Day 229: Introduce your long-time imaginary friend


Phil! Come over here and introduce yourself. No, they’re not going to hurt you. No, they’re not going to call you names. Phil, just… Dammit.

Sorry about that. I was trying to get Phil to introduce himself this time but looks like he’s still scared of you all. I don’t know what it is but he runs off, every time.

What do you mean you didn’t see him? He was literally right there, next to where you are. Before he ran away.

He’s always doing that. He stands there like a rabbit in the headlights the second I bring him up, then disappears. It’s insane. I wish I could do it. Be really useful when I talk to some people.

Anyway, had he stuck around, I could have finally introduced him. He looks a lot like me actually, six foot tall, dark hair. Only real difference is confidence. When people are around, he’s the kind of guy who shrinks into the shadows. I swear he does it literally sometimes. I’ll be talking to him, turn around to talk to someone approaching and BAM! he’s gone.

Anyway, I got distracted. So, before he disappeared, that was Phil. He’s pretty cool. Works somewhere up country, most of the time. Then he comes back and it’s as if he never went away.

He’s quick with a joke, our Phil. A good egg, as much as you can find them. God, I wish I was him.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 162: You are a pirate. Describe your perfect day.


sailing-ship-vessel-boat-sea-37859.jpegMy name is Astrid Barnes. If you’re following the events in the Chronicle, you already know me. You know all about the Siren, you know about Escobar Rannigan. You’ve heard all about Ragnar’s perfect day (blood, sweat, usually some tears) and Boondock’s, though how they managed to get him to say more than four sentences in a row will forever be beyond me.

Me, my perfect day is a little different to theirs. Far less blood and guts and far more refined.

It’s the day after we take a prize. Either we’ve ransacked it and let it fly on or we’ve sent it towards Tinguza with a prize crew. Most of the crew will be sleeping it off, seeing as the Captain always rolls out any barrels we take for the watches to enjoy. Always keeps the nice bottles for the Round Table though.

I don’t tend to go hard on these nights. I much prefer the heady feeling of the day after.

I pick my away around the bodies, merrily snoring as we pass through the clouds. Practically dancing my way through, what with the density of them in some places. I make my way through the decks until I reach the upper deck. Doesn’t matter what the weather is like, not on the Siren. If it’s raining, we just pull more sail and rise above it. So, every time, I emerge from the below decks into glorious sunshine. Warm on my skin, warring with the cool air.

It’s always quiet. That’s what I find as I mooch across to the prow. There are no birds up here, just the ships. I’ll sit with the Siren and just… Talk.

About what? That doesn’t matter. I just get to talk to her. I usually get a couple of hours before the non-scrub wake up. Roscoe or Mulligan are usually kicking around, supervising the navs. But they leave me to it, these days. Someone had come to bother me the first time I’d come down here, but they don’t anymore.

I’m fairly sure they reattached the hand in the end.

Twice now, Rannigan has come to join me. I’m always there first, but he’ll arrive. Booming voice that carries, even here. Even whispering, he could be heard over the rush of the wind. He says nothing, just sits with one hand on the figurehead’s midriff. It’s a truly human moment for an otherwise godly figure.

He sits there for one hour exactly. Then he stands up, growls a greeting at me and stomps away through the decks. Captain’s rounds at 0800. However hungover you were before, you’d better be up and ready. Just like that, it’s a normal day.

That’s my perfect day though. A day aboard this ship, with those moments in the morning. That cover it for you?

Excerpt from an interview with Astrid Barnes, conducted by Oscar Belinsky
17th January 1853

Hey, it’s the Argent Siren again!

Few things to mention here. Number one, a big thank you to Corey at Quintessential Editor for putting a link in his Feature Friday. He’s pretty much as prolific with his posting as I am, but with his posts you even get to learn stuff! 

Number two, thank you to the various bloggers who have linked to me in their awards posts. You’re all amazing and I will get round to checking them out properly. 

Finally, keep letting me know what you think, keep reading, hopefully keep enjoying… All that good stuff. Thanks for stopping by.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 161: A conversation you regret never having


cold-snow-black-and-white-road.jpgI passed the man behind the counter two twenty pound notes and told him to keep the change. I wasn’t in the mood for any prolonged conversations, not today. He passed me the bottle of whiskey and the plastic glasses.

He gave me a pitying look. As if I needed his pity. Arsehole.

