The Charm – Chapter 6


They wander for another hour, winding deeper into an urban jungle of incredible, unplanned complexity and terrible poverty. Traci lags behind, becoming more depressed as time ticks away. Jemma occupies herself by memorising the turns so they won’t get lost. She checks her watch again, wishing it would run faster. Neither of them is enjoying the dust, heat and flies. Near midday she turns to suggest they start back. Traci stands several metres away, moodily tossing stones over a fence into a rubbish filled canal.

“Hey misery guts, we should…”

A sudden flash of golden light washes across her eyes. She squints in surprise, shading her  fake Ray Bans with one hand. The golden spear is not a harsh reflection of sunlight from a vehicle’s mirror: it remains locked on her face, hanging solidly in mid-air. The warm light fills her head, drawing her eyes to the derelict building across the street.

Instantly the sound of traffic and chattering natives dims. The beam of light changes, glittering with a braided rainbow of colours as it sprays from a deeply shadowed window. Bright glints and specks dance in her vision, playful, yet insisting she come closer. Amidst the brightness Jemma glimpses the holder of this magical light. An ancient woman’s face, creased by time, meets her eyes with hate and insanity. Jemma recoils, and the glow is cut short by the old crones clasped hand. She swiftly withdraws from view, though Jemma continues to stare at the empty space revelling in the serene hum that invades her thoughts. The light calls and she cannot deny it.

She crosses the road without checking for traffic, miraculously slipped between two wildly honking buses. The haphazardly erected barriers that bar entry to the derelict building’s gaping doorway are clambered over with distracted ease. Jemma ignores how decrepit the two-story building is. The jagged cracks that streak up the outer walls, radiating from a point where the foundations have subsided go unnoticed. Immersed in the dream state she walks through the dark doorway and starts up the crumbling concrete stairs.

Traci’s frantic calls partially break through the daze. She hesitates, turning to peer back through the doorway into bright sunlight. Traci awkwardly tiptoes over the road works rubble then squeezes between the rusty railings with distaste.

“Yuck. I’ve got dirt on me now. Hey, that’s someones house. You can’t go in there. How’d you get over all that crap so fast? You almost got run over you know?”

Jemma shrugs, unable to think clearly, her eyes already glazing as the weird humming reclaims her. She continues up the stairs. Traci barely hears her whisper.

“It wants me.”

(Chapter 7)

Published in: on Wednesday, 29 October, 2008 at 7:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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