Ben’s escape.

Ben hurried through the brightly lit corridors of the hospital, desperate for a way out. Keeping his eyes down whenever he passed any doctors or nurses. They were looking at him he could tell. Got to get out of here, should never have come. It was her idea. She had forced him – said he would be in trouble if he didn’t but he was in even more trouble now.

He walked along a low, glass corridor. Outside there was a small garden courtyard with some benches. It looked so much nicer out there. There were no people. He found a door in the corridor and pushed it open. The cool air hit him in the face. He instantly felt dizzy again. He staggered onto one of the wooden benches and sat gasping.

He had to get home. It would soon be sunrise and being out in the daylight was impossible, there would be people everywhere. His hand closed around the Saint Christopher around his neck and a mumbled prayer fell out his lips. Please make it home. He breathed deeply and closed his eyes. Had to rest, just for a minute.

Terror overcame Ben as he woke. How long had he been here? An orderly was shaking his arm. It was almost dawn! The sound of the city coming to life was so loud in the dim light.

“Are you ok mate? You need some help?”

Completely ignoring the stranger, Ben got to his feet and turned and shuffled away from him.

“Here! There’s no way out there! Mate?”

Ben had to get away from the shouting man. He was at the edge of the courtyard, dark green ivy climbed up and over the wall.  The man was right behind him, blocking the way. He had no choice, he started to scale the trellis.

“Here! Mate!”

Without looking back, Ben hoisted himself over the short wall and crashed onto the hard concrete on the other side, landing on his hip. He didn’t let out a cry but it hurt bad. Can’t wait, keep going. He pulled himself to his feet, leaning on the red brick wall for support. A delivery van beeped as it reversed in the small car park, the driver eying at Ben in his mirrors. Ben could feel the eyes on him, examining and judging him. It wasn’t fair. No one should judge anyone else. Other than God of course. That was the deal. That was what it was all about, wasn’t it? But they all did it, all the time and it isn’t fair. Ben limped past the van, bumping off it as he staggered. The driver braked sharply, he would be annoyed, would want to shout! Ben could not stop now. He was out the gate and onto the main road. He looked left and right as cars sped past, could hear the driver behind him shouting something. He was disorientated but desperate to get away from here and get home.

Finding his bearings was never usually an issue, Bens world was too small to get lost. The flat, the church, the market. He was like a cat with a small prowling area that was his and he understood it. There was never any need to travel any further. When he was young he had. Went to the day schools organised by the church, they were good, they got to play in the country, run around the fields and climb the trees. He went to the overnight schools too. He didn’t like them though.

Buses of tired faces flew passed on the road while people in skirts and suits walked fast and purposefully with comfy trainers on their feet, jostled by Ben. They were looking at him as well. They all were. Had to keep his eyes down. Had to get away from the main road. He turned into the large park that was next to the hospital. He could cut through here to get home. It was longer but much quieter and sometimes there were ducks and swans in the pond. His sister took him there once or twice after mum died. It was always too busy though.

She was going to be so angry. She would come today and visit and ask what the hospital said. He would have to look much better so she didn’t ask the questions. If she did not ask anything then he would not have to say anything. Had to get home and get looking better and tidy up, the flat was messy.

He scurried through the park. Sticking to the bushes and the trees. There were people on the path, joggers and cyclists exercising in the dim pre-dawn light. Ben felt safer in the greenery. He didn’t know that someone from the hospital had already called the police. They were on their way.

He pushed through the bushes and bracken in the wooded area behind the pond. His jeans getting damp and dirty from the grass. Soon he would emerge on the other side of the park and then home would be so close. He was exhausted now and would love to sit for just a minute, rest his legs, his bruised hip. He pushed through another wall of branches and his foot kicked against something. He looked down. Another foot. Not his. There was a man lying under a filthy sleeping bag, he fixed Ben with a harsh stare. Right in his eyes.

“What the fuck you doin?” His deep booming voice made Ben jump.

Ben recognised his eyes instantly, he saw so few eyes. It was the man from the graveyard. The man that had barged into him and stared at him and ran away.

“You? What the fuck you doin here?”

Ben wanted to get away but the man was on his feet now, his hands shot out of the sleeping bag as it fell to the ground. He gripped bens jacket tightly, pulling him closer.

“How’d you find me? Eh? What you want?”

