The gate to the decrepit warehouse creaked and fought against her, but it yielded. Minding her step, Agatha slid in. The length of the warehouse belied its height, making it look flat from the outside, but once in here, she remembered that it was almost two storeys high. Light poured in from the row of windows, almost all of them long broken, located along the ceiling. Back then, powerful electric lights had illuminated the factory. Now, the light from above played with the shadows below, transforming the dilapidated looms into dying monsters.
Still, Agatha closed her eyes and waited, summoning her memories.
And they came.
The gate was open, it was always open. A constant hum, punctuated by clangs and clanks, hisses and rattles, spilled from the inside. Agatha ran, always ran to her mother’s desperation, into the family’s factory. Her mary janes were muddy, but she didn’t mind. Not when she could enjoy this.
Row upon row of looms extended to the infinite that, for her, was the back of the factory. Operators, all of them female, moved a set of treadles with their legs, and several other wooden pieces, and to Agatha’s fascination, when they swept the shuttle left and right, amazing tapestries and cloths appeared, full of different colours and designs.
She kept walking among the looms, munching on the apple she used to carry with her. The workers greeted her, though they didn’t stop working. Agatha knew they shouldn’t, so she waved and greeted them back, as she ran among the machines, appearing and disappearing between each row, swiftly caressing the pieces of recently woven cloth as she passed each one.
And inevitably, at one point the foreman came down looking for her, and took her out, telling her it was dangerous.
The tug of the foreman on her arm propelled her forward. Once again she stood by the warehouse entry, but the noises were different. More mechanical, metallic. The building, while still imposing, didn’t look so grandiose. The trees outside had given way to suburban houses.
She pushed on the gate, and was invaded by the smell of electric machinery: oil and ozone penetrated her nostrils. Still the factory looms filled the premises, but each one was easily four times larger, and they were huge metallic beasts painted green. There were parts that moved up and down, backwards and forwards, left and right, all of them at the same time, tick tock, tick tock, following a maddening pattern in time. Only a few people were in sight, all of them men, and they now wore blue overalls and sturdy boots.
Agatha walked among the machines, watching each one, stopping and staring at the obsessive seesaw movement, hypnotized by the rhythm. She thought of her father, and she knew she’d soon have to take care of all of this.
She was reflecting on how much she missed the lady workers, when the foreman came and, as usual, told her the manager should not be there, because it could be dangerous. Agatha noticed it was the first time the foreman had called her “the manager”.
She almost wept.
The silence struck her. It was deafening now, given that the place had always sported a cacophony of sounds. Dust motes hang in the air among the abandoned looms, that were no longer tall but looked like rows of tables with strange legs. Some animal, sensing danger, scurried off in a sudden flurry of movement.
The explosives set off. The building collapsed.
Her last bond to the material world severed, Agatha finally left to forever rest in peace.
The challenge this week involved trying to include all five senses, and some sixth sense if we dared. I did it all, though I noticed that I underused the sense of taste. Agatha should have enjoyed her apple more, and I forgot to include a scene where she tasted her own blood. But in the end I think the story is fine as it stands.