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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Bark is Worse than His/Her Bite (10/17/13)

TITLE: If Words Could Kill
By Llewelyn Stevenson


It was a recently rare occasion for Kerrylou, a pretty fourteen year old with flowing auburn hair framing an attractively freckled face. The gaspeite hue of her pupils sparkled happily as she skipped along the street on her way home. A cat cried as she passed and she looked down and stopped.

“Hello kitty, aren’t you beautiful?” She crouched and petted the delighted feline that paraded back and forth, rubbing itself against her shins before jumping onto her lap. Kerrylou stayed a while before picking the cat up, placing it on the ground. Getting up she brushed the loose fur from her skirt saying, “Sorry but I must be on my way, mum’s expecting me home soon.”

Kerrylou’s day had been one of those exceptional moments when everything seemed to be going right for once. She had aced a tough exam and made a new, unexpected friend – something of a rarity these days. Kerry [everyone called her that] had invited new-to-town Alice to youth group and she had readily agreed as they changed mobile numbers promising to keep in touch as often as possible.

“Hi mum,” Kerrylou called as she leaped through the door with a back-handed push that caused it to bang loudly behind her.

Her mum’s head appeared in the passage doorway. She looked annoyed but decided not to say anything as Kerrylou looked so happy, it seemed a long time since she had seen her so degage.

Kerrylou was not an unhappy person, in fact many thought of her as delightful company. She was humorous but respectful, helpful and kind. Yet sometimes, to her mum, she appeared to be carrying the world on her shoulders, and that [though unknown to anyone] was a fact.

Kerrylou sat cross-legged on her bed. Tossing her hair back over her shoulders she unlocked her mobile phone. Perhaps there would be a message from Alice.

As expected there was a list of messages. Kerrylou knew what they contained and knew she would read them – it was a magnetic addiction she appeared unable to control. Scrolling the list she found Alice’s name and pressed view.

Kerry’s breathing stopped. Her heart cringed as she read Alice’s message. Someone had told her those awful untruths and she appeared to believe them. All the joy Kerry had felt that morning dissipated like a punctured tyre. Alice’s taunting rebuke hurt as she told Kerry she would never attend any youth group with such a hypocrite and was sorry she had to attend the same school.

A frustrated sorrow gripped Kerry but she was beyond tears. Anger, hate and disappointment filled her thoughts. Dropping the mobile onto the bed she slowly rose and walked out of the bedroom emotionally deflated – empty.

“Mum, is dinner ready?” Kerrylou appeared in the kitchen doorway.

Half turning Priscilla replied, “In about fifteen minutes love, dad should be home by then.”

Kerrylou turned and left. Priscilla partially noticed her mood swing and thought perhaps they should talk it over after dinner. She was rather busy just now.

Kerrylou returned to her bedroom. Retrieving her jewel box she lifted out the folded letter she had received some time ago. Inside the letter she lifted the condom wrapped in thirty dollars and read the address on the page with the following note, “Bring it if you want it to be safe.”

She didn’t know who had written the note but knowledge of it soon ran through the school and that’s when it all began.

Picking up her pen she wrote at the bottom of the page, “Perhaps I should tell mum about this”, folded it all up and returned it to the drawer locked in her jewel box.

No one noticed Kerrylou leave the house.

“Dinner time darling,” Priscilla was puzzled not to find Kerrylou in her bedroom when she noticed the note leaning against the dressing table mirror.

Picking it up and reading the tear stained page fear gripping her heart, “I love you. I love you all. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”

“Kerrylou,” she called repeatedly as she hurried to the lounge where Benjy watched the news. As she entered Benjy pointed to the current item. A young girl had just jumped in front of a fast moving train.

Cyber bullying: the bark that is truly worse than the bite. Please help stamp it out.

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This article has been read 137 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/24/13
Wow, this is a powerful story. My heart ached for Kerry and the many young people who are hurting just like this. You did a fantastic job of dealing with a difficult subject--suicide. Mom always told me that suicide was a permanent solution to a temporary problem. It's so true and people need to be reminded of that. Bullying is a prevalent problem for today's generation.

My main red ink was the beginning was a tad slow. It's vital to start off with a real attention grabber. When you only have 750 words, you need to make every word count. The reader really doesn't need to know Kerrylou's hair and eye color or her nickname or even the encounter with the cat. Instead, I might have started with the message and then backtrack about how she had hoped that the new friend wouldn't fall prey to the rumors. That's just one suggestion, but there could be many ways you could start with more of an attention grabber.

Once I got past the first bit, I was totally committed to the story. You did a nice job of showing the mistake Kerrylou made--not talking about her problem because of embarrassment. From that point on, the choices became more heart-wrenching. I wanted to reach through the screen and shake her while yelling, "Talk to Mum!" You really brought the MC alive and made her and her pain feel real to me.

I like how you covered the topic in a reverse sort of way. It was fresh and creative. Sometimes words do more than just hurt feelings, they can inflict deep, lasting scars. This story should be read by all teens and their parents. You did a great job of bringing your important message to the forefront.
C D Swanson 10/27/13
Oh my heart went out to the MC and this story overall. I was bullied from twelve years old until graduation from high school at sixteen. And, beaten-up so many times.

Suicide is an alternative that so many have chosen to escape...and you've managed to bring it to the forefront in a touching and classy way.

Good job. Thank you.

God bless~