It’s just a fly!

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A young boy’s scream echoes through the house, into the living room. It’s a high-pitched panicked scream that the boy’s father knows only too well. He looks over at his wife, who is alarmed and shuffling in her seat to get up.

‘I’ll go, this time,’ he says, waving her back into her chair.

‘But you’re tired, and you’ve got your work to go to soon,’ the wife reminds him, ‘it’s a long drive.’

‘I’m fine, really. And, you look more tired than I do. You’ve been running around with him all day. Let me go.’

The wife smiles and nods, settling back into her seat.

The father rises from his armchair and paces through to the boy’s bedroom. He finds the boy cowering in a corner, frantically waving his hands around. The father runs over and scoops the boy up into his arms.

‘Whatever is the matter, son?’

The boy begins to cry, relieved to be in his father’s protective arms. He looks behind him and spots the monster, and wails a bit harder.

‘Oh, come now, tell your Dad what’s wrong,’ the father says, wiping the boy’s tears with his sleeve.

The boy points to the wall. A nonchalant crane fly clings to the wall.

‘A monster,’ the boy says, afraid. ‘It flew right at me.’

The father spots the culprit and begins to chuckle.

‘That’s not a monster, son,’ he laughs. ‘Now, you’re six years old and you’re getting upset over something like this? It’s just a harmless fly. He was probably just saying hello. Do you know what we call this fly?’

The boy is calming down.

‘A Daddy long-legs,’ the father states.

‘A…Daddy long-legs?’ the boy asks, curious. ‘Why are they called that?’

‘Well,’ the father begins, taking a step towards the fly. The boy whimpers a little and leans away from the fly. ‘It can’t hurt you, I promise,’ the father reassures the boy. ‘Take a look and tell me why they are named Daddy long-legs.’

The boy fixates on the fly and slowly leans forward to get a better look. A tiny sideways smile creeps up his face.

‘Because they have long legs,’ he smiles.

The father beams, proud.

‘That’s right.’

‘And it can’t…hurt me, bite me, right?’

‘No, they’re harmless, hey, trust me.’

The boy smiles.

‘I do trust you, Dad,’ he says, relaxing in his father’s arms. He stares at the fly. His expression turns to confusion.

‘But why are they called Daddy long-legs?’

The boy watches the fly as though it was doing anything other than nothing at all, and waits for an answer. An answer that, strangely, does not come. His father always had an answer. Whenever the boy wanted to know something about the world, he knew he could always ask his father. He turns to his father to see an expression on his face that he does not recognise.

‘Dad?’

‘Em…they… what was your question again?’ he stalls, clearly agitated that he does not know a particular detail pertaining to the fly, and his son has uncovered a gap, albeit a tiny one, in his otherwise impeccable knowledge. He thinks hard, resorting to making something up.

‘Why are they called DaddyDaddy long-legs?’ the boy repeats, screwing up his face.

‘Because they’re someone’s Daddy, that’s why.’

The boy looks at his father, smiling in disbelief.

‘Someone’s Daddy?’ he laughs.

‘That’s right, son,’ the father says, straight-faced, adamant in seeing the lie through. The lie evolves. ‘Have you heard of something called reincarnation?’

The boy thinks for a moment.

‘Mrs Foster at school told us that…when someone…dies…’ the boy thinks harder, ‘they come back…to life..?’

‘That’s right, some people believe that when we die, we are reborn as an animal, or a bird, or…’ the father smiles, turning to the fly on the wall.

‘A fly!’ the boy says, delighted by the new information, and all the attention from his father.

‘Is that what you believe, Dad?’ the boy asks gazing at the fly like they are new best friends.

The father chuckles again.

‘Well, we just can’t be sure, son, but that’s why you should never hurt other creatures.’

‘Because they might be someone’s mum or dad!’ the boy smiles, working it all out.

‘Exactly! Or sister, or uncle!’

