Short Story: Beyond Repair

ShortbreadMary EdwardShort Stories › Beyond Repair

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About this Short Story

Written by
Mary Edward

Narrated by
Posy Brewer


An unexpected accident leads Donna to re-examine old wounds.


  • 1970 Words
  • 46 Comments
  • 80% Community Rating
  • 10789 Views

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This story has not yet been entered into any short story writing competitions.

My front wheel is over it before I have time to react. I swerve and run the car on to the grass verge. I stop, heart hammering, afraid to look back at what I have done. In the dusk, it is difficult to see.

I think it is a child.

I get out of the car and creep back to the bundle lying on the road, expecting blood. It is a doll. A rosy baby doll, with one leg crushed, perhaps beyond repair. But it is still smiling - tiny teeth peeking from behind plastic lips. I straighten the doll’s clothes. It is dressed in a hand-knitted jacket and one woolly bootee. The other is missing and I need to find it. The woollen garment is warm on my skin. It feels comfortable, and I shift the doll into my arms as I search the ground for the sock. I cup one hand around the bare foot. It is cold.…

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Kris Wallace Guest Editor said "Editor's Pick - No stranger to a bit of controversy myself, I was drawn to this bleak, but very human tale. Personally I think it is a great read. The whole story comes with an air of tension. We feel deeply sorry for Donna, but at the same time, I’m scared of her – of what she is becoming. The structure is well defined and the length and pace are perfect. The story does, and should, instigate debate but at no point did I ever think it was a take on all women or all mothers. It never felt insensitive or offensive. This is the story of one woman, Donna, and her characterisation is so good…I believe it."
8 years ago

