How To Tackle Depression

Hi everyone. So, recently, I’ve had to go to my doctor, due to some symptoms I’ve been experiencing, which had been festering for a while and it turned out to be depression.

I’m not, nor do I pretend to be, qualified to help you deal with mental health problems you may be having. However, I am someone who has suffered from anxiety for a long time, and am now on my way to recovering  from depression. Here are eight things you can do yourself that really helped me, aside from taking my medication.

1) Go for a walk everyday : Filling your lungs with fresh air can really help you feel refreshed and energised. It’s not going to take effect by doing it once and giving up. I advise doing this every single day. In the long run, it may help, even if it’s only for five minutes. And I know, when you’re down, it’s the last thing you probably will want to do, but just do it. Make yourself. And where possible, take a scenic, serene, peaceful route.

2) Affirmations: Every morning, afternoon and evening, take a couple of minutes to close your eyes, do some deep breathing, and repeat one of the following mantra five times:

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

“I am worth loving.”

If you feel those negative thoughts that have been getting you down to creep in while affirming this to yourself, start breathing deeply again, and focus on the sound of your breaths as they come in and go out. Once you start to believe the mantra, that’s a good sign; a sign that says you’re starting to overpower those feelings of worthlessness and sadness.

3) Cut out social media: I know, I know, in this day and age, that may seem the impossible task, but trust me, if you’re feeling down and depressed, staring at a phone or computer screen is the last thing that’s going to uplift you. If you’re using it to message your friends and or family, meet up with them instead and do it on a frequent basis. That will prove much more beneficial to your mental health that snapping, tweeting or flicking through Instagram and losing yourself in it.

4) Listen to music and sing along: This one may sound stupid, but music is great for the soul, and singing along is even better. Trust me, try it on a regular basis.

5) Gratitude list: Again, this may sound incredibly stupid, but, every day, make a gratitude list. Write down three things that you are thankful for. And try come up with different answers every single day. The idea behind this, is that when you’re focusing on the positives in your life, you are momentarily distracted from the negative. Doing this activity every day can enforce a positive mindset.

6) Set daily goals: Even if it is as simple as hanging out a basket of laundry and cleaning the ashes from the fireplace, set yourself two manageable daily tasks to complete. When you have something to focus on, it can distract you from the grasp depression can have on you.

7) Set that alarm clock: When going to bed, set an alarm for yourself that will wake you after 7-8 hours. When you’re feeling down, oversleeping is a common tendency. Don’t give in to it, from experience, I know it only makes it worse. So, get up after an adequate amount of sleep, I get that it’s hard, but you just gotta force yourself. And when you feel the urge to just pull those covers back over yourself, and curl up again, fight it. Say no. Say fuck you to depression, and fight it. I know it’s easier said than done, but it’s what you need to do to overcome it.

8) Talk to someone: Tell someone who’s good at listening about how you feel. Don’t hold back. Let all that negativity spill out. And do it routinely. Don’t let those feelings continue to build up until you can’t cope anymore and just explode; that’s really not going to get you anywhere. From experience too, I find that sometimes it’s a lot easier to discuss these thoughts with someone you don’t have an emotional tie with.

And there you have it. The steps that helped me back to a better, happier place. I’m still struggling with it somewhat, but it is getting better. So, please, try those steps out to see if they make a difference. And below are a couple of videos you can check out, which really helped me gain some perspective on the problems I was experiencing.

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Short Story – Transformation of Character – Jacinta Horgan

Below is a short story I wrote under the following writing prompt: “Write a short story in which the main character is transformed when faced with a daunting challenge.” I hope you’ll enjoy 🙂 

At the tender age of twelve, I underwent an experience that indefinitely shaped the nature of my character. It was a tough challenge for me, defining my emotional state for a number of pain staking months and years. A daunting period of my life that, at the time, I never wanted to endure. Looking back on it now, I am somewhat glad that it occurred.

Throughout my primary school years, I had struggled to find my feet. I was considered the black sheep of the class. A lonely, quiet, insecure slip of a girl battling to make her way through school on a daily basis, while trying to avoid the frequent slating I received from my eleven fellow female classmates. Trying even harder to ignore the jeering remarks at my expense from immature country-raised boys.

