Short Story Preview: Something Trapped – Gabriela Harding
It had been raining for days, and Fiorella felt her depression deepen. She watched the rain flowing on the curved window, and it made her want to blink back tears. The park was deserted; the playground drenched and dead. The climbing frames, dripping wet, looked as if they were bleeding.
There is no joy in the world, thought Fiorella.
She’d been sitting on the bed for days on end, not eating, sleeping with her eyes open in case she heard the door. She missed the cats. How they burst through the cat flap with their noses and tails, hungry for food and love.
Fiorella sighed. She remembered the first time she arrived at this home, along with her new mother. Everything looked so big and beautiful, although now, after watching so much television, she saw it was actually small and dull. Sixteen Glebe Court was a tiny, cosy flat, sufficient for a single woman and her daughter. The cats were in and out; they didn’t really count. She had once gotten a scratch on her cheek from Toby, the ginger, that never quite healed. It would be a scar forever.
At first, Mother had changed her nappies and soothed her in a sweet, sing-song voice. Sometimes, she liked it. Other times Mother simply got on her nerves, and she hoped the woman would just put her back in her cot and let her sleep. She’d take her out in the baby pink, fancy pram, show her off to relatives, friends, neighbours, strangers. Pretending this was her real child, and Fiorella pretending back, not that she had a choice. She had never learned, and perhaps never would, how to speak.
Mother liked it that way.
“You’ll never grow up to be a naughty child.” She breathed the smell of her dinner over Fiorella – kebab, onions, cheap wine.
“You’ll never answer back, will you? …