Window dressing – part 5

Starting to feel faint, Miranda put her hand out to a clothing rail to steady herself. It was clear; no-one was coming. Her face was flushed, her throat sore and her mouth was frozen open. The face that had issued the warning was staring up at her silent. Dead plastic. As she began to function again she inventoried her options.

Miranda was determined. On searching the shop she couldn´t find an exit, not a door. There was a mechanical till but nothing esle beside it – not a card swipe machine, a telephone, nor a business card rack. In her frustration she returned to her entry point, the shop front. Her movements were hurried, impatient. The two dummies waited in front of the high street like before but all trace of the impossible door had gone. The little light outside came from moonlight and the street lamps. All else except the cobbles on the road were lost in the darkness. It reminded her of the view outside Mr. Loser´s apartment at night. He never would even have been able to afford it if it hadn´t been for his mother´s money. Constance, probably, liked the image of letting a flat in Kensington for her son. Miranda hated the place because it was creepy especially the copse in the backyard that creaked in the wind. No amount of interior decoration could hide its dark history. Supposedly, no. 23 had been used by one of the cults so common in the sixties. Newspapers reported that builders rennovating the vacated building had discovered foetuses in jars behind the walls, crazed writing. Of course, Mr. Loser wouldn´t countenance talk like that – it was all tabloid nonsense to him. However when the lights went out at night, Miranda closed her eyes and held on close to her man. Nothing took away the fear in her though.

Trapped but not ready to smash the glass, Miranda tried to control her breathing which was accelerating out of control. She clenched her palms. The decision to turn on her mobile phone felt like the sanest decision she had made all day. The weak light flickered on. There was the reassuring sequence of beeps. The struggle to remember the password was painful. All the while the dummies watched over her. There was a message waiting her on the phone. She was sure it Mr. Loser asking for her forgiveness. She clicked on it needing a bit of light relief. The voicemail message began with silence, scratching, and then echoes of voices. Voices, barely audible at first, which began to increase in volume intoning the ancient words Constance had spoken. Two pairs of hands grabbed both of hers. A struggle ensued in which the phone fell to the floor. Miranda didn´t want to see the two plastic dummies trying to constrain her – if they were, in fact, dummies; her hold on reality was slipping already. She fought to keep her eyes shut as the pressures on her body increased. The chanting from the phone was rising in volume. Miranda knew she had to destroy it if only she could get near it. Her eyelids fought to open to get a sense of the situation that was enveloping around her. The bodies against hers were smooth, smooth and cold.

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