THE LESSON

 

I sit in front of my computer. I don’t want to let it have its own way: it is there to do as it is told, to follow my lead, to transcribe the ebb and flow of my imagination.  I look at its screen steadily. All of a sudden I have a powerful conviction that it is looking back at me and that it might have things to say that I do not want to hear.

“Green”, I say, “green.” The customary blue screen fades, and in its place a green comes flooding through. But not any green: a light, spring-like, limey tone, which is accompanied by a rustling sound. There’s a sort of squeak, and in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen, little shoots appear and grow until they fill the square. I want them to last forever, but they begin to turn brown. Finally the whole screen is full of dead leaves, and some of them spill out onto my desk.

“Love”, I say, “Love”. The screen is flooded by a deep pink and the computer produces  sounds of laughter and pleasure. I want it to last forever: but the voices become discordant and the colour deepens into red. Blood spurts from the screen and runs down over the keys, and I try to mop it up with my handkerchief.

 

I say “What lesson do you want to teach me?” And the screen fades and  these words gradually fill it: 

 

“Come rain, come shine

I am here

Come bud, come bone

I am here

Come dearth, come foison

I am here too: 

O learn my harmonies, my

Ruthlessness, my
Change”

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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 |