OAK III: Red Flowers & Bone

Cut to the bone.

The Earth around The Oak was tangled with slender vines tipped with jagged red flowers. The buds pushed themselves up several inches above the soil, opening slowly with tendrils of sap glistening and dripping down the vines. The sap’s bioluminescence glowed a soft orange in the dark, their stamens poking upward from the centre of each bloom, swirling gently.

Cut down rather than across.

The sap released a pheromone that billowed into the air. Tiny carmine spores floated from the blooms, creating a heady dust designed to lure and intoxicate. A low hum reverberated from deep within The Earth, a vibration that sent a shiver through the area, casting the spores further afield. They drifted, some settling on leaves and moss, glowing faintly in the dark.

A guttural rumble tore the mossy soil apart around The Oak, the green folding back on itself and convulsing as if it were birthing something.

And birth something it did.

Cut to the bone.

Its fingers or what were supposed to look like fingers thrust upward from the ground, thrashing and hacking its way out as the blooms around it rose higher, releasing more spores and spitting sap. Its body was made entirely of nature, but this was not the type of nature that was kind. It was everything terrible nature could create.

When it finally broke free from The Oak, it stood at over ten feet tall and oozed the same sap and wafted the same spores as the flowers around it. It yanked its head forward, the blooms ripping out from inside the soil as they unfurled and gathered around its head in the mass of vines where its hair would be. Those red flowers floated and swirled around its head in a cloud of hazy poison. A low hum drifted around as a warning signal, but nobody would be clever enough to realise.

When it moved, sap trickled from its body leaving clumps of corrosive venom on the ground, yet it didn’t seem to eat away at it.

The creature opened its mouth and roared, the howl sending a shockwave that produced even more spores, the air around it now thick with them.

Cut down rather than across.

It buried its roots in the ground in front of The Oak, gorging on tiny crawling life from the Earth, but it wasn’t enough. It needed more.

Cut down rather than across.

It heard those words spoken with anger, spoken with the intent to hurt and cause pain, and it followed them slowly, unfurling its roots from the ground, creeping across it, the spores and vines drifting in slow fluid movements. The forest reached out for it, branches creaking and twisting to touch the red blooms, leaves uncurling, mosses pulsing against the ground as if the Earth’s heartbeat were heavier than usual.

This was not an it. This was a SHE. The embodiment of The Divine Feminine in her rawest form; RAGE.

She could hear the words cutting through the air, vicious and malignant. She recognised those words and remembered what she was before the shame hit, before she had given herself to the Earth via The Oak, she remembered;

Cut to the bone. Cut down rather then across otherwise it won’t work, cut down..

He was asleep. She saw through the gaps in the forest, over the gentle ripple of the water from the pond in the night, and around the landscape until she was stood over him. Her mouth fell open slowly in a quiet hiss, her jaw distended and cavernous. The vines and red blooms around her head shifted in one snake like movement, poised above his face, creeping closer. The glow from the flowers cast soft light over the shadows of his face, but revealed more than surface skin. Those words; the poison he released and couldn’t take back pulsated and coiled under his flesh like parasitic worms. She could see them moving and growing. His face was puffy and engorged, and every few seconds a blackened worm would flick from his lips and across his cheek, only to find its way back inside by slithering up his nose.

Cut to the bone.

The poisonous whispers were right there in front of her.

She lowered her head inches from his face, every bloom on her vines as close to his skin as could be without touching it, spores wafting and filling the room, that low hum that nobody would have taken as a warning sending ripples through the air.

She wanted him to see her before she took him. His eyes were forced open and he could see the vision of rage he’d help create, just as she coiled her vines around his throat and neck, across his gaping mouth as a strangled gurgling bubbled out. His eyes looked into what used to be hers, but they were glowing rings of blazing anger, and nothing like the ones he used to see. The soft bark of her once smooth skin unfolded so fresh vines could uncoil and pin him where he was. They stabbed through him like hot bolts, gleaming with corrosive sap that hissed and frothed though his flesh. The vines around his throat coiled tighter, slowly and deliberately so she could hear every crack, every break, and every pop as the life drained from him. The facial cavity that was once her mouth was so distended that it was wider than his head, and she was siphoning him into her core. He tried to struggle and writhe beneath her, but he was too weak as she tore the life from him. The place where her heart used to be glowed a bright red that flowed through every part of her right to the ends of each flower. Her belly grew rapidly as she consumed him.

A final crack from the thickest vines ended him, as it broke his neck. She paused over him, looking over the burned out husk of what he was. Her mouth shrank back into place, her vines recoiled and settled themselves softly. He was now as he had once left her, hollow, and empty, and cleft. The worm like words oozed and crawled out from inside what was left of him, because they always survive. She watched them trickle away into the dark, where they belonged.

The newly fed blooms on her vines puffed out a generous cloud of spores over his corpse, and settled over him, devouring the remains slowly. There would be nothing but red dust in the morning.

She withdrew back into heavy shadow, and crept back to The Oak. She was entirely satiated, her body swollen and pregnant with the life she had claimed as hers. The Earth around The Oak opened up to her, peeling itself back with a welcoming warmth with which she could merge. She sank down into it, its vines twisting and entwined with hers, a protective web crawling over her heavy belly. The Earth closed itself around her, and  drifted into a deep torpor, as they both fed on what she had taken.

