The Accident

151 bed 618686You overhear yet another argument. ‘Overhear’ not strictly true – in bed, door closed, one floor above them – but they’re loud enough to hear every word. If you hadn’t have had your iPod removed you’d at least have that to drown them out, but here you are, the blue and white polyester covered duvet the only shield from the shouting.

Then you hear your name. They say it’s your fault and you nod into your pillow, pulling up the duvet, too thin for a mid-winter night.

You look at the clock, watch the digits change from Sunday to Monday and you breathe, knowing that in a few hours you’ll be at school, away from them, but transported to another set of bullies, secondary school ones who don’t believe that you only have cold chips for lunch. Day after day.

“Wot? Not even a burger?”

You shake your head.

“Fish fingers?”

You shrug. Even if there’d been any the night before, your father would have had those in his lunchbox, always bigger and fuller than yours.

“He works,” is all your mother would say if you ever dared query. Not verbally, of course, but with your deep brown eyes, like the dog your father had taken away when it had soiled the carpet. You’d never soiled the bed again after that.

This time the voices are louder, harsher and you hope it means they split for good.

“Children usually go with their mothers,” you’ve heard people say but you know yours won’t want you, your father the more likely option. If you had to choose you’d pick him anyway because he’d be at work all day so you’d either have a nanny or be home alone, the one you’re most used to, the one you prefer.

They’re still arguing about you and you hear for sure that neither of them wants you, ever wanted you, that you were an ‘accident’. Then you hear something smash, screaming-mother screams and a gunshot. Then father-footsteps on the stairs and his face appears round your bedroom door.

The gun’s in his hand as he steps towards you. Sobbing, he drops it on the duvet, inches away from you, then falls to his knees and wails into his hands. “It was an accident!”

“An accident” he repeats and that’s what you’ll tell the police as you pick up the gun.


My usual cheery tome. Sorry about that. 🙂

Picture above courtesy of

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