The sharing of ideas

I’m all for sharing ideas for stories. Happy to pass some on and grateful for those that come my way. A Facebook post from Cath Bore  –– inspired this story and I’m grateful to her for allowing me to exploit her experience of being offered a coat for sale in a library. This was my entry in the Zeroflash – – competition for October.

Never buy a coat from a man in a library

I never could resist a bargain. Even from a man in a library, hissing his offer in my ear as I’m sitting there leafing through the local paper.

Twenty nicker to you lady. Lovely bit of stuff,” he said, stroking the fur. He was oddly alluring. I fished out the money and he grabbed it. When he’d gone, vanished like a genie from a bottle, the coat was lying on the chair next to me, stretched out as if it was having a rest.

The librarian came over.

Dogs aren’t allowed in the library,” she said, looking over her spectacles at me. She reminded me of my biology teacher at school, when she was teaching us about amoebae. Single-celled organisms that live in damp places. Pseudopods, that’s how they move. Temporary protusions. Why do we remember useless information like that? I frowned and looked down. The coat had slipped onto the floor. I snatched it up.

It’s not a dog,” I was indignant. “A man…” I stopped. The librarian had raised a finger to her lips. Her eyes widened and she waggled her finger at the coat as it started moving slowly down again like a furry amoeba.

I told you!” Her face was red.

For a moment it looked funny and I laughed. Loudly. I really shouldn’t have done that. If I’d known what was going to happen I wouldn’t have laughed. There’s plenty else I wouldn’t have done either.

I do have bad dreams. Sometimes the creature is attacking me. I always wake up screaming, and lately I’ve found that my hands are bloodied, as if I’ve been biting them. I see movements behind doors, flurries. There’s never anything there, not even a growl. But now I know the information about amoebae was not useless. And I’m careful.

About Cath Barton

Cath Barton is an English writer who lives in South Wales. In June 2017 she was awarded the New Welsh Writing AmeriCymru Prize for the Novella, and her novella The Plankton Collector was published by New Welsh Review in September 2018. Her second novella, In the Sweep of the Bay, was published by Louise Walters Books in November 2020. Cath is also active in the on-line community of writers of flash fiction.
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