Her red flowers slowly poked up out of the Earth, and swirled with their jagged petals in the night. Only when they began to fade would she rip through the Earth and feed again.


The Gory Hole

This was written as part of a writing challenge on another website, but since it’s horror, I’m posting it here too. 

Three lads. Early twenties. All perpetually horny and testosterone fuelled.

One text message, so easily led.

A Whatsapp group several seconds later.

“I just got a text from Mike saying the weirdest shit.”
“Yeah me too.”
“WTF i just got one!”

Various screenshots loaded in the chat, proving the same message thrice over.

Rumours of a gory hole in the old abandoned library toilets. gonna drive over if you’re coming, my place at 10-ish.

As you might imagine, the three assumed he meant glory hole, and didn’t have to be asked twice. Each one made their way to their mutual friend’s place, but when they got there, it was dark and nobody was to be found.

“Fucking wanker. He’s full of shit, it’s a wind-up”, Jack blurted out.
Noah just stood there looking dejected.
“Fuck it, let’s just walk to the library anyway, it’s not far”, Liam said, dropping his most recent rollup on the ground and stubbing it out with his boot.

It was raining lightly, and nobody had prepared for rain so their shirts and hoodies got damp pretty quickly, but they weren’t letting wet weather ruin the potential for getting a no strings blow job, plus they wanted to see what kind of other people might turn up. They were absolutely going to take photos and clips and upload them to facebook in an effort to shame any freaks they found.

These boys were not the smartest, especially when they were thinking with their testicles.

The library was on the other side of town, zero lighting and heavily dilapidated. The architecture was something out of the seventies, and the old decor was never updated. The glass doors were shattered and buckled, and the once bright orange foam filled seating inside was now ripped apart and covered in mould and dust. The bookcases had been dismantled in parts, and tipped over in others. They had to use the light from their phones to see where they were going, lest they walked into a fallen case or a broken beam. Any beams that had fallen were rusted and sharp in places, so they had to take care to avoid injury.

Noah was mashing a text message into his phone back to Mike, who was the original sender, telling him he was a fucking bell-end for the wind up and could fuck off. He didn’t get a response right away.

The lads were climbing over piles of abandoned books, their phone lights waving about in the darkness, and curtains of dust flying up the further they went in. A lot of coughing and sneezing happened, but nobody seemed to realise that aside from the noise they were making, the place was deathly silent for somewhere that supposedly held a glory hole in the depths of the basement toilets. They hadn’t noticed in the dark that there were no other footprints in the dust, no new pathways made by scattering those old dishevelled books, and no signs of anyone else being in the building for a very long time.

The reached the stairway, the large brown double doors held open by old bricks. Jack shined his phone light down to reveal they would have to go down three flights to reach the toilets. They weren’t even talking to one another at that point, they just scuffled down the steps, knocking any fallen books or debris out of their way.

Noah’s phone beeped loudly which made them all jump slightly and Liam swear under his breath. Mike had finally responded to his jabs, and said he didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about. He wasn’t at home, but he was in the middle of nowhere with his girlfriend and hasn’t sent any texts to anyone because he couldn’t keep a decent signal.

Noah shrugged it off as part of the wind-up and called him a fucking wanker out loud, and didn’t bother to respond.

They were finally down in the basement. The toilets were behind two huge grubby double doors, much like the ones at the top of the stairs but these were heavier and were painted a dark green colour. They had been damaged by folks using keys to scratch their names and various pieces of lewd commentary on them, and people using marker pens to sign their names as is tradition on entry to a public access toilet.

The two handles in the middle were held shut by a heavy chain, that upon inspection looked untouched for a very long time.

“Fucking Mike”, Noah spat. “It’s all been a fucking wind-up to get us in here, he was taking the piss. There’s nobody here, it’s a waste of time.”

The heavy chain unravelled and fell to the floor with a horrific clanging slam that echoed off the walls, sending fresh dust crumbling from the tiled ceiling. Jack covered his nose and mouth and coughed into the sleeve of his hoodie. A singular light flashed through the glass of the now unchained doors, and a faint giggle rang out from behind them.

“There’s someone in there!” Liam said excitedly, barreling through the doors with his full weight. The other two followed suit, but Noah was a little less enthusiastic. He knew something wasn’t right about this, but his boner cancelled out a lot of the apprehension and he carried on anyway. The same light that flashed through the window was jiggling about in the toilet cubicle right at the end. The door to the cubicle next to it was wide open, and the boys hurried over, ignoring their surroundings that if they had paid close attention to, they would have run out of there faster than they went in, but it was dark and all they could focus on was getting to the feminine giggling and flashing light.

It didn’t matter that nobody else was there.
It didn’t matter that the heavy double doors closed slowly behind them, and that the chains snaked up and coiled themselves around the metal handles, locking shut.
It didn’t matter that they’d missed the dessicated corpses in the dark corners of the toilet, piled up in the other cubicles out of sight behind their locked doors.
It didn’t matter that it wasn’t actually Mike that had sent the message.

A strangely soft light illuminated the cubicle, and compelled the boys to enter. It seemed larger somehow, that all of them would be able to go inside with no issues, when in reality a single cubicle would barely hold an adult and a child. They moved in slowly, silently but completely of their own accord. The same soft light above them also shone through a hole in the cubicle wall, and the softest of whispers and giggles wafted through it.

