I saw her that day standing in the rain, her drenched hair washed cleaner than the sidewalk.
Straw blonde and delicate as parchment.
She walked over to me and stopped and I almost didn’t dare speak until she turned and asked me whether I was a stranger in that town that dwelt on the edge of nowhere like a lost dream.
‘A stranger how?’, I said, falling into her eyes.
‘These people’, she said, ‘they’re not real. They don’t exist. They are a figment of their own imaginations.’
The reactions I would normally have had were suspended somehow by her beauty and the tone she used, as if she was speaking from far away. Instead I found myself agreeing with her.
‘No, I know what you’re saying.’
‘They are the unborn, let me show you.’
A shopkeeper was outside putting up some sign and I followed her as she walked into the store and stood over by the counter until he came in.
There was a strange pregnancy about her movements, especially when she was about to speak, as if some fecundity had begun to rot inside her.
‘How can I help, ma’am?’, the shopkeeper said.
‘Help me find my baby.’
He looked at her trying to decipher this strange hieroglyph and I watched as she caressed herself standing there in front of him.
‘Is there anything you would like to buy?’
‘I would like to buy time and time’s slow resolution not to kill what is born.’
He looked at me over her shoulder but I was transfixed by her, as her fragile beauty fell like snow in that small shop.
I have tried returning there and have never found it on any map and I have tried finding her because she haunts me, and I will never forget what happened next.
She reached across the counter and caressed his cheek with a hand that was so small and delicate it might have been a child’s.
Then she turned to me and looked straight through me.
She removed her coat, letting it fall to the floor and stood there in a thin patterned dress covered with peonies.
She walked past me and stood at the doorway, as if its threshold might offer some answer.
On her back was a shrunken foetus in a bag, its face turned in some grim fascination at the shopkeeper like a finger wagging at us from the grave.
She walked to the street’s end where she faded like an ink stain on this tarnished world.
Richard Godwin's play 'The Cure-All', a dark satire about a group of confidence tricksters, has been produced on the London stage.
He will published this month in hard copy in an anthology of stories by Little Episodes Publishers, which will be on sale in bookshops and also at Amazon. One of his horror stories is also to be published in an anthology by Lame Goat Press in March of this year. He has just finished writing a crime novel.
You can find his stories at Danse Macabre, Disenthralled, Gloom Cupboard, A Twist Of Noir, South Jersey Underground, Word Catalyst, Full Of Crow and Future Earth.
You can find his work HERE or at Twitter under the username stanzazone, or here http://twitter.com/stanzazone