A Faded Shadow

A faded, grey shadow of a girl stood in front of the desk.  He looked up from the racing pages with a start.  “Didn’t see you there.  Can I help?”  She didn’t speak, just continued staring through vacant eyes.  He couldn’t see any spark inside her.  The greyness was all consuming.  The fluorescent sign flickered bright pink and yellow across her face.  “Vacant”.  The sign was right about her.  Definitely nobody home.  He tried again.  “You want something?”  Her lips moved but no sound came out.  He didn’t know but it had been days since she had been allowed to use her voice.  Nobody had wanted to hear what she had to say.  Nobody had noticed her.  They had left her in the background.  The greyness had consumed her entire life.  She’d left and nobody had noticed. Nobody had asked her opinion about anything for years.  She didn’t know how to respond.  She mouthed the words.  Her throat constricted with the sudden movement.  She felt like she was going to be sick.  The words were stuck.  She needed to get them out.  This was the first step.  Wrong – she had left. That had been the first step.  She needed to find her voice now. 

“I need a room.”  It came out as a hoarse whisper.  It was barely audible across the desk. 

“What’s that?”

“A room.”  She swallowed.  Saliva was lubricating her throat.  She cleared it and swallowed.  “I need a room.  Please.”  She was determined that her new life would be full of pleasant manners and kindness now.  No more demands, name calling or swearing.  She was starting afresh.

A Writer’s Death

A slightly depressing one today…I’m not planning to do this at all but it’s interesting imagining the feelings and emotions.

She sat down to write.  Nothing new there.   It was a daily ritual.  She never knew what would come out of her pen these days.  But this, she knew exactly what to say.  Everything was clear.  She knew what to do.  Write the letter and leave it.  Walk to the river.  Find something heavy to weigh herself down just in case panic made her want to survive.  Walk into the river.  Drown.  Simple.  Everything resolved in one easy move.  No more voice.  No more headaches.  No more noise.  Just quiet death.  He would understand.  He always understood.  He looked at her with such compassion.  She wished she could feel better.  For him. 

***

Her coat was wrapped around her ankles and it clung to them like a persistent child.  She felt the cold penetrating her shoes, her stockings, her calves and up her legs.  It was like icy tentacles shooting through her veins.  Still she stepped deeper.  There was no turning back this time.  As she stepped in to the fast flowing muddy water her coat released its grip on her ankles and floated out like a balloon.  The stones in her pockets felt like lead weights dragging her body deeper into the river.  She was cold to her chest now and had to keep breathing steadily to stay fixed on her goal. Gravity stepped in and was pulling her down.  Her plan was working.  The tide felt strong but each muddy step felt like an iron anchor sinking into the mud bottom.  Each step grew harder as she tried to pick her feet up and take another step deeper.

The shock of water on her face made her falter.  It slapped some sense of reality back for one second and as she opened her mouth the water rushed in.  Her head was pulled backwards as the river pulled at her hair.  The cold ran through her insides too now.  It wouldn’t be long.

***

The armchair sagged under the weight of years.  It lay waiting.  The window opened over the lush garden while the door shut it out.  Blossoms nodded around the window behind the glass.  A light drizzle spattered on the window.  It was dark and cold inside.  The electric fire glowed fluorescent against the tiled fireplace.  It barely penetrated into the room.  The books shivered on their book case and were huddled together for warmth.  Paintings hung limply on the dark, damp walls. 

He’d taken to being in her rooms, waiting for news.  He knew she was gone but the cold comfort from her rooms comforted him.

***

He knew she was dead.  He’d known on the first day.  It was now the fifth day.  He waited.  For the telephone call, or the knock at the door.  Everyday he walked to the river tracing the steps he thought she had taken.

They had found her walking stick abandoned on the bank.  He roamed the canal path for another sign but there was none.  He knew he wouldn’t find anything.  She had planned this.  It hadn’t been a clumsy mistake when she’d come home soaked to the skin the other day.  She had tried then, but something had gone wrong.  This time she had been better prepared.  It had been definite.  She didn’t plan to return.  Her letter had told him as much.  He didn’t need to take the letter out – he had memorised it in the first few moments of reading it. 

***

It was three weeks before they found her.  She had been abused by the tide and by the elements.  The local boys had mistaken her for floating driftwood and thrown stones at her lifeless corpse. 

A new character

I love creating characters and this one is one of my favourites – he’s for a fairy-tale style story, but he has to be the most vain, useless and inept knight going. There is also in the story a magician, a witch, a fortune teller and of course a hero/heroine.

He sat in a glamorous knightly pose.  He checked his reflection in his sparkling armour and brushed an imaginary fingerprint away.  His “How To…” book was open at his favourite chapter about rescuing princesses.  His white steed was grazing alongside the meandering stream.  Willows dangled prettily.  It was a perfect scene for rescuing a damsel in distress.  His silver armour shone to perfection.  He ran his finger under the collar.  Wearing armour was hot work.  He picked up his shield and checked his reflection.  He looked good, better than the others anyway.  Hair – blonde and recently trimmed by Manuel (his stylist).  Stubble – just showing.  It gave the girls a thrill and it looked like he’d been too busy slaying dragons to shave.  Physique – tough.  He worked on his thrust and parry daily.  Overall – brave because of the sword, gentle because of the poetry reciting and the rose he carried (silk because he’d taken so long to find a damsel in distress that any normal rose would have wilted with boredom).  He surveyed the competition around him – a field full of knights just like him. 

Too much chocolate in the world?

Quote

“more than anything else was … CHOCOLATE. Walking to school in the mornings, Charlie could see great slabs of chocolate piled up high in the shop windows, and he would stop and stare and press his nose against the glass, his mouth watering like mad. Many times a day, he would see other children taking bars of creamy chocolate out of their pockets and munching them greedily, and that, of course, was pure torture. Only once a year, on his birthday, did Charlie Bucket ever get to taste a bit of chocolate. The whole family saved up their money for that special occasion, and when the great day arrived, Charlie was always presented with one small chocolate bar to eat all by himself. And each time he received it, on those marvellous birthday mornings, he would place it carefully in a small wooden box that he owned, and treasure it as though it were a bar of solid gold; and for the next few days, he would allow himself only to look at it, but never to touch it.” 
― Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory