The stench of betrayal hung around like rotting corpses in the old stale room. Long dead dust bunnies filtered their horizons. The layers of dirt over the windows lay like a palimpsest, concealing the light’s true purpose, clouding the room with doubt.
“Why do you go away?” She asks. Her tongue distorts the words, turning them around, trying to confer upon them the meaning of what she wants to say.
He looks at her coldly and says something sophisticated, because he knows that she will not understand. He toys with her, he knows how to control her.
But she wants to know now. She wants to understand. She understands that there is more than work, the perfume he wears as he returns is never the same as when he leaves, and hints of lipstick hide on his unsmiling lips.
He knows that she knows. He is toying with her.
She wants to know.
• • •
In the night she takes the key from the crumpled trousers she finds by following the trail of clothes thrown aside, like the corpses of ghosts who died time and time again, each night only to be revived the following day and dragged away by the demon who controls them. Who controls her. She wants to go outside, to see what he sees, is it really that terrible? Could it be worse? She creeps out. She has not been outside for a long time; the windows in the room are shamefully dirty and she couldn’t see the city through them. They change things, make them ugly.
She comes out of the building and sees pure light. Not the filtered light of the sun through dirty glass or the sick yellow light of old lamps, but light from a lamppost, unfiltered and bright. And the street and the city below is so full of light. How could she have forgotten? The world outside is a wonderful, beautiful place she thinks. She knows now that she will never go back to that dark room full of lies and things half said. Deceitful and hateful. She can never go back now, so she can only move forward, into the bright night. She does not know. She doesn’t know much.
She walks past a flaming car, mesmerised by the art; she think she hears fireworks and she thinks she sees a drunk man stagger out of an alley and collapse into sleep. She walks past a place she thinks people have nice meals because she hears laughs from within and it seems warm and inviting; she doesn’t see the two men standing guard on either side. She looks at the lampposts and wonders why some do not work. She wonders at the world. She does not know the world is round.
She wants to go home. She doesn’t know where home is. It is too far away. She has not been to a real home in a very long time. She is starting to forget what it means. She has so few words.
Music wafts out of a bar and she can hear a man’s voice singing.
“Why do you go away?” It asks.
“I go home” she says.
“Come back to me girl!” It says.
“No. I can not.” She whispers.
She knows that it was not talking to her.
She walks away to the darker parts of the town. It’s getting colder. She shivers, wondering what she is doing, where she is going. She knows there is no turning back. A man recognises her, she recognises him back, she runs away but he runs behind her. He takes out his phone and starts calling someone, she has no doubts about who is on the other side; she tries to run faster. People are cheering her on and laughing at her, she has no breath to reply. She doesn’t want to go back. She can’t go back. So when she sees her chance she dances through the roads, dodging cars, desperately trying to get away. She sees the truck too late.
She didn’t know much.
She didn’t have enough words.
she has nothing.
I’m quite proud of the first paragraph on this 🙂 palimpsest is a word my English teacher taught us in class and I’ve been wanting to use it since!