The boy kicks to get down, now confident, and the father sets him down on the carpeted floor. The boy looks up at his father.

‘Dad, what do you want to come back as?’

‘Oh,’ the father smiles, ‘ enjoying the interaction, ‘maybe a massive blue whale, or a soaring eagle.’

The boy giggles. He turns to the fly.

‘I definitely wouldn’t come back as a Daddy long-legs!’

They both chuckle together.

‘Maybe we don’t get a choice?’ the father teases.

The boy looks playfully shocked by the suggestion. He takes a sudden sombre turn.

‘Dad..?’

‘Yes, son?’

‘If you died…’

‘Oh, I’m not going to die, son,’ the father says, rustling the boy’s hair. ‘Not yet anyway, I’ve got a good forty, fifty years left!’

The boy pulls his head away.

‘No but if you did,’ he says, glum, ‘would you come back and find me, even if you were a whale or an eagle?’

The father is touched by the sentiment and feels emotions rise inside him. He smiles through the temptation to cry.

‘Of course, son. Now, listen,’ he says, changing the subject, ‘I’d better get to work. I have a long drive tonight. But,’ he points to the fly, ‘you and Mr long-legs here…you guys cool, now?’

The boy laughs giddily.

‘Yeah, we’re cool.’

The father leans down and kisses the boy’s head and makes for the door.

‘See you later, son,’ he calls, over his shoulder.

‘Bye, Dad,’ the boy says, over-confidently reaching out and touching one of the fly’s legs. It immediately springs off the wall, and takes flight, its wings buzzing loudly.

The boy is startled and screams, terrified once again, and runs after his father.

 

EIGHT YEARS LATER

 

The boy, now a teen, is walking home from school. He is dressed in his school uniform; black trousers, black trainers, black hoodie. He mostly wears black clothing nowadays, in and out of school.

It’s the usual route; down Wagon Road, through Lemon Terrace, passed the hut-shop, and home. He passes by the hut-shop, his head hanging low, his eyes fixed on the pavement. He hears a voice calling to him.

‘Hey man, I heard your Dad has got quite a temper.’

The boy is hurt and bites his bottom lip, and walks on. He knows that voice. The local bully-boy, stands outside the shop, alongside his twisted side-kick, who speaks next.

‘Yeah, you should tell him not to lose his head.’

The bullies laugh sadistically. Tears brim in the boy’s eyes. He lowers his head and picks up his pace.

‘Hey how is your Dad, anyway?’

The laugh again.

‘Oh shit, yeah, sorry, we forgot.’

The boy powers home, upset and fuming. He finally gets in and slams the door closed and falls to his knees and cries, hard, like he hasn’t in a long time, around eight years or so. After a short while of vacant gazing, lost in reverie, he picks himself up and enters the kitchen. There is a note on the kitchen table.

 

I’ll be back later tonight, usual time.

There’s stuff in the freezer for your tea.

Careful with the oven. Don’t burn the house down.

Love you.

Oh, you’ve still to do the dishes.

The longer you leave it, the more it mounts up.

I do not want to see them still sitting there when I get home, okay!?

See you soon.

Mum. x

 

The boy turns and glances at the huge pile of dirty dishes in, and around, the sink.

‘Great!’ he yells, and angrily pulls off his hoodie and throws it on the floor.

He huffs and puffs, and eventually approaches the sink. He plugs the sink-hole and turns on the hot water tap. He finds the washing up liquid and a sponge in a cupboard under the sink. He squeezes an excessive amount into the water and it immediately begins to foam and bubble. He scoops up the first plate and begins to scrub. After a while, he places the last of the cutlery onto the draining board. He jumps when he hears a loud buzz quickly approaching his left ear.

‘Jesus!’ he cries, and ducks down.

He scans the room, looking for a wasp, or bee. He finds nothing. He picks up another plate. The buzz swoops at him again. He ducks down again.

