Sunday, May 21, 2006


Category: Issue 3, Short Story Winners

She was a pleasant enough girl, fairly pretty, rather quiet, nothing special and seemingly nothing unusual. The type you smile at somewhat vacantly as you pass in the street, and then forget instantly.

It never occurs to you that she could be anything but pleasant, quiet and tranquil inside. You never stop to think that she might be reaching out to you, yearning for someone to notice her, to speak with her, pleading with her soft eyes for you to really see her.

There’s something inside that erodes her. A dark gaping hole that devours her soul, poisons her mind, damages and destroys her. What should have been there? How can she regain it? She doesn’t know, and no one can tell her. She becomes her own enemy, and thus cannot be saved.

But no, you never notice this. Until one not-so-special day whilst walking down the same tired old street, a stream of translucent white dust drifts past you, carried by a draught of wind. Unhurriedly, it disperses; vanishes. You look around for its source, puzzled, and then you see her - pale and drawn, it doesn’t occur to you that you have encountered her before; she made no impression then, but oh, now you notice.
Now you can’t miss her.

Unfashionably, painfully thin, she moves slowly and delicately, as though unsure of how to walk. She emanates an incredible sense of sadness that washes over you, its intensity stunning you into stillness. Her haunted eyes meet yours, and, shocked, you cannot look away.

More dust passes you, and, barely audible, it sighs, it whispers; it is she that disintegrates. With every movement of her tortured limbs, she thins and fades; her very life is borne on the wind. As you watch she steps towards you, stumbles and reaches out, but her weakened arms tremble, and before your eyes they crumble into the breeze and float away. Her crushed soul loses the desire for existence and is spent - as people brush past, hurried and indifferent, her body fragments and with a final, soft cry she is gone.

The ghost of those troubled eyes remains for an instant suspended in the air, boring through you and striking your very heart before they too fade to nothing.


On the pavement around you, oblivious strangers sweep past, their insignificant preoccupations being such that they noticed nothing. Soon even your memory of her will cease to exist, and, as the slight ripple of disturbance caused by her passing dies away, this condemned world will go on just as before.

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Old Comments

  • Excellent writing.  I used to believe that there are a lot people who would smile somewhat vacantly at a fairly pretty pleasant enough girl when they passed by her in the street and not notice that she’s yearning for someone to notice her.  But I don’t believe it now.

    Now I think most people are more like me, also yearning to be noticed, but shy or quiet or beaten down or rejected too often to make it obvious enough to others who might notice us. Why the change of heart?  Because I do notice the fairly pretty girl who seems pleasant enough when I pass by her on the street, and I wonder if she has a yearning that would allow her to trust a strange guy who offers her a slight smile.  I suppose she thinks it is a somewhat vacant smile, rather than one hiding a strong hope for a smile in return, or a “Hi” or something… anything to get through the hard work of meeting someone new and getting close enough to them to actually start benefitting from each others’ existence.

    I think I understand the reason our souls dissipate, but I cannot blame myself for it.  Innocence can’t be lost.  It just needs to be maintained.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  05/27  at  04:05 PM
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