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The Reluctant Reporter

A Story Every Day in 2024 April 11th 102/366

By Rachel DeemingPublished about a month ago 2 min read
Top Story - April 2024
34
The Reluctant Reporter
Photo by Sam Haddad on Unsplash

"You can't send me!"

"There is no-one else. It's you or no-one, and that is not an option."

Ameera looked at the fat paunch and florid face of her boss, a man who lived for the story and the kudos it brought him but who rarely gave consideration to the people behind the drama. When had he become so hard? She reckoned that by the end of the year, he'd be dead, collapsed from a heart attack and she struggled to conjure any sympathy in that moment and instantly felt ashamed at displaying the same lack of compassion that he had.

Head down, she walked out of the office to her car to face the toughest assignment of her life so far.

*

As she pulled up outside the small terraced house, she could sense the sadness. The sky was grey, clouds preventing any light through. Pathetic fallacy in action, she thought. Heavy, she unclipped her seatbelt and stepped out of her car. Her back was aching and what she really wanted to do was have a nap. She was wearing something much looser than normal, draping its folds squarely over her bump but managing to do nothing to disguise the fact that she was pregnant.

She took a moment to prepare herself. Be good, baby, she thought as she rubbed her bump, transmitting through her touch her will for the baby to behave with respect.

*

She watched the reporter from behind the curtain.

Pregnant. About seven months, she thought. Why had they sent her a pregnant reporter? Who were these people?

She didn't think she could do this. She didn't have the strength. Her grief threatened to overwhelm her, chest crushed and her breath reduced to minimal gasps. Stop, she told herself. Just stop.

Slowly, as she watched the reporter heading up the path, avoiding the scattered toys and the thick coloured chalk that she hadn't yet been able to confront, she wondered what she would say to this woman today.

And then she remembered. That she was no longer a mum because her daughter was dead; her life ripped, torn, destroyed. And the man responsible was walking free.

She would find her steel.

***

366 words

Helped again to this story by a prompt from the following page:

One of the things that I like to do as a storyteller is to imagine how characters feel in certain situations and this prompt provided that:

A pregnant journalist interviews the mother of a missing child.

I've not really followed this prompt to the letter but it gave me the spark to write this.

Thanks for stopping by! If you do read this, please do leave a comment as I love to interact with my readers.

102/366

Short StoryPsychologicalMicrofictionHorrorfamilyCONTENT WARNING
34

About the Creator

Rachel Deeming

Storyteller. Poet. Reviewer. Traveller.

I love to write. Check me out in the many places where I pop up:

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Reader insights

Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

Top insight

  1. Heartfelt and relatable

    The story invoked strong personal emotions

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Comments (30)

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  • S. A. Crawford21 days ago

    Oof this hit so hard - at first I though that she didn't want to go because it would be a dull job, and then I figured that she was just overworked and exhausted by pregnancy... but the end was crippling. Sad but so true that many people for get to be compassionate when it comes to their work; you managed to make me hate that editor in under 500 words, which is a hell of a feat!

  • Rachel, this is so real! I worked as a reporter and my editor was the guy in your story. I wrote about a mom who lost a child to homicide and your story felt so much like then. Thanks for my favorite story today!

  • Mika Oka24 days ago

    Congrats for the Top Story

  • Anna about a month ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Shirley Belkabout a month ago

    Congratulations, Rachel! I can't believe I missed this one before! You do a superb job of getting into the hearts and minds of your characters.

  • ROCK about a month ago

    YAY! Well done Rachel!

  • Raymond G. Taylorabout a month ago

    Brilliantly crafted flash. Well done and congratulations on the TS

  • Gerard DiLeoabout a month ago

    Congrats on TS and no wonder. Well done.

  • Hannah Mooreabout a month ago

    This is so quickly evocative.

  • The Writer about a month ago

    great job!

  • Dharrsheena Raja Segarranabout a month ago

    Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Andrea Corwin about a month ago

    Ooh let’s find that damn murderer! Two points of view, nice. Congrats on TS.

  • D. J. Reddallabout a month ago

    A richly merited TS! The perspectival shift is adroit!

  • Andy Pottsabout a month ago

    Luckily I only ever had to do a couple of death knocks in my days as a news reporter. One was at the family's request, which made it a bit less stressful. The other wasn't, and was a very tense encounter. Not least because the victim had a somewhat chequered past, and not everybody appreciated questions about him.

  • D.K. Shepardabout a month ago

    I like that you included the interviewee’s point of view at the end, powerfully showed that the interviewer wasn’t the only one with a job to do. Congrats on Top Story!

  • Babs Iversonabout a month ago

    Oh my ,the dynamics is stirring!!! Wonderfully written!!!❤️❤️💕 Congratulations on Top Story!!!

  • JBazabout a month ago

    Powerful and so well drawn out, I kept reading wondering where this was going. You did such a great job of the inner conflict and discussion going on.

  • Ameer Bibiabout a month ago

    You did best in 366 words describing human emotions, challenges and scenarios. well done, it is not an easy job to write a perfect piece in limited words.

  • angela hepworthabout a month ago

    A very human piece! I loved the way you described all the difficult and conflicting emotions around the situation here, your word choice is perfect :)

  • Mark Gagnonabout a month ago

    Who would be more empathetic to a woman who just lost a child than one about to give birth to one? Excellent story and congratulations on your top story!

  • Caroline Cravenabout a month ago

    Excellent writing. I used to be a reporter on a local newspaper… it’s true that there were some stories you didn’t want to cover and some stories that will live with me forever. I think once you lose any semblance of compassion it’s time to switch to something else. There’s objectivity and then there’s a complete lack of empathy. You did awesome with this Rachel.

  • Dana Crandellabout a month ago

    An excellent story, and I love the way you showed it from the perspective of both characters. Excellent job, Rachel and congratulations!

  • Michael J. Wineabout a month ago

    I like how you use chains of powerful words to pack the emotional punch with a small amount of text. Thanks for the story

  • Paul Stewartabout a month ago

    Back to say, congrats, chumly-chum-chum-charee!

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