Kathy was there for me when nobody else was. She must’ve detected my social isolation, for she was the only one of these eleven girls who took me under her wing in my early years of primary school. She sat with me at lunchtimes, she played with me in the schoolyard, she even met me at the corner shop every morning from which we would proceed to school side by side. We were inseparable. I thought I had found a true friend in Kathy. But, my instincts were very, very wrong.

Something that I failed to notice for a number of years was why Kathy gravitated towards me. Why she chose me over the other girls to be her friend. The answer was simple. Aside from having her as a friend, I was completely on my own. And she was all too aware of that unfortunate truth. She used it to manipulate and gain control. My strings were being pulled for me, my every move dictated. Kathy was my puppet master and she had me exactly where she wanted me.

As the years went by, contempt for me from my other classmates grew more and more with each passing day. Kathy told me it was because I was different and that “people don’t like it when other people stand out.” I took her word for it. But, I still wanted to be liked and respected, like every other ten year old. So, I took it upon myself to try and interact with the others more frequently and expand my social circle.

This proved to be a bitter turning point in the relationship between Kathy and myself. She saw me trying to socialize with others and I think it’s accurate to say that she didn’t like it. The thought of the only minion she had previously been able to dominate escaping her must’ve made her feel threatened. The prospect of me chatting to the girl sitting opposite us in the classroom brought out the vilest shade of green in her face. She’d interrupt our conversations, she’d scoff at anyone who I tried talking to, she’d belittle them in front of their friends. She’d even go as far as belittling me, her supposed best friend, in front of anyone, if it meant putting an end to our conversation. And me being timid ten year old me, I didn’t obstruct her callous intentions.

Well, I didn’t obstruct right away, anyway. I was afraid of losing my friend, the one person I thought I could count on. I knew deep down that her actions were wrong and that she wasn’t looking out for me. But I was afraid. I was afraid of what she’d do if I were to challenge her behavior. I was afraid that she’d abandon me and I’d be even more alone. And while I felt unnerved by her domineering interference in my interactions with others, I felt even more unnerved at the thought of having her as my enemy rather than my friend.

My fears weren’t irrational either. First of all, the rising tension between us was merely a silent power struggle. By the autumn of that year, this had transcended into an acrimonious bout of conflict. I had finally snapped and told Kathy I had taken enough of her spiteful conduct. She bit right back at me. “Good luck finding friends who’ll want you now, everyone hates you. You may win the battle, but you won’t win the war.” Then, Kathy stormed away from me, and she disowned me.

For a couple of days, she quietly ignored me. I was happy with that. In my eyes, my fears weren’t going to become reality. I was relieved. For so long, I had believed that she would continue trying to turn others against me, should I stand up to her. And when that didn’t seem to be happening, I was proud of my decision to stick up for myself. I felt like a huge burden had been lifted. I was free. My life was slowly becoming less intoxicated. I should’ve known it wouldn’t have lasted for too long.

Kathy had never been the type to back down from an argument and she held grudges like they were featherweights. And so, of course, she had something more in store for me. The tension had escalated into a two year violent war whereby Kathy ambushed me with all the ammunition she could possibly fire.

I was called to the principal’s office a few days later. Apparently, somebody had left an aggrieved note with a long string of insults in Kathy’s schoolbag. And owing to our heated confrontation, I was the prime suspect. Of course, I never did it. And though I’ll never truly know who did, I can be certain that the note was composed by the hands of someone else as a favor to her. And what makes the situation even more repulsive is that person is Kathy’s mother.

The challenge that I underwent can actually be more attributed to Kathy’s mother, but it’s what Kathy did in the lead up to the incident that is at the heart of this story. The incident with the note was pretty soon forgotten about, and things went started to quieten down for a while. But Kathy and her mother couldn’t control themselves. They needed something huge to elicit a satisfying reaction from the board of management. Something that would land me in bigger trouble. Something that would satisfy their desire to feed the personal vendetta they now bore for me.

Coming to reflect on what went down, I cannot blame Kathy. At the end of day, she was just a victim of dreadful circumstance. Under the thumb of a controlling, overreacting, unstable, attention-seeking wretch for a mother. Psychotic even.