“I want to go home.” Ben couldn’t look away. The man’s eyes intense and terrifying.

The man’s face was inches from his. His toxic breath made Ben feel sick. He knew the park gates were just through the bushes, they were so close. He could run but the man was stopping him. He started to shake Ben back and forth. He was too weak to fight it.

“What the fuck you want with me! What did you see!”

A noise in the trees. They both turned instantly to look. There were two police officers in bright yellow jackets walking through the gloomy green light towards them.

“You got the polis on me?” He spat as he pointed at the approaching officers. “Ya fuckin rat!” The whispered grimace and foul whisky breath made Ben want to scream. He couldn’t take it anymore. He turned sharply, breaking the grip and stumbled off through the trees towards the gate as fast as he could.

“Hoi!” The man roared after him.

The police started running and were on the man in seconds. Pinning him down as he fought violently.

“It’s no me! Its him! I done nothin!”

Ben did not dare to look back. He was shaking as hobbled onwards.  This had been one of the most frightening days of his life. He didn’t want to ever go back to this park or that hospital and that man was too much, he looked at him too hard, his eyes were starting to sting.

He left the park onto the busy side street and went straight over the road at the crossing, not waiting for the green man. A car slammed to a stop as he stepped right out in front of it. Everyone was looking at him. Tears were welling up in his eyes, he just needed it to stop. Must get home.  He was across the road and down the alley next to the churchyard. The high stone walls on either side protecting him. His mum was buried just over the wall from here, he felt safer. The alley was quiet. Not a soul. Not a single soul other than Ben.

He turned the corner and saw more police, the front of the church was blocked off by two officers and some blue and white tape. They turned to look at him, but he kept his eyes low and went straight past. Not even looking at the church. They watched him the whole time, he knew they did, but they didn’t say anything.

Finally, home. The building was cold and cramped. The walls of the neighbouring buildings so close it was hard to distinguish one from the other. Ben ducked through the small main door and into the stairwell. Up the winding steps to his own front door. He unlocked the door with the blue key. Shutting it behind him and leaning on it. Finally, home. He slid the bolt into place and closed his eyes.  He took the small silver Saint Christopher, lifted it to his lips and kissed it. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Tears streamed down his cheeks. Finally, home.

He moved painfully through the hall to the bathroom. His hands supporting him against the wall the entire time. It was dark. The electricity had been cut off weeks ago. It was ok. He would sleep soon. Go to the toilet first then sleep.

Ben entered the tiny bathroom. Precious little light came through the tiny frosted glass window. He turned and pulled down his loose jeans without undoing belt or buttons and sat straight down on the avocado green toilet seat. He made eye contact with the dead boy in the bathtub. He could look at those eyes easily. There was no soul in them.

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Mary’s Night

A typical night in Accident and Emergency.

It was rough, loud and potentially dangerous. Luckily it was also exciting. These were the longest shifts and went by so quickly. Mary loved it, was born to it. Also, with only a few years under her belt she was still a newbie, as the older nurses regularly reminded her. Give it time. The love may fade, but the vomit and blood are permanent.

This latest admission was particularly vile, a strange and quiet little man who had walked in alone, checked himself in and sat there silently waiting. Not complaining, or coming up to the desk to ask how much longer or making little moans to prove he was genuinely ill. He was odd enough to capture Mary’s attention. It was the quiet ones you had to watch as her dad used to warn as she left for a night out, before himself quietly nursing a bottle for the remainder of the evening, and his life. Drink had been his downfall and she was reminded of it again every weekend in this place. But this new patient wasn’t drunk, he wasn’t rowdy, and it only him even more intriguing. Short, balding, overweight and dressed from the charity shop reject box. His top lip curled upwards and looked swollen. Mary didn’t like to be cruel but she knew it would be a serious stretch for anyone to find him attractive. He stared straight ahead with large glassy eyes that barely moved but still gave her the feeling that she was being watched, examined.

He had sat unmoving and quiet for four hours before projectile vomiting across the entire waiting area. Then stench was unbelievable, the sticky shiny brown liquid had spattered even to the far wall. The few people sitting near him, not freaked out by his unusual demeanour, had leapt aside and away, sprains and ailments be damned. Just eager to be as far away as possible from the acidic reek.

