Richard Dawkinson

The May Featured Writer is Richard Dawkinson

Please feel free to email Richard at: rdawkinson79@gmail.com


by Richard Dawkinson

I ran through the dense thicket outside the backside of my house, my legs being scratched continually. The image flashed through my mind again and again: the torso with the missing appendages. My screaming fell on the ears of not a single soul.

The falling sun, my sole companion, left my side, leaving only the cold breeze of the coming night to sting my soaked face and my bloody, torn-up legs. I kept running, my body shaking, not only from the chill of the night but from the adrenaline that was pumping through my veins.

I knew escape was impossible. The many times I have tried were all failures. Escaping my own mind was the most impossible escape of them all, but I still tried.

I reached my back door in a frenzy and threw it open. “Mummy! Where are you?”

I continued to cry, breaking a rule that was always enforced upon me, always recited to me, “I don’t want to hear you cry, Tommy. You’re eleven now, too old to cry, but not too old for the belt. ” I continued from the kitchen to entranceway, the entranceway to the stairway, the stairway to her bedroom...but no one was home.

I fell to my knees on my Mummy’s bedroom floor, the inside of my throat dry and torn, leaving a smell of blood on my breath. I was in my cold, dark house. The blood from my legs continued to seep out from me, no clotting in sight. The smell of blood was imminent, leaving my mind to continue showing me the memory of the body with no arms or legs. I started silently whining, not even necessarily of my own choice.


I sniffed and whined, now sitting up a little more. Exhausted and uncertain of what had happened, I got up from the bedroom floor and thought to myself that my Mummy would be home soon.

I saw the mess I made of her floor, wet with tears and blood that has almost hardened onto the weak, splintering wood of my Mummy’s bedroom floor. I continued to sniff, finally calming down and rationalizing everything.

“She probably just went out to town. She probably just went to bingo and forgot to tell

Hearing the words come from my own mouth had a strange, comforting effect on me, so I continued to speak as I slowly made my way down the stairs to get some paper towels and a small bucket of water.

“And what I saw...it was probably just a...a prank. Like on Halloween.”

I grabbed a bucket and put it in the sink, turning the tap to lukewarm, and letting the bucket fill.

“Yeah, a prank. Probably by those mean boys from town. A mannequin or a dummy or something. Red paint.”

I felt a chill of relief go down my spine as I forced myself to abandon what I saw with my own eyes. I turned off the tap, the bucket almost having overfilled. I attempted to add a few drops of dish soap, though the tremors coursing through my body made me too weak to squeeze the bottle, and when I finally did, it was much too much and the bubbles rose to the top. The tremors were quickly fading luckily, and I hoped I could get away with this. I opened the drawer under my sink and grabbed a sponge, knowing I could not leave the mess for my Mother to come home and see, as she would pull out my Father’s belt; unfortunately, that being the only part of him I’d ever known.

“If I leave it, it’s my fault and I deserve that.”

I said it out, a truth I’ve known all my life. If I mess up, I might as well be whipping myself; the punishment belongs to the one who faults, even if a judge is the one handing it down, after all. That was another rule I’ve known my whole life: if I mess up, I get the belt.

I reached my Mummy’s room, the door creaking open. The room stank, and I concluded it was from the decent amounts of drying, crusting blood. I looked down again at my legs since the pain and bleeding have been far from my mind in my attempts to justify what I saw.

My legs seemed to be something out of a fever dream, perhaps one you’d have and wake up sweating from. The flow of the blood was still not stopping, with an almost unrealistic amount seeping out from my wounds. I wiggled my toes in my shoes which I still had not taken off—my socks were soaked through with blood, and I could feel puddles in both my shoes.

I felt panic hit me like a wave, and I steadily made my way to the bathroom. I knew I would get in trouble for ruining my shoes—they cost Mummy too much money even for a simple pair. Shoes were a luxury, not a necessity. I opened the door, expecting a creak but getting...nothing. I thought of it as curious but discarded the thought quickly.

I sat down on the toilet seat, opening the cabinet immediately in front of me. I found the medical supplies, and quickly found my bearings in a familiar feeling situation. I took out an antiseptic wipe and attempted to clean up my legs a little. The flow of blood had finally slowed.

