First Page Challenge, 2nd place winner: "Unsound"
By Rowena Fishwick
The night before the voices started I was arrested for keying Arsehole onto the side of a brand new Ford Mondeo. By the time I recognised the flashing blue lights, Beth and Mandy had fled. It was too late for me, so I sat down on the kerb and waited. There was a half moon, yellow against the black sky. I was gazing at it when the two officers approached.
“Oh wonderful,” said PC Haynes.
I poked my heel into the grill of a drain. “Do you know Oscar Wilde called sarcasm the lowest form of wit? I guess with all these government cuts they can’t afford the really funny coppers anymore.”
He turned to PC Campbell, who was examining the car. “Guess who it is.”
“Kathy Wells,” he said without looking around.
“As if the inspector wasn’t cranky enough tonight. She’s drunk, too.”
“Even better. Criminal damage and D and D.”
“I’m not sure it’s accurate to call me disorderly. After all, I’m not breaching any peace here. I’m not even raising my voice.”
“Are you going to deny damaging that man’s car?” Haynes asked.
He sighed. “The nice-looking old man talking to PC Campbell. The one who called us.”
I staggered to my feet. “Oh fuck,” I said. “It was his car?” I took a step towards the Mondeo and saw he was right. It was more navy than black. And now that I thought about it, why would his car have been there when I’d known he was at work? “I’m sorry.”
“Sorry, Kathy?” Haynes said as he led me away. “I think it’ll take more than sorry to fix this one.”
Rowena lives in West Sussex, UK with her six-year old son. She has an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from Sussex University. Her short stories have appeared in Popshot Quarterly, Writer’s Forum and Creative Writing NZ. Creating interesting characters is the primary focus of her writing, and she likes to combine dark themes with traces of humour. Unsound is a suspense/drama about a young girl who hears voices and the man who uses her vulnerable mental state to manipulate her.