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Short Story Orgy #1: Going Round The Bend Kiah Cranston inaugurates Outsideleft's new series of short sharp fiction...

Short Story Orgy #1: Going Round The Bend

Kiah Cranston inaugurates Outsideleft's new series of short sharp fiction...

by Kiah Cranston, Film Editor
first published: March, 2024

approximate reading time: minutes

We couldn't be more excited to have Kiah Cranston's 'Going Round The Bend' as the first in our new Short Story Orgy series...

Short Story Orgy Graphic

Kiah Cranston's writing is taut, direct and unforgiving, as you will see below in 'Going Round The Bend', the first story Outsideleft has published from Kiah and the very first story in our new Short Story Orgy series. We're thrilled and somewhat amazed that Kiah agreed to get this all going for us. Thanks, Kiah!




You’re thirteen when your parents have you kidnapped in your sleep.

You’ve been a ‘problem child’ for the last few years, but only recently have they been articulating how much of a handful you’ve become, how your outbursts have them ‘pulling their hair out’, how your father has been saying you’ve been ‘driving him round the bend and up the wall’. But you’re only thirteen, and how were they supposed to know you needed help? It was the sixties after all.

You’re half awake as a bag goes over your head, they stuff you in a van, it’s filled with other children, all of different ages, you assume. The journey is long, the van is warm; the radio plays music in a language you’ve never heard of.

You’re three days in at the camp when you’re yelled at. You’d spilt a jar of paint on the indoor bench, disfiguring the floral patterned table cloth. The girl who yells at you is a child herself, sixteen with hair shoved into a baseball cap; she calls you an idiot, and asks if you have any control of your limbs. She says this is your first strike and that you’re lucky the tablecloth can be replaced.

It doesn’t take long for rumours to start, five days at most, you hear it from the one friend you made, a twelve year old girl called Mindy, she tells you the older kids that refuse to listen have to go away, behind the concrete structure that holds the bathroom and showers. She says they take them round the back, where the sharp bend of grey concrete meets the greenery of the trees. She says she doesn’t know what happens round the bend.

It’s two weeks in that you realise your parents aren’t coming to get you any time soon. You accept your plain plates of breakfast, lunch and dinner but hide them in places to let them rot and stink.

From Mindy, you hear a boy had ran off into the woods during the night, she tells you no one has gone to look for him, she tells you the woods go on for miles. You ask Mindy how long she’s been at the camp and she tells you a year.

You’re force fed a spider when you refuse food for three days, it’s easy to restrain you, to hold your mouth open then keep it shut. The counsellors laugh at you, as you chew. As you swallow, you feel the spiders legs against your throat.

It’s four weeks in that your behaviour becomes erratic, a word you learnt when you overheard your teacher describe you as such. An older girl you share a bunk with tells you when she gets bad she cuts herself, she tells you she can’t stop you from doing it too but that if you do, you need to keep the wounds clean. You cut yourself for the first time. 

At week five you stab one of the counsellors, a perverted boy who tells you it’s important he watches you and Mindy shower so you don’t hurt yourselves. You stab him in the gut with a sharpened pencil.

It’s that afternoon you find out what’s round the bend. When you get back to your shared room you notice how skinny you are. You’ve lost fifteen pounds since you got here.

It’s four months in that the camp is raided, a tall man in a police uniform picks you up with ease, he can feel each of your ribs without trying, he holds you, cradles you, and asks if you’re excited to see your parents again. You cry for the first time.

© 2024 Kiah Cranston

Main image by John Farias

Charlie Hill, Short Story Orgy #2 Next→

Kiah Cranston
Film Editor

Kiah Cranston is in her final year as a writing student at the University of Wolverhampton. When she’s not writing or thinking about writing, she’s listening to all sorts of music and rewatching her favourite films.

about Kiah Cranston »»



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