I was confused, but decided a better idea to be taking a quick shower—easier to wash away the blood and investigate the damage. It didn’t seem to hurt all that much, so why was there blood at all? Why did I have to see it and smell it?

I took off my shoes to find no puddles of blood. My senses had betrayed me. I stripped off my shorts, leaving me in my shirt and underwear as I swung my legs over the side of the bathtub, the air feeling cold on my skinny, slightly sticky calves. The sticky outer layer had dried thankfully, and it seemed like it was finally stopping.

I began to worry; how did I even end up seeing so much blood escaping from what only felt like a surface scratch? I turned on the water. I grabbed the handheld showerhead and began running it over the front of my legs and back of my legs, using my nails gently to scratch away at the blood and let it all wash away.

“Huh?” My left leg was now clean so I could examine it. There were no scratches at all. I felt the panic come again and took a deep breath in an attempt to calm myself. I wanted to deny it, but I knew I couldn’t.

I felt nauseous, but knew that there was nothing in my stomach to release. I rinsed my hand under the tap in the bathtub. I then cupped my hands together underneath, drinking from them like people did back before real cups and bowls were widespread, cool relief spreading to my stomach.

I breathed in, a sigh of relief returning to the open air. I prepared myself for the strong chance that the same thing had happened to the scratches on my right leg. I rinsed and, not exactly to my surprise, I found myself to be correct. Was I delusional?

I took a shallow breath and used the water to clean the tub, the smell lingering, yet eventually fading from the air. I grabbed a towel off the wooden rack and dried my legs off, feeling calm at the sight of my pale, uninjured, clean legs. I then put the same towel on the ground and allowed it to soak up all the water that I got on the floor. Just to be safe, I opened up the cabinet and took out two medium-sized rolls of gauze, wrapping up my legs just in case something freaky happened again.


I said aloud, wiping the sweat from my brow. I was finally done cleaning up the mess from my distress in my Mummy’s room, and returned to the bathroom. I dumped the soapy, bloody water into the sink. As I heard the liquid drain, I realized that the moonlight had almost gone all the way out, leaving me in complete darkness if I didn’t do something. I reached for the light switch, attempting to turn it on, but found it would not.

“Another power outage, huh?” I said aloud to myself, opening the cabinet in the bathroom. In the bathroom and our bedrooms, we kept small stashes of candles, matches, and candle holders as the blackouts were bad and just generally all too common out here. In the fading light, I struck a match, illuminating the small, cozy bathroom.

I lit the candle and placed it in the brass, vintage candle holder, something Mummy must have had since she was a child. I picked up the candle and finally began guiding myself to my room for some much-needed shut-eye so I could just forget about today.

A long, loud creak greeted me as I opened the door to my bedroom, the ever-consuming darkness greeting me, with a small counter-attack coming from my candle. I looked around the empty space before coming to my bedside table, where I placed down my candle. I lay down on my bed, pulling my blankets up over me and curling up, but only after I blew out my candle.


I woke up, my candle snuffed out and my bedroom light on. Because it was nothing more than a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling, my room still seemed dark, even though I could feel it was morning. My eyes were tired, and I struggled to open them.

And then I saw that both of my hands were bloody.


I saw what was left of her on the floor. Mummy’s decapitated head lay sideways on the rug. The cuts on the stump that was previously her neck were uneven, with skin so torn there was already a small piece resting on the floor beneath her head. There was a lone tube, unharmed, hanging out of the neck…what I could only guess was her esophagus. 

Both her eyes and her mouth were bloody and wrecked, her gaze now permanently downward, and her tongue stuck out.

A strangely familiar voice came out of seemingly nowhere, “It’s not such a bad thing. You just didn’t want the belt anymore.”

My jaw clenched together, my teeth gritting, I could feel my entire body freeze, my muscles stiff, my head feverish with fear.

I looked up to face the eyes whoever had spoken, but instead of cold eyes and a sinister smile, I greeted myself with a shriek.

Richard Dawkinson is a new writer following his dreams after forty years. He lives in Concord, New Hampshire with his dog, Sparky.