All Stories, Fantasy, Short Fiction

Festival by Simon Bell

The room is empty. The oak floorboards have a dull shine, the finish spoiled by dusty foot prints and the sad circular stains of glasses consumed. A yet to be attended to feel. The wisps of laughter hang in the air. She was alone.

She had trouble with her back and her hips but even so she had managed to manhandle the rickety chair back into the room. It had been thoughtfully put away by one of her guests, but she needed it one more time.

Settling carefully onto the chair she looked at the room as if from many places.

The festival was always held in this room and the room knew the story, too well. A large room, a capable room, an old room. A room with memories.

From one place she can see several very old people and a young couple. They all share in the in different ways in the pleasures of the season. Gifts long planned or thoughtlessly purchased are given. Musty smells of old clothes and long lives lived fill the background and the sleep which follows plenty is replete with deep breathing and gentle snoring.

If she switches her gaze to another place, she sees a young couple and their many friends sliding effortlessly into the limitless haze of potent, virile youth. They are accompanied by the smells of babies, bodies, soaps and excrement. Somehow the smell does not worry anyone, no appetite is lost, and no joy seems impossible.

Echoes of unheard things bring her back to herself. Her chair creaks as she shifts her slight weight. She needs to remember. She needs to recall. The afternoon light slants lantern-like through the high window and will soon be gone, and she must go with it.

From the next place she sees that the young couple are older and that the other young couples are no longer here. One or two friends gather with some older people. The children are absorbed in their growing understanding of the mechanics behind the festival, the beginnings of their own interpretation which will only much, much later, fully form. There will follow festivals in which she will take no part, from which even her ghost will be excluded. The unheard stumble of old, invisible feet on the hard-wooden floor.

The point of view of place is renewed but now the couple are older and only the children, grown wilful and bored briefly remain, other duties and pleasures press on the season.

Finally, in her last vision, there is only one. The room prepared as best she could, a visitor or two, drawn by the pity life feels for life all but done.

Now the room is truly empty. The floorboards have a dull shine, the finish spoiled by dusty footprints and the sad circular stains of glasses consumed. A never to be attended to feel. The wisps of laughter still hang in the air.


Simon Bell 

Image by DarkWorkX from Pixabay

6 thoughts on “Festival by Simon Bell”

    1. A collective response to all the kind and thoughtful comments. It is really encouraging to read your responses to ‘Festival’. Like most stories it ‘came’ and brought its own baggage and insights. Such an excellent site to share ideas and such excellent authors to learn from. Thanks all and thanks LS.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Hi Simon,
    Memories manifesting as images of a specific room will resonate with everyone who has stayed in a place for any length of time.
    The idea of the memories being there as the folks move on is sad but very true to life.
    This is a powerful piece of work that makes the reader smile and sad all at the same time.
    Great to see another story from you.


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