Thursday 27 June 2013

The Time Machine

The Time Machine

Tizer Cocktail

Sir Oswald Hennessey chose a cigar from the cedar box, snipped the end and held it under his nose for a few seconds to enjoy its exotic fragrance. He lit it, took a series of quick puffs to get it going, then strolled across the sitting room to his favourite armchair. A few moments later the door opened and Hobson, Sir Oswald's butler, showed Albert and Henrietta Parkin into the room. Henrietta rushed forward to greet Sir Oswald. 
'This is so exciting,' she trilled. 'Thank you so much for inviting us.'
'You are most welcome, Madam,' beamed Sir Oswald. 'I am humbled by such enthusiasm. Henrietta waited for Hobson to leave the room before removing her bonnet. She shook her head to allow her loose golden curls to fall around her face. She looked at her host from beneath extraordinarily long lashes. Albert Parkin sat in a chair and picked up The Times newspaper.
'I see rubber's down again,' he said sadly.
'You should invest in my company,' laughed Sir Oswald. 'One of these days we're going to hit the jackpot with our inventions.'
'Like the Bath O Matic and the Instant Messenger Machine?' scoffed Mr Parkin.
'The Bath O Matic is selling very well,' said Sir Oswald haughtily.
Henrietta took a sip from her glass of port and pursed her lips. 'Do you think we could borrow your engineer for a few hours? I fear our Bath O Matic machine needs a little attention.'
'Of course,' boomed Sir Oswald. 'I'll get Barrymore round there in the morning. I'm sorry you're having trouble, they are normally a very reliable machine.'
'It's been overused, that's the problem,' said Mr Parkin. 'Henrietta is never out of the infernal contraption, I can't see what she gets out of it, personally.'
Henrietta blushed and placed a soft gloved hand on Sir Oswald's arm. 'I do tend to use it rather a lot,' she confided.
Mr Parkin put down the newspaper and looked around curiously. 'What fabulous invention do you have for us this evening, Old Man?'
Sir Oswald's eyes lit up. 'Something very special,' he took a puff from his cigar and looked around conspiratorially. 'I've developed a Time Machine.'
'A time machine?' queried Albert. 'I already have a pocket watch and a grandfather clock. What's so special about a timepiece?'
'This is not a timepiece, my friend. This is a machine that will transport you through time and space, to the past... or possibly, the future.'
'Good Lord,' said Mr Parkin.
Henrietta's eyes sparkled. 'Where is it? Can we see it? Have you used it?'
Sir Oswald opened the door at the far end of the sitting room and led the couple into his study. In the centre of the room stood a tall, black metal box, twelve feet long by four feet wide. It was decorated with highly polished brass fittings. A thick pipe marked, 'Inlet', protruded from the rear of the machine and disappeared through a neatly cut hole in the wall. A second, smaller pipe marked, 'Outlet', ran alongside. Each pipe was fitted with a brass fly wheel to control the pressure.
'The Time Machine is fed from a huge new boiler out in the yard,' explained Sir Oswald. 'We had to build an especially large one to get enough power to run this particular machine. It takes sixty-four pistons to generate enough power to get the sphere spinning at the correct speed.'
Henrietta ran her hand down the side of the highly polished machine and leaned back against it. 'I can feel the power surging through me,' she said. 'It's quite exhilarating.'
Sir Oswald flicked ash from his cigar and grinned. He patted the machine lovingly. 'Isn't she beautiful?'
'Very nice, I'm sure,' said Mr Parkin. 'But does it actually work?'
Sir Oswald looked hurt. 'Of course it works, my good man. Hobson has been back to 1756 and Barrymore went back to 1588. I personally went back even further than that, so I can assure you that it works, Sir.'
'1588, wasn't that the year of the Armada?'
'Correct, Madam. The Spanish Armada. Barrymore stood on the cliff tops and watched Drake sink the Spanish Fleet.'
'How wonderful,' squealed Henrietta. 'Can you choose any time and place, Sir Oswald?'
'Anywhere and at any time, Madam. This machine is so precise we can set the location to within a few feet and the time to within an hour.'
'Astonishing,' said Mr Parkin.
'I had a wonderful conversation with a Roman Centurion, finally found a use for the Latin I was forced to learn at school.'
'I never found a use for it,' moaned Albert.
Henrietta clutched at Sir Oswald's arm. 'What about the future? Have you looked at what lies ahead, too?'
'We haven't actually tried that yet, we thought we might make it our next adventure.'
'I say, would you let me have a go?' pleaded Henrietta, 'Please say you will, I do so want to see the future.'
'Dash it, Old Girl, it could be a tad dangerous,' said Mr Parkin, uncertainly.
'Nonsense,' argued Sir Oswald. 'I've used the machine myself, there's no risk involved at all.'
'Please, Albert. Do let me go,' begged Henrietta.
'Well, if you're so determined, I don't see how I can say no,' said Mr Parkin. 'I wonder if our new life insurance policy covers time travel.'
Sir Oswald led Henrietta around to the front of the machine and opened a half glass door. Inside sat a highly polished steel ball. Sir Oswald turned a knob and the sphere opened up to reveal a small cushioned seat in front of a set of dials and gauges. Henrietta sat down and Sir Oswald turned a dial, then set three stops on the panel. He checked the pressure gauge carefully to ensure the machine was fully up to steam.
