The story I am about to tell you is a true story, and the reason I know that for sure is because it happened to me, it is my story. It is my very own personal horror story.

I so wish in many ways that what happened here hadn’t. And yet, I survived it and learnt from it. But it wasn’t an easy thing to go through by any means. In the end it cost me everything that ever meant anything to me, my wife, my children, even almost my sanity and indeed my very life. To this very day all I have left is a pen, some ink, paper and a few distant memories I so wish I didn’t have, and lots more that I treasure.

To this day I’m not sure entirely what overcame us, or more to the point what came over my lovely sweet wife that turned her into a stark raving monster. Something that seemed to take control of her heart and her mind and set her on a path of destruction that effected every single one of us. We all suffered for it, even my wife herself paid a very heavy price, but at the time she simply couldn’t see what was happening to her, to us, to every single person connected with us. It killed her parents and mine, it killed our children, it killed any shred of love I once had for her. And in the end, it killed her too, stone dead in what the authorities called death by misadventure.

My name is Calum and I’m a writer working from a room in what used to be the attic of a very old house. My wife Zuchi used to go out to work as a special needs teacher’s assistant at a college forty five minutes from where we lived. We had three lovely young children that were the apples of our eye. Sadly they are no more. I think of them often with a heavy heart. It’s been ten long years now and still I tear up just thinking about them, about what might have been for them, for us. I should be a grandfather by now. Instead I am just a broken old man who often struggles to get through a day without breaking down. I live alone and wouldn’t have it any other way. To live with somebody else would be just too much for both of us. We wouldn’t last a single day. In many ways I am tired of living, but I am not quite ready to die. At least not until I have finished this story I am about to tell you.

This is the opening to a short story based on real facts. Only the names of those involved have been changed out of respect for the guilty and the dead, and out of concerns for my own sanity. I can only tell this story by creating a little distance and pretend that it all happened to somebody else and not me.

I have to protect the fragile state of my own mind if I am to get through to the end. I would hate to fail before I even got properly going. I have to rest a little now, if that’s ok with you. I will begin the story proper tomorrow when hopefully I will feel stronger after a shot of brandy and a good nights sleep.


Photograph by courtesy of Jo Brazil.

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