The patient himself hadn’t moved though. He sat solid and still. Chin dripping, mouth open, lip curled, and his lazy glazed eyes, staring at nothing and right through Mary at the same time.

“Are you ok?” Mary’s latex gloved hand gently patted his back.

He flinched violently. Pulling away from her.

“It’s ok, its ok. Are you Ben?” She soothed.

“I’m sick.”

“So I see. Can you stand up?”

“I’m sick.”

“OK love. Just you sit there and I’ll…”

Ben roared as his mouth opened. The volume of his roar was almost as impressive as the volume of his vomit. Mary screwed her face up and screamed back at him as it coated the thin plastic apron that was supposed to protect her. She tried in vain to move out the way. Tried to use her hands to protect herself. It just made the splashing worse. A riot shield wouldn’t have helped. It was in her hair, on her face, in her mouth! She looked around for support. The waiting room was all but empty. Patients and staff alike had found hiding places out of the danger zone.

An hour later and she was washed as best she could be, in a clean uniform, standing by his bed.

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s ok Ben. These things happen.”

The waiting area had been taped off and hosed down and mopped up. The stink of bleach mixed with the sickly-sweet aroma of Ben’s insides and wafted through the corridors. The queue had gone down by half. A lot of the patients had decided their drunken injuries could wait till tomorrow.

Mary couldn’t just go home and get away from it. She could taste it. Endless gargles of mouth wash and even the salts hadn’t helped, nothing would shift it.

“’I’m sick.”

“We know you are love. We’ll make you better.” She went to pat his side but remember the way he flinched before and reconsidered.

There was a cardboard bucket by the bed. He had been sick twice more since the initial incident. It was all just retching now. He was finally empty. Thank God.

Mary wrote on his chart and stood to the side as Dr Ann Salmond entered the cubicle.

“Hello Ben. Feeling a bit poorly yes?”

“I’m sick.”

“So we see. It is more than a little food poisoning, isn’t it? Have you been doing anything that you shouldn’t have?”

“I want to go home.”

“Soon I hope. I think its best you stay in tonight though. We will find you a bed upstairs. Somehow.”

“I need to go home!”

“Soon Ben. We will look after you, alright.”

“I didn’t mean to hurt anyone!”

He got over excited and started retching again. Pushing and heaving into the bucket. Mary and Dr Salmond stood back a little just in case. A wet croaking noise accompanied his tortured strains. The Doctor looked at Mary and with a tilt of the head motioned for her to move the curtain.

“Hi Mary. How are you?” Ann smirked. She knew fine well how she was.

“I don’t think I will ever feel clean again.”

“Yes I heard.”

“The whole building heard.”

“Did you also hear what was in it?”

“In what?”

“The cleaning team. They found meat in the vomit. Raw meat. Undigested.”

“Oh my god.” Mary turned pale.

“Yes I think Ben will need someone from psych.”

“But he was sick all over me, I can still taste it in my mouth.”

“I can still see it in your hair.”

Doctor Salmond pointed at her hair. Marys hand went up to her temple. A piece of undigested muscle fell onto the floor.

“I’m going to be sick.”

She burst into the cubicle and took Ben’s cardboard bucket and filled it up for him.

“Sorry about that.” She looked embarrassed and terrified.

“I want to go home.”

“So do I.”

“Come on Mary, let’s get you along to the staffroom for a sit down and a cup of tea.” Dr Salmond took Mary by the shoulders and guided her away.

“I need to go home.” Ben repeated.

“You will get to go home soon. We just need to make sure you are ok. I will be right back to see you in five minutes.” Dr Salmond pulled the curtain behind them.

They walked the short distance to the staff area and sat together on the uncomfy chairs. A plastic cup of dirty brown liquid was put in Mary’s hand. She looked away hurriedly and set it on the floor.

“This has been the worst shift of my life Ann.” Mary held back tears.

“That’s good, get a new benchmark. None of the other nights will seem so bad again.”

“Ha, thanks for the support.” She said sarcastically.

“Anytime.” She smiled. “So I better go tell Ben he’s headed upstairs for the night. And call psych. Bit of a weirdo isn’t he?”

“A bit? He’s like an extra from the walking dead!”

“He gives me the chills. Those eyes. I would hate to know what he is thinking.”

“Not sure he’s thinking anything at all. I’ll tell him. He’s my mess. You crack on.”

