Monday, August 26, 2019


We went north that summer in our late Seventies.

Touring along the A1.

It was 2029 on the radio.

Our memories were as long as our hair had been. Patchouli whispered to our tie-dyed thoughts and we smiled as the miles fell away.

The car, a bright red Traveller, was old like us but well maintained. Oil topped up. Water filled. No-one really saw us I don't think.

The roads zoomed past like our lives unspooling. Soon we were in Scotland.

Findhorn was not too far away.

Driving driving. North.

We spoke of youthful dreams. Of communal hopes. Of koinonian peace. Of the beautiful Seventies, when we were young and in love and beautiful too.

The lobster fishing villages crawled by, the little trawlers bobbing on the blue, the east coast zagging like an arrow pointing to ...


We arrived at the Bay, a silver pool salt-kissing the roots of handsome pines. Seagulls shrieked a welcome as we glided by. It looked like Canada we said even though we'd never been.

We sauntered hand in hand around the town, past holidaymakers who didn't notice and meandered out to the commune, copies of Undercurrents blowing past us dated '79, "new members welcomed" it read underlined.

I turned to my lovely Wife and said "We're here baby, we've arrived at last!"

"Yes. Can you believe it my love. Findhorn. After all." she whispered back.

Each picking up a large shell we listened to the sound of the seven seas. It spoke of homecomings, of eternal love and unending sweeps of time and space.

We lay on the beach clutching those shells to our ears, microphones for things beyond our lives in Heaven. We tried to reach....

"Will we ever come back?"

"I hope so dear."

No-one saw us lying there on the shingle that night. We were driftwood snagged in the eddies. We vanished along with the day's castles like skinks of light.

Far away in Yorkshire our children lit two candles on our graves.

They illuminated the words they'd carefully chosen ten years before when we'd crashed in Scotland to the day.

"Mum and Dad, our beloved, hand in hand in far-off Heaven.
    May you get to find your Findhorn along the way"

Sunday, August 25, 2019


It was an odd morning. I caught a bus into town. I had a job interview and nerves were getting the better of me. I shuffled in my seat, my fellow passenger moving to one side to avoid any awkward physical contact. He stunk like a dead slug so I was glad he moved over.

The windows were steamed up with rank morning breath and I could just see outside that the sky was overcast and somehow darkening. It looked apprehensive, dug-in, like a worried wolverine. I felt the same way as we trundled into the bus station.

The job interview was with a large new factory in town. I was one of a several hundred poor sods stood around, hands stuffed in our pockets, tightly wound as if waiting to be gutted on a slab.

I'd heard on the grapevine this brand new meat processing outfit had interviewed thousands of people across the country but no-one had started yet. A new boss was coming from miles away and then everyone would be set on they said.

It was important for me this job. My wife expected me to get it and we needed the money. I'd been made redundent from my last one - a cheese factory - but that was months ago and the pay-out had dried up. Bills were reddening, irksome heralds of something worse.

I tried to look attentive when the interviewer called me in.


I shook her hand with feigned gusto and I think she sensed my desperation. She could have offered to lobotomise me and I would have still said yes to the position.

"I'm Miss. Tritus," she rasped and signalled for me to sit down.

She smelt odd though, with a strange and very unpleasant tangy niff, as if an old stinking fridge had been pried open for the first time in years. There was a very discernible whiff of corruption, of infected wounds and bottled pee. It put me  completely off, that sickening fragrance and I didn't hear her ask me a question.

"Sorry, could you repeat that Miss" I blustered desperately reaching for the glass of water on the table. I was suddenly thirsty as hell as bile rose in my throat. I really wished I didn't have my hyper-sensitive sense of smell at that moment. I needed to focus.

"We are looking for people with a strong stomach, less than average eyesight and a weak sense of smell."

"Oh. Right!" I gulped.

"I think I have all of those," I lied.

I lied specifically about my sense of smell. It had been a pain since I'd first smelt my brother's wet bed when we were kids.

It was as pushy as an iron my smell ability and I had an over-active sense of every pong going. It drove my wife crazy. I was suffering unusually today too as my interviewer really stank the place out.

"And I see you have worked with meat before. Did you handle a lot of flesh?"

"I was more on the admin side really. Buying and selling choice cuts for the mincing machines."

"Excellent Strils. We'll need plenty of mince when the ships arrive."


"Did I say ships? Silly me. I meant chips! We shall be selling mince pies and chips as a new line in our outlets. New management are on their way. They"ll land tomorrow. They're brimming with new ideas and very hungry for success. Its an exciting ....."

The woman cut herself short as if she'd been told something secret and terrible like a death in her family.

"Already?" She mumbled.

"Pardon?" I said.

Before she had chance to say more an alarm sounded across the factory. My interviewer looked annoyed.

"The interview's over young man. Youv'e got what we're looking for I think. We'll be coming for you Strils ... sooner than I thought."

Her voice faded as she jostled me out of her office, her foul sceptic musk nearly overpowering me. As I left she patted my shoulder. I felt as though I'd been marked by a rabid fox.

The alarm was louder in the corridors and people, mostly countless interviewees, shambled along looking for the exit like lambs in a pen.

Outside there was an eerie quiet as the alarm trailed off. We stood in the street like refugees, unsure of what was happening. We trailed out of the gates rubbing our noses. It really had stunk like nothing on Earth.

I grabbed a coffee and caught the 485 home. My wife and I lived by the edge of town on the heathland, in a small cottage I'd inherited from my Aunt. It was a lovely spot, surrounded by heather and pheasants. Our Baskerville Hall we joked. Minus the hound. I was glad to smell country air again.

Alighting the bus I noticed the frogs hopping across the road, seemingly in a hurry. The heather pool was now strangely silent. What on earth had spooked them I wondered? Looking up I did notice how odd the clouds were. Pierced as if knives had passed through them. The distant meat plant glowed.

My family had left that day to visit relatives in Borth. I was alone in the house waiting to hear about the plant job.

No word. Evening came like an unwelcome visitor: vast, smokey and ominous. I could sense the petrichor before the rain turned up. It drenched the heath and battered the roof of the cottage. It was other-worldly.

I used the toilet and lit a match as my parents had. The smell. I went to bed and listened to the storm fuming outside. I could sense its unusual size and muscle as it lashed the moor like something landing, something vast and ghastly.

My curtains were open and the window ajar as I stared apprehensively out of the window into the raging squalls. I dozed off reluctantly around 10pm.

I awoke sneezing and sensed it immediately, something foul approaching across the heath.

