Beautiful, Beautiful Flowers

“I’m not crazy, I’m telling you I know what I saw!” I shrieked. She looked at me, wide eyed, a flicker of shock spreading over her gorgeous features, her neutral face wavering just a little, enough for me to realise that she didn’t believe me one bit. “Okay, I believe you” she whispered, her voice as peaceful as the harmony of angels. “He comes in every night in my room, flowers start to die right before he is about to enter, I don’t realise when he’s there but every morning when I wake up, and something feels missing, like a sense of peace has been taken.” I repeated myself, a spark of hope in my voice, I want her to believe me. “And do you know what triggers this, like something you are feeling right at that moment before he comes, or a particular action” she said, an edge of concern detectable in her voice. “You still don’t believe me, do you?” I asked my therapist, a question I already knew the answer to. “Look, all I am saying is that you have been through a lot, your family dying in a car crash wasn’t easy for you, I understand that” she added. “Goodbye” I mumbled, flames of anger eating me up. I broke into a run and slammed her door shut when I walked out of her office.
I know I am not crazy. I know he is the one making me crazy by taking away my peace. I went into my room into the psychiatric hospital, chilly wind caressing my face through the multiple open wooden frame windows, each one with etchings on them. Things I wrote to calm me down when I am panicking. Mostly when the flowers around me start to die. I lay down on my bed, tears wetting my cheeks, staring at the fan on my ceiling, it was making an uncanny sound, calming but nerve-wrecking all the same. My limbs started shaking when I saw the bouquet on my desk starting to wither, eerily fast, like some clouds of death were sucking the life right out of it, as if time were working at six times it’s speed.
My limbs stopped shaking, I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t scream, I was petrified. My eyes popping out of my head as I widened them, full of tears. A hooded figure emerged in the room, clad in black, walking towards me. My eyes widened more. Please God, please, no.
I woke with a gasp, wet cheeks, and eyes still teary. It was sleep paralysis. Thank God. I felt so relieved. Darkness clouded my vision, as I saw him, unable to physically move. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t scream, I was petrified. This was the first time I had seen him yet all this time I had known exactly what he looked like.


23 was established in 1997, and since then we have successfully completed numerous short story and poetry competitions and publications.
We receive an overwhelming positive feedback each year from the teachers, parents and students who have involvement in these competitions and publications, and we will continue to strive to attain this level of excellence with each competition we hold.


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