Trial by Media (Short Story)

Last night I went to write about the effects of seasonal affective disorder and this short story just flew right out of me. I’m not usually one to share this type of post or even writing short stories in the first place but I thought I would post this anyway as it seemed important to write about this from another perspective.

I hope it’s not too terrible.

“Well, she’s conscious” Tracy wakes up to find herself down the bottom of a well and has no memory of what happened. She finds herself overhearing a news reporter declare it to the world, “Tracy Lemon has found herself at the bottom of a well.” Cold and shivering she stands on her feet listening to the reporter gathering the opinions of everyone Tracy has ever known.

“All Tracy wants is attention, she’s been dramatic since childhood,” says her father, “I always thought she’d win an Oscar but she might just not be that pretty to win.” Tracy cries out for help but they cannot seem to hear her, “I disciplined her all the time but she has ended up so weak and helpless,” says her mother.

The reporter says, “Couldn’t she have been thrown down the well Mr Lemon?” A small sigh comes from her father as he thinks about the possibility, “No, I don’t think so Tracy just has a habit of ending up in these weird situations where no one else is at fault but herself, sometimes I think being the youngest really makes her act like a child on a time out and she probably just never noticed that the well was there.”

“Now,” announces the reporter, “let’s hear from some of Tracy’s friends and acquaintances shall we?” a familiar voice rings in Tracy’s ears, “Hi my names Jeff George I’m Tracy’s ex-boyfriend,” in the well she is overcome with fear as Jeff continues speaking, “Tracy has always been volatile, she lies to everyone about everything so I’m pretty sure this is a stunt.”

“Hey,” shouts an onlooker, “I saw you push her down the well.” Jeff looks stunned, “That is not true Sir, are you completely positive of what you saw or are you going to drag my name through the mud?” says Jeff confidently enough to make the onlooker shrug. Tracy remembers being close to the well but still cannot remember how she got down here.

“Well, she told her boyfriend my husband raped her when he knew she wanted it.” The reporter seems stunned as Tracy breaks down miles beneath them, “and her man told us, she’s such a liar if he did that why did she not tell anyone?” A murmuring starts around the well, “She told everyone I hit her, I mean I got drunk sometimes but I’m charming so why wouldn’t you believe me?” interrupts Jeff.

Tracy is forced to listen to everyone turning there back on her one by one, “I mean she’s so weird why would anyone believe anything she says anyway?” says her old childhood BFF, “She is just trying to copy my damaged backstory to get sympathy,” repeats another and the insults come all day from friends and family members.

They talk about Tracy’s flaws knocking her confidence with every stride, bickering about whether they should leave her down the well to rot or just put her out of her own misery, more people appear each hour to give their opinions on her and whether they think she is just wanting the attention of being stranded in a cold and miserable place or if Jeff could have pushed her.

“I’ve had enough,” shouts Jeff, “Let’s recap, you all know me and I’m a pretty great guy am I not?” The crowd cheers loudly, “I swear to you that I did not hurt a single hair on the head of that woman, yeah when I get drunk I get violent towards men cause my Daddy used to beat me but I would never ever hurt a woman.”

“Now this bitch is full of lies, my mother was beaten by my Dad and I will never be that son of a bitch.” The crowd agrees with Jeff, “Now are we going to leave her down here or what, Tracy is weird, a liar, and just doing all of this for attention. Now let’s just leave her ass down there and let’s all go and get drunk.”

“Well there you have it,” says the reporter, “Tracy Lemon will stay down the well eventually perishing to a slow and painful death.” the reporter brightly smiles, “I’m Jen Barker for W44 News back to you in the studio.” Jen looks down the well toward Tracy, the glinting smile on her face says everything.

It all comes back to Tracy in that instant, Jen Barker pushed Tracy, with a wince Tracy lets out a final scream before they board up the entrance and leave her to die slowly and alone.

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