Sunday 11 February 2024

Sunday Serial: 240 x 70, by Gill James: 3. Origami 11 April 2017, lemonade


This collection is a collection of seventy stories, each 240 words. They were inspired by the first picture seen on my Twitter feed on a given day.


She made long-necked swans, boxes for secrets and delicate flowers. She worked away, folding and creasing. Her tongue poked out and she frowned as she concentrated. The craft paper was gone within three days. She started on the toilet paper and the newspaper. 

Auntie Ella drew the line when she started to rip the pages out of books. "You mustn't spoil your books like that. You should have a rest now, anyway.  You're going cross-eyed."

But the child just snatched the book back and started screaming. At least the tantrum showed that her vocal chords still worked. They'd not heard her say a word since the accident. 

Bob nodded. “It’s her way of coping. Susie taught her how to do this. I suppose she thinks it's a connection. Perhaps I can get some more paper from the recycling centre.”

"But that will only encourage her to make more and more of these. She needs to get some fresh air. She needs to eat. And she needs to speak."   

Auntie Ella bent down and put her arm around the child's shoulders.  “We can put them on all of the windowsills and shelves if you like. And what’s left over can go in the spare room.” 

The child stopped for a few seconds, looked up to the left, then shook her head and returned to her folding. 

What could they do? She needed help but they didn’t know how to give it to her.

Auntie Ella and Bob exchanged a glance. Auntie Ella sighed.  Bob frowned. 

The little girl stopped folding suddenly. “They’re for Mummy.”

Later that day the graveyard turned pink and yellow as the origami samples scattered   in the breeze.   

Gill James is published by The Red Telephone, Butterfly and Chapeltown.  

She edits CafeLit and writes for the online community news magazine: Talking About My Generation.

She is a Lecturer in Creative Writing and has an MA in Writing for Children and PhD in Creative and Critical Writing.



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