All the Worlds a Stage – Ladies Beware!

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All the worlds a stage,

A space – A platform – An area – A room – A home,

 Our world! A stage where we play out our life!

Sometimes happy, sometimes sad, sometimes it’s a farce!

Or a love story, or an adventure – with drama not meant to last.

But it’s our stage and we are the players!

Big pot-bellied players, small inadequate players,

Rich players, poor players, funny and serious players –

They are all part of our cast.

They may, when they enter, be fair a’ face,

Looking like one of their kin!

Or they may enter stealthily, in disgrace,

 Or boldly or shyly or  appear out of place,

However they do it, they’ll look their audience in the face!

As the first act begins!

We wait to see what their exit will bring,

What will develop, be they pauper or king?

Will it be unexpected or can we foresee?

Will we still like them? Oh, what will it be?

When will the final act end?

The Seven Ages begins with the infant so small,

Who nurse coddles and cuddles all day.

He learns very early that making a noise

Will eventually get his own way.

He learns that his puking will, after a while,

Mean someone will wash him – after a night on the tiles!

And so with this knowledge very carefully filed

The first age ends.

He found mewling didn’t work as the years went by,

So developed the ‘art of whining’ – thought he’d give that a try.

Did he pack his own satchel – remember he’s a boy –

Or did mummy do it for him, for her pride and joy?

And did he always walk to school – it really wasn’t far,

Or did daddy hear the mewling and take him in the car?

The childhood years went quickly, as they so often do

And it wasn’t long before he had completed his stage two.

Stage three is the lover – Oh women please beware!

The woeful ballad never leaves them and their sighing fills the air.

If they lose one of their possessions it’s always you to blame,

Be it screw or be it hammer or something much the same.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that your lover will be kind

But once married I bet your eyebrows will be the last thing on his mind!

Stage four becomes the soldier – his language seems to change,

He swears and shouts and curses in an ungentlemanly rage.

His temper may flair in no more than a trice,

When a more peaceful method could have often sufficed!

Don’t worry girls, it’s just a phase, it won’t stay –

It’s just the foul and fearful image that he’s trying to portray!

The designer stubble’s grown to make him look so strong –

Yet if he gets a cold you’ll soon know where you belong!

By stage five it’s all over, his figure now is round,

He’s full of wise sayings, his wisdom profound.

His eyes now severe, his beard well dyed.

He’s a pillar of society, who now walks with pride.

Has he really changed – or has he intended

To take up the cudgel that life has presented?

The fiery youth is no longer a fighter,

He gets beaten in battle – so turned into ‘adviser’.

The sixth age appears as he sits in his chair

Bemoaning the loss of his luxuriant hair!

He sits by the fire, – yes I know! I know!

 I know it’s the summer, but now cold is his foe.

And he wears comfy slippers as he sips his cocoa –

Things he wouldn’t be seen dead in years ago!

Oh girls, when did your sighing lover go?

He now prefers soup, because of his teeth –

He discovered it easier than chewing tough meat.

He peers over his spectacles as he takes his cup,

Offering a heart breaking smile to make us well up!

He then takes out his teeth to remove a pip

Before putting them back in, and then taking a sip.

Last scene of all to end the show –

Where did the dashing young soldier go?

Why do we do it? For love – or rather

 To bring the world more boy infants -that turn out like their father!

What happened to the child that sauntered to school?

What happened to the young man that dressed oh, so cool?

Don’t be surprised as our play takes its bow –

Because he’s probably sitting next to you, right now!

THE END

 

 

 

 

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It should all have been so easy!

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A Monologue

How the hell did I get into this mess? The last 24 hours have been an absolute nightmare! If only I could blank it out of my memory and start again – but I can’t!

I stormed into that spotty faced morons office, so full of determination, with my fists clenched, teeth grinding and jaw clamped and saw him sitting there, in his bright, modern room, with his legs sprawled out across his desk, looking so supercilious, so relaxed. I guess I should have known right away to keep my mouth shut!