“I’m hungry”, it said. “I’m SO hungry and I’ve been alone here all night with nobody to play with. Play with me.”

The soft giggling turned into a more sinister cackle, and suddenly multiple whispers crept out around them, filled with harsh edges and sharp tongues. The voice turned into a wall rattling roar, an angry snarling brimming with hatred and ravenous hunger.

“PLAY WITH ME”, It demanded, turning into a shriek that made the boys cover their ears in terror.

They all tried to fight their way out of the cubicle yelling for help, but nobody was listening. The door was solid and no amount of battering it would open it. Jack was the first to be taken. He was grabbed and flattened against the side with the hole, and his clothes ripped and shredded, flying away from his body leaving him naked. He started to scream as the whispers around them grew louder, and stabbed at his skin, flaying him until he was a mass of dripping muscle and sinew. When his ability to scream was suppressed, all he could manage was a dull rasping noise as his organs were ripped from his skeleton, his eyes exploding with the pressure. He was consumed, sucked through the hole in the cubicle wall, whilst the whispers grew louder and groaned in satisfaction. His skinless bones collapsed to the floor just as Liam was pinned on the other side, his clothes tearing from his body, his phone flying out of his hand and smashing against the floor. Noah watched in wide eyed horror as his best friend’s flesh was ripped from him and whirled through the air and into the gaping maw that was significantly wider.

He tried to dial for help, but his phone was yanked away and flew down into the toilet bowl with a loud clatter, smashed to float in the water. The fingers on both of his hands were wrenched open from his palms, and broke simultaneously in wrong directions, leaving them looking like they’d been through a grinder. His screams previously high pitched, turned hoarse as an unseen grip circled itself around his throat. The last thing he saw was the slippery mess of Liam’s defleshed skeleton hunched over on the floor, as his own eyes exploded from the pressure of the hand around his throat.

Everything went dark. The pressure in his head was relentless, and then suddenly there was nothing as it exploded in much the same way a ketchup sachet would if you squeezed it hard enough.

Nobody was there to see the flesh rend from his body, or witness the pools of blood seeping across the cubicle floor, only to be sucked up through the hole in the wall. Nobody saw the harsh whispers suck the marrow out of their bones, or the way their sharp tongues licked the blood from them. Nobody was there to watch them dessicate and age, and crumble into the corner, dead to the world.
The library had closed down many years ago, before the boys had even been born. It was afflicted with a high staff turnover, dangerous conditions on the lower floors, and increasing levels of staff illness. People were often seen leaving the town as it seemed grim and miserable with no real prospects for anyone. The truth is that nobody ever left the area, and the staff were still very much there. It’s just they were piles of rotten old bones and forgotten memories.


She was broken with shame in a way that was irreparable.

Wandering into the woodlands over the moors near home, she found a gigantic Oak tree set deep in the Earth, surrounded by thick moss that hadn’t felt human touch for a long time. The air was thick and heavy with the scent of it, and her bare feet sank and left imprints in the soft green. She clawed her way through, ripping huge clomps away, upsetting the life underneath; worms and beetles flew as she clawed deeper, her fingernails filled with dirt that felt strangely warm for such a cold place. She didn’t want to feel anything anymore.

The Earth grew warmer and seemed to pull itself apart to let her in, almost as if it knew she felt such profound loss that it didn’t want to make this harder. She found a root that uncoiled slightly, and put her hand through it, feeling it tighten around her wrist but not so it hurt. The Earth opened a little more, sinking and rising softly as it breathed. She closed her eyes and slowly one by one, heavier roots reached out and coiled around her arms, around her body and finally around her thighs. She didn’t have to dig anymore, the Oak pulled her down into the warm soil, and closed around her like she was back in the womb.

The Earth above her settled again, worms and beetles as they were, the moss unbroken and untrodden.

Her eyes were the first to go. Tiny shoots from the roots that coiled around her wound themselves through her flesh. Her hair twisted into the ground, and held her head in place as the Oak took her. Two sharp branches shot through her eyes, piercing them until they found their way through her ears. Blood trickled from the jellied mess that used to be her eyes, and she screamed soundlessly as her mouth filled with soil.

Hundreds of barbarous shoots bore through her skin and into her bones, her entire body burning with pain. It had changed much in the last week, she was paler then usual, her frame felt weaker, merely something for her skin to hang from which felt heavy and oversized. She had been reduced to a barely breathing husk. The shoots settled into her body and left intricate twine on the surface of her skin.

The roots pulled huge armfuls of mossy Earth to pack her deeply into the ground, and wrapped themselves around her like a Mother would for a sick child.

The Oak drank her slowly, draining the life from her organs, the blood from her veins and the life from her skin. It took her heart next, gnarled and ruined as it was, hollowing it out before filling its shell with a viscous sap. One by one, it changed the configuration of her organs into a myriad of vines, moss, and worts, her skin replaced with a canvas of soft bark that would release spores as she ripened. Her hair twisted and coiled into hundreds of thin vines tipped with tiny red flowers that would burn to the touch.

The verdant moss and Oak grew slowly richer as they fed on her; she stayed buried there down in the warm Earth, nourishing it until she was dead to the world.

Whatever surfaced later wouldn’t come for a very long time.


I was perfectly capable of waking up, it’s just I didn’t want to. I was laid there in a hospital bed listening to them all suffer and really enjoyed it. The best thing about all of it, was that I was somehow able to plant horrible little ideas in their heads, to play them off against one another. Fucked if I know how it worked, but I milked it for all it was worth.

