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January 28, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about disorientation. A character could be lost in the maze of the mind or in a storm of unexpected traffic. What are the sounds? The sights? The smell? Explore the different ways confusion can be expressed and how it can create tension, provide relief or move a story forward.
Practical matters confuse an disorientate me. Wood especially. I’m no good with anything that has a grain – wood, whiskey… Take this example: we needed to adjust the toilet door in a house we were doing up back in the mid eighties after we had laid some cork titles in the hall. The Textiliste went out for the afternoon so I thought, I’ll just skim a few millimetres off the bottom of the door and that will be that.
I took the door down, laid it on the kitchen table, clamped it tight (I am a tool-collector, even if I’m a tool-incompetent (some might just stop and say I’m a tool)) and took off a strip that I judged to be sufficient. I rehung the door but it still stuck.
Feeling annoyed I tried again but still it stuck.
After the third attempt I couldn’t understand why nothing was happening. By now it was getting late and I turned the lights on. It was only then, with the ceiling highlighted by the strip of soft yellow that shone from above the toilet door that I realised I had been so befuddled that I had sliced the top off. I still can’t believe I made the same mistake three times but I did. As with a lot of mistakes in my life I immediately thought ‘how can I hide this from the Textiliste’ but this one was beyond me. And as with those self same mistakes, she shrugged, smiled and forgave me.
And so to the flash. Mary’s story continues. Here are the previous episodes.
Good news? Bad news?
Mary sat, conscious of her hands vibrating. ‘Am I mad, doctor?’
‘Mad? No.’ Dr Penfold tapped at the keyboard. ‘The blood test was fine. You’re a healthy woman.’ He paused. ‘It might be anxiety. You are…’ Another pause. ‘You’re pregnant.’
Mary nodded slowly. She felt herself float, watching the scene from above. The doctor’s eyebrow rose, testing the news to see if it was good or bad. The sweat on her neck, chilling in a light breeze. A voice filled her head, a comforting voice. Mary replied. ‘Shh Sharon.’ Her twin, her dead twin breathed again and Mary shivered.