Esther Newton’s Monday Motivations : Parts of a dismembered whole

Black cat in shadow

Image : Pixabay

He struggles to remember when he first saw the darkness in his daughter Emily. Perhaps it’s the effects of the medication, but the past arrives in clumps, like clay torn from a sculpture, parts of a dismembered whole …


 … An afternoon in summer, sunlight gilding the garden gate. A young girl – Emily’s best friend, Charlotte – stands in a forest of scarlet hollyhocks, lace trimmed vest just visible through her torn pinafore, tears washing the cut on her cheek …

… Tying posters to lampposts as the drizzle gathers on his lashes. MISSING: Trixie … Fluff … Tuppence … Sox … A series of fuzzy pink noses, ginger stripes, black and white patches. A look from the neighbour that’s as misted as the day. Another? is all she says before softly closing her front door …

… Emily shares an abusive text from a friend – foul words, hard to forget. His arms wrap tightly around her fragile frame. If he can hug long enough – well enough – perhaps love will find a way inside her. An almost overwhelming urge to squeeze too hard, to make something happen, but nothing helps. Defeated he leaves her room, crosses to the airing cupboard, unearths a half-drunk bottle from beneath the faded pilowcases …

… The news report. Her school’s front gates. Familiar flaking paint above the rolling headline, yellow on red. The death toll rising …


As his eyes flicker closed he knows the truth. The three of them have always walked hand in hand – he and Emily …

And the darkness.


Written for Esther Newton’s Monday Motivations prompt –DARKNESS. So, yes, it’s painted in the blackest hues.

4 thoughts on “Esther Newton’s Monday Motivations : Parts of a dismembered whole

  1. Man, you say a lot there by leaving a lot out…whoa…the photo too, that’s especially dark/gripping. Ha! Luscious! There’s a very, very dark passage (among many) in that David Foster Wallace book Infinite Jest, one of the characters captures/tortures animals, gradually working his way up in size…but it’s not the fact he does that, it’s how much is left out…no need for the grisly details, the imagination goes much farther, makes it more personal…as you’ve alit on here. Nice work. Bill

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Bill. I’ve not read Infinite Jest, but I do know that many killers have harmed animals when they were children – that’s where that idea came from. And you’re right – no need to go into gruesome detail. Our imaginations can paint vivid enough pictures for us


  2. Oh boy. This is very dark, Lynn, and that’s coming from someone who often works ‘dark’. But it’s very good. Disturbing and unsettling. As Bill said above, there’s a lot left unsaid, and this piece can be interpreted in quite a few ways. It makes me want to get out of my chair, walk around, shake it off. Extremely disturbing, did I say that already? I kind of want to make a joke to lighten the mood of this comment, but it would feel icky and inappropriate. Yikes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes I do wonder what’s the matter with me, walking down these dark alleyways. But the theme was ‘darkness’, so I’m guessing there weren’t many cheerful tales submitted. I remember reading ‘We need to talk about Kevin’ and how disturbing that was – that it almost felt inevitable, given his personality, that things would end badly. Glad you read so much between the lines sorry for the disturbing thoughts. Thanks so much for reading though – your thoughts always appreciated

      Liked by 1 person

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