Deniss Degro said "Very hunting story. Thank you."
4 years ago
Hamzar Acha said "how to download the mp3?"
4 years ago
Ana Carolina Theodoro said "Mary, that´s a very moving story! How to heal such deep and old wounds? How to restore hope when all dreams seem to vanish away? This is maybe a brief comment, but it is true that your story motivates long lasting reflections! Thank you!"
4 years ago
Steph Steph said "Really Great, I enjoyed it alot. Very compelling! Visit me @ sims-3-finds.blogspot.com"
4 years ago
Christopher James Rushton said "A very moving story. Well written and well narated. thankyou so much. Chris Rushton."
4 years ago
Sandy Wardrope said "Hi Mary, That was brilliant, gripping and very moving. I thought your characters, every one of them, were so well described you could almost see them. The plot was great and your writing punchy and modern with not a wasted word. Well done, keep 'em coming. Yours, Sandy W."
4 years ago
Tia Holbert said "First time sign in first story beyond repair keep rewinding after three minutes of story. In MP3 form. Not a good experiences for me. Tia Holbert . 1/5/2013"
5 years ago
Irene Lebeter said "I would like to nominate 'Beyond Repair' by Mary Edward but can't find the right place to do this so hope this will be accepted as a nomination for the story. Thank you."
6 years ago
Irene Lebeter said "I found this story gripping from start to finish. There was great sensitivity in the writing and the tension was palpable. I was looking into the watery eyes of the vanman and I personally felt Donna's isolation and pain. The ending is totally believeable for a person who has suffered the ache of loss of children as Donna did. I would like to read a lot more of this writer's story on your website."
6 years ago
David Lake said "David Lake said: An excellent read of a most poignant story that gripped straight off. And the character with the foetal smell- Donna's demon made flesh - very well drawn. Not the most happy of tales, but highly readable, and, in the time the words allowed for, a disturbingly vivid insight into a tortured mind."
6 years ago
Kate Smart Guest Editor said "Great to see this story featured again, it is such a good one. Thanks, excellent choice."
6 years ago
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Mary Edward replied saying "Thanks to everyone who left such positive comments re Beyond Repair. It is very gratifying to know one's work is appreciated. Mary"
6 years ago
Jeanne Davies said "Very powerful and moving ... brought tears to my eyes. Although I have five children of my own, I could totally sympathise with Donna. I could also, of course, definitely imagine the panic of the baby's mother as she discovered someone had taken her pram. Excellent writing from start to finish."
6 years ago
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Betty Mckay said "This story fascinated me. I also found it challenging because one never knows what one would do faced with the same circumstances. I do hope the writer is continuing to observe and to write. Thank you for this."
6 years ago
Christine Human said "Its seldom you hve so many characters introduced in so few words but it works so well. But at the heart of it all is Donna. The unrelenting sadness grips the reader but there is enough unsaid about Jake to feel it could get better, in time."
6 years ago
Liz Strachan said "Wow! That is one powerful story which the reader will never forget. It will make many women weep, - not only women who desperately want a child but also mothers who thank God for their own precious babies. The author has created such a real character. I bet Donna will not leave Mary Edward's head for a very long time. Congratulations. It's one of the best short stories I've ever read. Liz Strachan"
6 years ago
Diane Dickson Guest Editor said "A harrowing read and so intensely moving. I think the thing that it left me with above all else is the feeling that for a woman such as this the sadness will never end. It may diminish and be controlled but there will always be an empty space. I was also impressed that many issues were examined in a relatively short piece. Well done - Diane"
6 years ago
Valerie Ball said "Mary Edward has treated the emotive subject of child loss with great sensitivity snd honesty, deploying just the right mix of pathos and vulnerability. I like stories that do not end with the last sentence; leaving me to bring them to my own, carefully considered conclusions. Thank you, Mary for sharing your gift."
6 years ago
William Falo said "I loved this story andand thought it was very well-written. Fantastic."
6 years ago
Alexandra Gray said "What a well-written story, had me gripped from the start. The pain of her loss clearly goes back to her childhood and losing her child was possibly the straw that was about to break the camel's back.. I didn't quite understand the role of the man in the boiler suit, perhaps I need to re-read it."
6 years ago
This comment has been removed; this user is no longer a member of Shortbread.
Sam Chesterton said "A story which seizes the imagination - The beginning of the story draws you in immediately, and the sinister misogynistic creep (road-mender?) helps create a sense of panic. A wonderful story full of anxiety and drama and sadness."
8 years ago
Sam Noble said "Great Read - Great story, great read and great voice of the reader. Really drawn in by it. "
8 years ago
Irene Lebeter said "Audio Version - The story is still as thought provoking as when I first read it. The creepy man's voice still made me shiver and hearing Donna's words increased my sympathy for her. I am sure many women must have felt like she did and she can expect little support from Jake."
8 years ago
Ann Mackinnon said "Beyond Repair - This is a very moving story and I can get inside the girl's head because of the poignant writing. I love the creepy man in the background and the shadowy father figure. Geart1"
8 years ago
Erica Brooks Guest Editor said "Listened to it while painting walls... - ...and loved it all over again. :)"
8 years ago
