Echolalia: Researching the Frankenstein Stage Play by Mollie Russell (Lucent Dreaming Issue 10)

Benedict Cumberbatch has been outside my house for three days now.
I avoid making eye contact with him when putting the bin out,
and he dictates loudly to his phone about my aversion to direct gaze.
I don’t know how to tell him that any reasonable creature
would want to avoid a BAFTA winner camped in their driveway.

I spend a pleasant afternoon in the garden rocking chair,
indulging in the forwards-backwards sway
and the velvety pleasure of stroking the corner of a blanket.
All is tranquil – until Benedict Cumberbatch hops my fence
and states aloud tragically lost in their own world.

I am at IKEA, a fairly distressing location on a normal day,
a building of echoes and light that feels like chewing microbeads,
and Benedict Cumberbatch is there behind me, trying to match
my steps and bumping his pointed shoes against my ankles.
I stumble and drop the gå bort I am trying to buy. He notes: clumsy.

Overwhelmed by the constant chattering of Benedict Cumberbatch,
my ears fall off. I scream at him to gå bort and scramble to retrieve them.
He attempts to echo my scream back at me with garbled glee.
Everyone is staring. Everyone is staring at me, cradling my ears
on the floor in the shadow of an actor describing my distress to his iPhone.

My family help me with the paperwork when I file for a restraining order,
and Benedict Cumberbatch yells requires support for most basic tasks
as he is escorted off my property. I stop seeing Benedict Cumberbatch
and his machete-sharp cheekbones in my dreams. I stop seeing him
in my bathroom mirror, his blue eyes piercing through a hockey mask.

I stop seeing Benedict Cumberbatch until he stars in a stage show
playing the role of me. This flailing fish, naked bar a few stitches,
has stolen my downcast eyes, my swaying spine, my IKEA lurch
reduced to clown shoes. I feel the seams around my legs
unspooling. I sink down in my seat and try to reattach my toes.

Buy issue 10 today.
Lucent Dreaming is an independent creative writing magazine publishing beautiful, imaginative and surreal short stories, poetry and artwork from emerging authors and artists worldwide. Subscribe to Lucent Dreaming now, support us on Patreon and follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

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