Thursday, 25 October 2012

Happy Halloween

Ghoulies and ghosties and long-legged beasties and things that go bump in the night.

And that's just the staff.

Halloween, or the preparation of, in the asylum is a wonderful thing. Last year, we had Abbie and Kristy joining in the festivities, one by losing half her tongue and the other by having a broken collarbone inflicted her by heavy-handed orderlies.

That was thanks to a glow-in-the-dark skeleton they'd decided to hang over the door so it would 'attack' anyone who came through.

In an asylum, that was likely to have a detrimental effect on the mood of the residents. And it did. Hence the hospitalisations. This year, they've decided to be a little more creative. Webbing, plastic spiders and fake cut out pumpkins adorn the rooms and corridors.

I think they genuinely want us to have a little fun. I actually believe they have, in this once instance, our interests in mind. I'd say 'to heart' but they'd have to have said organ for that to be true.

Saying that, they'd have to have a mind to have our interests resident in there, and I'm not so sure that's the truth either.


Halloween. It's a wonderful thing.

Half the world gets dressed up as creatures of the night. Horror has come a long wait, don't you think? Mummies and ghosts and monsters used to scare and terrorise us. Now they're the stuff of panto and party.

That's because the real monsters don't have arms hanging off or fangs. They don't burn in sunlight and they don't grow teeth, hair and claws during the full moon.

The real monsters smile at you. They stand behind you in the queue for the checkout waiting to pay for the groceries in their trolley.

They sit opposite you at breakfast and tell you they love you.

We don't have a day for them. There's no celebration for the real monsters.

But the night before All Saints Day, when the witches are meant to fly and the darkness is meant to rise, children put on costumes. They dress as Dracula or as the walking dead. They knock on the doors of complete strangers to ask for sweets or money.

That, I think, is scary.

Because one of those strangers could be one of the monsters that smile and say "Hi" and let you pay for your carton of milk first because they have a trolley full.

"Don't you look scary in your costume? I have some sweets for you. Come inside."

Lorraine. That's what happened to her. Dressed as a bat, complete with wings and fake fangs. Eight years old. Outfit made out of cardboard and black bin liners and lots of permanent marker. With a little bit of mummy's make up thrown in.

'Trick or treat, smell my feet, give me something good to...'

Well you know how it goes.

Three weeks later, almost the end of November, they found her. She'd missed Bonfire Night, but her reappearance caused lots of fireworks in itself. They caught him. He said he'd been looking after her. He seemed to believe it too.

Aliens is one of my favourite films. Little Newt tells Ripley that her mommy says there are no monsters, not real ones.

But there are, aren't there?

Friday, 19 October 2012


Forgive me, reader, for I am Sin. It's been an age and a half since my last entry and, for that, I feel I must apologise.

Time flies when you're feeling numb. In here, even that still means you are actually FEELING, even if it's only an absence of sensation.

I don't know where the time has gone. Has it been days? Weeks? A couple of minutes? I don't know. It 'feels' as if it has been some time.

The air is different. It's been inhaled and exhaled and tastes as though it's been partly digested. The sunlight can barely be bothered to reach in through the bars on the windows to tease us with the hint of warmth. Even the birds outside seem to be unable to raise enough effort to take flight.

I want to tell them that I'd fly, if I could. I'd leap from the ground and soar way up high. Even Icarus would have felt exhilarated at some point whilst looking down on the world. Granted, when his wings melted, the world would have been looking up thinking 'That showed you!' Still, he heart must have been fit to burst as he took to the air.

I'd tell them that I, too, would wish to soar. Even if my own fate mirrored that of poor Icarus, I'd take the risk. If I were destined to hit the ground face first, then fair enough. At least I'd have tasted freedom.

They're free, those birds. Free and they don't know it. Free and they stand, pecking, ambling, lethargic.

It's a different day, of that I'm sure.

And in the days or hours between the last I remember and this, something has happened. Something bad.

A 'me' something. A flip and catch something. Even without my coin, I can tell.

A car taking four young men to their first term at University has skidded off a road, somewhere near Edinburgh. It missed the tree. It didn't miss the fence or the dip that made it flip and roll, much like a coin, and it didn't miss the edge of the cliff that caused it to fall into the sea. Not that the cliff or the fall or the impact of the waves would have made a difference. Three of them were already dead.

The fourth took a further three minutes as the water came in. His heart gave a little dance in his chest and stopped beating before the fluid could fill his lungs. Before it could even reach his mouth or nose.

I can hear their cries. They screamed as the car spun out of control. One soiled himself. He didn't notice.

I can hear them. That's how I know something has happened. That's how I know that I flipped and the sea caught.

But I don't remember it happening. No pull. No twist in my gut. No pressure build up inside my skull. Nothing.

Except a few missing days.

Even feeling numb implies a sense of 'feeling.' As much as I wish I could join those birds and show them what they have, right now I wish...

I wish...

I wish that I wasn't.

But wishes are for those that have enough stacked up behind them to deserve a wish, whether a star is involved or a genie or simply a sigh. I'm not one of those. Even if I had anything in the bank prior to my finding my coin, I'm well overdrawn now. I wouldn't be surprised if I received a statement demanding charges.

As such, I accept. It is what it is. Such is life... and death.

I can hear them. The boys.

It was a Mazda. A white one. One of the boys was called William. Or rather 'Will.' He had a girlfriend. And a son.

Sweet little boy.