‘What the hell is that!?’ he yells, scanning the room. He turns to the left. Nothing. To the right. Something small and dark flies towards his face.

‘Christ!’ he yells, trying to identify it. But it is gone.

‘Where the hell did it go?’ the boy asks himself, agitated by the home invasion.

He hears the buzz and turns to see the intruder flying close to his face.

He has an immediate, and strange, impulse to blow it away, and he does. It works, but only temporarily as the intruder is determined and returns.

‘I’m not in the mood for this,’ the boy yells, and swipes at the intruder with a wet, sudsy hand.

His hand connects and the intruder is sent crashing down on to the kitchen table, where it lies, twitching.

‘There!’ the boy cries, victorious, looking down at the defeated crane fly. ‘Maybe now I can finish the dishes in peace!’

He grins and returns to the sink. As he picks up a plate, his grin is already dropping.

There is an awful feeling, that he can’t understand yet, creeping up on him. Something bothering him.

‘It got in my face,’ he tells his conscience.

His father’s words ring in his ears.

That’s why you should never harm other creatures.

‘It’s just a…’ he says, angrily, turning to the fly, ‘Daddy…long-legs…’

He’s suddenly back in his bedroom, eight years ago. The memory of that day. That day. The last day he ever saw his father. He recalls their conversation. The fly. The name. Reincarnation. Coming back, from death. He sees himself as a child, looking up at his father.

If you die, the child asks, would you come back and find me?

His dad smiles. That smile that the boy has missed so much.

Of course, son

The boy snaps out of his memory and quickly glances at the quivering insect on the table. He drops the plate in his hands and immediately runs to the table and kneels down, his face close to the fly. Tears begin to stream down his face. He opens his mouth, but can hardly say the word.

‘Dad..?’ he whispers, shaking his head.

The fly very slowly begins to crawl towards the boy. When inches away, it halts, and shakily holds out a leg. The boy breaks down.

‘Dad?’ he cries.

He reaches out a finger and delicately touches the fly’s leg, before it gently lies down and dies.

‘Dad!’ the boy yells, nudging the fly, hoping it might revive it.

His efforts are to no avail.

The boy weeps, uncontrollably.

‘I’m sorry!’ he screams, into the air. ‘It’s just a fly! It’s just a fly!’

Looming.

‘Oh God, what have I done?’

Now, he will be coming. Coming here, to my home. And what hurts the most is that I know I have caused this. My choice, through necessity, maybe, but I have made this happen.

‘What am I going to do?’

Maybe I can stop this. Stop him coming. But I have no phone.

‘Who in the twenty first century doesn’t own a phone!?’

Me, obviously. There must be another way. Email someone?

‘Jesus.’

Easy, just stay in the house. Keep the windows and the door locked.

‘The door is locked, isn’t it?’

I’ll just go and check. Down the stairs, quick, careful. Try the handle.

‘Yeah, of course, it’s locked.’

Okay, back up the stairs. Why am I shaking?

‘Christ, I’m rattled.’

Just sit down, relax, Wait it out.

‘Maybe inaction is the best course of action here?’

That’s it, deep breaths. There is nothing to fear but fear itself.

‘Exactly.’

He is coming.

‘What am I doing? I’m supposed to be trying to relax!’

But he is coming. He will be here soon. There is no denying it. It’s inevitable. Maybe pacing will help. That’s it, pace the floor and worry, that’s it.

‘This is just getting ridiculous. I’m actually really scared now.’

It will soon be over. He will be here any moment. I have to face up to what I have set in motion.

‘I don’t have to do anything! Maybe I should just go to bed. Hide under the…’

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK.

He’s here. It’s time. Do I answer or do I stay frozen and silent, and hope it all just goes away?

‘I…I…’

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK.

‘Okay, I’m going.’

Going to answer?

‘Yes, I’m moving aren’t I?’