But as usual I was unable to control myself! My words poured out as those pale, piggy eyes bore into me! I knew he wasn’t listening to a word I said! He thinks because his father owns the place and has money and he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, that he’s something special!

Maybe I did burst in all guns blazing but when you’re top salesman of the year, why not? Surely that should count for something! The commission they pay me for all the jobs I get for them to line their hand-made suit pockets is a joke! I deserved a rise! I deserved some recognition!

But did he see it – did he want to see it – did he hell! All he went on about, in that high pitched, whiney voice of his, was ‘targets’.

Well, I told him where to put his targets! I gave him a few home truths all right! ‘I’ve had enough.’ I said. ‘I’m not going to answer to you anymore! Bloody mummies boy! Find someone else to hit your targets!’

That made him sit up and turn around – and I walked out and slammed the door into that smarmy face of his and boy did that feel good! Bet he was on the phone to Daddy even before I left the building.

****

Trouble is, when I got home and I opened the front door, she rushed up to me and threw her arms around my neck …… and my heart sank. I knew what she was going to say even before she said it. She’s been on about having a baby long enough – endless whingeing at those interminable dinner parties she arranges with her ‘professional’ so called friends, where they talk about how much money they earn and where I act as glorified wine waiter. I hadn’t taken that much notice up till then, tried to ignore it, hoping the feeling would pass. It hadn’t seemed real till now – but suddenly I feel trapped!

I DON’T WANT THIS! I don’t want to be tied down with nappies – in a house smelling of sick. I don’t want to come home each night to mess and noise! Constantly hard up! Responsibility! For LIFE!

But I can’t tell her that. I can’t tell her that I’ve just walked out of my job – not now. It wouldn’t be so bad if it was just the two of us – but a baby….

Her parents already think I’m not good enough for her. When they visit the house (the one they never tire of reminding me they’ve paid for) I can feel them watching me, judging me, their eyes telling me how inadequate I am. Well, they’ll have plenty to judge me for now! I can hear them, as they drive home in their precious Mercedes saying, ‘Fancy doing this to her. He knows how to pick his time! You’d think he’d be more considerate. I knew that temper of his would be his downfall! She should never have married him. I did warn her!’ Oh yes, I can hear them already twisting the knife, as they sip their gin and tonics on the balcony of their sunny holiday home in Spain.

****

How smug he looks as I walk back into his office, cap in hand, to ask for my job back – and that high pitched voice, like a girls, tells me they’ve already offered my job to someone else – and given them my list of contacts. The contacts I worked my backside off to get! He takes great pleasure in telling me, with a sneer, the only job they can offer me ‘at this time’ is at a much reduced rate.

….and worst of all I smile and I thank him … and I tell him how grateful I am and apologise for my temper tantrum …. And I walk out slowly, softly closing the door behind me, knowing the smirk on his face is expanding on the other side.

….. And I now face the prospect of going home to tell her! The verbal abuse, the inquest, the tears, the recriminations, the apologies! The days of silent treatment, as she sits knitting baby clothes, knitting needles clacking, like the women by the guillotine, just in case I forget this dreadful wrong I have done, not only to her but also to our child!

****

What went wrong? What happened to the carefree lad I used to be? What have I done to deserve this? What has life done to me? What have I done with my life? What have I become?

I had such high hopes. I don’t ask for much, just a well-paid job, real friends, foreign holidays……

All I see now are rows of nappies flapping in the breeze, waving, as if they are laughing at me and stretching out into infinity.

It should all have been so easy!

 *****

 

Paper Chains – A story for Christmas. Parody

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 HE LEFT the office buzzing. He’d given all his workers a bonus AND Christmas presents and they’d all said how much they’d enjoyed the office Christmas party – well almost all. The young girl from the filing department, who had hovered hopefully by the mistletoe and drooled each time the accounts clerk came near, was sadly still destined to go home alone – and the cleaner would certainly not be impressed at having to remove the vomit stain from the boardroom carpet! But Hey-Ho! Christmas was meant to be fun!

