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. 

Writing Challenge – Invisibility

This was a recent challenge that I did. It turned out to be quite dark…

I’m not afraid.  I should be, but I’m choosing not to think about it.  No fear – no problem – no fear.

Nobody could see me.  I was invisible in an invisible city.  There would be no shame, no judgement, no cat calling.  It was liberating.

They gave the order to liberate the city from its crippling insecurities and made everyone invisible and guess what?  People became happy.  They were lonelier but happy.

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The Girl on the Train

This was written half inspired by a daily commute and half by random thoughts of escaping from the daily grind. 

The electric doors hummed open and a blast of fresh air hit her in the face and she really believed for a moment that she might step off the train. She believed that she was ready to face the truth. The platform was grey, the skyline was grey, the buildings were grey– it was suffocating. Her head spun and she grasped the door frame trying to breathe, but the greyness was cloying. She heard the tutting and sighing in the distance as she blocked the exit with her bag in her hand.

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Find A Muse in the Masters

Find A Muse in the Masters

I wrote this for a writing challenge as follows….Choose a scenario (or invent your own) and write a poem, a short story, a vignette, a scene, or flash fiction based on Nighthawks by Edward Hopper.  


The Nighthawks by Edward Hopper 1942: Public Domain

“You!   Whaddaya want?”  the bartender barked.   “Can’t ya see I’m busy here.” Continue reading