FICTION: Variations of Molly by Corrina O’Beirne

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Sunday 24th September

11p.m. Dominic, or the purveyor of lies as I now think of him, left me three weeks ago. No warning signs. No argument or chance to talk things over. Just a scribbled note. That’s our goodbye. What kills me is Dominic spends a fortune on bespoke stationery, Mont Blanc pens, Japanese stamp blocks, high grade paper from a tiny paper mill in Strasbourg. All about the high opacity, apparently.

I’m not worth a sheet though. This was chicken-scratch on the back of our electricity bill:


I’m sorry –

I’ll arrange a time to pick up the rest of my vinyl.


Ps. You can keep Mr Woo, Gabriella’s putting me up for a few weeks and she’s allergic to cats.

Thirty-five words. A couple of full stops, the odd comma, a pointless dash.


She’s Assistant Designer at his company: LOCO CREATIVE. Portuguese. Thin as a rasher of wind. Should have known something was going on by the way Dominic rolled her name around in his mouth like he could taste the letters…every juicy vowel, every syrupy consonant.


I’ve met her. All five-foot nine inches of her. Quite pretty, if you go in for that really obvious kind of beauty. He brought her to our flat once after LOCO CREATIVE’s quarterly SAUCE MONSTER BASH. Which is essentially an all-you-can-drink affair that runs for three days. He brought her here, to our flat. They were both soaked to the skin with booze and God knows what else. She was wearing a sheet of gauzy white organza, held in place by a gold bodice. Adidas trainers. Gazelles. Coral pink, box fresh. And an enamel brooch – a dark red heart with an orange lightning bolt cutting through it.

She was pretty. Yes, pretty. Dark skin, blue eyes, effortless hair. Beautiful, striking actually.

Dominic was hanging off her like a necklace. He kept stamping his feet, poking my side, like a toddler.

Starving. Me starving. Feed me!

I made them a Spanish omelette. Cut it into cubes, speared them with some leftover cocktail sticks.

‘It’s not that exciting, Gabriella,’ I said, ‘but hopefully it will remind you of home.’

Dominic nearly died of laughter, ‘She’s Portuguese, Polly. POR-cha-gal. Different countries, yeah? Told you she was a bit clownish, Gab!’

They both looked at my slippers, half-tried to suppress a laugh. She didn’t laugh quite as loudly as he did. She caught my eye and her laugh turned into something else. I don’t know, a pity smile? The kind of look I give the homeless guy outside of Marks and Spencer.

Another time, she turned up to his birthday party with some of her vapid leggy friends, bouncing their bulbous bums all over the place. I’ve never seen make-up like it – the kind of girls that see their actual face as just a light suggestion. I wanted to go over to them and say: Calm down darlings, it’s your face, not a colouring book. He was all over me. Public displays of affection are…were…very unDom. He would never hold my hand in public. I put it down to him being drunk – but no, he was using me, his girlfriend…his pathetic, loyal girlfriend, to fire his Portuguese lover up. I found her crying in the toilets. I blotted away her running mascara. I can’t believe she had the audacity to let me comfort her.

De Moura.

Gabriella De Moura.

I bet he loves having a girlfriend with an exotic name.

Monday 2nd October

8.p.m. She’s given me 48 hours. Clarissa, she’s given me 48 hours. I was summoned to her massive corner office this morning. I’m to use the time to reflect on whether I genuinely think my position at Mustoe, Shorter and Mustoe is in any way tenable in light of my outburst at our Twickenham away day. Outburst? She’s overreacting – we’d all had too much to drink.

‘I’ve been here for five years,’ I said. ‘I’m a good paralegal.’

‘That doesn’t give you the right to call our Vice-Chairman a ‘geriatric shit-pouch’’.

‘I’ve apologised,’ I said. ‘And I really am very sorry.’

‘Apologies are pointless,’ she said icily, head cocked, keyboard clacking.

I said someone may have spiked my drink. I’m not saying they did and I wouldn’t want to take MSM down that avenue…That’s when she brought out her trump card, which I wasn’t prepared for. She produced an oversized envelope from her drawer with a theatrical flourish.

‘This is your browsing history over the last fortnight. Would you like me to select a few highlights?’

I tried to find some kind of inner-poise, but it felt like someone was knitting in my stomach. ‘Not especially,’ I said.

‘Needless to say, your web activity completely violates MSM’s IT policy. It also raises concerns about the state of your mental health. You’re a very angry person, aren’t you?’

I gabbled a little. Made a few silly allegations. Tried to stall for time so that I could object properly and intelligently.

‘Polly,’ she said, holding both my wrists. ‘Please don’t force me to get Martin from HR up. Be smart. Read between the lines – a gracious exit, without fuss. You’ve got 48 hours to reflect on my offer; I suggest you take it.’

Wednesday 4th October

Went for a walk in Clarence Park. Autumn is a bully. Yanking at trees. Everything butchered.

Thursday 5th October

9.30a.m. I spoke to Dominic. Well, left a voicemail. Only to see if he wants to collect his vinyl. And to tell him about MSM. Don’t ask me why, but I feel like he has a right to know I’m soon to be unemployed. If he wants to talk, to offer me an explanation, an apology, I wouldn’t be closed to that.

6.15p.m. Found Dominic’s old suede swagger-coat in a bin liner under the stairs. We thought it got lost in the move. Deep chocolate with a silk cream lining. Cigarette burn still on the cuff (not sure where I thought it might have gone?). I put my face into the butter-coloured faux fur collar – the smell of the basement at The Roxbury on a Friday night – smoky and sweet, like a cinnamon cigarette.

He loved that coat, I loved that coat.

I wrapped it around myself. Watched Cash in the Attic. How it ever got commissioned is beyond me.

11.30p.m. Gabriellllllllllllla. Gabriella De Moura. I looked it up online. It means ‘Heroine of God’. Well how lovely for her. Do you know what Polly means? Nothing. It means nothing. Just a variation of Molly. Figures.

Saturday 7th October

My favourite band ever is The Smiths. They are the musical equivalent of crystal meth. Dom bought me Meat is Murder for our three-month anniversary. July 2003.

‘Songs are like tattoos,’ he said. ‘That was Joni Mitchell, I can’t take credit. But I’m giving you your first tattoo, Poll and I take full credit for that.’ He could take all the credit and spend it however he chose, as far as I was concerned.

People don’t believe me when I say they are the only band I ever listen to but it’s true. There’s more genius, poetry, meaning in their song titles than any other band can fit into an entire song.

Track 6. ‘How Soon is Now?’

I am the son

And the heir

Of a shyness that is criminally vulgar

The tragedy of loneliness. It was like being skinned alive by beauty. Morrissey and Marr at the peak of their powers, interlacing perfectly. My mind was cracked open, right there in Dom’s bedroom. I cried. I cried because it was the first present he’d given me. I cried because it was so harshly beautiful and because I knew I could wait a whole lifetime for a moment like that to be repeated. The swampy guitar intro that makes you feel like you’re spinning, the clanging bells, tremolo-and-slide soundbed. Morrissey…looping around me, trapped like fog between my ears:

You shut your mouth

How can you say

I go about things the wrong way?

I am human and I need…

Endless, endless echoes.

‘Don’t let me fall in love with you,’ I said.

‘I won’t,’ he said. Mouth/mouth, heartbeat/heartbeat. ‘I won’t.’

Monday 9th October

If someone I loved as much as Dominic thought I wasn’t worth being with, then I don’t want to be with me either. So where does that leave me? Where, exactly, do I go from here? People ask me: what do you need? I need for him not to be gone and they can’t help with that. Their pupils go wide, and they stare at their feet, embarrassed.

I haven’t cried. People encourage it, they say it’s cathartic. Like, if I sit down and have a good weep – all the pain, the anger, will roll off my back. So today, I pulled the curtains and I urged myself to cry. Nothing. What does that say about me?

