Girl Without a Face
97 pages

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Laura Danes was a perfectly normal girl with ambitions and dreams of becoming a successful filmmaker. That is, until one night, outside a secluded train station, changed the course of her life forever. With one action, the gang that threw the acid burned away, not only her skin, but also her future.Three months on, Laura is still struggling to make sense of it all. Things like that shouldn't happen, not in a small markettown, not to everyday people. Not ever. Although her mum tries to support her, Laura finds little to find joy in. Life nolonger seems to hold any promise or surprise - until a member of the gang contacts her begging for forgivenessWith Jake opening up a new world for her, Laura finds a spark of the old filmmaking interest as she learns about the gangculture Jake comes from. With life slowly moving forward, Laura learns again to take risks, find courage and show othersthat one horrible event should not have the power to control your life.



Publié par
Date de parution 09 juillet 2019
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9781838599911
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0200€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Also by the author
Season of Sid
Wacko Hacko
A Fistful of Dust
Seventeen Gifts for Frannie and Jess

Copyright © 2019 Nasser Hashmi

The moral right of the author has been asserted.

Apart from any fair dealing for the purposes of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, this publication may only be reproduced, stored or transmitted, in any form or by any means, with the prior permission in writing of the publishers, or in the case of reprographic reproduction in accordance with the terms of licences issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency. Enquiries concerning reproduction outside those terms should be sent to the publishers.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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Attacker contacts girls to apologise for attack –
but she still swears revenge on them.
Not caught yet.
Little big fish swimming in the water,
Come back here and give me my daughter.
Laura Danes, and her mother Sheila, spent the afternoon taking all the mirrors off the walls, the shelves, the dressing table and out of the bathroom until there was barely a reflection in the house. Laura had demanded it, sitting in her bedroom all morning in tears; something she hadn’t done since the day of the attack. The weeping appeared to come all at once, almost three months later. A flood so deep and long-lasting that Laura thought it would never stop. The pool of liquid on the carpet got so big that she bent down, cut a fresh tissue into four pieces and made two eyes, a nose and a smiley mouth. A happy face looking up at her. Intact, whole and permanent. No longer. She eased the sole of her shoe into the ‘mouth’ and turned it upside down.
It took at least five hours to clear the house of the ‘new truth’, as Laura called it. Most of the mirrors ended up in the back garden, ready to be dumped – or in the cellar, or in the attic – but the main thing, in Laura’s eyes, was that they were gone and she could breathe again, if only for a little while, until the next flashback, memory or vivid burning sensation swarmed across her body and mind, reminding her that her life and existence would never be the same again.
But the glass could not break her will anymore. It was gone and she had to try to put those early, grisly reflections, a few days after the attack, behind her. Narrow eyes, white scarring, saggy cheeks and the widest of mouths. The nose appeared to be gone too – with a permanent smell of sizzling flames and toxic fumes. It was the face of an old woman. Lost and forgotten, from a tribe that still believed in the punishment of the female race. So did the gang. At least, that’s what Laura felt. They had done it on purpose but she still didn’t know why. Their four faces surrounded hers in early-morning dreams. They were hard to dislodge but easy to access.
The fish-shaped mirror was also easy to access but joined the glass pyre, despite it being one of Laura’s favourites. Mother and daughter didn’t look at each other when that one was dispatched from the dressing table. Laura’s hair-colour roulette, faint eyeliner and the music of Polly Jean had always given her solace before the short walk to university. Not now. The degree felt a lifetime away. She wondered if she had been a student at all.
But she had. For three years that now felt like three seconds. Hazy memories that were hard to recall and ever harder to retain. A blowtorch of cheap drinks, tipsy dancing, stray files and clicking of pens. All gone in a flash. Of light and flames that ignited too much, too little, or not at all. Lecturers’ faces dropping when they see her. Students likewise. Her aim had been to go to the National Film and Television School and study film seriously so she could, perhaps, one day, launch her own production company, or make documentaries or, with even more luck, raise the funding for a feature film. But who’d take her now, looking like this? Gazing out of the window, with partial vision, wasn’t a recipe for a life behind the camera. The finished film would have black holes in it everywhere.