This was Matthew’s first Christmas since taking over from his deceased father, and he had been determined to make it a success, and to make a good impression on his staff. The firm ‘Jacob R Lee Money Lenders’ had been in the family for several generations and Matthew was proud to be next in line to carry on the family’s good name.

Matthew loved Christmas. He thought it to be the one time in the year when you could socialise alongside your fellow man, regardless of class. Well, he’d done all he could to make them happy at work, now it was time for him to go home and to spoil his family.

The children’s Christmas present lists had been long – and expensive – but it was Christmas after all and Matthew wanted it to be one they would always remember. He was looking forward to getting home, kicking off his shoes and opening a well-earned bottle of Merlot.

He was humming a Christmas tune to himself as he drove into Beach Tree Avenue and turned his car into the tree-lined driveway of number 77. As he parked his car he noticed the first few flakes of snow beginning to drift slowly down. Perfect, it was going to be a magical white Christmas!

With a feeling of excitement gradually building inside him, he walked up the path and unlocked the front door – to be greeted by a dishevelled looking wife, whining children and a house that looked as if a bomb had just exploded! Through the open doors in the hallway he could see Christmas decorations and wrapping paper littered over every inch of the thick pile carpet in the lounge. The dining table was groaning with presents waiting to be wrapped. The kitchen sink was piled high with dirty washing up waiting to be done and the kitchen floor was covered with mud that the dog had brought in. Drying clothes hung over every radiator that he could see, as well as from the banisters going up the stairs.

‘The lights have gone out on the Christmas tree again!’ were the first welcoming words Matthew heard issuing from his wife Amanda as she came down the stairs, in a tone implying it was his fault, and he had meant this to happen just to annoy her.

‘O.K, I’ll sort them. Don’t worry, it won’t take long.’

‘And the kids need feeding. I haven’t had time!’ she continued, obviously close to tears.

‘O.K, I’ll do that as well! Come on kids. Let’s see what we can find,’ he offered cheerily.

‘And your mother’s rung to say she’s arriving early!’ she spat out, providing yet another situation for which he was obviously to blame, and causing her to finally lose control and to break down.

‘O.K, just take a deep breath and calm down!’

‘Calm down! Calm down after the day I’ve had!’ screamed Amanda hysterically.

So much for his well-earned bottle of Merlot! The only wine he was likely to get tonight was from his whining wife and kids!

Well, this is Christmas! Keep smiling, it will be fun! Everyone will enjoy it – eventually!

After mending the Christmas tree lights, feeding the children, washing up the dishes, walking the dog and folding up the now dry clothes, he finally dropped into bed, exhausted, just after midnight. Amanda wasn’t talking to him, making this quite obvious by turning abruptly away from him as he got into bed. The kids were unwashed and too excited to sleep and they were all still whining! However, after reading the riot act one more time, they eventually settled down and Matthew was allowed to rest at last.

He slept fitfully, his mind still whirling and while he slept he began to dream.

Into his view came a hazy image of Jacob R Lee, his great great-grandfather, who he recognised from the huge portrait hanging above his office desk. The old man appeared to be being choked by gold Christmas paper chains!

‘Life put this chain around my neck! I tried to give them everything they wanted and what good did it do me? The workers were never satisfied with their Christmas bonuses or their gifts – they wanted more. More, more, more! You could tell by the disappointed expressions on their faces. Don’t let this happen to you my boy, or you will also be going to an early grave!’ he warned. ‘I quite like it here though. There’s no one here to get at you!’ he laughed and with that the vision disappeared in a puff of blue smoke.

Then another vision gradually came into his view, of a young boy – a bit like his own young lad. Did he recognise him? YES! Of course! It was a vision of him when he was young. He even remembered the red jumper he was wearing. He was opening his Christmas sack and tearing the paper off one present after the next, hardly allowing him time to see what was inside.

‘Well, look at your presents Son!’ exclaimed his father.

‘Seen them!’ replied Matthew.

‘Well you should be a bit more grateful then! They cost a lot of money and a lot of thought went into buying them.’

