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Washing Clothes

Updated on March 13, 2019

Entry for Hub Pages Fiction Contest 2019

MOIRA sang gently as she washed the clothes. Delicate stuff that had to be done by hand. A nice restful job, no need to think, just sing and gently rub cloth on cloth. In the background the washing machine purred gently.


Doctor Brown had dropped by that morning. Checking that everything was fine and she had enough medicine. Of course she had, because she didn't always need it. Only when she had one of those headaches coming on. Then she had to get the tablets into her as quick as possible. So far she'd won the race.


Moira had finished all her work when the bell rang. She frowned. She wasn't expecting anyone. Fortunately the lights were off so she could pretend she was out. Tiptoe up to the front door. Peep through the spyhole. Then she opened the front door quickly as surprise took over her body.



"Good evening, I'm campaigning for.. Good God... Moira. I thought you'd moved" he said.


"Yes, its me... What are you doing here, Luke?"


"I just said, I'm canvassing votes"


"Come in and I'll make you a cup of coffee" She smiled


He made his way to the sofa. No need to show him. She hadn't rearranged things since the hospital. He sat, looking like a square peg in a square hole that it knew should be round.


"How are you getting on" he said into an uncomfortably long silence

"Recovering" she said.

"I missed you" he said. She said nothing.

Somewhere in a timeless space someone was singing as they washed blood out of white sheets and a moon the colour of bleached bones shone down on a bubbling river. In another somewhere of spaceless time someone was moving innocently, heedlessly towards the singing. "Nice Coffee" Said Luke. "Still using the filter I see"

Moira smiled. He'd always liked filter coffee.

"How long before you're completely recovered" He asked.

"Nobody can tell" she said "But as long as I keep taking the tablets.."

"You'll get there" he said. She laughed. He had always been able to make her laugh. Until the headaches started.

"When you've recovered give me a call" he said

"It could be a long wait"

"I'm not planning to go anywhere.

The washing machine moved into the next phase of its cycle

Elsewhere the singing became stronger. Morag showed long white teeth and the river laughed with an air of hungry expectancy. Someone moved happily towards the singing.

Luke moved towards Moira and gripped her gently.

"You know I didn't want to go" He said "But your delusions.. I couldn't take any more."

In that other place the singing turned into a chuckle echoed by the river. The blood was almost out of the sheets. They'd be ready very soon.

"I don't think they were.. delusions Luke" said Moira "Strange things happened"

"Don't be silly" Luke said, sipping his coffee "You just noticed a few

coincidences that matched your fantasies".

In the background the washing machine stopped with a thunderous silence.

The blood had come out of the sheets. Morag smiled, long white teeth flashing in the moonlight. He was nearly here.

"Perhaps" Said Moira, unconvinced. The light was flickering. He didn't notice it. Then she realised. The headache was coming.

"I must get my pills" Said Moira

The sheets were ready and he was here. Morag looked at him, then closed her mouth. The teeth vanished.

"You" Whispered Morag. "I thought I'd lost you for ever" The river growled, reminded her of duty. She tried to fight it.

"I had to go when you went to the river" Said Lugh. He looked at the sheets "I suppose those are for me"


The river growled, louder this time, reminding Morag of her duty more insistently.

"Yes" She said dully, "The sheets are for you. Why must it be you?"

"If it must be I'd rather it was you" Lugh said.

Morag reached for Lugh and slowly kissed him.

Luke was still holding Moira. Her words hadn't quite got through to him. Now it was too late. The headache was here. She disappeared in a mist of black pain. Luke saw her face change. He had never believed someone's eyes could go red. He only had a second to register the stranger's face before him, before it tore out his throat with its teeth.

The pain black mist vanished. Sobbing Moira looked down at Luke.

She used the one freedom left to her and fire consumed her body. The river would have no more use of her.


She never noticed the washing machine burst into flames

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