Here’s the backstory; I was hospitalised after – ironically – being hit with a piece of masonry whilst on my way to the hospital to find out if I was a viable option to donate a kidney to my biological father.  Sounds like the kind of thing family does, right? Not in my case. This is where it gets complicated.

My ‘father’ left us when I was merely two years old, and my brother a baby. He’d been having an affair with another woman behind my mother’s back, and he decided not only to leave, but to have absolutely nothing to do with us from then on. The next time I saw him was at my grandfather’s funeral when I was twenty-one years old. He stood there a little ways in front of us with his wife, and two other kids. Yep, two more kids that he loved and doted on, whilst we and my mother grew up in poverty because he didn’t want to pay his way, or even acknowledge us.  He never once looked at us the whole time we were there, it was like we didn’t exist. My glare must have burned into the back of his head the entire time, but he didn’t feel it. God I wished he’d felt it, I wanted him to know how much pain we all felt.

He was also a cop. Apparently he could ‘compartmentalise’, according to my mother, as in compartmentalise us all away.  There he was, an upstanding pillar of the community, a cop, nice house, two kids and a loving wife. Shame about the ones he left behind. His parents, despite their son being a completely absent father wanted very much to be part of our lives. It was very strange growing up seeing them, knowing their son was our father, with him not wanting anything to do with us. We never talked about him with them, it was one of those unspoken rules. Our grandparents doted on us regardless, and gave us many wonderful childhood memories despite his absence.

They had both since passed, which is why I didn’t feel bad about doing what I did.

When I was twenty-five years old, fed up of not knowing why our father didn’t want to talk to us, I tracked down his address and wrote him a letter. I simply asked him if he would be kind enough to talk to me because I felt like I should at least know why he didn’t want to be part of our lives. I put my email address and mobile phone number in the letter so it made it easier for him to respond; I wanted to give him every opportunity to do this. A few days later, I got a one line email stating that I should go away because ‘they’ didn’t think interaction at this point was wise. I assumed he meant his family, so I sat there, jarred and feeling like I’d been hit with a twenty pound lump hammer to the gut.

How do you honestly tell your first born child to go away? Why would you do that? Why would you leave in the first place, go off and create a whole new family, disposing of the first one you made like it was worthless? I knew then I’d never get the answers to those questions, and knowing he didn’t want to maintain any kind of dialogue, I kept my dignity and left well alone.

…right up until the point where I got an email fifteen years later asking me for help. It didn’t come from him. It was from his wife. The email was lengthy and filled with obsequious fawning, like I was suddenly their only hope.

“I know I have no right to ask this of you, but your father is very sick and if he doesn’t get a viable kidney, he’s going to die.”

That was the sentence that stood out from all the grovelling. Between offers of money, which I know they had plenty of, transplant waiting lists, a chance to be welcomed into his life, How much he regretted not being a presence in our lives sooner; you get the gist. It couldn’t be any more cliché in terms of begging if it tried.

I sat on it for a few days. My mind refused to stand still, even for a moment. When you’ve spent most of your life wondering where someone important in your life was, and everything about that situation, knowing that there was a chance to find answers to all your questions was quite intoxicating.

“Please, please write back. Here is my phone number. He is too sick to write.”

Too sick to write, or too ashamed? That was quite harsh of me, I know. When someone is sick and on their deathbed, writing is possibly the last thing on their mind, but I felt like I had the right to be a complete and utter shit at this juncture. There’s a little more to this backstory too, and I’m sorry if this is boring you, but it’s essential that you know why I started messing with their heads before I got my retribution.

Before my grandmother passed, I started to get worried about how I’d find out WHEN she passed. Growing older and moving away meant it was hard to get to see her, and outside of phone calls and sending gifts and reminders of affection, our relationship slowed down a bit. I will readily admit that when I did see her, walking into her home and seeing photos of my father, his other kids and subsequent grandkids was HARD, especially when there were no photos of my brother or I in sight. Not even one. I don’t know if that was her choice or not, but because she was a dutiful housewife and obviously loyal to her son, I suppose it put her in a difficult position. I never once asked her about it, the idea made me feel sick. I’m sure folks might think, oh for fuck’s sake, just fucking ASK HER – but when this stuff messes with your head, you’re not always able to do simple things like that. You carry a lot of guilt, and a desire not to cause anyone any upset. It’s true, I’ve only ever heard my grandmother cry twice in my life, and that was the day my grandfather passed, and the day of his funeral as she fell against my father in grief.

I would never want to be the cause of that, because despite her terrible son, I loved her dearly.

So back to why I was worried about her passing. See, my ‘father’ aside from abandoning us, was actually a pretty shitty person. He was homophobic for one, petty, and had to have better things than everyone else otherwise tantrums would ensue. I learned these things from my mother as she told me various stories after I pressed her a little. She also never once tried to poison me against him, she didn’t raise these things unless I specifically asked her about them, and I did because curiosity got the best of me.  Aside from his having to appear better than everyone else, being employed in a position of power as a cop, his bigotry in its various forms, he stole something small but significant away from us.

The names my mother wanted to give us were both vetoed by my father on account of them sounding too ‘gay.’ Yay homophobia, you’re a fucking shit-ball, dad.  We were given different names that met with his approval, and I didn’t find this out until I was much older. Thing is, I really liked the name my mother had picked for me originally, and I decided to take it back a couple of years ago. That’s not all there is to it however, because of COURSE it isn’t.