'Right,' he said brightly. 'We're ready to go. We just have to choose a time and place. What do you think, Old Girl, where would you like to go?'
'Do you know, I rather think I'd like to see what London will look like in the future.'
'That's a grand idea,' said Sir Oswald. 'You're a game bird, I do have to say.' He checked the pressure again and placed his hand on the date dial. 'Any particular time? How about a hundred years on.'
Henrietta clapped her hands excitedly. 'More,' she said. 'Two hundred years.'
'Let's split the difference and call it a hundred and fifty,' said Sir Oswald. 'The machine hasn't been sent forwards in time before. We probably shouldn't push it too far the first time.'
Under Sir Oswald's direction, Henrietta pushed two more stops and pulled a small lever on her right. The date and time dials were set to January1st 2011.
Sir Oswald produced a leather helmet and a pair of rubber goggles with thick glass lenses. 'Just a safety measure,' he assured. He reached into the sphere, pulled a leather strap and fastened Henrietta securely to the seat.
'When you arrive at your designated time, the sphere will automatically stop spinning. A few seconds later it will open. You will be able to see your surroundings on the glass screen in front of you while you are inside the machine. Mr Parkin and I will be able to see what you are seeing on the screen in my study. We won't receive any kind of sound though. Once you are out of the device we lose contact and you're on your own. To return, just set the stops and turn the dial to today's date and time.'
Henrietta patted Sir Oswald's hand. 'This is so exciting. How long will I be able to stay?'
Sir Oswald stood back from the sphere and tapped a fogged up dial. 'You can stay as long as you please, it really doesn't matter. Even if you were to stay for six months, back here, only five minutes will have passed.'
'How very convenient,' said Henrietta.
Sir Oswald gave a final word of warning. 'If you go wandering, don't forget where the sphere is. It has been set to land behind the stable block at the back of the house, it should be safe enough there. Make sure you close the sphere before you leave it though. We don't want to inadvertently bring someone back from the future, not yet at least.'
Henrietta checked the straps and adjusted her goggles and headgear. Mr Parkin waved to her from the doorway of the machine. 'Bon Voyage, Old Thing. Say hello to the future.'
Sir Oswald closed the sphere and checked the pressure dials again. Satisfied, he pulled a lever and stood back. The sphere began to revolve. As he watched through the window, the orb increased speed until it became a blur. A few seconds later, it disappeared.
Back in the study, Sir Oswald poured a large brandy and handed it to his friend. Albert Parkin took a sip and stared up at the foggy glass screen.
'Hope she's all right,' he said quietly. 'She gets a little travel sick over distance.'
Sir Oswald placed a hand on his shoulder. 'She'll be fine, Old Chap.' He nodded to the screen. 'Look, the mist is clearing.'
Parkin's jaw dropped as he saw the ghostly images of future London appear on the screen. Small self-propelled, metal boxes filled the narrow streets. The pavements groaned under the weight of the city's population.
'Where are the horses?' gasped Parkin
Sir Oswald moved closer to the screen. 'These little horseless boxes seem to be everywhere. Their engineers must have found a way to make a steam engine small enough to fit inside them. I wonder how they feed the coal to the boiler? I imagine each box has a driver and a stoker sat up front.'
The image on the screen faded and the fog returned.
'She's out of the sphere,' said Sir Oswald. 'Henrietta's in the future.'
Five minutes later they heard the sound of hissing steam and the whir of the sphere as it slowed. Sir Oswald stepped forward eagerly and opened the sphere. Henrietta climbed out and stepped into the study. Parkin gawped at her.
She was dressed in bright pink shoes with seven-inch stiletto heels. Black stockings stopped at her exposed thighs. She wore a tiny skirt which barely covered her backside and her almost transparent blouse did little to conceal the flimsy, red corset that fought a losing battle to hold in her breasts. Henrietta's eyelids were painted pink to match her shoes; her lashes were three times their normal length. There was a gold stud in her nostril. She stared at them angrily.
'Wot iz yous starin at?' she spat.
Albert Parkin tried to soothe her. ‘You’re safely home now old girl, what on earth happened to you?'
Sir Oswald leaned forward.
'Hello, Henrietta. Don't you recognise us? This is your husband, Albert.'
'Don't you give me no shit,' said Henrietta. 'This Ho ain't no mofo's biatch.'
Sir Oswald led Henrietta to the sofa and sat her down. 'She'll be fine in a few minutes, Old Man. I was speaking in Latin for a while after I returned from Rome.'
Albert nodded. 'Thank goodness for that. But what the hell is she wearing. And what sort of language was she speaking? It's foreign, that's for certain. I thought you sent her to London.'
'I did,' said Sir Oswald. He took a cigar from the cedar box and snipped the end. 'She must have stayed there for quite a time to involve herself in their culture to that degree. What we have just seen and heard is the London of the future.' He paused while he lit his cigar. 'I think I'm going to dismantle the time machine, Old Man. If what we have just witnessed is anything to go by, then I think it's fair to say that sometimes you are better off not knowing what lies ahead. The reality can be far too upsetting.'

