Zedlist – Part Eleven

Old Men
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“I found her like this”, Amy said, “I think she may have just fallen a few minutes ago, she’s still breathing, but she’s unconscious.”

“I can bloody see she’s unconscious Amy, for fucks sake. Go to your room, I’ll sort this out.” Colin said.

“What are you going to do?” Amy asked.

“I’m going to call for an ambulance”, Colin said, “what the hell did you think I was going to do?”

Amy went to her room and tried to read, but she couldn’t focus. She lay on her bed listening and waiting for the paramedics to arrive. She could hear her father’s voice booming from the next room. After what seemed like hours, to Amy’s relief, she heard her mother’s voice. She could hear other voices she could not place. Assuming it was the paramedics, she stayed in her room until they were gone. Amy went to see her mother and met her father in the hall.

“Don’t disturb your mother now, she is very tired, you can speak to her in the morning”.

“What happened?” Amy asked.

“We’re not sure. She is fine for now, and I am going to book an appointment with the doctor for the morning. The best thing you can do is go and try and get some sleep.” Colin said.

Amy was worried that her mother might be suicidal again. Last year Colin had resorted to hiding all the knives in the house, and only allowed Mad access to the pills that she needed. He had hidden the house phone before, and on two occasions had taken Mad’s pink mobile to work with him. She had been known to phone people, threatening to take her own life. Colin was worried that Mad would be sectioned, and that his precious reputation as a successful family man would be tarnished. It made Amy sick that he seemed to care more about what other people thought than he did about his own wife and daughter. Amy went to her room and tried to sleep, but just stared up at the ceiling. The sound of a football match could be heard through the floorboards. She really hoped that her mum didn’t die, she didn’t think she could cope living alone with Colin. The fact that Mad had not been taken into hospital must have been a good sign. So many questions were going around in Amy’s head. She suddenly heard a loud “YES!” and “GET IN!” from downstairs. Pulling the pillow tight around her ears and closed her eyes.

She awoke to the dog licking her face “Harri, No”, She exclaimed. Putting her dressing gown and slippers on, she made her way downstairs to the kitchen. After feeding the dog, she made herself some lucky charms, picking the mallows out and lining all the tiny shapes up on the table.

“I hope you are going to look for work today” her father bellowed from the living room, “I don’t want you to mope around doing bugger all like your mother”.

“Where is mum?” Amy asked.

“She’s still in bed, I’ve booked her an appointment with Dr. Mitchell for this afternoon at half three. I want you to go with her”.

“Shouldn’t you go with her dad?”

“I have a bloody job to do. Someone has gotta put bread on the table.”

She wanted to say “What is the point in putting bread on the table if there is no one left to eat it?” But she didn’t, she just stood there and said nothing. Colin carried on talking, but Amy had stopped listening. She’d heard it every day of her life and there was no point in arguing. She hated him. She hated him for being loud and obnoxious, she hated him for not listening, but most of all she hated him for not caring one little bit.

Apart from not having any means of supporting herself, the main reason Amy didn’t want to leave home yet was because she was worried about what would happen to her mother if she did. Any normal person would last two weeks with Colin before trying to kill themselves, Mad wouldn’t last two minutes.

After her dad had gone to work Amy took her mother some coffee, she drew the curtains, opening the window a crack. Light poured into the room, cleansing each object and surface it touched. She gently woke Mad and returned back downstairs. Her initial intention was to look for work. Amy usually found it easy to focus on a task, but due to the recent circumstances she found herself somewhat distracted and spent most of the morning on Facebook instead.

Amy had chosen not to apply for universities because she wanted to find independence from her family as quickly as she could. Once Mad was back on track, that was it, she would be gone. She just needed money.

Her parents had no problem with her going straight from school into employment. Mad was impassive as always and Colin had proudly never passed an exam in his life. He thought that the education system was a waste of time, as he often reminded Amy.

“If I can make a success of myself without paying through the teeth for a stupid piece of paper, I don’t see why everyone else can’t”.





Photograph by Jeff Sheldon

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Lucas Howard

When I was seven I started copying poems out of a book and telling people they were mine. When I ran out of good ones to copy, I had to start writing my own. I have been performing and organising nights on the UK spoken word scene now for over seven years and am most of the way through writing the first draft of my first novel 'Zedlist', which is serialised on here. As the story is in fetal form, any critiques or suggestions are most welcome.

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