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The night scares me so much. I hate the noises. I hate the shadows. Not knowing what to expect. Not being able to see. And it’s coming again, sucking the light from the sky like a snake strangling its victim. The shadows are coming, I can already see them forming, overtaking alleys, blocking every bit of light in a blanket of black. I can see them, I watch them from my window, here I can keep it light, and they can’t get me here.

She’s scared again. I can see her, the way she hugs her knees, and curls up in the chair. I’ll protect her, nothing will happen. She mightn’t have learnt to deal with this environment but I have. I watch as she fears the broken window and dark alleys, but I don’t, I have to be strong for her. In this world there are gangs, fights, a typical Harlem community. In her world she is a child, she’s scared of change, she’s happy, trapped in a world she understands, but that’s not part of the real world. Her world is made of trivial things, repetition, but she doesn’t know that and I won’t tell her.

It wouldn’t be like this if I could have got the job. I’d be in a nice place, not surrounded by people trying to kill me. I should never have moved out of home, my parents love me. They would protect me and I could get a job in their little town. No graffiti, no murders, no fights, no screaming, no shadows, no fears. I have to do the washing. I have to go down the street to the laundry. If only there was enough room here, all that can fit in is a small kitchen and lounge room, kind of in one, and my room, it has the window; it looks out over the street from my two story apartment. I feel safe here. Where did I put the washing powder again….that’s right, it’s under the sink with... the torch.

Washing again. It’s the same every week. The look…..where did I put it, closely followed by, “Oh, I remember”. It’s cute, predictable and I know how to protect her, she’ll never get hurt washing.
The phone’s ringing. I won’t disturb her, save the trouble….. “Hello,”
“Hello, this is Dr Sims…..”
“Tegan’s not here”
“Do you know when I can talk to her?”
“She doesn’t want to talk to you.”
“Do you know when she’ll be back?”
“She doesn’t know you, you can’t talk to her. Goodbye.”

I won’t let them separate us, we’ll be together forever. I won’t leave her, everyone leaves her, and I won’t. I have to protect her, the only way I can, they won’t hurt her. I look after her, she carries the only protection she’ll need in her pocket and she doesn’t even know.

It’s so cold out here. I wish I could be home in a nice warm bed, nights are so dark and scary. I remember going camping as a girl we’d lie under the stars, make shapes, just mum, dad and me. Things were perfect. But nights are different here, there’s no stars just buildings, there’s no fields, just rubbish, buildings and roads. Roads that could take me home….. if I knew the way and if I was allowed. I miss home so much, the crickets, the laughter, my friends, my family…. I miss them.

I wonder what she’s thinking. She tip-toes, walking as if on air, like the concrete itself will come up and eat her if she wakes it. Step by step she moves closer to the laundry…. I wonder if she’s cold? I’m cold I don’t want her to be cold. I never want her to feel any pain. I never want to get her in pain that’s why I’m here, to watch out for her, to look after her, to save her from the world. I hope she’s not thinking about her family…. We hate them… I hate them…. they hate me…..they try to take her away from me, they yell at me, they tried to kill me. She can’t live without me, we ran away and we’re never going back. I’ll make sure she doesn’t get sick, I’ll care for her.

Laundry is so boring, all you do is wash the clothes, wait around, dry them, wait around. But I know I’m not alone, there are people here, nice people not the people I see from my window. The apocalypse hasn’t come and I’m not left on earth all by myself with the bad people… the scary people. I like the laundry, the people have nice eyes, they’re quiet but they have nice eyes. They don’t look like they would hurt me. I feel safe. I don’t mind sitting here.

I hate her doing the laundry, she looks so bored. Just sits there, hugging her legs, looking just looking. I think she loves them more than me, it makes me so jealous, but I couldn’t hurt her. I protect her, I save her. She looks at me but doesn’t say anything. I wish we could talk more, I’d hold her, tell her I was looking after her. She didn’t have to do anything, I’d do it for her, all she has to do is ask.

Washing’s finished, home time now. I want to ring mumma but I’m too scared - if she wanted to talk to me, she’d call? Maybe she’s happy I’m gone. She’ll have more free time now.
It’s kind of strange….I’m not so afraid of the dark when I’m in it….I mean when I have my torch to see what’s in it. But it’s so much more scary when I can see it coming, when it’s rolling in, it’s cold, filled with hate, the very sight brings the smell of death. Being in it just shows me I can control the light. I have the power to see, that’s why I carry my torch. The street lights may provide some light but I know they’re scared too. They don’t shine much, just try to hide in their bowls, but it doesn’t work. That’s why they break, to get away, to hide completely. I wish I could hide completely. That’s why I like my house – I can be safe.