I could smell it, a billious reek of necrotic meat and weeks-old piss and I recognised it immediately.

It was Miss. Tritus!

Coming to offer me a job? At this hour?

I could hardly think straight as that familiar stench enveloped my nose and got stronger and stronger.

She was near the house now, at the gate. I was suddenly frightened and I leapt out of bed, ran downstairs in the dark and grabbed the axe next to the fire as a precaution. I got back into bed and waited.

Maybe I didn't get the job after all.

Before she could tell me Miss. Tritus sloughed off her skin and entered the house as a monster-sized snail, slurping along the floor in undulations, leaving a slick trail of scum and slobber.

Her probosci fingered up the wall of the stairs as she homed in on her mark from the factory.

She knew her quarry was near. She was ravenous and had been since emerging from the cosmic spawn carried across the galaxy, which had settled on Earth a month ago. She and her kind were used to blending in and taking on the local form. It was a hard slog but as long as they were fed it was worth it. One of these meaty people would fill her for a year. They didn't smell her coming.

The stink ballooned as she slid towards the bed. Her wet antennae felt for the head and her oozing maw opened as they gripped the hair. In a watery sigh of excitement she whispered "Strils!"

"Wait!" he commanded himself as he hefted the axe under the quilt.

As Miss. Tritus began to drag him in he leapt up, threw back the bedclothes and swung the blade hard on her neck.

"You can smell me! You lied Strils!" She gargled in shock.

A huge rupture appeared on her throat and a terrible slime poured from the wound. The creature's face drooped and the whole thing went limp at his feet, its head detaching with its probosci still gripping his wet hair.

I wrestled it off like a football and feeling spent but elated I staggered downstairs for the whisky bottle on the side.

I raised the cut glass to my lips but to my horror heard a slithering sound on the landing.

I turned to see the monster staring at me through the ballustrades.

"Strils, that hurt! You shouldn't have lied to me!"

Miss. Tritus had grown a brand new head!

I fainted and awoke just as my body was dissapearing down her throat.

It reeked to high heaven that alien gullet, worse than any other niff I'd known and just my luck, it was the last thing I ever smelled.

I didn't get the job after all.

In I went .....


Wednesday, August 14, 2019


It began with dogs. Selective breeding that is. Breeding them for looks.

It wouldn't be long before we did it to humans. And we did.

Call it eugenics, bio-engineering or designer people, all still selective breeding.

The leaders in the field were Genuflect, a secretive company run by the maniacal Dr. Altar.

First it was breeding thinner noses, rounder backsides and plumper breasts. Then came bigger eyes, taller legs and whiter teeth. Any of these could be mixed too. A bigger breasted bigger eyed wife with longer legs and a taller musclebound husband were the biggest hits. It was called genuflection.

But it was the wider mouths programme which caused all the trouble.

Widening mouths for men, women and children had been a popular breeding area until eventually fine wide mouths were readily available on prospective husbands and wives.

They seemed so appealing, a little extra mouth at each corner created a fuller broader smile and a more confident redolent voice in people.

But the breeding went too far and some mouths became so wide that citizens found them hideous and above all frightening.

But the project couldn't just stop. It had investors,  buyers and customers who had all said yes to a much bigger mouth.

It was a mistake. That became clear. No-one is quite sure who to blame now but the problem was simply that a huge broad open mouth of large white teeth sent some people screaming from shops and cinemas or wherever else they turned up.

Panic began to break out as the so-called big mouths were everywhere grinning and leering at tax-paying citizens. Violence towards them became the norm. Dentists were their only allies.

'You freak mouthed fuckers! Stop smiling and go back to the lab!' went the cry.

That the big mouths paid taxes too was moot. Society was ruffled. The selective breeding facility was meant to placate its members and not perturb them. The anomalies in the mouth project were an embarrassment and a serious threat to civil order. They had to be dealt with before lawlessness erupted.

On the night of May first at midnight all so-called 'big mouths' were rounded-up and interred in camps away from normal society. This happened worldwide and by May 2nd none were to be found outside the barbed fences of these camps.

Genuflect camps.

They were prisons. Global authorities passed laws that meant having a big mouth was a seditious act and punishable by death. Genuflect handed over all the names and Dr. Altar personally pacified the taller specimens in his lab on Camp 1.

The general population applauded this swift action and quickly resumed its obsession with the perfect designer body just not nips around the lips anymore.

To further garner public admiration the authorities had some of the more vocal big mouths 'quietened down'. For good. Altar took charge of personally tranquilising the taller women in his camp office. For the public this was just deserts and a huge vote winner but for the internees it was the trigger to fight back.

Riots flared up across the world led by the natural leaders of the prisoners, those that had been bred for longer legs. So men, women and children who were taller and larger mouthed arose to spearhead the uprisings in the camps. They were a fearsome sight charging across the compounds like stilted clowns with gaping mouths.

Guards were attacked, sentries trampled and wardens thrown from their quarters and killed. Dr. Altar escaped.

Retribution by Genuflect and global powers was swift and thousands of the big mouths were machine gunned as they began to storm the fences. Bodies piled up like new walls and the tall ones retreated with the rest into the safer shadows of the camps' interiors.

Deeming further contact too dangerous Genuflect strengthened the fences, doubled the sentries but removed all supplies from the internees. No water, food or clothing. Ever again.

It took time for the remaining mouths to realise what was happening.  The taller leaders spelled it out to them. They had been abandoned now and must work out how to survive for themselves. Besieging the fences wouldn't work. They were now massive. Besides, hidden machine guns flecked the land beyond like sleeping hornets.

No. They had to bide their time. Take stock. Grow stronger. Bigger. More frightening. Sacrifices would have to be made but all agreed that it was worth it. They would selectively breed themselves and create an army of monsters.

The message went worldwide via social media still working in the camps and that was that. The next more immediate problem, food, was solved by the walls of flesh piled at the fences.

By eating the dead and fucking the living the big mouths began to hold fast. They selected only the tallest and widest mouthed for inter-breeding. The offspring were treated like idols, leggy and toothy and lesser internees were happy to be fed to them.

Over decades the Genuflect camps were forgotten. Like the long rank grass grown over the rusted guns, old politicians had gone to seed and new ones had newer problems.

Thirty years after internment the army of monsters was ready everywhere.

On May first they sacked the fences, took up the guns and ran naked screaming and drooling towards the cities, their mouths so wide their heads seemed hinged.

