mattered was the here and now.

She stretched out her finger and traced her name on the window glass.

A smile forming on her face, as she looked out at the city below her.

This was her favourite place.

She sat there, in the silence.

A noise from outside her door jolted her back into the real world.

She got up and blew out the candle.

Slipping back into bed, she closed her eyes, willing sleep to come.

After a while, her breath become deep and long and she entered the world of dreams.

Yemi entered the bedroom. He looked over to Grace asleep on the bed.

A warmth ran through him. He did love her, he knew that for sure.

The stale smell of candle smoke danced in his nostrils, she had recently fallen asleep.

He slowly removed his clothes. His heavy jumper first, then his jeans.

He stood there in the dark, a thin stream of light from a crack in the curtain illuminating him.

Saying a short prayer, he willed Grace to stop this punishment.

A single tear fell from his eyes. He blinked, stopping any more from forming. Shocked at his open willingness to succumb to his emotions.

Grabbing his clothes from the pile he began to fold them and placed them in his closet.

Moving to the side he grabbed a duvet and pillow.

Taking one last look at Grace, he silently left.


The phone buzzed at the side of her head.

Groggily she stretched out an arm and picked it up.

The bright screen glared at her, forcing her to blink.

It was Charlie, of course it was.

Why the fuck didn’t I put it on do not disturb, she wailed inside.

Sighing she turned her phone over and rolled back to the other side of the bed.

Who the fuck calls before 9am she wailed again.

Deep feelings of regret ran through her.

I should never have given him my number she thought.

Her phone buzzed again.

“For fuck sake,” she said, this time the words escaping her mind and running out of her lips.

She rolled over again and flipped the phone over.

The name Charlie blared back at her.

If this wasn’t a fucking emergency if he wasn’t dying…

“Hello,” she murmured as she hit the green accept button.

“Oh hi,” came the response, way too cheerily for this time of the morning, “I didn’t wake you did I?”

“No shit Sherlock,” she mumbled back.

“Sorry what was that?” he asked.

“I said no I wasn’t asleep,” she lied.

Oh good. I’m glad I’ve got you anyway. So I was wondering what you were up to.”


“Good, so I was thinking that I’d come over later. We could do something just me and you.”

It was Sunday. Fucking Sunday, a day of rest. No fucking way did she want to do anything today. Especially not with him.

She ran through a thousand excuses, but not one of them was plausible to get out of it.

“Temi you still there,” he queried.

“Yes sorry, my phone dropped and I was looking for it,” she lied again.

“So how does that sound?” He asked, she could feel his eyes boring into her even from behind his phone.

“Uhmmm yeah sounds great,” she forced herself to say.

“Great, I’ll be at yours in an hour.”

“Great,” Temi replied.

Ending the call she rolled back over and screamed into her pillow.

Why did this always happen to her?

Defeated she got up and headed towards the bathroom, preparing to spend a dreaded day with a man that bore the socks off her.

Why could she never just say no?


There was no where else for her to go, she had reached the end.

She crumpled to the floor, her white gown, which had since greyed ballooned underneath her.

Her eyes prickled with tears. This was it, it was over.

She closed her eyes, allowing herself to succumb to the darkness.

She waited.


She continued waiting.

Still nothing.

Her breath quickened.

She refused to open her eyes.

Willing it to hurry up and be over, she continued waiting.

Still nothing.

Finally, the curiosity taking over her, she opened her eyes.

One at first, it was barely a flicker.

A small crack, widening bit by bit.

The air was dark so she could barely make out an image.

Her eye was fully open now.

Her vision matched what she could hear. Nothing.

Her other eye sprang open.

She searched around, but nothing was there.

She inhaled, relief snaking its way through her.

She got up. Slowly at first, trying to find her footing, legs still shaking.

She began to walk back the way that she had come. Uneasy. Tense.

The hem of her gown sweeping the floor with every step she made.

She placed a hand on her stomach. Trying to settle the sick feeling that had raised to the top of her throat.

The other, wiped away the tears that had continued to flow.

Streaks of black, painted the back of her hand.

She walked on.


My hand started to hurt but I continued on.

The clock creeped closer to the end, but I would not let it faze me. I was in my element.

I had now become lost. Lost in the the words. Lost in my answer. Who even knew if what I was writing was correct. If it even made the slightest bit of sense.

To be honest, I didn’t care. All I knew was that I was here in this moment and I had set off. Nothing would allow me to come back down

Ms Martin walked down the aisle again. The scent of her perfume, getting stronger as she got closer to me.

“You have 5 minutes left,” she called out. She smiled at me as she walked by, that same familiar smile that had calmed me down this past year. Her eyes locked into mine telling me a secret that only she and I heard.

Struggling I broke my eyes away from her and she continued on down the aisle. I glanced back down at my paper. Spell broken. This was way more important. This was it. My last hurrah, my last chance to make a stamp.

I finished off my last word and placed a sharp full stop at the end of the sentence.

I quickly scanned through my work, checking for any mistakes, any grammatical errors, but I was done.

“Pens down,” came Ms Martin’s voice again. The same voice that had soothed me, that sent pin picks down my back. My mind travelled off into a streams of memories; memories that were wrong, but felt right at the time.

I shook my head willing them to stop coming. And they did. Just like that.

I placed my pen down smiling.

In the corner of my eye I could see Tristan hurriedly writing.

“I said pens down,” a clipped tone to her voice.

Defeated Tristan placed his pen down.

He sunk into his chair.

Ms Martin and Mr Rutherford began the task of picking the papers off our desks.

She didn’t come down my aisle again.

I sat back watching the clock.

Counting the ticks and the tocks.

A wave of calmness washed over me.


I panted as I continued up the hill.

Just a few more meters and that was it.

My heart hammered in my chest as I continued on my way, struggling for breathe.

He was already at the end, his strong legs had carried him on and he had finished in record time.

I felt a sharp pain in my side, I ignored it and continued on. Nothing was going to stop me, not even my own body.

Just a few more meters and that was it, I was done, this was over, I repeated to myself, willing myself on.

I looked back at him, his friends had now come over and were circling him, patting him on the back.

How I wish that I could pat that same back. Touch him. Have him know that I…

I shook the thought out of my head, laughing at myself.

That would never happen, not in a million years.

He didn’t even know me. Didn’t want to know me.

I mean why would he?

I was nothing to him. Just a tub of lard that he probably felt sorry for, if he even thought of me at all.

A wave of anger rolled through me. I balled up my fist. But this was not the place. This was too public.

I uncurled my fist. Red marks now painted my palm, from where my nails had dug into myself.

At least I had this, I thought to myself.

I puffed on and finally, after what felt like I pulled myself over the finish line.

My chest erupted into flames.

Tami, as if in queue rushed over to me, with a litre bottle of water.

I pulled off the top and guzzled it down.

“I’m so proud of you,” she beamed at me.

“Thanks,” I replied through gulps.

My eyes searched around, but he was long gone.

My heart felt heavy and this time it wasn’t from the strain of the run.

Of course he was gone. There was nothing for him to stay for. He had done what he had needed to do and life was continuing on.

I sighed as I walked toward Tami’s car. She continued to prattle on. But my mind was elsewhere.