‘Didn’t want them anyway,’ he replied, ‘wanted a helicopter.’

The scene then misted over and changed once more as Matthew recognised his family seated around their dining table.

‘Oh look!’ exclaimed his mother, clapping her hands in glee, as his father carried in the silver platter containing an enormous turkey.

‘I don’t like turkey. I don’t want any!’ said Matthew, glowering at the bird.

‘Come on now boy, it took ages for your mother to cook it for you. Some children are starving you know.’

‘Well post it to them then! I don’t want any!’ he replied rudely.

The picture then dissolved and Matthew woke feeling rather upset but he couldn’t explain why. ‘I must just be overtired,’ he thought, as he drifted back off to sleep once more.

It wasn’t long before he was tossing and turning again. Although this time he was in the present, dreaming of yet another charity envelope falling onto his doormat, containing a pen, Christmas cards and a picture of desperately thin, wide eyed, little children. He heard his own children telling him they didn’t like the expensive presents he had bought for them – and he saw his mother’s sour face because of the late hour Christmas dinner was being served.

He watched as she sat, arms folded, rocking back and forth, her nose turned up as if she had a nasty smell under it. She pointed out that, ‘Turkeys aren’t what they used to be. There’s no flavour in them anymore!’ She continued her rant with, ‘Where are the sprouts? It isn’t Christmas without sprouts!’ No one liked sprouts or ever ate them when they were offered – and he prayed his wife would bite her tongue for once, as hostilities boiled up around the dining table.

He held his breath as Amanda brought in the ‘Not flaming’ Christmas pudding’, with the omission of the ‘not PC’ coins, for fear someone may choke on them. Matthew heard the familiar, ‘No one ever choked on the coins in my Christmas puddings,’ cry once more. Oh how he wished his mother would choke on one right now!

Just as Amanda slammed down the ‘not flaming Christmas pudding’ onto the table Matthew woke with a start. What was the matter with him? Why all these dreams? It must be the mince pies the kids had put out for Santa (the ones Amanda had force fed to him) that were keeping him awake all night and making him dream.

However, his next dream was the strangest dream of all.

He was at a funeral. HIS funeral!

As he hovered weightlessly above the heads of the congregation, he wondered why no one was looking particularly upset.

He drifted over to listen to his children, who were now grown up and huddled together, whispering.

‘I wonder how much he’s left us in his Will. My kitchen needs a face lift. I hope he’s left enough for that!’ said his son greedily.

‘Don’t count your chickens. He was never one to give too much away was he? Remember those awful Christmas presents we used to get? So uninspired!’ mocked his daughter, ‘Still I hope he’s left enough for a skiing holiday.’

Matthew, enraged, glided across to his wife. She was dripping in black and speaking very quietly to the distinguished looking man sitting by her side.

‘I thought he’d never go Gerald! At last we can be together! After all those years trying to pretend I liked him! I suppose I better keep the old girl happy for a bit longer though, just until I get what’s due to me.’

Shocked by this admission, Matthew floated over to his mother, who was talking to her daughter. Surely, she would have something nice to say about him.

‘He didn’t have a business head, not like his father. His father could turn his hand to anything. He would have turned in his grave if he’d seen how the company was being run. Every Christmas – EVERY Christmas I was expected to go there! I didn’t want to stay there! Kids spoilt rotten and HER, ugh! Lady Muck! I was glad to get back to the nursing home I can tell you!’

Matthew woke up sweating and he looked across at his sleeping wife, in her black nightdress.

Amanda and Gerald! How could she? Why hadn’t he noticed it before?

Gathering his wits about him, he quietly got out of bed, went over to the window, opened it and took a long, deep breath of fresh air to clear his head.

Things were about to change!

It was early Christmas morning. He dressed very quickly, finally throwing on a red jumper, then he crept down the stairs.

He gathered together all the Christmas presents from around the tree and put them into three large sacks, which he carried outside and placed in the boot of his car.