About the Author

To find out more about the author check out these links:
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Thursday 20 June 2013


Marie Fullerton


Hot Chocolate with Cream and Marshmallows

The skies opened and I ran into the museum for shelter from the sudden downpour.
               I glanced around furtively as I hunted through my pockets with wet hands in search of a tissue. I hoped that anyone watching me would not think it was anything more than just the rain that ran the length of my nose, gathered into a huge diamond droplet on the tip and dripped down the front of my jacket.
               The familiar wax polish smell in the musty warmth of the entrance hall welcomed me. As a child, I’d spent many an hour exploring here during the long school holidays, a good few years ago now. My best friend and I had laughed as we flirted with the boys from the grammar school, hiding in corners and stifling giggles behind our hands; made up stories about the crowns, gowns and robes that how hung lifeless in dusty corners. We’d held hands and cried over broken relationships in the darkened quiet seats as teenagers and spent hours at the study tables trying to put together essays that were different enough to look as though we hadn’t worked together while at college. Just before Anna had moved abroad with her family we’d both bought the same necklace from the souvenir shop and sworn never to take them off as a token of our friendship. Then, in spite of the promise to keep in touch no matter what,
we’d lost contact with each other as the years passed. Ah, the memories that clung tightly to that smell.

It looked like the rain wasn’t going to ease off for I while and I decided to walk round before going upstairs for a coffee in the café. Although the smell hadn’t changed, the exhibits had. A dinosaur exhibition that had housed rows of bones and artefacts had grown and now also had screens that allowed me to see the creatures they came from at the touch of a button. History documentaries played on monitors close to each exhibit. I remembered the dinosaur story we had written one afternoon for a project on evolution our first year in senior school. The ammonite fossil caught my eye; captured in what looked like an old granite kerbstone, the curled shell nestled tightly inside a quartz casing. More tiny pieces of quartz were glistening between the folds and I smiled as I thought how much like life was this ancient creature; how much like my life!

I walked up to the café, bought myself a cream cake and a latte coffee and sat by the window looking down onto the street below. Rivulets of water joined together as they ran races to the frame at the bottom of the window. I reflected on the ammonite. Such a beautiful shell incarcerated in a coffin of grey stone, taunted by the sparkling of reflected light on its prison walls. I sighed and looked outside. Large droplets of rain clung to the window, little images of people in the street below drifted through each drop. The vibrant, magnified colours of their clothing faded away to the grey of the pavement once they had passed and left me with just my broken reflection. I wondered where the years had gone, where Anna was now, if she still thought of me. I sipped my coffee.
               ‘Lorna?’ A voice broke into my daydreams. ‘Lorna, I don’t believe this, it
is you.’
               ‘Anna?’ My heart leapt. It couldn’t be, could it?
               ‘Lorna, have you any idea how I have missed you?’
               As I stood up her arms embraced me and I held her tight.
               ‘Oh Anna!’
               I was speechlessly gazing into her eyes as she brushed my face with her
               ‘You old silly, I knew we would find each other again. I just moved back
and…’ She paused for a second. ‘It’s funny; I sort of knew I would find you here.’
               She removed her coat, shook it and hung it on the back of a chair. I watched her graceful movements; she hadn't changed a bit.
               ‘I’ll get you a drink,’ I said, ‘hot chocolate with cream and
               ‘You remembered!’
               She smiled and pulled the damp, silk scarf from around her neck. A tiny silver ammonite pendant nestled between her breasts.
               ‘I think we both did, didn’t we?’
               She laughed as she caught my arm before I left the table and pulled me toward her. Slowly she undid the top button of my blouse, ran her finger down the chain and touched my pendant. Our eyes met.              
               ‘Did you put it on especially?’
               I kissed her hand. How could I have known, how could she? I smiled at her and hugged her again.
               ‘No Anna, I never took it off.’

About the Author
Marie Fullerton is a retired lecturer, she has eight grown up children and she has wanted to be a writer forever.  She also started painting twenty-one years ago and is completely self-taught. At fifty she was proud of her 2.1 BA degree for English language, literary history and creative writing at UCC and has since had several poems published in anthologies and short stories in E-zines. She is currently working on two novels. Although she has sold many paintings she has only recently tried her hand at illustrating. You can see her artwork on her Facebook page using the following link here: LINK