Some weeks later, we had started our six-week swimming program with the school. Our class traveled to a local pool, where we would get an hour of swimming lessons one morning a week. At this stage, I was starting to hang around with a new group of people, and seated myself with one of them on the bus as we headed towards the pool. I was delighted with my new found friends. But, Kathy couldn’t stand that. She wanted to ruin my happiness. And for a period of time, she succeeded.

A few days had passed, and our class teacher, Mister O’Callaghan called me outside the door. As I glanced to him outside the classroom, I caught glimpse of Kathy bowing her head and avoiding eye contact. I remember thinking that this was odd. With all eyes of my classmates on me, I shuffled towards the door and he closed it over.

Standing out on the vacant corridor, Kathy was once more made the subject of my thoughts. Apparently, I had approached her in the changing rooms of the swimming pool. According to her, I had threatened to push her head under water and drown her in the pool, were she to come anywhere near me during the lessons. And her mother had reported this to the school after a terrified and distraught Kathy apparently returned home one evening a few nights previous.

I immediately denied the false accusations and Mister O’Callaghan dismissed me back to class, following me inside. It made me feel sick that Kathy and her mother had schemed this. That they had conjured up this massive lie and gone as far as to report it to the school principal. I felt targeted. I felt alone. I felt vulnerable. Part of me wanted to confront Kathy and demand to know what her problem was. But, let’s just say, I was placed under an unofficial kind of restraining order. This angered me all the more. She was the one who had been targeting me, falsely accusing me of doing such terrible things I never would have dreamed of.

Following a heated confrontation between Kathy’s mother and mine, mediated by the principal and our class teacher, where my mother achieved a landslide victory in an intense exchange of words, Kathy’s mother stormed out.

For about a year, there was a ceasefire to our drawn out war, and Kathy went to the back of my mind once again. But, of course, she couldn’t help herself. She initiated another battle, with another classmate, whose track record was squeaky clean. Again, her mother threw herself into the equation and there were rumors that she had entered the school, all guns blazing to have it out with this girl’s mother. And there were a few witnesses to the encounter, my mother being one of them. It turned out to be a repeat of the confrontation between her mother and mine. And once again, Kathy’s mother found herself left speechless by the girl’s mother’s sharp responses.

Kathy had chosen a war with the wrong person this time. This girl was liked by everyone, and everyone sided with her. Kathy and her mother were running out of rope and they were soon on their way to hanging themselves. When they recognized this, either Kathy’s mother forced her, or she decided of her own free will, I’m not sure which, to re-open old wounds and resume her battle with me, following our easing of tensions. They decided to call off the Cold War and launch themselves onto the battlefield once more.

She went about it in a calculated manner. She apologized to me for what had gone down. Filled with a hopeless longing to avoid any more sparks of tension, I accepted her apology and resolved to put the past behind us. But, she wasn’t sorry, not really. Again, she had it in mind to ambush me and stab me in the back.

Pretty soon after we started to talk to each other again, Kathy was encircling herself with my new group of friends. And not so long after this, I noticed her old habits were resurfacing. One girl in the group, who she claimed she couldn’t take a liking to, became a bone of contention for her. Gradually, she tried to push her out of the circle. And I noticed it. But this time, I wasn’t afraid of her. I wasn’t going to repeat the same mistake and allow her to dictate my social circle. And I most certainly didn’t want a repeat of being painted out as a green eyed monster by lies she may spitefully feed the teacher once again. So, I decided to be the first one to the teacher this time, to set things straight.

I told Mr Quigley, our sixth class teacher, that Kathy was exclude the girl from our social circle. He and her had a few words over the matter and she apologized to him and to the girl for her behavior. Everything seemed to be fine, but in a click of the fingers moment, everything went back to being as awful as it was when she and her mother had pointed their accusative fingers at me. No, in fact, it was worse.

The next morning, I was making my way past the corner shop when Kathy hopped out of her mother’s car. She greeted me and I waved. And, as I was passing by, her mother stopped me. “Can I talk to you?” she asked, though she delivered it through quite a commanding tone.

