Reads: 143  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Hannah experiences a lunchtime Odyssey.

Submitted: February 17, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: February 17, 2018



Hannah and the world were unmoved as to the existence of each other and with that she was entirely content. Hers was a world of infinite shades of grey and to this world she was unseen, one of the faceless many, condemned to an unending servitude to the banality of modern life.

Though it must be said, neither by word or deed did she ever display dissatisfaction with her lot. There was no revolt against the passing of time, no desire for immortality, none for fortune, there was only a calm acceptance of the unchanging rhythm of her life as it faded one day into another. Hers was a reality defined and measured in the ticking of a clock. If there was an emotion, it was the occasional quiet amusement that slipped out when faced with one of the absurdities the world created for its own convenience.

For its part the world never looked beyond the mask of her conformity and so never knew of the bitter wound that took so long to heal or of the decision taken in pain and suffering so long ago. A decision to never be hurt again. Instead, she would live out her life in the safety of her solitude. But if the world had looked, would it have seen the grand tragedy of a doomed love affair or the melodramatic pretensions of a nineteen year old who had too close an acquaintanceship with the works of Emily Bronte?

Whatever the interpretation, she had lived amongst the crowd, unloving and unloved, with no loyalty or connection to either place or cause, she moved silently amongst the multitude and if by some misfortune or miscalculation she had cast a shadow that was noticed by another, she conjured up from within the cold indifference that is the companion to loneliness and quickly froze the passion of any unwanted suitor.

After so many years Hannah was secure in the knowledge that nothing now could touch her and so never contemplated anything that could propel her beyond her orbit between the tiny shell of her domesticity and the secular temple of commerce in which she was ordained to serve.

In the monument to Mammon she watched them as they went from place to place, the credit-scored souls, the faint images of life given brief definition by their momentary command over goods and services. She knew that soon their peak of happiness would be turned to into the trough of regret by the harsh reality of the monthly statement. For Hannah such a monthly journey was quite alien, in fact she was proud that both exuberance and extravagance were contrary to both her character and disposition.

It was a Thursday, a morning of nothingness had left Hannah with a dull tiredness that permeated to her very soul. She looked at the clock high upon the temple wall, noon, and with that came the semblance of freedom.

She wandered over to the coffee shop opposite, one of those trendy in-between places that is neither home nor work, where for a few brief moments dreams seem to touch reality, or so the owners would have you believe. Her attention was drawn to one poor soul, a plain young woman sitting alone, head bowed, pretending to the world that she was perfectly fine and all the world knowing otherwise. Yet, a slow transformation did appear to be taking place. With each sip of her mug the young woman experienced the therapeutic effect of cappuccino as it washed away the bitter after taste of a failed relationship. She even tried to smile, but only managed to startle the young boy sitting at the next table. After all, a ‘regular’ cappuccino can only do so much, if you want miracles, you need to order something larger. Still, the young woman knew in her heart that there would be someone else, someone better. Another day, another dream, another satisfied customer.

Barely perceiving the elements tapping out a hypnotic rhythm upon the perspex heavens Hannah munched on the strange and exotic lotus leaves of her side salad. She yawned and felt her eyelids begin to feel heavy and slowly began to drift away to the sounds of enchantment, sounds so enticing, so seductive, so utterly compelling she knew she was in danger of losing her will to resist.

The woman beguiled Hannah with the possibility of attainment, the ultimate in fashion accessories for the girl on a budget. Absent mindedly she stroked the side of her own inferior leather bag. She needed, she wanted, she had to have. Why? Because the woman of unearthly beauty told her so. She opened her bag and reached for her credit card.

She jerked awake to the sound of the young boy rattling his spoon in his coffee cup to attract his mother's attention. The distraction broke the enchantment, and what was once a source of desire, was now simply an advertising poster.

She looked around at the swirling mass of humanity. The movement of the nearby lifts caught her attention, she focused on the young boy clutching his mother's hand as they prepared themselves for the descent into the underworld. As the lift doors opened she heard them. Voices emanating from the depths. The Sirens had found her and were calling her to them.

Enough of this nonsense, Hannah told herself. She glanced at the clock upon the wall, time to return from whence she came. Suddenly they came at her from all directions, oblivious couples stepping out from shop doorways, mothers with pushchairs suddenly veering towards her, and pensioners just wandering about all over the place. No matter how hard she tried there was no way she could navigate a true course, and all the while the voices enticed her.

She needed a way home. Afraid of heights there was simply no way she could walk by the side of the rail that ran along the edge of the atrium so that just left the route past the snapping heads of the six charity workers determined to extract money from their victims.

The first couple didn’t even notice her; the third was preoccupied with her victim, the next two snapped at her, but she sailed through unscathed. Before her was the last one, they eyed each other warily, then she noticed the spotty youth following a parallel course. The gentlest of nudges was all it took to sacrifice the young explorer and then it was open water all the way.

They had her before she was even aware of the danger. Somehow their song had entered her soul and lured her into the deepest depths of the shopping centre. They smiled as she stood spellbound before them. One held them before her eyes while the other asked whether she would like to try them on. Red high heels, on a day like this? £235. Sheer madness! Of course she wanted to try them on! The Sirens smiled to themselves as they watched the layers of doubt and insecurity fall away from Hannah revealing the true woman within.

young She looked at the clock upon the wall, she knew what she ought to do, she knew what conformity demanded, and she knew in her heart what she was going to do. She would buy the largest cappuccino possible and dream of impossible things.

© Copyright 2019 apj1465. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Literary Fiction Short Stories