When my father had his two new kids, he did something really, really fucking petty.  When folks say to you, ‘why you gotta be so extra?’, my father somehow managed to blow that out of the water and into the middle of the fucking street. His third born son, of whom I’ve never met was given the name my little brother was supposed to have. His new daughter? Her middle name was the name my mother wanted for me. I’m deliberately not using their names because it’s not actually their fault their doting father is a horrible person. My mother was trimming my hair at the time when she told me about this, and I remember that cold anger creeping over my skin, to hiss hotly through my veins afterward. I say again, WHO THE FUCK DOES THAT?

I know I’m drawing this out, and again I’m sorry. It’s complicated and painful and I don’t want to leave anything out. You might be wondering how this all ties in with the passing of my grandmother. Well you see, since my father is such a shit, he is EXACTLY the kind of person who wouldn’t let us know if our grandmother had died. He’s the kind of person who would just put an obituary in the paper, and let us find out that way. He really is THAT awful. I didn’t want that to be the way we found out, the idea of that just made me feel so fucking sick. AGAIN, I could have spoken to my grandmother directly, but you don’t know how much this destroyed me mentally. It left me unable to think clearly or make rational decisions because of the heartbreak and emotion I felt over it, plus, who the fuck goes and asks their grandparent about letting us know when they die? It’s not the easiest conversation to have, and I couldn’t bring myself to do it, so I as per fucking usual, didn’t say a thing.

Fast forward to Christmas eve and me being a little bit drunk. Not overly drunk, just enough to make my head a bit floaty and perhaps give me some courage. I did that really stupid thing where you look someone up on Facebook which is NEVER A GOOD IDEA. I looked for my half-brother. I knew what he looked like from photos at my grandmother’s, and he wasn’t hard to find given that the family name on my father’s side isn’t common, in fact it’s quite rare. In my mildly drunk state, I wrote him a short note telling him who I was and also that I hoped to be able to talk to him at some point. Since my name was different now, I had to explain myself and my presence in his inbox first. I hit send, and hoped that maybe even a simple acknowledgement would come through just to let me know he understood me. The ‘read’ notification appeared onscreen, so I know he saw it.

He didn’t respond. I waited days. I gave it weeks, and realised that again, I wasn’t going to get the response I wanted. I get it, someone appears on Facebook saying they’re your older sister, wanting to strike up a dialogue and it must seem huge and weird. But to not say anything at all? My heart broke again, because why wouldn’t it? I realised that I was never going to get any kind of response from them, not now, not ever. I didn’t have the guts to try and contact my half-sister, because I knew my heart couldn’t take another rejection. I gave up.

My grandmother lived a very private life, she never talked about who her friends were, and we didn’t know much about her side of the family outside of my father and his other children. The day of her passing came, and to our relief, we received a phone call from someone who we’d never spoken to before, and they weren’t family. The message was simply that they’d been asked to deliver the news, and that they were sorry for our loss.

I couldn’t tell you how my mother and brother felt, but I felt numb for a while. The last person from that side of the family who cared, of whom I actively cared about, had gone. Of course I’d spent time with her before she went, I made the effort despite how walking into her home made me feel, and how listening to her talk about the nice things her other grandkids had, made me feel. How they got to go to university, had a good upbringing, stable family relationships and children of their own. Sitting there listening to that when your own life experiences have been so different, and filled with trauma is a really hard thing to swallow, but I did it because she was still my grandmother.

Numb. No feelings, no outward emotion, no expectations, nothing.  Then, we got a funeral notification. I was going to be standing with my brother and my mother in the same area as my father and his other family again. The idea of that absolutely slayed me internally. It didn’t take long for it to manifest externally either, I would cry almost constantly, not sobbing or wailing or the like, but just silent tears slipping down my face night and day, leaving my eyes red and puffy and my skin sore to the touch. I couldn’t stop them, so I didn’t even try. I ended up dehydrated and existed on water because I really didn’t feel like eating anything.

The day of the funeral came and we stood back from the others, tucked away like we always had been from everyone else. I gazed at him again, wanting that same blazing glare to fire out of me and into his skull, but it didn’t come. It was just tremendous sadness, defeat and resignation at the futility of it all. She was gone, and so any link to them was probably going to be gone forever, at least it was until I got the email.

“Please, please write back. Here is my phone number. He is too sick to write.”

That line crept around my mind constantly, not letting me sleep, eat, concentrate, or much of anything else. That evening, coupled with a bottle of red wine and a pizza the size of the Millennium Falcon, I penned a response that was as clinical as I could make it. I didn’t want to show any emotion at all, I didn’t want her to feel like I had anything left inside me for him. I asked about the nature of his illness and she came back almost instantly, almost like she’d been staring at her screen for me to answer. It was again, filled with the same banal appeals that even the coldest person would have winced at. He was down to one kidney, polycystic kidney disease having robbed him of one, and now finally ravaging the other.

horrible chuckle escaped my lips when she told me neither she, or her children were viable matches for him. He was on a waiting list, but his time was running out. Was I a terrible person for laughing? Perhaps. It came from a very dark place. It tasted delicious in my mind, the irony now that my father needed ME, or perhaps my brother for help was exciting. I was an even bigger shit for saying I’d mention it to them to see if they wanted to help, but I had absolutely no intention. I mean why the fuck should I?

