One dead girlfriend. One missing girlfriend. Who will believe he is innocent?
My short story, The Divide, has been published in The Book of Bristol, edited by Heather Marks and Joe Melia and published by Comma Press.
The Book of Bristol is an anthology of short stories by Bristol-based writers, including one by the late Helen Dunmore. My story, The Divide, is a psychological thriller about a young man, Matthew, who is waiting for his girlfriend in an upmarket restaurant. He’s going to ask her to move in with him – but she doesn’t turn up. Increasingly worried, he starts to think something terrible has happened – only no one takes him seriously when he reports her missing. And the strange thing is, he can’t find any evidence to prove to the police that she was his girlfriend, and that he had nothing to do with what might have befallen her…
‘Who needs evidence when you have a young black man with a murdered girlfriend, who claims another white woman is missing, and the one person who vouched for him is in a graveyard he’s never visited, in a country he’s never been to?’‘The flat smells strange. It smells of bleach. …But nothing can get rid of blood.’
I’ve lived in Bristol for a long time – off and on since I was a student. When I first arrived I loved it so much I made a pledge that I would live here permanently as soon as I could. And as soon as I was a producer/director at the BBC in London, I moved back to work for the BBC and Bristol-based TV independents.
Bristol is a vibrant city, full of art and culture; it’s hip and cool and beautiful. I love how you can walk from one end to the other. I love the way the rivers and the harbours are woven through the city and it cradles pockets of nature and mini wildernesses. But it is also a city with strong roots in the slave trade, which I wrote about in my book, ‘Sugar: The Grass that Changed the World.’ When I first arrived it was a city riven with inequality – race, class, poverty. I had never lived anywhere in the UK that felt so segregated. And sadly, it still feels like that to me today.
So although my story is a thriller about a young man with a missing girlfriend, it’s called ‘The Divide’ for a reason.