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All's Fair in Love and War Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Brooke, Australia Apr 30, 2004
Child & Youth Rights , Culture   Short Stories
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Nothing ever prepares you for those moments. Those moments where you realise something has been staring you in the face for so long. It was like someone punched me in the stomach, I couldn’t breath or speak.

Ever since my Mum died I’ve been so confused, she killed herself a year ago today. It’s my fathers fault. He made her do it because he was always yelling, always telling her what to do like he owned her. He made her feel like she was a dog. My mother was beautiful; she didn’t deserve to live because this world didn’t deserve her. I wish I was like her, but at the same time I wish I wasn’t.

Before everything changed Mum had been the type of person that made people stop what they were doing just so they could watch her walking down the street. Something in her demanded attention. Maybe it was her failure to recognise that she had that attraction, but I’ve always thought it was her confidence. The way she held her head up. I would have followed her anywhere, and in a way, I have.

I know this was what grabbed my father’s attention, but I’ll never know why she chose him. Out of all the great guys there was to chose from, Mum fell for someone that didn’t have a steady job, and made her miserable for the rest of her life. I guess that just shows you that love really is blind.


Dr. Walster walked out of the room and turned to the ward man Duncan.
“She’s been hallucinating again, it’s been a year since last time, but she won’t snap out of it, I just don’t understand what triggers her.” Duncan looked at the doctor’s tired face,
“What is she saying?”
“She’s just rambling I can’t understand her” he said, his voice was twisted, like he was in pain.
“Don’t worry doc, your doing your best, and that’s all anyone can ever ask you to do. Emily’s just imagining things like she did when she first came in. It’s all in her head, poor thing.”
“I know. Did you know she still asks for her Mum sometimes, she has no idea what happened.” The doctor turned and walked away.

Duncan glances into her room, a straight narrow bed stretches across the back wall, and a tiny form is thrashing in its bindings. For one second it’s like Emily stares straight into his eyes, needles race like cold fire down his neck, an inhuman scream rips out of her tiny lips, then just as suddenly there was a dead quiet.

Something about Emily captivates you, like when you’re getting a needle, and even though you know it will make it hurt more, you just can’t tare your eyes away. Then you realise your shaking.

Ever since Emily was committed she always managed to unnerve him more then any patient he had ever looked after. With one look, Emily somehow stole all your courage, like she rips it out from underneath your skin.


I looked in the mirror yesterday, I saw my mother. I saw the part of her that I never wanted to be. I saw my mothers face, her hair hanging in dry, black strands around my face and down my back, I saw her eyes, empty eyes, but mostly I saw her weakness, reflected in me, in my face.

So I drifted, down here, down into myself where it’s so safe. I never want to leave. I wish I was stronger, but I’m not. I’ve only just realised that she died because she loved him; I’m dying because I loved her.


Duncan glanced into the room through the tiny window. It had been a few weeks since Emily had even moved, tall machines stood around her bed, blinking and beeping occasionally, talking to each other in some kind of code. She looked so lonely now, not to mention smaller. The only food she was receiving was coming from a drip that was biting into her left arm. It was his job to check on her every hour, to make sure “everything was normal” the doctors had told him. It had only been later that he realised he didn’t know what normal was, Emily had never been any type of normal. He opened the door slowly and left it open wide, still frightened of a teenager that had been unconscious for almost a month. It was Emily, but Duncan still felt like a coward, even though he knew everybody else, who had ever been near Emily before, felt exactly the same way. The room was cold, like a tomb. There were no flowers or toys, nobody ever visited her. It was just so lonely; no wonder she didn’t want to wake up. Who would want to face a past that held so many secrets locked away, who would want to wake up and look at that reflection, and just know that there was no future and that nothing would ever change that?


The car door creaked open and light spilled onto the driveway. I watched as a dark figure slipped into the seat and silently started the car. This was going to kill her. Somehow I knew that even then. I didn’t have to wait for those long months as gradually she tore herself down, until she was broken into pieces so small, no one could ever put her back together, not even me. I watched my father drive away and I knew he wasn’t coming back this time, and I knew it would mean her ending. I lived with a ghost. No not even that, a ghost resembles something that used to be a person. What my mother had turned into was even worse, something out of a nightmare.

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