I was startled. I paused and nodded. She leaned her conniving face threateningly close to mine. I froze. Something from within me was screaming at me to leave. To hurry towards the school gate. And I wanted to, I really did. But my feet were planted to the ground. I couldn’t move. I was paralyzed, with what I could only identify as fear and terror. Vulnerability. The same emotions I had endured at the hands of this woman’s actions a couple of years previous. But, I had a horrible feeling of apprehension that things were about to become worse. And indeed they did.

“What exactly happened yesterday, when you decided to snitch on my daughter for no good reason?”

I had perfectly good reasons, I thought. I wanted to snap back with that in response, but not only was I unable to move, I was unable to speak. A horrible feeling was churning in my gut. I wanted to escape, but I couldn’t. I stood, dumbfounded as she threatened me. “Rat on my daughter again, and it won’t be that school I’ll be going into this time. Instead, you’ll have to deal with me in person.”

Before I went to school that morning, I told my mother all about the incident. She was fuming. We were standing at the top of the small hill in our village. Kathy’s mother was parked at the bottom. At this stage, Kathy had been inside the school gates for a number of minutes. Her mother was still sitting in her car, her head cocked in our direction. She was leering at my mother. My mother was ranting to her friend about what had just taken place. “I’m going to kill her,” she fumed. “I’m going to go down there now and hop her head off the steering wheel.”

Thankfully, my mother’s friend managed to calm her down. “Don’t. She’s sitting there waiting for you. That’s what she wants. She wants to you to react and to be able to tell everyone you assaulted her.”

My mother nodded in silent agreement. She sent me through the gates, looked Kathy’s mother in the eye from where she was standing, and holding eye contact, she crossed the street and walked through the entrance of the Garda station.

Once my mother reported the incident to the Guards, she went straight to the school and reported it to the principal as well. Later on, Kathy approached me and I told her to leave me alone. “Look, when my mam gets annoyed, that’s how she reacts.”

I laughed bitterly at her. “And this is how I’m reacting to her reaction. Goodbye, Kathy. You may have won a few battles, but you are not going to win this war.”

And then I left her. For the rest of that school year, which thankfully was the last I’d have to see her everyday, I avoided Kathy like the plague. It also worked in my favor that she wasn’t a local resident to the village I lived in. I was done with her, and that was final.

For a few months following the threat, I was terrified of Kathy’s mother and what she may have done to me. But, I tried not to let it show. Seen as she was aware she had been reported to the Guards, I think she had enough common sense to stay away from me. And I was glad of that. Nonetheless, I was still afraid. Every time I saw her car in the village, I felt an urge to run away. Oftentimes, I bowed my head.

The incident affected me greatly for a few years. I had seen her in town on a few occasions and had crossed the street to avoid her. I got better at keeping my head raised though.  In the time I tried to show her I was no longer afraid, I actually genuinely became less and less afraid.

This brings me up to a couple of days ago. I’m eighteen years old now. I was walking through the streets of my local town with the new friends I’ve acquired through secondary school. And I saw her, strolling down the street with Kathy. Instead of avoiding her, I continued to walk in her direction. With my friends by my side, I looked her in the eye and flashed her a wide smile. “Hello,” I said cheerily. She shot me a death glare and hurried on down the street with her daughter.

I guess that that incident was actually a blessing in disguise. It transformed me. It taught me a thing or two about toxic relationships. It made me more confident. It made me a stronger person. I guess it’s true what they say. What doesn’t kill you really does only make you stronger.

Sample Chapter – A Fictitious Attribution – Jacinta Horgan

Hi everybody. I have a number of books published on Wattpad and Inkitt, and I would love to expand my readership a little bit. So, I’m leaving the opening chapter to one of my books, titled A Fictitious Attribution, below. If you like the first chapter, you can access the full story through the links below. Let me know what you think 🙂

Blurb 

On her sixteenth birthday, Emma received a card through the post. It was from the father who she had always believed died in a car accident, along with her mother, when she was four years old.

Visiting him in prison, she learns of the secrets of her own past, which have been kept from her, by her grandparents, for the last 12 years. Patrick, her father, is serving a prison sentence for the murder of, Emma’s mother, information she had been kept unaware of.

