It was a dark night and the cold air was crisp. The streets were empty. No one would be out today. It was the coldest day of the year and the snow which continued to fall covered the trees. The swings creaked in the silence. The girl sat down on the swing and began swinging manically back and forth. The alcohol she had consumed had temporarily made her feel warm but had now begun to make her feel woozy. She stood up and vomited until tears ran down her cheeks. She left the park walking towards the streets on the north side of the park. All the houses were lit up, and the families sat together within the warmth and safety of their houses. Her safe place no longer existed. He had ruined it all.
Today was the day. Everything was supposed to go back to normal. She was excited for Christmas day. She sat in front of the heater doing her last minute wrapping. Today was meant to be perfect. Her father had been very distant since her mum had died but today was meant to be the day they mended their broken relationship. The tragedy had happened over a year ago around this time. She had gone out with friends and came home to a mess. The body of her mum lay bloody and still on the floor. It was a knife wound. The murderer was never found. Money and jewellery was taken but that didn’t matter. It took a while and though she would never completely move on she was determined to make this Christmas special. She knew it would never be the same but it was important to keep going for the sake of the relationships around her particularly her relationship with her dad. Her dad hadn’t been the same since but he never even tried to understand what she was going through.
She carried on walking down the dark streets. The cold took over her body. She had nowhere to go. Who could she turn to? Her legs grew tired so she sat on a curb and began to cry.
The door to the attic was locked. It had never been locked. She looked through her dad’s room drawers for the key and it wasn’t there. Never mind, she thought. She sat back down on her favourite sofa in front of the television. Soon after, her dad walked in. Usually he went straight to his room but today he sat down with her.
“Are you okay?” he asked. The first time he had spoken to her with that tone. The tone he had before.
“I’m good thanks how are you?” He looked exhausted. There were dark circles around his eyes. His face had wrinkled and his hair had turned grey. He looked so much older. The tragedy had aged him.
“I’m doing okay honey.”
“DO you know where the attic key is?”
“What do you need? The attic is a mess. You won’t find much up there.”
“I wanted to look through our old pictures. I know they were kept up there.”
“I may have misplaced it. I will look for you.” They sat in silence but she couldn’t help being very happy. They watched a movie about an elf and after so long he seemed himself again.
Where do I go now? What do I do? She sat on the curb asking herself. She had no family and her friends couldn’t help her. She lay on the icy pavement. Her body now frozen. Her mind drifted off as she slowly lost consciousness.
Hours later she awoke in a hospital bed. All sorts of tubes were coming out of her. She drifted off. The hospital was dark. A sort of uncanny feeling overcame her. She ripped the tubes out of her arms and slowly got up. Her body ached. Walking caused her so much pain. She walked into the corridor and it was empty. When was a hospital dark and deserted? The door behind her creaked. She turned around and jumped. Her heart raced in her chest.
“Honey, you should be in bed,” a nurse spoke. She was petite and dark skinned. “Come on, let’s get you back to bed.”
“Why am I here? I just want some water.”
“I will bring some for you.” The nurse led her back to the room. She closed the door behind her. She heard the door lock.
“Why are you locking the door? What are you doing? Let me out! Let me out!” She screamed and banged loudly with her fists on the door. How did I get here? She sat on the floor crying. Her hands were bleeding. She replayed the day in her mind. It hit her. She started to shake. What had she done?