“I don’t have any imagination.”
“Of course you do.”
“No, I’ve never had any.”
“You can’t live without imagination, you need it to evaluate hypothetical scenarios.”
“Yes, but I never fantasise about anything.”
“You might be fantasising without realising it.”
“Don’t be ridiculous.”
“Well, can you imagine a job more boring than ours?”
“Then you’ve got more imagination than I.”
“It’d be the same job, but without you.”
Jenny had stuck to the floor again. It was quite by accident, of course, though she took no issue with being there this time. The last incident had taught her the ways of the carpet, and she had every intention of making this a successful encounter. She pushed her nose into the fibres, spreading her arms before her.
“That’s my ankle,” someone said.
“I’m sorry,” Jenny said, “I mistook you for a chair.”
Someone joked that it was a fair mistake, and the room vibrated from laughter at the expense of the bony-legged person. Jenny, who hadn’t found the joke amusing, pursued an off-colour thread in the carpet, grabbing fistfuls of tuft and dragging herself forward. Her stomach burned from the friction, but the thread beckoned her on, glowing like a heated wire.
The room darkened, as if a great cloud had passed in front of the window. The party recessed into the shadows like a cluster of morning glories. The walls grew taller, and the window disappeared high above as the room descended.
“Ground floor,” Jenny said, knowing the instruction to be unnecessary.
Jenny continued toward the thread in the carpet, the luminescent rope that would take her out of the well. In a moment, it will all be over, she told herself. With a concentrated effort, Jenny grabbed the thread, which grew into a thick vine in her hands. She pressed the soles of her feet to the floor and erected herself, scaling the now vertical surface like a mountaineer.
The room erupted into applause, and Jenny waved her hand as a camera flash went off.
She felt a bony hand on her shoulder.
“Perhaps you’d better lie down,” someone said.
“I am lying down,” Jenny cried, and she was.