A.J. Walker


Storytelling Truths

Storytelling Truths

Becky lived for facts. She had no time for reading novels or watching dramas on the TV. She’d get her head in a biography or a history book for evening after evening, or watch a documentary on the
History Channel or Discovery. The merest whiff of a fictional splash or woolly reconstruction got her reaching for the remote. Facts were facts and all else was frippery - a waste of time.

It wasn’t always the way. She could trace her animosity to fictions back to her dad in 1976. She’d always loved writing stories at school and won some prizes and lots of praise from friends and teachers. She was always scribbling something in her notebooks. Ideas and characters dripped from every page, even her maths exercise books.

But in the hot summer of '76 her dad had ripped through a book she was writing in and snapped her pens. He’d shouted at her so long and loud, and his face was red with rage. He demanded that she must never write a story again. That she was too damaging. That her sister believed what she wrote was true. She was ten years old and her dad hated her. It cut like nothing else ever had.

It took weeks to find out what had precipitated such ire. Lucy had told him one night that Becky had read a story to her one evening about a prince and princess and an undying love that would ultimately be ended by a school bus running over the prince.

Her sister confessed that in her head she was the princess and the prince was Neil who she loved from afar in her class. Neil did get run over later that week, not by a bus but by a Range Rover outside of the school. A week later Becky had read a story about Mrs Channing from the English class having a secret life as a spy and being taken away unexpectedly by the events and a horrible temporary teacher replacing her. Mrs Channing did leave the school suddenly, and no one at the time knew why, but Lucy knew it was something to do with National Security.

Being so close together the stories stuck in her head - and the fact that her little sister had written them. She felt sure that if Neil hadn’t have been run over that they’d be together. Because the story had been written it was Becky’s fault. She had cried herself to sleep for there nights before her dad got the facts out. Lucy said she was a witch and whatever she wrote became true.

Her dad didn’t believe in witches, but she saw the hurt of Lucy. And if Becky continued to write her little stories they could end up causing more damage. It was the next day when her dad had got angry like never before and scared Becky to the core. That was the day stories died for her. She didn’t want to hurt her dad or her sister - or anyone. Facts were all that mattered ever since.

Now, in her fifties, her sister lay in the hospital bed with cancer. Their dad was long gone but their memories of family holidays and good times lived on. Becky held her cold frail hand and could feel her shaking gently under the covers. Her voice was weak yet somehow strong and insistent.

‘Do you remember when you used to write stories and they all came true?’

Becky nodded. ‘I remember you didn’t like them, - and poor dad. I never saw him that angry again.’

‘Do you think you try again? Write a story where I miraculously get better in a few days time. And maybe make it that the young doctor, the one with the floppy hair, falls for me?’

Becky smiled. ‘They say sometimes fact is stranger than fiction, maybe with an idea and a pen I can do something, turn the fiction into fact . ’

She watched as the grin spread slowly across Lucy’s face and her eyes closed. She looked happy. ‘I’ll write it as soon as I get home. Do you know the doctor’s name?’

A quiet breath indicated that Lucy was asleep.

On the way home Becky bought a pad and a nice pen; like the one her dad had broken. But by the time she left the shop her phone was ringing. The doctor with the floppy hair told her that Lucy had passed away. Later she found out his name was Prince.

AJ Walker
#MidWeekFlash - Week 191
WC: 250