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The Prisoner

Have I gone blind or is it so dark in here that I cannot see?

There is no way of knowing. I seem to be in some kind of prison cell. If I haven’t gone blind, then I am incarcerated in a place without windows. My cell is small and there is water everywhere. It’s really claustrophobic, there is practically no space for me to move my body. Not that that makes much difference as my limbs are so weak that I couldn’t move them even if I wanted to. The only one of my senses that seems to be working is my hearing but this is not exactly a blessing, as the only sound I can hear is a constant thumping noise coming from just beyond the cell wall. Bang, bang, bang, it never ends. It’s like water torture.

I shouldn’t be in here, I am innocent and the conditions that I am being kept in are nothing short of inhumane. They feed me through a tube. I have thought many times about escape but the walls are far too thick and my limbs are incredibly weak. I suspect that they put some form of tranquilizer in the food. They obviously want me trapped in here and not making a fuss. Perhaps I am in some form of institution. Is that what has happened, have I lost my mind? I have no recollection of the events leading up to my incarceration. It is like I’ve been the victim of a mind blank. Is that it, is it something to do with military, have I seen something that I shouldn’t? Now I am just starting to sound paranoid. I have to focus, take stock of my situation. There is one positive thing that I can hang onto. My body is building up a natural immunity to the sedative. Every day I feel more alert, more aware of my surroundings. Every day I grow stronger. I shall bide my time and once my body has fully recovered I shall find a way to make my escape.

A few months have passed since we last spoke and I have to confess that it is worse than I could have possibly imagined. Turns out that the cell was alien in origin. I was imprisoned in some kind of space ship on my way to the alien world that I now find myself upon. I remember little of the debarkation, only that ejection from the ship was a very stressful affair. It has taken my senses a few days to get used to their new environment. I was both blind and deaf for a while which was scary but I have become used to their world now. The returning of my senses means that I have now seen the aliens and I know what I am dealing with. They are giants, literally they must be about seven times my height. They are bipedal in form with features very similar to mine although, by proportion, their legs are much longer and their heads are much smaller. It is as though they have just emerged from a hall of mirrors in a fun fair and taken on the image of their reflection. My situation is nothing short of terrifying.

More time has now passed and I am becoming more accustomed to my surroundings. My new cell is the far more traditional type. It is spacious but without any amenities. The floor is solid and the four walls are comprised solely of thick wooden bars. There is no ceiling but escape is still impossible because the walled bars stretch so far up into the air, making me feel somewhat like a tiger in a pen. The aliens watch me from above. Perhaps this is to be my fate, a creature in an alien zoo. I have blankets and I have toyed with the idea of fashioning a rope to make my escape by climbing out of the cage but my limbs are still too weak and my hands lack the dexterity needed for climbing. Who am I trying to kid? Climbing?! I can’t even walk; the journey here has left my limbs worse than useless. Still I don’t lose heart and I continue to grow stronger every day. At first my captures fed me purely on some liquid based protein drink which was lucky because my digestive system was unable to cope with anything else and without it I most surely would have died. I am back on proper food now, although their food is like slop and tastes disgusting. I still don’t trust them and often refuse to eat but they are strong and if I don’t do it willingly they force me. In anger I have even thrown their food back at them but this just angers the aliens more and I’m not sure that getting on their bad side is a good idea. However, despite it’s awful taste the slop improves my strength quicker than the liquid did, something which seems to please the aliens and I have to say that this fills me with dread. Am I cattle to them? Are they just fattening me up so that they can eat me?

It has been six months since our last communication and I am still in the same cell although the bars are not as high now. I think they must be on some form of hydraulic mechanism slowly dropping into the floor but although they are now shorter, they are still far too high for any chance of my escape. What possible nefarious reason my captors have for torturing me in this way I can’t imagine. It is as though they are mocking me. I bet they laugh at my plight when they are alone together although I have to say that this is a rare occurrence. There is normally at least one alien present at any given time and they very rarely let me out of their sight. When they do they have state art cameras and microphones monitoring me at all times.

I have started to identify my guards by their unusual features and I have come to realise that there is a dedicated team supervising my incarceration. Their social structure seems to operate on a matriarchal system. The main guard in charge of me appears female in origin and she is the one who patrols me for the majority of the time. She controls the canteen and is also the one who is largely present during my exercise period. I am allowed out of the cage at certain times of the day into the yard, always under the constant supervision of the aliens. I use this time wisely. There are no weights machines here or any form physio but I am employing the use of calisthenics to strengthen my muscles. Also the fact that this planet seems to have a really heavy gravity is working to my advantage. Every movement is a struggle but every movement makes me stronger.

