The Invisible Girl


    By the time Lorna discovered that she could make herself invisible, the worst of the damage was already done. In fact, she often thought that without those nighttime visits and all the secrets and the guilt, she might never have discovered that she had a superpower at all. Small mercies. The ritual for being invisible to predatory males was more complex than your common or garden style invisibility. And frankly more disgusting. It involved faeces and urine and certain magic words that had to be screamed rather than muttered. And it didn’t make her completely invisible, like the normal magic. But she got left alone, and that was what mattered.

    Not that the other invisibility, the normal invisibility if you could call it that, was 100% effective. Some people could still see her; mostly those either completely full of love or those completely full of hate. Lorna had no use for either. She just wanted to be left alone, really. Though at least the love people didn’t want to hurt her, she supposed.

    And invisibility wasn’t all that either. She might be invisible, but she didn’t dematerialise or anything. She still existed. People could still tread on her, trip over her. That’s why she only stayed near the sea in the winter, when it wasn’t too crowded. She liked the seaside. Was always happy here as a child. Or at least less miserable. She could look at the ships on the horizon and dream about the places they were going to. At school they had learned about ships and Rotterdam and Felixstowe and Hamburg. One day perhaps she would make it that far.

    But for now, she had found a great hotel to stay in; only recently shut down so it wasn’t completely smashed up yet. There was a room on the top floor with a toilet where the bowl wasn’t broken. No water, but she had buckets on the terrace that filled up whenever it rained.    She knew she could become visible whenever she wanted, find somewhere better to live with the help of the people at the centre. But last time she had tried that she couldn’t come and go as she pleased. She hated people telling her what she could and couldn’t do. She had tried making herself invisible, but one of the ones full of love had stopped her as she was screaming the magic words and she had ended up in a hospital. They gave her pills that made her calm. But the pills stopped her from becoming invisible and she could not carry on with her photography.

    Lorna was a photographer. And a damn good one, if she did say so herself. She had used a camera originally, but it got stolen. She had stolen another one, but that had gotten stolen too. Couldn’t trust anyone, ha ha. So now she was a mental photographer. Which was better anyway. There had been someone once, somewhere, she didn’t remember where, who had told her that she might feel better if she had a mental picture of a happy place. So those are the pictures she takes. Here in this place where she was happy once, lots of other people come to be happy. So Lorna makes herself invisible. She dirties her face and clothes, mutters the magic words to herself on a constant loop. She can see it working. People drift past her, not seeing her. Sometimes it works extra well and a sort of forcefield develops making people walk around her, or even cross the road. She keeps saying the magic words, sometimes muttering, sometimes speaking, occasionally shouting. And she walks around the town, taking her mental photographs of happy places, of people smiling, having fun on the rides, of families where the children are laughing and not scared. That’s why it’s great here; why she loves the seaside.