I know I said I wouldn’t post any more of these, but this one doesn’t give the plot away.
This post is part of ‘WORLDS WITHIN WORLDS’, a series of writings about Prunella (Ella) Smith, author, editor & reviewer, and the many worlds she inhabis: her physical reality; her online world where disgruntled author Dita stalks; the worlds of the books she edits; her dream world, and the world beneath the veil of her ordinary reality.
Click here for the previous offerings in reverse order, or here for links to them in order.
The woman who wasn’t Ella, but was, grabbed her long blond hair, pulled it on top of her head and secured it into a high ponytail with a circle of elastic. An old wooden shed covered in spider webs and vines stood before her. Only a few grimy shards of glass remained in the shattered windows and the door hung twisted from one hinge.
Not-Ella took a deep breath and strode towards the building, but stopped at the threshold, anxious about what she might find inside. The shed was long overdue for a clean, but snakes and poisonous spiders could lurk amongst the junk—which was why she had put it off so long. But now, she couldn’t bear it any longer. The junk weighed her down, and she focused on that fact far too much. She needed to be rid of it. Really rid of it.
She poked her head inside and peered into the gloom. Dust tickled her nose and she sneezed. Her eyes adjusted to the lower light level and the full glory of the mess revealed itself. Boxes overflowing with papers lay higgledy piggledy against one wall. A rusted bicycle with flat tyres lay on top of them. A broken chair and a mirror pitted with age leaned against another wall, and a large cardboard box of old computers filled one corner. In the middle of the small space, rags escaped a tin chest too small to contain them, and countless reinforced stripy plastic bags held all number of unknown and unwanted items. A thick layer of dust covered everything. Not –Ella wanted to turn and run, but instead, she grimaced and stepped across the threshold.
The temperature dropped. Not-Ella shivered and looked around. Her mother’s curtains spilled from one bag, another held an assortment of old shoes—her tatty point shoes lay on top, and a well-worn pair of high stilettos, complete with diamantes glued to their straps, lay beneath them. A shredded tutu, leg warmers and various stripping costumes filled another. Tatty books and magazines strained against the confines of another, and old photo frames peeked from the top of yet another.
Not-Ella reached into the nearest and least-dusty bag, and pulled out a wad of A4 sized concertinaed paper. She squinted at the typed words on the top and winced at the content. The paper unravelled in pleats, and she fed it through her hands, scanning the words and shaking her head at the all too familiar garbage. Twitter. Facebook. Linked In. Emails. You Tube. Blog. WordPress. Reviews. Authors. Dita. Tirades of angry words. Words leapt from the pages and swirled around her head. Thick fonts, script fonts, plain fonts, 9 point, 12 point, 36, 72 and larger, all danced around her screaming their words.
She dropped the paper and covered her ears, but the words were as much inside as outside. They flew around her like flies around a carcass, and at the same time, battered against the inside of her skull. She batted the words away from in front of her face and stared around with wide eyes. No way could she clean this out piece by piece. It would take ages and the words would drive her crazy long before she reached the last box. But the screaming had to stop.
She grabbed a box of paper and spilled its contents on the floor. Words flew from the papers like dust motes. She heaved another box on its side and kicked the papers until she’d spread them all over the floor. Word buzzed around her like angry bees threatening to sting. She ran from the shed.
A jerry can of petrol appeared at her feet. She carried it to the shed, splattered its contents on the walls and doused the papers inside. The words shrank from the fumes, then regrouped and attacked; their spiky edges cut into her flesh. She fled the shed, struck a match and threw it inside.
It flew in slow motion while Not-Ella backed away. A moment later the shed exploded into flames.
Not-Ella sat on the cool grass with the heat of the flames on her face and watched her garbage burn.
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