16th October


She lived at the top of the house, in an attic room with a window that looked out over the garden. Every day she sat in a chair in that window, thinking. She thought aloud, muttering or shouting as ideas formed in her head. All morning words tumbled from her, randomly it seemed, but by afternoon they were beginning to take shape and order. She repeated certain phrases, stopped, and changed what she was saying, so that by evening what had been – to anyone who might have been listening – incoherent nonsense, had become something else, a story that could be followed. But there was no one but herself to follow it.

When she had chewed it over a few times, she raised herself from the chair, reached for the window and opened it. Leaning as far out as she could, she spat something from her mouth.

It is hard to describe what that thing was. Perhaps it was a kind of seed. She spat it out as you might the seed of an apple. Sometimes the seed fell into the gutter below, and the rain took it away, through sewers and rivers to the sea, where it turned into a small corked bottle with a message in it. Sometimes it was caught by the wind and was blown into a park or a farmer’s field or a flowerbed outside a factory, where it grew into a poem or a joke. Sometimes it fell into the abandoned garden, where it lay among the huge dandelions and broken, cold frames until it became a legend, a rumour, a fairy tale. Sometimes a bird ate it and it became a song, and later if the bird migrated to a foreign land it would be sung in another language. Every day she spat out a seed.

Nobody visited her. The local children did not dare enter the house. The idea of going up all those stairs to ask for a story was too terrifying. Yet they knew she was there. She would always be there. Long after they had grown up and gone, there she would be, muttering and shouting, and spitting her seeds out of that high window.

Reader: James Robertson
Fiddle: Aidan O'Rourke
Guitar: Sorren Maclean
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