The Visit by Rosa Whelan

Rosa is a sociology student from Dublin who is currently on an exchange at the University of Edinburgh. She has previously had work published in Liberty Newspaper, Oscailt Magazine, and The Clock Tower Ghost and Other Stories.


The Visit


The whole place reeks of insanity, white tiles and fluorescent ceiling lights. I feel my mother squeeze my shoulder as we step inside, through the second set of doors.

‘Catherine,’ Granny says, when she sees me. She’s sitting alone, on a leather armchair by the window. There are no metal bars. I’m grateful for that at least. ‘Catherine, I can hardly believe it.’

I look at Mum. She smiles too widely, first at me, then at her mother. I try to do the same. I can feel the edges of my mouth falter, feel tears build up painfully behind my eyes. Granny’s not looking anymore. She’s watching the flickering black and white movie on the TV behind us. I can taste salt on my lips.

Another old woman stands up and clasps my arm. ‘Cheer up, pet,’ she says. ‘Cheer up there now.’

On the car ride home Mum apologises. I stare out the window trying to blink away the blurriness of the road.

‘Still,’ Mum says eventually. ‘I wonder who Catherine was. I don’t suppose we’ll ever know now.’

Rosa can be reached via email at