Thursday 13 June 2013

You Never Know

You Never Know

Lindsay Fisher


I have played things over and over in my head, trying to recall if there was anything in our first meeting, anything to show that she was different. But there wasn’t. Not that she was the same, not the same as any of the girls I had dated before; but nothing in her then to say she was different in the way that she was. Nothing in the first meeting or the second.
                We met in a crowded bar and I think I was the one who talked first and she was the one who wasn’t interested to start with. I bought her a drink, but I don’t remember what she was drinking so I don’t think there was anything so odd in that. Later it was bourbon, just the one kind, but on that first night it might have been wine. She was there with friends; that’s what she said, though looking back she never introduced me to anyone. She seemed nice enough and pretty as fuck and I gave her my name and she gave me hers and we got to talking.
   I walked her home that first night, a smaller and smaller distance between us as we walked.
She said it was not far and that she lived with her folks and she was sorry but she couldn’t invite me in. I said I understood. I wasn’t up for meeting her parents anyway and it wasn’t even a first date. It was a bungalow up Barstow Way where she lived, with flowers in all colours in the garden and a light on at the front and a brass plate on the door to tell you it was number twenty-three. I walked her to the gate and she kissed me and said I was sweet and we should meet again. I had her phone number in my pocket when I walked away and I walked away taller.
     I saw her maybe six times after that and sometimes she stayed over at mine and that was just fine. Her name was Talulah; it was after a famous actress that her dad had liked. She’d never been able to live it down, she said, so now she didn’t try.
I didn’t know what that meant, and so I shrugged and said how I liked the name and it was different.
     If I’m being honest, it was sometimes a little crazy with her. Mostly in a good way, I thought at the time. She’d bring stuff to eat, stuff she’d cook in my kitchen and serve up to me like she was my mam, chilli with chocolate and chicken cooked with bananas. And she always cleared up afterwards and that was something good. One day she brought a small packet of weed with her and lying in bed after, we smoked one joint and then another blowing blue and imperfect smoke rings up to the ceiling. She rolled the joints and seemed to know what she was doing. It was my first time, and I wasn’t sure about it. I felt a little dizzy and light-headed which I thought maybe was the point.
     She drank bourbon straight from the bottle. Knob Creek Small Batch bourbon and no other. She brought the bottle with her. It tasted of maple syrup and a little burnt on the tongue and then, as it slipped down, something with raisins and cinnamon and liquorice. I’d never known a girl who drank bourbon from the bottle, but it didn’t worry me, not then.
     Talulah, when she stayed over, always slept late. That was fine at the weekend, the two Saturdays in a row that she was there. I slept late then, too, and we had coffee together at the kitchen table and she said her ‘fucking head hurt like it’d been squeezed in a vice’. We had our coffee with the kitchen curtains closed against the hurtful sun and then we went back to bed and I had no complaints there.
     But there was a Thursday and then a Wednesday that she came over and I had work the next day and so I left her sleeping, dead to the world, and I snuck out of the house like a thief and I closed the door soft behind me. When I got back at the end of my shift, she was gone and there was a note pinned to the bedroom door and she said how she’d helped herself to breakfast and she’d put the sheets and the pillowcases into the washing machine and she’d see me at the weekend. Then her name was drawn in letters like a child’s and underneath it three outsize kisses and a heart.
     Truth is that I liked her. It was early of course, and I wasn’t looking much further than the weekend, but I liked her and she seemed to be good for me, except for the weed and the bourbon. I wasn’t thinking to take her to meet my mam, not yet, but I wasn’t thinking not to either. Then things took a sudden turn and she got a bit weird. There was a night where she turned up late and I think she’d started the proceedings without me and I was drinking bourbon to catch up with where she was. That was the night of our first fight, and I don’t really remember what it was about. She swore a lot, and I remember I told her to keep her voice down on account of the neighbours and she went to the door then, not a stitch on her, and she shouted to the street that the neighbours could all go take a flying fuck. We laughed about it afterwards.
