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BulLIED
Author: Andie M. Long

Prologue

 

 

CARLA

 

 

They wondered why towns and cities were becoming lawless.

Well, just attempt to do things the right way. The way of the law.

Like I did.

Go on. Try it. Call the police, report the crime, give the evidence. Give them leads to follow.

All I heard was:

Can’t do that.

Can’t do that.

Can’t do that.

Victims live in fear and the perpetrators laugh.

Like the ones who invaded my life. Dressed like scrotes and chavs, they broke the rules, and laughed and clapped for their own damn selves, smug within their tiny little tribes, thinking they were the kings of the world.

But while the police did nothing, or rather the law prevented them from doing anything of any use, they taught me, indirectly. They were unaware of my processing every single thing they said.

But I did. Every crumb.

 

And now I would use it.

The victim shall be the victor.

The kings and queens shall lose their crowns.

Well, kind of. I fully intended to place a crown on Marcus Bull’s head.

One made of barbed wire. A modern-day crucifixion.

Wire my heart is wrapped in because I’ve lost any semblance of emotion after burying my only daughter.

Marcus Bull killed her.

Marcus Bull will pay.

They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.

Ha. Make that woman a mother and hell shall look like a pilot light against a mother’s inferno.

And a mother who no longer has her child? A woman with nothing to lose?

Satan would bow to her.

 

 

Part I

 

 

1

 

 

CARLA

 

 

Sometime between 3:30pm and 4pm, I’d hear it. Loud voices and even louder giggles. It would start in the distance, and I’d wonder if they belonged to my flesh and blood. The decibel level would rise as they came closer to the front door. A pause in conversation, a key in the lock. Then the door would slam open, hitting the shoe cupboard. I’d hear shoes being kicked off, their thud echoing on the laminate floor, and the chatter would start up again, although now it wouldn’t hold the secrets of teenage girls, not now they were within my proximity. The shoes would be abandoned in the middle of the floor, nowhere near the shoe cupboard. In fact, nine times out of ten at least one shoe would hit the wall or the skirting board, leaving a dirty smudge on the paintwork I’d later clean off with an anti-bacterial wipe. I’d put the shoes away and tidy up, telling myself that’s what mums were for. That really, you had to pick your battles; especially with teenagers whose moods would sour like milk past its sell-by date for no obvious reason.

I bet you’re wondering why the huge detail? After all, it's just a kid coming home from school, right? But you’ll soon realise, at some point in my tale, that I now mull over every single detail about my daughter. Think of every hair on her head, every cell of her body, every wondrous part of her, even down to the whining and whingeing of a teenager being told no.

Yes, being the mother of a teenage daughter was a daily learning curve. I felt like a method actor. Today, I’d try to be cool; maybe tomorrow witty; the day after I’d lose my temper—not helped by my hormonal mood swings—and tell her she was an ungrateful little shit. Oh yes, I swore at her sometimes. I wouldn’t have believed it, not even two years ago, if you’d told me that my golden girl, my little angel, would turn her mouth up in a sneer at me. Her eyes would fill with pity as if speaking to someone not all there mentally, and she’d have no gratitude whatsoever for the fact that her life was effortless and filled with everything her heart desired.

From her point of view life went from fabulous to fucked if the word, ‘No’, came out of my mouth.

Now where was I? Oh yes, Lena had just come home from school…

 

The living room door burst open and I looked up from my seat on the sofa. I worked from home as an accountant, loving the fact I didn’t have to speak to barely a soul all day. I found dealing with other people wearing. The older I got, the more I liked my own company most of the time. Apart from Lena’s now rarely given attention, I spent the majority of the evening the same way, either working or watching some mindless crap on the television. Even when I had lived with Lena’s father, Ant, he’d spent most of his evenings working overtime, always some plumbing emergency happening. I didn’t know most of the emergencies revolved around Natalie’s plumbing until he packed his bags, and I didn't mean her central heating. My marriage had been fine until it wasn’t. I’d thought we were okay.

“I’m going out, Mum.”

I stared at Lena. At the eyebrows she’d filled in, so they sat like two slugs on her face. At her pouty lips filled in with the Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk lipstick that she’d charmed me for. She was brilliant at that, was Lena. To ask to go shopping, for us to have a girly lunch. She knew that at this age I’d take any time with her I could. Then she’d fleece me for everything she wanted as she tried things on and they looked so good I couldn’t refuse her. Once she’d got what she wanted and I thought about getting myself a little something, she’d say she was tired and could we go home and I’d realise I’d been played. Not with any malevolence. It was just a teenager’s way.

I remembered doing similar things myself with her gran. A gran who passed two years ago now, leaving another gaping hole in my life. Fuck, I really needed to do something, maybe start dating again. Something to patch the leaks in my life before they flooded me and I just became a sole island.

But how did you start a new relationship when the last one left you questioning the entire thing? How did you trust someone new?

I realised I’d been daydreaming when I heard the door bang shut. I didn’t get time to ask her what she was doing for dinner. It was another thing that drove me crazy. She’d flirt with a boy until he bought her a McDonalds, and the dinner I’d made her—the nutritious one a growing woman needed—would end up in the bin. Sighing, I abandoned my computer and padded into the kitchen where I opened a tin of soup.

The thing with being alone was I could lose myself in work. Self-employed hours were long, even longer in my case, and I filled my empty days with more and more work. I needed relatively little and so my earnings mounted up. I had enough Coach handbags to last a lifetime and so I spoiled my daughter. I knew I did, but hey, she had a shithead of a dad and if my worst crime was buying Lena too many designer sweaters, well then lock me up.

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