First contact with civilisation was in the streets were their forebears had been rounded up. Through continued gene cleansing the towns' people now seemed dull and indolent, moping around tedious metropoles sedated with toothless banter. They were like cows when the monsters showed up.

Some big mouths simply ate their quarry. Some chased them out of their minds. But it was the bosses that ought to pay. But first, scared.

Colossa, the tallest of the big mouths entered a clothes shop and, with the staff fleeing as she roared at them, took her time getting dressed for a business meeting. A very important meeting with the ageing head of what was left of Genuflect, the loathed Dr. Altar.

Colossa had been told by her mother that the Doctor, a tall man himself, had a weak spot for tall women.

She slapped on some mascara and smoothed out her mouth slits leaving just a normal set of lips. To these she applied thick rouge stick. A puff of perfume in all the right places and Colossa was done.

She strode briskly in her trouser suit like a secretary bird and reached Genuflect in no time. She licked her lips and stooping under the doorway took the lift to level 13, his private surgery.

She knocked softly on the door and the Doctor bade her in.

"So, Miss ....."


"Miss Colossa, how can I help you?"

"I have heard a lot about your excellent results Doctor. I would like to be shortened."

"Ah, shortening. Its a physical procedure, which involves laser amputation and hyper-healing techniques. Basically I would remove a section of your legs. Very simple and painless and very popular among the grandly heightened lady like yourself. I take it that you are descended from the long legs and not the big mouths?"

"That's right Doctor." Colossa made sure that just her normal lips moved. Her mascara was holding up well. She sat down in a large comfy chair one long leg over the other. The Doctor stood before her, his long wispy white hair over his shoulders and his hands in his pockets.

"That's good, we don't want any hideously wide smiles round here thank you. What a mistake I made with that batch!" said Altar jovially as if he were describing broken eggs. He eyed the long-legged woman with rising interest and suddenly felt greatly attracted to her. He shuddered under his ageing white coat and stretched his gnarled fingers.

Colossa gave him a flirtish look and let one of her high heels drop.

They went into the small operating thearte at the rear and were joined by a petite nurse. Colossa was lead down and the nurse began the sedation.

The old Altar drew dotted lines on Colossa's legs, his eyes widening with excitement and explained to her that he would remove at least 24 inches from them. But first he would have to examine her thoroughly. She nodded and gave a little smile.

The sedative worked very slowly on mega humans like Colossa.

"Miss, are you drifting off? Give me a little smile," asked the nurse jovially. The Doctor was busying himself with rubber gloves and lasers in the annexe.

Colossa looked at the jolly nurse and began a small smile. It widened a little and engaged the cracks at either side of her mouth. The nurse stopped smiling and froze.

Colossa's smile was now as wide as her entire head and her vast array of teeth, usually hidden, were rowed like a grand piano. It was a heinous smile; massive, curved, red lipped and frightening as hell.

"Hello!" Colossa said and grabbed hold of the nurse's head. She screamed but it was cut short when her head went inside Colossa's.

The Big Mouth bit hard and decapitated the nurse in one go. Her headless body stumbled for a second round the surgery spraying fresh blood everywhere like a hose.

The Doctor, alerted by the scream, dropped his laser. It spun on the floor and arced through his ankle removing his foot in one clean beam.

He shrieked and fell screaming, "You're a .. a .. Big Mouth! Oh God!"

Colossa, still wearing her op drapes and covered in black dotted lines, picked up the Doctor, his rubber gloves caked in his own blood, and inspected his severed ankle.

"Excellent! Saves me some work that Doc!"

She smiled widely close-up to his trembling face and he screamed.

It was two hours later in the afternoon when Colossa walked out of the building. It was a sunny day and she was wearing her power suit again, complete with heels and bag.

She also had a brand new accessory like the fashionable ladies in the city.

It waddled behind her on a studded lead and blinked at the sun.

A human head with long thin white hair and just two feet sewn onto its neck. 

Colossa smiled.

"Come along Doc!" she chuckled, "my kids are dying to play with you!"

Monday, August 5, 2019


My name is Grobius Skrett.

I was a defiler, a murderer, a slicer, a torturer and a by all accounts a fiend.

I was caught in the act, trepanning a maiden, boring into her head of final thoughts.

Under the yellow gaslight I can’t have been a pretty sight for the poor watchman who found me.  I imagine that it was the drill sunk into the woman’s skull that sent him whistling till his lungs near burst. Ha ha.

Held by the scruff, I was dragged from the heap as the matter gushed over my hands, my fine digits, such spiders of elegance and fingering beauty.

Manhandled violently by brutes, I just had the nick to lick my slick talons.

"You fuckin' fiend. Sick. Sick that’s what you are.  You'll get what’s coming to you Skrett!"

Far from the law I was quickly tried in the village court built more on superstition than the rule of torts.

"Grobius Skrett, you shall be buried alive, your hands and feet severed and your box wormed as is the custom of hereabouts for the rare monster that you are.  Your heathen ground will be the leper fields outside our walls. The worms shall be the most vicious we can gather.  No one will heed your screams.  Each one of us from the village shall relieve on your face before the box is sealed and the worms satisfied. No one will visit your hole.  No one will speak of you. Ever. From this day on you never existed!"

And so it was that I was taken to the village green, stripped, pinned to to the ground,
my hands and feet slowly sawn off, my wrist stump pushed into my mouth to keep me quiet whilst I was pulled over the cinder path to the leper graves shunned for a century.

Nobody spoke on that morbid cortege, my final stroll in the air which somehow moved me to puncture, to open, to wire, to truncate: my life’s work, a glorious pageant of blood and marrow misunderstood by these rural cretins.

I should have moved to the smoky city years ago where my name would live forever.  Grobius Skrett, the Da Vinci of flesh.

Burly gravediggers more used to Catholic rites had hastily dug a trench in the jaundiced tussocks. Beside it lay a roughly carpentered crate of thick timber, from which there would be surely no escape.  This was lowered into the trench, the sweating carpenter waiting nearby clutching the lid and his claw hammer, his eyes aglow with hate.

I was made to stand on my bleeding stumps beside the pit.  No attempt had been made to smoothen the wood and large splinters bristled inside.  Without a word the relatives of my victims came forward and were encouraged to defile my body further.  

My breast bone was first cracked with a mallet and then snipped open with the butcher’s iron scissors.  My genitals were sliced away with a cheese wire.  My skull was drilled; a rough mirror of the beautiful and lasting wounds I myself bestowed with scarce finesse upon those who came to know my work.

My mangled body was then thrown into the crate.  