     Make-up sex is always the best and so when I woke the next morning I woke up smiling, and she’d already gone, and I wasn’t too fussed thinking it was good between us again. The smell of her was still on me and I was in no hurry to climb into the day or to wash her from me. I called in sick for work and just lay back thinking of her.
     But it turns out we weren’t good and I don’t understand why. She came round one last time and we went at it again and all over nothing that I could figure. I got a bit fed up,
 if I am being honest, and I swore some too that day. Anyway, she said it was over and broke all my plates and she screamed and said that she didn’t want to ever see me again, and I said fine. She slammed the door behind her and that was that.
     Except it wasn’t and it isn’t. She left her bag behind, see. Her handbag. I thought she’d be back to get it and that maybe there’d be a chance we could make up again and it’d be better than it was. I sat at the kitchen table waiting for her knock at the door, her bag before me, and two shot glasses full to the lip with her favourite amber bourbon. She didn’t show.
I gave her a week and still she didn’t call. I even went back to the pub where we’d met and I retraced that first night walk to her home and to the bungalow up Barstow, number twenty-three. I walked past the house several times, hoping I’d be seen and I wouldn’t have to knock. Then I pushed open the gate and rapped on the door.
Turns out that two men live there. Been there for almost twenty years and they never heard of any Talulah, except wasn’t there an actress by that name and she was sometimes on the tv in black and white films. I asked them if they were sure, and I had Talulah’s bag, and I was just wanting to return it. They looked at me funny and said they were sorry and they shut the door against me.
     I took the bag home and I thought then that it was okay for me to look inside, looking for some sort of address where I might find her and give her back what was hers. There was other stuff besides the bag, some clothes and a pair of high-heeled shoes and an ivory backed hairbrush. I tipped the contents of the bag onto the kitchen table and got the fright of my life. There, amongst the eye pencils and lipsticks and an open pack of tampons and a heart-shaped bottle of perfume and seven old shop till receipts and an open pack of Doina cigarettes and a matchbook for a club in the town that had closed down and the clear plastic bag of weed and a blank notepad and several pens that had been chewed at the end and paperclips and bus tickets and a roll of Selotape and a rabbit-foot key ring with only one key and a purse with no bank cards and nearly seven hundred dollars in cash, there amongst all of that was a gun. It fell with a heavy clatter onto the table.
     ‘Shit,’ I said and I backed away from it knocking a chair over and I didn’t dare touch it at first. Then when I did, I did so wearing gloves. It was a glock pistol and it was loaded, ten .45 rounds in the magazine. My hand was shaking just holding it.
     I looked back over everything then, like my life flashing before my eyes, only it was my six days with Talulah and nothing else. Sure she’d been crazy at the end, what with the swearing at the neighbours and breaking the plates, and there’d been the bourbon and the weed, and Talulah kissing me at her front gate on that first night only it wasn’t her gate at all; but a gun in her handbag was something else.
     I didn’t know what to do, whether to go to the police or not, or if she was in trouble, or someone to be afraid of and she’d be back to do me harm. So I hid the bag under the loose floorboards in the hall and I laid the carpet back so you wouldn’t’ know, and I changed the lock on the front door, changed it for a double cylinder dead bolt, and I went out less than before and kept looking over my shoulder when I did.
     Still she hasn’t come back and it’s been over a year now, and I check the gun every day and I check the ten rounds in the magazine and I always wear the same gloves when I do. I smoked the weed one night when I was bored and that was just stupid, and stoned I kept getting up to look out of the window and I kept checking the bolt on the front door just in case and checking the phone to see if anyone had called.
     I look for her in the street all of the time, look for her name in the phone book, the only name I have and that's Talulah – and it turns out her name is not so unusual after all. She said her name was Talulah, and she was named after an actress that her dad liked, and if any of that is true then that’s what I know and nothing more than that, except the bourbon and the weed and the gun.