As well as the female there are other guards who supervise me. A male is also here frequently although not as frequently as the female. The male is more reserved and keeps his distance. It is as though he is frightened of me. Perhaps he fears I carry some form of alien disease. Strange to think that I could possibly be a threat to a race that is so big and strong. Either that or they are both playing some form of good cop, bad cop game, perhaps to try to exert some information out of me that could be valuable to their race. They have little chance of that. I remember nothing that happened before the abduction. I also suspect that there may be something going on between the two main aliens. Some form of romantic involvement because at times they seem overly familiar, although at other times quite the opposite is true. I am going to keep an eye on this relationship as I may be able to manipulate it in the future for my advantage. As well as my main captors there are also two other more elderly guards who regularly appear. I think that the female one is in charge. She is very authoritarian and always seems to be giving the younger female orders. The older male doesn’t do much; I suspect that he is some form of body guard.

I made a break for it today. The younger female was on her communication device. I have noticed that when an alert sounds she is required to report in, sometimes for lengthy periods and during these times she is distracted. I have been very compliant lately, especially at meal times and I think that I have managed to lull her into a false sense of security. Plus, my limbs are much stronger than I have let on and although I am now capable of fast movement, even with their heavy gravity, I have kept that fact a secret. I’ve just been biding my time, waiting for my chance. Today when the alert came and the female rushed to respond she failed to properly close the door at the end of the exercise yard. Seizing my chance and mustering all of my strength I ran for the portal. I had no idea how I would survive alone on this strange planet but I didn’t let that cloud my judgement. I only had one thought in my mind, that of escape, the rest I would sort out later. Alas, I was out of luck. I cleared the exercise yard and ran into the corridor which lies beyond to find the end blocked by a heavy security door. For a moment I thought that luck was with me because as I ran toward the door in blind hope, it started to open. Then I realised the reason it was opening was because the large male guard was coming in from the other side and I was caught. Now they have increased the security on me. I heard them using their big machines to install it during the night and now there are extra security gates all around the prison, any further chance of escape is impossible.

Nearly a year has passed and I have to report that my situation has not improved much. I am still at the mercy of the aliens although I have been granted certain privileges. The food has improved and I now have entertainment. The aliens have a giant display screen in the exercise yard which they use to obtain information and for recreation but when they are not using it they let me watch things on it that are more relevant to me. I am ashamed to say that I have started to fall into my new role and even though they seem to have relaxed security again, thoughts of escape have moved further to the back of my mind. I fear that I have somewhat accepted my fate. What is worse I think that I may be suffering from Stockholm syndrome because I am starting to relate to my captors. Not so much the male who despite our time spent together still eyes me with distrust but the female, who I am starting to believe has a genuine affection for me. I am even starting to decipher their language. I have noticed recurring patterns in the guttural noises they use when they refer to each other and I have been mimicking them with a view to initiating communication. Certain patterns occur more often than others, particularly when they addressing each other and I now realise that they use them as call signs to summon each other or to gain each other’s attention. I have isolated the call sign of the main individual and as a result I have formulated a new plan. I am going to attempt communication with the female. She is the one who seems the most sympathetic to me and perhaps she can be turned. I have no chance of escape on my own and even with her help my chances are still very small but I feel that it is a risk that I must take. I know that she has access to their ships because I have been aboard with her on short journeys to gather provisions and when she has taken me for inspection by her superior officer. If I can just get her on my side she could be my salvation. The next time she collects me from my cage I am going to address her by her call sign and gauge her response, that is the only way I will know if I have a chance or not. It is a big risk. Like the escape attempt once they realise I can decipher their language they may become more guarded as a result, or worse still my new found intelligence may be perceived as a threat. I am taking my life in my hands here but what choice do I have? The longer I remain here the more comfortable I become and I fear that if I don’t try to escape soon this will be my plight forever. My mind is made up, the next time I see the female I will say her name and see what happens.

Here she comes now, here goes nothing.

“Ma Ma”

The End

It’s All Relative

“Come on, we’re going to be late”.

