The whole world disappeared

Here’s another extract from my half-written novel about a mysterious woman called Milla, a woman with a past she keeps secret. I’m trying to decide whether to continue writing it – when I’ve finished what I’m working on at the moment!

When Milla drew her curtains and looked out she could see no further than the back fence of the garden… The whole world had disappeared… it wasn’t just fog it was sea mist… well, a little thicker than mist to be honest, but it was somehow more exciting that a dank city fog. When she’d lived in a big city as a student there had been the last tail ends of smogs; she remembered once coming out of the old Victorian villa where she’d had a so-called flat, a grotty filthy room, and walked out into a dingy smog. There was barely any traffic, she could really only see the width of the pavement, so she had begun to walk towards college, one hand on the garden walls of the houses she passed. Eventually a bus had slowly come alongside her, moving so slowly she could just jump onto the platform at the back.

The room she lived in now was smaller than the dingy ‘flat’ but there was central heating, hot water, clean carpets, curtains and furnishings; it was pleasantly if anaemically decorated and the furniture had enough storage to accommodate her few possessions. There was a small sink unit beside the small bathroom; there was a small microwave on the shelf above the sink and a small fridge with a tiny freezer compartment beneath. For the moment she was content – bereft of most of the possessions she had accumulated over her life. She lived simply here, and somehow it felt like freedom.

Porridge was cheap and nourishing; she soaked it over night with some chopped up dried fruit, and then a few minutes in the microwave and breakfast was ready.

Showered and fed, she pulled on her waterproof and left her room, and left the house. She walked out into the silent world, and stopped… it wasn’t actually silent, there were dulled noises coming through the fog, cars moving slowly, as if her memories of the city smog had returned in reality.

It wasn’t as thick as those years ago, but thick enough. She made her way to the alley and walked down, moving slowly, not sure of what was ahead. She reached the road and it didn’t seem so bad… as if the fog had got trapped between the buildings.

She crossed the road and went down onto the beach. She could hear the sea, smell it, but couldn’t see it. She walked over to the place where she liked to sit, and sat.

© Lois Elsden 2019


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