If you have read my previous posts you will know I entered a writing competition on good reads group Indie and proud. I came in second, here is the story that I wrote for the theme fear.

The Cliff’s Edge

By Emma White

Lara Hawkins stood on the edge of the cliff overlooking the North Sea. The light of the full moon shone on the water crashing loudly on the jagged rocks a hundred feet below Lara’s feet. Lara took a deep breath and thought back to why she was standing there ready to jump. Two weeks before her five week old baby had died. Artie, little Artie had died because she had a glass of wine and drove anyway with Artie in the back, she was selfish. Her husband blamed her; her two remaining sons would blame her when they were old enough. She had ruined their lives. She looked down at the rocks and wondered if her body would wash ashore or be lost forever in the cold dark sea. She took one step forward then panicked, was this the answer? Was she taking the easy way out? Would her kids be okay without her? Would her husband come back and take care of them? Would they hate her for taking her own life and leaving them forever? One step back. The wind was picking up, the waves growing, if she was going to jump it should be now. The thought of going back home and facing life with what she did, made her physically sick. But looking down to the dark deafening waves, she was …… NO! She would not think like that, that would only make it worse. She was starting to hyperventilate. She could not do this, she lifted her foot to step back ….. Artie was dead, he would never grow up, he was buried in the ground, as she thought of all the things he would never get to see or do because of her, she moved her foot forward instead.

The day she took her oldest son, Robert home she thought it was going to be the hardest thing in the world, but losing a son was so much more painful, it was what she dreaded most in the world. It had happened, she clung to the thought that nothing worse could ever happen to her, she thought she could carry on, but soon came to the realisation that when the worst happens some people just crumble.

One step forward. She had not been able to look at herself in the mirror since that night, it hurt her heart to think about what she might see there. What if she looked no different, would that mean she was always a murderer or if she had changed how would she look now. She had overheard her friends saying she now had hollow eyes, no life left in them. She knew it was not just Artie that died that night. Another step forward.

Would Robert and Richard understand that Mummy loved them, that she was doing this so they were safe? That if she lived they would be constant danger from her? The thought of either of her remaining children getting hurt made it hard to breath and the tears start to fall. Her tears ran down her cheek past her scar near her chin and down her neck. Tear stains were not a problem when you would be being tossed about by the waves shortly. One step forward.

She had been standing up there for an hour, testing her bravery, no matter which option she chose she was brave; no matter which option she chose she was a coward.

She took a deep breath and took one last look at a picture of her once happy family, she kissed it and threw it out to sea, knowing she would soon follow. One more step and there would be no more cliff only open air. One step forward. The harder and braver thing to do would be to go back, go back to her boys and show how much she loved them. Did she have it in her? Her heart broke when she thought of them crying her name when she did not come into their rooms in the morning to wake them up, when she wasn’t there to make breakfast, when she never returned. She took a deep breath, gathered all the courage she could find and did the hardest thing she had ever done.

She went to take a step forward, the ground beneath started slipping away. Her heart was beating so hard and fast she thought it was going to break out of her ribcage. On instinct she turned and grabbed anything she could get a hold of, with her hands full of grass she managed to pull herself to safety. She looked back over the sea then took a deep breath and turned around and went home, to live a life of pain and love.