City

by Maggie Mountford

Morag paid for the city in cash. She didn’t want any record. She bought the whole package: streets, boulevards, alleys, monuments, administrative offices, shopping malls, houses, statues, and people. She left nothing to chance. When they gave her the map, she scanned it in seconds, and in seconds she was laughing. “There it is! Look! That’s the place I was born! And there they are, the people I lived with! And there’s the school. And there—yes, there—is the place where the accident happened, the exact spot!” Car and tree, incredibly intertwined, as though they were lovers.

On the map, the hospital’s dead centre. Someone has taken a red pen and ringed it around, as though seeing it is essential. If you look carefully, you might spot a drawing of Morag, almost dead centre, in Concord Ward. Oh, yes. Yes! There is something so good about owning it all. Whatever has happened, whatever will happen, is all Morag’s.

She doesn’t mind any more, being broke. If not for this, whatever is money for? To possess what you’ve always longed for is not given to everyone She tells herself this, falling asleep. All around her, machines hum. All around her, white uniforms. Knowing she is now the sole owner, she is able, at last, to drowse. Even the bees are Morag’s, flitting from flower to flower, outside in the beautiful gardens. Even the bluebottle on the window pane, trapped behind glass. Zzzz… Zzzz…


Maggie Mountford is a writer living in Wells in the United Kingdom where she’s had a number of short stories and poems published, including her short short, “Transformation,” which appeared in Issue #6 of The Cafe Irreal and “Flying,” which appeared in Issue #8.