The assignment in English was to create a short story, around 500 words, with no dialogue. The word limit was a particular challenge for me; the story itself wasn't an issue, since I write creatively in my spare time. However, the stories I'm used to writing are long, multi-chapter affairs with character interactions, so to make a story short and speechless was very difficult for me. I ended up focusing on description and introspection, which ended up fitting my topic perfectly.
My inspiration for my flash fiction came from personal experience. I have struggled with thoughts of suicide for a while, due in part to constant bullying when I was younger. It was always hard for me to talk about it or try to get help, which only made things worse. Oftentimes, it felt like I was completely alone in my experience and in my life. I had supportive people around me, but when I was in a bad place, I didn't remember them. Fortunately, like my story, those people never left my side during those low times. My friends and family who love me helped me to learn how to fend off the negative thoughts. And, also like my story, while it's still a work in progress, I never would have made it this far without those friends and family.
Having had the experiences I have, my motivation for writing this story was one part expelling remnants of that experience from my mind, one part wanting to talk about how damaging bullying is, and one part to show how vital having a hand to help you up is when you're in that kind of situation.
A Helping Hand
The door opens, the torture starts. They never touch her, no, but the marks they leave are worse. No matter how she runs, hides, tries to be invisible; they’ll always find her. They always do. The taunts and jibes, reveling in her private pain. Poking at her insecurities, echoing the words already in her head, screaming of her worthlessness. The words cut into her like knives, and the world grows increasingly bleak. She should be used to it by now. Years of the torment, yet she never grew thicker skin. Only more scars. A tear falls, and they laugh. Cruel, malicious tittering. Why are they like this? She’s never hurt anyone, never been malicious. She doesn’t understand why they all hate her. She feels unloved. Betrayed. She ducks into a dark hallway, and allows herself to release her thoughts, thoughts that haunt her every night as she falls asleep to the symphony of her tears. Suicide. She imagines standing on a cliff, slitting her wrists, swallowing a bottle of pills; anything to stop the pain raging through her, the pain that never seems to end. She is alone. Tired. In pain. Everyone she knows hates her. She is worth nothing. She doesn’t know how much longer she can take this. A hand touches her shoulder. Startled, she turns, heart racing, only to calm when she realizes it is just a friend. That’s right, friends, she remembers. Not like the ones who she used to confide in, the ones who spread her secrets behind her back. Not like the one who started her mess, not the one who created her hell. There are people who care about her. She doesn’t have to face the world alone. She is not alone in the world. The people who care about her will fight with and for her. They will be her support, keep her strong through the dark, safe through the sorrow. They will see her through to the end, where maybe things won’t be so bad anymore. They will stay by her side, holding her up until she can hold herself up. Keep her safe until she can protect herself. They will always be at her side when she needs them. Her world may be dark and cruel now, but the world is not. They will help her see that. And for that, she can stand again. And while she can’t quite bring herself to believe that she will be happy, she can believe that they want her to. While she can’t quite bring herself to see the good in the world, she knows that they will show it to her. Walking hand in hand with friends that save her life, she can’t quite bring herself to see any worth in it. But she can see worth in them. And she knows they see worth in her. And she has hope that one day she can too. While she can’t quite live for herself just yet, she knows why she is. It’s for them. And they will help and heal her, until she can stand on her own and share in the beauty they see.
This is a screenshot of my Pro Tools Session that I used to create my story audio.