Inquisitive: Part 7
By Hassan Izzo
I nodded in response.
“It’s actually been seven days.”
I studied the woman opposite me. I’d only ever seen photographs of my grandmother and was fairly sure that this woman was her, but my mind was struggling to take everything in. “Is it really you?”
“Is granddad here?” She didn’t respond straight away and I don’t know why, but I sensed she was trying to maintain her composure.
“I’m going to ask that you trust me.”
“You weren’t meant to see all of this now, but you are here, so I need you to trust me and do as I say.”
“OK, I trust you.”
“Good, because you wouldn’t want to spend eternity in that corridor would you?”
My mouth went dry instantly at the thought. “No…why, could that happen?”
“Only if you do not listen to me, my dear boy.”
The girl was sitting cross -legged on her bed with chunky headphones on. She was nodding along to the beat of whatever song was playing whilst simultaneously reading the book she held in her lap and glancing up at the TV every few seconds. Hollyoaks was on. I despise Hollyoaks. Her laptop, which was perched next to her on the bed, was also on. She was logged in to Facebook and inbetween reading and glancing at the TV she’d look at the screen to what was new on her newsfeed. Her walls were plastered with posters that depicted book covers: Dracula, The Great Gatsby, Neverwhere, and others. A bookshelf dominated the wall opposite her bed, stretching from the door to the window in what was a large bedroom. Allied with the posters, it was clear what this particular girl liked.
“She is the one,” said my grandma. “She is the one that will enable you to return.”
We were sitting on a branch in a tree that overlooked the girl’s bedroom. My confused expression at what my grandmother had said filled in for my lack of words.
“This isn’t an ideal situation, but it’s the best I can do.”
“I don’t understand.”
My grandma placed her hand on my shoulder. “My darling, you can come back, you can live again, but not in the body you had before.” The words ricocheted around my head but the meaning was too nonsensical for my brain to accept. “Grandma what are you talking about?”
“This is the best I can offer you.”
“Where were we before? Why are you bringing me here, why?”
I jumped at the way she interrupted me and she stroked my shoulder soothingly in response.
“You can either spend eternity in that corridor, or you can accept the offer I am making to you.”
The proposition sharpened my mind. “Just how exactly can I exist in that girl’s body?”
My grandma shook her head and pinched her brow. “OK, I will explain this as simply as possible. You know what puberty is, yes?” I nodded and she gestured for me to be explicit. “It’s when stuff starts happening to your body.”
“Good. This period of ‘stuff’ happening is what separates childhood from adulthood. It is a gateway that everyone passes through. The important thing is this: when the gateway is open, anyone and anything can walk right through.”
I took a deep breath. “What do you mean anyone can walk through?”
We both turned to look at the girl once more as she continued to read her book, listen to music, check her Facebook, and watch TV. I let my grandma’s words swill around my mind, piecing together the implications of what had been said. “My soul will replace hers, that is what you mean, isn’t it?”
“What will happen to the girl?”
“I will take care of all of that.”
“But she will not exist on this side anymore.”
“But she won’t end up in that corridor?”
“Dammit! Have you not listened to me?! I asked if you trusted me and you said yes. Now take the offer.”
Like any other writer, Hassan Antonio Izzo is happiest when he is sat at his desk putting words down on paper; whether it be updating his blog, working on a short story, script, poetry, journalism, or wrestling with his first novel. If anything stands a chance of getting him away from his desk, a few drinks with friends would stand a good one. His biggest claim to fame is that Quentin Tarantino loved his Mr T t-shirt when he met him; which was pretty cool.
A proud South Londoner, you can follow on Twitter @Hassanizzo86