(Fiction for latest meeting of the creative writing group that I attend – 200 words

We each wrote down a few words on scraps of paper and put them in a hat, then picked two out, as seeds for the stories. I got “storm” and “recluse”, which happened to be the words I’d put in!)

My family were recluses – parents, sisters, uncles, cousins, aunts. It was expected (but never said outright)  that I would rebel. I stepped outside to embrace the world, but it was raining, so I became a cabinet-maker instead.

I specialised in secret compartments. One day, I fashioned a flexible cantilever, dividing my workshop in two. Each half had the apparent space of the whole room.

The next logical step was repetition. Within a year, I subdivided my shop seven times, creating an area the size of a small town. With pulleys and mirrors directing sunlight to my arable shelf-space, I became self-sufficient.

When my rent fell into arrears, I simply moved into a six-inch strip along one wall, that neither landlord nor new tenant would notice. This vertical arrangement presented challenges, but I’m adaptable, and skilled.

If you’ve found this note, you’ve traversed 20 miles of corridor. Your attention’s flattering, but you can clear off now and leave me alone. Lucky for you it’s only ten miles to the nearest exit, the map’s on the back of this note. If you’re peckish, the sandwich draw’s marked too – hope you like egg. Thanks for visiting, and don’t come back.  

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