Diary of a Goth Girl

Diary of a Goth Girl Short Story

This story can be read via the pictures or via the (duplicated) accompanying text.


One positive thing about a visit to the school counsellor is the opportunity to miss class. Ms P suspects my motivatoins. She insists I’m more normal* than I profess and that I’m missing too much calculus. I offered to show her my backlog of journals as evidence of inner turmoil. She declines the opportunity. Apparently, teenage girls who scribble depression diaries only make themselves sadder, and the best way to get myself really down is by “re-reading my own sorry dross”.

Sadness is under-rated. Nevertheless, she offered to rip out the most maudlin** first one and a half months of this year.

* I asked her to define ‘normal’. She skirted around the issue and finally acknowledged my very good point.
** I had to look up ‘maudlin’ and it’s my new favourite least disagreeable word. I want a cat called Maudlin.

Agreeable news: Slow-learning Economics Teacher has finally memorised our names. We are free to choose our own desks. I bagsed a corner and can now read novels and Gothic zines. I’ve just finished reading The Unauthorised Biography of Death and highly recommend a re-read to my future, wiser self.

Disagreeable news: Unscary Year 11 Dean pulled me aside after assembly to offer comment upon personal grooming. My make-up job “does not fit happily* with the school image”.

* It’s not like I’m aiming to be RENOWNED for my HAPPINESS anyhow.

Is this a form of discrimination? Unscary Dean would not tell Reggis et al to look “a little less black”, yet the twit suggests I might pop out into the yard to “get some colour in my cheeks”. Unscary Dean also suggests I end my co-dependent relationship with the kohl pencil. First Mother, now the Dean! (I told him where to shove the kohl pencil.)

Assignments are not progresing smoothly. Was late for I.T. after admiring my bone structure in the dimly-lit D-block loos. In my absence, the immature little punk I sit next to thought it funny to smear glue-stick across my keyboard. It was nothing antiseptic wipe couldn’t rectify. What bothered me was the uber-annoying exe installed by Ronald McDonald in startup. The entire class was treated to sheep bleating as noisy cartoon creatures trotted across my desktop, mounted my icons and fell down dead. The sheep are meant to be ironic symbols of my refusal to conform.

But seriously guys. Not funny after the first 10 times. Hot I.T. Teacher made me share a workstation with Ronald McDonald as punishment for us both*. We waited 40 minutes for Ron’s PC to warm up, another 10 for it to shut down. Very little was learned re programming, though Ronald admitted to wearing size 13 clodhoppers. I don’t even want to know.

* Apparently I’m to blame for everyone else’s “off-talk behaviour”. I can’t help that I’m interesting.

Hot I.T. Teacher threatened to send me to the basement to work alone on a MASSIVE retro computer, manufactured circa 1980. He goes, “Oh and Allegra, in my class, size is not everything.” Despite widespread hilarity I did not crack a grin. As the sole female in advanced computer, I plough a lonely furrow.

I may change my name to Lucifer. Lucy for short. “Allegra Joy” is a totally inappropriate name for a Goth.


I’ve deleted all the happy-clappy tunes from my Goth playlist. No more Metallica. No more Guns n’ Roses. From now on I listen only to Dismember and Bauhaus.

I’ve decided to make use of public transport. A serious Goth cannot be seen driving a red Toyota Corolla. Looks altogether too cheerful. A Goth is much better observed staring pale faced and shell-shocked from the interior of osme crowded bus. (Even if said bus is only the school bus.)

It would be seriously quicker to hitch a ride with Mother and Brother in the mornings. The school bus never comes on time. Then all three arrive at once. O, the sacrifices.

I surprised Hot I.T. Teacher by taking up his offer to work alone, in peace and solitude, on the retro computer in the basement.


  1. I don’t have to talk to Eccentric Classmates aking me for girl advice. Seriously, why ask the Goth? Do I look like a reservoir of love info? I’d ask my fellow nerds for Boy Advice, but only for the comic value. (No, I won’t. I’m busy being sad at the mo’.)
  2. I can pretend I’m trapped in the dungeon of some castle in legendary Gothic Scandza. This is not hard, as there is nothing in the way of soft furnishings, and no distractions to bring me back to this sorry reality called Year 12, at the height of an Australian summer in outback Goolooroo.