Down the stairs, quick, careful. It’s not too late to change my mind. It’s never too late! I’m unlocking the door. But he’s there. He’s right outside. Don’t open the door. Don’t open it. I’m opening it!? He’s there, he sees me. He’s opening his mouth and reaching out to me.

‘Take-away delivery, mate?’ he says.

‘Ah, right, nice one, that was fast.’

‘Nine quid, exactly, mate,’ he states.

Reach into pocket. Bring out cash. Hand cash over and take bag of food.

‘Thanks and just keep the change.’

‘Cheers mate,’ he says.

He turns. He leaves. Shut the door and lock it. Don’t fumble, lock it, lock it!

‘It’s locked, Christ!’

And relax. Breathe. Smell food.

‘Mmmmm. Let’s eat.’

Well, until next time, delivery guy.

Return to The Void!

Welcome back trekkers…to The Void.

After an unfortunate and catastrophic accident, Captain Callen Amity and her crew, and their sentient ship, Harold, and two members of an alien race called The Immaru, are given another chance at life by an anonymous old friend to humanity in a defiant act of compassion against the Continuum.

What is in store for Captain Amity and her crew as they desperately try to escape the void, and return to Earth with warnings of Reptoids and impending war?

Can they avoid falling apart this time? Can they suppress the madness?

Is Harold damaged beyond repair, or even willing to cooperate with the loathsome humans?

Can The Immaru help them make it home? Or are they cursed with their own limitations and psychosis?

Return for a darker trek. Return to The Void.

startrekreturntothevoid.wordpress.com

startrekthevoid.wordpress.com

WILDERNESS. An album by PILGRIMS.

Pilgrims album cover.jpg

A collection of songs inspired by animals that have been totemic in our relationship and musical journey so far. Everything from wolves to sharks to cats to hummingbirds.

a sound born in a storm. this is what happened when a bird fell from the sky and foxes followed us home. this is supernatural, homespun honesty. this is soup, at 4am. this is a map of the stars that trace our fate. this is paprika tea. this is animal instinct. this is our story. our music.

this is the sound that came from a gorge . this is what happened when lovers cut each others hair with a samurai sword. this is inside out and up ‘n’ down. this humble creation from this hibernation. baring and purging. this is defining heroes. this is katsu curry & fermented pears. this could be winter. these are our scars. this is our music.

this is the chaos of living with panthers in a house by the sea, where ravens share their secrets with those who speak their language. this is our allegiance to our ancestors and the salt in our Bourbon. two years of travelling the sun, we are finally home.

Available in three parts or as the full album HEREhttps://pilgrimsuk.bandcamp.com/

Join us on our journey, our pilgrimage.

Caught in the wake.

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A large, white, senior tom-cat gently strolls through a large, white house. Light jazz music resonates through the rooms and hallways of the house. He slumps down onto his favourite window sill. A space big enough for two. It used to fit two. Two cool house kats that would sit together, side by side, and watch the world go by. But now, he sits alone, forlorn. It’s been a long time since he has seen his friend. She left so suddenly and he has never fully recovered from the loss of her presence, and her love. Nor has he fully given up hope that she will return some day. Return for him. His big, old, olive-green eyes carefully studies each face that goes by, searching for that face, those eyes, that smile. He is so engrossed in his search that he does not notice that the music has stopped.

‘She’s no’ coming back,’ a man says, abruptly, from behind him.

The tom-cat’s ears lower, and he gives a solitary tail wag, acknowledging the man’s voice.

The man huffs and walks away.

The cat’s ears perk up again as he continues his search.

 

Several miles away a petite, dark-haired woman excitedly dances on the spot in the kitchen of another house. She hasn’t been this excited in a long time. In her hand is a mobile phone with an image of a grey and sand-coloured tom-cat, with dark stripes and spots. A miniature tiger. You could forgive someone for mistaking him for a Scottish wildcat.

