Velvet Lace: Chapter Two

Just a Dream

BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.

Velvet dozily rolled over in bed and reached an arm out towards her iPhone laying on the beside table somewhere in that direction. Squinting an eye open she managed to hit snooze. Drifting straight back off to sleep, the dead woman swung viciously from the tree, dripping wet. Her eyes opened and she glared at Velvet, screaming.

BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.

Velvet bolted upright in bed with a start, breathing heavily. Taking a few seconds to gather herself, she reached over and this time pushed the Stop button on the phone alarm. Using both hands to push her long, rather tangled dark blonde hair from her face, she sat in silence trying to recap on the dream from last night. Shrugging it off as a result of watching The Ring before falling asleep, she braided her hair loosely over one shoulder and slid out of bed. Her nipples quickly stiffened in the cool November air as she made a dash for the fluffy dressing gown draped over the back of her computer chair and snuggled it around her naked body. Slipping her bare feet in to her favourite Pikachu slippers, she made her way downstairs to start brewing some urgently needed coffee.

“Well, good morning sweet cheeks.” One of Velvet’s room mates, Tobey, greeted her with a sly smile and appeared to have already brewed up some coffee, holding out a cup for her.

“Good morning Tobey,” she replied returning the smile his way. “You saw my ass one time ‘cos you walked in on me taking a shower, time to stop calling me that.” She took the warm mug from him, held it with both hands and took a deep breath from the top. “Mmmmmmm, you do make good coffee though,” she took a sip and gave him another smile, this one more genuine.

“Rough night sleep Vel? Not that I’m insinuating you look rough, you always look great to me. And you know that walk-in was a total accident.” This time he followed his remark with a wink. Velvet fake puked in her mouth at his cringyness.

“More bad dreams Tobes, any sign of Rissa yet?” Clarissa was their third and final roomie, pretty much opposite in every way to Velvet but they surprisingly got on very well. They liked to tease each other about their differences but never had a real falling out. Tobey was sweet and charming in every way to the both of them and despite his goofy nature, was probably the most stable of the three. Velvet may or may not have secret special feelings for him, but she wasn’t convinced either way yet. Tobey on the other hand had always made his feelings clear towards her, none of which had been taken seriously.

“She’s up and gone already, early start and swamped with studying for the final beauty exams next week.” He reminded her. Of course, Clarissa always had something to study for to make those top grades. Velvet never saw the point in studying, however. She lightly smacked a palm on her forehead, “of course, the exam, how could I forget. Guess I better get my sweet cheeks dressed and do something productive with my life too.” Velvet winked back at Tobey before carrying her coffee back up to her bedroom. “Well, here anytime you need to chat, you know that,” Tobey’s voice reached her halfway up the stairs.

“I know.” Velvet let a smile creep over her face as she replied. She set the mug on her computer desk before letting the fluffy robe fall to the floor. After pulling on a pair of ripped jeans and her favourite old band tee, she sat herself down at the desk and took another sip of coffee while waiting for the PC to boot up. She liked to have the most recent news as her homepage, having a scroll through something stood out. A headline.

24 YEAR OLD WOMAN HANGS SELF FROM TREE IN MANSFELD PARK.

Velvet clicked on the link, a lump got caught in her throat. “The now identified body of 24-year-old Samantha Porter was found hanging from a  tree in Mansfeld park early this morning by a local walking his dog. Suicide is the most likely cause of death at this point, we await results from the autopsy. Family have yet to comment on Samantha’s death.” There was an inserted picture of the park, the field and trees that Velvet saw in her dream last night. Underneath was a picture of Samantha, happy, smiling. It was the same woman she had seen in her dream aswell. “We encourage any family, friends of Samantha or any witnesses to please contact the police at this time.”

Velvet’s head started to spin, how was this even possible? Maybe she read a similar headline last night and forgot about it, but how would she know the place and what the woman looked like if the news was posted after her dream? Tears began to blur her vision and run down her cheeks, she finally caught her breath.

“TOBEY!”

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Velvet Lace: Chapter One

The Girl and the Tree

As Velvet’s eyes slowly opened, her senses filled with the cool damp evening air. Blades of grass twined between her fingers, looking up she could see faint glimpses of stars appearing across the dimming sky. Realising she was laying down on a cold bed of grass she slowly raised her head enough to have a proper look at her surroundings. No buildings were in sight, the grassy field was sparsely covered in tiny daisies and lined with oak trees. Velvet arched her neck as far as it was able to go both ways and realised she was smack bang in the middle of the field, using her arms to prop up into a sitting position her eyes drew focus to something moving amongst the bottom of the trees directly in front of her, roughly 100 yards away. She squinted her eyes trying to gain more focus in the dim evening light. Cold drops of rain started to fall on her face, she looked back up at the sky as the rain got heavier making her shudder. Returning sight to the spot between the trees she noticed that whatever it was was slowly making its way up one of the larger oaks branches. Not being sure what kind of creature was climbing, Velvet slowly scrambled to her feet and started making small steps towards the direction of the tree. The rain fell heavy making her eyes blink frequently in attempt to bat the drops away with her lashes. Her body started to shiver more as her clothes got wetter and colder, wrapping herself in a hug she continued towards the tree.

