A blog about life's curiosities (also writing and rats)

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  • Aphra

The story I cannot tell



There is a scene that comes in my dreams. I am on the stairs, old square spiral stairs in a panelled hall. The wood of the walls is painted a dull grey, the colour of an old mouse, and the stairs are lit by smoky candles, reflections gleaming dully in their mirrored backs. I don’t belong here, so why am I crouching, alone, surreptitious?


Below me, somewhere off in the house is a supper or a ball. I can hear snatches of music and laughter as footsteps come and go, but out here on the stairs, only my breath stirs.


On a half landing to my right stands a door. It is set deeply into a thick wall; this painted and primped panelling must cover some centuries old stone. In front of the door stands a chair, elegantly frail and upholstered in blue brocade. I can’t imagine it is important, but the chair is always there, in every dream. Despite the flickering light I can see every detail of it clearly.


Someone is in that room, behind that closed door. I can’t hear them. Whatever they speak of, their voices are kept low. I step into the doorway, and place my fingers gently against the panels…


The dream ends. There are the stairs, the chair, and the door. Who the people are behind that door, who I am? I don’t know. There is a story here that my mind has not told.

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