‘He’s two years old,’ she tells a man, almost pleading, ‘he’s a Maine Coon/Bengal cross, looking for a loving home and you’ve been saying for a while you’d like to rescue a cat…’

The man, tall and lean with long dirty-blonde hair, smiles as he gazes at her sparkling eyes. He hadn’t planned on a companion animal so soon, but the image of the cat’s charming face and consideration for the animal’s desperate situation, and his lover’s excited anticipation, has him soon nodding his head.

 

Meanwhile, the white tom in the white house rests his weary head on his front paws. Instinct tells him something is wrong, but he can’t understand what is happening to him. He is so tired. And his heart aches. He huffs as his breathing becomes shallower.

 

Hours later, the man and woman return to their home with a cat in a box. He runs riot, exploring and rubbing his face on everything, marking out his new territory with his scent. His character shines. The woman takes great delight in feeding him as the man watches, smiling, but he is distracted by the dawning implications of taking on such a responsibility.

However, the cat is friendly and trusting, perhaps too trusting for a desperately cruel and opportunistic world, and as the night rolls in, and all settle in, the man, curiously content, watches his two kats, curled up beside each other, and besides themselves with love. He knows how she has suffered, how she has grieved for another cat, from another life, that she had to leave behind. Often referring to the cat as her best friend, having saved her from herself and a nasty fall from a high-rise precarious perch.

The woman’s eyes flicker open and she gazes at the her new furry friend asleep next to her, she smiles, teary-eyed and reaches for him. She rubs his ribs down to his thigh, his coat is thick and soft, and he mews an almost kitten like cry for a five pound burly cat, and rolls onto his back, with his front paws tucked up like a kangaroo, exposing his belly. She runs her fingers through his super soft and delicate belly fur and he mews again, blissfully purring, and she falls for him, hard.

 

And miles away, in a vacant white house, the lonesome white tom feels another sharp ache in his chest. Through a deep, thousands of years in the making, inter-species understanding, he now knows his time has come. He knows she has fallen in love with another. She will never return. And his heart breaks, beyond repair. He slowly heaves his weakening body to his favourite window sill, the place where he saw her last as she painfully walked away and out of his life, and gently lies down to die.

 

We are all animals. We all experience love and pain. Our hearts break. Some heal. Some don’t. It is not a perfect world and there is rarely an ideal solution. But we must follow our hearts, and simply hope that those who are caught in the wake from the vital choices we make, and the chances we take, can endure and recover. And we can only simply grieve for those that do not.

 

Rest in peace, Jaco.

 

 

 

Dawn’s deid arm!

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‘On your marks…’

Two ten year old Scottish schoolchildren, a petite peely-wally boy with an unkempt golden haystack of hair hanging in his eyes, and a tall and lean girl with large pink-framed glasses and a dark cloud of curly hair, are poised at the end of a long corridor in Southwood Primary School.

‘Get set…’

They both loved to run. And race. And they would often have their own little competitions. Who is the fastest? And sometimes, who is the strongest? They had a special game, called Deid Arm, where they would sneak up on each and try to punch each other on the upper arm, so that it goes limp. A dead arm. They were evenly matched, the girl could give as good as she got. Many a time the boy would be engrossed in an assignment, when…Wham! The girl would catch him unaware with a right hook. And they would laugh as his arm would flop down by his side. She’d left many a bruise.

‘Go!’ the boy blurts, and they both tear away from their agreed start line.

First to the end of the corridor, the finishing line.

They both move like brats out of hell. Running in the corridors was against the school rules. But this added new stakes to the game. Who is the bravest? They enjoyed their little games together. And breaking the rules.

The boy, with shorter legs runs like a knackered hamster on a wheel. His mother’s burnt outsider breakfast offering had long worn off and the boy is already feeling the hunger pang sapping his energy as he runs. But he runs. He can’t lose against a girl.

The girl, with long lean legs, runs in an awkward manner, gangly with knees together, much like a young giraffe falling over its own feet, but she is strong and determined and keeping pace with the scrambling boy.