Amy got in hastily, throwing her bag through the gap between front the seats. It hit the rear passenger seat in a haphazard fashion causing a small container to bounce out from the unzipped top which fell into the foot well.

“Can I put my iPod on?” she said ignoring Alice’s last comment, instead reaching behind her left shoulder for the seatbelt.

“Yes” huffed Alice in a resigned monotone breath. It was the same routine every morning. They were always up with plenty of time to spare but they always seemed to end up rushing.

There was never any good reason as to why this was other than the fact that they spent playing most of their mornings playing ‘get ready chicken’, sitting in front of the telly watching repeats of ‘Friend’s’ or whatever Alison had ‘taped’ the previous evening.

Amy was always puzzled by this expression, she was younger than Alice and as a result some of the phrases that Alice used like ‘change the record’ or ‘hang up the phone’ left her somewhat mystified.
They had shared a house together for nearly eight years now.

It hadn’t always been plain sailing, in all honesty, things had been a bit tricky to begin with. Alice could be more than a little demonstrative and had a habit of telling Amy what to do while Amy was not always the tidiest of people and didn’t exactly pull her weight around the house but overtime they had got used to each other’s ways and grown to really like each other. It was fair to say that they were more than friends.

“Stop playing with the heating!”

Amy was twiddling the knobs on the central pillar control panel in the front centre of the car. She was a terrible passenger. Always fiddling. Messing with the heating controls, fast forwarding tracks halfway through in case the next one was a ‘banger’.

“I’m cold.” She said.

“You’re always cold”.

“No, you’re always hot”.

“I might have known that it would have been my fault”.

“Besides, costs, ”  said Amy “I’m only turning it up on my side”.
This was a running joke. Alice’s dad had sold her his old car when he upgraded to a brand new model.

It was one of those executive motors cost a fortune when it is in the showroom but is worth practically nothing five years later because no one wants to pay the heavy road tax and high fuel bills but because Alice didn’t do a lot of miles and because her dad had let her have it for an absolute song she found herself the proud owner of an executive luxury saloon. Her previous car had been an original mini which she called ‘Angus’. She loved that car.

Okay, it leaked like a colander and when it rained the windscreen wipers didn’t actually make very much difference, oh and on an icy day you may as well have not even bothered to steer because the car just went where it wanted but it was fun. It had style and it was nippy, it was like driving a go-cart.

The new motor was more like driving an armchair. It started first time every time, it was dry and warm and comfortable and boring. It also came with a bizarre air conditioning system where you could set a different temperature for either side of the car. A feature that was utterly ridiculous because air moves.

Amy pulled down the sun visor and started sticking her tongue out at the mirror.

“What’s the matter now?”

“I’ve got this thing in my mouth and it’s really annoying”

“I had that!” Alice replied enthusiastically. “Like a loose bit of skin that’s really sore?”

“That’s it”. Amy said, clearly happy to be part of the same club “It’s driving me mad”.

“You probably bit the side of your mouth at some stage and there’s a loose bit of skin hanging off”.

“I don’t remember biting the side of my mouth”. Amy mused pensively.

“That’s how I did mine”.

“Either that or mouth cancer”. Countered Amy.

Alice had a thing about her health. She wasn’t exactly a hypochondriac but if she ever did come down with something she always feared the worst. She would never go to the doctors.

Her philosophy was that if it was nothing major then it would go away in its own good time and if it was something serious then she didn’t want to know about it. She wouldn’t even go to opticians for her free yearly check-up because she had heard that they can tell if you are terminally ill just by looking into your eyes.

The only way that they could make her go was to stop sending her daily disposable contact lenses. At first, Amy’s approach to Alice’s nervousness about health had been to be sympathetic, caring and understanding but as time went on she discovered that the best way to deal with it was just to take the piss.

“I bit my tongue, I remember doing it” shrieked Alice.

“Definitely mouth cancer” replied Amy now starting to giggle


“Yeah you’re right” said Alice joining in “Definitely mouth cancer”. laughing along.

Alice drew the car to a slow halt as the winding country road that she had been travelling along started to merge with the bi-pass.

“You going out later?” enquired Alice without looking at her passenger, instead craning her head sideways, looking for a gap in the oncoming traffic.

“Don’t think so, no one’s doing anything”.

“You should get yourself out more, you spend too much time stuck in the house”.