I think the masonry landing on the crux of my shoulder and neck was my instant karma for being so cold about it all, but perhaps not. I mean don’t get me wrong, it fucking HURT, but the power I had to mess with them, was something else. It was completely and utterly worth it. That trauma I mentioned in comparison to his second set of children’s lives? I planted that in his head, every last bit of it. The internal revulsion I felt at my first recollected memory being of him, and not something else.  Listening to other kids in the playground laugh at me because I got free school meals because I didn’t have a daddy anymore. Further humiliation because none of them wanted to play with me, and I’d spend break-time walking around the school grounds alone, every. Single. Day. Horrendous bullying all the way through school because I was quiet and bookish, and further bullying when I went insane at the age of fifteen because of a string of abuses from my step-father.  Yeah there was another father figure in my life, but he wasn’t a good one. I really wasn’t doing very well in terms of father figures.

It didn’t end there though. I showed him details of the abuses I’d suffered from boyfriends, how they turned me into a hate-filled cynic, and how I wished I’d had someone positive to compare men to, but further realising he probably wasn’t the best person to compare anyone to with his disgusting attitude. I showed him how my brother and I hated one another for a while, engineered by my step-father and kept under wraps from my mother because he was a sly bastard who knew how to manipulate. I showed him how one evening, he walked into the room where my mother was sitting with us, and how he said plainly in front of us that my mother had to make a choice, move to a place in the country with him and abandon us whilst we were teenagers, or they would divorce.

Were we about to be abandoned by our other biological parent? Fortunately not. My mother, despite also being horribly manipulated by my step-father would never have abandoned us, and we didn’t have to survive alone. I showed him that, I showed him what it was like to stand by your kids, even when everything was going to shit. I made sure he felt the same sickening feeling in the pit of his stomach that we did. The way cold fear washed over us until we couldn’t breathe. I showed him how prior to this, we were forbidden by our step-father to sit with he and our mother during the evening, and instead were hidden away in a TV room out of sight because who wants to raise someone else’s children? I showed him how my brother went off the rails and turned to drugs to deal with the trauma. I showed him how I retreated further and further into myself until I lost sight of myself entirely. The victim of repeated bullying, physical and psychological abuse, sexual abuse, suicidal state, and my eventual complete loss of identity. I made sure he saw my face the evening his email came through with his basic premise for me to go away inside it. I drove that sense of abandonment so deep inside him that he went downhill so fast that even the doctors couldn’t explain it. After I felt he was hanging on by the tiniest sliver of a thread, I started messing with their heads too.

I started with his wife, my voice dripping poison into her mind around the clock with no reprieve.

“You knew he had children, YOUNG children, one was just a baby, why would you involve yourself with someone knowing they were just babies? Do you look at your own children and wonder how it would feel if someone came and did that to you? When you were with him, did you even spare us a moment’s thought? What did it FEEL like when you discovered your two angels were unable help him? Did the bottom fall out of your world?  My mother was and continues to be way more beautiful than you will EVER be, you revolting dried up HAG.”

I tapped away like that inside her head, savouring the taste of her despair, letting it roll around my tongue slowly. I felt it creep around my entire body, making me feel stronger with each stab to her mind.

The beauty of it was that I would hear her own mind fighting to block me out, but she was failing. I wouldn’t stop–couldn’t stop, I was relentless. She and her two now adult children were in my hospital room, watching me like a hawk just in case I died. I even heard her ask about the kidney assuming it was viable if I died, or maybe even if they could remove it whilst I was in this coma? That was when I knew she wasn’t even remotely genuine with any of her previous fawning. She was legitimately asking if they could just take a kidney from me to give to him. I laughed inside my own head, knowing that’s not how things work.  She even offered them money, and staff just walked away from her with a look of disgust.

I hadn’t even consented to being tested to see if I was a match, never mind saying I’d be happy to be a donor. I was absolutely willing to be a donor for someone, but my desires for him were quite different. I also knew that if I succumbed to my injuries, my organs would go to those at the top of the waiting lists, and not my father.  He wasn’t at the top of the list, which is why they needed me.

That thought alone made it all the more exhilarating.  If that was my last action before death, denying him something he needed? I would have been okay with that. This is the kind of loathing that festers inside you over the years when it’s left unanswered. It grows inside you like a cancer, it gets bigger and eats you up leaving you with nothing but hatred and a desire for revenge. Perhaps the parts of me that were enjoying this were my father’s parts of me, his pettiness and desire to one up people and be in a position of power. Maybe I wasn’t so different from him at all.

I corrected myself because I realised this was not my usual form of behaviour. I wasn’t like him, I simply had an ingrained need to destroy him, and why shouldn’t I?  When she and her precious angels weren’t splitting their time between me and our father, my own mother and brother sat there, fraught as you would imagine them to be. I could get inside their heads too, but I didn’t give them anything but love. The doctors told them I was getting stronger, it was just a matter of time before I woke up, that we just had to be patient. Yes I know, it was shit of me not to wake up for them, but I WAS going to wake up eventually, and I was going to see this through. I planted a seed in my mother’s mind to at least allow staff to test my blood to see if I was a compatible donor for my father, because if it meant I wasn’t then I could be left alone to recover, and hopefully never have to deal with the others ever again.

