The path to atonement


I can’t share any more of A ghost and his gold at the moment. I have made some changes to the story and don’t want to share any more until I am finished adding to and editing this story. It is no longer a short story and is likely to end up a novella. I am really enjoying the historical research required for the changes and additions to the story.

I thought I would share an extract from another story I am writing called The path to atonement.

“Juliet examined the gun in her hands for the umpteenth time. It’s heaviness still surprised her. The metal looked sleek and shiny. Her eyes focused intently on the hole at the end of the barrel.

That is where the bullet emerges.

As always, the hole blurred and enlarged forming itself into a gaping mouth.

“You are a failure, Juliet,” it whispered. “What if you never pass? What then?” The words bounced around her mind, like an out of control Ping-Pong ball. “Go on, do it, you pathetic failure. Finish your miserable existence.”

Failing the second part of her board examinations had been devastating for her. She had never failed an examination before. She had passed both her degree and her honours degree in accounting science with distinction. Her board course lecturer was terrible, leaving out chunks of the study material and focusing only on topical issues. When she learned of her fail, she had blamed him, her heart black with anger. Her smoldering anger and extended to her employer. The learning and development team at the firm had recommended this man. They were equally to blame for her failure. In fact, they were more to blame as they should have known better and been more careful in their recommendation.

Her counselling manger had been so glib about it. “Never mind,” she said, “you can retake the examination next year.” As if it was that straight forward.

Juliet had always studied part-time. Her family did not have the money to send her to full-time university. Working full time at an auditing firm during the day and studying every night had been her way of life for the past four years. Juliet was determined and goals driven. She had managed to maintain her full academic scholarship at the long-distance university she attended and complete her assignments timeously and effectively. She never attended any social functions because she needed to study to maintain her top grades. She never went out with her work peer group as she didn’t have any extra money for recreational activities. She had been looking forward to the endless studying ending and to getting a nice increase that would make her life a bit easier and maybe even a bit more fun. Her failure had ended this hope. Another long year of struggling to make ends meet on her measly salary and studying countless hours in the evenings and over weekends faced her. There were no guarantees she would pass either.

What if I never pass.

The anger had passed, replaced by a feeling of utter hopelessness. The gray veil did not lift as it had in the past when depression had claimed her. It remained for weeks, swaddling her in a blanket of despair, sapping her usually high energy levels and plunging her into a fatigue so intense her very bones ached, and her memory and concentration evaporated before its searing intensity.

She glanced at the clock on the wall. It’s old fashioned round face measured out the seconds, minutes and hours of life in this orderly and well-run firm. She had chosen one of the training rooms at the firm when she worked as an articled clerk because it seemed the most fitting place for her to end her dream and her life.

Juliet carefully placed the leering mouth into her own mouth.

The idea of her eating that despicable mouth brought a slight smile to her full lips.

She tilted the gun slightly upwards as directed by the research she had done on the most effective way to commit suicide using a gun.

This way the back of her brain would be destroyed instantly when she pulled the trigger. The fact that her face would remain intact pleased her. She always liked to look neat and tidy.

Juliet pulled the hammer back and pulled the trigger.”

A bit heavy going, I know, but I am experimenting with ideas.

Have a lovely week.



23 thoughts on “The path to atonement

    1. I know it is dark, Annette. I have been invited to write three short stories for a murder mystery anthology so I am playing around with some ideas to see what works. I have finished the first story and this may shape up into another or maybe not.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Wow! Well done. – This comes close to reality. I worked in one of those firms, and I knew a man who failed the exam three times. He quit. Lived to find a new job. Still, I wonder if he ever felt like this.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Dan. This is actually a little bit autobiographical as I am a chartered accountant and I passed my degrees with distinction (studying part time). I failed the auditing paper for my board examinations and had to retake it. I never felt depressed about it though, that part is made up.

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  2. My, that was dark! I’ve never felt suicidal but was at uni with someone who did and, sadly, went through with it. You’ve given me insight into how he must have been feeling.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Clive, yes this is dark. Part of it is about my experience when I failed the auditing part of the board exams (my first fail ever) and the suicide is also real but obviously not me. It happened as I described in the office and it has always haunted me. I, of course, went on to pass the following year after a much better preparation course.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wondered how much of your own story was in this, as the details were very precise. I’m glad to hear that you passed the exam next time, and that you weren’t suicidal!


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