A couple of years ago I used to write regularly, a lot of it was fiction; some of it flash, most of it probably rubbish, but that didn’t matter. It was a daily habit, and I really enjoyed it. These days, I do still write every day, but it’s either my phd, or personal journalling… I’d like to get back into some occasional flash fiction writing, and creating some interactive fiction pieces… why not, eh?
Anyway, in the very few hours sleep that I got last night, I was reminded of a short story that I once wrote for a blog that no longer exists. I thought I would post it again here, to prompt myself that writing this little story felt good, and that I should do more of it. Here tis…
The Glass Changeroom
“It’s freezing Jane, why are you just wearing a t-shirt?”
I looked down, not realising until Mum mentioned it, that I was wearing only one layer of clothing. Certainly not enough for this cold winters day in Paris. The snow was falling softly, and collecting on our hair and in our eyelashes. Apart from the brittle, frozen cold, it was magical. The sun was trying hard to make an impact on the young day, but the cloud and smog cover dominated the atmosphere, allowing only minute beams of light through in an attempt to warm the air with it’s soft pastel glow.
As we walked on, I began to notice glimmers of illumination where the sun managed to find any object at all and make it sparkle momentarily; on the corner of the “M” on a Metropolitain sign, on the rusty handle of old weathered door leading into the unknown, on the lift-tab of crumpled drink can lying forlornly in the gutter, in a drop of water trembling on a chain-link fence pre-drip… Glimmers were abound, and it was pure beauty.
“Here’s a clothing shop Jane, c’mon, you need a jacket”
Awoken from my glimmer trance, and suddenly feeling the cold keenly, I walked in and surveyed the scene. White walls. A ceiling so high you could barely see it. Large, bright-white shiny floor tiles. Cold, hard, smooth and clinical. I felt as though I were in some sort of dream, but no, this was Paris, and I needed a jacket.
There were racks with clothing as far as the eye could see. The store seemed busy, but when I looked around, I couldn’t pinpoint anyone specific. People seemed to disappear whenever I focussed on them. It felt busy, but appeared empty.
I glanced over to the nearest rack and the clothing morphed from what you would normally expect, with a variety of colours, textures and styles, into a kind of clothing I have never seen before. It was a wrap of some kind with fasteners and strings for securing the fabric close to the body. It appeared to be some kind of all-in-one garment. The fabric was all colours, and yet when I looked at it more closely, it appeared transparent, with the subtlely and sparkle of gossamer. And in the middle of the garment, right at the centre of where the breastplate would be, appeared a large glassy window surrounded with a circular border of what seemed like liquid silver, swirling and gliding around the glass like a funnel of water spiralling down the drain.
I was enchanted.
I had never seen anything like this before. I immediately wanted to try it on. I took the garment instinctively towards the changerooms, despite their lack of signpost.
Up ahead were several small glass rooms. They were tiny, each with their own glass door, complete with glimmering translucent door handles. I tentatively opened the door and walked in, unsure of how I was to try this garment on in such a setting in front of everyone/no-one. I looked behind me, and couldn’t see anyone around, so I proceeded into my little glass changeroom, and latched the door behind me.
And that’s when the door and walls seemed to seal up and frost over, leaving a honey-glazed view of the shop beyond the glass. I knew that the busy people milling about could not see me, yet I could once again see them and their reactions to these unique garments.
I slipped off my boots, socks and jeans with haste. I wasn’t feeling cold anymore, and took the opportunity to slowly remove my t-shirt and underwear while I watched the show outside the changeroom. I felt so empowered standing there in my glass house, silently still and watching.
I don’t know how much time passed, but when I re-focussed on my garment, I noticed that the centre glass had become dilated, and darker, as if it was a pupil searching out the light. I removed it from the hanger, and searched for a way to wear it. No sooner than I held it up against me, the wraps and strings animated and wrapped around my body whippingly fast. The glass heart-eye fused with the entire surface area of my skin and radiated an incredible warmth right through to my bones. The feeling was so powerful that I felt as if I could fly, yet so overwhelming that I might spontaneously combust at any moment.
I remembered my family, and attempted to open the translucent door handle, but it disappeared, leaving only a honey-glazed glass wall that stretched out to my left and right as far as I could see. The warm swirling glass heart-eye seemed to pulse communicatively, indicating that I needed to find an alternative way of exit.
When I turned around, I saw that the back wall of the changeroom had disappeared. In it’s place was another entire clothing store, just for me. There were hundreds of racks, filled with what seemed to be add-ons to my bodysuit. I walked through, looking at some, touching others, all with great interest. But something kept pulling me forward through the store.
Despite seeing new and amazing apparatus for my bodysuit, I kept walking. The light was growing dimmer, and yet I could not see the back wall of my own private upgrade centre. I pressed on, knowing that I was looking for something, but I didn’t know what.
Cracks began to appear in the perfect shiny floor, and I noticed that some of them even had small seedlings sprouting out from below. The racks of mods became sparse, and were instead replaced with shrubbery, and then small trees. Underfoot became softer, and I realised I was walking on uneven gravelly soil.
I looked behind me, and way off in the distance was a tiny spot of bright white light. I kept pressing forward. There was something out there for me. Something I needed to see.
Squirrels darted off and in between the mossy trunks of enormous trees, and I sensed shadows out there, moving in the dark.
Suddenly my glass heart-eye stopped cold, and my heart, almost went with it.
I knew something was behind me. Very close.
I turned slowly.
And there he was. Standing there with eyes so familiar but somehow strange at the same time.
His left iris was brown, with dazzling flecks of hazel, but submerged in a pool of bloodshot. His right eye was a deep glossy black. His hair was dark, but with more grey than I remembered, and only covering half of his head. The other half was a molten lava coated skull. Swirling slowly like Jupiters 200-year storm. A gash on the side of his mouth led almost to his left ear and exposed most of his still white teeth. Blood dripped from his tear ducts and slid down the length of his nose before quivering on the tip as he took a step towards me. His outstretched hands, faced upwards. This was a new state for him.
I began to feel the cold wind rush around me, and realised that I was no longer clothed. I was alone, helpless, and naked in this dark forest. There was nothing I could do.
I froze. I was terrified and hypnotised by this fearsome creature and his steady gaze.
Our eyes connected, and for a split second, I saw his terror, reflecting back as my own. I saw his fear, mostly of himself. I saw his hunger, for me, for my flesh. His cold heart was beating so powerfully with the prospect of a meal, that I could hear it. I felt his hesitancy, as the feelings of his previous human condition lingered on the periphery of his mind. He wanted to think rationally, but he could only delay the inevitable for so long. He knew that he was going to kill me. It was just a matter of time.
We stood there in mutual trance for what seemed like hours, but was only seconds. His tattered and torn body and clothing trembling against the forces of his form.
A low rumbling growl behind me indicated another presence. Big feet padded gently towards me on the mossy ground as the grumbling grew more insistent. I wasn’t going to turn around this time. I didn’t want to know. I knew that I needed to get away. Fast.
Knowing that his time was up, in a blinding flash, his one remaining pupil constricted as he lunged forward for the imminent feast… while the beast behind leaped into the battlescene with beauty so raw and powerful. I shuddered at my awe knowing the beasts intention was to rip every living thing into the smallest of shreds.
But I was already gone, flying higher and higher through the trees in search of the light. I flew so fast and so long that I began to forget where I was. Where I had been.
And then I reached the light…
“C’mon Jane, it’s time to get up and get ready, we’re going to Disneyland. Don’t forget your jacket, it’s freezing today!”