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Rust

By Annabell Bowyer All Rights Reserved ©

Mystery / Fantasy

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Evening shrouds the silver city on a dreary November day. The clouds shred the sky over the iron buildings making them tremble in the light. On the horizon a burnt amber skyline lingers: the world in flames. Ashes fall on fields and the roofs of the buildings, covering them in age. There to remain forever.

Outside, people were moving. The insubordinate patterns of feet on the ground as the city shifts. Now is the time to run. Out of the shadows of the building, a woman silently walks along the grey paths leading through the city.Out of sympathy she walks towards the metal room at the end of the metal street. Or perhaps, out of duty. She approaches the aching metal gates of the nursery, as if bound by promise to a loved one.

There’s a chill in the air as the door opens. The woman pushes her way through the metal door and into the metal room. She looks around and with her eyes blinking she watches the cold materialise into clouds of mist at her feet. She shivers, listening to the clang of metal as she walks through the doorway; a sound to shatter bone.

Red. The room is red. The decaying walls and floors matched by the blood of the innocent brought the structure to its long outdated name. Everything is falling apart. Metal chairs sit by metal tables letting the oxidation pass by. Metal frames on metal walls hung by a splinter.

She treads carefully. With almost knowing steps. She stops by a wall where the first frame was hung, perhaps a mirror – she wasn’t sure. Only fear looked back.

I remember, she thought, I remember you well.

On the floor were more objects. Iron dolls and steel model cars lay scattered across the speckled floorboards, as if in mourning. Metal blocks of carved letters defended the cupboard; the last thing left to fall. Letters of the alphabet left out of pity. In the corner of the room she could see a pile of children’s drawings, but their colour had long been lost in the mist.No one thinks of this place anymore, she thought, perhaps I am the last.

The woman raises her hand and from the cupboard draws a wooden key. She holds it in her palm and she feels the comfort it gives. Or perhaps the pain. She looks back on the crimson chaos. Her memories seemed so worthless now the world had forgotten all it knew and had left the metal room behind. They could not see what she saw: no one remembered this place. Anyone who looked in saw everything, and anyone who looked out saw nothing.

Following the footprints she had left before, the woman walks back to the metal door, and passes through unharmed.

For a moment the sun rises onto the silhouette of the forgotten room, casting shadows that seem to pull the room back into the past. She smiles. A thought passes through her mind and for a heart-beat the room feels alive again. It shines with memories. The brief sun fades and the room returns to the dark.

The woman turns away. She pulls the door to a close, fastening the lock with the little wooden key, and departs like the light.

The burning sky looms over the darkening city and still the people flee. The woman thinks of her childhood, her wishes, and her dreams. The innocent beauty of prospect. All rust.

On the streets outside she takes one last glance at the long forgotten room. She looks with the eyes of anger. Or perhaps, of love.

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