Wednesday, September 10, 2008

There Are Doors (13)

On the far side of Smithfield Market Edna Sharrow can run no more and in the cool shade of a tree at the boundary of the churchyard turns to confront the girl who has followed her.

The girl is an ordinary girl. Slender. Grainy skin. Pale blue eyes and dirty blond hair scraped back. Dressed in a grey pyjama-like suit zipped up the front. Shoes like small white pillows. An unremarkable child of the stones, except that the black light burns within her.

Edna draws herself up and says that she will deal only with the master, not his familiar.
The girl shakes her head and says, He’s busy elsewhere, but I can help you. What is terrible is that she is not afraid. No, her look is one of pity. She says, I shouldn’t have sent you away. I should have helped you right away. But I was scared. I admit it. It’s my first time.

I don’t need your help, Edna says.

You poor old thing. You don’t know, do you. You don’t know that you’re dead.

And the black light beats around Edna like wings and she is falling away from the world. For a moment she catches hold of the tree and she remembers her mother holding her up in the sharp cold of a long ago Boxing Day, to see the hunt ride by.

Look at the pretty horses, she cries, and her heart leaps with the joy of the long-ago moment of lost innocence, and she falls through the door of the sky.
Part 1 2 3 4 5


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am enjoying this weekly serial. No-one else has commented on it so far, so i just want you to know that it hasn't gone unappreciated.

September 13, 2008 9:41 pm  
Blogger Paul McAuley said...

Thanks Phil (and Sergey, who did offer encouragement too). Greatly appreciated. This is the final instalment by the way. I realise I didn't make it clear, but then I was making it up as I went along.

It was a little bit of fun really, spun out over the week I took off from the ongoing novel, finding bits of story in various locations. Couldn't be published in a normal fashion, except perhaps as a series of postcards, and is essentially all first draft stuff, sometimes transcribed on the spot, as it were. Maybe I'll write about this further sometime, when I've thought about it a bit, and also provide a link to the publsihed story it somehow attached itself too.

September 14, 2008 12:09 pm  

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