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 was unbearable!
It wasn’t just what was happening but how. It 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 it couldn’t bear 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 Karen 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.”
It 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 communicated with it before, let alone made a request.
It watched what Irwin was doing to her, then couldn’t bear to watch. It would have cleared its throat, had it a throat to clear. “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 the way you describe her she sounds so 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 continue!”
It forced itself to remember fully now, images cascading through its consciousness. It described Charlotte scampering about the stage in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. And 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 Charlotte to Karen, when that could only lead to having to describe the one it couldn’t bear to think about?