Short story in which mistaken identity is central to the plot for Leaving Cert English #625Lab

Write a short story in which mistaken identity is central to the plot. 

(Composition question, 100 marks, 2016) 

Wordcount: 1900 words. Even though stories should probably be a little longer than the average Composition piece, this length will be very difficult to accomplish in the Leaving Cert. 

If you are intent on writing a short story, you will probably write dialogue. Don't sabotage yourself by not knowing the punctuation rules of direct speech.

Detective-type stories are always nice to read. The author does some nice cinematic shifts in this piece. However, there has to be twist at the end - something unexpected that makes the whole piece click into place. The only thing more important than your opening sentence is the twist at the end of the short story.

A sinister discharge of a gun, muted the beautiful song of the delicate sparrow. Each drop of blood fell to the floor, each as sordid as the next. The victim’s innocence evokes incomprehensible turmoil in its onlookers. (When it comes to short stories, don't tell us - show us. Rather than saying that onlookers experienced turmoil describe a passerby woman halted in her step with her hand over her mouth and tears in her eyes - that sort of thing.)

The gloomy Sunday afternoon failed to lift Eilis’ foul mood. The torrential rain, not uncommon to Galway’s streets spattered violently against each cobble. Eilis yearned to share in the festive shopper’s joyous spirit. But reflecting on her mother’s disapproving tone towards her new hairstyle Eilis trudged through the packed street. In an attempt to lift her spirits Eilis commenced the task of contacting her escort for the night. Harry Kelly was a family friend, whom to Eilis’ astonishment passed her mother’s series of interrogations with flying colours. Eilis prayed tonight would be the night Harry would ask her to court him (perhaps, he would ask her if he could take her out for dinner - or something? Courting is an old fashioned way of saying it that doesn't really fit into the rest of the story. And it would be very unusual for a woman to court a man!) Her step began to brighten in its tone, her elegant kitten heels clicked in a musically uniform fashion as she dreamt of the manner in which her suitor may ask. Tragically as the day came to an end, these would be the last sounds Eilis would hear.

Rosie O’Connor grimaced at her petite figure, laced in provocative clothing in the extravagant mirror of the Bridgetown Manor. Rosie was a striking young girl, however both her mannerisms and lifestyle were less commended by the society of 1960’s Ireland. With eloquent grace-like (graceful?) strides she entered the Goat’s Tavern. Heads turned on Rosie’s arrival, not just in an attempt to examine her blinding beauty, but the inappropriate length of her skirt provoked condemning glares. “Double shot of voddie, Jim” , Rosie ordered confidently. The sticky beer residue of the bar stool added a sense of comfort to Rosie, reminiscing on her upbringing in a public house similar to this one (the way this sentence is structured means that it was the sticky bar residue that was doing the reminiscing. Be careful with longer sentences - make sure the two parts are coordinated). The vodka hit her throat with an enticing burn, the heat she would later require to fuel her plan. (đŸ’„  Amazing use of descriptive language and metaphor.) With each mouthful the wretched knot of nerves began to disintegrate. (đŸ’„  đŸ’„  I would use untangle, melt away or dissolve instead of disintegrate to get the most out of the knot/fuel metaphor.) The gruelling task her notorious fiancĂ© had set her to complete would not compliment a queasy stomach.

Eilis awoke to a stench so vile, she immediately recoiled in disgust. The ribbed cold metal hit her fragile skeleton with force. The solid concrete produced horrendous vapours, a scent Eilis could only associate to some form of faeces. Transitioning from a disorientated state, Eilis began to feel the immediate harsh realities of the situation she was in, alone; darkness, what had just happened to her? Eilis vaguely remembered the clicking of heels against the cobbled pavement, but after that a fog began to transcend in her mind. Panic-stricken like a wild bird forced into captivity Eilis began to screech and scramble in a prey like fashion. It was then the dominant figure presented itself. A heathy (?) body hurled toward Eilis with a sinister force. 

Once Rosie arrived at the dilapidated Victoria house located near Charlemount estate. Rosie took a deep breath. With meticulous grace she removed traces of lint and dirt from her cropped tartan skirt. The application of cherry red lipstick was carried out with such precision and care, that the end result could not be but strikingly flawless. “Breathe, you’ve done this before”, Rosie reassured herself, slowly elevating her foot on to the eroded step. Each step met with the same reluctance, until she reached the paint-chipped door. Rosie straightened her posture. This would be the role of her lifetime.

“What was your plan eh? Think you can potter in with your platforms and walk all over our plans?” the figure exclaimed. Not receiving the response the figure had anticipated, Eilis was witness to a sharp kick in the left side. Eilis gasped in agony and bent over like a defenceless animal. “Where’s your other half at Rosie?” the now distinctive male voice questioned in an uncharacteristic soft tone. Eilis froze on the icy floor. Her wrists were beginning to bleed now, the past hour of struggling against the cable had proven to be unsuccessful. The man’s face broke the darkness as anticipated his frame was monstrously wide. The furrow between his brow began to deepen. Moments passed, minutes began to drag. Eilis’ face was now saturated in precipitation. In a single motion the man crouched next to Eilis grasping her neck in his malevolent hand. “I’ve had it with this innocent pretence you have going on. What has your fiancĂ© planned for my boys when the ship reached the dock?” Eilis sucked in a shallow breath, “I don’…” She was not given the opportunity to finish her hundredth declaration of ignorance. The brutal animal of a man tightened his grip around Eilis’ neck until she turned a sickly shade of violet. With a sense of appeasement for the girl’s transition of skin tone the man released his grip. With a sickening thud Eilis hit the concrete, the blow somewhat softened by her unconscious state. 

