Margot Venables - updated 24/10 x 2

Author:  Lucy [ Sun Apr 30, 2006 7:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Margot Venables - updated 24/10 x 2

I had thought that I'd saved all of this. Unfortunately not.

This is a drabble about Margot Venables. Margot, Daisy and Primula are on the boat leaving Australia. Primula is ill. Daisy doesn't want to meet her Uncle Jem because 'he's a doctor, and doctor's didn't save Jimmy'. Daisy has cried herself into a restless sleep and Margot is left alone with her thoughts. She realises she has never thought about Jimmy's death as she had blocked the memories out. For the first time since he died she allows herself to think about that awful night and the events that followed.

Stephen is standing over Jimmy’s bed. His face is scrunched up in anguish and he holds Jimmy’s lifeless body close to him. His grief is raw and unnerving, for a moment I’m frightened to enter the room and go to them. As I hesitate momentarily at the door Doctor Nicholls shuffles, looking uncomfortable and nervous. He begins to speak. I don’t want to hear what he’s got to say. I don’t want to hear the words.

But I do.

“I’m so sorry Mrs Venables. I arrived too late. Your son is no longer with us.”

The room seems to shrink and shimmer in the heat. Stephen’s screams continue and I can’t breathe. I feel so claustrophobic. I can’t breathe. The clock ticks. I can’t bear it. Time can not continue. Yet the clock ticks.

Author:  Lucy [ Sun Apr 30, 2006 7:38 pm ]
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I thought I was routed to the spot. I hadn’t thought I could move. Yet I can’t bear to hear that ticking. It has to stop. Suddenly I’m across the room, pulling the clock from the wall. I cut my hand as I wrench in free and feel pleased as I see the wound gaping at me, a visible symbol of my pain.

The clock smashes to the floor and Stephen, shocked into silence, turns towards me. I stumbled towards him but am stopped dead in my tracks as I look into his eyes and see nothing but hatred and venom.

“Get away from me…stay away from my son”

Stephen hisses at me. I can tell he’s shaking with anger. But what have I done? I need to see Jimmy, to touch him one last time. I can’t get near him; Stephen’s grasping his lifeless body so close.

I don’t really know what to do. Taking a deep breath I softly whisper:

“It’s alright Stephen, we’ll be alright together.”

I know it’s not even true. I don’t think we’ll ever be alright again, but I’ve got to try something.

Author:  Lucy [ Sun Apr 30, 2006 7:38 pm ]
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It doesn’t work.

Stephen throws poor Jimmy’s body down onto to the bed and strides over towards me, shouting:

“You stupid woman. How could you let this happen. You’ve killed him. I left and he was ok. Now I’ve come back and he’s…he’s”

Suddenly his body softens and crumples and all the hatred and tension disappears. His body sags to the floor and he’s kneeling at my feet, clinging to my legs and crying as if his heart has been broken.

I can't move. I still can't get to my darling boy. Right now I've got to stay where I am and comfort Stephen. Heart breaking I kneel down next to him and slowly take him into my arms. I'm too frightened to speak. Too frightened I'll provoke his anger again. So I just bend my head towards his and hold him close, all the time concentrating on his grief and misery and making him better.

It’s Doctor Nicholls who comes to my rescue. He strides over and helps Stephen into a chair, talking softly all the while. Finally I move across the room towards Jimmy. As I reach the bed, Doctor Nicholls is by my side looking embarrassed:

“Mrs Venables, we need to act quickly. Its so hot, we…umm…we need to.”

He stops, unable to carry on and glances at Jimmy’s limp body. At first I’m unsure what he means and then all of a sudden the smell of death hits me. We have to bury Jimmy’s body. The heat means we’ll have to act quickly. I glance at Stephen, crumpled in a heap sobbing loudly. I will have no help from him. Slowly I nod at the Doctor:

“Alright, I’ll deal with it.”