As decreed, each of the village folk took turns to piss up on my face, the hot streams entering my mouth and burning my injuries.  I felt oddly cleansed as the steam rose and the village priest appeared over the trench shouldering a large wide-mouthed urn.

"This will be the last voice you hear Grobius Skrett.  The mouths which follow mine will not care for chatter but will consume you whilst you still think of what to say.  If you wish to repent to them, no matter, your prayers will be digested too. May your soul rot in everlasting hell."

The priest then tipped the urn and shook its heaving contents across my head and chest, where the blood was welling.  Although I could not see I could hear the timber lid being hammered shut.

I was alone with the worms.

In the faint dusky glow before the grave was fully filled I could see, albeit vaguely, the mouths of my hungry new friends opening and closing like fish out of water.  I was certain that I could also hear their ravening groans as they searched for ingress.

The moist beings entered first my split breast, no doubt compelled to follow the loud beating siren further in.

I had nothing but admiration for these limbless morticians and I dreamt of the fine slithering I might do should I escape, a man-worm, muscling like a walrus upon sleeping lovers.

I was arcing handless above a naked couple, smiling at the thought, when a large worm entered my head hole and gorged greedily across my brain, deleting my mind like a chamfer wizard.

I was done and Grobius Skrett was gone.

Saturday, June 29, 2019


It was hot in early summer that year.

Temperatures were increasing every day. Global warming they said.

30,40,45 degrees and like the rest of humanity, it was unbearable for the people of the Ore Mountains.

Global meltdown had kicked in and the land was baking. Roads ran. Tarmac doughed. Fields fell and the soil cracked like the dried paint of old masters.

Heat shimmer gave the hills an eerie feel, distant mirages of sleeping giants. Fata Morganas.

The news reported records being broken virtually every day as the suns rays microwaved the unprotected globe. It was all over the world. Climate Change was happening and summer temperatures were spiralling out of control.

Dwar tried his best to keep cool. The shutters of his traditional home were shut tight and inside was more or less in complete darkness if he turned the lights off. He had enough food to last another week and then he would have to drive to town to stock up. Hopefully it would be cooler then.

It was on the day the mercury in his thermometer was nudging towards 50 degrees that Dwar noticed a change for the worse. His phone line was dead and the plastic bungs around his shutters had started to melt. He put on his sun hat and walked gingerly out into the full glare of the burgeoning sun blast. 

The phone cables had melted and the tyres on his truck had wilted like old dogs. It was too hot for basic materials to stay intact outside anymore.

Whilst grabbing the last of the tinned food from the covered rear of his truck he noticed his neighbours across the way. Like him and most of the hamlet they were descendants of the mountain workers who had originally mined the ore buried in the hills long ago and he got on with them well.

He could see Zwer dragging something along the hot gravel. Dwar squinted and to his horror realised that he was dragging his wife's body, leaving a trail of thick red blood behind him.

Dwar ran over to his friends shouting "Zwer, Zwer, what are you doing? What's happened to Kleen?"

Zwer heard Dwar and dropped Kleen's head with a thud. It turned towards the running man and reaching out she gargled his name.


Zwer stared at Dwar who had reached the drive and raised a huge ore pick he had in his grip. Using both hands be brought it down hard on the side of Kleen's face. It pinned her head to the ground like an insect and her blood sizzled on the roasting surface.

"What in God's name have you done Zwer?" screamed Dwar as he reached the scene of the atrocity. But Zwer was not in the mood for explanations and raised his ore pick once again and stepping over his dead wife he lurched towards his neighbour.

"There is no God Dwar, there are only the demons of the fire. I have seen them!" he growled and Dwar realised that Zwer meant to kill him too. He could see it in his old friend's eyes. They were mad and as lifeless as the ore seams they'd once mined.

Dwar ran from the madman and sprinted home in the remorseless heat but not before seeing villagers fighting in the hamlet's square down the road. He watched in terror as his kinfolk hacked each other to pieces with whatever was to hand: cleavers, spades, forks, scythes, sickles and more ore pick axes.

The village clock was spattered with blood and the gore overflowed from the well's oak bucket. It was a bloodbath and .... they had noticed Dwar!

He turned and ran for his life as the sun-crazed villagers who were left ran after him shrieking and snarling as their weapons glinted in the midday sun, their skin reddening like hide.

Dwar reached his house on the hillside and pressed the button for the steel shutter to release. He hoped that the electrics on the inside hadn't fried. 

"C'mon, c'mon!" he raged through gritted teeth.

They hadn' t failed yet and he heard with immense gratitude the clink of the shutter as it rolled down. The back door was already screened off as were all the windows.

He stood behind the door in his dark living room and listened to the mob smash at the steel roller. He backed away and sat in an armchair in the middle of the floor, the darkness comforting him as his friends went insane.

"Had the whole world gone crazy?"

He shuddered at the thought and Dwar sat all night until there was silence outside. His shuttering had kept them out thank God. 

"What in Christ's name had happened to them. They were like devils!" he mused as he shakily reached for the tap for a glass of water. The tap spluttered but the liquid that came out wasn't water. It was instead a thick red steaming sludge that gave off an unpleasant smell of rotten eggs and decaying flesh.

The frightened man immediately set about making ready to leave. He could not survive much longer in his home if there was no water supply. It would only be a matter of days before he died of thirst. He had plenty of tinned food though and decided on the spot where he must go.

Inside the Ore Mountains.

There was a plentiful water system in there and the ore mine tunnels would keep him cool. 

Dwar filled his wooden handcart with tins, candles, pans and supplies and opened the peep hole in the back door shutter. There was no-one to be seen in the night's blackness and he carefully raised the shutter. 

Stepping into the hot night he checked his thermometer. It read 50 degrees. At night. 

The heat was inescapable outdoors and nobody could survive it for long. With night-time temperatures so high already the following day would be lethal to life for certain and there was no-time to lose getting underground.

Dwar entered the sulphur ore mine as his father had done before him countless times in the days when ore was shipped to the refineries in the valley belching thick smoke into the heavens night and day. That was before the world's ozone layer had evaporated and the sky was left unguarded to the sun's full and inimical force.

He had visited the mine many times with his Father and knew his way. He lit a candle and holding it in a small tin holder he walked cautiously through the tunnels of his youth.

It was a pleasant 20 degrees throughout the initial cuts but Dwar noticed jumps in the mercury as he got near the mouths of deeper shafts. He fancied he had also glimpsed red flames in the shadows but dismissed this as stress-induced reverie.

