Thursday, 17 October 2013


There was once a young woman who hammered inside an old lady's chest. With pounding fists she yelled, “Let me out! Let me out!” which left the old lady short of breath. She went to the doctor who gave her pills for angina, but the young woman inside her continued to pound her chest. She returned to her doctor's surgery where he said she had borderline dementia and a fear of death, and prescribed more pills and rest. But still the young woman inside cried, “Let me out! Let me out!”
One night, the old lady replied to these cries, “How?”
The pounding stopped and the young woman replied, “Open your mouth wide and I'll slip out.”
The old lady laid down, removed her false teeth to slacken her jaw and let her mouth gape. A smoke-like wisp spiralled out of her parted lips and a young woman materialised in front of her. She was slim with paper-thin skin and fine threads of sliver hair, and was clothed in some kind of mesh dress. Her eyes were like droplets of dew and looked right into the old lady's, “Shut that door, I'm done.” She said in a airy, but nonetheless commanding tone, which suggested she felt at home.
Without her teeth, the old lady couldn't argue, so she obediently unlocked her jaw, closed her trapdoor, and drew herself up to a seated position. This can't really be happening she thought, but even after she rubbed her eyes, the wisplike woman remained by her side and silently handed her her glass of teeth.
You always were good at swallowing.” She said as the old lady gulped her teeth back in.
What?” The old lady exclaimed with gummy spits of water and saliva.
Don't you remember how you tried the nursery rhyme? How you swallowed a fly and then a spider to catch it? Thank god, you stopped there!” The young woman said accusingly as she jabbed a wraith finger at her. 
But that was over sixty years ago! Have you been inside me all this time?” The old lady wailed.
Why now?” She demanded.
The spider died and you ran out of space to house me. The spider's cobwebs which made me also narrowed your arteries. All these years, I've swept and dusted your four chambers, but the spider still spun and you continued to swallow delicacies. Do you think I wanted to leave my cobwebby heart and ribcage home? You and the spider were suffocating me!” The young woman explained vehemently.
The old lady shuddered and the loose flesh on her arms went goose-pimply. She found it hard to believe this gossamer woman had lived inside her. “But what will you do now I've let you out?” She nervously enquired.
I don't know.” She whispered mournfully. “I liked my walls and the spider for a time was good company, but now I'm outside I don't know how to save me and I will begin to age dreadfully.” The young woman's skin was already flaking and covering the polished wood floor in grey clumps.
The old lady stood to comfort her, but instead tottered forward through the young woman's suspended web. Her invisible threads were like a filmy nightdress and wouldn't be brushed off. To the visible eye, the young woman was gone, she'd wrapped herself around the old lady, but the last words she spoke hung in the air, “You'll remember this... You've always known about the other woman inside you pounding to be let out.”
The old lady awoke with a mighty thump to her chest.