Summer Soap is a daily fictional serial which runs over 12 parts. Called Moving Along, this story, set in Cork city, was written by Nejla Gaylen, from the MA in Creative Writing Programme at UCC. In this tenth episode, the mysterious woman knocks at the door again. Catch up on previous episodes on the links below.
Episode Ten – 2B
The bells were ringing again and the rain was still falling.
“You know what I love about Cork?” Kate asked. “Everything. You walk outside and you feel the life of the city, you feel it breathing in and out, strong, deep breaths.
“It’s too wonderful, all the places to eat and drink and be merry, all the literary festivals, the jazz festival, the céilís, the GAA fervour, the rogue double decker buses.
“I haven’t actually been on one of those yet. I got a student Leap card at the beginning of my first semester and it’s been burning a hole in my pocket ever since. I couldn’t wait to get it, but months later, I still haven’t had an opportunity to use it.
“The problem is, every day walking to campus, I see the bus that I would take to get there and every day I get to campus before the bus does. It hardly seems worth it to pay €1.40 to be late, but I do like watching them swerve along the bend as they come up the Grand Parade.
“I like that the street signs and the shop signs and really all the signs are in English and Irish, even though most people don’t seem to know the Irish.
“I wanted to know the Irish, so I registered for the beginner Modern Irish class. I went a few times but ended up having to drop it. There are only 18 letters in the Irish alphabet and the words have too many consonants and not enough vowels. Well, they have the same number of vowels as there are in English except for the sometimes vowels. They don’t use those. Or sometimes, it’s too many vowels and not enough consonants. I guess maybe it’s both.
“The end result is that it was giving me a headache. I’m looking at bhflaitheas and I don’t know how to say it, I don’t know how to conjugate it, I don’t know if it’s masculine or feminine and I don’t know what it means.
“Since I didn’t have to take that class anyway, I figured it would be a much better use of that hour to go up to Cameron’s on Washington Street and see what delicious cakes they had put out for the day.”
There was another loud knock at the door.
“If this is 2B again, I’m going to scream. My nerves are already on edge without some strange person adding to it.”
Kate strode to the door and flung it wide open. The small lady from earlier stood there, still dripping from her perfect, elf-like nose.
“2B,” Kate said shaking her head. “Whatever you’re here for, you have the wrong apartment.”
“This is definitely the right apartment,” the woman countered sharply, “and I’m here for you.”
Kate blinked and stared at her for a moment and then moved to close the door.
Unlike the previous encounter, the woman jammed her foot into the space between the door and the frame, preventing Kate from being able to shut her out again.
Kate looked at her, surprised, then said: “Does this look like the set of some third-rate B-movie? That’s the only time people put their foot in a door.
“I mean, I can just slam the door on your foot and then when you jerk it back — BAM! You’re on the outside and I’m on the inside. Or I could stomp on your foot. Or I could just push you out of the way.”
“I’ve been fierce patient with you,” the woman interrupted before Kate could take any of those actions. “But you’re not getting any closer to the thing, so here it is.
“You missed your crossing after the bus hit you and I was sent to collect you and bring you to the terminus for proper processing.”
“Proper processing? Hit by a bus? Crossing? What have you been smoking? Clearly you don’t just look deranged.”
“Haven’t you copped on to what’s happened to you?”
Kate’s irritation morphed into a moment of puzzlement.
The woman gave her the moment, but when it passed and still nothing came out of Kate’s mouth, the woman looked directly at Kate and stately simply, “You’re dead.”