I thought I would take a break from all the financial independence talk and take part in this little writing challenge set by Marc from FinanceYourFire. Head over there if you want to see responses from others.
Write a short story of no more than 350 words, containing the word “fire“.
Writing a novel once FI is definitely not on my list of things to do. Mainly because I’ll just run out of ideas and start plagiarising other stories until it’s a mish-mash of nonsense.
However, when I saw this challenge, I just couldn’t sit it out. I am consciously trying to improve my writing and I think this will help.
For those of you who have been following me for a while, you will know that anything less than 2,000 words is a challenge for me. Brevity is not one of my strong points.
I’m probably at 350 words already, and I haven’t even started my story!
The door slammed shut with the sound of metal scraping. The kind of sound that scratches its way right into your head.
His neck twitched and eyes winced.
He’d thought that by now he’d be used to it, but it catches him off-guard every time.
As he lay there, his chest was slowly rising up and down.
Sore from the last beat-down.
Rule 43 was supposed to protect him.
“They promised me”, he kept muttering to himself.
He could hear the humming of electricity in between each of his drawn out breath.
It might be the permanent ringing in his ears as a result of the abuse he’d sustained.
He had admitted to doing it.
The sound of a leaky tap somewhere close by. Too faint to source, but loud enough to irritate.
Every so often he could hear the echo of a voice in the distant.
He can no longer tell if it’s the voices in his head or if they belonged to a real person. He no longer cared which.
It’s been too long.
He has lost count of the number of years his inner voice has been keeping him company.
There is always this distinct smell of ammonia in the air. At first it was pungent but as time passed, it faded into the background. Not quite gone, but always lingering around his nostril hairs.
He missed his mother.
He closed his eyes and tried to picture his last life.
The memories were fading by the day. Like a dying fire, there was no hope for the remaining embers.
It was only a matter of time before he loses himself completely.
Someone killed that poor girl.
The killer was still out there somewhere but everyone believes he’s the one.
It’s too late now.
16 years too late.
He could hear faint footsteps.
He recognises the pace and rhythm.
Right on schedule.
The lights on the block dimmed.
His shadow could just be made out as he lay there in his cell.
A familiar voice shouts:
The above story was inspired by the tragic case of Lesley Molseed and Stefan Kiszko.
It has been described as one of the most shameful miscarriages of justice in British judicial history. Yet, as far as I can remember in my 12 years of Policing, the case has never been mentioned once by a colleague or in training school.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
– George Santayana
For further details:
The Case of Stefan Kiszko, Julian Burnside
The Trial and Conviction of Ronald Castree for the Murder of Lesley Molseed, Michael O’Connell
Murder of Lesley Molseed, Wikipedia
Lesley Molseed Murder, West Yorkshire Police Press Release
Humans of FI