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The Church of Death


This is a short story that was written by myself for Survive Stormont, it details a narrative event that some players and staff were a part of, though was later written out of the core lore. - Emily

The Church of Death

Late last night an ominous letter was set from the infamous Puppeteer. He called all who were brave enough to attend The Church of Death for a service that was like no other. Laid in wait were the Shadow-Walkers; their corruption controlling their every move. The people of this land sort to capture and cleanse the minions, but they decided to bring the fight to the Andorrans.

Two warriors marched into the snowy tundra, to the darkness that hummed behind the church doors. A Queen of the Andorran people and tamer of beasts, and her mighty Nordic brother, known for his prowess on the battlefield – Raven and Raen Azar. Adorned in fur and fighting off the bitter cold, the pair crossed the bridge to The Church of Death, ready to face whatever monstrosities their old friends had become.

First was Limos, the embodiment of Famine, once known as Shea White. Though small in stature, a dwarf of course, the red headed corruption challenged Raven to combat. The two danced with their sword and axe bared, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike. Raven was the first to cut flesh, striking Limos twice before the dance continued. However, Limos did not falter. She rushed the Nord and struck with immeasurable force, slicing right through the furs that protected him from the cold. Raven was now bare fleshed in the snow, on one of the coldest nights this land had seen for some time. He didn’t concede however, fighting through the icy winds that licked his chest as he rushed the dwarf once more. Limos, cocky in her ways, did not expect the towering man to recover so quickly and was caught with a winding blow to the chest. She crumpled instantly, hitting the ground with a tremendous thud. One down, three to go.

Next was Nergal, the embodiment of Pestilence, once known as Bhalmar Silverfist. Nergal was a frightening creature, always cackling like the madness inside him would boil over at any point. Allowing Raven to recover, the Nordic Queen took to her axe, swinging it through the air as if it was but an extension of her arm. Nergal cackled as he too raised his sword, burning with a bright white light, unlike Limos’ black blade. The two met toe to toe, but honour was not something Nergal knew of, much more used to playing with his poisonous toys. He slashed at Lady Raen wildly, cutting away at the thick pelt that protected her from the chilling cold. But Raen didn’t falter, her training some of the finest. She kicked out with her leg, knocking Nergal flat on his ass. Without a second thought she brought her axe down, hitting the blunted side against his temple. Nergal let out a wild growl, his eyesight blackened from the blow. If it had not been for his sickly habit of all things narcotic, he would have been knocked unconscious from the attack. Nergal took his dagger, coated in malice, from his hip and thrust upward. Fortunately for Raen the blow to his head meant he missed; his vision starry. She recoiled from his attack and hastily kicked her boot at his head, rendering him useless. Two down, two to go.

Third was War, the embodiment of himself, once known as Grufyd Rocksmith. He exited the large wooden doors to The Church of Death, a soft green glow and demonic humming coming from within. His fiery red form was illuminated by the warmth of the torches at the entrance as he met the Azars on the icy battlefield. Once close friends, now War would seek to destroy the two of them in honourable combat, worthy of such heroic warriors. Still reeling, the Nordic siblings stood side by side, a blockade of immeasurable strength. Raven attacked first, laying down his axe to retrieve a bola. Raen came at War with all her strength, slashing her battleaxe down against War. It caught, slicing through his shoulder as Raven threw the bola at his feet. War was struck again, but this time his red blade lifted to meet the blow and knocked Raen aside. He may have been immobilised, but War was no easy opponent. Raen cried out as she hit the ground, jerked like a doll in the snow. Filled with protective rage, Raven drew his Viking axe from the ground, the blade glinting under the moonlight. He ran at War, with no intention of stopping. The two collided with an impact that shook for miles, knocking the air from both their lungs. Even immortal, War was only as strong as his host. The butt of Raven’s axe came down then, striking War in the face repeatedly. Again and again, crimson blood flowing from War’s nose. Raven was fuelled with rage, becoming an immovable object of pure fury, with War pinned under him, who had one goal – save them. But the blows did nothing to deter War from his victory; he must win the battle the others had failed to. His arm came up, blocking Raven’s attack before grabbing at his throat with a vise-like grip. With no air, Raven’s face became withdrawn and pale, his eyes glazing over with every second that passed. This was his end. Only War forgot one thing. Her fury. Raen, protecting the brother she loved so dear, slammed her weapon against War’s head, the snow beneath now pink with blood. Suddenly War’s grip faltered, and Raven could breath once again. War had been defeated. Three down, one to go.

