From The Dead

Entry by: JHK

6th April 2018
She drops the empty Lucozade Sport bottle by the side of the road. Her fourth today. Rumbling HGVs rattle her thoughts as they pass. Sara used to limit herself to one Lucozade Sport a day. The dry dusty fug from the hot road mingles with the fumes of hot exhausts and she can taste it in her mouth. Now she was drinking a multipack of Lucozade Sport each day. Because what does it matter. It makes her mouth feel clean and fresh and she likes the acidic sweetness of it. That’s six Lucozade Sport. 3000ml. 840 calories. 42 bottles per week. Enough to live off. Not enough to die of though. 21 litres. 5880 calories of Lucozade each and every week. Sara enjoys doing maths in her head. It makes her feel safe.

Another truck rumbles by. Sara walks on.

The fat receptionist peers over her glasses like Oh, here comes trouble. Sara knows that look. But she’s got an appointment this time.

She sits in the grey waiting room plastered in posters about chlamydia testing and jabs to stop the flu and wished she could get either one. But nobody would have her now that she’s dying and now that she’s dying she never gets ill. She flicks through her phone. Darryl is in Bali. Marie and Shaun got married. Marie looks fat in her dress. Maybe she’s pregnant. Lateesha is talking about her eating disorder. The bitch certainly doesn’t look like she’s got one. Hayley checked in at Westfield Stratford. Birthday shopping trip excited face dollar emoji dollar emoji dollar emoji. Marcel’s ranting about UKIP.

Miss Finnegan-Clark to Room 6 please.

‘There’s nothing medically wrong with you,’ says the doctor.

You’re lying. I know my body.

‘I’m afraid there’s nothing more that I can do. I could perhaps have you referred to a psychiatrist?’

It’s my body isn’t it it’s not my head.

‘Sometimes things that go on in your head affect how your body feels…’

But Sara’s up and walks out and gets another Lucozade out of her bag. It’s still cold from her mum’s fridge but not as cold as it should be and anyway Sara doesn’t taste it.

She knows she’s dying, she can feel it in her bones.

And she’s told everyone so it has to be true.

Sara slumps on her bed in the corner against the two walls and the dusty evening light streams in. Scrolling. Hayley: kooky new shoes tongue out wink smiley. Brad: massive workout now beers with the lads pumping iron emoji. David: Look at what these money-grabbing…

Sara puts down the phone and looks at the wall. Trinkets of childhood. Storybooks on the shelves. She can feel the weight of death pulling down on her bones and on the darkness in her heart. Overwhelming tiredness. The fatigue of emptiness. She picks up her phone and goes back to that first post. Six months ago today.

22:07, 7th October 2017, Sara FC wrote:
Hi everyone, got some sad news :( I went to the hospital today for more tests, Ive been having lots which is why I missed some school at the end of last year. They said Im very sick and there isn’t anything they can do and Im going to die. I know its sad but please stay strong for me. Dont talk to my mum about it please its hard enough for her. I don’t really want to talk bout it either. U can inbox me if you like.

Two hundred and seven people responded to that. Most with crying emojis. Some people she’d known from school messaged her inbox and she replied but after a while the conversations stopped. People didn’t know what to say to a dead girl.

Nobody asked what was wrong with her. As though it would be prying.

So Sara carried on posting updates. At first, she did it because she was bored. Because other people always had interesting and clever things to say. Because why the hell not. Because maybe it would show who cared. Because it passed the time.

But she noticed that her posts gradually became less popular. E.g.
11:00, 22nd November 2017, Sara FC wrote:
Hey guys, having a really tough time. Have stopped going to the doctors because what’s the point. So many tests its getting boring. Just want it to be over now

Which only got 47 responses. For a dying girl! So Sara started mixing things up a bit. Like:
15:07, 10th December 2017, Sara FC wrote:
Having a really gd day today. Managed to get to shops in town with mum’s help and saw so many xmas trees! Looking forward to festive times and want to make the best of them even though might be my last!!

And she’d rounded that off with a Christmas tree emoji. It got over a hundred responses, lots of them likes. Sara realised that people want good news, not just bad. They need hope.