Mary made her way back to the cubicle. She just had to get through this. Get him moved upstairs. Get the area cleaned out and prepped for the next unlucky soul who had to follow. Then she could go home and fall asleep in the shower and hopefully forget tonight ever happened.

“Time to get you a bed for the night.” She said as she pulled the curtain back. Ben was gone. The bucket of sick was gone too. God, why! She thought. We got a runner.

Thief

This place was perfect. Not too big to have cameras all over it, big enough that they must be rich. Far enough from the road to be quiet and dark. Not so far as to have guard dogs or flood lights.

He’d watched it for a few days, it was a quiet place and he knew everyone was in bed. He threw his hood up and slipped over the wall. Landing gently under a large oak that would help him get out if all went to plan. If the plan failed, he would get out the front gate at full sprint.

Mary’s voice was in his head. Had to get rid of it. No distractions.

He stole over the large lawn. His eyes on the windows on the top floor, zero movement, it was good. A quick try on the lock of the sliding glass door let him straight in to the kitchen. The door left slightly open behind him. He immediately crouched behind a large dining table and surveyed the scene, letting his eyes adjust. A gentle breeze stirred the net curtain to show him the exit.

He got to work. Silently sliding open drawers and doors in the dining room. Looking for anything small but valuable. His back pack filled slowly with the usual items. Satnav, mobile phone, a man’s wristwatch, all dropped softly into the towel and half wrapped, noiseless. A locked gun cabinet in the study opened to reveal a selection of handguns and rifles. He selected the two nicest looking handguns and closed it again. After 10 minutes the whole downstairs was gently ransacked. Time to go.

Back now through the large hallway to the kitchen and past the tall staircase. A light came on. He froze. It was upstairs. Tiny footsteps. He didn’t breathe. A large solid steel baby gate covered the top of the steps. A small boy walked past into the bathroom, another light on, an extractor fan hummed. Long thin bars of light leapt from the gate down the stairs to where he crouched. Time to go.

Slowly through the living room again towards the kitchen. The white net still waving him to the way out, to the night. He listened for the light clicking off, footsteps led back to the child’s room.  The fan stopped humming. Another sound was there. The front door. A key scraping? An explosion of splintering wood. Two black clad men like returning warlords, dark masks and shotguns. He dove to the floor beside the long couch. Heavy boots trooped straight up the stairs. Thundering into a bedroom. Two loud blasts shook the house. The neighbourhood would be awake. A woman’s scream. Another blast. The scream just stopped. Time to go!

Onto his feet and ducking from no one’s eyes he crouched and ran to the kitchen. The white net curtain ripped to one side and through. The large oak like a living ladder ahead of him. He was up in one two steps and onto the wall. Astride it he paused, risking a glance back. From here he could see a black four-wheel drive in the road, could hear the engine idling, a driver waiting. The pause led to thought. Dropping from the wall into the road would mean being seen. Staying on the wall would risk being seen. Going back in the garden would mean back towards the men but the cover of the trees… Details of such importance should not be agonised over such short seconds. His eyes never left the driver in the vehicle. Movement at the house. The little boy. He was standing on the inside of an upstairs window. No lights were on. The boy fumbled with the handle of the window. The thief slid back onto the ground.

Directly below one of the masked men stepped through the sliding door. The white net wrapping over his black mask turning him ghost grey. Shotgun by his side. The boy opened the window, stepping out onto the ledge. The murderer looked up. Stepped out onto the patio raising his gun. The thief dipped his hand into the bag, his fingers curled around the handle of a gun. The boy looked down, eyes widening.

They paused.

The thief watched, gripping the tree that was protecting him from being part of the scene.

“No.”  Hardly a whisper.

The murderer swung, looking directly at him. Their eyes locked. The boy looked too, leaning too far forward and slipping on the ledge, falling, falling.

The boy hit the concrete with barely a sound. The gunman ripped his mask off and fell to his knees cradling the boy. Sirens in the distance getting louder. The second masked man appeared at the door. Staring at the unmoving boy. Noticing the thief, barely acknowledging him by raising the gun so slowly.

The thief bounced up the tree, the murdering man picked up the unmoving boy and carefully carried him around the house. Holding him close. The other walked behind, watching the thief in the tree, he watched back.

