My first literary short story was shortlisted for the Writers Forum fiction comp, which I'm very pleased about as it was a new style of writing for me! Here is a sneak peek below, and you can read the rest on Wattpad....

My heels jab the pavement like knives. Any Normal Girl would be
balanced precariously in these boots, tottering unsteadily even without the
influence of alcohol or drugs, but I wear mine like weapons. One of the tools of
my trade.

It’s cold out tonight, the wind lashing my thighs under the hem
of my ridiculously short skirt. Another tool. For practical purposes as well as
image; it makes for easy access. The other women are lined up the road like
soldiers, each inhabiting their own particular spot. We all look the same in the
dark; interchangeable.

We don’t talk to each other much. A few muttered words here and
there, the sharing of fags, and warnings of who to avoid. Nothing too personal.
There are certain things you never say to each other. No-one ever talks about
their families, or their pasts, and certainly not their dreams for the future.
Most of us know exactly what the future holds.

And then I see her. Normal Girl. Tottering down the pavement
looking lost.

From the distance she could easily be one of us; same outfit,
same big hair, too much make-up. Only when she comes closer would you be able to
see that she isn’t one of us, that she doesn’t have that grubby hollow-eyed look
about her, or any faded bruises not quite covered by cheap concealer, or
tell-tale marks in the crook of her arm. It’s her walk that gives her away. That
‘these shoes are killing me and where the hell am I?’

I don’t know why I do it. The other girls are looking at this
stranger in our ranks as if she might be a threat, a new worker trying to find a
patch, or as if she could be prey, with a well-padded purse to plunder. There’s
no reason for me to care. Especially about a Normal Girl, and a silly one at
that, too silly not to know that this isn’t a street you walk down on your own
late at night, swinging your expensive handbag like a

Yet I go up to her, smiling in a way that I hope looks friendly.

‘Got a fag?’ I say, in my most non-threatening manner. She looks
at me, her eyes a little unfocused, swaying on her part-time stilettoes. Her
lips are glossy, her teeth white and even. If I was in any doubt the teeth give
it away. None of us have teeth like that.

She reaches into her bag and pulls out a half empty packet of
fags and a lighter. In the dim glare of the street lights I see a packet of
condoms in her bag. This makes me smile. Another tool of the trade. Do Normal
Girls run through the same check list before they go out for a night on the
town? Heels, check, short skirt, check, condoms, check. I wonder if she has a
pen knife tucked into her boots too; you can’t be too careful these

‘Are you ok?’ I ask. She looks at me in surprise, then looks
around and frowns. I see a light dawn in her eyes as she takes in her
surroundings and the faces looking at her. She takes a step back, the fag packet
still held out in front of her. I take one before she changes her

‘I was looking for the taxi rank,’ she says, leaving the rest if
the sentence unspoken, yet hanging in the air between us,
  I didn’t mean to end up here.

‘It’s back that way,’ I wave my arm vaguely. She doesn’t take
the cue to leave but just stands there staring, then passes me her lighter. I
light my fag, glancing back over my shoulder to see the others looking in our
direction, having all moved a little closer together. Them and us. I belong over
there. Yet something in Normal Girl’s face gives me an inexplicable urge to make
sure she is okay. There is something unsullied about her, in spite of the
condoms in her bag and the smell of cheap wine coming off

A car crawls past, its headlights sweeping over me, and I wonder
what she sees. It carries on, equally slowly, and I don’t need to look back over
my shoulder to know that the others will have stood to attention, forgetting
about us for the moment. I look again at Normal Girl and make my

‘Come on, I’ll show you the way to the taxi rank.’ I walk past
her and she follows me, falling into step so that we’re walking side by side,
both in our short skirts, pulling on our cigarettes. Normal

She keeps giving me little sideways glances, both nervous yet
curious. Like she wants to ask questions but is worried I might turn on her,
steal her handbag and pretty jewellery and disappear into the shadows with the
others, who will of course have seen and heard nothing. On another night that
might be my intention but for reasons I can’t explain, that’s not the case

‘I don’t know my way around here,’ she says unnecessarily, then
more surprisingly, ‘I’ve not been out clubbing

‘Why are you on your own?’ I shouldn’t ask, shouldn’t get
involved, but I find myself wanting to know.

‘My friend left me. She went off with some

‘Crap friend,’ I say. She nods. I wonder about the condoms in
her bag, and decide they’re just for effect, to look cool in front of the
obviously more experienced friend. Some of the girls up the street don’t even
bother to carry them anymore but me, I’m still careful. Still trying to preserve
my health in the hope I get a chance to be something else one day. That’s how I
know there’s still a little bit of a Normal Girl left in me

We get to the end of the road that will lead her back into town
to the taxis and I point out the way. I should take her all the way maybe, but
she got this far on her own and besides, I’m losing money walking her around.

‘You’ll be okay from here.’

‘Thank you.’ She looks like she means it, her eyes all wide and
grateful, like a rescued puppy. I shrug. It’s no big

Then her face crumples a



Leave a Reply.