Author:  Lucy [ Sun Apr 30, 2006 7:40 pm ]
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I walk back through to the kitchen and immediately come face to face with the children. There’s no need to tell them anything, they’ve heard every word that’s been said. Tears are streaming down Daisy’s face as she speaks:

“Tell me Jimmy’s alright Mummy. The Doctor made him better didn’t he?”

Tears welling up in my eyes, I bend down and clasp Daisy and Frankie, cuddling them close. Slowly I shake my head:

“I’m so sorry Daisy-girl, God’s taken Jimmy to heaven.”

I gulp and feel so terribly, terribly sad. As threaten to fall, I shake myself. Someone has to be strong. I break away from the children and go to find Ah Sing. The grave needs to be dug.

Author:  Lucy [ Sun Apr 30, 2006 7:40 pm ]
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I never got to spend anytime with Jimmy. Never got to say goodbye properly. Within ½ hour the grave had been dug and Jimmy’s body was carried out of the house into his final resting place.

There was no service. We hadn’t got time to get a vicar. Doctor Nicholls insisted the burial needed to happen quickly. Maybe I should have asked more questions, found out what had been the matter with Jimmy. Maybe I could have saved Frankie and Steve. I’ll never know, but I know I’ll never forgive myself for their deaths.

As the final piece of earth was laid on the grave, Stephen finally spoke:

“Get the whisky now woman.”

He stalked off and heart sinking I rose to do his bidding.

Author:  Lucy [ Sun Apr 30, 2006 7:42 pm ]
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I’m not sure if I can think about what happened next. I try to be loyal to Stephen, try to think of something else. But it’s as if I’m back on that dreadful day, events replaying on my mind.

It’s getting dark as I stumble back towards the house. The children run towards me but I know Stephen can’t be kept waiting. I send them through to my bedroom, telling them to get ready for bed. Where will they sleep tonight? They can’t sleep in their room. The smell of death still lingers. I try to think of a solution as I pour Stephen’s whisky.

Stephen’s out on the veranda. He’s on the rocking chair, slowly backwards and forwards, smiling to himself. I have to force myself to walk on. I’m scared. Why is he smiling? He turns towards me and instantly the smile disappears.

“You took you’re time.”

My heart’s beating, but I try to smile:

“I…I’m sorry darling…here…here you are.”

I pass him the glass and he grabs my wrist, pulling me towards him so I’m sat on his lap. He downs the drink in one smashing the class to the ground as he finishes. I jump and try to get up. He holds me down, gripping my waist and slowly stroking my face, softly whispering:

“So, that was your first dead body.”

He chuckles grimly.

“I can remember the first dead body I saw. I’d only been in France for two days when the cry of gas went up.”

He pauses and I sit unmoving. My heart bleeds for him and all the others caught in the Great War. He needs me; I’m no longer so frightened, just desperately sad.

“Winters didn’t get his mask on in time. He didn’t have a hope. The trench filled with a green mist and he drowned in it before my eyes. Gasping, choking and writhing, I watched helplessly as blood gurgled from his lungs.”

Again he pauses and I see the desperation in the very whites of his eyes. Abruptly he stands up, flinging me to the floor as he does so. He strides to the edge of the veranda and is violently sick.

I slowly stand up and go to him. As I place my hand on his back he flinches away like a wounded animal. He hates weakness and turns towards me grabbing my hair so I’m bent before him:

“Put the children to bed, in their room. Get me a new glass. In fact bring the bottle, we’ve got a long night ahead of us.”

As he releases my hair and pushes me towards the house, I hear shouting after me:

“You’d better hurry up woman; you know how I hate to be kept waiting.”

Deleted duplicate posting - (Lesley with Mod hat on)

Author:  Lucy [ Sun Apr 30, 2006 7:44 pm ]
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His chuckling follows me into the house. I stumble into the house, tears in my eyes blurring my vision. I snap at the children,

“Go to bed.”

They begin to protest, they don’t want to go back into their room. The smell of death is still too strong. You can taste it. There is nothing I can do. They have to go to bed. There is nowhere else for them to sleep. There is no time. They have to go to bed now, before Stephen moves back into the house.