He landed on the pavement as the car sped off.  Flashing blue lights exploded into the trees and he melted into the night. Mary was going to be pissed.

 

 

 

 

 

Nun-ra 2 – God Speed

Sister Mary Joseph pulled the club out of Father O Malley’s neck. Blood was everywhere. His body slumped on top of his old acquaintance, they often “worked” together, now there were dead together. Still she felt nothing, no joy no relief, nothing.

She stood still, surveying the gentle carnage. The red stained the brilliant white of the alter cloths and the cold grey of the granite steps as it poured endlessly down. There were 10 pints of blood in a human and it covered an incredible surface area. These two were barely human though, undeserving of the word, monsters was more suitable, and they deserved death.

Pulling a cigarette from her sleeve she lit it up and drew a long slow pull of the sweet smoke. Her eyes moving as she did, her mind calculating her next move. It had to be fast. She didn’t have long. She exhaled through her nose and dropped the cigarette casually to the floor, half-finished after one puff, she crushed it out under her black hobnailed boot.

Her club was still dripping with globs of blood. She dipped it into the pool that was growing at the bottom of the altar steps. Swung it around and started writing on the large white pillar that was by the side of the aisle. Drips and drops of blood went everywhere; it was a blood spatter experts dream, she thought, or nightmare, depends how close to the edge they are. Maybe that was what the difference was, between the bad people that do bad things and the bad people that just think about it. The ones that do the bad things, they are concerned about how they see the world. The ones that just think about it, they are more concerned about how the world sees them. That fear of being judged or caught or punished is what keeps them in line, stops them doing the things that lurk in the darkness of their minds.

Some people, she thought, as she looked again at the piles of flesh that were once men, some people couldn’t hold it down though, couldn’t suppress that darkness. These were the people that made nightmares for the rest of us. She suppressed the urge to spit on the vile bodies of the pair as she dipped the end of her club again into the puddle of blood. It was already starting to congeal around the edges and was stickier now. She dragged the club across the pillar again. She felt like a Japanese calligraphy artist, using all the strength in her wrist to steady the club as she wrote with a flourish.

In the still and quiet of the lifeless church she always felt her peace. When she was alone in the house of God she could truly believe. It was a rare feeling and a welcome one. She knew a higher power was controlling her. Her actions and her thoughts were her own but she was doing God’s work.

She finished writing and stood leaning on her club for a moment while she surveyed her work. It should have been satisfying, like a labourer after a hard day looking back and feeling proud of what was achieved while simultaneously glad it was over. Instead she felt nothing. She removed another cigarette from the recesses of her sleeve and lit it up. Calmly cleaning her club with a perfect white handkerchief that she found somewhere about her person. She seemed to have an endless supply of them. Quietly polishing the nails and barbs that protruded from her club she again looked over what she had done today. Still no joy or guilt, no feelings at all, feelings had been taken away from her a long time ago.

Suddenly sirens.

In the distance, but certainly heading this way, Sister Mary Joseph didn’t doubt that at all, she had called them. She finished polishing the club, took a final drag of the cigarette and pinged it behind the altar towards the anteroom, where the cans of petrol she had brought and poured around for the very purpose quickly caught. The majority of the old stone building would be unharmed. But the small wooden anteroom would definitely go up. She glanced at it again. Watching the handle as it shook violently. He would start screaming any second.

“Sister Mary! Please! Have Mercy!” The voice shouted.

“Only God can give you mercy now.” She said quietly, maybe to herself.

The screaming started. The flames climbed higher and harder. The door shook as boots on the other side kicked. There was no point. That was the first thing she had checked. The door would hold.

The sirens grew louder.

She dropped the white handkerchief into the coagulated puddle by her feet as she swung the club over her shoulder and strode out the side door.

One word was painted red on the pillar.

Sinners.

The End.

Thursday – The ongoing adventures of Call Centre Man

Thursday, last bastion of hope. Make it past today and the weekend is yours.

Mose walked into the call centre and found his chair. Not his own chair of course. A good chair was like gold dust in here and the night shift were notorious chair stealers and head set swappers. Why wouldn’t they be? They have nothing else to do all night. Sitting there on their takeaway-getting-backsides with their mighty uplift and minimal workload, God, how he envied them.

So Mose danced the dance of the Crappy Office Chair. Seeking out a good one without looking too much like he was a chair stealer, finding one that was suitable, he sat down and started going through the motions.