Against her grandparents’ wishes, Emma continues to visit Patrick, and builds a relationship with him, on the basis of her trust for his claimed innocence.

Wishing to exonerate Patrick, Emma chases down the truth of what happened to her mother one night twelve years previous, despite numerous warnings against doing so.

Once she discovers the true identity of her mother’s murderer, Emma finds herself conflicted between two options; clearing a supposedly innocent man’s name, or, keeping the truth, unknown to all but two people, buried, as it always has been. Both choices will have a grueling impact on Emma for the rest of her life.

Links:

Inkitt: https://www.inkitt.com/stories/drama/220999

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/story/148332037-the-collision

Chapter 1 – Birthday Card

On the afternoon of my sixteenth birthday, my life was irrevocably changed. I had left school early to avoid my insanely boring double period maths, coupled with my religion class. As I entered into my home, the doormat was swept aside by the door causing the pile of daily post to become scattered along the wooden floorboards of the hallway.

I scooped the letters into my hand and tossed them onto the pine unit in the hall of my grandparents’ house. As I began to step away, the pink envelope jutting from the bottom of the pile caught my eye. It was addressed to me, my name written on it in a messy scrawl of black ink. I didn’t recognize the handwriting, so I picked it up curiously and began to break the seal. I drew the card out of its glossy envelope and looked to the front of it.

To a special daughter on her sixteenth birthday, it read.

For a moment, I thought I had misread the card. Upon scanning my eyes over it again, I realized this was not the case. I turned the envelope back over in my hand out of utter perplexity and re-read the address, assuming there had been some kind of mistake in the distribution of the card.

Emma Fitzgerald, 14 Greenwood Road, Ashfield, County Wicklow was the address on the torn envelope. My address. All I kept thinking was that this couldn’t have been possible, for both of my parents had died in a car accident when I was four years old. I hesitantly opened the card to read the message inside, not knowing what to anticipate.

Happy birthday Emma. I can’t believe you’re sixteen. I love you and I always will. Hope your day is filled with lots of love and joy,

Dad.

At first, I thought that this was some kind of sick joke. As far as I was concerned, my father was dead and had been for a longer period of my life than he had been alive. But then, I pulled out the letter that was also contained inside the envelope. I unfolded it, and began to read the mass of writing.

Hello Emma.

How are you getting on? I’ve missed you these past twelve years and I’d really like to get in touch with you.

As I’ve repeated in almost every previous letter that I’ve included with each of your birthday cards over the past number of years, I want to emphasize that despite having been found guilty, I never did it. I know that I’m not in a good light considering the evidence against me, but I want you to know that I am innocent. I know you probably don’t believe me and that’s likely the reason that you’ve not replied to any of my letters. I understand if you hate me for everything that happened. But please give me the chance to convince you that I’m not guilty. Please come and visit me and let me explain everything. If you then decide you don’t believe me and still want nothing to do with me, then I’ll accept that and I won’t contact you again. If you don’t respond to this letter, I’ll take that as you’re not interested and I’ll also leave you alone under that circumstance. Either way, this is the last time that I’ll contact you through a letter.

I hope to hear from you soon. But if that doesn’t happen, I just want you to know that I love and miss you dearly. Not a day has gone by over the last twelve years when I haven’t thought of you.

Take care Emma,

Dad.

Welling tears began to sting at my eyes. My dad was alive. In that instant, I couldn’t comprehend that being the reality. Nor could I handle the overwhelming amount of knowledge that had just been sprung on me. And yet, I was craving more information on the matter. My father was in prison for something that he claimed he didn’t do. What his supposed crime was, I was unaware of and my grandparents had always kept this from me. He had also claimed to have written more letters to me in the past, which was a clear indication that they had intercepted each one of them being delivered to me.

With that in mind, I decided I wasn’t going to reveal I was now privy of this to them, at least not until I became more acquainted with the truths of the past they had kept from me. I resolved to keep this hidden from them as they had so done with me, until I had visited my father in prison.

Book Review; Diamond Illusion – Uma Sky

This ongoing book, which is available on Wattpad, is a quick, easy read, with a very sassy leading female character.