The innocent girl’s life long ambitions began to flash through her mind like a trailer for the most tremendous film you would ever experience. Delicate brushstrokes of ocher transported Eilis to her family’s hay shed. Eilis dreamt she had defied her mother’s wishes and became an artist. Suddenly flashes of crimson enlaced her mind. An odd sawing noise was produced nearby. Eilis assumed it to be her brother preparing the firewood for the winter nights. The man’s gruff tone exported Eilis to the present moment in an instant. Eilis’ ears were momentarily deafened by an agonising scream.

Rosie O’Connor sat in a slumped position on the couch of Andrew Butler’s humble abode. Her elongated olive toned neck rested against the moth eaten cushion. Andrew positioned himself adjacent to Rosie, inhaling deeply, in an attempt to remove any sentiments of loyalty to her fiancĂ©. Rosie began to intertwine her delicate fingers in Andrew’s curls. Andrew Butler was an attractive man, but he was unfortunately extremely aware of this.

However, misfortune struck Andrew Butler when he was born son of the notorious Patrick Butler. A feud resonated between Rosie’s fiancĂ© and the Butlers for a decade now. The catalyst to the such bitter resentment and passionate hatred; a gun shot; a sinister discharge of a gun on August 4th 1959. The malevolent accuracy of the sniper’s shot robbed the life of Rosie’s fiancĂ©’s little sister Lily. Lily was a sweet, curious child. At the tragically young age of five Lily was caught in the firing line of the robbery, sitting placidly on her father’s knee when the sniper arrived. Little Lily’s squeal when the bullet pierced her milky skin would be engraved in the locals' memory for decades to come.

“Come with me”, Andrew whispered into Rosie’s ear. The whisper sent a series of trembling down her spine. Images of the sweet child’s face, she had only been witness to through photographs flashed through her mind. Lily’s death had destroyed her fiancĂ©, he often awoke startled, engulfed in sheets of sweat screaming Lily’s name. Andrew wrapped his arms around Rosie’s slender waist. Rosie seductively dragged Andrew towards the window. Andrew’s lips met Rosie’s. The two shared a passionate kiss. “Give me five minutes I got a surprise for you”, Rosie said in a soft tone. Andrew’s grin widened, this girl was the phenomenon he thought. Andrew thought. Andrew knew Rosemary had a boyfriend. Their affair had been invigorating. 

In the grimy bathroom Rosie peered through the mildew on the small, oval mirror. Rosie smirked at her trendy haircut. It was undoubtedly not her usual taste. However the blonde curls enhanced her striking green eyes. “Ready Babe?”, Andrew questioned from the room next door. Just as the word’s escaped Andrew’s lips, a tiny ball of destruction whizzed through the air. The bullet shattered the window’s single pane. The bullet pierced a perfect circle in the moth-eaten curtain. Finally the bullet reached its designated target. Andrew gasped faintly, slowly he stumbled to the floor. Click, click, the cacophonous sounds of Rosie’s heels was the last sound Andrew Butler would hear. Rosie stood over Andrew’s stagnant body. She crouched low, parallel to Andrew’s ear and whispered, “An eye for an eye. Babe.”

Eilis awoke to a stinging sensation coming from her right side. The stinging grew as she regained consciousness. Eilis’ right side felt heavy. The sharp, intense pain hit her all at once. She scrambled on her left side in an attempt to sit upwards. Though her limbs resisted due to their stiff state, Eilis managed to sit once again against the ribbed metal. It was then Eilis discovered the cause of such agony. Where her once talented hand once was, now remained a vacant, butchered stump. Eilis’ breathing transcended to a worrying pace. “My hand”, Eilis wheezed. Eilis gasped for air. In one last strenuous attempt to gather air in such a damp environment, Eilis inhaled deeply; unsuccessfully. Eilis fell to the pool of crimson on the concrete floor. As she choked, her innocent curls transitioned from blonde to a murky red of old blood. 

An hour passed before the innocent girl’s body was found by her torturer. The man sorrowfully fixated his vision on the girl’s pitiful state. In his sinister hand he held the girl’s inhaler, found amongst her ID which read Eilis Murphy. Not Rosie O’Connor. Eilis’ tormentor fell to the ground in a heap “I’m sorry my darling”. He wiped away an escaping tear with a swift swipe. 

Whilst Eilis had been in an unconscious state, the man had worn the path of the docks of the shipyard. Basking in self-glory for ending the life of Rosie his nemesis’ fiancĂ©, he smirked victoriously. The wails of his fellow colleague Tom hurdling towards him ended Patrick Butler’s ecstasy. Patrick’s euphoria was crushed by Tom’s heart breaking revelation , “It’s not Rosie, you got it wrong”, breathless Tom turned a grey shade. “Please wait, Patrick". Patrick stood quivering next to the docks. God was finally punishing him for that child’s life he took a decade ago.

Patrick swiftly turned from Tom sprinting towards the ship container. “Where are you going Pat?” Tom shouted after him panting a few metres behind. Patrick may have lost his only son, but he was determined to save the blonde haired girl’s life. “To save Lily”, Patrick answered with determination in his voice. Tom watched from the docks as his dearest friend raced towards a container in a delirious state, “Lily is dead, Pat, ten years this very day”.

Short story in which mistaken identity is central to the plot for Leaving Cert English

Popular Posts