The Festivities of Morkwood: 9th December

When I woke this morning, I knew the wet, open wounds on my foot had fused with the bedsheet without having to feel it. I sat up and tried to peel the fabric away as slowly and as gently as I could, but it still stung, causing my eyes to water and fresh blood to ooze out.

As I lowered my left foot to the ground, I yelped in pain – not just because of the ripped skin, but because the muscles in that leg ached so terribly. I had held it up for a total of nine hours yesterday.

Arthur’s smug face materialised in my mind. To soothe myself, I imagined grabbing the stick out of his thick, rough fingers and ramming it deep into the jelly of his eye.

As I tried to stand, I realised my right leg didn’t feel much better. Holding onto the walls for support, I limped to the kitchen to pour myself a glass of water.

Just as I was considering whether the pain of getting into the shower was worth it, I felt a surge of panic – it was light outside my kitchen window. The sun rose just before eight o’clock at this time of year.

I looked over to the clock on the wall.

It was eight forty-five.

Today’s Advent House door was going to open at nine o’clock. It would be impossible to get there in time, even if I had been able to sprint all the way.

But then a sudden calmness washed over me.

“I’m not going to the Advent House,” I said to myself, as if it were a vow I needed to say aloud in order to abide by it.

I picked up my telephone, wondering whether I should call the library to tell them I would be unable to work, or whether I should warn Aunt Iris in case they questioned her about my absence.

I put it back on the receiver, feeling stupid. No one would pick up. They were all at the Advent House.

Then I considered barricading myself in by pushing the bookshelf in front of the door, but I quickly decided against that. Not only would it be difficult in the state I’m in, but they would find another way in, no matter what I did. I was just going to have to sit in my armchair and wait for them to come to me.

And that’s just what I did. All day. I managed to eat a few bites of leftovers around lunchtime – it was all I could stomach – but for most of today I’ve just been sitting, waiting.

It’s dark outside now, and no one has come for me yet.

It’s only a matter of time.

You can now get the edited version of The Festivities of Morkwood on e-book and paperback.

E.J. Babb created Dystopic in 2012 after requiring an outlet for her love of dystopian and apocalyptic fiction. She is the author of These Unnatural Men, FOREGROUND and The Festivities of Morkwood.

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