Tell A Tale in 500 Words
Tiger Under Glass By Gerard Corroon
Tiger Under Glass
by Gerard Corroon
I have been walking for a long time, unaware of the world.
Who are you? whispers the rain. Who are you, really?
I approach the end, the edge of my world. Wet pavement. Shafts of cold. Darkening sky. Blurred figures. Yellow lights. Screaming.
We are over, and so I walk.
Were you true? asks the rain.
I stare at a blue traffic sign with a white arrow: Vauxhall Bridge Road.
My lower trousers are soaked. Shining beads run down the front of my coat. I can’t go on like this.
On my right is a white light, and my head turns, then I finally stop. Ten feet away is Emporio Dellocia, a wall of plate glass and ebony marble. Behind the wall stand twin hills of Italian leather, artlessly arranged on racks of green baize. Supple knee length boots droop under the weight of shiny buckles. Fine grained leather shines, as soft as warm butter. Recessed lamps illume desire. But between the leather hills, in the valley, sits a guardian. A living tiger in gold and black.
I approach until I can see it breathe, it’s eyes narrowed to slits, something glitters. My own breath clouds on the glass, hiding its face, so I sweep the cloud away with my palm. The inner light is so warm that it is a shock to feel the iciness of the glass.
The tiger opens its eyes and looks straight at me. Electrifying.
Have you an eye for an eye? whispers the rain. Who are you, really?
The reflection of my own face is superimposed on the tiger’s head. Experimentally, I tilt my head to the left. The tiger tilts it’s head, too.
Three steps up to the entrance, misty marble shot with white and pink. Only three steps away.
A man moves between myself and the door. “I thought you were better than this.” His words are hard-edged, his face indistinct, a mess of anger. I step around him.
Another man intervenes, tall and domineering. “They died for you. Don’t you know that?”
I mutter “Please excuse me,” and push past. He follows me, staring down at me. I can feel him willing my death.
A woman blocks my way. “Why don’t you go back to where you came from?”
Who are you, really? hisses the rain.
The first man grabs my wrist. “You’re no better than us.” The man behind me is staring at the small bones in the back of my neck.
Are you real, are you real, are you real…”
I turn alongside the man holding my wrist, so we face the same direction. As I lift my hand he finds he can no longer hold me. I turn and pass him.
“You should be ashamed!” says the woman.
I can feel the nerves prickle in my neck.
“Selfish bitch,” he says.
“She can’t prove nothin’”
I step up to the door, and pass through. To the beginning.
Real real real real…
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