Mortal End: At The End of Her Tether

The above title and following excerpt are a work in progress; a prequel of sorts to my dark fantasy/gothic horror novel, Mortal End: A Simmering Pit of Jiggery Pokery.

I had hoped to have completed this second book in the series some years back but life happened. Having published the first book in 2014, I was busily working on this book when my world imploded and everything I knew turned into a life I did not know and I was overwhelmed.

The details (should you want them) are explained more fully in my blog (start with this post: Only Dead On The Inside ), but in essence my mother was widowed and as she has dementia/Alzheimer’s, my husband and I gave up our freedom and sanity in LA to return to London to be here for her.

For the most part, life has been nothing but extreme stress, heartache and trauma ever since.

Writing is often a tool that can be used to work through such things – which, if you follow my blog, you will have read many of my streams of consciousness with regard to ‘life,’ and in particular my life – that I put down in writing. Rather than lose the plot, I try to create a plot.

However, writing fiction, when the bones of the story are taken from what you know – and in my case what I know is abandonment/childhood sexual abuse/physical and mental abuse etc – putting one word in front of another only happens when I relive the emotions/sounds/smells and horrors of the past; my past.

I want to complete this book – it’s not all terror inducing, as you will know if you read Mortal End: A Simmering Pit of Jiggery Pokery, which is filled with humour and is very much tongue in cheek – but the reality is that in order to create a storyline, I have to (re)live the story as I write it.

My intention, as ever, is to have enough brainspace and easing up on the PTSD that I can complete this manuscript in 2021, as it’s definitely a story worth telling…and reading.

Here goes:



Pitch black.

Protracted pupils stretching and pulling to let in any stray and desolate rays of light, of which there was none. Or wide open purely from the sheer and absolute terror that was invading her very being.  

The solid darkness disabled Martyr’s ability to comprehend her surroundings. She felt like she had been swallowed whole by hell and was rapidly falling down past its slimy gullet and into its bile filled and regurgitating stomach. A lifeless vacuum….or worse still, a lively vacuum that was efficiently sucking the last of the oxygen molecules from every nook and cranny of this nether world.

The cloying aroma was stale and dank and so thick Martyr felt it stick in her throat and expand like she had anaphylactic shock. Her gasps for breath were so shallow that her shrunken lungs were banging on the inside of her ribcage and her trachea was burning and dry.

Martyr could taste blood and grit in her mouth. She was convinced that her alveoli were turning to dust in her chest and the weight of the detritus was like a damp sandbag against her already straining diaphragm. 

The incessant screaming was both inside and outside of her head. A deafening lament filled the abyss and Martyr’s Eustachian tubes, slicing through her delicate golden haired head.

Any remnants of sanity were about to leave this place, which is what Martyr should have done, too. It wasn’t going to get any better any time soon. If it ever got better at all.

The indecent prod in her teenage backside brought her back to reality.


“I…I can’t. I can’t see where I’m going.”

“Just put one knee in front of the other and crawl. We are almost there now.”

Martyr’s father was not providing any great comfort to her with his gruff instructions. Not that he ever could. Martyr was wary of her father and quite rightly so. He did not behave in any way that fathers were supposed to and now she realised, too late and somewhere in the bowels of this basement, that he had tricked her yet again.

“Help me,” he had said.

Martyr had heard it all before but knew that it wasn’t a polite request, it was a commandment and so she had resignedly complied as she always did. However, this barely foot high tunnel that she now found herself dragging her deadened and seeping limbs through was a new horror. He had surpassed himself with this particular joyless and chilling experience.

Martyr, as instructed, placed one shredded knee in front of the other with difficulty and winced. The walls of the tunnel really were closing in on her and there was hardly enough room to stop still let alone move forward but she had to. There was definitely no turning back – apart from the fact that her father’s heavy and rancid breath was on the back of her neck, this tight space was so enclosed that there was no way at all that she would be able to turn around even if her life depended on it, which she was beginning to believe it did.

So, onwards she went, for what seemed like a lifetime. Reaching out with her nervous and tender young fingers, Martyr was afraid of what she might encounter in the blackness ahead of her, as she painfully inched forward to her doom.

The crawlspace came to a sudden end as Martyr’s fingers felt cold metal. With her father right behind her, the claustrophobia that had been stifling her throughout this venture, engulfed her sanity and immediately made her lose her senses and control of her bodily functions.

Martyr could go no further and could also not turn around.

Malodorous from his recent exertions, Martyr’s father filled the underworld tube with a repugnant hot and sweaty steam. Like garbage that creates its own heat as it rots, so did this foul man especially as he leaned over his terrified and soiled daughter, as he sought to unlock the metal door that was blocking their way.

With a groan the door opened inwards and both Martyr and her father fell in to an equally dark and damp but rather larger chamber.  Martyr could sense the space as noise was allowed a moment of existence before it was extinguished by the airless dungeon.

Using what was left of her upper body strength, Martyr pulled herself through the doorway and attempted to get upright. Having been on her hands and knees for so long, her spine was not having it and refused to obey her demands. Each vertebrae unfolded with a creaking protest, leaving her standing in curved position and an indescribable pain in her lower back. Upon realising that the ceiling of this cell was unable to withstand her full height anyway, Martyr remained crooked and stumbled about trying to regain her balance….of body and mind.

Martyr knew this was not good and had an educated inkling that whatever came next was going to be far worse. Worse than anything she could ever imagine.

And she was going to be proved right.

© Toula Mavridou-Messer 2015 All Rights Reserved