He then drove to the homeless shelter on the other side of town, where he found children, queuing up for their breakfast, delighted to see this funny ‘Surprise Santa’, dressed in a red jumper – and bound like a mummy with yards and yards of golden Christmas paper chains. He unwound them symbolically in front of them and placed them amongst their sparse decorations and wrapped them around their tiny Christmas tree. He smiled as he looked at their appreciative faces, their eyes full of wonder.

When his family awoke later that morning, the first thing they noticed, after they’d rushed down the stairs to see what presents had been left for them, was the bare Christmas tree standing in their hallway – with not a single decoration left upon it. They then noticed all the beautifully wrapped presents that had been left around the tree had gone! Finally, they realised Matthew was nowhere to be found.

Hysterical once more, his sobbing wife called the police.

‘Help us! We’ve been burgled! Everything has been taken! All the presents that were around the Christmas tree have gone! My children are heart-broken; they’ll have no presents to open now! What are we going to do?’ She then added as an afterthought, ‘Oh, and by the way, my husband seems to be missing too.’

Matthew was never found – but on New Year’s Eve a postcard dropped onto the mat at 77 Beach Tree Avenue. On the front was a picture of palm trees, with a shimmering blue sea and beautiful golden sand and the words ‘‘A message from the Seychelles’’. On the back were just two words:-

‘BAH! HUMBUG!’

 

THE END

Weakness beneath my feet.

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A cavernous pit hidden by undergrowth,

To be seen is weakness,

A weak structure

Weakness is failure.

Cover it!

The layers grow, fronds piled high.

The ground beneath is fragile.

The pit remains unseen, ground appearing stable.

If no one walks across then all is well.

Yet people may cross

Allowing the ground to cave in, revealing its content.

Unveil the trap before fears become reality

Before someone gets hurt – I get hurt!

But if the pit be seen, its instability revealed –

If the demons trapped beneath come flying out

Then insecurity is viewed – strength fractured –  weakness exposed.

Which is worse, hiding them or allowing them to rise?

Why so fearful of letting them come out?

Does trapping them save weakness being seen

Or is it just a ploy to save myself – a healing strategy –

Buried oh so deep that coming to the surface now is harder!

Push them back! I will never have them viewed!

If they don’t come out they cannot harm me.

Maybe one day I’ll feel strong enough to let them go

Until then they stay – and no one need ever know.

                                        *****

 

The Golden Threads – Scifi

IMG_1899– Science fiction

1

He lay there looking old and frail. The veins on his withered hands stood out, resembling skeins of blue thread, like the knitting wool his dear wife, my grandmother had so often used. Both of them had been so deeply loved and respected.

Now, the unbelievable horror of what I’d just been told seeped its way into my body. His pale, gaunt face, with those piercing cornflower blue eyes, looked at me so urgently. It didn’t seem as if these were the ramblings of a dying man. This felt real!

How could he! A man I loved and thought I knew so well, how could he have done the unspeakable things of which he spoke – and is it really possible that I, his granddaughter, could also carry this burden?

The deathbed confession of the crime he had committed all those years ago would he said affect all humanity. He kept rambling about the ‘spell’ he’d performed. Tears filled his eyes as he asked for my forgiveness. He appeared genuinely remorseful when he admitted his work had been at the expense of others.

A long gnarled finger beckoned me and I rested my head alongside him on his pillow. With his last tortured breath he rasped the words ‘A dark man will come out of the shadows’. This couldn’t be happening! Fear gripped me. He was surely rambling. This is the 21st century, I don’t believe in spells!

I cried as I pulled the sheet up over his cold, yellow face and I remembered the vibrant, fun-loving man he was when I was little.

I pushed his words from my mind, believing them to be the insanity of an old man.

********

2

The window of my office framed a cold, miserable, January evening. I cleared my desk ready to go home. As usual I was the last to leave the building and as I walked down the long corridor I began my routine of turning off lights to save energy.

I turned the corner. The corridor was unusually dark today. Someone must have already turned off the lights thinking the place was empty. Knowing the building so well I walked on unperturbed but a feeling of unease began to knot my stomach.

