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(A short story of 2429 words)

Into Space


by Suzanne Bowen

Big JUNE lives alone in her childhood home, a large house in suburban South London. She has been there since 1954 and no-one has re-decorated since 1973. Anyone noticing June thinks she’s odd; people keep their distance. One day, a stranger - a young woman called Lottie - walks in uninvited and starts to ask questions. Over the months, June and the house seem to reveal their secrets. June loves Space and especially, the star of the TV Sci-fi programme to which she is addicted. Lottie helps June to transform her life, build her telescope and finally prepares her to leave to pursue her dream. But where has Lottie gone?

I seen her in my street around two months before it started. I should say ‘saw’. I do know how to speak properly, but I like a bit of rebellion, even now.
It started back in April. It seems a like a lifetime – only four months, though.

She was in my alleyway that morning – up the side of my house. She’d been coming closer, like some stray dog that’s gradually getting more daring, circling around like she was drawn to me. Punk, she looked like a Punk, or whatever they call themselves now if they have funny dyed hair and torn clothes. Deliberately torn, that is. Don’t know if they still call themselves that, probably not. Don’t know. She was small, thin, with a pale face, heavy dark eyes and a red mouth. Young, she was, and quite pretty under it all; like a pixie.
My house was the only one in the road not in flats or with a fridge in the forecourt. Not that I’ve been that particular, a few weeds in my front, but I always cleaned. Well, I cleaned the bits I could see.

She was peering through my kitchen window. I was leaving for work. Not long been back since Mum died and they give me funny looks at work so I weren’t – wasn’t – looking forward to going. They tried to seem ‘caring’ because these days they’ve got to tick that box, so then it’s all right to treat you like shit. Nothing you could put a finger on – just looked right through me...

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