“A light in the dark”

I didn’t know, when I hung the lantern all those years ago, that it would still be there. Hanging on its branch in the lonely tree.

I hung it there when I was young.

When I used to spend a lot of time there, in those woods.

I never thought it would stay there.

I always thought someone would take it down.

I never thought anyone other than me would think it was nice with a bit of light in those dark woods.

But I was wrong.

Now, standing in the clearing, I can see the names people have carved into the trunk of the tree.

And I could see me my lantern still hanging there. Providing light for all those who enjoy the woods.

I didn’t know when I was younger that such a small act would provide light for so many people.

I always thought I was the only one who’s nights would be lit by the lantern.

I was wrong.

Very wrong.

~~~
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“Something’s wrong”

I knew something was wrong.

She wouldn’t call me otherwise.

I didn’t know what.

She wouldn’t tell me that.

All she told me was to come over.

I hurried down the street over to her apartment and ran up the stairs.

She had seen me coming down the street and stood with the door open before I even reached her door.

”What’s wrong?” I asked.

”Come inside,” She said and moved out of the way so I could walk past her.

She looked both ways in the corridor quickly before closing the door.

”What’s wrong?” I asked once more.

She walked around the apartment before she sat down on the couch.

I knew this couldn’t be good.

”What’s wrong?”

”He’s gone,” She said and started crying.

”Who’s gone?”

”Jeremy” She put her head in her hands and sobbed.

”Jeremy? How?”

”They got him”

I always knew it was only a matter of time before Jeremy would end up in some ditch but I couldn’t help feeling sorry for her.

Only I didn’t know what to do now.

There was nothing I could say.

Why did she ask me to come over?

”I’m sorry” Was all I could say.

”Could you stay here tonight?” She asked, ”I’m scared they’re coming here.”

They probably wouldn’t come. She wasn’t a part of Jeremy’s mess.

”Of course I will,” I said and sat down next to her.

I put my arms around her.

”I’ll be here for as long as you want.”

~~~
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“We were young”

What had we done?

What had I done?

Why did we let it go that far?

I don’t know how we could have been so stupid, how we could have just let everything go for as long as we did.

I don’t understand what we were thinking.

We were so young, but that wasn’t an excuse. We should have known.

You don’t have to be an adult to understand you shouldn’t do certain things.

All you need is common sense.

But we didn’t have that.

We didn’t understand that we shouldn’t do it.

We didn’t understand what it meant to be adults.

We thought we were grown. We thought we were so big.

But we didn’t know anything.

We didn’t understand that growing up meant doing more than just what you felt like doing.

We were too young to be alone.

We should have never been left alone.

~~~
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“A rose alone”

I saw the rose lying there, and I wondered what had happened.

Had someone left it there?

Or had they dropped it?

Had someone gotten it as a gift and rejected it?

Or had someone thrown it away?

I saw it there in the snow. It’s red petals amplified by it.

I wanted to know why it was there.

I wanted to know who had left it there.

I knew it couldn’t be a good story.

A rose laying alone in the snow.

There was nothing good about it.

But I wanted to know.

And I was distraught when I realized that I would never know.

Something had happened, and the rose had been left there.

And I would never know what.

~~~
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“Change my mind”

Nothing will stop me.

I have a plan.

And none can get in my way.

I won’t let them.

I will make it.

It will take time.

I will take work.

But I will make it.

I will prove them all wrong.

Prove that it is something which can be done.

Prove that I can do it.

I will make it.

And none can stop me.

None can tell me that I can’t do it.

I won’t listen to them.

I won’t let their words stop me.

Their words mean nothing.

The only thing that has any meaning is my actions.

And those actions are what’s going to make me successful.

Those actions are going to be the thing which will show that this is possible.

That my plan will work.

And nothing can make me change my mind.

~~~
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“Humiliation”

I’m laying face down in the wet grass. In the distance, I can hear them laughing.

I know I should get up. Shake it off and laugh about it for a while.

But I don’t want to.

I want to lie here and forget about them. Forget about the humiliation of what I had just done.

I have to get up.

But I want to stay here, in the wet grass, for a little longer.

I can hear some of them saying that they should check on me. That I might have hurt myself since I’m not moving.

I’m not hurt.

I’m humiliated.

I don’t want to stand up.

I want to stay here. And forget about everything for a little while longer.

Finally, I gather the courage to stand. I look back at my friends, all standing in a circle around the fire.

All of them laughing and pointing at me.

I decide not to go back.

I don’t want to face them.

I don’t want to face the humiliation they have prepared for me.

So I turn and leave.

And I don’t look back.

~~~
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“Telling lies”

”Just do it,” He told me as I stood on the top of that bridge.

”I can’t” I answered.

I knew this was what I had bragged about for so long. And now when we were here, I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do something I had said I’d done so many times.

”Just jump,” He said again as I kept hesitating.

I couldn’t do it.

I didn’t want to do it.

But I knew that if I didn’t do it, then my tales would be exposed as the lies they were.

So I had to do it. I had to jump.

And I did.

I saw how the river came closer and closer and I regretted what I had done.

I knew it was going to hurt.

I knew I shouldn’t have jumped.

The landing made the bottom of my feet hurt so bad that I didn’t think there was a bone in my feet I hadn’t broken.

But there was nothing I could do.

I had to get back to the surface.

I broke through and took one long deep breath before I looked back up to the top of the bridge and saw my friends standing there looking down at me.

Laughing.

Pointing.

I didn’t understand what was so funny.

I had done it.

It wasn’t just a story I told anymore.

I had done it.

My feet hurt. But I was delighted with myself. And I couldn’t understand what they were laughing about.

Then I understood.

I understood what they had done.

I saw them standing there. My clothes in their hands Ready to leave.

And I understood that they didn’t want me to jump because they want to see it.

They wanted to humiliate me.

And they succeeded.

I had to walk home that day, naked.

And I never told another story that wasn’t true again.

~~~
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