Over the past few weeks I have been experimenting with writing in the 2nd person. It is a challenging point of view as it requires consistency and can be easy to slip out of.
This flash fiction piece started off with the first line and unfurled from there. Through a child’s eyes I have endeavoured to provide a glimpse into one night in a childhood filled with abuse. I hope I have done it and her justice.
The nightdress is cold against your skin. Through a crack in the curtain the moon shines. You imagine it’s a tractor beam. On the other side of the wall there’s a snore, long and deep like the growl of a bear. You are jealous of how easy your brother falls asleep. On the bedside table your clock ticks. It has a cat’s face on it and the hands are its whiskers. You love cats but are allergic. Your mother says this is the next best thing. You twist the switch so the bells wake you up in the morning.
Downstairs there’s laughing. The television gets turned up and your heart slows down.
Hanging from the wardrobe are your clothes for school. It’s like there’s another person in the room. Your mum ironed them while cooking dinner. She always seems to do ten things at once. From a drawer you take out a small torch won in a cracker pull and a copy of Harry Potter. Your brother had it first so there are smudges all over it. Your brother never stops eating. Closing the drawer you pull the duvet over your head and flick on the torch. You like reading that way as it’s like being in a tent, and you could be anywhere.
Downstairs the television goes off. Low mumbles fill the quiet and you keep reading to block the thumps in your chest.
Fantasy books are all you read and Harry Potter is your favourite. If you could be a character it would be Hermione. You wonder what it’s like to be so clever. You hear the stairs being climbed. You can’t seem to take in any more words. A tap whooshes in the bathroom. Your mum lets out a small sigh on her way to bed. The tap whooshes again and the toilet is flushed. He follows her in and closes the door. You look at the whiskers and go back to reading. You have enough time to get to the end of the chapter.
On the landing there’s a creak. Turning off the torch and closing the book you drop them down the side of the bed.
Closing your eyes tight you try to force sleep. Curled in a ball you turn away from the door. Light rushes in as the door creeps open. You want the tractor beam to find you. The door shuts with a click. You feel a shadow above that whispers your name. You turn into a statue. A breeze makes your back cold and he slips in beside you. Kisses are spread over your neck making you shiver. Stroke by stroke you are pulled towards him. Your nightdress no longer covers your knees. Your house is filled with snores and squeaks.
On the landing there’s another creak. Rolling back to the wall you move your legs away from the damp patch and try to cry.