As the pair hobbled into the warmth of The Church of Death, they were met by glowing green eyes and a voice so chilling it caused the hairs on their arms to stand proud. The Puppeteer, the embodiment of Death, stood at the altar, as if in greeting. “Such a shame,” his voice echoed in the expanse of the church, a knowing glint in his glowing eyes. Raen Azar went to draw her axe once again, unsteady on her feet. Raven did the same, though he too looked inches from death. “Now is not your time, but…” The Puppeteer laughed, the room filled with a thick green fog, as he disappeared into the night, his voice echoing his goodbye. “I am inevitable.”



Tavern Tales

I have recently been looking through old files of mine and discovered some short stories I had written, and have decided to post them here on Ember.

This was the second short story I wrote for a old friend's larp game, it was supposed to be  a memory for one of her players, but I like it as a standalone too. Enjoy.

- Emily

Tavern Tales

The amber liquid burnt as it slid down my throat, warming me to the core. I chugged the drink in one, needing the dull buzz that the whiskey permitted. It was my fifth… or eighth, I had forgotten the number by this point. Well, my drink number... There was one number I could never forget; their faces, their names. That number.

“Another?” The bartender gazed across at me from the end of the bar, shining the same glass he had been most of the night. He was standing as far away from me as plausible. His posture was tort, defensive. I could see the tension ripple in his muscles through the thin cloth of his shirt. He was built like a soldier, all brawn and testerone. But I saw something in the look he gave me, something unsaid. Fear. He must have heard the stories, could probably smell the inconsistency in my DNA. Splicers were hated. The ‘normies’ were terrified of us; of our power, and ultimately, the destruction we were so capable of unleashing. 

“Is there any point in askin’,” I slurred back, trying my best to throw as much venom in my words as I could; whilst fighting off the dizzying sensation that was creeping at the back of my mind. The man didn’t move for a second, hesitating as he had all night. I had the unbridled urge to leap forward and shout ‘boo’, just to see this mountain of a man shit his pants. But then again, such momentum would probably have me vomiting all over myself.

“Last one,” he declared, crossing the distance to fill my glass with a cheap, vinegarette of a whiskey. It was as potent as I could afford after being kicked from the military. I shrugged his words off, snatching the glass tumbler from his grip with ease. He stumbled back, knocked off balance by my unnaturally fast reflexes. A grin spread across my face then, creasing the corners of my eyes with joy at the man’s discomfort. He scuttled away as I took the glass to my pastel lips, grimy fingerprints evident to my superior senses. This place is a pigsty, I grumbled inwardly whilst pouring the cheap liquor down my gullet. 

I detected motion out the corner of my eye. Two large shadows towering over a smaller one. I blinked once, then twice. Trying to clear the black spots from my vision, only to realise that there was indeed something happening off to my left. Two drunkard men were surrounding a feeble woman, their potbellies evident under straining outer garments. The woman cried softly, a pathetic noise to my inhuman ears, pinned between the monstrosities in the darkness of the corner booth. 

I was off my stool in an instant. My body working on auto-pilot. Before my numbed mind had a chance to catch up, I had crossed the tavern’s expanse, foot extended to the rear of the right-most pig. It connected with a loud crack, breaking a bone or two.The man was thrown into the nearest wall with a deafening thud, his large figure collapsing in on itself. I turned then, catching the other by the throat, claws extended. He rasped beneath my iron-grip, batting at my hold with feeble, intoxicated blows.

His efforts did little to deter me, as I lifted him up off of the ground. The man was almost double my size, but felt as light as a feather in my inhuman grip. His hazel eyes bulged at me, from both a lack of oxygen and the terror I saw etched on his greasy features. He tried to talk, beg me to let him go most likely, but I tightened my grip further, causing a wispy wail to leave him. The man had a balding head of black hair, streaked with greying strands. He was on the heavier side, his cheeks bloated and red. His nose was too small for his face, getting lost under his pudgy flesh. How easy it would be to end your pathetic existence, my inner darkness cooed.

“You will die tonight,” I growled between gritted teeth, slightly spitting the words at the man. He was about to do something terrible to a girl who couldn’t defend herself. I felt it in my bones. Could read it in their looming postures. It was disgusting, vile even. To think they could take what they wanted no matter what. It brought forth a darkness that I had been accustomed to since that fateful night that led to my excommunication from the military. “Never again will anyone take what they can’t have.” My voice became a heated rumble inside my chest, a low growl leaving my pursed lips as my lycant side took over. With a swift twist of the wrist, the man’s neck was broken, and he was no more. I let go then, his lifeless body landing with a heavy thump onto the sticky wooden floorboards. 