Yesterday had been quiet, normally a good thing in a place like this but it seemed empty. Quiet was good when there was a lot going on elsewhere in your life. Sometimes action was to be preferred, even if that action led to the unknown, maybe especially when it did.

He hadn’t drawn a thing yesterday. All day he had sat and looked at his pad. He had managed a few little scribbles but nothing really. No eyes, no hands. No characters, certainly no monsters.

As he plugged himself into the machine and took out his pad and pencil he, again, came to a realisation. Do I want to spend every day repeating the same mundane actions and spewing out the same boring words as the day before? Was it time for a change? What if Today wasn’t like yesterday. What if Today I insist on something new happening, no matter what?

Mose decided in that instant that he wasn’t going to settle for repetition any more. He cracked open his pad and began to draw. Nothing in particular, just anything his hand wanted to do. He hit the GO READY button on his computer and started taking the phone calls that paid his bills. As he talked to the customers and listened to their pointless complaints his hand drew on his pad. Animals and insects and people and forests and mountains, he flipped page after page and just kept on drawing. It didn’t really matter what he was drawing, he knew what he wanted to happen. He took call after call waiting for the voice, the voice that had called him on Tuesday and shaken his world and stopped him being able to think of anything else since then, the voice that sounded like it was from another world.

He drew furiously, scribbling sometimes and paying more attention to detail other times but constantly drawing something. His workmates around him didn’t pay him any attention, or if they did he didn’t see it. He sat there through his break, through his lunch, not eating anything, sipping from his water bottle now and then when the endless chatter and insincere platitudes that he spouted at the customers got stuck in his throat. He drew ferociously, beasts of all shapes and sizes. Hunters and warriors and gods he drew. He drew from his memory and he drew from his imagination. He drew planets and space ships and solar systems and galaxies and they all blurred on his page they all drifted into one image that never ceased moving in front of him.

The clock must have moved that day but if it did he didn’t notice it. There was a pile of pencil shavings on his desk next to him and page after page of his pad was filled from end to end with images. He drew until his hand ached and he never felt the pain. All he could think about was that voice. He pressed harder, leaning in as he shaded his latest creation and felt the top of his pencil snap. He looked down at it. Reached for his sharpener as he glanced at the clock, 5 minutes to go, he had been drawing all day.

The voice hadn’t called.

He sharpened his pencil again. The tenth time today.

The phone didn’t beep. It had been a nonstop day. Call after call but now, finally, with a few minutes left to go some respite, time to actually think.

Mose looked at all he had drawn, flipping through the pages. There must have been hundreds of them. Some crude, some more detailed but each with something on them, every page covered in something. Are these alive now? Did these creatures and people and objects he had drawn exist somewhere? Or was he just going more quickly mad than everyone else.

All he had wanted all day was that call.

There was one page left in the pad. He folded it over and smoothed it down.

It had to be worth a try.

He blew the dust off his pencil and started to doodle, a large old fashioned telephone, and next to it, in large chunky letters across the last page in the pad.

CALL ME 268587

Silence. The phone still didn’t beep. The clock ticked around. The second hand sweeping towards its destination, the place Mose usually sat and prayed for it to reach without a call coming through. This time he wanted nothing more than the call. All he wanted in the world was for the phone to ring right now and the voice to be on the end of the line and an adventure to begin. Surely there had to be something out there. He ripped off the paper and held it up close to his face, closed his eyes.

The phone beeped.

“Mose? Is it you?” The voice wavered.

He could hardly believe it. Had it actually happened? Had it actually worked?

“It’s me. Its Mose.”

“Mose, we…”

The line went dead.

His eyes shot open.
Philanthropia was standing there, the paper was in her hand, and she was smiling at Mose.

“Hmm maybe, let’s see what tomorrow brings.” She smiled again, turned and walked away.

Wednesday – The ever continuing adventures of call centre man.

Yesterday had been weird. Mose knew well what a normal day was supposed to be like and yesterday wasn’t it. For a start he had forgotten to take his borocca in the morning and then there was the thing with the beings from another dimension coming to life and him having to kill a rampaging monster with his pencil. All in all it had been a weird one.

He decided that the best way was to put it behind him. Forget it had ever happened and focus on today.

