The Storage Space would have wept copiously, if only a building could have shed as much as a single tear. To see what was happening to the only human being with whom the poor, long-suffering Storage Space had ever been able to communicate!
It wasn’t just what was happening but how. The Storage Space had witnessed people having carnal relations before, but this… The Storage Space wasn’t at all sure Karen would even survive what Irwin was doing to her.
Of course the one the Storage Space didn’t like to think about was on hand…a swirling green mist of hysteria and Shakespearean profanities…but Irwin was far too intent on what he was doing to even notice when that mist managed to make his attack on Irwin physical.
Finally the screaming stopped when she passed out.
Of course that didn’t stop Le Grand Rat from continuing with his wretched business.
“Are you there?”
The Storage Space would have jumped, if only a building could…
“I know your talking to me is only in my imagination, but I’ve never needed anyone more…even if it isn’t real.”
The Storage Space could tell she wasn’t talking aloud. Blood and other things were seeping out of her thankfully slack mouth. Her eyes, thankfully, were still closed, her body limp. That horrid, wretched Irwin was still having his way with her.
“Please, I’m begging you, describe something…anything…to me that’s…beautiful.”
The Storage Space was…for the first time in an existence that spanned centuries…speechless. No one had ever before communicated, let alone made a request. The Storage Space was so used to wandering at will through whatever thoughts came to mind that the idea of specifically directed thought was incomprehensible.
The Storage Space watched what Irwin was doing to her, then couldn’t bear to watch. It would have cleared its throat if only a building could… If only a building had a throat to… “A long time ago when I was the grandest of theatres, there was a woman like you who felt deeply. She was so beautiful that the sun…like a well-trained spotlight…came out from behind the darkest clouds to shine on her whenever she stepped outdoors. She was so sweet the sweetest sweets were sour in comparison to a single word she spoke or her pure, radiant smile. But I’m no good at this! And Charlotte went abroad…Switzerland I gather…then made the mistake of returning only to be brutally…to be brutally… Well, never mind! Especially just now! Let’s just leave it by saying that the poor, long-suffering Charlotte is long gone.”
“But she was beautiful. Everything passes; the point is that it was. Which is all we have to cling to. You’re doing fine.”
The Storage Space could feel Karen’s anguish threatening to break through a wall she’d constructed, which consisted solely of her…not too inaccurately…imagining Charlotte.
She was begging now. “Please, please, please, please continue.”
The Storage Space forced itself to remember fully now, images cascading through its consciousness: Charlotte scampering about the stage in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Charlotte on that frighteningly fragile balcony as Juliet. Until it finally saw Charlotte as the oh-so-tragically-lost Ophelia, and the cascade slowed abruptly to a slither of memories that crawled over every inch of its wood grain like rivulets of tears: Charlotte in love.
A second Ophelia.
Why had the Storage Space started to describe her to Karen, when it could only lead, in time, to having to describe, and fully remember, him.