Short Story: World Without Corners


Erona grew up in a world without corners; in a cottage of rounded edges, nestled securely in a world of rolling hills. Blankets softened the floor and the windows were circular. The cottage had no chairs, only bean bags; no tables, only trays carved into gentle curves. Erona lived with her mum, Hannah, a taciturn epileptic, who said little and never hugged too close. Life was slow up in the hills, where civilization didn’t stray. They grew their own food, they stitched their own clothes. Time barely passed and the clouds circled.

Every day Erona would sit in her favourite tree, stroking the bark and watching storms play on the horizon.

Hannah would tell her,

‘It’s just you and me. There’s no one left out there, you can stop looking.’ But Erona wasn’t looking, she was just letting her eyes dance and her mind drift, she believed that was her role. That and pushing her mum onto her side when the fits came. As the spasms passed, Erona would hold her close.

Erona wasn’t expecting anything unusual when a man appeared over the horizon with a briefcase. She watched from her tree as he knocked on the door and Hannah answered, her face switching from puzzlement to rage. He was only looking to buy some land, he said in a prepared speech. Some ‘surreal estate’ he said with a chuckle into Hannah’s furious face. She slammed the door, but the damage was done, now Erona knew there was somewhere and someone else.

It was a year before she left, taking baked rolls and a blanket, walking out to where she could sometimes see light glinting in the hills. Hannah gave her all the savings she had, but never said goodbye.

It was two days before Erona reached the town. Noise and panic whipped the air into a frenzy, the walls were too many and surfaces jutted out at all angles. Expressions were brittle, at snapping point. Erona couldn’t seem to find a gap that fitted her, wherever she stood, she was in the way; wherever she walked, she stumbled. People shoved and tutted, wheelie suitcases and shopping bags moshed against her legs. All around her was the flow of purpose, and she interrupted it with her bewildered hesitation. The horizon was gone, the sky was gone, folded up into small boxes.

Eventually, Erona scurried for a hotel so that she could barricade herself from the noise, paying out money she didn’t understand. She hit herself on the door frame as she entered her room. She barked her shin on a table edge and howled.

Finally with relief she collapsed to the floor and stared up at the ceiling. Her arms spread, trying to force space, create a personal horizon. She wanted her mind to drift, but it was boxed and couldn’t move. The floor was hard, her bones were soft. She’d lost the sky and she missed her tree.


31 thoughts on “Short Story: World Without Corners

  1. Your ideas fascinate me. They really really do! 😀

    Well written story – curious and intriguing, but my how you explore and create atmosphere, ambiance, scenes so well.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I think i’d like to live in a little round house in the hills; it conjures up images of Hobbiton!

    This idea of no corners- were you thinking of Steiner education at all? I ask because my kid goes to a normal public school where they offer a Steiner stream. I have a love hate relationship with it. The educational aspects are nice, but i’m in turns amused and irritated by the puritanical parents it can attract, and how stubbornly they cling to tradition for no other reason that it’s traditional. One example of something that was funny/annoying as fuck, was the extent to which an aversion to corners and angles in the classroom became. If you’re not already familiar with it (but i’m thinking you are?) one of the ideas is to have softened rounded shapes in the classroom rather than hard corners. For some reason. Ok, fine. But some of the parents became irate – and i mean IRATE- because the children had begun building things from cardboard boxes ( *gasp!*) in class. Angles, as you know, are pure evil! The poor teacher got a roasting from these parents, who i’m sure all live in cylindrical abodes where things like cereal boxes, books, and envelopes are strictly taboo, lest their children grow up to become serial killers. Long story short: this story reminded me of them, and what they must think would happen to their babies should they expose them to reality!

    But that being said, i really would love to live in a roundy hobbit house in the hills!

    Pardon the super long ranty comment, haha.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I don’t know the Steiner system at all, although it does sound very similar as an idea. It sounds fascinating, although less so if it’s actually your kids who are being played around with. Are you going to (or have you) write about it? It would make a very interesting Brave New World style story.

      It’s really complicated, because we are still as a species trying to figure out this ‘moral stuff’, not to mention psychology. For sometime, people have tried to pull out the nastiness in others at its root, but I think it’s better to understand the cause of the nastiness and change that, rather than messing with the minds of children.

      Build with cardboard boxes kids! Build to the sky!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Steiner has some nice philosophies, such as learning about/ being in tune with nature, and encouraging kid’s natural creativity. Problem is, so many of the parents i encounter are so strict and puritanical that they are doing the exact opposite of encouraging their kids to be creative! The carboard boxes is one such example. It’s quite ridiculous. I swear some of them make it feel like a cult of some sort. *shudder* The laughable thing though is that they all drive their gas guzzling FWDs around; all watch TV, all live in square houses; many with corporate jobs. For them, Steiner is clearly just a way of feeling exclusive and special.

        Absolutely, we should be fostering empathy and compassion in our kids by exposing them to the diversity of life rather than closing them off from the world and telling them that there’s only one way!

        Hear hear! Carboard box buildings everywhere!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Many people do have a need to feel special; weird when genuinely special people spend all their time hiding what makes them different.
        It does sounds like you need to come up with your own system: the siddiebowtie cardboard box system! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      3. So true!
        haha, yes! I’ll create not only an eductaional system based on cardboard boxes, but will also build a city- an empire!- of them, which i shall rule! *muahahaha*. That reminds me of a certain episode of Adventure Time, actually.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Very interesting. I love the contrast, the rounded softness of sheltered life and the brutal sharpness of exposed life. It reminds me to look at both aspects and enjoy the best of both.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yikes, it appears that i may have offended you there with my comment:/ If it helps at all, i did not intend to do so. Wasn’t trying to argue. I was merely recounting how the story made me think of something; my intention was not to criticise you, your story, or your writing. Genuinely thought you were explanding on the “rounded edges” idea in steiner ed. My bad. I do often write long comments if the things i read illicit an emotional response. I would hope for art to do that. But probably i just need to shut up. I’m sorry 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Erk! I totally missed your comment! So you didn’t offend me at all, please accept my hairy great apologies! I need to check better. I shall answer it now. Have a beautiful day. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No, no, don’t apologise! My initial comment does come off as harsh. Sometimes i have no brain to mouth filter ( or brain to keyboard filter), unfortunately. I just blurt things out without thinking them through, and sometimes unintentionally ruffle feathers. In any case, glad to hear it was just a missed thing, though. I’ve noticed that WordPress sometimes fails to notify me of comments, too, and i don’t notice them ’til much later!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I didn’t read your comment as harsh at all! I am also a blurter and a ruffler, so I sympathise with that 🙂 I think it’s the reason I use so many smileys, so that people know my intentions are benign; awkward rather than mean.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yes, i’m a big fan of emoticons, too. It can be all too easy to misinterpret/ be misinterpreted in communication without the aid of body language and facial expression! Smileys are a good way of remedying that a little 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much. While writing the story I did get a yearning to live in a soft, curvy world, but maybe we need those hard edges to toughen up our shins and elbows!

      Liked by 1 person

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