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WordPlay - October 2011

27 Sep 2011

Fleeting

By Rose Mercer
(Excerpt from a work-in-progress – working title:  Dora’s Mark)

Delia Cooper stabs the upper unmarked button.  You can only go up or down in the air traffic control tower lift – just like aircraft, up or down.  The doors rattle and falter closed and the old lift staggers into grating action, flickering dull light accompanying her to its sole destination.  They had cured the tower’s concrete cancer a few years ago, but had not updated the lift mechanics.  Of course the company wants to be seen to be doing, not actually doing, God forbid.

A movement catches Delia’s eye. A small creature detaches itself from the shadows blurring the join of wall to floor.  It creeps closer.  She fights the crowd of butterflies in her stomach marching through her chest, to her throat.  She hates creepy-crawlies.  Her feet arch up onto tiptoes, trying to touch as little of the surfaces as possible, left arm extended, middle finger against the wall to steady herself.

But the cold, slimy creature is getting larger and closer to her.  It’s longer now too, transforming itself.  Ever larger, more threatening.  Delia moans with the effort to stifle a screech.  It would not do to embarrass herself on her first day.  Air traffic control humour is of the shark-pack variety and she knows she’d never live it down if anyone heard.  

From the nearby rivets in the wall, something with a large dark, shiny carapace emerges.  What the hell?  How did these things get in here?  Delia doesn’t dare blink.  To close her eyes even for a nanosecond is unthinkable now.  

She keeps a wary eye on both these threats inexorably making their way towards her.  She swallows hard.  Swallows again.  I will not scream.  I am in control.  I can stomp on them if they get too close.  That’s silly, they’re not real.  I am okay.  I can do this.  

It takes a slow count of forty-five to get to the top.  Nineteen, breathe, twenty, breathe … Delia stabs the up button again and again and again. Thirty-three, thirty …  

Rose Mercer is founder of Docklands Writers which welcomes new members.  Email (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for more information.

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Comments

  • Irene at 10:45pm on 19/10/11

    Wish I hadn’t read that just before going to bed. You have a lot to answer for, Rosie.

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