Whitby Woman – J L Corbett

Day 1

They sent me home from work today. I’d barely taken off my coat when Tom asked me how my weekend had been, and I burst into tears. People stared. It was bad.

I had to walk past the whole office when Tamsin led me into a meeting room for a “chat”. As team leaders go, Tam is alright, but she can be a bit dizzy. The meeting room she chose had glass walls; she might as well have sat me down in the middle of the office and told everybody to gather around for a live rendition of this week’s hot gossip.

It was so embarrassing. There I was: thirty-seven years old, red-faced and sobbing in front of my team leader, a woman six years my junior and several notches my superior (both career-wise and charisma-wise). I stammered out as much as I could about the whole mess and after listening to me blubber for a few minutes she sent me home.

“Oh, you poor thing. Why don’t you pop home and take a few days for yourself?” she had said. So here I am, taking a few days for myself.


Day 4

I called work today and told them I need more time off. They asked me why. I said I’d already talked to Tamsin on Monday and she had told me to take as long as I needed, and that HR could take it up with her if needs be.

Usually, my heart would be hammering in my chest after such a blatant lie, but everything’s been kind of dull recently. It’s probably normal, given the circumstances. I hung up the phone, got back inside my duvet cocoon on the sofa and fell asleep to the sound of Come Dine with Me.


Day 10

I think I had a panic attack today.

I finally ran out of whisky and food, so I left the house and ventured into the wild. I ended up in Co-op and when it happened, I was standing in the queue, waiting to be served.

My hair was greasy and scraped back into a bun, I was wearing an old jumper that still kind of smelt like him, and my arms were full of as much edible junk as I could carry – it wasn’t good. Suddenly my heart started beating really fast (I guess it finally woke up, ten days after The Awfulness). My palms got sweaty, my head started doing this weird twitchy thing and everything started to wobble – the conveyor belt, the other customers, all of it.

I hate the wild. It sucks.

As I staggered home (seriously, what is happening to my body?), I cut across the beach. It took twice as long for me to reach my house and the sand wrecked my trainers, but it was safe. The sea glittered.

When I finally got back inside the house, I bolted the door.


Day 12

I miss him so much it feels like nothing will ever be okay ever again.

I sit in my mess on the sofa and I stare into space for so long that my eyes glaze over and everything in the room blurs. Something has been ripped from my soul. Part of me is gone and I’m not allowed to run after it, I’m expected to pretend I don’t need it, like it’s something that will heal over with time.

He’s amputated me.

I get so angry when I see people outside laughing and carrying on like everything is the same. The world has changed in such a horrible way, and nobody even fucking realises.

I’m humiliated. It stings to remember how I swanned around for all those years acting like we were a better couple than everybody else, like we were somehow impervious to all the things that weigh on a relationship. How could I have been so arrogant?

This town is laced with memories of him… I don’t think I can stay here much longer. But I can’t bring myself to leave the house.

This can’t be my life.


Day 28

I’m writing this in the attic. I can’t remember the last time I came up here – it was his hideaway, no girls allowed, that sort of thing. He did it up a few years after we moved in, put down a carpet, fitted a nice light fixture, made it into a proper little room.

Sorry, I had to stop for a moment.

I’m fine.

I’ve been doing a bit of DIY around the house, just keeping busy and filling the days. The house is quite old (I think it was built back in the twenties, maybe even earlier), and there are parts of it that are kind of falling apart. Today I’ve been sealing up a few cracks and holes, making the place water tight.

The telly has been on constantly, because the background noise makes the house feel full. I think the one in the sitting room is probably still playing Channel Four actually, even though I’ve been up here all day.

All this work has made me kind of tired. I think I’m gonna crash out in front of the little telly up here.


Day 37

Somebody keeps knocking on the front door. It’s probably someone from work, seeing how they’ve been calling me repeatedly. What the hell is their problem?

The house is mostly prepared. I’ve packed all the important things and gotten rid of everything that’s too heavy. I chucked it all out of our bedroom window, it’s easier than going outside and besides, it’s horrible out there. From the window, I can see people frolicking on the beach every day. It pisses me off.

I’ve nailed duvets and bed sheets to most of the window frames and I’ve had to get rid of all the furniture. I’ve kept our mattress. Sleep will be important.

Tomorrow’s the day.




Monday 10 December 2018

by Brianna DeSouza, senior reporter.

A local woman has been spotted sailing into the North Sea inside her detached two-story home.

The woman has been identified through land registry records as Lindsay Strauss, 37, of Valley Road, Whitby. It is suspected that her husband, Jake Strauss, 38, may also be inside the modified house.

Several concerned neighbours called the police yesterday after witnessing numerous large pieces of furniture being dropped out of a second story window, but the police failed to attend the scene, allegedly due record understaffing levels. An investigation is currently underway.

Pamela Byers, also of Valley Road, Whitby, was one of the first people to witness the house breaking from its foundations, travelling across the beach and gliding into the sea.

“It was mad. All the windows were boarded up and the house was actually floating on the water! Lindsay’s always kept to herself, especially recently, but I got a glimpse of her stood in the attic window, and she was smiling. The house looked quite peaceful, sailing into the sunrise. I say good for her! Maybe she’s off on her holidays!”


J.L. CORBETT is the editor of Idle Ink, an online publisher of curious fiction. Her short stories have been featured in Schlock! Webzine, TL;DR Women’s Anthology: Carrying Fire, The Cabinet of Heed, STORGY Magazine, and others. She owns more books than she can ever possibly read and doesn’t get out much. She can be found on twitter @JL_Corbett.


Image via Pixabay 

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