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A Moving Story


Her small armchair had moved, to the place by the window from where Alice loved to watch the passers-by. Last night, she had left that chair in front of the television. She was certain.

Some would have been terrified by the strange occurrences. Yesterday she had woken late for work and flown out of the door, having failed to deal with her slept-in bed. On her return, she found it, immaculately presented, as if in a hotel.

Alice felt no fear, only the warmth of a person cared for. This was the sort of thing her mother would usually do for her, on her regular drop-in visits while Alice was at work. She thought it sad that a young girl should live alone, with no one to look after her. Alice had only two sets of keys to her flat: one always in her handbag, with her, and the other with her mother, who had left for a four-week Caribbean cruise one week ago. Jess had felt pathetically abandoned.

Collapsing into her armchair, Alice began her daily chat with her unseen friend. “Thank you for this. It is a lovely evening for a sit . . . and a look. Have you had a busy day? I didn’t wash up this morning. I wonder . . . ” She popped into the kitchen and found . . . Yes, all clean and tidy. “Thank you.” she said again. Alice was not insane; she simply had a poltergeist, with her from her teenage years, popping up now and then to keep her company, or to make her laugh with its mischievous antics—hiding or rattling objects, or simply switching on the radio or television without warning.

Suddenly, a ring on her doorbell stirred Alice from her reverie. Her sister, Jess. “What are you doing here? You should have called!”

“Huh!” her sister replied. “I didn’t want to use the key this time, in case you were home. Mum gave it to me before she went. Said you would need looking after.”

The following morning, Alice overslept, having stayed up too late watching television. In the lounge, she found her armchair by the window.

Flash Fiction by Gilly Gates
Picture: unwind by jenny downing under CC BY 2.0

Published in Summer 2017


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