Her bedsitter signified freedom. She had finally escaped her parent’s control. She was a diligent student, but she had no passion for Geography, her chosen subject. She did have passion for her lover, even though his face locked down when she was, in his view, too emotional.

The morning after he’d stayed over at her place for the first time she left him sleeping to go, in college. On the way out she found a letter, addressed to her, on the dusty table in the communal hallway. She recognised her father’s handwriting, angular and bold. Trust him to spoil her day. She shoved it into her pocket to read later.


When she got back from her lectures, her room was empty. Disappointment snagged her mood and her temper unravelled. Tears followed. When she was done, she searched her clothes for a hanky and her fingers caught on the sharp edge of the letter. Now that she had nothing better to do, she opened it. Soon, she wished she’d let it be. Her mum had suffered a stroke and her father needed her back at home to care for the little ones. How could she get out of that? She was in love and had other priorities, and anyway life had been hell for her there. She knew if she returned, she’d be trapped for good; they’d tried every which way to stop her coming to university. She could try lying, or she could go to ground and hide where she’d never be found, at least not by them.

There was a knock on her door. It had to be her boyfriend, she shivered with pleasure. When she opened it, there he stood, her father. She tried to push past him, they scuffled, and she toppled over the bannister and fell onto the quarry tiles three floors below. Her head split open.

Ceinwen lives in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, and writes short stories and poetry. She has been published on line and in print anthologies. She graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University in December 2017. She believes everyone’s voice counts. @CeinwenHaydon

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