Around the next corner it was also dark – but this time shadows seemed to lurk – dark, gruesome, moving shadows, punctuated by tiny golden lights that danced in front of my eyes. The lights came nearer, moving rhythmically, getting closer and closer together, until finally joining to create a thin, golden, flickering thread. The thread came towards me and began to surround me. I could hardly breathe! I couldn’t move at all. It began to find its way up my body, as the lights continued to dance and bind me.

I could now hear voices, voices in the lights, warning me, telling me I must pay for the sins of my grandfather. I was trapped, totally held down by hundreds of tiny, twinkling lights, holding me firmly against my will, pressing me up against the wall. The voices were the high pitched cries of children. They were taunting me, telling me I must now suffer as they had suffered – telling me my children must endure the same fate they had endured. Their voices got inside my head, warning me I would never be free, that I’d always live in terror of their return. They told me I would fear as their parents had feared! The golden thread wrapped itself around my neck, gripping me like a vice. A golden daisy-chain necklace was strangling me, choking me, as I writhed helplessly in terror.

Into my vision came a face, a dark face that hovered above me. No body, just a smiling, laughing, handsome face. It reminded me of someone.

Then, just as suddenly as they’d begun, the dancing lights released their grip and disappeared, and the corridor lights came on.

Still breathless, half crawling, half dragging myself, I started stumbling down the stairs. My children! I must get home to my children!

It was raining heavily as I ran from the building in my frenzy to get to my car. I splashed through the puddles which ran in torrents down the gutters.

When I arrived home I sprinted up the drive, fearful of what I was about to find. I opened the door and there at the table – sat my two children, my two beautiful and extremely clever children, both totally immersed in doing their homework.

Just an ordinary day? What had happened earlier? Had I just imagined it?

‘’Have you scratched your neck Mom?’’

I looked in the mirror and around my neck was what looked like a tiny, threadlike, red burn mark.

********

3

I didn’t- couldn’t – forget that incident. Indeed the memory of that day gripped me for some time to come, but somehow I managed to talk myself into disbelieving it. I’d been working too hard – just a blip! The death of my grandfather and too much work had caused a momentary breakdown that was all.

It was now February and the half term holidays were due. I needed a break and I decided to take the kids away for a short holiday. I’d been promising to visit Auntie Freda for a while. She was my father’s cousin who lived on the Isle of Wight. She lived with her elderly mother, my grandfather’s sister, and they ran a guest house. As they’d had Christmas bookings they hadn’t been unable to attend Grandfather’s funeral. It wasn’t the best time of year for a holiday but at least the guest house would be empty.

Grandfather’s 90 year old sister was lovely. She was a small, large bosomed, cuddly lady, who was never happier than when she was reminiscing about the ‘olden days,’ My children loved listening to her and each night she was delighted to tell her stories to this captive audience.

One evening after a day of walks and getting soaked to the skin, we settled down in front of the log burning fire. She had by her side a biscuit tin, full to the brim of old black and white photographs, which the children were enjoying sorting through. I idly picked up a photo and as I did so my blood ran cold as two young men stared out at me.

‘’Who are these two?’’ I managed to blurt out.

‘’That’s nothing, just your grandfather and a friend of his when they were young men,’’ she said rather too quickly, as she took the photo from me and surreptitiously slid it up the sleeve of her cardigan.

As I looked across at her I saw the terror in her eyes. I knew without doubt that one of the men in the picture was the dark face I’d seen laughing above me in the corridor.

After the children had retired to their room, I tried to delve more deeply into the old ladies early life and into that photograph in particular – but she looked at me, with the same piercing cornflower blue eyes of her brother and whispered, ‘’Don’t ask my dear. There are some things best left unsaid.’’

******

4

When I arrived home after the holiday I knew I had to sort out Grandfathers effects, which I’d been putting off for too long. As his next of kin he’d left his home to me in his will and I knew I needed to lay this ghost to rest once and for all.

