Login   Sign Up 


The Journey

by Jubbly 

Posted: 23 March 2004
Word Count: 489
Summary: Shorty. Edited after comments.

Font Size

Printable Version
Print Double spaced

The Journey

"Mum can I have a drink?"

"Just a minute." as usual, time was against her.

"Mum can I have a drink?" Can I? Can I? Can I?"

Jane felt the rage ascend her body, filling her up, glug glug like an old-fashioned mercury thermometer.

"No, get off! Mum, Alfie's pulling my hair."

"I’m not!"'

"You are!"


They moaned in stereo, car seats of complaint. How could two such small creatures disturb her so? It wasn't meant to be like this, the worry, the bother, the anxiety, nothing ever going to plan.

Jane took the corner too fast and the brakes screeched echoing her fury.

"Just shut up the pair of you, just keep quiet for a minute can't you?"

The afternoon sun shone brightly through the windscreen forcing her to squint.

Damn! Cursed Jane, realising her sunglasses were on the kitchen table at home.

Twenty to, bloody hell, they should have been there half an hour ago, why was she always so late for everything, so disorganised, such a terrible mother?

She briefly slowed at the junction and only just bothered to indicate left.

Then they started up their evil chorus once more.

"Mum, Mum, Mum, Mum, Mum, Mum......

“Oh Jesus Christ! Shut up can’t you?”

She pulled out.


Her heart froze; she didn't dare stop, her breathing filling in the gaps where once her children's voices had been.

Then the silence was broken.

"Mum, what was that?"

"Nothing, "said Jane, nothing, she wanted to believe.

The briefest look in her side mirror revealed her nightmare. The bike lay crushed against the curb, wheels jagged and inverted like a modern art sculpture made infamous by Charles Saatchi.

The owner, lying beside it on the road, a broken doll, blood trickling from his head.

"What was it mum?"

"Did we hit a cat?"

Strapped into their seats they couldn't turn around and their innocence was thankfully preserved.

Jane heard the words escape her lips.

"Bollard…. it was a bollard." then she accelerated and drove away not too fast not too slow.

She parked up, unstrapped her children and rang the bell on the door boasting all the colourful balloons.

"Happy Birthday!" they shouted and ran ahead of her into the party.

Jane stood in the doorway, her guilt framed for all to see.

"Cup of tea Jane, you look like you've had a bit of a day?"

She nodded, taking off her coat.

"I.... I..

But before she could get the words out there was that insistant pestering again.

"Mum...Mum...Mum...is it time to go yet?"

Jane sat up, her head throbbing, Jesus Christ! Look at the time, how the hell could she have just dropped off like that.

She bundled the children out the door slamming it shut, only then remembering both her house keys and car keys were still inside.

Still shaking she drew them beside her, come on, we're late, we'll catch a cab.

Favourite this work Favourite This Author

Comments by other Members

JohnK at 22:30 on 23 March 2004  Report this post
Very realistic. Horrific, too. You tell it so clearly, and so straightforwardly. I'd love to see a surprise ending:

"Not one of those new ones, that look for all the world like a child on a bike?"

"Yes, one of those. Gave me quite a turn at first."

(You'd need to take out the reference to blood trickling in the gutter to make this work, but your words, 'a broken doll' gave me the idea.)

Hope you like this small change - I claim 28/417 (word counts) of the profits, less submission costs, naturally. ;))

Cheers, JohnK.

Account Closed at 06:43 on 24 March 2004  Report this post
Julie, this is one of my worst nightmares. Could really relate to the children bickering, forgetting sunglasses etc.

I can almost understand her driving off but her attitude seems a tad too casual, too unconcerned and the likening the mangled bike to a Saachi statue doesn't help. Maybe if you went down John's road and called our bluff at the end, it would get you out of any heavy duty emotions!


Nell at 09:23 on 24 March 2004  Report this post
Hi Julie, I missed the first version - this works well, I didn't suspect the dream, so the end came as a surprise. The only thing is that one tends to feel ever so slightly cheated by a dream ending - it solves all the problems far too easily!

A couple of typos for you:

"Just a minute." as usual, time was against her. (As usual...)

"Mum, Mum, Mum, Mum, Mum, Mum...... and "I.... I..
(close speech marks)

Best, Nell.

Jubbly at 10:01 on 24 March 2004  Report this post
Thanks Nell, the only difference was she went to the party in denial and it was all real. I agree dream endings are a cop out, but this is for my stage piece and the theme is dreams, so it might work in that context. I shall attend to punctuation.



Account Closed at 11:46 on 24 March 2004  Report this post
Julie, although I agree the dream thing is a bit of a cop out, this ending works better for me and is uplifting rather than 'orrible.

Nell at 11:52 on 24 March 2004  Report this post
Julie, if the theme is dreams then that's a different matter. Although I didn't read the first version I think it might have been too grim - this is better.


swandale at 12:28 on 24 March 2004  Report this post
Julie, I read both versions of this, and I definitely prefer the second. I just felt horrible after reading the first, it's something I have nightmares about anyway, and the dream makes it bearable. I agree that dream endings are usually annoying, but I think in this case it works.

I think the problem was originally that it was too well written!! If that makes sense. My heart froze with Jane's, and it made me feel quite sick, not knowing what she had hit, and what had happened to whatever she had hit. Fantastic writing, but very difficult subject matter.

Sam x

Jubbly at 16:32 on 24 March 2004  Report this post
Thanks Swanny, I agree it is too horrible, I was trying to experiment with denial and just how much you could actually keep hidden and for how long, but maybe that's a longer piece, ooh dear, I'll try and inject some humour, thanks Elspeth and Nell for commenting again.


haunted at 19:35 on 24 March 2004  Report this post
I didn't read the first version, but i thought this was great.

To be honest, i wanted it to be real. I wanted to watch Jane trying to carry on as normal and find out what she would do next, but perhaps that would need a much longer word count to work.

As a piece about dreams though, i think it work well with both the ending and with the idea of a nightmare coming true during the accident.


SamMorris at 21:01 on 24 March 2004  Report this post
Phew, chilling little tale, that is very well written. The dream ending was quite a relief, but did it just take a little edge of the impact? It's hard to say (sorry not much help there then!) Good writing though!


Jubbly at 21:32 on 24 March 2004  Report this post
Thanks Louise and Sam, I think with this one, I'm going to hand it over to the director and she can decide. I really do appreaciate your comments though.




Oh and JohnK, thanks too, sorry I tought I'd mentioned you, blimey this is like the bloody Oscars.

roger at 13:39 on 26 March 2004  Report this post
Hi Jubb...don't really know why I'm commenting on this because others have said it all -realistic, horrific, clearly and concisely written, compelling, but I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed it....great stuff, especially liked 'car seats of complaint'.

Account Closed at 02:48 on 29 March 2004  Report this post
There are some wonderful turns of phrase here. Beautifully realised. I loved the way that it hangs on the dialogue, and the whole thing is a great example of the good old 'show don't tell' rule.

'car seats of complaint' is just brilliant.

It's short, grotesque but hits. She doesnt like her kids much does she? I mean, in the face of what she's just done? Wicked.

Well done :)

Flash at 11:58 on 02 April 2004  Report this post
Hi Julie

Interesting story, i did wonder how it would end, it was bit like viewing one of those blunt commercials that warn about road safety.

I too think that if your original had been reality as opposed to a dream, then the ending would have come too soon, with the dream theme however the succinct nature of the tale works.

Nice work.


To post comments you need to become a member. If you are already a member, please log in .