Andromeda

 

Written by Naomi Fogarty

The panicked cry of a mobile phone alerting its owner it was reaching the last of its life echoed through the cold clinical hallways of the discarded building. A vibrant electric blue emanating from a solitary fish tank was the only light in the darkness. There was a time when it would greet people as they walked into the entrance.

Lewis was drawn closer to the beauty of the blue illumination that the sleek modern piece of jellyfish art displayed. He bent down to rescue his phone off the floor and was struck momentarily by a sudden onset of dizziness. As he waited for it to pass he noticed a crumpled up ball of paper that had been carelessly tossed away.

Leaning against the glass he smoothed it out to reveal an old fortune teller poem called Monday’s Child.

Monday’s child is fair of face
Tuesday’s child is full of grace
Wednesday’s child is full of woe
Thursday’s child has far to go
Friday’s child is loving and giving
Saturday’s child works hard for a living
But the child who is born on the Sabbath day is bonny and blithe and good and gay

He delicately folded the paper up neatly and placed it in the pocket of his jacket. His fingers brushing against silver reminded him that he still had a job to do. A quick flicker from the doorway of the waiting room to his left caught his eye. A switch had been turned on filling the fish tank with multiple colours as one of the buildings lost memories stood in front of him.

“I’ve decided on a colour,” was all that the woman said as she watched the delicate creatures floating in the water before evaporating from his sight.
As Lewis walked towards the waiting room he could see stained across the walls a different kind of art. Vandals had invaded the building their protest of hateful words they left behind had chased the previous occupants out, too afraid now to return.

She was leaning casually against the wall admiring an oil painting when he entered. A flat screen next to her was on and the images of good looking children cast a light over the dramatic scene of a naked Andromeda chained to a rock, her hair lashed by the wind as the sea monster Cetus lurked at her feet. Lewis shifted around uncomfortably in his clothes his body temperature rising. Unsure if it was because she made him nervous, he suddenly started to sweat.

Needing to alleviate this feeling he pointed around the room and said sarcastically, “Too bright in here for you?”

She turned her head to look at him the words “the best that is in us” reflected eerily across the lens of the dark pair of sunglasses she hid behind. A huge Cheshire cat grin overtook her face as she slowly lifted her hand and pointed at the lens.

“Prescription, I forgot my other glasses,” a remark that was thrown at him like bait.

He turned their attention back to the painting, “I always liked the story of Andromeda. If only it wasn’t for her vain Mother,” he challenged.

“Or self preserving Father,” she retaliated.

Lewis hesitated for a second before nodding his head and slowly walked towards her reaching into his pocket pulling out the items within.

”When her Mother boasted that her daughter Andromeda was more beautiful than the sea nymphs, Poseidon sent his wrath in the form of the sea monster Cetus to destroy their kingdom. “

A faint humming noise outside started to creep into the darkness with them.

“So she was stripped naked and chained to a rock as a sacrifice to the sea monster by her Father,”

She volunteered her wrist to him as he fixed the small chain around it and handed over the piece of paper to her, knowing she had left it behind.

“Let’s go shall we,” he said

“After you,”

As he walked awkwardly towards the door, Bonnie thought she’d disguised the pain she was in well and gently pushed herself off the wall, her face still frozen in a grimacing smile. She glanced one last time at Andromeda hanging hopelessly on the wall.

“Only to be rescued by Perseus on his winged horse and the ominous Medusa stare.”

As they walked towards the entrance Bonnie held up her once bare wrist and looked at the old vintage watch that now occupied the space. She held it to her ear so she could hear the familiar quiet ticking and tapped a fingernail against it calculating how much longer it would be.

The uncomfortable silence continuing to be filled by the hum of a helicopter as it circled around in the sky. Bonnie moved closer to the window and watched it searching with its spotlight over the landscape placing everyone that lived in the square houses below under a microscope.

“Looking for Pandora’s Box,”

Once again the phone informed Lewis of its impending doom as he needed to steady himself against the wall this time the dizzy spell wasn’t going away. Bonnie approached him with caution as he slowly slid to the floor. Taking off her dark glasses she checked her watch again and looked deeply into his infuriated eyes before throwing the piece of paper in his face. Wondering if he was the idiot she predicted he’d be.

“You must have been born on a Thursday. It’s too bad you can’t pick and choose what type of personality someone get’s,” she said as cold as the white walls around her.

“When you open up that box the good always comes with the bad, like curing diseases,”

Bonnie strolled towards the round glass fish tank full of jellyfish, her electric blue eyes glowing in the dark. The coloured lights at the bottom of the tank were still slowly changing making her reflection morph from one face to another, unrecognisable. She ripped the family heirloom off her wrist snapping the delicate chain amused by which face held the most ancestry.

The microscopic beam of the helicopters spotlight flooded the room; it had finally found the box it was looking for.

“And re- creating viruses,”

“That can destroy a kingdom.”