She was close enough now to see that the climbing figure was no animal but in fact a woman, now several branches up the tree. The leaves of the great oak keeping her from the rain, she still seemed to be bone dry as her long dark hair blew around her face in the cool breezy night air. Velvet’s in contrast was now matted and wet around her face and shoulders, her clothes were soaked through. The woman wore a long white lace nightgown, her feet bare.

“…Hello?”

Velvet received no response, not even a glance at her direction. Nothing.

The woman instead began edging out onto the thick branch she was stood on, slowly and gracefully until she was near the middle of it. She took a few minutes standing there, staring out into the darkening damp field. Her clothes and hair being swept by the soft breeze looked like they were dancing to some calming inaudible music. Velvet caught glimpses of her face, long enough to see she had her eyes closed. After a few minutes she reopened her eyes, took in a long deep breath and lowered herself down to sit on the branch. Velvet moved so that she was standing directly underneath the branch and stared up, noticing the woman clutching something between her hands. Velvet used both of hers to wipe most of the rain from her face to get a better look. The woman began wrapping something around the tree branch next to where she sat, it was rope. Velvet’s eyes widened as she saw the woman securing the rope to the branch and seeing that the other end was already tied into a noose  knot. She held it with both hands and stared at it before lifting it over her head and pulling it tight around her neck. Staring back out into the calm darkness of the field, the rain still fell heavily. Stars in the clear sky were more visible now and she stared at them before closing her eyes again.

“Hello? …What are you doing?” Velvet’s voice was full of cold desperate panic.

The woman still made no response.

Velvet gasped with horror as the woman edged off of the branch, free-falling several feet before the noose caught tight around her neck. Velvet put her hands up to her mouth and screamed into them as she jumped backwards, the woman’s body lifeless and swinging in front of her. She forced her eyes shut and sobbed into her hands. When she finally got the courage to open them again, she stared at the woman now hanging motionless from the tree. Still grasping her mouth, Velvet looked up at the woman’s face. Her eyes were still closed. Velvet realised she mustn’t have been any older than 25. Her body began to feel weak as she crumbled down to her knees, crying into the ground.

When she lifted her head again and looked around, she was back in her bed. Her breathing was rapid as the image of the woman’s body falling from the tree replayed in her head. She reached a shaking hand up to her face and felt a wet cheek. Taking deep breaths she pulled her covers up to her face, laying back down in bed trying to convince herself that it was just another horrible dream. Just another horrible dream.

Creative Writing | Part 2

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Jessica Kenzie – Dead Birds

The air felt cold, just like the night before. The moon was big and bright in the cloudless twilight sky, casting gentle light into the alleyway. I could tell it had been raining as the concrete walkway was layered in a fine wet mist that glistened ever so slightly. I didn’t recognise this place, seemed to be in the middle of a city centre possibly, hard to tell as this alley was so condensed by its surrounding buildings. Must have been early hours of the morning as all I heard was the sound of my own breath, I took a glance over my shoulder, more alleyway. Then footsteps, distant and getting louder.

In the quiet they sounded much louder than expected, still nobody. I glanced up and down the alley to find an owner for the noise, then a dark figure emerged distant in the alley in front of me. Blurred by night’s mist, the shadowy figure grew bigger and nearer to me. I realised the sound of the footsteps belonged to a woman wearing heels, the clip-clop is far too distinct to be of a man’s shoes.

She came more in to view until I could make her out visually more clearly. She wore a large thick coat as the night was so cold, I could tell underneath she was quite slender as her long legs were bare, and tall high heels. She was glancing down at something in her hands, a mobile phone most likely.

The little amount of light emanating from it partly lit up her face, she looked to be 20 something and fairly pretty. She also wore a woollen hat with a bobble on the top. I kept expecting her to fall over, but she seemed to have walking down wet alleys in heels whilst looking at her phone down to an art form. I can’t say I wasn’t somewhat impressed.

Then the dread feeling kicked in as I remembered why I was here in the first place.

She was still a good few metres away from me when I made out the other figure coming up close behind her. The second figure’s shoes made no sound, and seemed to be dressed entirely in black.

I held my breath as the shadowy figure made a grab for the girl, one hand went over her mouth and an arm across her chest. Something in the other hand glinted as the moonlight caught it, a knife.

The girl dropped her phone to the ground with a clash as she tried to look over her shoulder to view her attacker. Before her head got half way, the knife was drawn up and met her neck deeply.

The sounds she made were terrible, something only heard in nightmares. The knife went deeper and dragged across, her crimson blood started to pour as her body went limp. She was trying to reach, hold on to something, she clung to her killers arm as she slumped to the damp concrete floor.

By the size and shape of the attacker he was male, I tried to make out his face, and of course it was covered by some sort of balaclava. He grabbed her handbag that must have fallen from her shoulder and vanished as silently as he appeared. I stared in horror at the girl, now laying on her side bleeding uncontrollably by the gash in her neck. The puddle she lied in was red. Her hat had fallen off and I could see that her beautiful long hair was almost as red as the blood. This was the first redhead.