Halfway down the corridor, disaster. The girl ungracefully trips over her own feet and tumbles to the carpeted floor. The boy notices out of the corner of his eye and turns to her as he runs. She hits the ground hard. There is a brief moment where he sees opportunity and considers running on to another victory. But it is soon overridden with concern for his friend, and he skids to a halt. He turns and runs back to her. She is embarrassed and is already picking herself up off the floor to compensate, despite clearly being in discomfort. She grimaces as the boy helps her to her feet. He scoops up her glasses.

‘You okay, Dawn?’ the boy asks, handing the girl her glasses.

‘Yeah, I think so,’ she says, putting on her specs, and rubbing her elbows and knees. ‘I just fell. These damn legs.’

She looks down at them disdainfully.

The boy sees her frustration and tries to lighten her mood. He always knew how to make her laugh. Like the time he pretended that he had glued his hand to the table, and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t move his hand, until she believed his hand was actually stuck. When he revealed he was faking, it was another small victory for him, and she knew it, but she laughed anyway. Fair play.

‘It’s like you want to go so fast that your legs can’t even keep up!’ he offers.

She smiles and glimpses at the boy. There is something in her eye that he does not recognise. She is hiding something.

The boy reckons that she may have hurt herself more than she is letting on.

‘Listen, maybe it was a dumb idea, we don’t have to finish the stupid race if…’

But before he can finish his sentence, the girl takes off down the corridor in one swift movement. The boy instantly realises what she had been concealing in her gaze, and he smiles. Fair play. He turns and quickly assesses the situation. She isn’t too far ahead. Perhaps he still has a chance. He runs after her, pumping his scrawny arms and legs for the win.

But as he gains on her slightly, he knows she has outsmarted him this time. She reaches the double doors at the end of the corridor, still at full steam ahead, and slams into the double doors. She really wanted this victory. Needed it. And she got it.

The boy catches up and they huff and puff, out of breath, for a short time.

‘Very nicely, and sneakily, done. You never cease to surprise me, Dawn,’ the boy smiles, trying to lose gracefully. ‘Not bad for a girl…with bandy legs.’

Dawn laughs unabashedly. She is beaming and elated with her win, but she has suffered for her effort. She reaches down and rubs her knees again.

‘Thanks, Robert,’ she says. ‘I paid for it,’ she says, grimacing slightly as she rubs her wrists, one after the other. ‘But it was worth it,’ she smiles, gazing into his eyes.

He smiles. Her eyes gloat, but she deserved this one.

‘Well, I thought it was awesome, falling and still beating me!?’

She beams again.

‘Yeah, yeah, you go ahead and bask in the glory,’ Robert says, narrowing his eyes. ‘It’ll be short-lived.’

Dawn just laughs, delighted with herself and the attention.

A teacher comes charging through the double doors, almost colliding with the children. She is short and dumpy, with short chestnut hair. In her fifties and dressed in drab grey office attire. She is the school receptionist, Mrs Stark. And not only in name. Also in nature. She pauses, looking down her long round nose at them, with suspicion.

‘What are you pair doing?’ she asks, bluntly.

Dawn seems to panic and shuffles, unsteadily, on her feet. She never could get used to authority. But Robert had long learned how to talk his way out of trouble, having been in a lot of trouble in his short life.

‘We are heading back to class, Mrs Stark, we were at the toilet.’

Mrs Stark considers the information for a moment and then seems to revert to the formal spiel.

‘It is strictly forbidden for children to congregate in the corridors.’

‘Yes, I agree, Mrs Stark, we can’t condone children casually congregating in the corridors,’ Robert teases, holding Mrs Stark’s glare.

Dawn lowers her head trying to conceal her smile and stifle her amusement.

‘Yes, well, children are expected to return from toilet breaks as quickly and quietly as possible. So I suggest you both do that,’ Mrs Stark says, her eyes rolling slightly and her eyelids fluttering as she struggles with her own sense of authority.