He strolled on into the far tunnels of the mountain for hours and decided to settle down for what he calculated was another night above ground.

Dwar opened tins of beans and had his last half-loaf in the flickering light of his candle, which cast shadows onto the ancient hewn walls like a strange puppet show. He slept in the dark. In the morning he would have to descend to the lower mines if he was to find water.

He was awoken by a dull sound reverberating through the tunnels. He stood and walked to where he thought it came from.

The source was a deep shaft incised into the rock floor, which fell towards the bowels of the mine where the best ore was to be found. 

As Dwar approached he was now sure that he could see a red glow emanating from the wide mouth of the shaft. The dull sound was now also a deep resonating series of rhythmic clangs as if industry had sprung up once more.

Seeing a steel ladder descending he decided to climb down. He filled his knapsack with some provisions and stepped on the ladder. the clanging was now much louder and crimson glow meant that he could easily see where he was going.

As he got deeper into the shaft the temperature rose and he began to feel anxious and had second thoughts about any further descent. But he took a nip of rum from his hip flask, rallied himself and went lower.

The banging and clunking was now almost unbearable and the red light was clearly the glow of a huge fire as it flickered and quivered around him.

The steel ladder had grown hot too but if he was to find a plentiful water supply he had to get to the mine's wet bowels.

As the steel became intolerable and the noise rose to an ear-splitting cacophony, Dwar was just about to give up and give in to the mad symphony, when his fell-boots touched the hard rock floor.

He quickly released the hot grip of the ladder and noticed the welts forming on his palms. But it was the now ever-more jarring din and hair-singeing heat behind him that made Dwar turn slowly as he felt almost uncontrollable fear grip his entire body.

What he saw chilled him to the very core of his being and seared his mind with a terror no other mortal had ever had to suffer.

Gathered in front of him was a throng of the most hideous things he had ever seen. Thousands of small scarlet horned beings, which covered the floor of a vast cavern aglow with fire.

Some of the beings were running feverishly around another shaft from which burst huge red flames and some of the things were tending heinous machines pulsating with massive moving cogs and gears, the bellows of desolation. Yet others were pounding the mine's yellow ores on a myriad of anvils and casting the powder aloft above the central shaft, where it burnt in the smoke, the fumes of brimstone filling the fetid air.

Dwar knew instinctively that what he was seeing was an army of demons and that this was surely then the ante-chamber to Hell itself and he shuddered violently at this most blasphemous of visions.

But he knew he was right and when his rubber belt melted and his tin water flask fell to the ground the clang by the ladder drew the attention of the nearest smoking devils hammering their anvils.

They turned and stared at him and as they did Dwar felt the hair on the back of his neck stand on end, singe and burn off as acrid smoke. His rum also steamed away. His clothing caught fire and fell off in flames. His hair flared and was gone and his skin scorched from head to toe, hardened like leather and turned bright red. He screamed.

Before his humanity left him entirely he felt two small horns push through the skin at each side of his reddened head and a strong pointed tail erupt from his rump. When complete he smiled a new smile of sharpened teeth and loped off to join the other lesser imps at the edge.

No longer Dwar, he now waited with his infernal kin for the arrival of the Fallen One, the Twisted Angel, who was ascending the central shaft on a mantle of hideous magma.

The flames were growing across the world. The factory-fingered sky of Men had finally burned away that afternoon and, like the water table Dwar once so desperately sought, Hell-fire would rise and overflow this very day and flood the world with a tide of evil from which there would be no return.

As once-Dwar looked on he knew all this with new-found clarity and threw sulphur into the ring like confetti. His past life corroded away entirely as if portraits in an oven.

He shook with pleasure as a crimson colossus rose slowly from the deep and gripped the rim of the shaft with gargantuan clawed fingers, dragging its vast frame out onto the glowing ground.

The giant stretched out its arms and its face beamed with the rictus smile of death before its amassed servants

The assembled ranks craned their necks as their master rose and when fully erect they fell to their knees.

As the Devil himself stood before them they muttered in unity one single chant of adulation, a sibilant hymn which ricocheted off the walls, along the reddening tunnels and out into a world in flames.

"Satan is risen! Satan is risen!"

Thursday, June 13, 2019


Dead, I am silked, a thread secreted into the world.

I feel the shiver of others like me drifting in and out of the Living; a billowing swill of dead personalities ebbing and flowing in God's big tide.

We are everywhere; the gasses of death, filling, cupping, pooling, seeping, bubbling. We are the spectres, the phantoms, the spirits and the ghosts. An ecto-system of passings.

I walk across the breath of my family and cloud their eyes. Sometimes I can lift a bed-sheet and stretch when no-one is looking. Or at least I don't think they are.

Its strange being dead. Being a ghost.

Imagine breathing on a cold glass in an empty house or trying to bottle the last whispers of thought before sleep.

We are the lonely denizens of darkness, the misty weather of silence and the undigested dreams of worms.

We enter things. We can enter you as long as there are liquids.

We rest in spirit levels and thermometers; blisters of past lives nighting in the things we know. Measuring the straights helps us remember. Shaking the mercury restores our hope that we too will catch a fever once again.

Sometimes we congregate and imagine Heaven. You call them rainbows. We arc together on paths of memory, holding hands, skipping like schoolkids in the hues of our yesterdays.

Sometimes we moan when there is nothing left. No hope. No future. Just the prison of being where we once lived, the traces of our existence. It is our eternal sadness, our infinite tears that drive the leprous engines of the after-life.

Spent. Redundant. Done. I think I feel but I'm unsure what it is that's happened. Above is a sea of oxygen, which I cannot breathe. Anaerobic. I am the opposite of being. The perpetual gasp of breathing-out.

Nudging into other floating wisps, I stand and stare, sensing nothing, chewing nails I do not have. 

My sails of life lie still, flat; like lungs of fog, paper bags.

Pirates have stolen our world, lashed to a shipless mast in seas of deep regret.

Weeded, dug in, boxed, burnt. When my memories of the life I loved turn to soil I will turn to hate for sustenance.

As others do, we shall haunt you.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019


Trough was working late again.

The word work was actually stretching the truth. Trough was a bean-counter who was feathering his own nest again at the expense of others. 

For some reason his avarice came to a peak on Friday nights when everyone else, his underlings, had left the office.

He'd opened his accountancy firm during the fattened years when money grew on the trees of the city. Trough Deeply and Co. Deeply, his old partner was long gone. Died under suspicious circumstances when things got rough with Trough's new friends in the underworld. Now it was just Trough and Co. And his nose was well and truly in it!

