Diary of Sarah McBride, discovered in Paul Sweeneyís apartment, January 2005
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Iíve been stuck in this room for three months now. He wonít let me go. Uncle says itís for my own good. The Doctors donít care, he said. To them, youíre just another problem, a problem that wonít go away. No room in the hospital for you. No beds to spare for a filthy homeless beggar. Perhaps they wonder why I just donít die and solve everyoneís problems. I wonder that myself sometimes.
The anointment Uncle gave me doesnít work. It hurts but I shouldnít complain. Heís so good to me. I remember when he found me in a park in London, when he paid for me to fly home. Iíd beenÖlost for so long, unable to see through the pain. The drugs were my only salvation. Hard drugs. Drugs that made the pain, physical and mental go away. I didnít care about anything except where the next stash came from. And before I knew it, years had passed. And than Uncle found me. Got me off the drugs. Tough but he meant well. I donít know what Iíd do without him.
I really feel it now. Why wonít the pain go away? Why wonít it stop? I canít leave the bed for long. Every movement is agony. So I stay in the bed. Uncle brings me food, something to read, the TV. I think the sight of me is becoming too much for him. He doesnít talk to me as much as he used to. I understand. Itís hard for him. I understand.
Iím so lonely. Uncle has become very angry recently. I shouldnít have told him about the voices I heard the night of the fire. I told him I mustíve just dreamt it, that the guards say it was just an accident. He said at the time heíd look into it, went away, and when he came back he was different. I hear him thumping around upstairs, cursing, throwing things around. Why did I reopen old wounds? What did he find out? Oh God, why canít I just die?
Iíve been depressed and in constant pain for so long, why document it? How do you describe suffering? How? Uncle doesnít come near me much anymore. He drinks a lot now. He reeks of it when he comes down. Then he yells at me. Says he wishes Iíd never survived. Me too, Unc, me too. He doesnít mean it. Itís just that my disfiguration, my hurt, is taking its toil on him. Maybe seeing me reminds him of Ma too. I donít feel like doing anything anymore. Just lie here, and listen to the sounds of the street outside. Lie here and think of very inventive ways of taking my life. Gun, knife, hanging, poison, drowning, Iíve done it all at this stage. But I canít do it. I havenít the strength. And I wonít ask Uncle. I canít.
That was a depressing last entry wasnít it? I feel a little better now. I think the effects of my addiction have finally worn off. The pain is still there, a constant throbbing in the background. Itís irritating, but I can take it. Iíve felt better these last few days than Iíve felt in years. Perhaps thereís hope for me after all.
Uncle came down and we had a chat. First time in, well, I donít remember. Heís happy with my progress. Iím still weak, but Iím getting my strength back, gradually. I asked him could he carry me upstairs, so I could get a bit of sun. He said no. He said Iím not ready for it yet. I guess heís right. If it werenít for him, I wouldnít even be here. I can wait a little longer.
Something weird happened tonight. I was woken up by thumping sounds. I thought maybe it was Uncle again, come in drunk. Than I heard a muffled scream. I thought Uncle was in danger. It gave me the strength to get out of bed. I havenít used my legs in maybe 6 months so I collapsed to the ground. I managed to crawl to the steps and climb up them. I looked out the door into the kitchen. Uncle was standing there, holding a club. The door blocked my view. I couldnít see anyone else in the room, but Uncle was sweating heavily, and there was blood on the club. He turned when he heard the door and the fury in his eyes scared me. He ran over, grabbed me roughly and carried me back to the bed. All the time he was muttering about how this was all for me, that Iíd thank him when it was all over. Than he went upstairs and locked the door.
He keeps my door locked all day. Iím strong enough to get out of bed now, but what can I do? He brings me food, and I ask him whatís going on. He doesnít say much. Just that some people are after me, want to hurt me, and that Iíll be safer here. Then he took away the TV. Heís changed. Doesnít drink so much, which is great, but thereís a sinister side to him now. Darker. Heís hiding something from me, but I donít know what. Sometimes, he scares me.
Iíve learnt to hide this diary. I donít think heíd like what Iím writing about him. Iíve heard thumping sounds again, not very often but I know what heís doing. I can tell from the sounds. The sounds of bones breaking. Iíve heard them before, in London, when beggars and drunks brawled. Heís hurting people.
I have to get out of here. Uncle has started down a dangerous road and I donít know how this is all going to end. Funny, isnít it? A few months ago, I was begging for death. Now, all I want to do is live. Oh the irony. Iíd laugh if I could remember how to.
Iíve looked for any cracks in the door, any means of escape. I want to yell, scream for help, but itís no use. My voice box was ruined years ago by the smoke I inhaled in the fire. So I continue my search, hopeless though it is. My little room has become my prison. Oh Uncle, what have you done?
I heard someone knock on the door today. It startled me. No one ever visits the house. Uncle opened it and I heard a sweet voice. Paul Sweeney! I recognised him instantly, though I havenít seen him in years. But in an instant, he was gone. He and my Uncle left together and drove away. And I am left in the gloom. Sitting, wondering, making fruitless plans. So close, so close. And before I knew it, I started to cry. It was a long time before I stopped.
Many people visit the house now. Uncle meets them at the door and they leave. I hear Paulís voice every now and again, but not often. I donít know whatís going on. With all this commotion, though, Uncle is no longer hurting people. At least not in the house. Heís often distracted when he visits me. Heís nervous. I think heís worried that theyíll find out what heís been up to. I donít want Uncle to go to jail. He still cares for me. He still looks after me, never forgets to bring me my meal, always asking how I am. But heís done something evil, I know it. And so does he. I have to escape, find help for him. He looked after me when I needed him. Now I must do the same for him.
Iím writing this in a hurry. The door to my room is old, stiff. The key has to be well turned before it locks. Uncle was interrupted as he was locking it by a knock at the door. He failed to lock it properly. I just pushed it open and felt the sun on my skin for the first time inÖBut no, I must focus. I found Uncleís phonebook, easy really. I rang Paul; he was shocked to hear my voice, told me about the Burnt Soul, whatís been going on. Uncle has been killing them, revenge for me, and my mother! Iíve arranged to meet Paul, tell him my Uncle needs help. Iím giving him this diary as proof of whatís been happening over the last few months. Then Iíll lock myself back into my room, and hope. Iím doing this for his own good, because this madness canít go on. Better go now. Wish me luck!í
End of diary.
This is the penultimate episode. I hope to finish off the series later this week. Hope youíve all enjoyed reading it as much as I have writing it.