Secrets That Define Us – a short story by Jacqx Melilli

(6 customer reviews)


Her spirit reaches out to every person who has harboured a secret they were too ashamed to speak about. Her ghost laments not having spoken up. She allowed her secret to define her by believing the lie that she had no power.

Hurt people hurt others and enslave themselves in the nightmare they so desperately want to wake from. One man can save her from herself, and the fortress she has built to protect herself. She experiences true love for the first time in her life, and yet the sacrifices that will free her from her torment are more than she can bear.

Your purchase of  “Secrets That Define Us” will assist in supporting She Rescue Home. 


Book Title: Secrets That Define Us (previously titled Cheri's Secret) – A short story by Jacqx Melilli


I’m dying.

My heart beats to the rhythm of the clock hanging on the wall. I watch the hand marking each second and wonder when it will stop. Boom-boom; tick-tick; beep-beep; boom-boom; tick-tick; beep-beep. This soulless tempo accompanies the strain of my assisted breathing, made more difficult by the sickening smell of disinfectant lingering in the air. My captive spirit fights to be free of this rotting carcass, all but dead bar for the machine that keeps me alive, against my will. Time, which stole my life so quickly, is now dragging to torment me. Memories keep bobbing to the surface regardless of how many times I try to abolish them from the recesses of my mind.

‘Forgive…let it go,’ a soft voice urges with feverish repetition.

My anger flares as I wrestle the voice into the abyss. The secret I have carried since childhood is the wound that has never healed. Is this what’s keeping me from dying? Am I being punished for the selfish life I’ve lived? What must I do to end this misery?  The fever dims my eyesight as I try to focus on the clock, wishing it to stop and my heart to mimic it.

‘Forgive…let it go,’ whispers the voice.

‘Nobody cares. It’s too late!’ I shout back, infuriated.

‘Forgive…let it go…’

‘Let me die.’

‘Forgive…let it go…’

‘Nurse, nurse!’

My mouth is parched, making my attempts to call out no more than a strained whisper. I focus on the assistance button beside my bed, but no amount of willpower will raise my arm to press it. All strength has left my body insisting I lie here like a dead weight to ensure maximum suffering until the nurse does her hourly checks, which for me is an eternity away.

I wonder if it’s too late to reveal my secret. Who would listen? Who would believe me when all this time, the scars have been hidden? Who would care? My secret defined my life’s seasons, now ending in the wintry cold biting at my bones and forming icicles on my soul. Why did I carry this curse with me? If I had broken it during my youth would my life have been different? Instead, I gave it power by keeping it secret.

Your purchase will assist in supporting She Rescue Home.

Secrets That Define Us (previously titled ‘Cheri's Secret') is available for download in PDF (Adobe Acrobat Reader DC) or mobi (Kindle), epub (Adobe Digital Editions), format.



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6 reviews for Secrets That Define Us – a short story by Jacqx Melilli

  1. Robert Coenraads

    Through the course of our lives, we become the complex sum of many experiences that mould and shape us. We are the composite of sad times, happy times and their delicate interplay, building on the intrinsic personality with which we are born. Some experiences affect us more than others, while others can be devastating, unbalancing us into a downward spiral terminating in personal hell.
    Jacqx Melilli has dedicated Cheri’s Secret to all those who harbour deep secrets too painful to talk about. It is a short story about vulnerability and human frailty and explores those barriers we all erect to protect ourselves from hurt and pain.
    Jacqui’s story explores the difficulties faced by migrants arriving in a new country as children. Cheri pays a bitter personal cost to pursue a career in modelling and ultimately reach the top of the ladder. She carries a terrible secret she has borne all of her life, and we come to see how this secret has shaped her, hounded her, controlled her, and affected how she relates to others, till her very dying day. It then becomes a race around the clock. Will she free herself from her burden, or pass away into obscurity bearing forever the weight of it within her soul. As the seconds tick by alone in the hospital room at the aged care facility, she is unable to find strength to even cry out to the nurses for help, and time is running out.
    Jacqx uses the allegory of the four seasons to explore the different stages of Cheri’s life – the youth of spring blossoming into maturity, the vigour and power of a summer adulthood, the twilight autumn years and the inevitable decline into winter’s death and decay. This superbly crafted deeply personal short-story about the need to release in order to be set free is thought provoking and easily read in one sitting.

  2. Natalia Penny

    An amazing story that’s making you not want to stop reading. Without giving away too much, make sure you got a box of tissues close by. Informs you of serious issues that no one likes to talk about and I love that. 100% enjoyed this brilliantly written story. Well done Jacqx, your work is amazing!

  3. Sandra delvers

    Cheri’s secret
    A beautiful heartfelt story that completely drew me in from the first sentence.
    Well done Jacqui looking forwards to reading your next story, or novel .

  4. Neelam

    A beautifully well written story. Every word captures ur attention and stirs your emotions. You wanna keep on reading. Can’t wait to read more of your stories Jacqui #urwrittingisamazing ❤👌👍

  5. Lisa Aston MIchael

    Beautifully written and superbly delivered. The intensity of Cherie’s ‘secret’ woven strategically throughout. The enduring affect of childhood trauma dwells within so many, manifesting as the Wounded Child / Wounded Adult. Another brilliant work Jacqx xxx

  6. Regina Lau

    It is beautifully written, depicting the struggle of a woman who can’t let go of her past.
    Jacqx describes her emotions very well and I felt that I was travelling with her all the way, until the end of her life.
    Very poignant story and fluently portrayed.
    I do like the romantic part with Mani and sadly, that didn’t have a happy ending.
    Jacqx, well done with the book. I was transfixed with the plot and story progression. No doubt, it would take you a long time to write, to describe her emotions in details and with such subtlety.

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