‘Will do, Mrs Stark,’ Robert smiles.

Mrs Stark just stares at him, leaning slightly away from him, as if he is a dangerous cobra that could strike any moment. She shuffles passed them and takes off down the corridor.

‘Better get back to class,’ Dawn says.

Robert gets another hunger pang and his stomach rumbles. He groans and holds his stomach.

‘You okay?’ Dawn asks.

‘Yeah, just hungry.’

‘Well, lunchtime is only an hour away.’

Robert takes a deep breath through his nose. There is a sweet and savoury aroma lingering in the air. He now becomes aware of the distant sounds of plates, cutlery and pots crashing, tinkling and clanging together. The dinner-ladies in full swing.

‘Race you back to class?’ Robert suggests.

Dawn laughs and shakes her head.

‘I think my knees have taken enough punishment. Quit while ahead, eh?’

Robert smiles.

They turn and push open the double doors and make their way back to class.

After an agonisingly slow hour, the dinner bell rings and Robert hurriedly makes his way to the canteen to see what goodies the dinner ladies have rustled up. He is hoping for pizza. As he enters the large assembly hall that doubled as the school canteen, the folding tables and chairs are all laid out and many seats are occupied. There is a steady din, as children and staff chatter and eat.

Robert looks at the blackboard where the daily menu is written in chalk. No pizza today. He is disappointed. He settles for brisket and potatoes with gravy. He had been dreaming about pizza and feels frustrated as he joins the dinner queue. But he soon lightens up when he sees Dawn, already seated at a nearby table, eating her lunch with a friend. She is always seated first. And she is completely unaware of his presence.

Robert knows he has a chance here. To get in a sneaky victory, in return for Dawn’s sneaky tactics earlier. He quickly tip-toes up to her and lands a right jab on her right arm. Her friend gasps, but Dawn just bursts out laughing as she holds her sore arm.

‘Deid arm!’ Robert cries, laughing, and hurries back to re-join the dinner queue.

‘I’ll get you back!’ Dawn warns, after him.

And Robert knows she will. But he grins, satisfied with having the upper hand for now.

‘What do you think you’re doing?’ asks an infuriated red headed boy, standing in the queue next to Robert, who had witnessed the scene. Robert turns to him.

‘What do you mean?’

‘I saw what you just did.’

‘So?’

‘So? How would you like it if I came up and punched you in the arm?’

‘No wait, you don’t understand, I do that all the time.’

‘What!?’ the boy asks, taking a threatening step forward.

‘No,’ Robert says, raising his hands, ‘what I mean is that it’s a game.’

The boy looks even more exasperated.

‘That we both play,’ Robert adds.

Dawn and her friend have noticed the confrontation and are now watching. As are other children.

‘Seems a little unfair to me,’ the boy says, looking Robert up and down.

‘Unfair?’

‘Well, because…’ the boy says, glancing over at Dawn. ‘Because she’s a…’

‘Girl?’ Robert interrupts. ‘Don’t worry about that, she’s given me a few crackers…’

‘I was going to say… a spastic! You can’t just go around punching a spastic.’

The canteen has fallen quiet as most of the children are now engaged with the commotion. Robert’s eyes meet Dawn’s. There is a deep sadness in her eyes and she blushes hard, embarrassed at the attention drawn to her disability. Dawn has cerebral palsy. It is slowly crippling her, and has already taken a major toll on her body. As a result, she is bow-legged and has mobility difficulties. But she can run, and she is fast. And she is strong. And her disability was never an issue or a focus in their friendship.

As Dawn and Robert stare at each other from across the canteen, they share an unspoken understanding of how the outraged boy has inadvertently offended and isolated her by trying to ‘stick up’ for her. Perhaps his heart was in the right place. But for Robert, he never treated Dawn like an invalid. Or a disabled person. Or a spastic. He treated her as an equal. And Dawn realised that their competitiveness and friendship was proof of this. She didn’t want special treatment. She didn’t want cotton wool wrapped around her. She just wanted to be treated like any other ordinary child, despite her illness.