If you thought I wasn’t hoping to be a match, you’d be wrong. Of COURSE I was hoping to be a match, how else do you think this would be so satisfying? I mean sure, I could be completely unsuitable, and then gone on my merry way in the knowledge that I’d caused a fair amount of upset but I was greedy. I WANTED MORE, this was addictive.

“She’s a compatible donor.”

FUCKING YES. That was exactly what I said in my head, complete with imagined jumping up and down on the spot like a horrible goblin. My father’s time was running out, they didn’t think he’d make it past a week, and he would need to be operated on as soon as possible, otherwise he might not survive regardless.

That night saw his wife and children pacing around like caged animals. Pleas of, “can’t you give her something to wake up so we can ASK her?!” came from their camp, whereas my mother went into rabidly defensive mode and told them to back the fuck off or else the imminent death of my father wouldn’t be the only thing to worry about.

“You think you get to decide what’s going on here? You and he have already crucified our lives as it is, and if you think I’m going to let you so much as breathe near my daughter, I will END YOU RIGHT HERE.”

You don’t really fuck with my mother now. It’s a bad idea. She banned them from my room and told staff to keep them the hell away from me no matter what happened to my father. He was incredibly frail, and that night I had my last round of ‘fun’ with them before I decided to open my eyes.  It was my half-brother’s turn.

“I wrote to you on Christmas eve, and you ignored me, I know you saw what I wrote. Why did you do that? Now that you see me, laid up and asleep the only option for our father, how do you feel? Do you care about what happens to me as a person, surrounding the kidney you hope I will give? Or will you be like your father and disappear?”

I pressed harder, really needling the soft underbelly of his fears, feeling the guilt flow out of him and into my core.

“He’s probably going to die, you know that right? And he was close, so close to getting a viable kidney but I haven’t woken up yet. I’m in the same building, but you’re not allowed in anymore. So close but so far. You should have answered me. You should have.”

I let those thousands of little paper-cuts slice into his sanity, so many of them all at once that I could feel his ego deflating and bleeding out into my own. It tasted so good. He was silently crying, completely unable to see and he felt sick and disgusted. He stood up, and went to leave the room, his own mother asking him where he was going.

“I can’t look at him anymore.” He spat.  “I can’t be here knowing we’re asking one of the people he fucking abandoned for help, knowing he discarded them like trash. I can’t. Even if she doesn’t wake up, even If he dies, what right did we have?”

I didn’t relent. I wanted him to see what our lives were like. I showed him everything I’d forced into my father’s head, including my brother’s trauma, and my self-loathing at having my first memory be my father. I made sure he knew the names they were given were stolen from us.  I made sure he watched my mother not eat, just so my brother and I could. I showed him his own father refusing to pay towards our survival, and I showed him his own mother hissing at him to have nothing to do with us. I wasn’t about to stop being cruel now.

He collapsed against the wall outside his father’s room. I left him there, knowing I’d shown him all he needed to see. He felt the same disgust for his father as I did. Maybe I wouldn’t have had a better life with him in it, maybe things would still have been traumatic. How would I know for sure? That’s the thing; not knowing is worse.

I crept into my half-sister’s head, softly. She was also a cop now, and I’d never tried to reach her before. I don’t know if she’d have ignored me because I didn’t give her the opportunity to try, but I knew that she was either her mother or father’s daughter, and neither one of them were good people. I didn’t play on her fears. I didn’t demolish her like I did the others. I simply showed her that my father was a deeply corrupt cop who was anything but a pillar of the community. I showed her this in the hope that she wouldn’t go the same way. I buried a shoot of loathing in her mind for her mother, making her move as far away from her as she could without leaving the room.  I didn’t need to give her that same loathing for our father, because it was already forming.

She shot her mother the same look of revulsion her brother had done moments before. The expression on her face when she looked down at our withering father was tear-filled and appalled.

“He told her to GO AWAY. She reached out to him, and he told her to go away. My BROTHER ignored her. Both of us come from a relationship that tore down THEIR lives and you had the gall to ask one of those broken lives for help? What the fuck is wrong with you? ”

She didn’t leave the room. Instead she stood at the window as far away from both of them as she could, and called her husband asking him to come and collect her. She left twenty minutes later, with a parting shot of, “I’m going to make sure my children are raised with better morals than either of you. You disgust me.”

Yes, I was gleeful. I’m sure some folks might say I surpassed any moral right to be this vicious, but I didn’t care, and I wanted them to know what real, LASTING emotional pain felt like. I heard her scream at her brother who was still outside the room in a mess of tears, “you fucking IGNORED HER, just like our father.”

Just like that, they were gone. The sense of satisfaction I got from that tasted better than anything else I’d squeezed from all of them combined. I relished it, feeling it wash over me like the first food someone might taste after being starved. It was GLORIOUS.

Aaaaand then I woke up.

It was the small hours of the morning, my mother there holding my hand. I moaned lightly and squeezed it, letting her know there was strength in me. Opening my eyes was weird, even though it was dark, it still hurt a little. I asked for water, and took a straw-full before she went to press the button for the nurse, but I grabbed her hand to stop. My grip was unexpectedly firm and she gasped. It didn’t hurt her, she just thought I’d be weaker than I was. The truth is, I’d never felt more alive. My shoulder and neck didn’t hurt one iota. I didn’t feel sick, no pain anywhere whatsoever. It was like I’d been reborn. She tried to keep me in bed, but I wasn’t having any of it. I pulled myself up, ripped out the various needles and equipment from my body, and stood up, my feet prickling against the cold floor.

