THE DOOR

 

That was the day when Cecile finally knew what she had to do. It was a Friday, and overcast: the kind of day when you never knew the right clothes to wear. However, something had to be done. Things could not go on as they had done before.

For some time, Cecile had not felt like her own self. There had been some odd symptoms. Her head felt as though it was  alternatively swelling and shrinking: sometimes her hat felt tight, so that it left a red weal on her forehead, and sometimes it felt loose and fell down onto her nose. And the sproutings! Little coarse clumps of hair grew in odd places. They came suddenly and they went swiftly too. And the lumps: she could see little excrescences that travelled slowly, slowly up her arm, across her chest and down the other side. Her toes lengthened, so that she could no longer wear shoes, and her hands became prehensile. Most unsettling of all was the colour of her eyes. They had always been green, but now they had shifted to the colour of slate, and they were opaque. They still saw, but they did not shine. 

She was changing, but into what? It was not an animal, although to be  a chimpanzee or  gorilla might have been fun. It must be non-human though, an alien of sorts. Cecile lived in a house on the edge of moorland, and she felt gradually called out, with an urgency that she could not ignore, to the bogs and wasteland beyond. It might be wild, but it would feel  like home perhaps. She had to find her own kin.  And so she padded through her house, sniffing it, licking it a little. She held the doorknob in her hand, her bony fingers cradling it roundly.  Her real family might be expecting her. So she opened the door, walked through, and closed it behind her for the last time.

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© 2020 by Sue Harper

feminist gothic literature | tales of the macabre | fantastic and supernatural | gothic fiction | written by women | gothic literary tradition | gothic fiction | supernatural | fantastic and paranoia | literary female gothic | gothic narrative | stories of transformation and surprise | sue harper | short stories | feminist gothic literature | The Dark Nest | portsmouth university | emeritus professor sue harper | feminist gothic literature | tales of the macabre | fantastic and supernatural | gothic fiction | written by women | gothic literary tradition | gothic fiction | outstanding achievement award | british association of film, theatre and television | professor of film history at portsmouth university | film, media and creative arts | british academy and the arts and humanities research council | stories of transformation and surprise | sue harper | short stories | feminist gothic literature | The Dark Nest |