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Jessie – from @WritersWebTV workshop

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Recently I had the honour of attending an online workshop hosted by the lovely and wonderfully supportive Vanessa O’Loughlin from Writing.ie. The workshop was the first of its kind, a live streamed session with renowned writers Paul Carson, Sinead Moriarty and Monica McInerney interspersed with writing exercises. The day was great, not only to be a part of, but to learn from. And I’m assured that there will be more to come! If you’re interested in partaking of more of these fantastic workshops do follow @WritersWebTV and @writing_ie for more information and for great tips and news about writing and the writing world.

This next piece is an amalgamation of two of the exercises from that day, which has given rise to an idea for a book – one that I’m now researching and developing and trying to decide which way it should go: either black comedy or thriller. I’ve altered it slightly, only very slightly – most noticeably from the first person to the third. It’s a bit of an experiment 🙂 I hope you like it!



The stains wouldn’t come out, no matter how hard Jess scrubbed and now her own blood had begun to mingle with the blood on the rug. In her haste she had forgotten to put on her gloves. She sat back on her heels, blew a stray wisp of blonde hair from her cold blue eyes, frustrated. There was nothing else she could do but to get rid of the bloody thing; and to try to convince Dan that she’d just grown tired of it, or she could say that she’d spilled something on it, something other than Mac’s blood. Her stomach spasmed as the harsh smell of the bleach fought with the steely tang of the still warm, still sticky blood. Pushing herself to her feet, she staggered to the window, shoved the old sash up and dragged the cool evening air deep into her lungs. “Christ almighty.” she muttered. “I don’t have time for this, and I still have to deal with Mac. I have to find him and shut him up completely.” She slapped her hand on the newly painted woodwork leaving a sticky pale hand print behind “The nerve of him turning up here, at my own home, threatening me that he’ll spill. Who the hell does he think he is? He’s seriously underestimated me, like they all do. Well! He won’t make that mistake again.” She pushed herself away from the window, determination set on her pretty lightly tanned face and hummed a few bars from The Phantom of the Opera as she made her way to the kitchen to find her gloves. “Better get a move on and dump the rug, I need time to decide exactly what to do with Mac, and Dan? Dan will be fine – he alway is. He’ll swallow any old excuse as always.”

The summer breeze blew the curtains and pulled them over the sticky pink hand print and Jess set down the bucket of bleached water beside the rug, then she trotted back to the kitchen to get the black bags. There was so much blood, she was surprised Mac had even the strength to get out. Vaguely she wondered if he’d go the hospital to get looked at, that could be damaging. Still, she snorted as she tightened her ponytail and rubbed the tip of her nose, who’d believe him anyway? He was a huge bulk of a man and she was a tiny slip of a girl. If all else fails, I’ll say he attacked me. She hummed happily as she rolled up the rug and folded it over on itself twice before unravelling the black bags. The place would be spotless in no time, Jess was many things, and being thorough was a speciality.


“Honey! I’m home!” Dan called out and Jess heard his keys jingle into the bowl. “Where are you?”

“In the kitchen, I’ve fresh coffee on.” she called back.

“Where’s the rug from the hall gone?” he said, coming into the room.

“Oh, that – I got rid of it.”

“Got rid of it? Why? I liked that rug.”

“Oh for God’s sake Dan! It’s donkeys years old and rotten – get over it!”

“Get over it! Seriously – get over it! Are you kidding me! That was a real deer hide. I won’t get over it.” he slammed the cupboard door. “Will brought that back from Greenland. It was a gift. You’d no right!”

“Dan – you’re overreacting. Calm down. Look, let me get you that coffee, you go and relax in the lounge. I’ll bring it in to you.” Jess rolled her eyes as she sloshed the suds from the sink.

“Ah for fuck sake, Jess! Don’t start on the calm down thing. And what’s that god awful stench? Is it bleach?”

Jess dropped the tea towel into the sink and turned around to face him, her raw and swollen hands held out on display.

“Yes Dan, it’s bleach. I cleaned this pigsty we call home ok? And I spilled bleach on the stupid rug. It’s ruined ok?”

Dan stopped mid rant and stared in horror at Jess. “Christ, what happened to your hands?” he crossed the room in a split second, his brown eyes full of concern.

“I tried to scrub the bleach out of the rug.”

“Oh Jess.”

“I’m sorry – I was just trying to make the house our home.”

“You’ve ruined your nails, oh Jess.” he pulled her close, kissing the top of her head softly. “Don’t worry about the rug, you’re right, it was rotten. It doesn’t matter.”

Jess smiled into his chest. “I’m glad you’re home.”

  • The Dark Room: A thrilling new novel from the number one Irish Times bestselling author of Keep Your Eyes on Me
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