The story centres around a college student by the name of Maia Stone, a seemingly invincible character, with a reputation for her haughty attitude. In Mayville, the town she lives in, not one of the residents dares to cross Maia’s path and are shown to tread on eggshells around her.

Maia is very comfortable being top dog in her locality, but this all changes when Damon Ryder shows up in town. Being the first person who challenges her attitude of superiority, there’s an instant clash of personality between them, which transitions into a love hate relationship.

The book is well written, and well structured. The author’s aesthetic use of description really blew me away as a reader. I liked the plot line of the power struggle between the two main characters.

Damon’s character is very likeable in a slightly annoying way to me. I also like the premise of Maia feeling threatened by Damon posing challenges to her reputation, and her intense sense of anger in the extreme ways she sometimes reacts to being challenged.

However, I think the author could give us a little more insight into the backstory of Maia’s character to provide an explanation for some of her extreme reactions throughout the narrative.

Other than this one minor criticism, I am really enjoying the book and think you will too.

Rating: 8/10

Link: https://www.wattpad.com/story/107901409-diamond-illusion

Sample Chapter – The Collision – Jacinta Horgan

Hi everybody. I have a number of books published on Wattpad and Inkitt, and I would love to expand my readership a little bit. So, what I’ve decided to do is to leave the opening chapter to one of my books, titled The Collision, below. If you like the first chapter, you can access the full story through the links below. Let me know what you think 🙂

Blurb 

Dylan Keeling was heading out one night, expecting an enjoyable evening at a party. But one mistake on his part led to dreadful repercussions for him and all he knew. In the aftermath of a terrible car accident, his life is turned upside down.

Dylan is then forced to confront the conflicting nature of loss, grief, resentment, guilt, love, favoritism and deceit, within a family that is falling apart, while he is simultaneously being driven to the edge of his sanity.

Links:

Inkitt: https://www.inkitt.com/stories/drama/220999

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/story/148332037-the-collision

Chapter 1 – The Accident 

From the moment that the eleven year old silver car upturned itself and landed in a field neighboring the desolate country road it had been speeding down, the lives of many individuals were both directly and indirectly impacted forever.

As the soft glow of twilight shone through the windows of his home, Dylan wandered into the kitchen wearing a white shirt and a pair of dark jeans. He was joined by his year younger brother, Jack, who was quite under-dressed in comparison to him.

Is that what he’s wearing to the party? thought Dylan to himself.

He stopped himself from vocalizing that thought, for fear of receiving a dig from his mother, Ann. She was cooking chicken fillets while listening to a broadcast of RTE on the radio. She had her back turned to Dylan as he addressed her.

‘Mam, we’ve got to go now,’ he said. ‘Can I have the keys please?’

Dylan smiled nervously at Ann as she turned to face him. She shifted her focus from the pan of sizzling chicken fillets. She reached into the pocket of her jacket. She produced a car key attached to a tarnished key ring. Stretching her arm out, she dropped it into the palm of Dylan’s hand.

‘Your dad will pick you both up at midnight outside Foley’s. Be on time, and don’t even think of driving home after the party.’

Dylan nodded diffidently.

‘Don’t worry, we will be.’

Ann turned down the gas low on the hob. She turned her focus to Jack and wrapped her arms around him.

‘Enjoy yourself honey. If you have any problems, or if your brother is bullying you,’ she uttered.

She paused to shoot a warning glance at Dylan. He looked away due to the emotional discomfort he was experiencing at that moment as Ann continued to speak to Jack.

‘Make sure you call me.’

‘Will do Ma,’ he replied.

Jack broke away from her and rolled his eyes which she didn’t seem to notice.

‘I love you, I’ll see you later,’ she stated.

She looked to Dylan as he told her he loved her.

‘See you later,’ she replied, pausing for a moment. ‘Love you too.’

The two brothers headed out into the narrow hallway whilst she turned back to the hob on the cooker.

As Dylan started up the car engine, Jack slid onto the passenger seat. He pulled the stiff door closed with an almighty yank. After driving the car for about ten minutes, Dylan indicated and turned into the driveway of a commodious bungalow.

‘Just picking up Rachel,’ he told Jack, as he drove up to the door.

