CuiousPages - fiction and nonfiction
CuriousPages - fiction and nonfiction
Jack said, “Yes, it’s marvellous,” and left the kitchen.
On the following morning he moved the soap and towels back to their proper places, then again on the next morning, and the next. This same thing happened to the objects on his living room shelving. He would move them back to their proper position only to find they would seemingly move again of their own accord. He came to seriously believe a poltergeist had taken up residence in his flat.
Due to his training, his senses were focused on detecting energy—both the energy emanating from all people, and also the energy they left behind—and he could sense the presence of this poltergeist in the same way he sensed the energy of a martial arts opponent. It felt as though some force—which was separate from Maryanne—had occupied his flat, though it had obviously been brought there by her, as though it were the mind of some malicious entity that had attached itself to her. In the kitchen, when he now picked up a jar, it would fall from his hands, its lid having been left unscrewed. He would tighten it, only to find when he next picked it up, it would again drop from his hands. His laundry was now folded differently and placed on the wrong shelves; his books, left open for convenience, were now tidied away; objects, which he lay in certain places as a reminder to perform certain tasks, would disappear; and in the kitchen he would take out a knife and a few seconds later would go to use it only to find it had vanished. It was as though some supernatural force had been set upon him to erode his sanity.
He began his daily practice by holding a stance for one hour in his living room. The following morning he was standing in the Praying Mantis Takes Flight position for forty minutes while pondering the poltergeist’s antics. He imagined a jar lid slowly turning and he could sense the poltergeist nearby, as an invisible cloud of energy. He watched one of his books fold itself up and levitate back onto the bookcase, and there too was that cloud and for the first time he saw clearly its intention. Its purpose in life was simply to oppose him. He imagined the cloud moving the cups in his cupboard around, destroying his efficiency, his economy; it seemed as though it were unpicking his every thought of the past eight years. Any design he developed, to either save time or space, or to improve flavour or texture, it seemed the poltergeist had been set upon him to destroy—to, perhaps, feed upon his designs. Perhaps (he mused) that was the purpose of such a force. It fed upon human designs and sought to restore the randomness of nature. Perhaps, perhaps.
He recalled Maryanne saying, “That was nice,” and saw her smiling face.
Of course he knew it was she who moved these objects and of course he said to her, “You keep leaving the lids unscrewed.”
“Oh really? How interesting,” she said.
 “Where are my shoes? I always leave them here,” he said on another occasion, to which she said:
 “No, shoes should go here; it’s more tidy.”
And when he said: “I left that there to remind me to pay the phone bill,” she said nothing, but merely glanced at him while deep in thought; and recalling this now, he could see the meaning in her glance. It was the poltergeist that was looking back out at him through her eyes and it was saying, “Yes, I am here to resist you; my purpose in life is to un-build human endeavours, and the more focussed they are, the more they attract me,” and, silently, from within Maryanne’s eyes, the poltergeist fixed him with its combative gaze.

In the goldfish bowl, Bruce and Sheila Softly were hovering side by side. For the past ten minutes there was nothing but silence, and—to Bruce, anyway—the silence seemed to deepen with each minute.
For one further time, Sheila looked accusingly at Bruce; and Bruce could not stand this any longer. He turned to swim off, when Sheila said, “Where do you think you’re going, Bruce?”
Bruce opened his mouth to speak but there did not seem anything to say, so he just watched Sheila with his mouth hanging open.
Sheila demanded, “Well?”
Bruce said, in an experimental tone, “For a swim—?”
Sheila snapped, “Get back here—I want a word with you.”
Bruce turned back and sighed.
Sheila said, “And just why can’t you see me as a bus driver?”
“That! you’re asking me about that?”
“Come on, why?”
“I don’t know.”
“Yes you do, Bruce.”
“No, I don’t.”
“You do!”
“I don’t!”
After a pause, Bruce said, “It was only an example—that’s all.”
“But why pick that?”
“No reason, Sheila; it was just the first thing I thought of.”
Sheila scowled at him and said, “You think that’s all I’m good for, don’t you?—driving busses.”
“Of course not.”
“Why then?”
“It— er— it just didn’t seem like your style, that’s all, Sheila, not your style.”
“Not my style?”
“Why not?”
“I just pictured you doing something better.”
“Something better?”
“Of course, Sheila.”
“Like what?”
“Like whatever you wanted to.”
“And what if I wanted to be bus driver!”
Bruce shouted, “Be a bus driver, if that’s what you want!”
“But you said it wasn’t my style, Bruce.”
Bruce glared at Sheila for several seconds—his glare steadily intensifying—then he turned and darted away.
Sheila called, “You said you couldn’t really see me as a bus driver, Bruce.”
Bruce circled the bowl, going quicker and quicker, trying to block out the sound of Sheila’s taunts.
Sheila kept shouting, “—Saying that’s all I’m good for—that’s what you were doing. I can see exactly what you’re thinking, so don’t think you’ve fooled me. No, you’re just pretending it’s not what you were thinking, Bruce. That’s it—I can see everything you’re thinking—I can see it in your face!”
Bruce was now so enraged he was in danger of deliberately leaping from the bowl to escape Sheila’s taunts.
But Sheila then seemed to have finally emptied his whole head of words, so he turned, peered silently through the glass of the bowl and continued watching the view in the living room—but this time smirking smugly.


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