Another body to add to my number. 


The Escape

I have recently been looking through old files of mine and discovered some short stories I had written, and have decided to post them here on Ember.

This first was a short story I wrote for a old friend's larp game, it was supposed to be  a memory for one of her players, but I like it as a standalone too. Enjoy.

- Emily

The Escape

“Get up!” A stern voice shouted, hitting the bars of my cell with a wooden baton. The noise ringing out in the empty space of my hole.

I awoke suddenly, thrust from the warmth of my dreams. I sprung to my feet, keeping my posture low, in a defensive position. My body ached, the cold, hard floor of my cell taking a toll on my aging muscles. My neck was crinked, my calves cramped, and my left arm was numb from sleeping on the stone. I could feel my heart hammer in my chest, my breath lodged in my throat. 

“Morning Little Doll,” the voice leered at me. His tongue slipping from the confines of his mouth to lap at his dry lips. I knew that voice. Recognised it as soon as I heard it. That was the voice of my torturer; the one man who was allowed to do as he wished, with no consequences from the Cult Leaders. He was my keeper. My guard. My living nightmare. 

His stare haunted me when I closed my eyes, cold and unforgiving were those blue irises. Those same eyes looked upon me now, peering between the metal bars of the cell in which I called home. I was kept here during the night. Shackled to the ground like a dog, and treated worse than such. The weight of the iron cuff on my ankle was more noticeable in that moment, the flesh raw and bloody underneath the constraints. I tried not to look down, to pull at my lead, but I couldn’t help it. He was here, and I had to do anything I could to get away. 

“Now, now Little Doll…” the voice cooed, jiggling heavy, iron keys in his left hand. I stared at them, almost hypnotised by the allure of freedom. Instinctively I bowed my head, lowering my body to the ground, on all fours, as if praising the man who could grant me my freedom. “That’s a good Little Doll.” 

I kept my eyes low, staring at the marbled stone, my life of imprisonment teaching me not to stare into the eyes of my Master if I wanted to ever be let out of the hole. That was what my ‘room’ was, a hole at the bottom of a building I barely knew existed. 3 solid walls of stone, encasing me like a tomb, with one barred gate at the front, the only light and interaction I have ever received. It was cold in the cell, below freezing really. If it had not been for my hot blooded nature I would surely have frozen to death many years ago. 

“They want to see you. Who’s a lucky Little Doll?” His familiar voice leered, a slimey kind of noise that crept into my soul and unnerved me to the core. “But first… I need to teach my Little Doll some manners, don’t I?” Those words chilled me to the bone, no matter how hot my skin was to the touch. Fear crept in, my eyes darting from the floor to his aging face, a thick beard framing his pale, flaky lips. 

“No…” My voice was small, child-like, not that I had ever seen one, just heard stories of them. I sounded as powerless as I felt. Chained up like a beast in a cell that would be my prison until it became my tomb. Panic settled in me then. I tried to suck in a deep breath, but choked on the stale air I needed to calm my racing heart. No, no, no. The voice inside my head mumbled over and over, a mantra of sorts. Must run, it urged, must be free, free from this man, from this place. 

I clenched my fists until my knuckles went white, the pressure calming the nerves that had boiled up from the depths of my desperation. Must run, the voice urged again, more firmly this time. Must run now. I didn’t know what I was thinking. How could I even escape this Hell that my life had always been? But I had to try, or I feared I’d be lost to those four walls for the rest of my miserable existence. 

“No!” My voice was still small, but it had a defiance to it that was new to my ears and his. I sprung to my feet then, yanking at the iron shackles on my ankles in the process. It hurt, a lot, but I was determined to be free now, or die trying. “Never again will I be your Little Doll,” I spit the words at my captor, forcing what might I could muster into my defiance. The air around me shifted then, taking form as I willed it so. Something I had learnt all those years ago. 

“Little Doll wants a beating, does she?” My captor warned, moving forward to ram the key into lock that held the bars closed between the two of us. He was trying to keep me contained, beat the disobedience out of me, as he always did. But not today. Not today, the voice muttered, and never again. “Not today,” I mirrored the words I heard inside my head, knowing that the time was now. 