Thursday 12th October

Segment on This Morning about fusion food. Dom was such a sucker for it, he was only interested in combinations of food that shouldn’t go together. Pad Thai Taco. Sushi pizza. Bacon infused doughnuts.

I always made out that I thought it was culinary witchcraft, but the truth is I couldn’t take it seriously. Vegetables embroiled in an identity crisis – since when is grated cauliflower, rice? It needs to be smothered in cheese sauce and cooked at 180 for forty minutes.

Once, we went to this restaurant in Herne Hill that served root vegetable chips on a mini-washing line. The line was edible, the chips were cut into t-shirt shapes. I tried to take it all in my stride, but inside I was dying, I felt so self-conscious.

Cow’s milk was too obvious, so Dominic switched us to nut milk (I didn’t have the heart to point out that almonds don’t have teats). And for the last year of our relationship he plunged, head-first, into the whole ‘food that isn’t there’ craze…where chefs bulldoze through the actual structure of the actual food. Foam (usually mint or basil). Raspberry dust. Parmesan air. A distant memory of broccoli. A threat of pork.

2 a.m. I tried to watch Newsnight. It was Emily Maitlis interviewing Emma Thompson about sexual harassment in Hollywood. I can’t bear the way she struts about the place. So sure of herself (EM not ET). All monochrome mini-skirts and plunging necklines. She looks like she’s ready for a night out, not fronting a serious current affairs show. A few weeks ago, she was talking about allegations of torture somewhere (Libya?) and she’s perched on the desk, swinging her legs all over the studio. She wants a spot on Strictly Come Dancing.

Sunday 15th October

That baby next door is crying for my benefit, a constant reminder that I’m light years away from becoming a mother. Let’s face it, I’ve had an implant under my arm so long I’m probably sterile, clean out of eggs. Some women ooze it…you just know they are dangerously fertile. I’m not talking about the obvious ones that are always pregnant – Kirsty Allsopp or Ella from MSM accounts. You see them, on the street – you think WOW you are a walking bag of ovaries. If you wake up one morning and decide you’re going to get pregnant, by midday you’ll be lactating.

There was that one time. The wrong time. Before the launch of LOCO CREATIVE.

Tuesday 17th October

I’m friends with Gabriella on Facebook. Set up a fake profile: Imogen Bexley. She’s younger than me, a freelance illustrator, highly developed thigh-gap, a social butterfly. Bit of a female Phileas Fogg. It was easy, I copied lots of photos from Photobucket and created a collection of travel albums. Most recently, Imogen’s been to Peru. Inca Trail. Sacsayhuaman. Cerro Colorado Vinicunca.

I played it smart. First, I built up a friend base. I just sent out hundreds of friend requests: accepted, accepted, accepted! Then I scanned through Gabriella’s friend list, selected those with over 500 friends. No-one has that many friends; clearly, they will accept anyone to keep their numbers up. I got about five or six in the bag, including her best friend, Jemima (a nutritionist) then added Gabriella. I didn’t have to wait long, she accepted within fifty minutes.

Her mother is beautiful. Beautiful in way that is beyond description. She looks like Isabella Rossellini. So much so that I googled her (Isabella) to see if she has any children. She does: a daughter, Elettra and an adopted son, Roberto.

Thursday 19th October

Slept until 2 p.m. today, felt like waking from a coma. MSM couriered over the contents of my desk. No ‘Sorry you’re leaving!’ card or token gift or letter from Clarissa. Even the interns get an Amazon voucher. What a sad legacy! An unopened blister pack of magnesium supplements. A self-help book from Joanna, smug looking bloke on the inside cover, shit-eating grin. Teeth so white they could be battery-powered.

Cancelled all my subscriptions. Private Eye. The Economist. New Statesman. It’s not like I ever read them. No one reads them, you only ever skim-read the occasional article. I’d fan them out on my desk to impress Clarissa. Every few weeks she’d thumb through Private Eye, tell me she’d like to ruin Ian Hislop and saunter off.