Wednesday, hump day. Get over Wednesday and the weekend is almost here. It was a funny way to live he reflected, always just trying to get through another day, just trying to survive until tomorrow. Until you reach whatever tomorrow you are waiting for then start the whole process again. It didn’t occur to Mose that there was maybe a better way. There probably wasn’t. Someone would have noticed it by now. Maybe they would discover one tomorrow.

So he sat at his desk and jacked himself into his computer, put his headset on and got ready for action, going through the same robotic routines that he went through every day.

A few of his colleagues gave him a sideways look or two. It was something he was pretty used to. He had never been a normal person. It was something he was vaguely proud of. Normal was far from interesting wasn’t it, although not too abnormal of course. Stand out from the crowd by all means but don’t stand out too far, someone might notice you.

Mose smiled awkwardly at his workmates. There was little chit chat in a call centre – ironic probably. A room full of people that were paid to speak but they hardly ever spoke to each other. By the time break came it was more desirable to have silence, sitting and waiting for whatever little tomorrow got you through the next spell.

Mose picked up his pencil and pad. He always kept them next to him. Drawing kept him sane. However after yesterday’s…events… he wasn’t sure if drawing was a good idea. He put them away in his drawer.

Philanthropia walked past.

Philanthropia.

She was one of the best things about this job. Mose looked forward to seeing her every day. Not talking to her of course, talking to girls was for normal people and Americans. He could just admire her from afar in a non-stalky way and hope she talks to him eventually. The long game, not as assured of success as other techniques but it had always not worked for him in the past.

“Not drawing today?” Philanthropia said.

This was a new thing. Say something! Say something intelligent or at least well thought out. Pretend to have banter and be using it now. Pretty much any words would do as long as they are actual words. Just an acknowledgement of what she has said. Perhaps start with a little nod. Nothing too strenuous. The important part was to reply.

Mose nodded and pointed at his drawer where his paper and pad were now stowed.

“Gonna draw now.” He managed.

It was one up from “Mose draw now.” at least.

Sadly Philanthropia was nowhere near to hear it and by this time had already walked away. Dejected but not defeated Mose pulled out his pad and pen again. Maybe he could keep on drawing. Maybe yesterday had been a figment of his imagination. He hadn’t been sleeping so well. It could have been a dream or a reaction to over tiredness, which is kind of the same thing.

One thing was for certain. It’s impossible for scribbly drawings on a piece of paper to come alive. That was basic stuff. It was so understood that it couldn’t happen that no one even bothered to tell you it couldn’t happen it was just known automatically. It didn’t need saying out loud. It would be like saying, “hey did you know fish can’t fly?” it would be stupid.

Mose eyed his pad of paper warily. Every day for years he had come in and sat down and started drawing and working, the two had always gone hand in hand for him. He wasn’t about to stop now just because some nonsense figment of his imagination had come to life. That would be like letting the terrorists win.

He picked up his pen. Clicked the GO READY button on his computer screen and opened his pad.

It was a blank page.

Which, he reminded himself is exactly what he was expecting to see. Also he wasn’t disappointed to see the page blank. Not disappointed at all.

He sighed anyway.

The phone beeped. He started working.

As usual.

Tuesday – The continued adventures of Call Centre Man.

