Pretty Thing (Dissertation Excerpt)

My final dissertation piece was a short-ish story. It landed me a massive 2:1 and was very happy with the final result. This is the first section, I have worked on it since and hope to make it something a little bigger. This is the beginning of what I submitted:

Pretty Thing


I winced as the dark shadow walked up the aisle towards me. I nudged my bag closer to me with my feet and entwined myself inside my coat. The silhouette turned onto my aisle and sat on the empty seat next to me. I brought my knees up to my chest and wrapped my arms around them. I had waited so long to watch this film, it had been so popular. I couldn’t stand busy cinemas. Elliott used to bring me to the cinema and talked all the way through.

The stranger shuffled in their seat, unwanted scents surrounded my nostrils. I could hear my breathing and was curious if they could too. I tried to shorten my breathing pattern, only to find it matched theirs. I quickly sped my breathing up again, getting out of breath. I wondered if they knew what I was doing, what I was thinking. I looked around the room, making it clear that other seats were available. I felt the warmth of their body against my arms and the crunch of their popcorn made me shiver inside. I wanted to sit alone. The stranger was blocking my exit and I started burning up. My palms began to drip with sweat and my stomach began to rumble. I felt a tickle in my throat and tried to clear it. I was just waiting for the constant cough which would force all eyes towards me. I could feel every person in the room getting irritated with me. I had to leave, but then everyone would know.


I made it home in just under an hour and sneaked away to my room before my housemate asked any questions. I double checked the lock on the door before changing into something comfier. I tucked my bed socks over the top of my pyjama bottoms. Comfort surrounded me and I poured myself onto the bed. The walls in my room were white, brightened with lilac paisley patterns. A few of my collected postcards were stuck pathetically on the back wall near the window. It was exciting going to a new place and adding a new postcard to the collection. Now that Mum and Dad had left, there didn’t seem to be any point anymore. There are only so many Krakow ones that she could send me, until it started to get boring. There was one picture of myself on the wall, it was of me and Elliott three years ago at the park with Milo. It was still cracked in one corner.

Turning on the television, another attack blurred into the background. I sighed and drifted inside my mind, nowhere was safe these days. I picked at the loose thread on my neckline and stared at the dream catchers scattered across my ceiling. Mum always said dream catchers promise to catch all the bad dreams at night. I wasn’t so sure they worked anymore.


Please feel free to let me know what you think! Like, share & comment on any of the links below! 😀 

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