The Way She Talks


Something about the dainty perfume bottles drew me to them. A beautiful array of colours, shapes and patterns – and when you took off the top, glorious scents assaulted your nose and brought with them an onslaught of memories, filled with emotions that made your heart yearn.

My mother never wore much make up; she didn't need to judging by the photos. Her facial structure was soft and feminine, a small round nose in the centre of two doe-like brown eyes fringed by lashes so thick and dark that you wondered if they were real – and a pair of lips that were full and ripe and always a lovely shade of red, as though she'd been kissing a man beneath the moonlight. Her pale, porcelain skin lived up to the title of English rose, a permanent shade of coral pink dotting her cheeks. No blemishes marred her face, no freckles, no dimples and certainly no spots.

Her perfection didn't stop there. She had a body, all thin waist, long legs and big bust, which Disney could have drawn. Shades of honey, coffee and chocolate wove themselves into the wavy curls of her hair as they draped down her body, creating a cascade of warm, rich tones that when the light hit just right, caused millions of light fractions to emerge, as though every strand of hair itself was made of coloured diamonds.

No, my mother definitely didn't need the aid of make up to enhance her beauty. How could perfection be enhanced? Perhaps that's why I was unnaturally drawn to the colourful glass bottles, because it was the one thing I could share with my mother. She couldn't lend me eyeliner as I grew up, she couldn't advise the best way to create that smoky look which the boys drooled over, but she could give me her own scents, the ones she'd created herself as a past-time.

The smells varied far and wide; Lemongrass that was sharp on the senses, Patchouli which was wonderfully musty and powerful and Fuchsia with it's sweetness. All of them created for the common purpose of attraction, just like make up. It was, according to my father, the latter scent which first drew him to her. A lethal scent which she dabbed gently on her wrists and collarbone whenever they were on a date.

Perhaps that's why, regardless of where I was heading, I always dabbed a bit of her perfume onto the insides of my wrist. Perhaps I was hoping to attract someone myself.

My heart ached whenever I thought about her. My memories were short and few, but the image of her sitting at her vanity table, gently using a cotton bud to apply perfume on the hollow of her neck, as she hummed old songs and nursery rhymes, was as vivid as the days it had happened.

Sometimes, I still sat there. When Charlie was at work, I'd crawl under the bed covers, trying to smell her between the sheets, but her scent had long left the room, just as she had. Yet, I'd still lie there content, staring at the stool where she once sat, wearing her white silk gown as her voice whispered songs of love and passion and fairy-tale endings. Sometimes, I pretended I could see her, but it was a lie.

I was only nine when I found her.

I remember climbing the stairs, excited because today I did my first cartwheel out on the fields at school. I remember calling out for her, my voice thick with joy. And I remember the time-stilling moment where my bones chilled as my eyes saw her lifeless body slung carelessly across the bed.

Even then, I didn't want to believe the impossible. My mother was a sturdy figure in my life, a constant character which made me laugh and smile and giggle as much as my father. As far as my young mind could conceive, she was invincible. Nothing could ever take her away.

How wrong could I have been? It couldn't have been easier with me at school all day, my father working long shifts at the police station.

When my own eyes, perfect copies of my mother's, saw the vibrant red staining that silk robe, I knew instantly that the hands of death hadn't taken her away from me, someone else had.

With a tear rolling down my cheek, I curled up beside her, not caring for the blood which covered my school uniform, and I screamed. I screamed until my throat was raw, until my voice was merely a rasp, until they found us. I screamed until the pain went away.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: New story. It's only a short prologue, but as the first chapter is already done, it won't be a long wait until it's put up. I said it would be an angsty story, and I never lie. Well, hardly ever. ;)

Please review. I hate to do this, but I'd like at least twenty reviews so I know whether anyone is actually interested in this story. I know this is just a prologue and it doesn't particularly summarise the plot well, but it picks up when she hits sixteen. I promise