‘Ugh,’ he groaned. ‘Why does she have to come?’

Dylan sighed at Jack, unfastening his seat belt.

‘Because she’s my girlfriend, Jack.’

‘She’s such a bitch.’

Dylan felt irritated at him. He believed he shouldn’t, because this was regularly how Jack talked about a lot of people and that had always been this way. He ignored his comment and stepped out of the car. Jack fixed his eyes on the key in the ignition.

‘Can I drive the rest of the way?’ he asked.

Dylan followed his gaze and made a grab for the keys.

‘Nope, sorry Jack,’ he said, clutching them.

Jack scowled at Dylan, and stepped out of the car to face him. He pleaded with him to give him the keys and Dylan shook his head fervently.

‘You’ve only just passed your test and Mam doesn’t want you driving yet,’ he stated.

Jack approached Dylan menacingly as he answered. ‘Ma’s not here. What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.’

‘I said no, Jack.’

Dylan began to step away from the car and distance himself from Jack.

‘Do you think that by doing what Ma says, she’ll suddenly like you?’ asked Jack.

Dylan stopped, and turned back to face him again. He stood, staring at him silently, as he continued to speak.

‘Ma is never going to love you like she loves me, just face it,’ he said.

Dylan clenched his jaw at Jack.

‘Shut up.’

Jack took his phone out of his pocket. He placed it to his ear and acted as though he was having a conversation over the phone.

‘Yep, Ma. Dylan’s insulting me. Does it count as bullying if he tells me to shut up?’

Dylan shook his head. ‘I’m not bullying you Jack, grow up,’ he uttered irritably.

In response, Jack asked Dylan who he thought Ann would believe. He raised an eyebrow and dropped it again, answering his own question.

‘I can tell you now that she’s going to believe me,’ he affirmed. ‘Remember what happened in Greece?’

Still standing opposite Jack, Dylan grimaced slightly as he thought about his question. He swallowed and fell silent.

‘Of course, I won’t call her as long as you give me the keys.’

Dylan looked to the keys in his hands. He tossed them around his hands for a moment, before sighing and throwing the keys to Jack. He looked him in the eye.

‘I was driving, agreed?’

‘Agreed,’ replied Jack with a nod.

Jack scrambled out of the car and hopped into the driver seat. Dylan stepped onto the porch of the house and rang the doorbell.

Inside the house, a girl stood in front of a mirror in the hallway.

‘I’ll be there in a minute, Dylan,’ she called, loud enough for him to hear through the door.

As she applied mascara to her curled eyelashes, her mother, Teresa, emerged from the kitchen.

‘You’re leaving now, Rachel?’ she asked.

‘Yeah,’ she said with a smile. ‘Dylan’s just outside.’

Teresa nodded, and hugged Rachel.

‘Are you sure it’s a good idea to allow Dylan to drive you?’

Rachel rolled her eyes at her and smiled.

‘Mam, stop worrying,’ she said. ‘I’ve been in a car with him plenty of times and he’s always been responsible.’

Teresa smiled at her.

‘I know,’ she said. ‘I just worry about you, that’s all.’

Rachel nodded and hugged Teresa.

‘I’ll see you tomorrow,’ she said. ‘I love you.’

Passing by the living room, Rachel peeped inside. She said goodbye to her brother, Josh, who was doing his Irish homework. Teresa followed her to the door and as Rachel opened it, she greeted Dylan.

‘Hi Dylan,’ she said. ‘Be careful driving now. And make sure the two of you don’t drink too much. Look out for each other.’

‘Mam,’ hissed Rachel.

She widened her eyes at Teresa, giving her a sharp look as if to say shut up.

‘Sorry,’ she said. ‘Have a nice time.’

As Rachel walked towards the car with Dylan, she began to apologise for Teresa.

‘She’s so embarrasing,’ she said.

Dylan nodded and smiled at her.

‘She cares about you,’ he said. ‘It’s nice.’

He opened one of the back doors for her and she slid across the seats. He sat beside her in the middle seat. Dylan then refrained from fastening his seat belt, on the contrary to Rachel, who had secured hers as soon as she had seated herself in the car.

