I sell items which are associated in some way with my stories. The story-copyright is not for sale.
Please read the story while the images load up
CHAPTER 8: CRAWLING
Cassette 5: 6 th January, evening, Hotel Kyla, Middle of Nowhere, Finland
Good evening, my dearest Nigel. I have come back to tell you the rest of yesterday's story – and I had reached the part where I was escaping from my locked room. As I said before, I crawled under Elizabeth's floor. Some strange groanings were coming from there. You know, that woman will have a relationship with anything that moves. I scrabbled onward. She must have been well-occupied, not to hear me.
Under the next room I listened. I heard nothing above me, but there were tiny rustlings all around – small rodents maybe – so I pushed up the floor tiles rather quickly.
“Ah ha ha ha,” said Maury.
“Is that all you've got to say? Does no-one take me seriously around here?”
And I stood there, half out of the floor with a tile on my nice henna-ed hair, all spoilt with the crawling.
“Ha ha ha.”
I started to whimper.
“Oh, silly girl,” he cried and, grabbing me by the arm, pulled me out of his floor and up in the air. I was dumped unceremoniously onto an easy-chair. He lowered his vast bulk back onto the bed and sat there gazing at me. It was unnerving.
“Ha ha –“
Maury, how are we going to get out of here? They're trying to make me take drugs or poison or something. It's some kind of experiment. And what's this about a war? What war?”
He smiled at me kindly.
“Masina, you are asking too much. Yes, I helped design this place and yes, I drew the plans. There is more to it than you think. There are ways out, but they go to places where you would not want to be. I can't help you. There's an easier way back to your room, though,” and he took me by the elbow and hurried me to a corner by the window, looking anxiously over his shoulder at the door.
In the corner there was a bookshelf, just like the one in my room. But who reads books these days? He yanked a book forward, the whole thing slid open like a library door in a corny old film, and suddenly there I was in the pitch dark with the door shut behind me. I could hear his visitors, though. While I felt around my prison for another way out, I heard them arguing.
“Your arm, Mr Bowland, please. Give your arm . . . look, we're only taking a pint.”
“You know very well that it's not that kind of immunity.”
“Mr Bowland, you are doing the world a great service –“
“Not yet, I'm not. It's my size that makes me immune. There's no serum for not being big. Ow,” and there was a brief scuffle. “If you want your people to be immune to your experimental junk, then you'll have to feed them junk food – lots of it. I can recommend it –“ and he was laughing uncontrollably.
Now I really must get out of here. My poor figure. Anyway, as I said, I was feeling around and came across something heavy and tubular, hanging on the back of the door. Just let it be a torch! It was, and when I turned it on, I saw the shelf with the spare batteries, and the passage. It was a regular highway then, and wide enough for Maury. Well, he did help to design it.
Secret passages are not attractive, you know. They don't have wallpaper or panelling. They are the insides of walls. There is dust, dirt, building rubble and rat-droppings. I did not linger. But the next door I came across was only two yards away. It must be Elizabeth's. She had stopped groaning. Should I take a peek at her latest squeeze? Of course not. Who would be so indelicate? I carefully unlatched and edged open her library door.
It is hard to describe what I saw. I shall tell you a little. Those groans I heard were not courtship. There was no lover there – I saw no two heads on the pillow. There was Elizabeth in the most gorgeous dressing gown you ever saw. Bright silk, it was, with embroidery, and – but I'm wandering. The dressing gown, with Elizabeth in it, was draped across the bed, and there she lay with her head hanging upside-down off the end. She looked as if she had been frozen in mid-scream. Her mouth was twisted into a large and bent figure of eight. Her eyes bulged out. Her hair hung down so that if she had been upright it would have stuck up on end, if you see what I mean.
But that wasn't the worst of it. Her skin was day-glo green, with purple blotches, like bruises. A small medicine bottle was still gripped in her hand.
I looked down at my tiny figure. Well, Thomasina, I said, you either go green and snuff it or you hurry and eat twenty plates of rice and chips now this minute. And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow . . . is this another banger I see before me? . . . Lay on the plum duff . . . Oh dear. I thought of my narrow, designer wedding dress. No, I have to get out of here, don't I, Nyge. To think that Stuart said I was shallow. I am so practical. I want to go home. Now.
The passage carried on past my own hidden library door, but I had had enough. In my room was Stuart, kneeling on the floor and looking down into the hole where I had escaped. He didn‘t see me come in. He jumped, but he was clutching my cassettes. He looked at them and at me.
“Where were you? Under the bed? I'll have to keep these. For your safety,” he said, and he hurried out, locking the door. Now I wonder who is listening to them now. What will they think of me?
I did not know what to do with myself. I gazed out of the window but it was nearly dark. The snow was dark blue and the trees black. Nothing moved but my reflection in the glass. I stared at that pretty, orange-haired clown with her layers of make-up. Who am I, anyway, I wondered. Perhaps the time had come to be serious.
Now I am very tired, Nigel. Tomorrow morning I shall tell you what happened today. What did they give me in my tea? I am so sleepy . . .Your loving Mas–
Copyright © 2003 LS
NEXT INSTALMENT: NEXT SATURDAY 6PM UK TIME ON EBAY: SEARCH FOR STORYE ~ POISON
Images hosted by Reactive Networks: see my About Me page.