Date of Birth…

The importance of a drugs’ guru…

Read After Burnout

My bed was still within the ward, but the ward was now part of the forest. It was no surprise that this provider of pain-relief should now be transforming into a shaman whose powers had been cultivated on the moist carpet of the forest floor.

It was the decaying leaves that I was treading on as I returned to the woods. I had slipped from beneath the sheets and eased onto the floor without being noticed. I would have liked to say that I heard an owl overhead, but nothing made a sound in that darkened place. If creatures lived here, they would be the type that lived in a plague of stillness, never once breaking beyond it to announce the coming of death. To move in such a place was to invite discovery.

Winter was upon that world. Each passing moment sought to establish its claim. It was a…

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A is for Apocalypse…

Darkness and the light…

Read After Burnout

I held my hefty torch before me, a broadsword against the dreaded shadows. The light danced across the room, hitting books, glancing off the impressive fireplace and illuminating the stained glass windows which told various bible stories that I was not familiar with. On two of the three windows was a man holding a staff and in the middle was a lamb; perhaps that one was a tale about farming. The whole thing with stories and their hidden meanings was usually lost to me. Here the stained glass was trying to convey something about looking after the innocence of the lamb or how important it was that we have people who will round us up and then push us in the right direction. That’s what a lot of teachers believed, but on this night the lamb just looked vulnerable and perhaps a whole lot scared. Just as I was.

It’s…

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Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

No Flies On Me…

Read After Burnout

The woodpigeon was a give-away. It was the thing that used to exist beneath the buzzing flies and crawling maggots. Suppose it was was Walt Disney saw as the cycle of life. That was the thing with Disney, hard facts sugar-coated for the kids to swallow; supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Life wasn’t going to get any better for that dead woodpigeon anytime soon.

He gave it a wide birth and crossed to the other side of the road. As he was doing so, his stomach took a turn and threatened to explode straight out of his mouth. The unexpected need to vomit landed on him and, before he could take another step, he was bent double expelling the frugal contents of his last meal. Sardines in tomato sauce didn’t taste so good the second time. The agony of his wretch made the constant pounding in his head into thunderclaps and this combined with…

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Discarded Ending I Presume…

Long sleep the end… The bottom line was that I was trapped. I was in a place of safety, secure in the knowledge that I would never be exposed to the forces that threatened me, those forces that lived on the outside. The problem was that when places were this safe, they didn’t tend let... Continue Reading →

Bound To Be…

It was bound to be…

Read After Burnout

It is easy when you are beaten, he thought. I never knew how easy it was. And what beat you, he thought.

‘Nothing,’ he said aloud. ‘I went out too far.’

Ernest Hemingway   The Old Man and The Sea

I first read this book when I was about fourteen years of age. Not a prodigious reader which was something that came out of the fact that I was a struggling reader – a dyslexic. With school then becoming a place of false hope, a victim of insidious bullying that threatened to break my young resolve, I visited the school library like one who would visit Lourdes. Somehow, just the act of pilgrimage could do it. I browsed the bookshelves in the hope of divine intervention. My normal choice was a history or geography book that gave me facts, packages of knowledge, small chunks that could be digested easily. I was not…

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Bound To Be…

It is easy when you are beaten, he thought. I never knew how easy it was. And what beat you, he thought. ‘Nothing,’ he said aloud. ‘I went out too far.’ Ernest Hemingway   The Old Man and The Sea I first read this book when I was about fourteen years of age. Not a prodigious reader... Continue Reading →

Meetings. From The Story of Eve…

The stories that sit behind people are often surprising. The story of how Mother met Peter was one such tale. Mother had been one of the founders of the Citadel. A woman helping to set up a place where future generations would exclude all but surrogate mothers who were little more than hired help –... Continue Reading →

Almost Everything…

I think about flying again…

Read After Burnout

I had never thought about flying. I had thought about the goshawk which could fly, and catch, and rip, and devour, but I had never thought about flying. Flying meant power and control. Flying was to be like the goshawk, looking down on a world that was defenceless to your scrutiny, and willing to give up parts of its bounty if they were demanded. I thought about the goshawk and it thought about me. And there was Sandham, sleeping in the earliest of early mornings, frost laying on the grounds as if it was a sugary decoration.

I could have stayed up there forever. Nothing could touch me and the thermals obeyed my wishes. Sandham was a toy castle and the surrounding vegetation had taken it upon itself to surround, overgrow and suffocate. From the outside, from the ground, there would have been no suggestion of Sandham having existed. The…

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Why AWOL?

My youngets daughter read it and she things it’s better than Divergent…

Read After Burnout

The library was nothing like how we had left it. After inching our way through the tunnels that led to it, we waited and watched. Beyond the odd scavenging rodent, nothing else moved. Eventually, Peter indicated that a group of five should move in accompanied by himself. I held back with the others. It must have been over half an hour before they returned.

“They’ve trashed it. They had a number of bonfires for the books. Almost all of them are beyond repair.”

He put his hand in a leather pouch he must have picked up and brought out a book.

“This, I think, is one that you were reading isn’t it, Adam?”

He put the book into my open palms and smiled.

I stared in amazement at it. It was the Diary of Ann Frank and it had escaped the burning.

“How?” I tried to say, but my throat…

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Not Out…

Monotony is Everything…

Read After Burnout

Monotony settles like a sheet across the waking hours of the ward. It’s a long day with patients being prodded awake with offers of tea and coffee. After that, it’s cereals or toast. I accepted tea, strong with only a little milk, but did not partake of any solids; my wife had provided me with a bag of chocolate biscuits. Each offer and refusal seemed to be recorded on a ledger concerning my awkwardness. And so it became apparent that some of the staff had decided that I was not playing the expected role of grateful patient and this, with the eyeball rolling and sighs of discontent, would plague my stay. As an outcast, I decided to keep myself to myself. No cheery chats or enquiries as to how their days were progressing. I was here for one purpose and that was to make a very speedy recovery then get…

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