As more of the children take notice, they gawk at Dawn.

‘What happened?’ someone asks.

‘He hit a spaz,’ someone else answers.

Dawn lowers her head and quietly sobs, overwhelmed by the awkward moment.

‘See,’ the redheaded boy blurts, becoming enraged. ‘You’ve made her cry.’

He rushes at Robert and they grapple.

‘You don’t understand…’ Robert tries to explain, ‘We’re…friends…’

But the children have broken out into a yelling rabble as they gather around the scuffle.

An unamused teacher is soon over, breaking up the fight.

‘What is the meaning of this behaviour?’ the teacher demands, a tall man, with tawny-brown hair and a moustache, and small but frightfully piercing dark eyes, called Mr Dobbin.

‘He started it,’ Robert says, poking a finger at the redhead.

Mr Dobbin turns to the boy.

‘Is this true?’

‘It is, sir, but only because I saw him hitting that spastic,’ he admits, and points to Dawn.

Everyone gawks at Dawn again and she lowers her head again, and begins to sob. Mr Dobbin turns to her and notices she is upset. He becomes very concerned and turns to Robert.

‘You did what?’ he asks, with a look of disgust on his face.

‘You don’t understand, it’s just a game…’

Mr Dobbin lunges at Robert and grips him by his shirt collar and begins to march him out of the canteen.

‘Let’s go,’ Mr Dobbin says, sternly, ‘you can explain this sick slap the spaz game of yours to the headmaster.’

Some of the children laugh.

‘Okay everyone, back to your lunch,’ Mr Dobbin says, raising his voice.

Robert and Dawn glance at each other again as he is brashly escorted out of the canteen. Dawn looks devastated. Robert winks at her.

‘In trouble again!’ he calls out to her, as he is dragged away.

And just before he is pulled away through the canteen double doors, he notices her eyes twinkle and she smiles. She holds her arm.

‘I’m due you one’ she calls out.

Robert smiles and disappears as the double doors swing closed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ace Ventura 3.

calling card

Hello Worpressers –

Follow this link to my new novel, Ace Ventura – White Devil.

https://aceventurawhitedevil.wordpress.com/

It’s a dark and twisted tale, but not without humour, about Ace. Ace, as you have never known him before.

He is older, wiser and just a tiny bit more insane. He has taken to vigilante style justice, utilising his animal rights organisation, ACE (Animal Cruelty Extermination), to protect the innocent animals of the world, at any cost.

And he goes by the name – White Devil.

A young FBI agent, Joshua Jamieson, is tasked with infiltrating ACE in an attempt to find and stop the White Devil, before he kills again.

But what Jamieson learns along the way, rocks the foundations of the reality he thought he knew.

Who is next on the White Devil’s list?

Can Jamieson stop the White Devil before he strikes again, and before he loses his own mind in the process?

Enjoy and share.

https://aceventurawhitedevil.wordpress.com/

Ace Ventura – White Devil

This.

Ace Ventura

Chapter 1 – A Royal hunt

1Gaewick Forest, Perthshire, Scotland.

Three middle-aged men, dressed in green camouflage overalls and hiking boots, tread heavily through dense forest. The morning air is cool and fresh with a distinct pine aroma. The wood is a typical Scottish forest with a variety of different trees – oak trees, silver birch, majestic Scots pine, ash, sycamore, Douglas fir, the ancient yew tree, horse-chestnut trees and many more.

Two of the men carry on their shoulders a carved wooden pole, and tied to that pole, hanging from its feet and swinging lifelessly, is the dead body of a stag. The third man, leading the other two, carries two hunting rifles, one over each shoulder. They are in high spirits after a satisfying hunt, laughing and jeering.

‘They can camp outside of the old hag’s palace for all the good it will do them,’ sneers the man…

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