11p.m. Just brushed my teeth and caught sight of my face in the mirror. I’ve avoided my reflection since he left. Before I could do anything, there I was. Pale. Weak. Barely conscious. Like a blood donor who couldn’t say no.

Friday 20th October

Called Dominic this afternoon. Straight to voicemail. I told him we need to talk – because (call me old-fashioned) when you’ve been in a relationship for fourteen years you owe the other person an hour of your time. He’s got a double-first from Bristol, for Christ’s sake, he knows he can’t behave like this.

6.45 p.m. Bought 300g of mixed mushrooms. Oyster. Shiitake. Cremini. For a stroganoff that didn’t happen. I’ve order some Vietnamese and I’m going to get an early night.

3 a.m. The world is vastly overpopulated. By the time I’m 70, there will be 9.7 billion people. BILLION! These are medium estimates by a world-renowned Data Scientist living out of shoe-box in Arizona. The world adds 80 million a year, that’s the population of Germany. Wake up, everyone! There isn’t enough world to fit us all in, we don’t have enough water as it is.

This isn’t junk science, this is real. I’ve been living with my eyes shut. I read something about a vacuum bubble, which I didn’t understand but it didn’t sound good. The universe is unstable, destined to fall apart.

Most of us will starve to death. Goodnight and good luck people.

Saturday 21st October

They’re in Barcelona. Status update from Gabriella this morning. I asked him to take me a thousand times, but he was always too busy with LOCO CREATIVE. They are packing everything in: La Pedrera, Park Guell, La Rambla. There’s this cringey photo of them leaning against the Sagrada Família like it’s a garden wall. She’s obviously turned him into one of these metrosexual types, he looks like a circa 1972 David Bowie wannabe.

11 p.m. Imogen posted her first ever status update on Facebook. Well, a quote:

“Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got.” Six likes.

Sunday 22nd October

Today, I shared a slice of toast (skinny white Danish Bread=tracing paper) with Mr Woo and fell asleep on the sofa. That’s me all day. I’m embarrassed at how pathetic I am. How can I be surprised he walked away? I want to walk away from me too.

3 a.m. The things you notice when you’re constantly in the flat. The humming of the fridge, fuzzy static of appliances, the stench of bleach (where?), the soft applause of the cat-flap.

Sensible people never win, do they? I mean, look at me. Being sensible hasn’t got me anywhere. I’m so sick. I’m so sick of myself.

P.S. It’s me. Late. Does love count if it’s one sided? Do you have to have had love to lose it? LOSTLOVELOST. You let me believe we were fine, Dominic. You did that. Well, fuck you for not being honest.

Monday 23rd October

Penguins mate for life. And seahorses. I read it on the internet. If a seahorse can be monogamous, why can’t a man? Can anyone answer me that because I really would like to know.

It’s pretty upsetting when you think about it. It’s not like I expected the world. Nothing spectacular, nothing excessive. Just a quiet, steady love.

I called my sister.

I don’t know why I do it to myself, it’s like self-flagellation. Joanna’s going to do Veganuary which means she knows everything about how the world works. Oh, and she’s a digital activist. Online petitions. Someone needs to tell her that clicking ‘send’ doesn’t really count. Every social movement she signs up to is being meticulously monitored and analysed so she’s basically backing the marketisation of social change. And for someone who is so bloody concerned with what is happening on a global scale she is completely unhindered by empathy on matters closer to home.

She’s a crap sister.

I’m not meant to say that. I’m meant to say she’s my best friend. And I’m totally in love with my nephew. I adore his Lego haircut and I don’t find him deeply patronising. I’m meant to say that I love my brother-in-law (a self-proclaimed recovering narcissist) as if he were my actual brother.

Joanna hasn’t come to see me since he left. Aren’t sisters, meant to…be there? Shouldn’t she have turned up at my door? Bottle of wine in hand? Force me to burn photographs of him/us. Mum hasn’t turned up either. Ok, now I feel bad. Mum’s just had a double mastectomy.

