Short Stories

Short Stories #3

Working onward through the contents page of my collection, When I Am Not Writing Poetry, comes a taster from the third story in the collection, ‘The Room’. There are 30 stories in all, so we are still just beginning this marathon: a month of short stories! I began writing short stories during the Covid lockdown as a break from poems… to make a change… and found that I liked the genre.

Like the last story, the influence of Covid is all too apparent here! A lone woman is in – possibly locked in – a room and is worried about her situation. She is convinced that someone entered her room during the previous night and now she cannot sleep! The near-windowless walls seem to close in on her and she wishes with all her might that she could be back on the road…

Myrtle slept little. Mostly she lay on her side wishing for sleep. Wishing for peace. Wishing for, well, for anything other than this room, this bed. Her mind raced and again she curled herself into the smallest space possible on the mattress, her knees pressed against her breasts and her arms clasped around her knees. It wasn’t comfortable but it felt best. Warm. Occasionally Myrtle would glance round the room although its white walls were undecorated by pictures and the small window looked out on a brick wall barely 3 feet away. She supposed that the other building must have been slotted into place after this one was finished; surely planning permission wouldn’t allow windows like that! There was a small table under the window with a bowl and a jug of washing water—no soap, she remembered wryly—and a grubby towel bunched up beside it. And the remains of her meagre supper. No carpet on the floor. No rug beside the bed. No mirror. But she didn’t want to see herself anyway. It would be too depressing—like looking at possibilities denied. So she lay there. On her side. Uncomfortable. Still. Looking at the closed door as the light seeped out of the room.

Idly, Myrtle wondered how long she had been here. In this room. Alone. Well almost alone—there was the man who brought her meals three times a day but he didn’t have much to say for himself and looked as miserable as she felt. He was quite tall and slim, and could have been good looking if he had shaved, combed his hair, washed even. Her mind followed the train of thought, eager to distract her from her own predicament…

‘The Room’ can be found in When I Am Not Writing Poetry – available here or on Amazon.

By Chris

Poet and writer: I have travelled the world in the Merchant Navy, worked on the farm where I now live, and re-invented myself as an information scientist. Born in Sussex, I moved to Swansea and have lived in the same farm cottage in mid-Wales for almost 50 years.

I have two collections of poems in print, Mostly Welsh and the recent Book of the Spirit. Although initially entirely focussed on poetry, my writing has branched into short stories and my first full length work of fiction, The Dark Trilogy and the collection of short stories - When I Am Not Writing Poetry - are also available.

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