  1. No air-conditioning to speak of
  2. Hairy rodents
  3. Namely, regular pop-ins from Ronald McDonald who volunteers to relay teacherly instructions and provide photocopied handouts. He’s actually enquiring after Yours Truly. Ronald McDonald smiles far too much: instant turn-off. Just because he’s pale does not make him a fellow Goth.

New record: I have not spoken to a living soul* in four days. It’s not so hard. Thunderous facial expressions help.

* Not that I talked to any dead souls either, FYI.
Also: Is there any such thing as a dead soul? Or a living one? (I thought souls were above all that mortality stuff.)

Here’s hoping there’s a Basement Ghost. Sounds crazy bad. Bona fide Goths require at least one supernatural experience. I should notice something soon. Meanwhile, I could use a Goth-punk boyfriend to keep me on the hate and sorrow.

Watch our. This Goth Girl is officially on THE PROWL.


‘Twas a middling sort of weekend. I meditated in bed Saturday morn. Eccentric stepbrother is home from University*.

* It emerged later that being home is a permanent arrangement. He has a new rural-friendly career in wool classification.

1530: Mother just sent him in to wake me up. He offered tea and aspirin. I said nothing is wrong with me, that I was only mulling over the soundtrack to my own funeral. I can’t decide between “In Death’s Cold Embrace” or “Small Talk Stinks”.

I’m 96% sure that aforementioned Eccentric Stepbrother reads this diary. Yes, you. You know I know. Funny how you stopped wearing those high-waisted purple skinny jeans after my scathing review. While I’m at it, your bedroom smells like feet. Seriously man, invest in shoe powder.

Speaking of love, I noticed one mysterious man across the road while waiting at the bus-stop this morning: tall, dark, deathly slim, cloaked in a long, black anorak*.

* I admire the Gothiness of a boy who wears black anoraks at the Zenith of summer.

He wore a dash of eye-liner, methinks. I caught his dark eye for a moment before my bus arrived, strangely on time, thus ending our Moment. I hope to see fellow Goth again tomorrow.

I’ve reached a new level of pallidity. Quite happy with that. Too happy, in fact. Meditated on sadness afterwards.

At 1900 Eccentric Stepbrother arrives home with Even More Eccentric friends to find me lying prostrate* along sofa in lounge.

* Prostrate != prostate despite what Great Auntie Jean busts out with.

I’ve still not cracked a smile. BTW, your room still smells like feet.


I’ve definitely caught Gothman’s eye. He’s been staring at me from across the road every day this week. He waits for the bus heading further out west but that bus comes and goes without him. He watches it leave, reappears and examines me from across the road. I know he’s interested. Should I make the first move?


* Who thought we needed the superfluous ‘r’ in FebRuary? (Possibly a pirate.)

‘Twas Gothman who made the first move. He becked from across the road with one bony finger. A shiver ran down my spine. Is this the first sign of true love?

I’m still not sure which Goth sect he belongs to. I’m hoping for a Vampire Goth but he might be a Poser Goth who listens to Marilyn Manson and Linkin Park. I plan to hide behind foliage on Monday and follow* him on his travels.

* Note that I did not write ‘stalk’. Because that would be CREEPY. Also: illegal.

Nobody will miss me at school, except for perhaps Ronald McDonald, who threaded a single sunflower through the crevice of my locker today.

There was a note attached.

He thinks I’ll be impressed that he looked up the Sex Pistols.


Spent all weekend fantasising about Gothman. I’m considering a visit to a spray-on whitening salon. I sport very unfortunate inverse tan lines on account of my deathly pale face.

I’ve painted my fingernails black and cut gaping holes in my stockings. This will have to do.


The informal syllogism proceeded thusly:

HIM: Respectable girls do not wear holey stockings to school.
ME: The unrespectable girl insists upon wearing holey stockings to school. Therefore, all girls who wear holey stockings are unrespectable, no?
*The cackling of distant kookaburras*
ME: Your lack of respect has nothing to do with the state of my stockings ANYHOW.

