I was quite pleased with this piece. It was my first try at writing in a very long time and came third in a Hampshire Writers Society competition. Also my first attempt at writing in second person. Received some very kind remarks from the adjudicator, Claire Gradidge.
“This piece – which could work as a self contained flash fiction – makes good use of the unusual second person narrative form. This engages the reader in the action and gives a true sense of jeopardy to the ending. Who is the dead father’s mysterious visitor and will the narrator escape her father’s fate? Readers are cleverly invited by its structure and form – from almost within the point of view of the narrator – to imagine the outcome for themselves. A really effective piece of writing – well done!”
The day starts like any other weekday during term time. You get everyone up, dressed, fed and out the door, more or less on time. You drop the kids at school then head into town to run errands. You do the light stuff first – bank, chemist for Dad’s prescription, pet shop for worming tablets. You’ve made good time, so you treat yourself to a cup of coffee and a slice of lemon drizzle cake at the local café. Your phone buzzes in the pocket of your jeans. You pull it out and check. It’s a message from Dad. He’s had a call from an old friend who may come to visit. Could you pick up something at the supermarket so he can offer his guest something more than tea and a digestive biscuit. You smile. Dad writes a text just as he would a letter to The Times, including correct spelling and punctuation. You send a brief acknowledgement and say you’ll be with him before lunch. You dab the last crumbs from the plate and lick them from your finger. Time to get back to your chores.
The supermarket is quiet, as it usually is on a Wednesday. You collect your groceries, not forgetting Dad’s fancy nibbles, get through the check-out with no hitches and go back to the car. Your shopping goes in the boot, Dad’s on the passenger seat beside you, and you drive to your childhood home.
You call out as you open the front door. There is no answer, but no wonder. The radio is broadcasting a discussion show at full volume. Dad is in his carver chair at the kitchen table, his back to the hallway, his face to the window and the garden beyond. You don’t suspect a thing, but then you see the rope at his wrists and ankles. You race forward and stretch out your hand. You see the blood. You hear laughter. You run.