The winner of the Ravenfest short story competition’s under 18 category was from Abi Young, from Kilbirnie.

Drip... Drip... Drip. Precious, vicious drops fall from its abused neck.

The bottle hangs loosely from my bruised fingers. Mottled greens and yellows swirling, dancing together to match the colour of my Poison.

I poured her a glass too but she’s yet to drink.

Rage warms my blood as much as the alcohol. I go out of my way to treat her like royalty, and she rewards me with silence.

Letter after letter she leaves unopened and unwanted.

I pour my heart into each word and yet it leaves no mark on her cruel soul.

The blood I shed stains my hands and yet it sits unnoticed against the rouge of her cheeks.

I often wonder if she deserves my love and even more often conclude she does not. And yet, love does not listen to reason and so I continue to grovel at her feet.

No matter how I worship she does not bat an eye.

I am left to conclude that no amount of praise or devotion could turn her head. I’m left to conclude that I am not to blame for her indifference.

Still, I am a fool. I clutch desperately onto her hand, laying delicately on the chaise beside her, bringing it to my lips.

Her fingers are cold, icy to match her cruel, frozen heart. She still does not move.

As I softly kiss her porcelain skin, I pray to god that one day my love may warm her heart. It is a fool’s prayer.

Some days her ignorance angers me.

Some days it crawls beneath my skin, scuttling across my bones like a thousand tiny beetles.

Other days it leaves me empty.

Other days it leaves my ribcage gaping, held open to expose my bleeding heart to the world.

It is days like those when I turn to the bottle. Today is one of those days.

There is only so much a man can take. Days upon days of silence, save for the drip of the bottle, chips away at one’s self esteem.

If she would only tell me what I had done to earn her hatred perhaps we could sew our broken hearts back together.

But she never utters a word.

The dripping has stopped. With little else to do I sit beside her on the chaise.

As she lies on her side facing away from me I pull her head onto my lap. Despite her cruelty she does not pull away.

I allow myself to smile as it is moments like these that remind me why I try.

Her hair is a mess, brown locks tumbling forward to cover her face. I push them behind her ear slowly, half expecting her to flinch away despite her eternal stillness.

Her face is angelic.

The candlelight illuminates her porcelain skin.

She looks up at me as I trace my finger down the side of her face. She doesn’t even blink.

I drop her hand. The blood drips from her wrist.