‘So, I was talking to Sadhbh and she said there’s going to be at least two hundred people going to her party,’ Rachel told him.

‘Right,’ he said. ‘Apart from Eoghan, who else is coming from our year?’

Rachel thought for a moment.

‘Well, there’s Aaron. And Sabrina,’ she said, pulling a face. ‘And there’s loads of other people from our year.’

Dylan nodded. Jack pushed his foot against the accelerator. As the speed of the car began to rapidly increase, Dylan leaned forward and placed his hand on the back of Jack’s seat.

‘Jack, you’re going a little bit too fast. Could you please slow down?’

Jack glared at Dylan through the mirror and replied to him without hesitation.

‘The speed I’m going at is fine.’

Dylan was jerked back into his seat after the car became faster. The tires began to screech as they rubbed abrasively against the tarmac in the road.

‘Seriously Jack, slow down,’ said Rachel.

‘Oh shut up, you fucking stupid bitch.’

Dylan cut in, his voice raised.

‘Don’t you dare talk to her like that,’ he yelled. ‘And slow down.’

‘Shut up, the pair of you,’ Jack roared.

Dylan ignored him and turned to Rachel.

‘I’m so sorry about him, are you okay?’

‘I have a name,’ retorted Jack.

Dylan turned back to face Jack. He was about to pass a snide comment to him before his eyes darted to a dog sitting in the centre of the road. His eyes widened in horror.

‘Jack, watch—’

Jack turned back around to notice the dog. He was within inches of knocking it down. He forcefully slammed his foot down on the brakes. At that point, the car was no longer on the road. It was bounding through the bitter cold air of a night in the early days of the winter season. The car flipped over and landed upside down in a lightly frosted over field, with a tumultuous thud which was followed by a deafening silence.

Book Review – The Curve in the Road – Greg McLaughlin 

The Curve in the Road is very well structured. It has a strong thematic focus on the contrast between the present and the past and how the past could’ve potentially shaped the present differently with one decision. This is a compelling narrative with a vivid use of description throughout.

The story has a predominant focus on the possibility of what could’ve been, shaping the present and future of the main character, Cooper. Throughout the story, we see him reconsidering and reevaluating his life, as conflict develops in one of his most central relationships. It sends him revisiting the past and reaching out to an old friend whose presence has had a strong impact on him. We also see him toying with the idea of putting an end to the relationship and rekindling an old one. With the help of this friend, the conflict resolves itself nicely by the end and closes with a depiction of Cooper leading a life with someone he could’ve had with someone else, but ultimately did not work out.

This is a quick, enthralling and intriguing read, that would be the perfect choice for anyone who has a couple of hours to spare. I highly recommend. On Inkitt for free – link below 🙂 

https://www.inkitt.com/stories/drama/230992

Rating; 8.5/10 

Book Review; Riverwood: Doors to the Near World – Rich Shifman 

 

This book is interesting, in that it alternates between a magical fantasy and a bit of a drama and young sweet romance. What makes it different is that the fantastical element of the story is set around an event  similar to 9/11, which takes place in another world.  The characters are well drawn and I enjoyed the fact that the narrative is centered around a group of twelve year olds rather than young characters in the latter stage of their teen years – not that there is anything wrong with that, it just makes for a refreshing change.

The narrative focuses on two brothers, Jake and Evan, who are new students at Riverwood school. Here, they meet a set of twins, Jenna and Mike. It is revealed that Mike and Jenna are from a parallel universe and have become trapped in Jake and Evan’s world. With the help of an elderly woman who used to be the principal of Riverwood, Jake, Evan and the twins are embarked on a mission to defeat the evil forces which have barricaded Jenna and April from their world, while also helping to thwart the plans of a an evil plot from taking place, which effectively grounds the fantasy element into real life and ties the two worlds together very well.

Riverwood is a quick easy read with a few unexpected twists along the way, which keeps the reader’s interest piqued from start to finish. I’d highly recommend that you read this. And guess what? It’s free(for now). It’s on Inkitt, link below. all you have to do is create an account. And if you like the book, click into the author’s page – it’s part of a series which I am currently reading further in to 🙂

https://www.inkitt.com/stories/fantasy/118449

Rating; 9/10