“Call my brother.” I said, calmly.

I opened the door, a flood of light searing into my eyes and looks of astonishment coming from the staff as if they were amazed I was awake, never mind standing up and looking completely fine. Covering my eyes, I walked confidently down to my father’s room, and opened the door. I didn’t knock, of course I didn’t fucking knock. The look on his wife’s face was priceless. He was completely out of it, hadn’t been awake for days.

I held up a finger to my lips to motion for her to be quiet, because she was about to say something I really, really didn’t want to hear. I couldn’t cope with any more of her sucking up. Had I gotten my way, I’d have ripped her tongue clean out of her mouth.

“He can have a kidney.”

Then I turned around and left, walking back to my room to be faced with a doctor and a couple of nurses, and a still very confused but incredibly relieved mother. I told them the same thing, that he could have a kidney. This was met with “well we will need to see if you’re fit to operate on…” But I told them I was fairly sure I’d be more than up to it. I was right of course, after tests, prodding, and the like, I could be shuttled down to an operating theatre the following morning.

My brother protested of course, but I told him to back off and let me do this. He was pig-headed at times, but both he and my mother knew better than to try and talk me out of anything. There’s no reason to go into detail about the procedure itself, because it was entirely flawless and one of my kidneys was inside my father as fast as was humanly able.

People will often tell you that the right thing to do, is to forgive. It’s even encouraged nowadays, as if you’re a lesser person for not doing so, but FUCK THAT. Fuck that all the way into the sun. You don’t have to forgive anyone. If they wronged you, your upset and anger is valid, and you take that and you use it to keep yourself alive. Hold that grudge. Hold onto it so that it gives you purpose.

A week later, I was home. I was under the watchful eye of my mother, and my brother was visiting regularly to make sure I was doing okay despite his incredulity that I’d actually done this. I didn’t speak to my father’s wife aside from saying he could have the kidney, and I refused all contact from my half-brother and sister. I was waiting for something to happen, and it took approximately two weeks before that thing did indeed happen.

When trauma and poison builds up inside of you, so much so that it saturates every molecule inside you, dictates your actions and drives you, it means that at some point, it has to go somewhere. My body, every part of it was sodden with this pernicious hatred, and I was going through life in absolute agony on a daily basis. Some doctors will tell you that psychological trauma has a physical effect on the body, and it does. I took all of that pain, all of that trauma and I channelled it into that one lifesaving organ that my father needed so badly.  The doctors initially thought his body was rejecting it, that perhaps they’d made a mistake and my kidney wasn’t as viable as they’d thought, but it wasn’t anything as simple as that. I’d deliberately poisoned him.

I learned this from an email via my half-brother after I’d actually decided to answer their bleating. I wasn’t specifically asked to visit, but I went all the same. I practically dared them in my head to stop me from seeing my father, but I didn’t have to worry as none of them had the strength to deny me anything.

I stood there over him, watching him shrink away, rotting from the inside out. He couldn’t speak, and his eyes were barely open but he could see me. His heart rate started to rise at the sight of me and his wife tried to summon a nurse, but again as with my mother, I grabbed her arm to stop her, and I squeezed hard enough to leave her breathless.

“Nobody fucking press anything.” I snarled in a manner that made everyone freeze.

His skin was a horrible blueish grey, pallid and translucent. I could see the network of veins close to the surface, blackening like they were slowly dying. His breathing was wheezy and laboured, his lips cracked like he’d never had water in his life. Clumps of hair were falling out, the musculature of his body atrophying at an alarming rate. If you’ve ever wondered what a living zombie looked like, this would be it. The blueness of his eyes had faded to a dead grey, and the whites were yellowed and lined with red. He reeked of death. If you work as a healthcare professional and you know what cancerous wounds smell like, they had nothing on him. The moment you walked onto the ward, you could TASTE how disgusting he was.

A doctor came in, the entire room shifting to look him, everyone except me. I didn’t break the gaze I had on my father’s face for a second. I could hear the doctor telling his wife and children that it wasn’t a rejection in a typical sense, because they’d never seen anything like this before. I could tell my father was listening to the doctor, but I refused to let him break my hold over him. A small smile danced around my lips, visible only to him.

I leaned in, closer to his face, right next to his stinking, putrefying ear and whispered, “they SEE you now.”

It was then, even in his utterly destroyed state, that he must have realised I’d engineered this. This was my revenge, my beautiful, glorious revenge. His back arched in a hideously grotesque manner, and the machines shrieked as his body went into cardiac arrest. Everyone was pushed out of the room as the crash carts were brought in. They worked on him for thirty minutes, all the while I stood soundlessly watching through the gap in the door they hadn’t closed properly. His wife and her angels were clutched together in a huddle of shame and despair, waiting the longest thirty minutes of their lives for something positive to happen, but it never came.

The lead doctor pronounced him dead at 15:04PM on the date of my fortieth birthday. I could hear the wailing and screaming all the way down the corridor as the song to my exit. I didn’t look back at them, why would I want to do that?

I’m glad I never subscribed to that bullshit about how revenge won’t make you feel better. I’m not in pain anymore. I’m physically and mentally at my absolute BEST, and I feel fucking fantastic.