She began to take her followers on a rollercoaster journey. She built her followers up with hope, hinting at novel therapies and signs of improvement, and then brought them crashing down with failure after failure reaffirming the tragic reality of her imminent death. Word spread, and friends of friends began to follow her story. She was liked by cancer pages (who assumed she had cancer), heart health pages (who assumed she had a heart defect), even HIV/AIDS support pages (which Sara thought was silly because everyone knows nobody dies from AIDS any more).

She did nothing to disabuse them of these notions.

Slowly, though, a change came over her. She began to drift. To sway. In short, Sara began to believe her own hype.

The change was gradual. At first, it wasn’t manifested in actual pain. Rather, a kind of unfeelingness came over her. A sense of floating through the world, at a distance from unreality.

Then her bones began to ache. It was subtle at first. But slowly that ache became pain. And the pain became unbearable. More than once, she had confronted the beleaguered receptionist at the local GP. Demanded to be seen. To be heard. They’d given her tests, scans. Evals. Second opinions. Just like she had said. She’d thrown caution to the wind, and began drinking three litres of Lucozade Sport each day. Because what was the point. She was going to die anyway.

Except, of course, there was nothing wrong with her. At least, that’s what they said.

At 21:37, 7th April 2018, Sara FC writes the following scheduled post, at 07:00, 8th April, 2018:
**FROM THE DEAD** Hey guys. As youve probably noticed, things have started to get much worse. The pain is becoming unbearable. I dont think I can cope any more. The thing is, what I’ve been doing for the last six months. It’s true, but also sort of a lie. I am in a lot of pain. I think Im depressed maybe. But the doctors say there isn’t anything medically wrong with me. I don’t know what to belive. I do want to say im sorry to u all. I think I misled a lot of you and I know there are people out there going thru things that r real and they r really suffering and dying. Im sorry if you think what Ive done is not senstive to those people and just looking for attention. But all I can say is what I feel now is real and I cant see any option but 2 end it. Bye xx

After scheduling the post, to go online tomorrow at 7am, Sara puts on a sweat top and her trainers and walked out of her mum’s house. Orange streetlights glow all along the way but what she feels is darkness. The weight in her bones grows and it feels like she can barely move.

She finds herself by the busy road. HGVs rumble past, scattering her thoughts. She shuts her eyes, steps out. Brakes screech.


Bright lights float into her vision. They seem glazed at first. Noises echo. A trolley. The foetal warmth of opiates soothe her pain.

‘She’s awake, Ms Finnegan – your daughter, she is awake!’ cries a man’s deep voice.

‘Oh, thank you nurse!’ - Mum. She’s here. In heaven with me, thinks Sara.

Consciousness fades in and out. Mum’s hand, holding. Squeezing. Reassuring pressure.

After some time, minutes or hours, Sara is able to speak. Confronted by rising panic.

‘What day is it? Mum?’

‘Wednesday, darling.’ Her mother smiles, wrinkles at the corner of her eyes. She looks so tired. And old. But pleased.

‘Wednesday? Mum – where’s my phone?’
Her mum nods to the side table, a plastic ziploc with Sara’s keys and her phone, screen shattered.

‘Smashed in the crash. But you were lucky – it was a car. The driver saw you in time to brake. You’ll make a full recovery, they say.’

Sara turns instinctively, tries to grab the phone. But her body feels heavy, medicated, and pain surges up her side.

Sara’s mum touches her arm, gently. ‘It’s broken, Sara. And – we’ve seen them. Your posts. You were still logged in on the computer at home.’

Her mum smiles sadly. Sara begins to cry. The enormity of her deception begins to dawn on her. ‘So – they know? Everyone… knows? About – the lies?’

‘It’s okay. I’m not angry. No-one’s angry, my baby. I just want you to be well.’

Sara nods. The tears keep coming. She feels as if something’s breaking inside, something hard and nasty. Breaking, but also – mending. Soothing. And, despite all the pain, her bones don’t hurt any more.

‘Me too,’ she says. ‘Me too.’