Extract: III: Agnetha, Out

Rewriting A Tale of Jackets and Phones, I thought I’d include a bit of what I’ve been working. In this little snippet (semi-familiar to those who might have read A Rosary, A Fume-Cabinet and A Music Book), Agnetha considers how to get out of her house to investigate Mr. Craig’s murder without her mother’s permission.


I had to concede that I was weird to have already had a working plan for getting out of the house. I was infuriated by grief and that emotion possessed me into thinking breaking into school was a good idea. Such was deliciously twisted escapism; if I made it to the school, I was worthy of the goodnight hug I had previously missed. If I solved the mystery, I gained a worthless sense of self-satisfaction.

“Mum,” I told her, shortly after we had attempted to have dinner as an ordinary, unaffected family Far from my parents’ divorce being the case for our silence, we simply could not initiate sentient conversation without silence catching up with us.

My mother sharpened her eyes on me. Her pointed nose dipped as she removed the glass she had been holding from her hand. “Yes?”

“I’ve got a bit of homework I have to do tonight. I’m gonna stay in my room this evening.”

My mother nodded. She looked pointedly at Benny, and he faltered in his eating.

“She’s a Year Nine; she has more to do than me,” he moaned. “Come on, I should be allowed a break like Agnetha.”

“But here she is, proving her worth by working in her break.”

I almost laughed in my bitterness. What did she know of my worth?

“But, Agnetha,” pressed my mother, “I thought you were going to relax?”

I eyed her over the dessert. “Oh, I will. I’ve got something on my mind first, though – a little I need to do.”

“I am glad,” was all she replied.

We ate the rest of our meal in silence. Benny tried to talk, but I had no energy to do so myself – my mind was beyond the earthly matters, up to that ‘heaven’ Mr. Craig had gone to frequent.

PGLRopes_AlexBI swallowed the last of the bitter red jelly, and  crept away from the table. If I had chosen to stay at school and conduct my searches from there until all the teachers had left, my mother’s suspicions would have been dragged into overdrive; she would have known of how unlike me such an action was. As it was, pretending to up to my ears in homework – and numbing depression – had diverted her mind from me. I called to my mother that she’d probably not see me again until the morning.

I prepared my bedroom. From there I’d escape. I pushed my door to with a bold click and locked it. My mother had queried me about the request for a locking system before now, but she wouldn’t deny her teenage daughter privacy. And so, I hoped, today would be the same.

I made the journey that same night, creeping out of my bedroom window the way I’d used to when, at eleven, I had wanted all sorts of people to notice me. That idea had never worked, and I had given up on those silly fantasies. I had become used to the plight of being ignored – so much so that I could not deny it was part of me.


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