“Go to bed. NOW.”

I raise my voice and shout. I can’t look at the children, can’t bare the look of reproach Daisy darts at me. I can’t listen to Frankie’s wails of terror about the death that will visit in the night. I need to protect them. I need to make sure they are out of the way before Stephen returns to the house.

I push the children, tumbling forwards, into their bedroom and hurriedly slam the door behind them. I’ll make it up to them tomorrow. Tomorrow, I’ll be a good mother. Tomorrow…

Author:  Lucy [ Sun Apr 30, 2006 7:46 pm ]
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Warning - this post is more disturbing that previous posts.

And then I get the bottle of whisky and two mugs and stumbled outside, back towards Stephen. He’s standing waiting for me.

“Are the brats in bed?”

I nod unable to speak. How can he talk of the children in this way? Especially after Jimmy’s… I can’t think of that now. Think about it later.

“Are they in their room?”

Again I nod. Stephen moves swiftly towards me, grabbing me around the waist and pulling me towards him.

“Speak, girl – you’ve got a tongue in your head!”

Voice wobbling, I answer,

“They’re in their room.”

Stephen smiles slowly,

“Good. We won’t be disturbed.”

He kisses me. I try not to squirm away. His breath tastes of alcohol. I don’t want this. Not tonight. Tonight I want to be able to grieve.

But Stephen needs me. He needs to feel better. Slowly I open my mouth and kiss him back.

His arm moves slowly, caressing my body. Silently I pray for an interruption. I want to be with my children. I want to be away from here. I want to be with my mother and father.

Stephen pushes me to the floor, breaking into my thoughts. I look into his eyes and I’m scared. It’s as if he isn’t even here. His thoughts are a million miles away, he’s thinking of that dreadful war and he wants to hurt someone. And that someone will be me.

Forcing my skirt up, he forces himself into me. I turn my head away and pray for him to finish. He forces me to look back at him as he ‘takes what is his by rights.’

And then its over. And neither of us can move. I just want him off me. I want to feel clean. And still he lies on top of me. A great lump. And I hate him.

Author:  KathrynW [ Sun Apr 30, 2006 7:47 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks Lucy, I'd forgotten how great this was and how powerfully you write.

Thank you.


Author:  Lucy [ Sun Apr 30, 2006 8:00 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thank you Kathryn :oops:

An update.

A sudden movement in the cabin brings me back to the present day. Tears streaming down my face I feel physically sick. My stomach is taut with grief. Slowly I stare down at my hands clenched into fists of anger. How could my life have come to this? What had happened to the man I had fallen in love with? And I had loved him so.

Wiping my eyes I grimly smile as a feeling of pure love washes over me. I’m shocked. I’d thought Stephen had killed any love I had for him years ago. But as I remember our first meeting I remember just how much I had loved him.

Not then. Not on that first day. I hadn’t wanted to see him when he’d come knocking at the door. I’d wanted to be left alone with my grief. For I’d been grieving then as well. Grieving for my William. It was only a few days after his mother had received the telegram. He’d been killed instantly. My darling, darling William.

And this stranger was at the door. Claiming he was a friend of William’s. Claiming he had something to give me. I couldn’t cope. Couldn’t leave my bed. I was weak and young in those days. A gentile lady.

Author:  KathrynW [ Sun Apr 30, 2006 8:16 pm ]
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Ooh...I posted too soon because there was an update too!

Thank you, I think you capture Margot's feelings towards Stephen very well there and the mix of emotions that she feels towards him. Poor, poor Margot.

Thank you.


Author:  Lesley [ Sun Apr 30, 2006 8:24 pm ]
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Thanks for posting this again Lucy - very powerful :cry:

Author:  Rosy-Jess [ Sun Apr 30, 2006 8:48 pm ]
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Poor poor Margot

Author:  francesn [ Sun Apr 30, 2006 8:55 pm ]
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Thank you Lucy. Poor Margot, she had a horrible time of it.