My eyelids flutter closed as I began to concentrate, controlling the air around me. I gathered it around me, nestling myself in its protection. I heard him gasp then, the iron keys clattering to the floor as the air around him became unbreathable. I didn’t open my eyes, too scared that I would see those blues eyes and crumple under them. Instead I held the air close to me, as tight as I could, before I pushed it forward, releasing a shockwave of energy that burst through the walls around me. Everything exploded in an instant, the power of the energy blowing the walls of my cell outward with ease; my captor too. I heard a loud crash, followed by a chilling crack and wet squelch, my eyes still screwed shut.

I hesitated then, not knowing what would be revealed to me as I opened my eyes, but wanting dearly to be finally released from this nightmare. My eyes didn’t defy me. The walls of my once complete cell were crumbled into rumble, a circle of debris surrounding me. The metal bars too had been blown from their hinges, thrown at the far wall, under which was a bloodied figure that my gaze averted, refusing to acknowledge. 

“I did it!” I exclaimed, squealing happily. In that moment I heard the rushing footsteps of people above. Oh no, the voice croaked, they’re coming for me. Must run. I did as it said. I took the keys from the floor, using them to release me from my shackles before I turned and ran through the wall that once stood in my way. I ran and ran, as far as my feet could carry me, and then further still. “I’m free.”


This is not a work of fiction, but a recollection from my past. Contains painful memories, so please be respectful. I hope reading this will help at least one person in their struggles. 


My Last Goodbye


 30th August 2016.

This is the day my life changed forever. The day my father died.

It had been a very bad year. The worst if I am being honest with myself.

I was still reeling from my past coming back to haunt my present. My family splintering because of it, and myself… Well, I lost it, and I never really found it again.

My father, Nick, had been sick for a while. He was diagnosed with renal cancer and it was the scariest moment of our lives. Like something out of a movie. You see it in Hollywood, hear it on the news, even read it in books. But you never think it’ll be you. That your family with have to go through the Hell of the “C” word.

My father had a choice to make. He was going to get very sick, very quickly if he didn’t make that choice, and make it fast. They had to cut the cancer out. But it was a dangerous operation. My father was a big man, and because of this he had a 1 in 10 chance of not waking up. This was something the plagued my father. He didn’t know if he could make that choice; risk his life to save it.

By the time my father made the choice to have the surgery the odds had shifted. He now had a 50/50 chance of living. He’d either wake up or he wouldn’t. It was a dangerous operation after all. They’d have to take his entire kidney, and even then, there was other risks besides the cancer itself.

The day was one of the worst in my life. Time did as it does best, ticking away slowly. Almost as if taunting us all. Every hour was excruciating. Would he wake up? Or would he be gone forever? The questions haunted us all. Every minute. Every hour. Slowly dragging its feet until we couldn’t take it anymore. Then, suddenly, it was over. He was awake. The surgery was a success. My father lived.

For months he was okay. Better than okay. He no longer looked like a man with a bomb strapped to his chest. He felt alive again. We all did. Like we managed to dodge a bullet, and it felt fantastic. But like everything that happens in my life, this silver lining wasn’t to last. In fact, things got worse. So much worse… it became a living nightmare.

My father had been in and out of hospital for months. Check-up after check-up. Blood screens. Medication. Chemo. Ambulances. Bed rest. All of it. It almost felt like the hospital became a second home, with a revolving door. But he had bitten the bullet and had the surgery. He was supposed to be okay now. We had gone through the worst of it. That’s what we all thought. That is what I wished, with all my heart. Until he met the oncologist at the Windmill unit of Victoria Hospital.

The Dr had given him the worst news. He waited too long. The cancer had already spread. But that was okay, because there were other treatment options, right? They have all these adverts on the television for Cancer Research UK and how they have made huge strides in the field. How the medicine is so advanced now, and that it was no longer a death sentence. There was a life after cancer. Only, they don’t tell you about the times when it doesn’t work… When the medication isn’t enough.

The cancer had spread. It had spread everywhere. His lungs. His lymph nodes. His spine… He was more cancer than not at this point. This was it. There was so treatment for this. It was terminal. Terminal. That’s the word they use for it when there is nowhere left to go. It’s quite ironic. He had months left. Maybe weeks. Maybe years. They didn’t know. All they knew was there was no future for my father. Which meant there was no future for me. Losing him would destroy me, I knew it would, I felt it in my bones.

