Alene sold a couple of t-shirts to a middle-aged man, and a book on anfylk baking to a woman not much older than herself. The cash machine worked the way she expected it, and all the items had neat little price tags on them.
No one asked her help to find anything, and no one seemed to recognise her. Someone asked if she’d heard about the fire, and she said wasn’t it terrible and she hoped no one got hurt, and that was that.
For a long time, she stood and stared at the cash box. It held enough money to see her with food and tickets for a week, just there for the taking.
The curse didn’t scare her. She’d never fall in love again. The affliction had seen to that. The beast, and her five-year old self hiding in the dark tunnels. She hadn’t thought about her since yesterday, but now, between customers, and with the music on the speaker sounding like a summer breeze in the mountains, the dream from the other night came back to her.
The dream, and the memories, and she’d better find something to do before the past crushed every single spark of joy she’d ever felt..
A pile of t-shirts that needed folding.
Books that needed putting on shelves.
Surfaces that needed dusting, and a floor that could do with a bit of sweeping. Once she got started, there was no shortage of tasks that perhaps didn’t need doing, but that could do with being done.
The beast kept quiet, Alene lined up a group of toy soldiers advancing on a stuffed rabbit, and the music drifted off to birds and forest sounds.
A little old lady showed up, kept calling her Sallay, and asked if she’d lost weight because there was something different about her that she couldn’t put a finger about, and did she have a suggestion for a birthday present for a four-year old?
Alene didn’t have the heart to tell the woman she wasn’t Sallay, but helped her find a wooden locomotive, put it in a box and wrapped it in sparkly paper. Forgot to check the price and convinced the old lady she’d already paid rather than open up the present and see what the tag said. Little Corinne probably wouldn’t care anyway.
A Bite of… Nils Ödlund
If you knew nobody would ever read a word you wrote, would you continue writing?
No. I don’t think I would. The whole point of writing something down is so that it can be read. The stories in my head don’t demand to be told. If I knew no one would read what I wrote, I’d just keep the stories to myself. Easier that way, and I can change things up on the fly as I want to, without having to worry about words and text.
As a writer, what is your ambition?
I want to provide an enjoyable escapist reading experience. Sometimes, the real world can get a bit much, and I want to help provide a way to escape from that, even if just for a little while. I want to create a world that readers feel like they can step into, and characters that stay with them even after they stop reading. I want to create stories that mean something.
What is your favourite tipple?
I’m quite partial to Jameson lately.
Nils Ödlund is originally Swedish, but lives these days in Cork, Ireland. He’s an avid reader, gamer, and fan of geek-culture. He picked up writing as a hobby, almost by accident, back in 2010, and it quickly grew into something of an obsession. In 2017 he decided to get serious about it, and in early 2018, he published his debut novella Emma’s Story. Since then, he’s been working on the Lost Dogs series.
When not writing, he enjoys hiking through the Irish countryside, reading, or playing games.
Unlike every other author in the history of all authors ever, Ödlund does not have a cat.
You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and his own website.