Glass by Elaine McKay

eVe’s card was wrapped in a clean rag. She’d unravelled it that morning and placed it in her dress pocket. The walk was long, but she’d brought two powders to ensure she wouldn’t dehydrate. She kept her hand in her pocket the entire journey. The card’s edges were so beautifully concrete against her palm that it made her insides click.

She arrived mid afternoon. The guards stood at the heavy doors of the flat-roofed, glass building. It was at this point she always felt a crazed panic, terrified she’d be turned away. She calmed her breathing and produced her library card. The guards motioned her in. The queues were shorter each time she visited, memories of memories fading.

When it was her turn to approach the glass cabinet, the librarian asked her what drawers she would like unlocked. Four was the upper limit. She tried to vary it each time, but there were two drawers she always opened.

Last time she’d allowed herself a luxury and requested coffee. This time she’d asked for the sea. The librarian’s gloved hand pulled gently on the small door before holding the vial it contained a centimetre from eVe’s nose. She sniffed in the salt, the air, the rushing noise. Life as it was distilled down into a glass bottle. Then it was over.

Her next choice was music. Even though she knew it would bruise her for days.

Its vial was placed a few centimetres from her nose. The hit of the sound against her nostrils forced her head back. Sweet and brutal.

The next two she was prepared for. The third vial raised, turning pages, sent a cool breeze across her thoughts.

And with the last, the essence of newborn crashed through her senses, simple and agonising.


Elaine McKay lives in Scotland. She has stories in various places online including 100 word story, Literary Orphans and Lies Dreaming.