Author:  LizB [ Mon May 01, 2006 10:36 am ]
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Thanks, Lucy

Poor Margot :cry:

Author:  Chair [ Mon May 01, 2006 11:30 am ]
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Thanks, Lucy. It's interesting to find out more about about the reasons that Margot fell for Stephen.

Author:  Fatima [ Mon May 01, 2006 3:37 pm ]
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Poor Margot, to give up everything and then find out that the man she did it for isn't worth it.

Thanks, Lucy.

Author:  Tiffany [ Mon May 01, 2006 3:49 pm ]
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I hadn't read this before; thanks, Lucy. It's very powerful. Poor Margot. :cry:

Author:  Kate [ Mon May 01, 2006 4:34 pm ]
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Thanks Lucy, for reposting and for the update.

Author:  aitchemelle [ Mon May 01, 2006 6:25 pm ]
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THank you for the update Lucy! :)

Author:  Helen P [ Tue May 02, 2006 11:40 am ]
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Oh, I'm sorry you didn't manage to save it all :(

Thank you for the new bit, and for the reminder of the more recent parts. It is very sad but so compelling and well written.

Author:  Alison H [ Tue May 02, 2006 12:18 pm ]
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Thanks for the update Lucy.

Author:  Mia [ Wed May 03, 2006 4:05 pm ]
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Thanks Lucy. This is really compelling

Author:  Jools [ Thu May 04, 2006 11:28 pm ]
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Thanks Lucy

Author:  ibarhis [ Mon May 08, 2006 6:08 pm ]
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How very very sad. Thank you...

Author:  Lucy [ Tue Oct 17, 2006 9:52 pm ]
Post subject:  A small update - the bunny is biting!

You might need to reread the last couple of posts for this to make sense! Aiming to write quite a bit of this over half term if people are still interested? Sorry its taken so long!

I hadn’t wanted to see him. Hadn’t cared. I had him sent away. I wasn’t well enough to receive visitors. I hid behind the door, unwilling to see anyone. He left without a fuss. Left a letter for me. A letter from my William.

As the door shut behind him I realised what I’d done. I’d just sent away the last person to see William. The last person who spoke to him.

Looking back, I blush now at how I behaved. I was so standoffish. But my heart was breaking.

Author:  Lesley [ Tue Oct 17, 2006 10:45 pm ]
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Glad to see more of this Lucy - so is the friend Stephen?

Author:  Alison H [ Tue Oct 17, 2006 11:16 pm ]
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Thanks Lucy - definitely still interested if you get time to write more.

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Wed Oct 18, 2006 2:57 am ]
Post subject:  Margot Venables-Gosh-an update

This is so good, thanks for reposting

Author:  Helen P [ Wed Oct 18, 2006 9:11 am ]
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Thank you Lucy, I am definitely still interested! Please keep writing and we will keep reading. :D

Author:  Chris [ Wed Oct 18, 2006 1:10 pm ]
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Am pleased to see this back - do continue please if you feel able.

Author:  leahbelle [ Wed Oct 18, 2006 1:49 pm ]
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Also pleased to see this back. Look forward to reading more if you are able!

Author:  francesn [ Wed Oct 18, 2006 6:22 pm ]
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Thanks for posting more of this Lucy

Author:  Lucy [ Fri Oct 20, 2006 10:24 am ]
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I ran out after him. I must have looked a sight, dressed all in black, my eyes swollen and puffy from crying so much. As I ran towards him I realised I didn’t even know his name.

“Excuse me…er, I’m sorry to bother you,” my voice was croaky and kept breaking. I hadn’t been able to speak to anyone since my William had left me.

Luckily the man turned round. He gasped when he saw the state of me.

“Yes ma’m, how can I help you?” His voice was steady and kind. And I couldn’t cope with that. I burst into tears. I didn’t know what to say to this man, this friend of Williams. All I wanted to know was that my darling William hadn’t died alone and in pain. And yet I couldn’t speak to him.