No one expects to wake up in the morning and realise that any day they could lose someone they love more than life itself. My father was that someone for me. Yes, we fought. We fought more than most do. But it was because we were so alike, and when I was younger, I hated that fact. I hated thinking that I was a mirror image of my father. Now I would look into the mirror and cherish that I would always keep a piece of him alive. My father. My hero. The man who would do anything for those he loved. He was the kindest man you would ever meet. He snored like an 18-wheeler, and always breathed into his mug when he drank his coffee. He used to sit in his chair and scratch his hands to the point of annoying everyone in the room. But worse, he always coughed. Like a chorus of throat clearing and chesty grunts. I know now that these aspects of my father are what I would miss the most. The silence. What I would give to hear him cough one more time, as annoying as it was.

My father got very sick, very fast. He had nurses coming in and out of the house all the time. Our living room became a hospital room - a hospital bed sat in the centre with the kiddie rails up, and medical supplies busting through the seams. My mother and I got into a routine. She would sleep at night and take care of him during the day, and I? Well I would stay up throughout the night to care for him when he needed someone. It wasn’t normal, by any means, and it’s probably why I can never sleep during the night now, but it was what he needed. We never complained though. How could we? He was going through Hell, and we were barely bystanders to it all.

During the nights I would hear him call out for help. Always. Every night. It wasn’t a yell as such, he had lost his voice for the most part. By this time my father was at the end of the road. He didn’t eat. He didn’t drink. He just kind of laid there on his bed, in a diaper, like a toddler. It was like we had lost him before he was actually gone. He wasn’t my father anymore, not really. He was always confused, and angry, but mostly scared. He cried, a lot, and I couldn’t blame him. I cried too. I still do.

I remember one night as the worst night. I won’t go into the details of what happened, because that wouldn’t be dignifying my father; a man who no man will ever measure up to. Let’s just say it was bad… Like, really bad. But it wasn’t what happened that haunted me for years to come, not exactly anyhow. It was what he said to me, or more specifically… what he couldn’t say.

This particular night he had some kind of consciousness back to him. He wasn’t as confused as he usual was, and when he looked at me, I knew he saw me – he knew who I was. I was sat on the sofa next to his bed, it was pretty late that night. He had called for me earlier, asked me to stay with him. So, I did. I stood beside his bed when he reached out for me, for hours, just holding his hand. His hands were always so big, his fingers thicker than my niece’s wrist. Though they were different now, almost unrecognisable. His tanned skin was loose, hanging almost, his bones easily felt beneath. They were colder too. He was always so warm, my father, like a radiator, but not anymore. He felt normal now, which was cold to me. I cradled his hand in my own, slowly rubbing my thumb over his skin. It was hard to look at him like that, so I just watched the movement of my thumb over his hand, over and over again, like I was soothing a baby.

“I have never been in so much pain in my life,” he said. He voice was quiet, hoarse from the lack of fluids. He had this little sponge and a cup of water. I had to dip the sponge into the cup and soak it and then press it to his lips so that he had some kind of fluids. I went to do that then, but he had stopped me. I saw something in his eyes I had never seen before, something that shook me. Fear. He was terrified, and he told me as much. He looked at me for a long moment and squeezed my hand. “You know how much you love me,” his voice trailed off. At first, I was confused. Did he mean to say how much he loved me? Was this the confusion? But then I saw it, the question in his stare; the pleading.

I knew what he wanted. I was 22 years old. I had used a similar line on my parents on many an occasion. Always when I wanted something, I knew they wouldn’t be willing to give. That’s what he needed of me then. He needed an out. He was in so much pain. I knew it. I saw it every day. The drugs weren’t enough. He was scared to die. I was scared for him to die. But he couldn’t do it anymore, he wasn’t strong enough. He wanted me to help him, to end his suffering. Maybe if I was stronger, I would have done as he needed me to, but I wasn’t strong. I haven’t ever been strong, and I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself. He looked away from me then, staring blankly out the window, almost as if I had disappointed him.

The next day my father died. It was just after midnight when the phone rang. My mother was asleep, as usual, so I answered it. My father wasn’t doing well at home, and as much as he wanted to die there, in our house with his family around him, we couldn’t keep caring for him as we were. It was killing us both. We barely slept, ate, showered, or pretty much did anything but watch him waste away into a shell of the man he used to be.

I answered on the third ring. There was a sweet woman on the end of the phone, her voice withdrawn but soft. She asked for my mother. My stomach dropped. She didn’t even say the words, but I knew it in the depths of my soul; he was gone. I crawled into bed with my mother and handed her the phone, as I curled into a ball next to her. I sobbed. I sobbed and sobbed, until my head hurt as much as my heart did.

