Wednesday, 16 December 2009

SOFTLY by Lily Childs

A not so Christmassy lesson in dialogue from 'our Lil'...


‘This is Dr Gina Morcroft, solving your problems, live, on air. Go ahead caller.’

‘Oh. Hello.’

‘What’s your name caller?’

‘Marlena. My name’s Marlena.’

‘And how can I help you tonight, Marlena?’

‘Well, it’s… you know… a bit embarrassing.’

‘You don’t have to be shy or embarrassed with me. As a therapist and mental health professional for twenty years, ladies and gentlemen, I have learned to treat each individual’s personal challenges without judging them. Please go ahead, Marlena. Tell me what’s wrong.’

‘It’s my husband. He keeps being sick after making love to me.’

‘Being sick. Do you mean he becomes ill for a sustained period of time or…’

‘No, I mean throwing up.’

‘Ah. OK. Well, is he a healthy man normally? Does he have any issues with his weight, or with high blood pressure?’

‘No, no, he’s absolutely fine. Normal height. Normal weight. Normal build. Doesn’t smoke. Doesn’t drink. Why, Doctor? Do you think it could be a medical problem?

‘It’s possible, yes. It could be something to do with his exertion during intercourse that is causing this vomitous reflux. Tell me, how long has this been going on?’

‘About a week now.’

‘Did anything happen around the same time it started? Did your husband have an accident of any kind? Did he bang his head, or injure himself?’

‘No. Not him, he didn't hurt himself.’

‘Are you saying that you had an injury?’

‘Kind of. We had a huge row. It turned into… you know, a fight.’

‘Your husband is a violent man?’

‘No. Yes. Sometimes, I guess.’

‘And was he violent with you during this argument?’

‘Not exactly. He pushed me at one stage though, and I fell backwards and smacked my head against the wall; knocked me out.’

‘And then what happened Marlena?’

‘When I woke up he was lying on top of me, inside me. That’s how we always make-up after fights. We make love.’

‘But… you say he was already having intercourse with you before you regained consciousness?’


‘And afterwards?’

‘He just, sort of crawled off me. I tried to talk to him but the words wouldn’t come. He didn’t even look at me, he just ran down the hall to the bathroom where I could hear him chucking his guts up over and over again.’

‘So after this time, when did you have sex again?’

‘Do you know, Doctor, I’m struggling to remember. It kept happening; he kept coming back for more. Not today though. In fact, I don’t even know where he is. It’s been quiet for hours.’

‘Where are you at the moment, Marlena?’

‘I’m at home.’

‘Yes. I realise that. But where exactly are you?’

‘In bed.’

‘And when did you last get up?’

‘You see, now that’s where I’m getting confused. I seem to be slipping in and out of sleep. I don’t actually recall getting up very much at all lately.’

‘Marlena, are you able to describe your surroundings?’

‘I’ll try. It’s very dark in here. I… I can’t quite reach the light. OK, well I’m lying on my back and my pillow is, oh. It seems to be stained. It should be white with blue flowers but it’s gone all dark, a kind of rusty brown colour. That’s about as much as I can see, I’m afraid. I can’t make out the room. I can’t see any more of myself because I’m under the quilt.’

‘How about your arms; the hand that’s holding the telephone?’

‘Yes. Actually, no. I’m not holding the phone. I’m kind of… speaking to you out loud. Or in my head. I don’t know, I’m getting confused.’

‘It’s alright Marlena, try to stay calm. Now, I want you to listen to me very carefully. Focus. I need you to concentrate on trying to move that quilt off you. You’re going to have to pull it away from your body.'

‘I… I can’t. I don’t seem to be able to move.’

‘Then do it with your mind Marlena. The same way as you’re talking to me now. Come on, you can do it. Tell the covers to move…’

‘Marlena? Are you there? Tell me what you see.’

‘I think I understand now.’

‘Can you be a bit clearer for me?’

‘I appear to be rotting.’


‘My skin is all swollen and black and I can see my bones where some of the flesh has fallen away. There’s pus leaking out. God, I can’t smell a thing but there’s so much liquid around me I must absolutely reek.’

‘Is that all?’

‘No. Uurgh. There are maggots crawling all over me, all over the mattress.’

‘Would you say they appear to be digesting you?’

‘I would, yes, that’s right. I’m… Doctor?’

‘Yes Marlena.’

‘He’s not coming back, my Colin, is he?’

‘No, I think we can safely say that he’s had his fill.’

‘I, I don’t think I can talk for much longer Doctor. I don’t seem to have… to have the strength.’

‘No, I’m sure. But tell me one last thing.’


‘Do you understand what’s happened here?’

‘I think so. I think I’m dead.’

‘And that you’ve been dead for about a week.’

‘I suppose.’

‘And your husband, Colin, killed you but continued to have sexual intercourse with you until…’

‘Well, until the maggots arrived, I guess.’

‘No doubt you’re right. Well, I’m going to do something I wouldn’t normally do on this show, or with any information given to me in confidence by my clients. I’m going to call the police, Marlena.’

‘Yes, yes that’s probably the best thing to do. You can tell them Colin’s probably at his mum’s. 32 Westbrook…’

‘Don’t you worry about that. I’m sure they’ll find him. We’ve got your own number here and… yes, I’m getting confirmation from the studio that we also have your address.’

‘Does that mean I can go now? I’m so tired.’

‘Yes. You let go. See if you can spot that light you couldn’t reach earlier, then follow it.’

‘I can – it’s there. I see it. Thank you so much Doctor. Goodbye.’

‘Goodbye Marlena.

'And goodnight listeners.

'This is Dr Gina Morcroft on Midnight Soul Radio. Solving your problems, live, on air.’

Lily Childs is a budding writer in the mystery, chiller and horror genre, and is thrilled to have her short stories published on Thrillers Killers 'N' Chillers.
She is currently writing her first novel and lives on the Sussex Coast with her artist husband and beautiful 5-year old daughter. Lily blogs at:
'Lily Childs' Feardom'. and here.


  1. Dead sick, but bloody brill that Lil.
    The first necrophiliac story on TKnC.

  2.'s different. I still need to read your other one Lily...I'll do it this weekend.

    Very good.

  3. That was sick and fantastic. Really enjoyed it.

  4. Oh Lily, sick, sick, sick. But very, very good. :)

  5. this is wildly imaginative. fantastic use of dialogue and simply just a wonderfully crafted story. super.

  6. When I saw that this was just dialogue was going to avoid it because I thought it might be a cop out. But absolutely not. Twists and turns the imagination this one, completely.

  7. Thanks for the comments everyone.

    Great voodoo pic Col!