Each week, we pick a short fiction piece from our Fairlight Shorts archives to feature as our story of the week. This week, we’ve chosen a story about betrayal by Idonea Bell.
Idonea Bell is a 23-year-old writer, library assistant and cat lady, not necessarily in that order. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University and spends most of her free time at the cinema or writing letters on her antique typewriter.
Idonea has been writing for as long as she can remember. As well as short stories, she is currently working on a novel that she started during her MA.
‘I Wouldn’t Be Here Without You’ follows two sisters reuniting on a holiday.
I dread to think how many flies I’ve swallowed since we came here. The air boils with them so that you can hardly breathe. They find their way through the mesh on the cabin windows. They swoop on uncovered food. Their corpses collect under lamps and in the plastic shells of ceiling lights. There’s one on me now, drinking from a droplet on my arm. I blow it off, but it only lands again a moment later.
I look away, towards Sophie, towards her body crammed into its black swimsuit and those telling marks on her arms. She’s bleached her hair. Isn’t she worried about the water getting inside the strands, tinting them as green as the algae-ridden bathing pond she insists on swimming in? Green as the wall of cornstalks at the edge of the resort. Green as the Tyrolean mountains, which loom over everything like tsunamis frozen in time. Green as an old bruise. Green as the varicose veins in Sophie’s legs as she turns in the water.
‘Come on,’ she says. ‘It’s refreshing.’
Refreshing is another word for cold. I’m happier here, on my lounger, questioning why I let my sister talk me into this trip.
We’re supposed to be reconnecting; mending the relationship that ended five and a half years ago with me telling her she’d ruined my life, and her telling me I’d never had one. She says she’s doing better now, as if a haircut and a holiday at her expense is enough to convince me of that.