Image: – Anka Zhuravleva
The first time I saw the girl in the red coat was out of the corner of my eye. I thought she was an illusion as it had been raining and she was standing in amongst the bicycles all stacked by the side of the street.
It didn’t make any sense to me that she’d be there in the rain, eating a strawberry sorbet of all things.
I turned to get in a better look but she was gone, and I thought it was my imagination playing tricks on me.
I didn’t pay her any more attention as I had a lot on my mind from the pressures of work and thought she was my mind giving me a pleasant distraction.
The next afternoon as I made my way home I saw her again. This time as I approached she gave me a wink and turned and walked off down a side alley. I looked to see where she had gone but the alley was bare, somewhere inside it she had vanished.
She wasn’t someone I could dismiss easily. Her red coat made her stand out, that and her jet-black hair cut provocatively drew my attention, and as I recalled her once again with sorbet in hand and her tongue licking her lips I wondered what she was on about.
I didn’t see again that week, but the next week she was there again, and this time she allowed me to get that little bit closer. Her eyes were the bluest, they focused on me, and I was smitten there and then.
She smiled at me in the cheekiest way and intimated she wanted me to follow her. Once again, she turned down into the alley which was now dark and foreboding. I did so, and she turned into a doorway, and I followed her like a puppy after a treat.
A door slammed behind me, and I didn’t care where I was going as I was concentrating on following the tail of her red coat as she skipped along down a long corridor.
She stopped at a large red door, turned to make sure I was still following and looked me up and down before knocking on the door.
“You’ll do nicely,” she said as the door opened and we went inside.
It was then the lights went out, and I woke up sometime later tied to a chair with burning hot lights beaming down on me.
“You’ve done well my dear,” said a voice to my right.
“Where am I?” I asked.
“You’re here,” a voice to my left announced before breaking into an insidious laugh.
It was then I felt the hands and fingers on my head. They wrapped around my throat more caressing than pressing.
“We need your brain,” I heard a girl’s voice say.
The girl in the red coat stood before me, opened her coat to reveal not what I expected but rather what appeared to be a universe in the place her stomach should have been.
“Welcome to our world,” the voices chorused as I sat there mouth open mesmerized by what was before me.