Is there a baby elephant in your writing room? Farhana Khalique’s flash fiction describes the weighted down feeling of stalled creativity. Illustration by Jake Williams
Baby Elephant is trying to sit in my lap again.
I groan and uncross my legs and she half rests, watching me.
I run my hands over her parchment skin, a palimpsest of grey. Her watermelon head is as hot as desire.
I tickle her parachute ears.
We sit like this on the shadowed plains of my room.
She won’t sleep.
Instead, she gets up and trumpets at the moon, threatens thunder, tiny tusks tear pin-pricks in the sky.
But I’m stuck.
She’s the one who pulls me out. She dips her trunk and sprays me with water, nearly drowns me, before she brings me back.
Get on with it! say the whites of her eyes. She ignores my shivers. She stamps her feet, spanks my hands and blows in my ears, until I pick up my pen.
Only then, she retreats to the sofa, her breath cools and her eyelids smoulder.
Even when she dreams, her tail swishes and sweeps the letters across the margins, onto the lines and into words.
I grab her floating ghost and colour her pink, a candy floss paper weight, a sugar-spun raincloud. The sweet heaviness of her feet rumbles across her airy playpen.
The pages will grow slowly, like her. Moodily, like her. But one day, those legs could be tree trunks, a forest.
For now, her smiles warm the seeds in my brain. And something takes root.
This story featured in The Fantasy Issue of Popshot Magazine.
To ensure that you never miss a future issue of the print magazine, subscribe from just £24 for 4 issues.