Amy sighed inwardly, there goes the advice again. She knew that Alice meant well but she was her own woman and she was capable of making her own decisions.

“Maybe your right, ” she sai, “I’ll call round a few of my mates and see if anything is happening”. Which meant: ‘I’m not going anywhere’.
Alice found a short break in the traffic and slammed the accelerator to the floor.

The beastly leviathan of a motor slowly eased forwards. ‘Angus wouldn’t have done that’ thought Alice ‘he would have been halfway down the bi-pass by now’.

At that point, Red Alert by Basement Jaxx came on the iPod and Amy burst into song closely followed by Alice. They always sang together on the early morning commute.

They both had very similar taste in music and they were both actually very good singers so when a song they both loved came on they would both join in at the top of their voices in full gusto.

It never felt weird and it was never embarrassing unless of course they pulled up next to someone at the lights in which case they would stop. Situations are only embarrassing when noticed by other people. The two of them singing together just felt right.

The way something only can when you know someone very well. Basement Jaxx turned into Beyonce and Beyonce turned into Whitney, not easy divas to serenade to but the girls carried them off with aplomb and the tunes carried them all of the way along the bi-pass to the large roundabout where Alice took the third exit and then the next right into a small road crowded with cars.

hey stopped at the crossing and waved at the traffic warden as they did every morning. He waved back. Alice drove on a few hundred yards and pulled the car up onto the kerb, straddling the double yellows lines. There was never anywhere to park outside of the school.

Alice unlocked her seatbelt and stretched round to the back seat retrieving Amy’s school bag and the small plastic ‘Frozen’ lunch box from where it was currently dwelling in the cars foot well.

“Have a good day at school”. Said Alice, leaning over to give her daughter a kiss on the cheek.

“Thanks mum”. Replied Amy as she grabbed her bag and pulled on the handle to open the large passenger door.

“Fish cakes for tea”. Alice said loudly watching her eight-year-old daughter as she disappeared through the school gate. “I love you”. She added.

There was a brief silence, Alice’s heart began to sink as she wondered if her daughter had heard her parting words, then she heard “Love you too”, drifting back from the school playground.

Then she was lost in the confusion of the crowd.

Her daughter and her best friend.

The End



Where are my keys?

I hate days like this, I’ve looked everywhere. In the draws, through the cupboards, down the back of the sofa and I can’t find them anywhere.

Oh, there they are, on the side. I’m sure I just checked there.

Ouch! They’re red hot. They’ve just burned my hand. How can that be? I am standing here desperately blowing on my hand, trying to cool it down. Still, I need to get out, I’m late for work. I need something to pick the keys up with. I’ll use an oven glove.

Oh no, the gloves gotten stuck on my hand. I am pulling and pulling but no matter how hard I try I just can’t seem to get it off. At least I will be able to pick the keys up now. I’m fumbling at the door. Every time I try to put the keys in the lock I drop them. It’s this stupid glove but it still won’t come off.

Finally, the lock turns, I can open the door and I’m outside.

Who is that! She is the most beautiful girl that I have ever seen. I have to talk to her. I’ve gone over to speak to her but she’s ignoring me. She’s far too busy playing that trombone. I am waving my arms in front of her face to attract her attention but she just keeps playing, keeps ignoring me. I know what I’m going to do, I’m going to propose. That should get her attention.

Here I am, down on one knee, confessing my undying love for her but she still doesn’t acknowledge me. Hang on, who’s that other guy? The one acting like a bit of a Lothario. He’s after her also. I am going to fight him for her. I hope this stupid glove doesn’t get in the way.

Fortunately for me, I am a black belt in karate and many of the other martial arts, I’m going to batter him. Hang on he’s a bit tasty himself, he looks like a champion boxer. Our arms and legs are flying everywhere but we just can’t seem to hit each other, must be down to all of this custard that we are immersed in.

The only person among us who seems at home with this sea of yellow is the Olympic swimmer who has been doing lengths up and down the custard ever since we started. You know the guy, the one who always jumps every time he hears the word ‘dinosaur’.

I know that you are laughing at me but let me tell you it’s not funny.

Don’t think that I can’t see you. Sitting at your tables, dressed up in all your fine clothes with your bottles of wine all laughing.

Although not all of you are laughing. There’s the man in the smart suit. He not laughing. He’s just counting backwards.

“Five, four, three, two, one. You are no longer in a trance and you’re back in the room”.

The End

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