Finally, Sheila finished her ‘work’ and came into Laura’s bedroom. She sat down by her side and looked down at her. She picked up a tissue and noticed a tiny bit of scar had opened up on the side of her face. She moved forward and softly applied the tissue onto Laura’s missing eyebrow and down below to her cheek.
‘More laser treatment needed, my love,’ said Sheila, checking the tissue repeatedly for blood and mucus. ‘It’ll give you a lift, bring back a bit of confidence.’
‘Don’t want to go through that again. Even the goggles hurt.’
‘Oh, come on, Laura, don’t talk like that,’ said Sheila, with a sigh. ‘I think it’s the police not catching those animals that’s made you feel like this. If they’d done their job, you could get on with your life but as it is…’ She put down the tissue on the bedside table and picked up another one. ‘You can’t move on and put any of it behind you. I know it’s difficult but you have try, my darling, you have to try.’
Laura moved away from the slightly stinging nature of the tissue and lay down on her side, looking out of the window again.
‘Not the police’s the fault the CCTV isn’t an all-seeing eye,’ said Laura. ‘Unlit area, close to midnight, the gang knew what they were doing, they knew where the traps were.’
‘Maybe not, but I still expected more of them. Random attack in a small market town like this? They should have got their act together.’
‘Too many to deal with across the country, I suppose. London’s been a hotbed but there’s loads in other town and cities. I read about some of the victims’ stories on a few websites. They offered me a bit of comfort.’
Sheila stopped attending to her daughter and looked concerned. ‘Oh Laura, what are you looking at those terrible things for? Those stories’ll never do you any good. They’ll just make you think of that terrible night again. You don’t want that, do you?’ Sheila moved closer to her daughter and kissed her on the cheek. ‘And anyway, I’ve got rid of all those terrible mirrors now so we don’t have to worry anymore.’ She looked at the blisters on her hand. ‘Wish your dad was here to help, though.’
‘I do too. I’ve been thinking about him a lot lately.’
Sheila got up from the bed and stood upright. She joined her daughter in looking out of the window, with her hands on her hips and a mild shake of the head.
‘Well, we have got his anniversary coming up in a couple of weeks.’ She paused and walked forward towards the window ledge, running her finger over a framed picture of Michael Danes, standing outside the secondary school he loved on a sweltering last day of term. Pupils are doing star jumps around him, some swinging their ties over their heads. ‘If he could see you now, I think he’d get you to snap out of it quicker than me.’
‘It’s a life sentence, Mum, I can’t snap out of anything.’
She glanced at her daughter again. ‘You know what I mean, Laura. We do things. We’re a family who can’t and don’t feel sorry for ourselves. I’m a carer, your dad was a drama teacher and you’re a budding film-maker, we always get on with our lives and make things happen.’
‘Well, nothing’s going to happen for me now.’ said Laura.
‘Oh, my love, please!’ Sheila moved towards her daughter again. She took her hand in hers and kissed it. ‘Don’t talk like that. You are my strength and my world and you mean everything to me. You still have your whole life ahead of you and let no one else tell you any different. No one.’
Laura paused and glanced at her mother – and then out of the window again.
‘Thanks for getting rid of all those mirrors, mum,’ she said, turning onto her other side. ‘It’s a pity we can’t do anything about the reflections in the windows.’

Laura glanced at her mother as she sang along to David Essex Hold Me Close while driving her to her appointment at Stoke Mandeville burns unit. She wondered how much she missed her husband. Was her loss greater than Laura’s? Was the loss of a life equal to a disfigurement? Michael Danes might have the answer. He could have held Laura’s hand now. A father could have told her why those boys did it. He would have demanded more action. Mothers care, love and nurture. Father’s demand. She needed his presence now. If only to feel the joy of a mother and father singing in union to an eighties song. Her dad was always memorable for that, even if he was off key and out of tune.
The early-morning parking was tight and congested. Laura had been fine on the journey up here – despite its winding roads and tight bends – but now with the engine whirring and Sheila waiting to park in a vacated space, the fumes from the exhaust and the grinding sound of the car affected her within seconds. A smell of burning fizzed up her nose and a tearing, ripping sensation cut into her face as if parts of her skin were going to fall off. She grabbed her mother’s arm, who was still sin

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