Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copy left
You can read our best books
Ashleigh Knight would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Cockroaches: A Tragic Short Story

By Ashleigh Knight All Rights Reserved ©

Drama / Other

Chapter 1

Jane looked at her six year-old daughter playing on the floor, a sad smile offsetting the unshed tears in her eyes. Little Mary was so oblivious to the terror gripping her mother’s heart. Having just lost her job that day, Jane felt fear gripping her heart like a vice of steel.

How the hell am I going to pay those bills? We’re going to be evicted in less than a week if I don’t get the manager the rent. How will I take care of my baby then?

Similar thoughts kept racing through Jane’s troubled mind for hours until Mary fell asleep on the torn, ratty carpet – if you could call it a carpet, that is. Like the rest of the apartment, it was in tatters. The apartment – God, the apartment! Tears, unmentionable stains from long before they moved in, holes in the walls, no doubt from domestic fights long go. But it was the blood spatter underneath the kitchen sink that really disturbed her. Was it from one of those domestic fights, or something more heinous?

Mary was forbidden from setting foot in the kitchen because if she asked Jane what it was, she would have to lie – and Jane hated lying. She’d been lied to all her life, first by her parents, then by that good-for-nothing, Mary’s father.

Jane truly hated that man. We’ll always be together, he said. I’ll always love you, he said. Filthy scumbag liar, is what I say, Jane thought bitterly as she tucked Mary into the small mattress they shared on the floor. He didn’t even marry me.

A tear fell from Jane’s eye lashes onto Mary’s, stirring her from her peaceful slumber. The child turned over, taking most of the pathetic, holed blanket with her. As Jane watched her precious daughter, she wondered if she wouldn’t be better off without her. A real home, a real family; that’s what my baby needs.

And how Jane longed to give it to her. How she longed for a white picket fence, a dog, a front yard, a daddy for her little girl, and a husband for herself.

Jane stood, dashing tears from her eyes. She would never be able to give her daughter those things - ever. And she knew it. She knew it to the very depths of her heart. So she’d do what she could for her. She’d do what she had to do for her.

Jane walked to the wreck of a bathroom. There was a very large, dead cockroach lying on the peeling laminate flooring. A few cockroaches dashed back and forth, darting in and out of the many holes in the walls. They didn’t even seem to notice that one of them was no longer alive. They did not grieve, they did not miss the loss of the dead. They simply carried on, scrambling for survival, paying no heed to the fallen. Humans are kind of like cockroaches, Jane mused as she watched them from the doorway. We scurry around, doing what we’ve got to, just to survive, not even paying attention when one of us get’s our number called. But we still take care of the orphans. Just like the cockroaches.

Jane turned and took one last look at her baby girl. Mary’s pale blonde hair hung limply over her face, and she was sucking her thumb again. Now what did I tell you about that, baby girl? Don’t you now that’s bad for you? Jane smiled sadly.

“Good-bye, baby girl. You know your mamma loves you. Your mamma will always love you.”

Tears were streaming freely down her face as she turned and went into the bathroom. She stepped over the dead cockroach, careful not to disturb it. She knew what it was like to be stepped on. She wouldn’t wish that feeling on any creature, even a dead cockroach.

Jane’s hands shook as she opened the mirrored cabinet, knocking a few pill bottles down. She didn’t bother picking them up. The one she wanted still stood proudly on the shelf. Jane’s hands stopped shaking when she spotted the bottle. They were some sort of antidepressant that the state was paying for. Just about the only thing the state does for us. Besides taxing us to death, that is, Jane thought bitterly.

Taking the glass she kept in the bathroom for mouthwash in her hand, she filled it with brown water from the sink. Quickly grabbing the bottle of pills from the shelf, she opened it and dumped the remaining contents into her mouth, not giving herself a chance to change her mind. Jane chased the pills down with water. She stood there for a few moments, waiting for the pills to kick in. A sort of relief flooded her body. It’s done, she thought, her body feeling very heavy suddenly. They’ll take care of her. They always take care of the orphans.

When she opened her eyes they fell once more on the dead cockroach, which still lay unmoved. In a troubled haze, she took the one tube of red lipstick she had and began to write in bold letters on the face of the mirror.