We’re home again. She’s safe. I didn’t need to use it. It’s so cold and hard I hate it but if it protects Tegan I’ll carry it with me.
I helped her out of her jumper, she didn’t even say thank you, but I know she still cares. She’s just tired, she’s always tired earlier than me. The phone’s ringing again.
“Hello, is this Tegan?”
“No, who is this?”
“This is her mother, may I speak to her?”
“No, she doesn’t like you, go away. Stop ringing.”

I hate that lady, she’s always calling. I know she’s trying to steal Tegan, but I won’t let her do it. Not this time, not ever again.

I’m so tired, the phones ringing. I never get calls.
“Hello, is this Tegan?”
“Yes, who is this?”
“It’s your mum; I’ve been trying to call but….”
“I thought you didn’t want to talk to me. I’ve missed you so much I want to be home with you.”
“You do? I will come pick you up right now, if you want.”
“Yes, I want to come home, please do.”
“Okay, pack your stuff and do not talk to Lee. Don’t’ say what you are doing or why.”

An hour later Tegan’s mum arrives.

She looks the same as I remember, beautiful, with a golden brown ringlet tugging at her cheek. She still has the same smell, the same vanilla with a hint of strawberries and dirt. She always loved the strawberry patch. And her smile, it melts away all fears, I want to go home, I want to be hugged.
“Yes mumma”
“Tegan, have you spoken to Lee?”
“No mumma”
“When was the last time Tegan”
“I don’t remember, mumma”
“Let’s go home”

“This is the best trip I’ve ever been on, and I don’t have to leave… oh mumma the house is just the way I remember it.”
“Do you like it?”
“Yes, I love it… my room still the same?”
“It’s tidy but yes, I didn’t change it.”
“Thank you so so much.”
“Come in and see…..”
“It hasn’t changed, it’s beautiful, thank you mum.”
“I’ll just go and get you something….okay. Be back in a sec.”

“Why are we here Tegan, I hate it here, you hate it here.”
“Don’t talk to me Lee, I don’t like you, I don’t want to talk to you.”
“It’s started there, taking you away, I won’t let them, I won’t. I want to be with you forever!!”

“Tegan, open the door, it’s your mum.”
“Go away, we don’t want you here”
“Help mummy, help me!”
“No, you won’t help her; you’ll take her away like you tried to last time.
She is mine, you can’t have her.”
“Don’t hurt Tegan please! Let her go Lee…!”
“Why can’t you understand, I don’t want to hurt her, I protect her, I look after her.”
“Let me go, go away, I don’t want to be with you.”
“You don’t understand we will be together forever Tegan. You and me will be together. See this, you left it in your pocket, this means we’ll be together forever.”
“What’s going on Tegan? What’s happening? Tell me Tegan!”
“I don’t want…no…let me go!”
“Tegan? Tegan!”

Coroner’s Report
Name: Tegan Lee Simons
Age: 22
Sex: Female
D.O.B.: 5- 7- 1970
Race: White
Type of death: suicide/murder – violent – gun shot to the stomach
Medical examination: Tegan Lee Simons was diagnosed with schizophrenia and multiple personalities.
Narrative summary:
Viewed deceased in family home next to her bed.
No vital signs present.
Trauma indicated by single bullet wound to the stomach.
Due to her multiple personalities, indications would point to mental disruptions where personalities have fought.


The following comments are for "UTU"
by moggy

The fact that Tegan doesn't address Lee directly, doesn't seem to know Lee's there, and expresses a fear of being alone and unprotected, from the very first, gives away your story twist, early on. By the time you got to your coroner's report, I could have written it myself.

Why don't you have Tegan say some thngs like "Lee doesn't make me feel safe here," from the beginning? She certainly knows Lee's a part of her, which you reveal in her telephone conversation with her mother, and it sould help sustain the reader's presumption that they're different persons, and, consequently, your little surprise at the end.

Given your obvious writing talent - you write very clearly and effectively - I'd suggest that you search farther afield for your story ideas. There have been a number of stories with this plot theme through the years, stretching all the way back through Hitchcock's movie "Pyscho," in the early fifties, to Stevenson's "Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde," around 1900. I've been reading since 1947, and must have read a good 30 stories like this, in that time; this is better written than some of them. but it's still a little shopworn. Find some theme that really reaches you, strikes you as far out, and use these same skills to fashion a plot that strikes you as really convincing.

Do a web search on these two stories, and read them; you'll find them fascinating, and they'll give you all sorts of ideas:

"The Street of the Four Winds" - Robert W. Chambers

"The Wendigo" - Algernon Blackwood

You like freaky stuff, you'll love these.


( Posted by: johnlibertus [Member] On: December 18, 2003 )

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