My father was dead, and I had failed him. Those were the only two things I knew anymore. They would spin around inside my skull until I closed my eyes that night. I. Failed. Him. He. Is. Dead. Over and over, like a nightmare mantra. I didn’t even get to say goodbye. They had taken him to the hospice that afternoon, whilst I was asleep, since I stayed up with him in the evenings. The last thing he ever said to me was a request I couldn’t fulfil. I failed him, and I never got to say goodbye.

My mother made some calls after the hospice hung up. Soon after my sisters turned up. They cried too. Hard. Coffee was made, and no sleep was to be had. We all just sat around the table in the freezing conservatory, muted and dull. Like the colour had drained from our life. We knew it was coming. Worse, we saw it coming. We watched as every piece of my father was lost to the corruption inside of his body. The cancer that ate away at his life. No one talked. No one dared to. The house was silent for the first time in so long. It was deafening.

The hospice had told my mother that we could go to the centre in the morning to pick up his things, and to say goodbye. They had prepared him, or at least his body. No one wanted to see him that way, not even me. But I had to. I couldn’t forget those words he had said to me, and their meaning. I couldn’t forget the feeling inside of me, as if I had failed him, and it drowned me. Worse than the grief. The guilt was killing me. My family thought it would be good for me to say goodbye to him, to acknowledge he was really gone. I was so lost in myself that I didn’t have the strength to think for myself, so I did it. I went to say goodbye.

The room I had entered was so cold it made goose bumps appear all over my skin. It was as if I had walked into a freezer, only it was a room. A room with a bed in the middle, and my father laid on top of it. He wore a blue shirt; one I had seen him in several times before. They must have dressed him to comfort us, but it was odd to see him dressed now, after so long. He looked serene where he lay, unmoving. I was utterly terrified. Terrified of my father as he lay there, dead. I knew that doing this would have been difficult, but I never really knew how hard it was going to be.

It took me a while to move into the seat that was next to the bed, facing him. I moved so slowly, frightened he’d move, terrified he wouldn’t. My eyes couldn’t move from his face, so withdrawn, not like I had ever seen him before. They say that the dead just look like they’re sleeping, let me tell you this now, they don’t. They don’t look asleep, they look dead. Gone. That’s what he was now. Just a body, an empty shell, with no one inside. I thought I had cried before, when the news broke, but it was nothing compared to that moment. That haunting moment, in the coldest room I have ever been in.

I was scared to touch him, but I forced myself to. I placed a hand on his and wept. His skin was so cold. Too cold. It was hard, unmoving, and cold, like ice. I tried to squeeze his hand, but it did nothing. He was still gone. His stillness still haunts me to this day. I had placed my head onto his chest, his broad chest that, when he was alive, was always moving. Like him. My father never sat still. Never stayed silent. I don’t know why I did it, maybe it was because I wished that they had got it wrong. That I could somehow feel his large heart steadily thumping inside his chest. But it didn’t. It never would again.

I hold this memory in my aching heart to this day. The memory of seeing him, gone. Like he was never here to begin with. I thought that it would give me peace, to say a final goodbye. But there was no peace in that room. They may have laid flowers on his chest and tucked in his shirt and cleaned his face. But there was no peace. His face was covered in stubble, white wisps of hair poking out. He shaved every morning since I was a child. It looked so out of place. Everything about him did. I left that room with a heavier heart than I had entered, and I would never forget the horror inside of it. The finality of seeing him like that.

Sometimes we lose someone we love suddenly. It’s something I have been through in my short life, many times. Somehow, this was worse. The longevity of seeing him slowly becoming less of the man I knew and loved and seeing him in so much anguish and fear. To this day, I wish I had said something that day. I have so many regrets in my life. So much pain and guilt. Losing my father was like the last nail in the coffin for me, for a long time. I lost myself to a darkness I had pushed down for so long. I am still lost. Still trying to fight my way through the pain of losing him. Every day is a battle. Ever morning I wake up is a victory. There are dark times, more than there are good. Sometimes it gets so dark I see no light at the end of the tunnel, and I wish for it to be over. But it has been almost three years since that day. Three years since I lost him.

I have always found solace in one quote, from one of my favourite tv shows, Criminal Minds. “It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.' I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” - Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy.

And that is my story, at least one of them.

I would like to dedicate this to my father, Nicholas Danby, a man who was taken too soon. I would also like to thank Max for his dedication to Ember, and to allowing a safe and secure space to allow writers such as myself to express themselves, in whatever way they see fit. Lastly, I would like that thank Felix (Armon on Stormont), for helping me start this piece, and my heart for helping me finish it.

Stay strong – Emily



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