I arrived at the rambling three story building after work one evening. As I entered I was once again gripped by a feeling of foreboding. Laughing off my anxiety I decided to begin sorting at the top of the house and to gradually work my way down.

After about half an hour I was aware the light had started to fade. Gradually shadows appeared which grew into tall grotesque shapes as they began to whirl about me. Suddenly the whole house lit up, as hundreds of humming lights danced around the outside of the windows, trying to get in. The humming noise increased and childish voices filled my head, like a mob of angry swarming bees!

‘’Lock the doors and windows. Keep them out. They want to destroy you.’’

‘’Who was that?’’

The light was now so bright it hurt my eyes and I ran from room to room to lock them out – to try to escape the lights and the noise!

Now the laughter began, the deep, throaty, menacing laughter, as the dark face of my grandfather’s young friend in the photograph, hovered once again above me, taunting me!

“You were one of the lucky ones my dear. You successfully underwent the ‘spell’. The treatment you were given when you were small meant all the information you retained in your brain by the time your children were born, was passed onto them. Your children are not just bright they are ‘Super Bright!’ They started their life with all your knowledge already processed inside their brain. Whatever they learn now will be added to that and it will, in turn, be passed on automatically to their children, eventually becoming a ‘Super Brain’ – followed by a ‘Super Generation’ – a ‘Super STORE of Memory’. Can you visualise it, a brain greater than the biggest computer in the world. Think how it could be used to benefit our country! Think how it could be used to benefit mankind?’’

‘’But the lights. What are the lights?’’

‘’Those are the children that were unfortunately incompatible during our early days of experiment. They are angry. They want to bring down the successful few. You must fight them. Your survival and that of your children and your grandchildren is at stake!’’

‘’A race of freaks! How could you? How could you leave us like this – never belonging – never free! Who are you?’’

‘’I was your grandfather’s senior neurological registrar. He was my junior. He did as he was told, however he was always ready for a challenge. Whenever we had the chance and a child needed brain surgery it was easy just to slip in a miniscule, undetectable, little computer. The early ones didn’t survive the trauma but their super intelligence did, and now their brains want to destroy you – hence the lights.

When I needed another subject your grandfather quickly obliged! Your Mother was our first success! When she had you it didn’t take much persuading for your grandfather to bring you into the hospital on the pretext of showing you off. You were perfect, my dear! What a shame your mother died so soon after you were born, before we were able to complete our work.’’

We were now shouting at each other above the noise of the angry children.  I looked towards the window and I could see the lights had changed. Instead of lights, hundreds of brains flashed and pulsated gold and green fluorescence, as they darted feverishly about, hurling themselves against the glass in a frenzy of madness. Their voices had changed and unbelievable, unimaginable cries of pain filled the air.

How many had suffered in order to feed the ego of two greedy, glory-seeking, men! It had to stop! Somehow it had to stop in order to release these children from their indescribable pain! Somehow ‘I’ had to stop it!

I walked over to the window. The noise was increasing all the time as they tried to attack me. They were spitting out sticky green syrupy liquid and as I watched it trickling down the glass, I made my decision. There was only one way to stop this. I had to offer myself up as their revenge for the despicable torture they had endured.

I slowly lifted my arm to reach the window latch, knowing that once it was open I would become their prey.

My last memory is of a disembodied voice screaming, ‘’NO’’. It certainly wasn’t laughing any more.

*******

5

I woke up in hospital, my body covered in bandages. My children’s faces peering anxiously down at me.

‘’What happened, Mum?’’

I tried to remember as I looked at my bandages, puzzled.

‘’I can’t remember.’’

‘’You were covered in burns, hundreds of them.’’

‘’I really can’t remember.’’

*******

This all happened two years ago. The memories are slowly coming back and I hope the children are now at peace. I’m not sure. My memory is now very poor and the Hospital says it’s because of the shock that I suffered getting burnt. Maybe.

My own children continue to be of above average intelligence. I say nothing.  At least their children, and the rest of mankind, will now be spared.

THE END