Losing a child is hell. The ache doesn’t go no matter what you do. The only escape was in sleep. When I could. But when I woke up, she still wasn’t there and the pain would hit like a blunt chisel at my chest.

I was used to her jumping on me to wake me up. Her dad taught her that. Taught her how to sneak and then how to shriek when her little body landed. I used to laugh and moan at the same time. I’d give anything to have that back.

But still, I preferred it when she used to call to me.

I would hear her little mewling voice from the next room and it would pull at threads that had mysteriously become twined through my heart. I would know that she was going to cry, long before the first, hesitant squawks escaped from her tiny mouth. I would just know. It felt like chocolate melting in a pan.

When she began to sicken, I thought it was just a cold. She had a bit of a fever and a sniffy nose, but don’t all kids get that? Just a bug going round, I told myself. Just a something that’ll pass. But a week later she was tossing in the bed like it was burning her skin.

Seven years old and she’d been boiled down to nothing – fried until she was just skin on bone. Couldn’t even raise her own head to take a spoon of soup. Didn’t even know there was a spoon most of the time.

I wished, prayed, that it could have been medicine on that spoon, but we just didn’t have the money. Even if we’d pawned everything we had left, it still wouldn’t have been enough.

The nurse … yeah, a bloody nurse – we couldn’t even get near a doctor. The nurse said we needed the latest antibiotic, the one they developed north of the fence. Said that what she had wasn’t treatable by the old drugs anymore. Even had the cheek to tell us that we were lucky we couldn’t afford to take her into hospital like that. The bugs there would have eaten her alive.

Two days later, she was taken anyway.

That’s when I decided that they wouldn’t get away with it. We’d show them what pain was. We’d teach them about loss.

(this is a prequel to a story I wrote earlier: Let Her Stay (full))


54 thoughts on “Emma

  1. Pingback: Let Her Stay (full) | robertcday

      • It’s that kind of personal sadness that I’m trying to tap into here. I don’t have any tragedy on my life *looks around for some wood to touch* and so it’s a bit challenging. It’s like trying to extrapolate the pique I feel when someone says something that annoys me to the pain someone feels at the loss of a loved one. Kinda tricksy.
        What’s happing in Syria is … beyond words.

        Liked by 1 person

    • It is sad! It’s meant to be sad. It’s meant to convey the impression that Emma is friable, human, sad and (because of that stuff) justified (at least in her own mind) justified in doing what she did. Of course, from the other person’s point of view, nothing justifies bringing sadness to others, not even ones own sadness. Which is why I’m going to rewrite the ending. Hope that makes sense. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I love the way this story builds like a beautiful composition, an orchestra of words developing enough to tease us at the very end. Health care plays an important part of our lives, so this short piece of what will be a fuller story is enticing.

    I can’t wait to read more.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have a thing about death at the moment – not sure why. Maybe I’m preparing for the blows to come?
      Yes – completely fictional. Trying to find some emotions. Trying to be real. Trying to get this character to be likeable. Any tips would be most appreciated to be honest, Jane.


      • You already have a head of sympathy worked up for him because he’s lost a child. Make him sensitive, like noticing other children and being good with them, but I’d say give him a less than likeable characteristic too to create a balance or else he’ll be too plaster saint-like and readers won’t believe in him.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Good point about giving him (actually, he’s a she) bad points to make her more realistic. Good too about the sensitivity. Good things to work on – thanks so much, Jane. πŸ™‚


      • I thought your character was a man. There was something very fragile about him/her that I associate more with men than with women. It’s funny but women can be pretty tough when it comes to dealing with tragedy, tougher than men. Something else to think about maybe.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I thought about that for a long moment and then … well, it would necessitate a rewrite too far for the main part of the story. Maybe I could have two characters. Hmm – but the POV is not his in the main part of the story either – it’s more Free Indirect Style – like a close third party.
        It’s a good idea … I’ll have another think. Otherwise, she’ll have to be a she, but with more signposts (like ‘mother’).
        Fragility and men. You have an interesting perspective on life, Jane.


      • First person POV does that to you, I guess. πŸ™‚
        I have a fascination for the foreigner POV. Have you ever read Shogun by James Clavell? It epitomises the kind of situation I enjoy reading about.


      • Have you sent them yet? I’m sure they are going to get selected. Even I am waiting I have written 9 stories but I have to be true completed none. It’s just I complete nothing whenever a new idea strikes I write a new one and just keep writing and leaving. Clearly don’t know what to do. You really don’t thank people for being kind in UK do you? It’s kinda odd. Thank you btw.
        With lots of kindness
        Clare xx

        Liked by 1 person

      • I never thought about whether I should or shouldn’t thank people for being kind. I guess I just thank people for going out of their way to do something nice for someone. Hmm. Interesting. Like, I was at this work thing yesterday – there were 80 or so people there and the guy in charge sent out an email to everyone thanking everyone for coming, so I just sent one back to him saying how much I enjoyed it and thanking him for buying everyone pizza. He didn’t have to do that so I just said thanks without thinking about it too much. Not bothered if he replies – it’s just important to me for him to know that his kindness is appreciated. Anyways – that’s just me. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Britishers are kind I guess. Where I live, people don’t say much Thank you or don’t listen to much Thank you. They think that if we say thanks to someone we’re making fun of them. What a bizarre thought. I say it though as a gesture towards others for being humble. And oh did you said you got pizza?? I love it.
    Clare xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pizza is the best invention since, like, forever! πŸ™‚ They had waaay too many of them so I took a whole one home with me and had it for lunch the next day. Imagine me eating a pizza, potato chips and a big bar of chocolate for lunch. And I’m not even fat! Life is just so good! πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      • So lucky! ! Even I’m cheating on my diet these days. I’m eating pasta right now it’s 4 here. But you can clearly see it’s effect on my body. You are soooo lucky! !
        Clare xx
        P. S. Can you please tell me how is this not effecting your body I’ll try it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I walk all the time and everywhere. For example, on Sunday I went for a walk in the countryside and eight miles later I came back home. Plus, I think I’m quite fortunate with my metabolism. To have a good body is not the ultimate aim in life, but obviously it helps if we stay healthy. But I’m talking nonsense now. Of course you already know these basic things.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No you never talk nonsense. I walk too but my friends are such a slow walkers. They stalk literally every guy even my cousin who lives here in India. I don’t wanna lie I do stalk a little but only one guy. So I started cycling. My father says I’m in perfect shape my mother says I have to get in shape. Donno what to do?
        Clare xoxo
        Aren’t youu sleepy?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’m not sleepy now – it’s tomorrow already! πŸ™‚
        In my experience you’re doing what every girl does – freaks guys out by stalking them (they are SO terrified of you inside – you just wouldn’t believe) and wonders if their weight is right!
        I’m going to stamp ‘NORMAL’ on your forehead in red ink. It’s all good. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • Good. πŸ™‚ You know – if I ever misjudge my words. Like, if I say the wrong thing – tell me, right? Sometimes I can be a little sarcastic and it can come over strangely. I’m trying to give sarcasm up, but it’s a struggle.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hahaha – if I were ‘always right’ then the world would be perfect for me! Thing is, though – there are a lot of people in my life that disagree with that simple statement. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

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