Flashbacks – Part 1

It’s about eight thirty on a Monday morning, the fourth Monday in June as it happens. The Birthday of Henry ‘the Fonz’ Winkler and on this day in 1957, the day strawberry Blamange was first introduced into the UK. I’m smoking my second cigarette and feeling like crap, a strange acid type feeling that starts in the second half of your lower bowel and steadily rises until it reaches a crescendo affect at the back of your throat. Last nights party is ebbing into my brain, flickers of bad food mixed with equally bad company. I’m awake, hung over, starving and sore, and I don’t know why. I also don’t know why the bile rising from my stomach has a taste of honey. It’s everything the morning after the night before should be.

The bedroom of my apartment looks out onto the old canal route. It’s on the third floor of a converted paper mill, four stories high, made of bluestone and brick. High roofed, low lighted, wood floored with ceiling high windows and exposed brick walls. Yards of Egyptian cotton voile drape the 8ft high windows. Not only filling the room with an amazing amount of light but fantastic for people watching. This morning, it’s the power walkers mingled with the school shoes, the brief cases with the shopping trolleys. All seems calm, except for the orchestra playing in my head.

Then it hits me. I’m not alone. A shapeless mound buried nearby starts to stir. Yanking at the duvet, a vision of toned masculinity comes into frighteningly full view. For a second all I can focus on is the large morning glory winking at me across a well-formed thigh.

“Shit, who the hell is he”? my internal conscience screams in shame

“How much did I bloody drink”?

I scramble to the floor, clinging to the duvet and grab the mobile.


Another patch of city, another patch of time :

“Surrounded by an alleyway of tall red brick; weather beaten window frames cling to shattered remnants of glass.  Scattered rubbish litters the path and damaged street lamps shed small specks of light along the track. The stench of overflowing bins hits her nose with a ferocity all its own. Paranoia tells her to check again. She doesn’t dare, denial is the easier option. She quickens her pace…..

There it is again…  the sound…. footsteps. It chills her to the bone; there is no mistaking it this time. Quickly turning, a knee jerk reaction, she feels his hot breath skim across her cheek, almost tasting it.  Rancid. Heavy. Frighteningly familiar. A wide smile stretches hideously across his face. Eyes like pools of evil, flicker with malice in the absence of light and his arms stretch high above his head, holding something hidden behind the shadows.  “No please…Please no…Please!” she screams, losing her footing as she falls back against the red brick.

Then darkness.”


Locked in the bathroom waiting reinforcements, the heavy rectangular mirror standing loose against the wall mocks my shame as I scan the remnants of last night’s mascara.

“Where have I gone?”

I don’t recognise the face staring back. Maybe that’s a good thing.

“What happened to Sarah Green?”

Life, opportunity and money happened to Sarah Green I thought as I hear Jenny, my hardly ever at home flat-mate forcefully removing last night’s night cap.

“God, what did I do last night” I thought to myself,

Well actually it was more like “who, did I do?” but at 10am on a Monday morning I’m not ready for answers, neither am I ready for work,

“Shit” better get in the shower.


 Another patch of city, another patch of time :

 She opens her eyes to the bleak light and muted sounds coming from nearby. Every inch of her screams with torment. Raising a weak arm to her head, her fingers touch the still warm blood from the open wound across her brow. Blurred images smudge against the insides of her eyelids. Dirt and blood congealed like random ink blots on carbon paper, cover her torn blouse.  Slowly rising she reaches for her missing shoe, the strap torn in two and the heel bent back on itself. She has to get out of there.

 A vivid flashback hurls itself forward, forcing a wave of bile to surge up from her stomach. The acid stings at her lungs, ravaging her tender torso. She wipes away the vomit as best she can. Clawing at the wall for support she feels her way out of the darkness and into the open. Desperately scouring the anonymous faces, her pace quickens into a sprint, her exhausted body straining to hold on.

Then darkness……….


Out of the shower I head for the living room. The air is heavy with stale smoke and the last nights half eaten Chinese. The sofas are minus cushions, and the sculpture from the pedestal stand in the corner is somehow upside down in the wicker basket. I walk through to the kitchen and reach for the coffee Jenny’s left on the breakfast bar. I gulp at it while trying to manoeuvre my legs into a pair of tights.

“Bugger” as a ladder rises from my ankle to my thigh.

Walking over to the breakfast bar, Jenny slides her hand across the empty pedestal stand. Her green tinged eyes and beaded lashes hidden by a mop of jet coloured curls, wearing an oversized sweater that hides a perfect figure. I sense her disappointment and I feel myself tensing. That feeling you get when you’ve just been caught putting a chocolate lime in your mouth at the pick and mix. There was silence. I look at Jenny. Jenny looks at me. Her eyes become thoughtful. She polishes the counter and sighs then leans down on her elbows.

“Want to talk” she asks hesitantly.

My heart is racing, my palms clammy

“No, I’m fine” I shoot back, then quickly add “but thanks”.

Today’s going to be hard. Analysing it with a hangover and the memory of last night’s anonymous guest isn’t going to help. I pick up my car keys, files, phone,

“Shit, where’s my bloody phone”

“Good luck”, shouts Jenny to the slam of the oak veneered door.


Another patch of city, another patch of time :

Her heavy eye lids lift to the scent of antiseptic tinged with stale drink and urine. A sense of loathing coursing through her veins. A strange cold sensation seeping beneath her skin. The more she strains her memory, the less she knows. Exposing herself to self-hatred, yet not knowing if she deserves it. She isn’t sure where she is, or how she got there, she just remembers the flash of blue and the paramedics that had swathed her in a blanket. The nurse draws back the curtain, the crispness of her clean blue uniform heightened by the florescent lighting that flickers overhead. She catches sight of the police officer sat in the corner. A look of sympathy washing over his face, then disappearing again just as quickly, She can’t shake the voices swirling in her brain, the sound of laughter, a taunting familiar laughter.

Then darkness…………


Part 2 here

4 thoughts on “Flashbacks – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Flashbacks – Part 2 | helen midgley

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