No. I can’t. I can’t write…I can’t write it.

Why do I feel like, if it were Joanna…if Marcus had left Joanna, Mum would…somehow …find the strength to get out of her dressing gown and on the train?

Joanna told me I’m still in love with Dominic. I denied it, I don’t know what I am.

‘Don’t throw yourself away because he doesn’t want you.’

‘Look, will you please shut up?’ Silence. Awful silence. Swollen and swelling.

‘What did you say? How dare you speak to me like that?’

‘I can’t just erase him.’

‘Wake up, Polly! He’s been slowly stripping your relationship down for parts. You said that yourself.’

‘I didn’t say that.’

‘Christmas last year. You were drunk. Sisterly chat.’

I said I didn’t remember.

‘Ok, then I’m lying. I’m not remotely surprised he’s gone.’

‘I’m sorry you find my heartache so dull.’

Oh, she didn’t like that. She didn’t like that one bit.

‘Jesus, my nerves have a limit. I’ve got my own plate of shit to eat today thank you very much.’ This has been her phrase of choice throughout 2017.

She was still shouting at me as I put the phone down. I don’t remember leaving the house or running down Chester Road.

Stop being a victim.

Were they Joanna’s words or mine? It didn’t matter. I was going to even up the

score. Down Poynter Road, up Highgate. I looked at my feet – one New Balance, one Saucony. I ran until I could hardly breathe, just ragged gasps. The urgent rumble of wheels – thrumming in my teeth. My heart in my ears. People twisted out of my way, a sponge-faced old lady asked me if I was ok. No, I wanted to scream, No, no, no. I’m not bloody ok. But you can’t speak to strangers like that, can you?

I raced out of the BUTCHTOPIA, brown parcel in hand. Adrenalin fizzed through my blood.

I punched their door. Arms swinging, like I wanted to knock it out.

I’m here, I screamed, you will deal with me now.

I wanted him to see what he’s done to me, dare him to look me in the eye. I punched their door again and again and the words kept coming and coming, until they weren’t really words and my voice turned to water.

I didn’t care. Even if the blinds were drawn and they were sitting in their living room staring me dead in the face, I still would have done it. I ripped open the brown parcel and shoved them through their shiny letterbox.

Got home around 8.p.m. Soaked my mangled knuckles in a bowl of ice-water and I opened a bottle of vodka. It tasted hot and clean. Toasted a few memories and drank…and drank until I felt peaceful…weightless…. like swimming under water. It was transcendent.

Monday 23rd October

It’s all unfolding on Facebook, Gabriella’s status is an absolute joy.

Welcome to the neighbourhood…pigs trotters through the door!

The inevitable flurry of activity ensued. We’re at a grand total of forty-seven comments:


That’s snout nice. Sow uncool!

Should have set up house in Belgravia!

You and Dom coming to ours on Wednesday? Inbox me beautiful!

You like little surprises, Gab? That’s good to know.

Tuesday 24th October

I got up early and went for a walk around Clarence Park. Crunching leaves, crisp air. Every shade you can think of: scarlet, saffron, copper, gold. Everything just…letting go. I would be ok, I told myself. I could edit him out of my life. I would write a new one, a new life. It would take time, but I would do it. Edit. Him. Out.

I tried not to think of him, I really did. But I didn’t get past five minutes. He was everywhere.

In the coffee van queue.

In the playpark.

His face…his smell…like sun warmed grass. I thought about holding my breath… I didn’t want it in my lungs…but I could feel it coating my jacket, my hair and I let it fill my nose a little…I felt myself disappear into the memory of his body…delicate fluttering in my stomach…like being dive-bombed by butterflies.