He realised straight away I couldn’t manage to speak coherently. He bent down, put his arm around me and led me slowly back towards the house. Suddenly he stopped and checked, “You are Margot, aren’t you?”

Sobbing I nodded.

Author:  Alison H [ Fri Oct 20, 2006 10:55 am ]
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Poor Margot :cry: .

Author:  leahbelle [ Fri Oct 20, 2006 1:48 pm ]
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*echoes Alison*

Author:  Lucy [ Tue Oct 24, 2006 2:09 pm ]
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He led me back to the house. As we stumbled up the path the front door swung open,

“Margaret Russell come inside at once and stop making such a spectacle of yourself.”

It was Great Aunt Elinor. I shrank away from the lecture that I knew would come. But she wasn’t interested in me. She’d already turned her attention to my ‘friend’,

“And who are you young man? Leading this young girl astray no doubt! Well, you are not welcome in this household.”

I blushed at the way she spoke to him. I tried to speak but the glare she shot in my direction stunned me into silence. She was already closing the door in his face. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look of surprised hurt that spread across his face. It was obvious his pride had been wounded. I just didn’t realise how much.

Author:  Mia [ Tue Oct 24, 2006 2:22 pm ]
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Thanks Lucy, I hadn't realised you were updating this. Poor Margot tho...

How's things? :D

Author:  Lucy [ Tue Oct 24, 2006 2:29 pm ]
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Things are good! Loving teaching and enjoying half term! Yay for holidays!

I thought that was it, I’d never see William’s friend again. I tried to forgive Great Aunt Elinor.

I couldn’t.

Looking back I don’t think she realised how much I’d loved William. I don’t suppose anyone had really. We’d always been a very quiet, private couple. Hadn’t had the chance for our love to blossom before he’d volunteered. I don’t think I’d realised how much I’d cared until he was gone forever. I’d found it so hard to communicate with him at first, was so shy in his presence.

We’d never been alone. I was always chaperoned by one of the Great Aunts or mother. It felt safe like that. I think I was aware, at least a little bit, that most of the other girls were married by now. I tried not to think about that. It was easy enough; I just let the Aunts talk for me. Didn’t establish myself. Looking back on that time I never really felt alive. It just felt dutiful.

The Aunts liked William. They thought he was respectable. We were allowed to talk occasionally. Not too often so others would gossip. But occasionally we had a few moments together. He asked Great Aunt Elinor if he could write to me when he volunteered in the Great War. Graciously she replied that he may. And so our correspondence began. And I found my voice. Cautiously at first. But soon I was so in love. I felt like a giddy fifteen year old. I realised what I’d missed. Realised why others wanted to get married. Realised the possibility of how my life might be changed.

I tried to talk to Jem about it. But he didn’t understand. It was different for him. He was a man and had as much freedom as he wanted. He enjoyed spending time with the Great Aunts, didn’t feel trapped like I did. And so for the first time in my life I kept my feelings a secret. I knew mother and the Aunts would be shocked by my strength of feeling. ‘Gentlewoman did not show their feelings.’ But I felt alive. I’m not sure now how I would have behaved with William if he had come back. I think I loved the letters more than I loved the boy. But I didn’t know that then.

Author:  leahbelle [ Tue Oct 24, 2006 2:45 pm ]
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Thanks, Lucy!

Author:  Alison H [ Tue Oct 24, 2006 2:46 pm ]
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Thanks Lucy. Really feeling for Margot here.

Author:  Lesley [ Tue Oct 24, 2006 6:15 pm ]
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Poor Margot - and don't blame Stephen for being annoyed at the Great Aunt's behaviour - all he'd done was try to help.

Thanks Lucy

Author:  LizB [ Sun Oct 29, 2006 1:59 pm ]
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Poor Margot :(

Thanks, Lucy

Author:  Lucy [ Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Margot Venables - updated 24/10 x 2

Can be archieved!

Author:  Alison H [ Fri Aug 14, 2009 9:53 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Margot Venables - updated 24/10 x 2

OK, will do :D .

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