Reply To: The Disappearance of Rebecca Faulks (short Story – 2,800 words)

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Philippa East

Hi Elle,
Sorry it’s taken me a while to get to this.

I really enjoyed this. I think it’s an incredibly realistic portrayal of depression, especially the sense of complete hopelessness and almost indifference that invades. She almost simply accepts and embraces her “fate”, to the point where (for me) suicide in the bath seemed like simply the next logical step in the process. I like how you end on a flicker of hope – the sense of someone with her, and she’s no longer alone. I think that hope at the end is key, so well done for rounding that off. The dream bit worked for me – I was clear that it was a dream from her hospital bed.
I really like the symbolism of the encroaching mould, which takes on hallucinatory proportions. It echos the mould in “The Yellow Wallpaper” (a great short story, which you can read here if you haven’t already).

A few typos, etc.:
“living room area” – I think we’d probably just say the living room (you use the same phrase later too, I think?)
““Oh no.” Better let her down …” Make a new paragraph for “Better… etc.”, otherwise they look like Lucy’s thoughts.
“I can’t be asked to get dressed up ” – did you mean arsed?
“his lips on her shoulder was just muscle ” – were not was
“I’m still not feeling hundred percent,” – a hundred percent
“Maybe, she should put those words to good use” – no comma
“turning the sole of her feet black. They left smudges of dirt on the sheet.” – plural for soles and sheets (we usually talk about sheets rather than singular sheet on a bed – dunno why)
“Three hours later, she lied on her stomach” – lay not lied
“patches of yellow damp blooming along to her every thoughts.” – should be ‘thought’ singular
“Frosted flake tasted like carboard in her mouth” – flakes plural; spelling of cardboard
“made of sheet loaded with a sluggish scent of regret” – sheets plural
“coffee mugs colonised by island of green fuzz” – islands plural
“The Rebecca in the mirror had out of control” – out-of-control
“all she needed was to pick a new life… online shopping for a new life” – repetition

I really like the way you describe her crying at everything, even the fact that she stops smelling. The references to her emotional ‘vertigo’ are very cleverly done, and there are so many lovely touches, such as her reflections on the taxi driver’s indifference to her plight.

Well done.