About the Author

Lindsay Fisher leaks stories and the leaks grow bigger with each passing week and more and more of them spill out into weird or wonderful places. There ain't no rhyme or reason to what is written, at least none that Lindsay can discern. They're just stories.

Wednesday 12 June 2013

A Stop Along The Way

A Stop Along The Way

Olivia Smith

Blue Lagoon

We haven’t always been here but the white walls have, here for those who never wanted to grow up, who weren’t ready to go just yet. Some stay here a long time, some leave within a few days. It’s not really for us to say who stays and who goes. That’s decided by someone else and someone else was still deciding where to put me. We all had a life before this; some had a family, some none at all, family is something we try to forget, I sometimes wonder if mine has forgotten me. I don’t remember much of my life before I came here, I’d like to think it was a happy one; happiness now hard to come by. Not found in a birthday cake or the opening of a Christmas present, how could it be? When time stands still and celebration is spent.

                 When I first got here I feared the change. Now it leaves me unfazed, it is my home. If I could tell you how long I’d been here I would, but the clock’s hands were ripped off long before my arrival and the year has seeped from my mind. Perched on a bench I cock my head in the direction of a newbie, skin a sickly yellow and hair tied poorly into bunches, I nod my head in her direction, she welcomes my presence with a timid 'hello.' So young and afraid, she hurriedly looks around for her parents, she won’t find them here.
               'How are you today?' I politely ask, in a feeble attempt to abate her trepidations.
                'I’m feeling much better, thank you,' she replies.
               At least her parents taught her manners before she wound up here. I nod my head and walk away. I want to stay and show her the ropes but what good would it do? She needs to find her own way, she could be here a while.