Trough's latest nefarious scheme involved the local city zoo. For years he had been cooking the books and creaming off the top. It was a very prestigious zoo and attracted a great deal of sponsorship and grants, which the zookeepers worked tirelessly to win.

Trough had creamed off the top since the very beginning and the zoo was starting to run out of cash. The staff just couldn't understand what was going on. Animal feed had to be rationed and some prize specimens sold off to other zoos. It didn't make sense and they had sent the Chairman of the Board, a rather weak individual, to confront Trough several times as he was responsible for the accounts. Somehow he always managed to dodge the bullet, explaining the shortcomings away in a swirl of financial gobbledegook, which the befuddled Chair seemed to all-too-readily accept.

It was a tough world and overheads were getting higher was the line Trough sold and he had got good at spinning this tale. It was if he was coated in teflon. The zoo was falling to bits and the animals were starving but none of it stuck to him. He was enjoying the finest wine and thick juicy steaks in top restaurants. He just couldn't believe his luck and got greedier and greedier as time went on.

But there were murmurs in the zoo, among the staff and in the pens. Murmurs that were getting louder. He had had to step in to quell the muttering and had come up with something that would razzledazzle everyone and they'd forget about his pilfering.

Tonight he was throwing a big fundraiser in the zoo's Board Room, an event with enough pazzaz to woo the city's elite into opening their wallets and placate those nosey malcontents among the staff. It was a win win and Trough was set to make a killing. He was really quite pleased with himself especially as, apart from a few phone calls to prospective donors, he had hardly lifted a finger to make this jamboree happen.

After having the idea and soliciting some clients, Trough had handed the legwork over to the facile Chairman and his irksome zookeepers, who annoyingly had added an idea of their own to the proceedings at the last minute. The fundraiser would also be in fancy dress and the official invites went out asking attendees to dress up.

Trough had received an invite as a matter of course. He didn't bother looking. His secretary had opened it up and he knew she would have organised something for him to wear. Besides, the fundraiser was his idea anyway. The zookeepers were just lackeys. It was juicy T-bones and Bolinger for him as soon as he spirited away the bulging coffers and piles of cheques at the end of the night. Yep, it was going to be his grand overture and he'd begun to plan his retirement after this score. He would cross the border and be gone by morning living the high life he so richly deserved. Yes, la dolca vita would be Trough's at last!

He busied himself with the final preparations for his midnight flit. Passport, ID card, a huge sports bag of cash, gun, bullets, clothes and toiletries.

"Those stinking animals, why the hell should they have it cozy when it should be me living it up. Serves 'em right for being fucking stupid" argued Trough to himself as he stuffed some fifty notes into his back-pocket, "and as for those dumb keepers and that pathetic Chair. They deserve to be shafted and I'm happeeeeeee to oblige!"

Just one last thing to do. Find the damn invite to check the start time. He didn't want to be late and miss out of some serious money. Oh and that damn costume his dozy secretary had hopefully left him somewhere. He scoured his desk, looked underneath it but couldn't see anything.

"The docile bitch, where the fuck has she left it!" he roared.

As he turned round he saw a long bag hung on the coat stand and a large envelope.


There it was. By the door. He opened the invite to check. He only had ten minutes! He'd better get his skates on. "So what kind of fancy dress have those imbeciles come up with?" he chuntered.


"Not bad!" he agreed and ripped open his costume bag.

"A bear! A fucking bear!" he bellowed but then saw the irony of it. Yes, he was a bear. A predator among pointless pigeons. He pulled on the suit and looked through the eye slits at the office around him. He smiled, growled and left for the zoo across the street.

Trough had expected to see a whole string of Bentleys and Daimlers lining the road but there weren't any. Maybe they were parked in the public car park at the rear. Yep, that must be it. The hapless fools on the staff had actually done something right for once. A bit of pampering for the town's elite would pay dividends later when they had to get their cheque books out and that meant more money for him!

It was 6.45pm. The zoo was already closed for the day but the side staff-entrance was still open. Trough was met by someone in the yard dressed as a chimpanzee and assumed it to be the Chairman of the Board. Chairman Chimp. Yes! It fitted perfectly, a gormless ape if ever there was one and Trough would fleece him and his lackeys good and proper tonight. He'd be on easy street before they could say where's the bananas!

"Good evening Trough. Welcome to the Wild Animals Ball. I see you have come suitably attired. A very dapper Grizzly I must say. You will find that your clients have arrived and are waiting for you. Help yourself to nibbles as you walk in. You know nibbles don't you! ha ha. We've organised some light entertainment. Enjoy," chortled the Chair chimp with a rueful smile under his ape mask.

Trough-Bear avoided the stairs and made his way into the lift. He'd worked hard all day and was feeling the strain of cooking the books so damn well. For some reason the lift stank of piss, strong piss at that, pooling in the corners and speckled with thick silver hairs. How disgusting and what a way to greet his illustrious clientele! 

"Those cretinous zookeepers were meant to be looking after them, not showering them with fucking urine!" he fumed.

He reached the third corridor were the Zoo Board Room was and left the lift, only to be greeted by a huge pile of steaming shit on the threadbare carpet.

"What the fuck is going on?" roared Trough, "Those dirty bastards! How am I meant to raise money when I'm surrounded by idiots!"

He found a brush and shovel in the cleaning cupboard and swept up the shit and deposited it in the staff kitchen swing-bin. He removed his bear mitts and washed his hands. Drying up, he could have sworn he had heard growling coming from the Board Room. It must have been the hand dryer whirring in his ears.

He strode down the corridor and nearly tripped over a rack of tranquiliser guns stood near the doorway. 

"Jeeesus Christ! What in God's name are those bastard tranq guns doing here! Those fucking idiots, they'll scare off the money!"

Raging, he opened the door to the main room and was about to tear a strip off the first member of staff he found when he stopped short and just stood staring at the space before him. 

The main lights were off except for the emergency ceiling lights, which cast a murky jaundiced glow over the room. Squinting in his bear mask he thought he could make out movement in the far corners.

"Hello!" he shouted.

"Hello!" he tried again, this time louder.

He thought he heard a dull snarl in the amber gloom when suddenly he was shoved forward and the door behind him slammed shut and locked.

"What the fuc.....!" he blurted as he toppled over a table of what felt like raw meat and thick liquid and went sprawling with it across the peeling wooden floor.

