Monday, December 23, 2013


The voices were whispering, quiet at first, then distinct and clear. "You need more!" They said, over and over again. More? More? How could she possibly need more? Sighing deeply, she visibly drooped. Her head hung forward closer to her chest, and she shut her eyes, if only she could shut her ears and her mind, she thought.

She tried to distract herself. She had a hundred and one things to do, being busy would quiet the voices. "More" they whispered, "Still more and more, you haven't enough," they persisted, "it will be a disaster unless you have more." And finally, "You WILL fail!" She couldn't stand it any longer, she put down her duster, turned off the radio and went to get her coat and bag.

The streets were teeming with humanity, with every kind of life. She was buffeted and jostled at every turn. It appeared that the whole world and his dog needed to be out of doors today. The winter sun did nothing to lift the temperature and the wind had a bite to it that made her wish she had remembered to grab a hat. Her ears stung with cold. She dodged another pensioner and her shopping trolley, put her head down and marched through the crowds, trying not to hear them, smell them, or make eye contact. She did not want to speak to anyone.

The voices were still there, muted by the sounds around her, traffic had its uses, but she was still aware of their mutterings. "More!"

She was hungry. She was tired and she was worn down by the persistent fear of tomorrow and of failing. Desmond would never forgive her if it went wrong in any way. He was such a perfectionist. She spent her days trying to reach and maintain his exacting standards, and she didn't often succeed. Tomorrow was different, she knew what she was capable of and she had no reason to believe that she would fail, well, until the voices started. "More and more and more!" They chanted on.

She pushed her way through the throng of people by the door of the shop, there were people milling about, people shaking charity buckets, people looking lost and others looking annoyed. The change in temperature made her blink and her nose began to run. She sniffed whilst forlornly looking for a tissue in her pocket, something else she had forgotten to pick up. She looked around, there were people everywhere, packed in like sardines and the aisles heaved with bodies. She started to turn toward the exit, "MORE!" Screamed the voices, "not enough," followed by a harsh roaring of the word "FAILURE!" She sighed again, squared her shoulders, picked up a basket and joined the throng of Christmas Eve shoppers.

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