Years later, long after Mary had been placed with a well-to-do family, long after she became a renowned author of children’s books and had children of her own, long after Mary and her husband bought a house with a white picket fence and a yard, and a dog for their children to play with, the police still didn’t understand why Jane wrote what she did; what the words could have meant to her.

It was one of the most memorable suicide notes anyone had ever seen; everyone agreed on that. Not many people would write a suicide note on a bathroom mirror with a tube of red lipstick that said, “Just like the cockroaches.”


Write a Review Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Ashleigh Knight
Continue Reading
Further Recommendations

PaulSenkel: If you like Arthur C. Clarke's Odyssey, especially The Final Odyssey, then you will probably also enjoy this book. I definitely did.It does, however, address a more adolescent public than the above-mentioned book.I enjoyed the story and finished it in a few days. The overall situation on earth an...

Riskaninda Maharani: This story told about love between Christopher Schlösser (a German) and Anggia Selestina (an Indonesian) that happened in Düsseldorf, Germany in an autumn. The German autumn which was so different with the autumn in the other four season countries, especially in Anggia's eyes when her heart-movin...

OpheliaJones: This story took a different kind of spin on the "normal girl lives with definitely not normal guy" plot. The plot points of Frey's father, Liam's family, and Frey's view of Liam's world were good to read. She did not fall in love with him in the first couple weeks. Their lives were not smooth in ...

Alkira Joan: Great story, I found it hard to read especially the dialogue. You just need to fix up some spelling errors and the gramma .I enjoyed this book. was a little hard to get though.,.,..,.,.,,..,.,.,, , , , ,.,, , , , , , , ,., , ,.,,,,,

Shubh Guru: when i'm reading this novel, I remember all my school days, all i feel like i m back to my old days, all the misery come to "bay" and how she come back like a shinning star are so good...this is my first book and i love this because it contains all the thing, love ,betrayl,losing some one who lo...

Grapes Are Juicy yes!!!: I give this novel FIVE STARS ! This novel is worth reading from the beginning to the end! The plot and conflicts in this story are very smartly integrated. The language facility is a little odd , but i guess this was done on purpose, given the novel's set era. Other than that, this should definit...

Bernsigns: This is an age old story, but with excellent plot twists that I didn't see coming. I truly liked how the story slowly, but steadily revealed the secrets. There were secrets I didn't expect, which kept me wanting to read. I always love a happy ending, with a little bit of real life mixed in. Th...

sherylprins: A thoroughly enjoyable read, "Everything Changes in Spring" by first time novelist Robyn Prins. An intriguing read that illustrates the effects misconceptions can have on relationships.Great characterisations with a plot filled with twist and turns that keeps you engaged throughout the whole book...

dd1226: I love reading about other countries and I think this story about Cambodia after Polpot creates awareness of the tragedy that happened there and the actions of the U.N. to hold elections. The heroine of the story is easy to relate to, a modern, middleaged woman looking for an adventure, wanting t...

More Recommendations

Clare Cormack: Fantastic read! I was gripped from the beginning. The plot twist and change of gear stops you from putting it down. I enjoyed the way the individual characters had their own chapters, reading from their own point of view - believable and identifiable. Im really excited to read the sequel and have...

christylynnr5: This was a really good book. I couldn't stop reading it. I loved how the story had its ups and downs and it kept you on the edge of your seat. But the only thing I had a problem with was the grammar errors. I know everyone makes mistakes but this one had more than just a few. and in some places I...

zoheusher20: What more can I say? The writing style and little details drew me into the book and for the entirety of the story I was Juliet. I felt her turmoil and emotions and every trouble or triumph as they arrived. This story was very different and had quite a few little but unexpected twists that made it...

Dessie Williams: loved the book. the plot the characters all just great.I think it's a must read. once you start this book it's hard to put down. hope it gets published....I think this book is a must read.great job!!!!

evanhoverly: I absolutely loved this book and the characters in it. The story would often introduce unexpected events keeping it interesting.The book could use a good proofreading before it gets published, but otherwise a good read!

Lydia Sherrer: I first read The Speaker almost a decade ago when I first discovered author Sandra Leigh. I loved it then, and I still love it now. It is a simple, easy read, yet deep in meaning and rich in storyline. I do not know what kind of research or prior knowledge Leigh has of First Nation tribes, but sh...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.