As he was trying to kneel up in his bear suit, now plastered with sticky meat and something iron sweet, the main switches were thrown and the room filled with blinding light. Trough squeezed his eyes together, then slowly opened them as he adjusted to the brightness.

He was kneeling in a pool of thick red blood and his suit was smothered in raw minced steak and offal. It was dripping off him in scarlet globs and Trough retched like a full pig.

It was about then that he heard the two sounds. At first they merged into each other, a muffled noise, but after a second or two he could hear them distinctly; deep growling and loud laughing.

The noise was coming from the far corner he'd noticed as he walked in but now he could see what was growling . 

Gathered around a long table of huge chewed cow bones was a rabble of figures, who appeared to be dressed as animals like him. Several with wolf outfits, a couple of hyenas, a tiger figure and like him, someone dressed as a large grizzly bear. They were standing, scratching, snarling, lunging and pushing the bones off the table. Fights broke out and teeth gnashed like real animals.

They were hugely convincing dressed in their suits and Trough was immensely impressed with this fundraising gimmick that the usually moronic zookeepers had pulled off.

It was genius! His clients would love it!

But it was the marabou stork that landed near him which shook his belief in what he was seeing. No-one could be dressed as a stork let alone fly across the room! Just what on God's earth was happening here?

If Trough needed any more proof that all was not what it seemed then it was the wolf that broke from the pack that did it.

Having pissed all over a bookcase, the colossal silver and grey wolf was glaring at him, its gummed fangs bared like a vampire, its nostrils flared wide open. It snarled viciously and its lips trembled with hate for the blood-soaked bear-man on its knees.

Trough gasped in horror.  In shock he realised that this was a real wolf heading his way. What the fuck was happening? His mind reeled to make sense of things. This was meant to be his meal-ticket, the fundraiser to his retirement. Where the fuck where his clients? What the hell was a timber wolf doing here?

He didn't have time to answer, as the wolf, clearly emaciated and starving, loped slowly towards its quarry, saliva dribbling from its lethal jaws.

Trough screamed and tried to stand in the crimson slick, only to fall face down in the gore. As he turned his head he saw where the laughing was coming from. In the next room, which had walls of thick glass for demonstrations, stood that buffoon of a Chairman, now without his chimp outfit, the dumb-ass zookeepers and most startling of all, all his clients!

"What the ....!" he shrieked.

The company were assembled safely behind the glass and clear;y having a good time. Everyone had glass of champagne in their hand and some deftly-made sandwich or caviar vol-au-vent in the other. They were having a party for God's sake railed Trough. They were having a party and clearly watching him through the glass!

He turned to look at the wolf and then back to the laughing throng now pressed up against the windowed wall clearly egging the wolf on!

"You bastards! I'll get you for this! You'll see if I don't!" he howled.

The huge creature leapt into the air and landed upon Trough like a ton weight. It smacked him back down to the bloody floor and knocked the wind out of him. His bear mask flew off and the wolf straddled his suited body with its four massive paws. The wild animal had Trough pinned down and slowly lowered its drooling open jaws towards his trembling face.

Trough let out a blood-curdling scream, which rang around the entire room, agitating the gang of beasts gnawing on the bones.

The scream also sent the watching assembly of clients and staff into a frenzy of excitement. They quaffed more champagne and gnashed voraciously on cooked chicken legs, smearing the fat in arcs across the plate glass wall and yelling for blood!

"C'mon, wolfy, eat the greedy fucker! Serves him right! He's been stiffing us all for years so eat hiiiiiim!" roared the donors spilling slimy caviar onto their chins.

As if on cue, the wolf let out a heinous snarl and took Trough's neck entirely in its mouth. Trough continued screaming but stopped abruptly as the brute's long teeth bit deeply into his throat. Hot red bubbling blood pulsed out and the wolf lapped at the red fountain showering its face.

Readying for the killing bite, the wolf was suddenly thrown across the room as a gigantic male tiger rammed into it at full force. The wolf revived and snarled but the Tiger's ear-splitting roar sent it whimpering with its tail hung low.

The tiger placed a giant paw on Trough's chest, its talons piercing the fur outfit and penetrating his flabbed flesh. The ailing accountant winced in agony as he tried to stem the pulse of blood from his neck. The tiger licked his bloodied face but was halted by a booming snarl erupting from a famished bear closing in at speed. 

It swiped the tiger hard and sent it sprawling along the blood like a skater. The tiger bellowed with fury and faced the grizzly now towering over it. The two titans set to in a blaze of fur and claw with the rest of the animals looking on with nervous respect.

Trough, half dazed from blood loss, sensed his chance, rolled onto his side and managed to kneel and then stand up. He staggered towards the windowed wall, where the cheering party yowled with laughter, as he swirled his bloody paws across the glass like a deranged window cleaner. 

"He-help me! hel-help me!" he begged his old clients, red froth bubbling from his mouth.

This gurgling appeal sparked a whole new wave of drinking and jostling, which reached an even louder pitch of horseplay and howling. The drumstick-chewing mob hurled themselves at the glass, threw themselves at each other and tipped bubbly over one another's heads. The yells of ectasy crescendoed when Trough was pinned against the window by a hideous pair of hyenas, gnarled and thinned, ravenous with desire for injured juiced flesh like his,

Each bit firmly into Trough and tore at his sides, the flimsy outfit offering no protection from their unearthly jaws as they gutted him standing before his audience like a practised execution. 

As Trough collapsed onto his own hot innards the watching horde screamed with rapture and two of the loudest men began to tear off the two female keepers' clothes. The two drunken men roared with lust as the keepers' breasts sagged out of their ripped vests and on a surging tide of arousal wrestled off their suits and flung themselves onto the shocked women.

Sensing an orgy in the making the rest of the cavorting red-faced male clients turned on their female counterparts, grabbing at their tops with fumbling paws. Some clients joined the first two now straddling the screaming zookeepers.

The male keepers, initially entertained, were now quaking with a rising bore of anger as they looked on while their helpless female colleagues were being molested by a pack of fat quivering tycoons.

"Stop!" they roared with no apparent effect. The snarling donors continued to grab and thrust at the figures beneath them on the wooden floor.

Trough, who now more than regretted working late that night, felt his life finally ebb away with all his plans in the snouts of hyenas. 

The last thing he saw through the greased plate glass was unusually of a harpoon impaling itself in the thick skull of one of his clientele.


The sound of the shaft plunging into the solid head of the wide-eyed male brought proceedings on both sides of the glass to a momentary standstill.

