Bedlam – A Dash of Sunny


I imagined you, standing over me,

breathing your death-breath into my soul.

I imagined my lungs inflating with the ashes of you

and I pressed against my chest to stop inhaling you –

but you were too strong.

You held my gaze,

your hazel eyes piercing mine

and I could see the thoughts in your head –

the roiling, churning black and vomit yellow

and I could not stop them infecting my

azure blue and foxglove purple.

You stole my days

You infused my nights

You were relentless.

I imagined you standing over me

and yet when I reached out for you,

you were not there.


It’s time for the latest prompt from A Dash of Sunny, where this week we are invited to write on loss and madness.

It’s no secret here to those who know me, that my dad died suddenly in 2013. I truly thought, during the time of sitting for 12 days, watching him slowly fade from coma to death, that I was going mad. I’m sure I wasn’t alone. It felt so unreal and surreal, and yet everyone at some point loses someone they love. How are we so unable to explain and prepare for this?

Anyway, during that time, and for a period after his death, my dreams were, unsurprisingly, very disturbed. it’s how we process and attempt to make sense of it all.

I hope this isn’t too depressing. Also – I am fine now! It’s just part of life’s rich tapestry, isn’t it?

Please do head on over to A Dash of Sunny and brace yourselves for strong, honest writing!

Cicatrix – Sunday Mini Challenge – Real Toads


The image of you has softened over time
I see you, prostrate, as if through film star soft-focus
Still, at last, still, forever
and yet if I push myself through that ghost-laden portal
I know that you have taken on a different form
you are transformed into no more than


Dispersed on the winds
I breathe you in
You become part of me in more than the accepted ways, Dad
Your death doesn’t hurt in the way it once did
No longer lacerates, no longer eviscerates


But I am left behind
But I am in sorrow for the missed opportunities
But I am swallowed by regret that I
can never have that conversation
Never explain that I understand you better

Never confess that I judged you too harshly

Never reveal that there is so much more of you in me

than I ever cared to admit or wanted then

Never tell you that I welcome that


But, at least, the knife-edge cicatrix
of the loss of you has faded
I can smile at the thought of you
because I think of you



This was inspired by the prompt found over at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, where we are encouraged to write about something that is both harrowing, and hallowed. A challenging prompt, for sure, but it helps to write about these things, to transfer the ever-whirling thoughts to print, at least for a while.

Why not pop on over to the Real Toads blog, and take a look, take part?

Launch pad


The woman stands, flexing her long toes over the edge of the brickwork.

Her arms are held outwards, elbows so slightly bent that unless an observer chose to look closely, they would think her arms were ramrod straight. Her wrists are loose, flexing to allow her hands to rest, palms down as if on pillows. In her mind’s eye, she is poised like a ballerina en pointe, giving the illusion of effortless grace.

And yet all her muscles are screaming with the effort to hold this pose.

She looks outwards, eyes trained towards the horizon, over and above the valley in which is nestled her home town, the place she had fled a lifetime ago, jettisoning herself towards a life of excitement, discovery and more than anything else, freedom.

She had high hopes, exacting ideals. She would never have to scrimp and save, buy own-brand cereals or watch everyone else sipping cocktails in bars whilst she nursed a diet Coke, nose pressed against the window, on the outside looking in. Energy bills would be an irritation rather than something to lose sleep over. She would blossom, become a man or woman’s one desire, have children, grandchildren, be surrounded by love. She would succeed.

Oh, she knows this town like the back of her hand. The petty resentments and gossip on which it thrives, the sideways looks, the pitying whispers, the ‘thank God it’s her and not me’ huddles on corners of streets, they are like a film playing over and over in her head, clouding her vision, thrumming in her ears.

How much is a person supposed to bear? How long can the distractions of life fill those empty nights? What is the point if behind that veneer of success, there is nothing? No family, no partner, no children, nobody to care whether you had a good day, an easy journey home, whether you eat dinner or not. What is the point?

She had only wanted to escape from the dullness, the loneliness, the relentless grey of small town life.

Too late she had realised that no matter how far you fly, you are always there, dogging your own footsteps like a ghost.

So here she is, toes curled, gripping tight to the brickwork, focusing grimly on the horizon, the setting sun, the silhouetted hills.

She leans forwards. She launches. She sets herself free.