Linda Innes lives in Northern England, where a sense of humour comes with the territory. She used to be a high-school English teacher, but she’s recovered now. She’s been an arts manager, education officer, bid-writer, life coach, spiritual channel and NLP trainer. She was even a stand-up comedian, but now sits down a lot. A published novelist, poet and produced screenwriter, Linda has been a full-time professional ghostwriter for 10 years. She’s particularly interested in changing the world one person at a time. Or all at once.

As a Story Terrace writer, Linda interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better: you can read an autobiographical story of her own below. Get in touch today to work with her!

Smothered

The milk had thickened in the bottle from slow cream, through sickly curds, to thin green.

Folds of skin at her neck ruched into feathery tree bark. She was working something around in her soft mouth, thoughtlessly.

‘No milk yet,’ I said.

She wouldn’t hear. I had waded out of the limits of the living room then swum beyond her reach.

Just a song at twilight…’

I plunged back towards her, and held her hand. She crackled into laughter, her mouth hollow, her shiny gums and tongue like newborn birds.

‘Mum!’ I tested. ‘It’s me.’

Focusing, she crooked her finger towards me, ‘Listen! Here!’ I smelt cheese; old dogs. ‘Where’s me teeth?’

On the table, a stocking lay twisted over the yellow butter-dish. No teeth. Draining board. No teeth. Fridge. Teeth. The faded bubble-gum palate was speckled with something yoghurty, so I rinsed them. She bundled them into her mouth and snapped them into a smile.

Bending her finger, she whispered, ‘Listen to this.’

I stopped my breath to catch the wind of her words; knelt closer.

‘Never trust a wolf in women’s clothing.’ She sat back. Nodded. Arms folded. Fell asleep.

–  –

My mum loved me to wear frothy dresses and stilettos. I was more suited to wielding a stiletto.

She had a thing about my hair. All my little kid photos show me curled, ringleted and trussed with big ribbon bows, looking like Lily Savage’s love child. My mum would put my hair in rags every night before bed, ripping it out by the roots to accommodate her fiendish instruments of torture.

To celebrate teenagerhood, she gave me a home perm, insisting on this ritual humiliation every few months. Entire afternoons on a hard dining chair on an outspread newspaper, with my mum yanking and twining my poor, stretched hair round her fingers with cigarette papers and soaking my flaming scalp with some noxious fluid that bleached my collars and stung my eyes. Hours, in a plastic bag turban with a snake of drenched cottonwool tucked behind my ears, hearing my mum’s incessant chatter.

“And she said, ‘’Well!’’ I said, ‘You know what that means!’ I said. ‘Haven’t you seen her?’ I said. ‘Seen her?’ she said. ‘Yes,’ I said. ‘Really?’ she said. I said, ‘Yes!’ I said… she said…I said…she said…I said…”

It was torture with my mum as a permanent waver.

I was not waving but drowning.

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