Sunday, 5 March 2017

Hollow worth

She wept, the last selfish gesture of Dorothy Worth; a worthless lady who tried desperately to escape her fate whilst all the time knowing she never could. Was it an exercise in futility or of an over-inflated ego?

Dorothy would never have said that anything she did was futile, but as she was the one with the overdeveloped ego we can dispense with her opinions. Besides which she is dead now and it's how she died that I think you'll find most interesting.

She was a very 'Spiritual' person, if you get my drift; she always looked for a higher purpose in everything (especially if it meant furthering her agenda) and she became a medium when she realised that she could no longer make a living selling beauty products using her own face as a canvas.

She realised, however, that if women were gullible enough to spend lots of money on a beauty cream that didn't work then it stood to reason that they could be made to believe that their long lost husband / father / mother… dog had come back with a message for them.

Dorothy also realised that there was no end to people’s gullibility and through techniques such as Neuro-linguistic programming she could make these 'visitations' utterly convincing, so much so that the people themselves would provide much of the 'evidence' of the Spirit visitation and if she made a mistake they would happily correct her without a second thought.

Pretty soon she became the number one on the travelling medium circuit and even had to change her name to something that suited her stature, so she became Dorothy Sunflower Moonbeam Unicorn Diamond Dearheart.

She was well loved by the community but she despised them; there was something about it all that she found hard to rationalise, even after many years. Worse, she was starting to become a believer in herself, her own talents and before long she believed in Tarot, Indigo Children and Angels. One evening she even had her palm read. Dorothy was still sceptical but then what could possibly go wrong?

Quite a lot actually.

Sylvia was a very wizened, podgy sort of woman who Dorothy found hard to take seriously at first. Her first few statements struck Dorothy with their accuracy; it was if they had known each other for years rather than having only just met. There were things that she told Dorothy that only Dorothy had known about (and that she wished Sylvia hadn't reminded her of); but this all pointed in the right direction for whatever she was going to predict for her would probably come true.

First there came choking sounds, Syvlia turning white as she shuddered, shaking her head as if it violently disagreed with itself; then she looked at Dorothy with those horrified eyes and said just nine words: “Your death will be very soon and very painful.”

Suffice to say that Sylvia was not tipped. Dorothy was shocked, dismayed, bemused, angry and then dismissive in equal measures until she realised just how absurd it all was. Syliva could not be prompted or cajoled with money to give any more information. All that she could say was that you couldn’t fuck around with free will and the web of life. That made Dorothy shriek with laughter and it occupied her thoughts as she walked back to the car.

She was so pre-occupied with dismissing the whole absurdity of the situation that she failed to see the taxi-cab barrelling towards her as she crossed the road. In an ironic twist of fate, the Cabbie was neither, drunk, tired, stoned or foreign and was able to stop in time.

On the way home Dorothy was beside herself with worry. Sylvia was right; her death was imminent and it was more likely to happen as an accident. The only reason she had nearly been run over was because she wasn't paying attention. Death was would have a hard time catching her unawares a second time!

She slept soundly knowing that she now had a game plan -as long as she kept on the ball she would be fine.And so the next day was completely uneventful up until rush hour. A busy crossroads, almost too much going on and almost impossible to concentrate on everything; but a screech of tires like a banshees howl and she caught a glimpse of a double decker bus suddenly lose control, the driver slumped at the wheel.There was very little time for her to do anything, too many other people, unaware, in the way; but there was an elderly chap in a wheelchair, patiently waiting for his turn to cross the road. Without thinking about the morality of the situation she kicked the breaks off the wheelchair and  pushed the chair into the path of the bus. Just as she thought, the commotion of the poor old chap being squashed gave her the chance to sneak away and ensure her longevity for a little bit longer; but at what cost? An old fogey in a wheelchair, who probably complained the whole time, anyway.

The next day brought a fresh hell for her to deliberate. It was lunch time, another busy pavement and lots of building work everywhere; scaffolding growing up like ivy around dead buildings. What made her look up at that particular time is purely a matter of conjecture. Fate, irony, or the sound of whistling doom?

Truth be told, heavy things falling from a great height make no noise to the ones that they make an impression on; but react she did, just as the concrete block smashed on to the ground. This time her actions could have been seen as heroic for she did try to stop others from being squashed as she put her arms out to block people from the same fate. Unfortunately a young mother was pushing a pram with only one hand on the handle, the other hand using her mobile phone (a gossip machine in full flow, totally unaware of anything else happening). Dorothy's hand caught her across the breast bone, knocking her hand from the pram, and as the pavement was sloping downwards, the pram kept moving. They both looked on, horrified, as the concrete block blinked into existence -as if summoned by the devil himself- occupying the same space as the pram and baby had once. Dorothy was grief stricken, the mother apoplectic with hysteria. No one blamed Dorothy as no one could have foreseen that such a thing could have happened, but she had known that that particular death had been meant for her and her alone.

That night she was presenting at a mediumship circle, in a new venue – a disused barn. It was cheap to rent as the farmer hadn't used it for years. It wasn't the warmest or lightest of places to be sure but with enough paraffin lamps it would become atmospheric and perfect for their needs.

It was windy and she got there early to set up. The barn was dusty with lots of cobwebs hanging from the rafters -it was a shame it wasn't Halloween! There were lots of hay bales around so she used the majority as makeshift seats and the rest as tables to put the paraffin lamps on. The whole thing took about an hour to set up and by the end of it she'd almost forgotten her impending death.

She wasn't the most aware person… had she been then she would have been more careful in the positioning of the lamps. Pretty soon people started arriving and she greeted them with a hug and a smile that she didn't feel.

The service started and it wasn't long before the energy levels began to rise and the barn became warmer. As usual there was the motley crew of regulars, the firm believers and gullible souls that lined her pockets. A couple of them had even brought their dogs! This always made her laugh -especially when the dogs joined in with the singing.

It all happened so frighteningly fast, as one of the bloody dogs, excited by all the commotion, spied one of the many rats she had seen whilst setting up. The rat ran faster than the dog and moved lithely as well; the dog didn't care what it knocked flying, including the paraffin lamps; smashing them outright, splashing their contents over the walls and hay bales, catching them alight instantly. The strewn straw quickly caught as well, spreading the fire faster than the congregation could run. It was horrifying, even the damned cobwebs became flames as the temperature rose quickly; falling, as they burned, on to other parts of the barn.

Dorothy could only watch with the realisation that she could easily die there as well, especially as the main doors were at the back of the barn and ablaze. There was a single door behind her that no one else was aware of -they were either panicking or trying helplessly to dowse the fires.

She ran for the door, not heeding the pleas of the others; she had to get out. She threw the door open, letting a huge gust of wind add fuel to the inferno. She barely managed to crawl out of there before the door slammed shut behind her, trapping everyone within. In the distance she could hear fire engines; she would never be able to explain this to anyone, she would be held totally responsible for this.

There was nothing else she could do but drive. Everywhere she went she was reminded of what she had done; all the people she had killed. There were more than fifty people in the barn; the old man and the poor baby in the pram; all because she wanted to avoid her own inevitability.  Without realising, she had been driving South towards the cliffs. There was only one option left open to her. Who was she that she could have destroyed so many? There was a sharp corner, beyond which lie the cliffs edge. She put her foot down on the accelerator hard, missing the bend completely; the edge becoming just a memory and she prayed that the devil would pick her up before she hit the bottom.