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  • Writer's pictureCamara Inglis

Chill Light of Dawn

So I'm currently working on another short story for a friend that gave me a sentence at Uni to build a story around, but I haven’t quite gotten around to finishing it yet. Instead, the story below is one I actually wrote for my GCSE English coursework.

The title had to be from a film or a line from one of the poems we were reading, so I chose “chill light of dawn” from a poem I liked. The story had to be a max of 700/800 words I think, but I have edited it a bit just to tidy up what I wrote four years ago. It’s a bit different to what I would write now, but I hope you guys enjoy and be sure to leave a like or comment to let me know what you thought of it!

In the early hours of the dawn, she rested her half-filled champagne glass against the rise and fall of her chest and titled her head, eyes closed, towards the warming rays of the sun. She lay sprawled on a white lounge chair that set perched on a rusty brown tiled balcony overlooking the barely stirring beach.

Clear blue waves sparkled in the sun’s rays as it caressed the sand that blushed a deep brown, lapping up the waves’ attention. To the left were large rocks that sent the seawater flying high as the waves crashed into them. Palm trees stood tall; their broad green leaves hiding her from danger she would’ve once faced. The woman inhaled deeply and the saltiness of the sea stung her nose.

She let out her breath.

All of her previous thoughts left her mind as they were picked up and carried away by the wind that gently whipped around her.

Emma – no – not Emma. That wasn’t her name anymore. She figured it was time for a new one. Emily? No. Too close to her old name. She opened her eyes and took in her new surroundings.

Shh… The gentle noise the water made as it met with the rocks on the sand. As she studied the waves below her, a red rose petal fluttered free from the bush next to her and nestled comfortably in her glass. With two fingers, she took the petal out of her glass and twirled it between her fingers. Her head cocked to the side as the sound of the beach filled her once more. Shh…

She shut her eyes to think. Shh…



Shay Rose? Was that someone she could be? Would be?

She opened her eyes and glanced at the damp petal in her hand. Shh… Her eyes widened and heartbeat quickened at the whisper of hope she heard as the waves seemed to call her name. Shay Rose. She liked it. She allowed herself to smile and began to feel at ease.

She – no Shay – placed her glass down on the tile floor near her foot, closed her eyes and allowed herself to sink into the comforting crevices of the lounge chair.

Her contentment did not last long.

A feeling of unease began to settle over her as the comfort once provided by her lounge chair, quickly became an uncomfortable and distressing embrace. Palm tree leaves that once protected her now separated to expose her to harsh, hot rays that were once his outstretched hands clawing at her. Its gentle heat became his sticky and damp breath on her neck that sent slivers of fear down her spine. The place she thought she could adopt to be her paradise was soon becoming a reminder of the place she had once fled.

She needed to escape.

She swung her legs off of the lounge chair, only for her foot to collide with her champagne glass that sent glass shards flying across the tiled floor. The liquid now dripping from the balcony blazed a yellow so fierce and bright, it reminded her of the colour his eyes would seem to glow as he entered another one of his rages and shattered her confidence, and her body, to prove she was the weak, fragile being he always said she was.

The once cool wind on her skin suddenly became sinister and made her remember the times his touch would scold her body as he forced her to want him. She remembered the way he dragged her and smacked her, but most of all, the piercing wind on her skin made her remember his last words to her; he would find her no matter where she hid from him.

Her eyes suddenly snapped open and she jumped up with a start, her lungs desperately clawing for air. She looked around her balcony with wide eyes and found her glass still stood upright and intact on the floor and the sun had now risen and beamed down on her softly. Could she ever really be safe? Maybe this wasn’t her paradise after all.

No! She shook her head vigorously and chided herself. She collected her glass from the tiled floor and strode over to the cream-painted balcony fence. The palm tree stood tall next to her with its leaves partially blocking her face. Enough, she decided. She didn’t need hiding anymore.

On tiptoes, she reached up and pulled at the cluster of leaves that hid her face and tore them away from the tree. She let them fall from her hand and continued to watch them fall all the way down, down, down until they landed onto the rocks of the beach below and created a beautiful mess.

She supposed that is what she was. A beautiful mess. She finished the contents of her drink and climbed onto the balcony fence. She sat on the edge and let her legs dangle over the side with the beach below her and kept her right hand holding her drinking glass. She looked at the glass and allowed herself to realise he had been right about one thing. She was as fragile as the glasses he would pick up to throw at her, but she would not let herself break into those tiny pieces again. She – Emma, Shay, both – had proven that her fragility was something she could own and would protect for the rest of her life.

The days she would allow his words to mean anything to her were now long behind her. So, in the chill light of dawn, she picked up her glass from next to her, and with outstretched arms, she let it all go.

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