I make my way to what would be the bedroom if it were to possess a bed, although I’ve come to realise why bother to have a bed when no one ever sleeps. Elmer is already there, playing with his wooden yo-yo, he doesn’t even look up. 'Elmer!' No response, I hate when he ignores me. 'Elmer!' Focused on the toy as it bounces up and down, up and down 'Hey Elmer, you should put on a coat, you’ll catch your death.' He meets my gaze then storms out of the room, I laugh heartily at his annoyance. Elmer doesn’t speak, I don’t know if he can’t or he won’t but all I know is Elmer got such a shock when he ended up in this place that a word hasn’t come out of his mouth since. At least that’s what the other kids say, Elmer’s been here a lot longer than me, you see. A lot of the kids are like that, shocked when they end up here. I guess it makes sense; one day you’re sat at home with a loving family then next thing you know you’re here; no parents, no relatives, no nothing, just a bunch of children waiting to be put in a new home.

Rumours go round every so often about where we might wind up, one place sounds nice, one place sounds awful. One thing’s for sure, I ain’t going anywhere anytime soon. At fifteen years old I was lucky to get in here, seems sixteen is the cut off. I don’t know where you go if you’re any older than that, not sure I want to know either. I say the less you know, the happier you are. I make my way to the garden, nothing grows but it’s nice to feel the cold air. It gets awful hot in the home, causing me to take my hat off, the other kids laugh ’cause there isn’t any hair on my head, not that that bothers me anymore, I got used to that a long time ago.

I hear the chorus of three young girls singing yet another round of ring a ring o’ roses. There used to be four of them singing but one left recently, it always got me down when people left but I guess that was the nature of this place, it wasn’t designed to be lived in forever, it’s just a stop along the way.

I saunter back into the home; full of so many other children. It makes me happy to have so much company yet it makes me sad to think the same fate has befallen so many others. I get my iPhone out of my pocket, not that it works here, more an act of ritual from my previous life than anything else. In hindsight I wish I’d brought something else with me, not that you get to choose, you just end up with what was on your person when you were taken. The same goes for your clothes, I hate being stuck in this gown, had I known I would have thought to change. Not that there’s much point thinking about this now, nothing’s gonna be any different just ’cause I wish it. If that were the case there’d be a whole lot of wishing going on around this place.
               If the truth be told I always figured I’d end up here, well maybe not here exactly but I knew I wasn’t going to be staying there for too much longer. It was my mother’s tears that had given it away. She’d said I was going to be fine, that I was going to stay with her but the tears told a different story to the one her mouth was telling. My dad told me to stay strong but I could tell he was crumbling inside. And my sister, well I don’t think she knew what was going on, it was for the best, innocent minds shouldn’t have to know the evils of this world. The doctor’s often ignored me, scared to give me answers to my questions. The nurses would feed me drugs as my mother fed me lies. Telling me it’d all be OK, telling me I’d get better any day now. Well at least I’m not sick anymore. None of us are, that’s the one good thing about this place. We might still look it, with balding heads and bust up bodies but we don’t feel it anymore, so I suppose I should be thankful for that. I think I spend more time thinking about the past than I do the future, there’s a certainty in the past that the future can never hold. It was so long ago that I can hardly even remember it now but some memories were built never to be forgotten. The time I walked through the meadow with my mother, the day my parents brought home my new baby sister, eating too much ice cream on my tenth birthday, the day I got told I was sick and lastly the day I died. These were memories I would always keep, no matter where I went next. This is the limbo of Infants and like I said this place isn’t for living. It’s just a stop along the way.

About the Author
Olivia Smith is an aspiring writer in her final year at Salford University, studying English and creative writing. English has been a passion of hers since a very young age and she has contributed to the Cafelit website on several occasions.