The eerie pause was only broken when the leggy and utterly repellent marabou stork flew across the Board Room, hitting the window glass angrily, landing next to Trough, now entirely dead and still. The hideous bird crammed its hairless face deep inside the accountant's corpse, rummaging for prized sweetmeats and organs. It slid out its head slicked with gore and gulping down a huge hunk of liver stared up at the spellbound herd.

As the marabou's beak snapped shut it was the clarion call for the donors and keepers to resume their drink-fueled fray. 

While the wild animals of the zoo gathered to take turns feeding on Trough's ample body parts, the human fracas took an even deadlier note as the naked clients ran screeching towards the keepers brandishing whatever implements they could find: barbecue forks, chicken shears, cheese wires, carving knives and steak hammers. The keepers met them with harpoons, dart guns, chains and snare sticks. 

It was carnage behind the screen as the savages howled their vitriol at each other. Outrage upon outrage was enacted upon the baying cast. Blood welled and splattered on the glass, flesh bounced off the walls and extremities settled in shining gouts of fresh blood. Bellies were slit, fat buttered, muscles penetrated and sinews scissored.

By the end of the night nothing behind the glass was left alive and a sickening mash of guts and limbs steamed in the silent light of the demonstration room. 

The animals of the zoo, sated by Trough's truffled plenty, stared through the glass sensing somehow that things had changed forever.

They turned and headed for the dark stairwell leading to the bottom door. From here they streamed into the late night and their new-found freedom from the zoo. They were still hungry.

Working late, the owner of a nearby abattoir looked up from his slab.

He was sure he'd heard howling in his yard!

Friday, May 24, 2019


Fendrix was called a wierdo at school.

Wierdo, wierdo went the chant, all day long.

In the end he began to think it was his proper name. Wierdo.

Every day the other kids ignored who he really was and just saw the outside, his spots, his specs, his baby face.

Even the Year 6 teacher seemed to join in, always asking him stuff in front of the others, embarrassing him.

He went home with their name-calling ringing in his ears, only stopping when he slammed the front door shut on the world and saw his Mum, who always met him in the hallway.

He looked at her. He’d stopped taking his medication for a few weeks now but his Mum had no idea. He was sick of feeling like a zombie, but his moods seemed to be getting worse.

Fendrix didn’t say a lot to his Mum when he got in. She had learnt to leave him alone most of the time and just be there for him when he needed it. Mealtimes. Getting ready for school and briefly when he got home. 

The rest of the time he spent alone in his room. She had tried to get him to go outside in the sun but had given up long ago. Fendrix was happiest with just himself and life was easier that way.

As normal he went upstairs to his room, locked his door from the inside and sat down on the carpet to admire his Action Men. He had a lot of Action Men and had arranged them in the same way as his school class in year 6.

Each Action Man represented a kid in the class and he’d managed to get hold of some Sindy’s for the handful of girls. They sat on chairs in front of tables. Some he’d made and some were toys.

Fendrix was the teacher of this plastic rabble and it was he who decided who to embarrass or not.

This was his class.

“Ratton, you rodent, tell me the name of your mother”

“Barbie” replied the Action Man Ratton.

“Wrong Ratton! She’s called bitch! Slut bitch! What’s she called Ratton?” 
boomed Mr. Fendrix prodding the doll-boy firmly with his wooden ruler.

“Slut Bitch, Sir”.

“Correct! And Arbuckle, you great thick pudding, am I in charge of this class and all the horrible scrotes in it?”

Leaning over, Fendrix pulled the cord at the back of the Talking Action Man.

“Yes Sir!” “Yes Sir!” “Yes Sir!” …….

The cord must have jammed as Arbuckle-man didn’t stop talking.

“Stop talking boy!” screamed Fendrix.

“No!” blurted the doll and suddenly stood up out of its chair. It raised its articulated arms and shrieked:

“No! You wierdo!”

Fendrix stared at the doll and stood up, towering over it with his ruler. The doll craned its neck backwards and stared upwards at him.

“You fuckin’ wierdo!” it said again.

Suddenly all the dolls got up out of their chairs and began to chant in unison as they moved closer to the front;

“Weird! Weirdo! Weirdo! Weirdo!”

Fendrix was dumbfounded: uncontrollably furious and frightened in equal measure and ran out of his bedroom panting. He stood on the landing in his school shorts trying to catch his breath, large tears of rage forming in his eyes.

They were just as bad as the kids at school, those fuckin dolls.

His Mum had been decorating the bathroom and had left a box of tools outside. Fendrix noticed the big box of beige masking tape rolls and picked one out. 

He nailed the end of it and pulled a long piece from the roll. It made a satisfying ripping sound as he tore it off and Fendrix smiled.

He returned to his ‘class’, where all the toy children were sat back in their seats silent and still.

Fendrix walked round the back of the group with the masking tape hidden behind his back.


He would pay, the little bastard.

Fendrix grabbed hold of the Talking Action Man. It struggled in his hands and mumbled as the boy smothered its loose mouth.

“Mm”, “Mm”, “Mm” it stuttered through Fendrix’s fingers tightening round its velvety head.

“I’ll show you Arbuckle! I’ll show you, you fuckin ingrate! You won’t be saying much after this!”

Clasping the writhing doll, Fendrix began to bind the masking tape around it’s legs. First its boots and khaki trousers were completely bound, then its ammo belt, arms, camo jacket and finally its chin.

To finish its head off Fendrix had to uncover the mouth, at which point the doll, glaring at the boy with eagle eyes, blurted out “We’re  gonna fuckin get you for this wierdo, you just wait till tomorrow, we’re gonna fuckin have you!”

Fendrix taped his mouth finally shut and viewed his handiwork.

He’d done a good job. None of Arbuckle’s body was showing at all. He’d mummified him like King Tut! The boy chuckled at the thought and placed the taped doll back in its place, straight and stiff.

By midnight he had taped up his entire class of Action Men and Sindys. They leant against their chairs erect like the dead. Fendrix was thrilled. There was no more back chat and no more name calling.

He went to bed happy clutching Arbuckle.

In the morning Fendrix was unusually sunny thought his Mum. He wolfed down his reddy brek, pretended to take his meds and got ready for school, the last day before Summer when kids could take in any food, games and music they wanted.

Freedom beckoned and the prospect of a long carefree holiday shone like a jar of new scissors.

He gave his Mum a kiss and headed out of the door carrying a large shoulder bag.

“What have you got in the bag son?” she asked.

“Tapes Mum. Just tapes.” Said Fendrix smiling.