You’d think I’d be used to seeing death by now, but not like this. This was the first murder I had witnessed, the first redhead, the youngest, the first to look back at me. It was hard to tell through the blood and darkness, but yes, she was definitely looking back at me. My mouth fell agape as I clasped by hands up to it and let out a small whimper. She could see me. I fell to my knees still holding in my shock with my hands and stared back in to her gaze. She was gasping quietly, trying to reach out an arm in my direction, but I felt dead inside, a living corpse. She fell silent quite quickly and stopped moving completely. Her dead eyes were still open and locked on to me. I felt so helpless.

I should have said something, anything, if she could see me then she probably could have heard me too. After a while I was able to stagger back up on to my feet. It would be over soon, but it felt like I was waiting here in this dark dead alley for a life time. I made my way closer to her, and noticed that her phone was still laying on my ground. I stared at it, hopeless, was she texting her boyfriend? Her mother? Now she’s just another dead body, to be found when the moon falls back to sleep. Sleep.

My body and eyes feel heavy, finally. I fall to the floor and lose consciousness. When I rouse again I’m back in my bed, in my room, in my little apartment. Why does this keep happening to me? After the first time, I thought it was just a bad dream. Bad dreams that come so frequent that I’m afraid to fall asleep every night.

Last night was different, last night got me wondering whether they were even dreams at all.

Creative Writing | Part 1

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Olivia Morse – Dead Birds

I was standing in the middle of a modern decorated living room, minimal furniture, white walls and shiny black leather couches. There were a few family photos scattered around, formal looking people. There was loud music playing from what sounded like above me, metal with a big bass that I could feel rumble underneath my feet. I walked out into a similarly minimal hallway that lead to the staircase. As I began to ascend I held on to the handrail, vibrating from the pounding sound. It was pretty obvious from which room the music was coming from, I slowly stepped towards the door covered in various band posters and left slightly agar. I pushed the door open enough for me to see a wall also covered in band posters, and the culprit of the noise, 2 huge speakers booming on top of a dresser. I pushed the door a little more to see a large window looking out over a busy city night sky, some large buildings and a lot of bright lights illuminating the city in the darkness. I could make out a silhouette standing in front of the window, the bedroom was dimly lit but I could see from the light coming in from the window that it was a girl. I could see her from nearly half side view, she seemed to be looking out on to the streets below. She lifted something up to her mouth, tipped her head back and drank something from a large glass bottle.

I edged in the room slightly further and could see that it was some kind of alcohol. As she lowered the bottle back to her side, the street lights lit up her face again and glinted on the tears streaming down her cheeks. After a few seconds she took another long swig from the bottle before setting it down on the windowsill. This girl was obviously dealing with some shit to be drinking home alone like this, and clearly upset. I took a few steps closer until I noticed my own reflection emerging behind her among the buildings outside on the window. Her glazed eyes seemed to be searching for something outside, what was she looking for? Her gaze finally set and focused on me, I thought she might be shocked or turn to look at me, but she didn’t. Instead, she looked down to the bedside table on her left and reached to pick up something from it. She opened whatever it was and did the same motion as if she was taking another long drink from her bottle, but this was a different kind of bottle. Pills.

She took the alcohol back from the windowsill and washed the pills down before taking more, and more. Once the pill bottle was empty she dropped it to the floor. She looked back at my reflection, I didn’t know what to feel. I wanted to help this girl but I knew I couldn’t. I tried to speak but I knew she couldn’t hear me, and not just because of the loud volume of the music. More tears came and I noticed how beautiful she was, the tears washed black makeup down her face to make her look like a Victoria Frances painting. Her eyes started to roll to the back of her head and she slumped down on to her knees. My reaction was to try and catch her, help her, but my touch did nothing. I knelt down beside her, my own tears starting to flow. Blood dripped from her nose on to the floor, she swayed for a few seconds before falling backwards. As she laid there like a crumpled forgotten about porcelain doll, she looked like an angel. Her long black hair spread out poetically across the floor above her head. Eyes bloodshot and staring at me, black and red painted over her face. One arm above her, the other across her stomach.

I stared at her for a while, silently crying, what a tragic beauty. She can’t be any older than 18. Her body started to shake violently and foam seeped from the corners of her mouth, but she still made no sound. She just kept looking at me, knowingly, like she wanted to tell me something. Strange but, she didn’t seem so sad any more. Did she finally get what she wanted? Her eyes told me she knew she would be free soon. On the arm above her, I noticed what seemed to be self harm markings. They looked pretty recent, what made this child want to hurt herself so badly? I wanted to tell her that everything would be ok now, that she was going to a better place. I really wanted to believe she was. I suddenly realised I knew this song, “Scars” by Papa Roach filled every corner of the room. I reached out and held the hand that lay across her as I waited to wake up from this latest nightmare, we were both lulled to sleep by the lyrics.

The song came to an end and I woke up in my own bed again, my head feeling fuzzy as usual.

Did I try hard enough this time? Could I really have no effect on the outcome of these poor people? I didn’t think it was possible to feel this useless. What was even the point in being here if I couldn’t help them?

Image credit – Victoria Francis