A heavy object hit the side of Elizabeth’s skull and tiny crimson sparks danced around in her head. There was a crunch of bone and she tasted blood where the inside of her cheek had grated against her teeth. She fell backwards and hit the floor awkwardly, catching her shoulder against the wall before crumpling to the floor in a heap. If it didn’t stop soon she would go mad!
Out of the corner of her eye she saw a grubby black boot heading towards her and managed to curl up in a foetal position before it made contact with her face and fingers. A tobacco scented scream managed to burst forth before she collapsed into unconsciousness.
Coldness rushed against her and she woke up with a start, gasping for breath and straining to make out anything at all in the silent, thick darkness engulfing her. The terror continued as she realised someone else was also there with her. She wanted to run and discovered she couldn’t move. This time her screams were silent.
“Elizabeth!” She opened her eyes and saw her mother standing over her. She dropped the scarf she had bought earlier.
“What the hell are you playing at, you stupid child!” The panic in her mother’s voice stilled any within herself and brought home the reality of the situation she now found herself in. She was for it this time!
Margaret frowned at the scarf lying on the bedroom floor and then at Elizabeth, “Where did you get this?”
Elizabeth shrugged, "It’s just a scarf.”
Her mother would never understand how much enjoyment she received from these little trips back through time. Up until now, she had never experienced such a violent reaction reading an object before. The experiences had always been comparable to reading a book or watching a film, only much better...
Elizabeth was shocked to hear a sharp intake of breath and looked up into her mother’s tear-filled blue eyes. “My God, you’re addicted to it! Do you have any idea what you’re playing with? You’re playing with fire!”
“Someone like you could never understand! It’s only a game... it’s only pretend,” she lied innocently. She wasn’t prepared to give it up no matter what anyone said. She would be more careful in future though. She didn’t want to experience anything as horrid as what she had seen just now. If her mother had not disturbed her, who knew how long it would have continued.
Feeling guilt-ridden and suddenly scared by her experience, a tearful Elizabeth ran forward and threw her arms around her mother. Burying her teary face in the warm-scented clothing she breathed deeply, the tones of Tweed perfume and talcum powder acting like a balm. She sensed a whirlpool of confusion within her mother; guilt coupled with powerlessness from being unable to prevent her from experimenting with the unknown. After a few moments Elizabeth felt strong enough to pull away.
“I’m sorry, Mummy! Really sorry! I didn’t mean to upset you and there's nothing to be frightened about -– honest!”
Margaret sighed, “I’m sorry too Elizabeth. I just wish that you would listen to me for once and stop messing around with things none of us really understand anything about. No matter what you may think, I’m not trying to prevent you from having fun -– I’m just trying to keep you out of harm’s way.”
“I won’t do it again, Mummy. Promise!”
They both knew it was a lie.
Labels: 1970s, Elizabeth, Refuge of Delayed Souls, Web Fiction