April 2014

“The Room” – Short Story

Posted on April 18, 2014
I had a sudden urge to write something this evening, and this short story is the result. Very little thought went into what I was going to write about initially, but I’m happy with the result. Enjoy.

The room was dim. A single candle fought defiantly to illuminate the room, abandoned by the Moon, struggling more and more as each hour ticked by. At first glance, the room would have appeared empty; a messy, but cosy office. The only sound to be heard was a faint scratching sound coming from the writing desk where an almost invisible figure sat in the gloom, writing upon a piece of parchment. Judging by the amount of parchment strewn across the desk, the figure had been writing for hours, seemingly oblivious to the passage of time.

The stubborn candle made one last ditch effort to fight the enclosing darkness and flared momentarily, before taking its last breath and leaving the room in complete darkness. The scratching continued at the same even pace it had been going all night, seemingly unaffected by the lack of light.

Hours passed. Night reluctantly gave way to day, the Sun relieving the Moon from its shift. The deep orange light of the sunrise crept slowly into the room to reveal the cluttered writing desk, an impressive assortment of leather-bound books and a soft armchair by a humble fireplace. At the writing desk sat a simple wooden chair – no ornate carvings, no fancy decorations – just a chair used for sitting, and yet its purpose was not being fulfilled. Where once sat a mysterious figure, there was no one and nothing, yet the parchment remained, the black ink upon the last page not yet fully dry.

It was a few hours longer before someone entered the room. The door opened slowly. It opened half-way and hesitated a moment before someone slipped through the opening and softly closed the door behind them. Her bare feet padded across the room in silence. No one knew her name, but everyone recognised her long golden hair and the cheeky grin she carried with her everywhere, as if in on some joke the rest of the world was missing. It was the grin of confidence and carelessness which can only survive in children.

She walked up to the writing desk, clambered onto the chair and collected the pieces of parchment into a neat stack before climbing back down and retreating to the soft armchair by the fireplace. After curling up into a comfortable ball, she flicked through the corners of the pages with her thumb, as if counting them. Once she was done, she began reading the first page.

The Sun was soaring high in the sky by the time she finished. She stood, stretched her arms and legs, and placed the pages on the chair. After a moment she proceeded to light a fire in the nearby fireplace, completing the action so quickly it must have been something she had done many times before. Once the fire was stable, she picked up the pieces of parchment and tossed them gingerly into the flames. The fire flared angrily at the intrusion, before devouring the pages and leaving no trace behind.

The little girl smiled happily, before returning to the writing desk and sitting dutifully upon the chair. She grabbed a clean piece of parchment, picked up the patient quill and began to write. The slow scratching lasted only a few moments before the girl returned the quill back to its place and quietly slipped out of the room, leaving it empty and silent once again. The parchment she had used sat alone on the desk, begging to be read.

She had written only three words on that particular page. Could do better.