Written by Fantasy Girl
My white shirt was stained crimson as I held her dying body in my arms. I didn’t know her – not directly anyway. She worked in the same office block as me. We would pull up in our cars at 8.45 every morning. We would park our cars next to each other every morning. We would walk in and get the lift together every morning; I was on the third floor, she was on the fifth. We would see each other in the lift down as we left at 17.05 every evening, and so on.
Her name was Shiv, short for Siobhan, or whatever variation of the spelling she used. I didn’t know this because I’d spoken to her, I’d never spoken to her apart from a polite ‘hello’ on a morning other than today, I knew it because I saw it on the front of one of her birthday cards one Monday morning a few months after I started working there. Did she know my name? I guess not. How would she? It’d never come up in our ‘hello’s’ on a morning.
She doesn’t even know my name, and I sat there, cradling her head in my lap as she lay dying on the floor before me.
The day stated as any other did: my alarm went off at six am (I snoozed until half past) and dragged my arse out of bed. I brushed my teeth and stumbled downstairs to the back door to have a cigarette. I ironed my shirt and trousers, got changed, wolfed a bowl of Rice Crispies down, and strode out of the door at 8.15.
Chris Moyles was doing his last breakfast show on Radio 1 as I climbed into the car, and ‘Star-boy’ was playing – the remake of the McFly song ‘Star-girl’ that the band did to say bye to Chris. And by the end of it, both Chris and the boys from McFly were in tears. It was a painful half hour drive; just listening to the goodbyes, the celebrities’ goodbyes, as well as the fans. I was sick of the whole charade by the time I pulled up to work. Yeah, I get it, he was a good DJ, but he didn’t deserve that much of a send-off.
I wondered where Shiv was as I walked into the office reception, but heard her shout, “Hold the lift!” as I stepped inside. As she slid in beside me, I noticed her dark hair, usually pulled back into a neat bun, was falling elegantly about her shoulders. And I soon saw why; as she pulled the sleeve of her shirt up to scratch her shoulder, I saw a bruise blossoming on her collar-bone – the purples and the blues of hurt and anguish.
Thinking back on it, I could have stopped this from happening – maybe I should have invited her out for coffee, asked her to come over to my place and look over some of the finance stuff I’ve been working on for the company, or something. It’s my fault it happened. I’d seen the signs. Most of all, I’d seen the bruises and the low self-esteem. Her seemingly irrational fear of most of the men we worked with. I should have stopped it. I could have stopped it. I could have stopped her going home… but hindsight is a wonderful thing. How was I supposed to know how that night was going to end? But somehow, I can still only blame myself.
Written on behalf of the Fiction Frenzy with the theme ‘Just One Day’, Fantasy Girl’s short story fits perfectly into the theme of beginnings. Starting at the end and gradually hooking us with a dark tale, reeling in all the raw emotion from a sudden death. It’s gut-wrenching but, still, a wonderfully told story – and this is just the first part! If you enjoyed Fantasy Girl’s short fiction, why not consider reading some of her other fine pieces including, ‘Commune‘ and ‘I’m a Slug, Get Over It‘.
Featured Image CC / Chris Chabot