The Threadbare Girl (short story)
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‘The Threadbare Girl’ is a two-part 1,493-word story taken from Story A Day May 2011 anthology. Hidden from sight, the threadbare girl takes in her surroundings. She remembers everything but even the man supposed to be looking after her forgets. It starts like this…
It’s the two clocks she finds the most comforting. Both beat a different tune, started with batteries within a few seconds of each other. Alternating like an analogue tennis match.
Of course she doesn’t need two, it being such a small room, and she’s not going anywhere so really she doesn’t even need one, but they keep her company. The only noise in her existence. Except for people going to work, then home. Car doors, house doors, the shouting in between. There’s no-one for her to shout at. About. Not that she would anyway. She’s too calm for that.
She only knows the seasons by the temperature of the room. With her body playing tricks on her, that’s not even accurate. She hears the radiators kick in around the house but hers isn’t working.
It’s the sun she misses the most. She sees chinks of it but it’s not the same. She can’t see the whole; her favourite fruit, high up in the sky. Burning into the skins of those allowed out. Playing, talking, oblivious to the freedom they take for granted.
- 5* on Smashwords: “Beautiful, haunting imagery of a tormented woman. The author provides a great twist, and the ending is up to the interpretation of the reader. This great short story definitely influenced me to buy ‘Story A Day May’ by Bailey!”
- 5* on Smashwords: “This is well constructed, moving and scary. A great short read, but not before bedtime.”
- 4* on Smashwords: “A good short read.”
- 4* on Smashwords: “Good short story, but disturbingly realistic! Another winner from Morgen.”
- 5* on iTunes: “This story was great but it was vary short and confusing.”
- 2* on iTunes: “Good descriptions, but I don’t understand what happened at the end.”
- 1* on Amazon: “This was so short I’m glad it was free.there wasnt enough to go on to really grasp the concept of this books meaning.this so could have been better.so much was lacking in the way of the plot and the characters. Could stand plenty improvement.”
- 2* on Amazon: “This story is a first person narrative from the perspective of a very young girl who has not had access to education for 3 years. Nor socialization in any real respect. Thus, I am going to go with the disjointed conveyances encountered being due to such (over poor writing). I have never read this author before – so I cannot state if is style choice (sentence frangments and almost hazy thought conveyance) – but am gonna give benefit and say author meant to write this manner.
The child is telling her story to us in fragments so that we know her peril and horrible circumstances without gratuitous graphic violence scenes that many would not like to read. We can know the depth of despair, horror and violence without the gore laid out. I liked that. As this was short, it is never conveyed well who the two people are, what they do, why they show up, or how they determined to show up at this time. Some pretty gaping holes in story arc – even given is only supposed to be a short. This was like the beginning of a story (first chapter or a prologue), rather than a story. To this reader. It is short enough to be read in very little time.” It’s not actually first person but third but never mind.
- 5* on Amazon: “This chilling short story, originally written in two parts, is a powerful masterpiece of suspense guaranteed to live on in your imagination, playing as it does on every parent’s nightmare. As we read, we gradually accumulate enough detail about the child’s predicament to appreciate the full horror (“The tomboy who wouldn’t be seen dead in pink, but now wonders if she will be.”) and then our only thought is for a swift release from her torment. On a lighter note, details at the end of the story confirm a long held suspicion of mine that there is something deeply sinister about immaculate houses.”
Short stories are my favourite format to write and read so there will be many more to come, either individually as freebies or $1.49 anthologies (as the ‘Story A Day May (stories)‘ and ‘Story A Day May (challenge)‘ are) as well as the occasional novella or three.