One of the things I try to encourage on this blog is sharing work. As writers, feedback is important but for me, also putting my work out there is one of my greatest fears.
Today, I am posting a short story I’ve written. It’s called The Clerk. This is probably the first one I have properly finished that hasn’t been part of a writing course assignment. It was originally written for a competition.
As a newbie writer, I have not had the courage to post anything like this on Novel Kicks.
You could say I am putting my money where my mouth is. So, here goes. I hope you enjoy it and if you don’t, that’s OK too.
I’m off to hide under my duvet.
***** Beginning of The Clerk*****
I open my eyes.
It takes moments to focus. Below my arms is the rough fabric of a green worn armchair. Around me, the windowless circular room is cluttered with endless piles of neatly stacked paper.
I can hear noise but I can’t see where it is coming from. When I manage to stand, I can just about see a typewriter that seems to be operating on its own.
I move around, not wanting to disturb anything. I don’t see a door.
‘Ah, there you are dear.’
A small, plump woman dressed in a black baggy cardigan, a long skirt with her hair pulled into a bun shuffles into the room. Placing the papers she is carrying down on the nearest table, she takes a seat, gesturing for me to do the same.
‘Come on girl, time is short.’
‘Where am I?’
A tea-tray appears and floats toward us. She hands me a cup.
‘I’m dreaming right?’
‘I suppose you are in a sense.’
‘Where am I?’
‘Not the most original of questions dear. You can do better.’
‘You don’t know me.’
‘I do my dear.’
‘I’m sure I’ve not met you before.’
‘I have known you from the moment you were born.’
She pours more tea.
‘Let me explain, dear. I’m Bertha. It is my job to document.’
‘Document what exactly?’
‘Your life my dear.’
‘I don’t understand.’
‘I am a clerk. Everyone has one. I document all the events of your life.’
‘All this, she says, pointing to the papers, ‘is your life.’
Anxiety sets in, ‘how am I here?’
‘It is normal to not remember the circumstances my dear and it’s not important.’
Bertha returns her cup to the tray, ‘what you decide to do once you leave here is what is important. This room represents the decisions you’ve made, the experiences you’ve had. That pink hair phase was naff my dear.’
‘It was cool.’
‘Pfft, if you say so.’
I look around the room, which seems to feel fuller by the moment.
‘You’ve not really done a lot.’ Bertha comments.
‘Ha, what are you talking about? We can hardly move in here.’
Bertha waves her hand. Two neat piles appear directly in front of me.
‘This represents the times you’ve been really happy. Seized opportunities, made the right decisions.’
‘All this,’ she gestures to everything else, ‘are the times you’ve not been living your life.
‘It can’t be this bad.’
Bertha chuckles, ‘you are always so anxious.’
‘That’s what my mother always tells me.’
‘Mother knows best.’
‘She says that too.’
Bertha smiles, pointing to the typewriter still whirling, ‘you can change things. Life is short my dear. Worry, regret. These only lead to misery. This is your chance to tip the scale.’
Bertha smiles as she fades away, replaced by a bright light. Opening my eyes. I hear beeping and distant voices.
‘Oh thank goodness.’
A hand grabs mine. As my mother smiles down at me, I feel calm. Time for change.
***** End of The Clerk.*****
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