Ella got out of the car and looked around. She spotted their offices, then realised she had fifteen minutes to spare. She really didn’t want to be that early. Then she spied a quaint department store. She had enough time to pop into their food hall and treat herself to something nice for tea. Yes, she’d do that.
If this appointment turned out to be good news, then the meal would be a celebration and if it didn’t, it would be compensation. Either way she couldn’t lose; it was a good idea.
She went through the doors and stopped to get her bearings. It was a small store and everything was tightly packed in. The floors were wooden and rickety ceiling fans moved warmed, stale air around. Time warp, thought Ella, suppressing the urge to giggle. When she saw the sign for the food hall she made straight for it.
Then her phone rang. She kept walking as she fumbled in her bag. Finally getting it out, she saw that the caller was work. Was this some sort of joke? As far as they were concerned she was at a hospital appointment. What could be so important, so urgent that they needed to ring her? She thought of Tiffy or Gwynnie needing to know some trivial detail immediately. Well, Ella thought, I won’t be answering. How can they expect me to? She waited for the call to go to voicemail then fumbled it back into her bag, seething all the while.
Seething so much she didn’t notice the little plinth in front of her.
Seething so much she didn’t notice the display on the plinth in front of her.
Seething so much that she didn’t see the mannequin, mistook it for a person and was apologising profusely as she bowled into it before realising what it was. Ella and the mannequin were sprawled across the aisle, their limbs tangled in a grotesque dance. One of the mannequin’s fingers poked Ella in the eye.
‘Ouch,’ she screeched.
‘Oh, dear,’ a female voice said.
This is a first draft, so please excuse any errors.
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And, if you haven’t already tried them, check out my free short stories. (Completely different to this, and my two books).
NOTE The Illusionist is free tomorrow and Sunday, 14 and 15 June 2014.