Linking up this week to Anna Spargo-Ryan’s Flash Fiction prompt. The prompt: And as she fell, she remembered the tea cakes with their cinnamon clouds.
And as she fell, she remembered the tea cakes with their cinnamon clouds, shooting out of her hand, plunging down the escalator behind her, spraying a sweet fragrant film over the stunned commuters below. And when her head hit the sharp metal, a white light exploded and for a second there was no pain.
She watched the sunlight weaving a mosaic high on the wall. Her tongue felt thick but she could still taste the sugary icing where she’d nibbled the corner of a bun. Morning sunlight, yet it was evening. She closed her eyes once more then remembering, sprang up as her head ricocheted and a dull throb made her cease all movement. Gingerly, she touched the lump on the side of her brow. She glanced around the room – a pretty room with floral wallpaper and matching curtains, but nonetheless a strange one. For the first time, a sliver of fear swelled in her breast.
The door opened. “Good morning, I hope you’ve slept well?” A youngish, bland- featured man held a tray before him on which stood a tea pot, cup and buttered toast. He was tall and slim, yet solid.
Agog, she stared, instinctively wrapping her arms around her chest and hunching a little, as though to ward off something, she didn’t know what.
“Who are you? Where am I? Why am I here?” The staccato questions were rude but she didn’t care. She swung her legs out from the covers and onto the floor, suddenly aware that she wore only her underwear.
“You suffered a nasty shock. I wouldn’t get up if I were you.” He averted his eyes. “Rest. That’s what’s needed. There is no concussion.”
Gwendolyn continued to look at him, the surrealness of the situation, of their conversation weighting her body like a drug. His pleasant features curved into a smile and she thought absently that he had a nice face. In another context he might be handsome, though jowly and likely to turn pudgy in middle age.
“Where are my clothes…and my phone, I need my phone?” Her memory crashed through the haze and she recalled the rush to jump onto the escalator, the brushing past her of someone – a careless commuter who bumped her, toppled her and propelled her against the cold sharp metal. “My bag? Where is my bag?”
The memory was clear. She was on her way to Suzi’s, running late but determined to go anyway. She’d bought cinnamon buns especially, to complement the new coffee machine. Suzi had been effusive. I’ll make your fav…what is it again, soy caffe macchiato or some such wank? My amazing machine does it all! Her wide grin had diffused the exasperation as she looked indulgently at her fussy precious friend. Her fad-crazed, allergy-prone bestie.
“Luckily I was there to catch you!” He smiled with cheery good-nature and as she stared at his straight white teeth, his vacant blue eyes, she turned cold.
“Where…please…is my stuff?” Fear bloomed in her stomach and a wheedling, whining note crept into her voice. She wrapped the sheet tightly around her body and upper thighs, eyes wildly scanning the room. She bent and peeped under the bed.
“Sit down and have some tea, you’ll feel much better.” He poured the tea primly, like a maiden aunt. “And toast. You need nourishment.” He smiled condescendingly, head tilted slightly to the side as one would to a wayward school girl.
Fear gave way to anger and she ran to the door, yanking it. “Where the fuck is my stuff?” She noticed for the first time the padlock. The deadlock. She leapt to the window but it too was bolted and bars lined the pane like straight soldiers standing to attention.
“There’s no need for vulgarity, Gwendolyn. Manners are always paramount, as my dear old mother used to say.”
Her scream split the air and when she stopped his smile had gone. A deep frown creased his seamless face.
“They can’t hear you.” He said softly, lifting his leg swiftly and knocking the wall with the bottom of his shoe. Gwendolyn heard the soft dull thud of metal break the silence. A sharp memory shot into her head, crystallising: someone pushing her – a man, a large man – as she stepped onto the escalator.
“It was you!” She continued to scream as he walked slowly across the room towards her, his eyes perfectly still, perfectly mad.