Spirits: Two.

by | Nov 13, 2023 | Uncategorized | 2 comments

It was promoting this year’s pantomime at one of the city’s venues.

Jim unhitched the straps from his shoulders and put the backpack on his lap. He placed both hands on top of it and stared out of the window at the speeding greenery in the foreground, behind which, at a slower pace, strolled row after row of thirties semis. 

His eyes moved to the banner advert a few feet above her head. He would lower his eyes and take in her appearance briefly before rummaging in his bag for a book. However, the poster held his attention momentarily. It was promoting this year’s pantomime at one of the city’s venues. As he scanned the garish display of heads, complete with names, whom they were playing, and what they were famous for, Jim realised he didn’t recognise a single soul.

The main act was a balding Asian man who allegedly played Buttons and, we were assured, used to be the owner of the corner shop in some Soap or other. By the time he’d arrived at the tiny figure in the bottom left corner, he realised how out of touch he was with the real world.

Apparently the Prince’s footman was portrayed by a League Two goalkeeper and former Big Brother contestant. Celebrity for being a celebrity, he pondered. He couldn’t help but smile at his blissful ignorance and temporarily forgot himself. Staring directly at the face of the young woman opposite, he was stunned as she returned his smile.

During the few seconds in which they exchanged expressions, he drank in her unique countenance. Quickly, he glanced down and fumbled with the zip of his bag, trying to resume his original plan, which was now in tatters. The upside of his diversion was that her face was etched on his retina, complete with its complementary smile.

As he took the book from his bag, he closed his eyes and examined the image. She was by no means pretty. Striking was more of a suitable description. Her face was a perfect oval, that being where perfection ended. It was framed with a storm of black curls the colour of a raven’s wings, which shone like pitch on a road in summer.

Her features were more like a collection of priceless artefacts than a regular arrangement. Each one stood out for its uniqueness, the combination producing a work of priceless art.

Her eyes were dark brown, intelligent and enquiring. They showed interest in everything and the ability to absorb it. Jim imagined jumping Into those dark circles to find an ancient library. He’d seen eyes that were esthetically superior, but we’re connected to nothing but an empty bucket. 

Matching her hair, the twins that were the eyebrows were thick and Latin. When she smiled, they performed a little dance. Coming together in puzzlement, then jumping with amusement, before the left one raised slightly, pulling the side of her face faintly with it.

The whole display was like the opening scene of a ballet. He closed his eyes tighter, taking in her small but shapely mouth, which mimicked the eyebrow. The edge curled up subtly, creating a dimple in her rounded cheek. The woman’s nose was prominent without being too big. It displayed a confidence which slightly outdid its fellow exhibits.

Jim was desperate for an encore but decided to open his book instead. His brain was still in a morning fog and the last thing he wanted was a distraction such as this, no matter how exquisite.

He stared at the words on the page. They crawled around randomly like bees in a hive. Jim couldn’t take in a single one of them. Suddenly his right ear began to itch. He scratched it, glancing up briefly. She took her right earlobe between thumb and forefinger and rubbed.

He managed to string a sentence together on the page before the bridge of his nose prickled. He moved his glasses and stroked the spot with his middle finger. The young woman pinched the place between her eyes. A few paragraphs later, he was in the world of Dr Jekyll, when something seemed to crawl across the back of his neck. He quickly put his hand to his collar and had a good rummage. She leaned forward as if to flick a fly from the back of her head.

The train trundled on, the many sounds of its ancient carriage each calling out in their own distinct voice. It was like sitting in a zoo, all of the animals calling for their dinner. Jim felt a light needle prick in the back of his hand. The sensation lingered and he attempted to alleviate it by rubbing it with the spine of his book. He caught the young woman scratching the exact same spot on her own hand.

Presently, the train announcement indicated his  stop and he put the book away. He got up and made for the door. Pressing the button, he exited the train onto the empty platform, regretting the fact that he hadn’t indulged in one last glimpse of his morning companion. Just then there was a tap on his shoulder.

“Excuse me. You felt them, didn’t you?” Jim turned around to see her standing there, her face like nothing he’d ever seen. Picture Christmas morning and the rising sun over the Pyramids and you wouldn’t come anywhere close. He was stunned.

“Pardon? Felt what?.” He stammered, his heart pounding in his ears.

“The spirits. You felt them. I saw you!” As the departing train echoed into the tunnel, she gave a tiny nod, seeking acknowledgement, her eyes opening wide.


  1. Ken Childs

    Wow interesting.

  2. Ken Childs

    Wow interesting


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