This little story was originally accepted by Copper Staple and was initially inspired by an item from the internet that my son showed me where a black pen dot on the palm of a hand is a cry for help from someone who is the recipient of abuse, whether emotional or physical, when shown to someone in authority. I don’t know how much truth there was in this article – please don’t ignore any cry for help.


She wanted it, she needed it, she didn’t know how to ask for it.

When she took her children to school in the mornings and stood chatting with the other mothers, in tight jeans and ponytails, every word of conversation was imbued with a silent plea for help. The mothers sensed the sticky desperation and slowly slid away, blinkered to the cry in her eyes.

The cold nervousness of a trip to the supermarket, greetings exchanged with the staff who’d known her for years. The begging in her touch as she handed over her money, searching in their eyes for some recognition, some sign that they saw her call.

Her husband, kind enough, older than her, unthinking, had no idea of the snakes her head contained. He saw her in the morning, before he went to work and again in the evening when he came home; leaving desperate hours in between to try and silence the screaming snakes in her head.

Even the cat sensed her clammy, tenuous grip, and slipped uneasy from her hands as she tried to suck comfort from his warm fur.

Her mother, her father, happily married for thirty years, saw no further than the blank mask of happiness she assumed on their weekly visits. They did not want to see what lay beneath the carefully made up face and designer clothes holding inside shattered fragments. She’d get over it and settle down, perhaps a nice little job when the children were older. They comforted each other.

One day her husband came home early. She should have been expecting him, the suitcases packed and standing in the hall, ready for their holiday.

He found her upstairs. He thought she’d bought new sheets. The crimson glowed dully in the light of early afternoon. She lay, peaceful and pale. What will he tell the children?

She had found the help she wanted at last.

Words Copyright © 2016 Samantha Murdoch

All photographs Copyright © 2016 Alex Marlowe

19 thoughts on “Help

  1. It’s really good 🙂 It’s compact, I think it could easily be developed into a short story. If you enjoy writing I think you should go for it (and maybe write a novel?). It made me think more of mental illness and the inability to both cope with it and admit-even to the people close to you-the suffering.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you – that’s a lovely compliment and comment! I really do enjoy writing, perhaps longer stories and a novel could be a possibility…I enjoy flash fiction for its short, sharp glimpses into peoples’ lives. I really appreciate your response to the story – I wanted to make a point… Job done! Thank you, as always for reading and commenting, much appreciated 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So sad! But a tale which is so common (in various degrees) in our lives as humans. How ironic the cycle is where we are supposed to soldier on, are seen as weak if we need or ask for help and then weaker still if we take the so called ‘easy way out’. Compassion, love and kindness…more of each is so very much needed in a world where we wrap ourselves in our six foot of space and are blinkered to so many things.

    Wel wriiten, Samantha. Left me quite teary. And on that note it must be time for a mid-morning chocolate biscuit!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love it! I started my journey with writing in March 2015, just with creative writing. In July and August I started writing short stories while my inner voice kept nagging for writing a novel. It was one of my childhood dreams and I always belittled myself. In September 2015 I decided to give it a try and used the Snowflake method to write my novel. I spent three months outlining it and 6 months writing it. I sent it to my British editor yesterday and I will publish it as soon as I’m done with editing. This was a peak experience for me and I do encourage you to write a novel. I love the way you talk about pets and who knows, maybe you start a series for pet lovers or for children. Just listen to your inner voice, if it asks for a novel, roll your sleeves up and get ready to a one of a kind life experience.
    The snowflake is here:

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the information and I will certainly check out the link! Exciting to hear about your novel-let me know how it progresses! So pleased you liked the post, thank you for reading and commenting! : )


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