Cellar Stories: Ash & Elder

Sunday afternoon there’s always roast dinner. Then mum and dad go to church. The twins stay and wash dishes. Elder-twin picks up a plastic bag with unused Brussels sprouts inside. The cellar door is open. Elder-twin leaves a heavy sigh to keep the door ajar. The twins creep down the steps. It’s distressing to hear the screams; if you’re reading this it will be distressing. Elder-twin peels away layers of rotting leaves, watching the insides roll away to the dark edges of the cellar. ‘I love our secret,’ says Ash-twin to Elder-twin. Elder-twin does not reply.

A month later the twins are seated at the dinner table. Ash-twin becomes upset. ‘You’re eating sprouts, she says, ‘we agreed that they are…how could you?’ she whispered. ‘They are remarkably nutritional,’ said Elder, ‘Nigel says they are good for the complexion.’ That evening, Elder leaves for church with mum, dad and new boyfriend, Nigel. Ash bundles herself up in a large plastic bag, rolls along the hallway, to the cellar steps – down the steps she rolls, across the floor straight into the corner, tight into the corner‘I love our secret,’ says Ash, as she tears at the insides of the shrivelled Brussel sprout. ‘Scream all you like, there is no one left to hear you’.



Chaucer Cameron’s poems and poetry films have been widely published and screened. Her latest work Wild Whispers, a poetry film collaboration, was recommended for the Ted Hughes Award. Chaucer is co-editor of Poetry Film Live. Further work found at elephantsfootprint.com

This was originally published on 31st October 2020.