Saturday, 22 December 2012

Visual Dare - Spare Head

Maybe it's because I haven't written much this week, too busy with birthdays and Christmas, but I have well and truely gone over the 100 word limit for this week's Visual Dare

Mine is 450 words if you include the title - oopps! Thanks Angela for such an inspiring photo!

Spare Head

Grandpa was so excited when I shared the news with him,

“A new job eh? I remember my first day at work…”

Then he regaled me with the tale about being sent to buy a tin of “elbow grease”.  I’d heard it before but it was a classic, like an old movie on a rainy Saturday afternoon that I could never tire of.

When Monday morning came along my stomach was churning I could barely my toast. 

“Grandpa been filling your head with nonsense again?”

Mum tutted and assured me these sorts of pranks rarely happened these days.

“Grandpa lives in his imagination take no notice.”

I took no notice of my mother and resolved to be on my guard all day.

When Christine, my new boss, asked me to fetch a spare head from the store cupboard I was understandably suspicious. I let out one of those laughs, spluttery and embarrassed.

“In the basement, behind women’s wear.” She clarified with an expression far too serious to be joking. 

I wondered if she had ever heard of “elbow grease”?

Hastily I made my way downstairs using the staff lift. The lift door snapped shut behind me as I entered a magical new world. 

Past gents’ suits, smartly pressed, then ladies dresses light and floaty as I walked by. I turned the handle on the cupboard door and felt for a light switch on the wall. My arm caught on a swinging coat hanger, it had been helpfully attached to a cord, I gently tugged and a bare bulb above my head cast a dim light.

Naked mannequins startled me, some headless, others with fingers splayed in unnatural looking positions, porcelain skin cold to the touch.

My heart started to beat almost audibly and I looked round to check there wasn’t a real human there laughing at my expense, videoing the experience to post on YouTube.

The basement was eerily silent but I wasn’t convinced I was alone, too many shadows down here and lots of places to hide.

Taking a deep breath I took a proper look round, there on a shelf along the back wall was a row of heads, lined up like boiled eggs. Eyes glazed over, locked in their own static world.

The head on the far right was leaning slightly towards its companion. Whispering a secret? Possibly stealing a kiss?

I grabbed a head from the other end of the shelf and got out quick. They weren’t real but I felt I had disturbed something private.

It was only when I had safely reached the lift that I laughed out loud. I had a great “first day at work” story to tell Grandpa tonight.

 Do click HERE and read some of the other stories too.


  1. Delightful story (glad you took the number of words you needed)
    Blessings to you as you embark on another Christmas

  2. Sarah this is wonderful!! Over the word limit or no, it hooked me straight through to the end. I'm glad I'm not the only one who got stories of "elbow grease" growing up. ;) Lovely narrative voice, effortless, carries you straight along. Great impressionistic details painting the picture of the crowded basement.

    Thank you for another wonderful Visual Dare! (And Merry Christmas!!!)

  3. This was amazing, so glad you threw the word count away. Was with him every step of the way, got the fear totally. Great writing as always :)

  4. You painted a lovely evocative picture with this! I was almost in the shadowy room with her myself!