The Tub – Isabella Orrebo

Her hair was long and soaking wet, from where – I did not know. She was twirling a piece of red shoe lace between her fingertips. Twisting it in circles against the table, then smoothly sorting it out again. At the same time there was a hissing sound. It came from her mouth – she was whistling.

“Grace, what happened?”, I asked. She didn’t reply, she smirked. I sat silent as she continued twirling the shoe lace between her index fingers. “Drip, drop”, she whispered after a while, and pointed towards the puddles of water leading from the wooden chair where she was sat. I traced them through the kitchen, all the way to the basement door. I turned around to check her before following the stairs. She was still there, calmly twirling the red thread between her fingers. Her head swaying sideways to her own melody.

I made my way down the staircase, towards what used to be a bathroom. It was cold down here and the lights had gone out. I thought I heard someone giggle. But as I came closer; I realized something was humming. The door was nearly closed but a small shimmer of flickering light made its way through. Slowly I pushed it open. It made a creaking sound. I flinched – praying it didn’t give me away. However, the humming continued, and whatever was in there; didn’t seem to notice.

In the bathtub sat a little girl. She was turned the other way; I couldn’t see her face, but she was playing with something in the water. All while humming consistently. I noticed she was fully dressed. For a second, I thought I heard something, it came from the staircase. I turned around; nothing was there. I was close now; two more steps and I can see her. The light above the sink was still flickering.

Wait – another sound.

I turned around. There she was, Grace. She was crawling down the steps. Like a spider on the run she moved quickly. Her limbs were no longer angled as the limbs of a human, and her wet hair was stuck to the side of her face.


The humming stopped.

Now – there was only my own breathing. Until I felt something. There, right below my waistline.


The flickering was back. And the little girl in the tub – she wasn’t alone anymore. Grace had joined her in the water. Around her neck hung the red shoelace. Together they play while singing the same melody;

“Drip, drop, drip, drop, she struggles – I don’t stop”.

I can see it now, their toy. In the water floats a shoe. The other one´s yet on her right foot, below the surface – I can see the red shoelace.

The little girl faces towards me, she´s paler than Grace. Arms stretched out, she reaches for my hand. They are singing, loudly now;

“Drip, drop, drip, drop, she struggles – I don’t stop”.


Isabella Orrebo is an artist.


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