The phone beeped, another call came through. This one would be just like the last one. Just like the next one. Mose slipped into auto mode as he eyed the clock suspiciously. It definitely seemed to be going slower today than normal.
He doodled almost constantly on a pad of paper next to his keyboard – anything to take his mind off the job. He folded the page and put the pad to the side while holding the pencil between his fingers and spinning it round and round. He loved the feeling of balance like it was about to spin out of control but he was always able to keep it going.
As he was about to launch into his usual pre-recorded chatter his world began to shatter. Before he could get his company approved greeting out of his mouth the caller spoke.
“Mose is that you? Thank god you answered! Help us!” it said. The voice was raspy and distorted like it was coming from far away.
“I, will try to help you?” Mose said, unsure what to make of it.
“Help us Mose! We are trapped! It is coming, hurry!” The voice drifted in and out, down to a whisper and so loud it was like it was screaming.
It sounded like a prank call, Mose could usually spot them but something genuine about the panic in the voice made him wonder.
“Help us Mose!” It said again.
“How do you know my name? Who is this?”
“I have always known your name. You know mine, you gave it to me.”
He decided this was nonsense and reached his hand out to press the disconnect button on his phone turret.
“Don’t hang up! Mose, I know this must sound crazy to you but I know you are the only one who can help us.”
Mose looked around him; his colleagues were lost in their own little worlds, wherever they escaped to in order to get through a shift. No one was paying him any attention. No one ever did. Mose knew there and then that he had been in training for this moment for all his working life. That he, above anyone else would be qualified to do the right thing right now. He knew exactly what to say.
“My name is Mose, how can I help?”
“You created something, something so terrible that it is causing havoc. It is threatening everything you have built.” The distorted voice wailed again.
“I haven’t done anything! I have never created anything in my life.”
“You have, you have created suns and moons and stars and worlds and creatures to inhabit those worlds. You have created us.”
“What the hell are you talking about? I have been sitting on my ass in a call centre for the last 10 years!”
As he said this he looked at the pad of paper that sat next to his keyboard, where his doodles were. The drawings that entertained him and kept him sane, could this voice really mean…
He reached his hand out, unfolding the paper to see the drawing he had been working on before. A hideous monster with claws and fangs and evil in its eyes, he had spent all afternoon drawing it and even if he did have to admit it himself, it was pretty damn good. It was also gone.
He looked on both sides of the page, where had it gone? Had it blown off the desk? Surely not.
“Did you name it Mose? Did you name the monster?”
“How on earth do you know about this? I just drew it today!”
“What was its name? The voice persisted.
“I don’t know I haven’t chosen one yet, it wasn’t really finished it was a work in progress. Does it matter? Where is it?”
“It is here, it’s in your world and you created it and it is destroying us all. It came today and cannot be stopped. It cannot be tamed.”
Mose flicked through his pad of doodles. Each page showed the same scene of carnage. His drawings, all of them savaged and ravaged. Blood and torn flesh punctuated each page and showed what violence had come before. He hadn’t drawn this! He hadn’t drawn such terrible pictures. He couldn’t even have imagined anything this hideous.
“We know you didn’t do this Mose, we know you didn’t mean to create this chaos but you are the only one who can stop it. You have to catch this monster. You have to tame the beast.”
Mose flicked through page after page of his beloved sketches and drawings, his prized possessions, the only things that meant anything to him in this world. A world outside of here that he could control but now it was falling out of control. Everything was falling out of control and a mystery voice was telling him how to fix it.
Suddenly it was there, in front of him on the page. Not as he had drawn it but bigger, fiercer. Blood stained its skin and teeth and it snarled at him. Wild and out of control, it seemed to come out of the page toward him. Looming larger, it growled inaudibly and its mouth grew wider. Its teeth glinted as it reached out for Mose with its razor sharp claws.
He clamped the pad shut and felt it jolt under his hands on the desk.
“How do I stop it? Tell me what to do!” He said.
“You have to name it, in order to kill it it must have a name.”
“What?”
“Name it Mose! Name it and it can be killed!”
Mose opened the pad again. Rifling through the pages of destruction and death till he reached the page with the beast on it again. It was ripping at some other poor soul, some other creation that he had somehow given life to and now inadvertently was also giving death.
He tapped it on the back with his pencil, it turned and looked at him, dropped the corpse it had been destroying and bared its teeth and lurched toward him. As it faced him he knew its name.
“Kahu.” Mose said it out loud as he quickly scribbled the word on the corner of the page. The beast paused. Life filtered through it, it seemed to sparkle for a second as it breathed deeply and became more animated, more real. It stared into Mose’s eyes and Mose knew it. Knew its fears and wants, its anger and its hope. It was part of him and he a part of it. He felt connected and real for the first time in so long. Here was something that mattered, something that had life and purpose and something that was his and a part of him. He felt alive.
“Kahu.” He said again softer this time. The beast looked up at him, there was a softness and a sadness in its eyes as it stood there blinking and breathing calmly. Then suddenly snarled and lunged toward him. Mose brought his pencil down with all the force he could muster. Plunging it straight through the throat of the monster. It writhed and screamed again. He could hear it this time through his headset. It was so loud the whole world could hear it. He could feel its pain. Its suffering, and the end of its suffering.
The pencil snapped in his hand. The line went dead. His colleagues were looking at him. It had been an interesting Tuesday.