By: Keela Ayres
Recently, The Kilkenny Observer welcomed Kilkenny student Keela Ayres as she presented a short story for our readers. As a newspaper, we attempt to cover as much news as possible on various topics. The inclusion of a young writer, such as Keela, with aspirations in that field, is something we are happy to promote. We have followed the struggles Keela’s fictional character Debbie has endured in the first two articles- ‘The thing about Debbie’ and ‘A match to remember’.
This week, we present part three of ‘There is something about Debbie’ with ‘Bedside Confessions’.
The Kilkenny Observer –supporting new writing in Kilkenny
The hospital was simply unbearable. The journey over was laced with silent tears, while Debbie was still wrapped in a blood soaked jumper. The rest of the group then immediately set up camp outside Debbie’s room, hanging on to the hope of her survival for what felt like an eternity.
“It absolutely reeks here,” whispered James. Beside him, Frances was inspecting the forgotten Polaroid that was developing during the chaos. It wasn’t perfect but she had gotten what she needed. The licence plate. Marky rolled his eyes before his gaze fell on Harriet. She paced the hall, her ponytail flapping vigorously. Marky sprung up and grabbed her wrist, spinning her around to meet his eyes. “She’ll be grand, I promise.” Harriet nodded, slowing to a halt. James and Frances shared a smirk as if to say ‘Well that caught her attention’. Marky felt their gaze burning into his back, heat rising in his face before gently dropping Harriet’s arm. “Oh shut up,” he muttered, sinking in beside the snickering pair.
Behind the metallic doors, Debbie bore a jumble of wires in her arm while lying behind a flimsy blanket. “You’re extremely lucky. With the amount of blood you lost, your arm would’ve gone with it!” announced Doctor Fahy from behind her clipboard. She reached for the pen lodged in her twists to finish her report. Debbie felt her stomach curl into a knot. It was her own fault for not being careful. But terror still had its cold grip on her. Doctor Fahy sneaked a daring glance from behind her papers. She knew better not to ask questions for now. The poor girl had barely smiled. She decided to change that. “Your friends are still waiting outside. Fair play to them, it’s been three hours now at least.” Debbie perked up, slowly trying to conceal her excitement but Doctor Fahy’s grin proved her otherwise. “They were adamant to stay. I heard they came in the ambulance too. You’re blessed to have them.” Debbie had grown her own grin to match the doctor’s. “I am,” she whispered. Which was why she was so scared to lose them.
Doctor Fahy poked her head around the door. “You can see her.” Without a hint of hesitation, everyone burst through the door to find a fully bandaged Debbie and attacked her with loving hugs. Doctor Fahy stepped out, making the excuse of “finding a new pen” but the flow of chatter took over. Harriet held her tightly as Marky laid a protective hand over Debbie’s head. “I’m sorry about your jumper, I’ll get you a new one,” Debbie offered but Marky shook his head.
“No need. I can always get a new jumper but we can’t get a new you.” Frances held onto Debbie’s hand grinning; “Don’t want to either!” James attempted a smile but it was an obvious struggle. Debbie took his hand and gave it a friendly squeeze before clearing her throat. “I want to warn you all now that I’m in serious trouble. I was stupid for what happened in that car but even more so because I hurt you all. I shouldn’t even be alive now.”
The weight of her words rocked their bare bones as silence filled the room. Debbie felt the words she had hidden finally sprawl out in a messy scramble, months of it building up without anyone to tell. “I haven’t told anyone because to be frankly honest, I didn’t know how to. I’m so sorry that I wasn’t honest with you. I was really with my boss in the car today. I’ve been working as one of his dealers for a while now but when I wanted out he didn’t take no for an answer. He knows where I live, where I go to school, he knows everything. I wish I never started, because I can’t escape now.” The sob she had been choking back had finally been freed and she collapsed into Harriet’s arms, burying her head shamefully. The secret was out.
Everyone swapped worried glances, the tension beginning to suffocate the room. It was far bigger than they realised. Her life had already been threatened by that man. And he’ll do it again. But this time, they have a chance to stop it.