© 2009 by Andrew J.McKiernan - previously unpublished
I have prayed for help. Cried out for it. But none has come. I wish I'd died months ago, instead of hoping all this time for the impossible.
The text was spidery and cramped. It didn't follow the rules of the page, but crawled slowly above and below in a sinuous wave. Underneath, a line had been drawn in red ink - a terminus that also marked the beginning of the next entry.
Is there any reason to write this? Will anyone ever read it? I must say something, in case they do. Mum, Dad, Kenny, I love you.
The writing was different: cursive where the previous entry was printed; thick-black ink where the paper under the other bore the scars of a blue ballpoint pen.
Another red line, and then:
There is a reason for everything. In all His infinite wisdom the Lord leaves nothing to chance. All acts have a higher purpose that only He may know. I can only pray that this is true. Oh Lord, calm my fears and doubts as I prepare to kneel before you.
This hand was less assured than either of the previous entries. More mature perhaps, but the letters were hesitant in their execution, as if each had taken its own sweet time to form on the page. Faint water stains, of sweat or tears, feathered the ink.
There were more entries, pages of them, filling the old leather-bound book.
Fuck you! I hope you rot in Hell you bastard!
I've been scared and alone for so long I don't know what to write. I don't even know who I'm supposed to be writing to. Oh God, I hope it's quick.
Some entries were in pencil, or in pens of various colour, type and thickness. All were ruled below with the same harsh, red line.
I turned pages crisp with age; pages creased, and torn, and marred by dark stains I preferred not to identify.
My dearest Melissa, I will miss you so much. I wish I could hold you one more time and tell you I love you. I can't, so I'll just hold your face in my mind until nothing but the thought of you remains. Your smile will guide me. I will feel no pain.
Printed, and cursive, and writing with sharp, blocky capitals; tiny writing, spiky writing, writing filled with flowing ligatures and showy ornamentation; hesitant phrases, assured diatribes, panicked confessions - all different, all imbued with the same essence of finality.
Mum? Dad? I love you. You only ever wanted the best for me, I know that. I hope I didn't disappoint you. I hope I made you proud.
The space for the next entry was empty, waiting.
"Your turn now," my captor said from the shadows of the cellar.
I took a pen with shaking hand, and started to write.
This work is copyright 2009 by Andrew J McKiernan. Reproduction is not permitted without the permission of the author.