Friday 27th October

When I think of all the things I haven’t done it makes me feel physically sick. I’m thirty-six and I haven’t read a single piece of Greek mythology. Everyone I know has accomplished some kind of physical challenge – ice-climbing Ben Nevis was a big thing last year. And shouldn’t I have been somewhere by now? Somewhere that counts, that would say something about the kind of woman I am? I haven’t travelled further than Croatia.

I’m going to do something about it. Right now. I will peel off my old skin like a coat – a new Polly Clarke will be born. No fixed parameters, anything goes…

  1. Obtain an actual marketable skill.
  2. Start taking magnesium (stick with it this time!)
  3. Watch Breaking Bad and/or Orange Is the New Black (Dom refused = too mainstream)
  4. Bora Bora? Easter Island.
  5. I lack presence (solution?)
  6. Boston marathon.

5 p.m. It’s basically impossible to ignore your phone when it’s buzzing. I figured that if I didn’t look, it would probably ruin my evening and distract me from finishing my ‘me’ list, because I’d be wondering who it was. And I wanted to focus all my energy on writing my list.

A status update from Gabriella. Our long-awaited engagement party is here. Champagne central. Ninety-eight likes.

The love I wasted on that man. My blood curdled.

Late thirties. Lemon yellow hair flowing behind her like a flag. An enormous brown dog on a metal chain. A Great Dane or a German Shephard. I don’t know what breed it was, but it was big. I knew what she was up to. That’s the thing with people around here. They flounce around in their Tom shoes, sipping their coconut masala chais, with their backpacks made of landfill, harping on about territorial emissions (it’s all so paint by numbers). But – here’s the thing – if you aren’t standing right next to them while their dog turns itself inside out, they’ll pretend they haven’t noticed. And that mutt left a steaming mound of the stuff. I asked a passer-by for a bag and without giving myself time to think better of it, I scooped it up. That’s what he’s reduced me to – picking up poo in the park.

I spent the rest of my weekend imagining how they’d arrive home, push open the front door and slip straight through that shit-mountain. Or even better, they’ve been away for the weekend and left the heating on, so it would essentially be cooked and there’d be flies and maggots. Dominic never could deal with anything messy and I’m sure the Heroine of Love would refuse to deal with it. By my estimations a good professional cleaning company in their area would charge at least £170 plus there’s the embarrassment factor. Imagine explaining to the cleaner, ‘Yes, we came home to find someone had posted dog poo through our letterbox.’ It says a lot about the kind of people they are.

It’s my engagement present to the happy couple.

10 p.m. I burn with loneliness. He’ll take some responsibility for that. He’ll take some responsibility for the fact that he flat out refused to ever be completely mine but made me his. He’ll take responsibility for the fact that living with him was a form of perpetual torture – never quite like being alone but never quite like being with another person either, it was somewhere – horrible – in-between. How for the last three years of our relationship I was basically used in the same way everyone else uses a smartphone. I became his substitute brain, extra storage space to remember birthdays, set reminders, organise finances. All outsourced to The Variation of Molly.

At least I had the guts to fall in love. I see the truth of who he is now. A bag of shit through his door does not make us even. We are not square.

Zero from Gabriella on Facebook. No status update about that gift.

5th November

I don’t normally go out on Bonfire Night because the bangs scare Mr Woo but I found myself drifting over towards the park. The evening sky glowed with streaks of fierce pink. A group of women were erecting an effigy – a huge Harvey Weinstein, standing on the base of an Oscar award, a Hollywood Star hanging from his forked black tongue, a clapperboard emblazoned with the words FINAL CU[N]T smashed into his saggy genitals. The countdown begun…10…9…8

…two bobble-hatted girls skipped by, trying to write their name in the air with sparklers….3…2…1. Fireworks climbed the sky, slashes of green and red stunned the ground. The air was heavy with smoke and anticipation. LIGHT HIM UP! LIGHT HIM UP! I’m not a fan of collective enthusiasm, but I went with it. Flames tore into his legs. A stranger high-fived me and we smiled.

A sudden wind slapped my face.

There was this guy, selling fireworks. Molotov Cocktails. Aerial Shells.