As planned, spent this morning lurking behind bush near bus stop. Eventually caught sight of Gothman, who stared across road in vain search for me. He scratched his head with that bony finger of his and stalked off towards the graveyard.

I followed at a safe distance.

Have to admit, I am slightly disappointed Gothman stopped in at the old people’s home on Fox Trap Road. One can only assume he was visiting an elderly relative. He’s not nearly as lonesome and aloof as I had hoped. He re-emerged 10 minutes later and scurried off towards the highway. I lost his trail somewhere near the Catholic Church.

Will try again tomorrow.


A bizarre turn of events.

I followed Gothman to three separate villas in Roseville Estate, known only for its gated little houses and abundance of Zimmer frames. Gothman stayed at each residence for no more than 20 minutes. I wonder what he carries in his briefcase. I’m thinking he sells something boring like insurance or vacuum cleaners. O well. Even Goths must earn a crust.

Got caught by Unscary Dean, sneaking into school via back gate. I said I felt ill.

“You do look ghostly pale,” he says. “See the doctor. Ask for a blood test.” He then launches into a spiel about the virtues of eating organ meats. He rounds off his lecture by listening the ingredients in his dear old mother’s Liver & Bacon pie.

I wonder if Goths can eat guts. Sounds appropriately evil, though not in the least delectable.


Just when I thought yesterday was weird. I followed Gothman to a ramshackle wooden house in an oasis of green forest. I have little idea on how to ever find it again because it required a bus trip all the way in to the central interchange, whereupon Gothman ducked from bus to bus like a demon possessed.

Upon reaching forest, I thought I’d arrived in some Grimm’s fairytale. I never did see the big bad wolf, but half expected to.

Gothman bounds carefree up a winding, cobbled path and pulls black envelopos from his letterbox. He rips one open.

I can’t believe Gothman lives here, in this cute little cottage with honeysuckle growing along the picket fence. Terracotta pots of pansies decorate the front yard. I duck round the side of the cottage and peer inside.

Window is ajar. I can hear talkback radio. The house smells of corned beef and white pepper. I’m reminded of my grandmother’s house on a Sunday afternoon.

Sure enough, I see a head of wispy, white curls. The old woman on the sofa wears a floral dress and fluffy slippers. She’s talking back to the talkback radio.

Enter Goth Boy:

“Hi, Ma.”

I’d imagined a deeper voice. He sounds disappointingly normal.

“Oh, hullo Gavin,” she says.

Gavin? Another let down. I’d hoped for something a little more exotic. “Meredyth Mayhem” would be better. Any girly name would do, followed by an abstract noun.

Gavin takes a seat.

Gavin gets up and disappears into the kitchen.

The old woman sniffs. “You just wait til you get to my age! Then you’ll know when it’s time to shuffle off!”

I realise Gavin is about to catch sight of my luminous face through the window as he emerges from the kitchen with two cups of tea. I depart.

Bitter disappointment. Gavin is no more a Goth than Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


Just when I thought things could not get weider. I waited for the bus to school. Caught sight of Gavin across the road. Not nearly so creepy anymore. I looked the other way.

Seconds later I’m startled by a tap on the shoulder. There’s no need for bodily contact from a stranger, even if we have shared breath on a stuffy school bus.

I spin round, ready to star down the little shoulder tapper when I see Gavin the Try-hard Goth hovering over my shoulder. Wide-eyed, he stares right into me. He beckons with that bony finger. My heart pounds. He must have een me following him after all! Still, I’m street savvy enough not to duck off with Gavin behind a native flowering bush for a “chat”.

Nope. I’m going nowhere.

My bus arrives. Sweet relief! I dash to the front of the queue. Grumpy Bus Driver examines my pass* (which looks the same every morning).

* He simply can’t believe how stunning I am and doesn’t want to stare at my actual face. Obviously.

I score a seat right at the back. The children are eerily quiet this morning. Today was one of those days when it felt like everyone was staring at me for no reason. Ever have one of those days? Anyway, it started on the bus.

