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‘Room’: A Short Story by Chloe Bayliss

This week’s creative writing submission is from Chloe Bayliss, a first year student at the University of Hertfordshire studying History and Creative Writing.

Her short story ‘Room’ is inspired by this month’s prompt ‘Nostalgia’ and reflects on the current situation.

CB: This piece was written as part of an exercise for my creative writing class. I was in isolation recently due to a case of COVID in my flat, so I was describing my surroundings, which was my room. 


Whiteness. A grubby smudge of dull whiteness, leaking darkened shadows across the plaster. Jutted edges spike their way around the bend, flat then bend then flat again. As a small trickle of rain dappled light pours through the window, an overwhelming smell of must and dying roses greets the whitened walls.

The roses droop pitifully in their vase, the petals sagging with expiration. Curling edges, a mess of colour, they scream for attention I do not possess. When they die, completing life’s cycle, I will chop off the heads, trim the stems and throw them away to begin again.

As time passes the lighting darkens, aided by the crimping of clouds in the distant skyline. Trapped behind the glass I wave at the forgotten breeze, imagining the bitter cold kiss that would one day grace my face again.

Tilt my head, I can see the box of cereal under the desk, those happy elvish smiles a sinister grin. No one can be that happy. Mixed with the long-ago laughter of various family photos, there is a wall beaming with curving mouths. Each photo is paired with its own unique backstory, some special occasion or family holiday. Each one is a memory too grey to return to vivid colour. Without the photos I would forget most of it happened at all.

Four walls, a window and a door – the basic necessities for any human habitance. Filled with excessive furniture, memorabilia, numerous items of clothing and various used mugs, this room reflects the in-habitor.

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