York Amnesty Creative Writing Competition 2021 "Locked" — RESULTS

lock on a wooden door

The Results of the Writing Competition


Looking Down ~ Ged Cooper

Looking Down

They’ve got my number now so they can talk to me. It’s a video call so I can see the police guy who’s talking. He’s not bad looking. If things were different, I could fancy him. He says, ‘Jackie, we just want to help you.’

‘Well you left it a bit bloody late,’ I say. ‘I’ve needed help for the past five years.’ And I laugh. Not often I feel powerful, but watching them all panicking, makes me feel very powerful. The window’s wide open, the door’s locked and barricaded. They don’t dare come up the stairs cos I said I’ll jump if they do and I will.

‘What about your kids?’ he says. ‘Do you want to leave them without a mother?’ ‘No!’ I say. ‘That’s what you want to do!’ I take another swig of the vodka and I can see an almighty flutter as their heads go together. It goes quiet then for a bit so I swing my legs over the window-sill and shout out. ‘Just promise me I’ll get my kids back, that’s all I want.’

The police guy speaks again. Says his name’s Sean and he understands how I feel. Says he can make me a promise.
‘Oh yeah?’
‘I can promise that if you stop this, you can see your kids.’
‘Yes, today.’
‘That’s not what I’m asking for. I’m asking to keep them and you won’t let me!’
‘Jackie, you have to understand…’

Have to shut him up so I swing my arm into the air and throw down my mobile. It goes out into the wide, empty air and then hurtles down fifteen floors and smashes to bits on the concrete. Shame really. I liked that phone.

Goes quiet again after that. Then it’s back to the megaphone. Sean again.
‘Jackie, I’ve got someone here wants to talk to you.’ He passes the megaphone but I can’t see who it is. Then I hear a voice. A small voice.
‘Mummy, please come down.’ There’s a pause. ‘Mummy, I’m scared.’
I can’t speak. I’m crying. I try.
‘Mummy’s here. Don’t be scared.’
I’m crying my eyes out. Then Sean says, ‘Jackie, there’s a way out of this.’
‘Is she all right?’
‘Tilly? She wants a cuddle.’
They’re not playing fair, but I know when I’m beaten. I swing my legs back into the room and go to unlock the door.

I see Sean when I come down. He’s lovely, close up. For a second I imagine what it must be like to be married to Sean. He’s holding Tilly in his arms and I can see she trusts him. She sees me coming and she bursts out crying. I’m still holding the vodka bottle when I realise I need both arms to hold her. So I put it down.

I stretch out my arms to her and she comes running.