I sit. I stare out the window. I turn up the volume on my Walkman*.

* Why yes, yes I did score a retro cassette player, at Salvos, for 20c. Suck on that consumerist society!

Then I’m startled again, by that most unheimlich tap upon the shoulder. Lo, Gavin the Try-hard Goth is occupying the seat* right next to me. He won’t give up! How did this creeper sneak onto a school bus, anyway? I yank my big puffy 1980s headset off my ears and turn on the facials. I attempt ‘bored slash annoyed’.

* It’s not even a “seat”. It’s a veritable crack. This guy is so slim he only needs a crack upon which to sit. (Impressed with myself for avoidance of dangling preposition.)

“Sorry to disturb you.” Gavin extends a bony hand. He’s expecting me to grab a hold and shake it.

No way I’m touching that thing.

Gavin shrugs. “I often get that.”

He balances his briefcast upon his lap and clicks open the latches.

I crane my neck, expecting to see a bus-bomb.

(I’m not actually sure what a bus-bomb would look like, which I hadn’t realised til that moment.)

Documents. Gavin pulls out a wad of papers and whips out a blue biro. Very officious. Most unsettling.

“The name’s Reaper,” he says. “Gavin Reaper. Grim for short.*”

* In what universe is “Grim” short for “Gavin? I mean, aside from being alliterative there is no syllabic commonality.

The bus hurtles along. I’ve missed my stop at Goolooroo High and now I’m headed towards the primary school.

“Just some paperwork to get you across the River Styx.”

His tone is decidedly flat.

“Bog off,” I say. “You’re chasing the wrong girl.”

“Oh.” Gavin Repear looks unsure for a moment, then flips to the front of his ring-binder. “You’re not… Allegra Joy Harper of 1037 Blackett Street–“


He knows I am. His spiel continues.

“We need to book you onto the Styx Ferry. Unless you’d rather swim, that is.” He attempts a smile, which rapidly dissolves. “No, quite right. That wasn’t funny the first time, what with the crocodiles… Now, would you prefer a cabin with a private balcony? Any special meal requirements? Vegetarian? Wheat allergy? Lactose intolerance?“*

* He also said, quite rudely, that I look like all of the above.

He flicks his pen absentmindedly against his gaunt, white cheek. It makes an unsettling hollow sound. I wonder if I should tell him his cheek is smeared in blue leakage. I decide not to.

“Are you for real?” I ask instead.

“You don’t believe me, do you,” Gavin says. It’s more of a statement than a question. I don’t dignify it with an answer*.

* If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. People will concot from your mood something far worse than you could think up, anyhow.

Gavin gazes out the window at lamp posts darting by. “Nobody ever believes me, yet death comes to us all. I don’t know why anyone regards my appearance as a surprise.”

The Goolooroo Primary stop is coming up. The bus slows.

“If you’ll do me the favour of taking the brochure,” Gavin says, offering me a glossy pamphlet, “I’ll get back to you at a later date.”

He proffers his promotional material in one cold hand and grips my wrist with the other.

I have no choice. I must take the cursed thing or he won’t let me off. I whip the document off him and dart off the bus. I run all the way down Main Street to the high school and have never felt so safe and secure, enclosed in the bowels of the dank, rodenty, haunted basement, shivering with something other than cold — adrenaline? — in front of the retro computer.

Ronald appeared with some coursework. I lunged in for a bearhug.

He didn’t seem to mind.


* Oneth should be a word. I’m going to start a trend.

I avoided buses yesterday. In fact, I avoided all vehicles, precariously propped up things, boiling vats of liquid (ie. Mum’s vegetable soup) and bodies of water (incl. bath). Stayed in bed all day. Can’t possibly die in bed.

On reflection, many people do.

Today, 1830: I’ve decided to get out of bed. After 53 consecutive hours under a sheet I feel the onset of bedsores. I’m wondering how long it takes to die of bedsores.

Later: Made myself a cup of herbal tea. Took several aspirin. Wondered if a chamomile-aspirin concoction can kill* susceptible individuals under the right circumstances.