Fiona Smith Guest Editor said "Beyond Repair now in Audio - Erica, I was just about to post telling you it had now been 'audio-ized'! This one has been long awaited for audio, hope you all enjoy the recording! "
8 years ago
Erica Brooks Guest Editor said "Audio! - Sweet!!"
8 years ago
Irene Lebeter said "Fantastic - The story gripped me from the first word to the last. Mary's description of the man in the boilersuit made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I felt so sorry for Donna and the pain of losing her baby. I was relieved that she was moved to do the right thing in the end. Congratulations Mary."
8 years ago
Irene Lebeter said "Fantastic - The story gripped me from the first word to the last. The description of the man in the boilersuit made the hair on the back of my neck stand up and I felt such sympathy for poor Donna but was relieved that she made the right decision in the end. Congratulations Mary."
8 years ago
Christine Ravenhall said "Brilliant! - Well done, Mary. I found myself holding my breath a number of times in the story. Donna's character is so well drawn, her pain is so real. I don't think she sets out to kidnap the baby - she's trying to rescue it! Then realises the consequences of her actions and I could breath again. "
8 years ago
Erica Brooks Guest Editor said "So, Shortbread... - You gonna audio-ize this one, or what? (Wishing I could nominate twice...;)"
8 years ago
Kate Smart Guest Editor said "loved it - I was very very moved by this story - it's beautifully written with lots of layers, and I loved the ending with its glimpses of hope."
8 years ago
Brian Hill said "Tense! - Well written, well paced, not offensive in the slightest. I don't care if the theme is cliched or not, I'm only interested in if it's well wriitten, which it is. I'm in complete agreement with Susan, Joe and Kris. Not sure why we have to have philosophical scrutiny on shortbread though, it was a simple point, or where Mags gets her 25% statistic from. I'm getting sidetracked though. Well done Mary, I thoroughly enjoyed your story."
8 years ago
Erica Brooks Guest Editor said "Gripping - I had my guard up, I admit, after reading the comments on this. There are certainly too many baby-crazy images of women running around in the popular imagination, and I agree that they do great harm. But I can't hate this story, it's just too powerful and too well-written. This isn't a kidnapping, it's a rescue attempt, and the villain is the man with designs of his own. In fact, men seem to hang around the dark edges of the story, waiting to steal babies and abandon wives and daughters. This sort of oblique threat is part of what makes Edwards' writing so compelling."
8 years ago
Susan Donim said "illogical to the end - Ha ha, yes Andy I agree I was never one for philosophical argument, despite studying it at uni- as you've probably guessed I always failed Logic! I do think this is a very well written story, with a lot of humanity. And I happen to feel that every story has already been told, all writers can really do these days is to retell an old story in as fresh away as possible, that is exactly what Mary Edwards has done. "
8 years ago
Andy Jenkins said "Good Writing - Old Story - I don't think it offends and I think it is well written - but the theme is a bit cliche. I think all of the major UK soaps have probably done similar story lines. I didn't feel this added anything new. Also, I'm not sure Susan's argument about men and bank robbers stands up to philosophical scrutiny."
8 years ago
Joe Brown said "Bleak - As a man, and after reading the previous comments, I almost abandoned the idea of making any comment myself. If the subject matter is a cliche - that is not to say that it never happens, and when the story is told in such a sensitive and compelling way, it can only add insight. Events unfold here, with a tension that is unremitting from the 1st paragraph 'til the last. Well done."
8 years ago
Susan Donim said "Beyond Repair - I can see the point you're making. Fiction does shape the way we see the world, and often women aren't portrayed in a realistic light. I don't think for one second that any woman who has lost her baby is running around looking for the opportune moment to kidnap someone else's child and in fact felt it was so far fetched from reality, that the end is almost farcical in it's portrayal. I really don't think this has been written to offend, but I can where you're coming from, and perhaps the subject matter is insensitive. "
8 years ago
Mags Campbell said "Speaking from experience; - When you've been through the loss of a child it's annoying the way every TV or literary portrayal shows women not coping and being a danger to children. It may be fiction but fiction can shape readers' opinions. "
8 years ago
Susan Donim said "Offensive?! - I think saying this is offensive is a bit over the top. It is a story about a young troubled women, who needs psychiatric help. The author shouldn't be held responsible for badly written versions of this tale which I have to say I've never came across and felt this was quite original. And it is never implied that all women who suffer a miscarriage are stealing babies simply that this one woman in particular needs help. If I was to write about a man who robs a bank, you wouldn't accuse me of saying 50% of the population are bank robbers, would you? "
8 years ago
Mags Campbell said "Gotta disagree - Although well written I can't say I like the theme of this story as it's a common one; women who lose babies always go mental and abduct other peoples kids. If this was true 25% of woman would be running off with unattended kids! I find it personally offensive when this storyline is used. It's a cliche and a false one. "
8 years ago
Susan Donim said "Loved this - I really liked this, I felt the tone was perfect and I was hooked from the very beginning. A very well written slightly unusual tale. A hard subject matter to write about but you capture the desperation brilliantly. "
8 years ago

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