Every week in Friday Free Web Fiction I post a first draft scene from my work in progress (WIP), or a short story, or an excerpt from one of my books. Today’s offering is from my Prunella Smith WIP, Past Worlds, The Lock Smith’s Secret.
A corridor opens up before me. Or is it a corridor? It doesn’t seem to have walls, and yet it does. I sense a universe outside, and I glimpse a star field beyond the walls, as if through thick tinted glass. Stars sparkle and galaxies swirl around me. I stare at them as I pass. I feel their power, their pulsing energy, yet they remain apart, beyond the walls.
A faint light draws me on and the sound of metal tools working echoes faintly down the corridor. Someone’s down there. I quicken my pace but seem to get no closer. Suddenly, the light is to my right, no longer ahead. I stop and stare through the translucent walls. An endless field of almost transparent corridors surround my corridor. Some run parallel to mine, some at right angles. I’m in some kind of labyrinth, and the light comes from a room several corridors across.
The person has a light attached to their head, and they sit in a pool of light surrounded by darkness bent over a table intent on some kind of work. They strike metal with a small hammer and a clang rings through the corridor. Another clang, and then another. I peer into the distance and think it’s a man, but I can’t make out what object they hold in their hand and turn from side to side. He tilts his head as if evaluating, then picks up another tool and moves his hand the object with a rasping sound—I suspect a file.
I look around for a door, but there are none. My corridor stretches in front of me and behind me, but not one door mars its shiny surface. I check the other corridors, and as far as I can see not one of them has a door of any kind. And there is only one room, and one person apart from me in this place. And yet, I don’t feel trapped; my path lies ahead. I thought this person was my destination, but apparently not. We’re separated by … I try to count the corridors but they keep changing. Sometimes I count four and sometimes five between us. And there’s space between them as well. I place my hand on the wall, wanting to touch this person, but knowing it’s impossible.
“Hello,” I call. “Helloooo.” I wave.
The person doesn’t look up from their work. They don’t hear me, and my hand falls back to my side, useless. What’s the point? Even if this person looks up and sees me, without doors we cannot meet. Perhaps it’s best he doesn’t know I’m here. I shrug my shoulders and sigh, then I walk on.
The corridor stretches out before me. Stars sparkle and galaxies swirl outside the dark tinted glass walls. I leave the maze of corridors and the man intent on his work behind me and walk on through this dark corridor of the mind.
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