* So I slam danced to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring, mainly to prove my living status to myself.

Mother’s out all weekend with latest Love Interest. Eccentric Step-brother is also absent. I’m badly in need of banal company. (Brother, you’re in demand now that you’ve fixed the foot problem.)

1500: As a Goth I do not fear death, but I’m starting to get skittish and jittery. Have emptied bowels. Apparently this happens before childbirth and immediately following death. I’m considering my own status. Is it possible that I’m already dead?

1530: Finally summoned the courage to peruse Reaper’s glossy pamphlet. I don’t like to look at it. It reminds me that our meeting cannot have been a bad dream.

2335: Have read the brochure from cover to cover. I’m most reassured. The Styx Ferry has a billiard table, a bar and swimming pool. It’s more like a flash cruiseliner, actually. The 13 hour journey to The Pearly Gates includes meals. I’m having the cranberry stuffed chicken thigh with orange glaze, followed by cherry compote, parsely roasted pumpkn and green courgettes.

I’m yet to decide on breakfast. Will have to sleep on it.

One Slight Concern: Cause of Death. I’m satisfied, however, that I’m not dead yet.

Eccentric Step-brother eventually arrived home looking unshaven and tired. Saw me sitting at the breakfast bar eating soggy breakfast cereal and didn’t bat an eyelid. Not even a smart-aleck comment about my pallor.

Instead he goes, “I thought you were only eating black things these days*, and that’s whiat. That’s the last of the damn milk, girl.”

* I WAS OKAY so just shut up because vegemite on burnt toast tastes like crap.

Not the sort of thing anyone’d say to a ghost, right? Even Eccentric Step-brother would know a ghost for looking. Right?


I’m still not dead. Ventured a ride on the bus to school. Did not see G. Reaper. Our meetings must have been a series of caffeine induced hallucinations.


Had a dozen emails, all marked as spam:

One note from a Minerva Brandy in urgent need of a bank account.

Another from Rolexa Hammertime, who wants to sell me a genuine fake watch.

Ten separate emails from Mr G. Reaper, reminding me in descending levels of politeness to send my completed documents or “there’ll be hell to pay.”

Not mad keen on that idea.

I posted the documents after school, fast post.


I’m getting more antsy by the day. Threw out incriminating evidence of my sad love life: love letters to imaginary boyfriends, chip packets under the bed, moth-eaten undies. SMSed Absent Neglectful Mother. Told her I loved her anyway. Considered an apology* to Eccentric Stepbrother for being a moody moo.

* Figure it’ll do to write it down here. Consider yerself told, bro.

I was even nice to Ronald. Left him a beautiful dying rose. Now I know nothing will come of anything, I am reckless with this weary heart.

I caught sight of G. Reaper this morning as the first bus arrived. He did that creepy beckoning thing* again.

* Then again, he may have been itching his nose. Can’t see him very well because he’s obscured by a bush.

I have several burning questions: cause of death, afterlife, that sort of thing. Must ask him tomorrow morning. I’ll duck across the road between the first and second buses.

That way, I’ll be sure to catch the third.

I originally wrote Diary of a Goth Girl for a British anthology, but after that went out of print I rewrote it (and illustrated it) set in Australia. The bright skies and heat of Australia contrast ironically with the clothing and sensibilities of a Goth.


On paper, things look fine. Sam Dennon recently inherited significant wealth from his uncle. As a respected architect, Sam spends his days thinking about the family needs and rich lives of his clients. But privately? Even his enduring love of amateur astronomy is on the wane. Sam has built a sustainable-architecture display home for himself but hasn’t yet moved into it, preferring to sleep in his cocoon of a campervan. Although they never announced it publicly, Sam’s wife and business partner ended their marriage years ago due to lack of intimacy, leaving Sam with the sense he is irreparably broken.

Now his beloved uncle has died. An intensifying fear manifests as health anxiety, with night terrors from a half-remembered early childhood event. To assuage the loneliness, Sam embarks on a Personal Happiness Project:

1. Get a pet dog

2. Find a friend. Just one. Not too intense.




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