‘If you want to put on a show, these are the way to go!’ he said. ‘She’ll shoot through the

air like a missile.’

Tomahawks he called them. £40. Each. Crappy plastic lighter – £3.50.

There’d be some damage. Fireworks are dangerous, indiscriminate. They’ll take out

whatever is in their path. We’re warned about that from an early age – be careful.

I didn’t have a fixed idea about how things would turn out. That’s something I’ve learnt over the last few months: don’t plan, don’t map things out.

It would be an impressive display. A coruscating kaleidoscope of every imaginable

colour. Pink. Green. Indigo. It would generate some heat, confusion, fear. In a confined space? Walls. Doors. Ceilings. They all scream ricochet.

First maybe a lamp gets smashed, their parquet flooring might get ripped open.

Some photographs or a vase would get nuked. But that Tomahawk would find them. It would cut through their skin like hot butter. Slice off a digit. Burrow into a face…an orbital blowout fracture or something simple like a nice gaping hole. Like I say, I didn’t have a fixed idea. Karma has no menu, after all. You get served what you deserve.

I had every intention of going through with it. I traced the nose of the Tomahawk

around their letterbox. I could light the fuse, hurl it through and disappear around the corner in less than ten seconds. I could taste hot metal in my mouth. Jazz-like bursts of screeching and hysterical laughter in the distance. I began to laugh, to join in with the distant hysterics. I laughed until there was no sound.

No. What was I thinking? A firework? Through their letterbox?

He took fourteen years from me. Thousands of days, stolen. Gone. Never to be

recaptured. You don’t get to do that to another person. I’m a paralegal, I know about the importance of justice, of cause and effect.

A firework. Where’s the creativity in that? Oh, I can do a lot better. Because I’m not broken anymore. There’s nothing left in my heart to break.

I know he would like me to become smaller, fade to a pinprick. Die, even? That would be neater. He needs to know that isn’t going to happen. Yes, most days I am pathetic, I know that. Most days I feel so insignificant that I am barely an ism. But some days, at the edges, I feel like there is more of me than I ever imagined. I am inflating – no morphing – no blossoming – no – it doesn’t matter, what matters is that I like it. I like it and that scares me. It should scare him.

I’m flicking my light back on.

He doesn’t get to walk away from me unscathed, unpunctured, un-fucking-anything. He may think he is free of me, but he’s not. He’s not free of me.


Corrina O’Beirne

Corrina photo

Corrina O’Beirne is a writer based in Brighton. She was awarded a Creative Writing MA with Distinction from University of Chichester in 2015. Her play COME ON IN, WE’RE OPEN was shortlisted in the Kenneth Branagh award for new drama writing. Her poetry has been published in a print anthology with Forward Press and her monologue MUCKY was shortlisted in Five and Ten competition monologue competition for aspiring playwrights, run by Gwyn Hall Theatre.

If you enjoyed “Variations of Molly” leave a comment and let Corrina know.

You can find and follow Michael at:


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EXIT EARTH includes the short stories of all fourteen finalists of the STORGY EXIT EARTH Short Story Competition, as judged by critically acclaimed author Diane Cook (Man vs. Nature) and additional stories by award winning authors M R Cary (The Girl With All The Gifts), Toby Litt (Corpsing), James Miller (Lost Boys), Courttia Newland (A Book of Blues), and David James Poissant (The Heaven of Animals), and exclusive artwork by Amie Dearlove, HarlotVonCharlotte, CrapPanther, and cover design by Rob Pearce.

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Unlike many other Arts & Entertainment Magazines, STORGY is not Arts Council funded or subsidised by external grants or contributions. The content we provide takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce, and relies on the talented authors we publish and the dedication of a devoted team of staff writers. If you enjoy reading our Magazine, help to secure our future and enable us to continue publishing the words of our writers. Please make a donation or subscribe to STORGY Magazine with a monthly fee of your choice. Your support, as always, continues to inspire.PayPal-Donate-Button

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