I slid the bottle into my satchel, along with two of the plastic cups. The rest, I abandoned in the nearest blue litter bin. The rain was starting, that fine drizzle where it didn’t matter if you were holding an umbrella, this rain was going to get you soaked. It didn’t matter to me anyway, I’d given up on umbrellas years ago. Far easier to just get wet.

The bus stop was waiting for me, sadly lacking a bus. I just wanted to get this over with, but the world seemed to be conspiring against me. This whole damn day was just… Ergh.

Oh no. It’s a charity gal. You know the ones, they’re in some kind of branded jacket holding out a clipboard. ‘Excuse me Sir, do you have a minute?’

What am I supposed to say, no? I’m clearly waiting for a bus with nothing better to do. My phone had stopped being able to play Candy Crush too, so I couldn’t even blatantly ignore her. ‘What?’ I asked gruffly. Hoping she’d get the hint.

She didn’t. ‘I’m from the local dogs home, I was just hoping that I could take a moment of your time?’

‘Well, you’ve got until my bus comes.’ Still not getting the hint. Come on girly, go badger somebody else.

‘So, sir, there are over 16000 dogs without homes in the UK. We’ve got at our centre more than 100 dogs that need a loving home. As you can imagine, this takes a lot of time, energy and food for the poor dogs. If you could give just £5 a month…’

The bus arrived, surreptitiously announcing its presence with a whoosh. I looked at the poor charity girl, shrugged my shoulders beneath my heavy coat, then wandered onto the bus. ‘Ticket for Abbey Street, please mate?’

The driver grunted, took my money and passed me my change. I’d always liked this kind of us driver, not one for chatting. I’d never liked conversation. My feelings are mine and nobody else needs to hear them.

I took my seat, just past the weirdo and the old biddy on her way to the shops. Watched the grey city go by under the grey sky. Boring, dull and grey. I hated this place. Especially when the weirdos come out. Like this guy on the bus, singing his head off, drunk at three in the afternoon. My stop couldn’t come fast enough.

I got steadily to my feet as the bus pulled up. The driver looked at me, threatening me with pain if I dared step across the line before the bus had stopped moving. Soundless, but very expressive. I just glared back at him. Sod him.


The sun was considering breaking through the grey sky as I wandered through the wrought iron gates. I knew exactly where I was going, even though I hadn’t been here for 363 days. First the fork to the right, then take the right at the crossroads. Grey marble waiting for me below the 12 foot skeleton of the tulip poplar.

‘Hello Sarah.’ I said, feeling my eyes moisten. I should have come here sooner. I knew it and so did she. Wherever she was.

I took a seat on the patch of green beneath the naked boughs, drawing the bottle from my satchel. I poured two glasses, sizeable ones. She’d never forgive me for ‘any of those sissy measures.’ I poured one on the ground, just in front of her headstone.

12.08.1987 – 16.01.2015

I took it seriously. ‘There’s your drink, Sarah. Proper scotch, none of that cheap shit.’ I took a sip of my own, feeling the burn pass down my throat to my gullet.

‘I miss you Sarah. It’s only been a year and it’s just so grey. Everywhere. Even now, the only patch of colour is right here, next to your.. Next to you.’ Another sip, another burn. I’d always hated this stuff, but it was Sarah’s favourite. I pushed my hair out of my eyes as the sun finally broke through the heavy clouds. It was cold, winter sun, but sun nonetheless.

‘Sarah. I… I wanted to come before. I wanted to come to you before you died on that bloody road. I always wanted to tell you what you meant. About how sorry I was for that stupid fight.’ I took another thing out of the satchel. A small, velvet covered box.

‘Sarah, I was walking to your flat when your mum phoned. I had this bloody thing in my hand and had been rehearsing what I was going to say for hours. I know, I know. Just after a fight, best time to propose, right? But the fact that we fought told me what I needed to know.’ I sniffed. I’d been rehearsing this speech for months too, but nothing had ever worked. I knew that in the end I’d just have to do it off the cuff. My fingers brushed against my beard as I wiped away the tears. I’d always been clean-shaven before.

I poured us both another glass. ‘I was going to walk right in, tell you to stop being so bloody stupid and then ask you to marry me.’ I could feel the whisky around the edges of my mind now, definitely there but not causing any trouble yet. ‘I know, that would have been bloody stupid too, but at least then we’d be stupid together. That’s what I wanted.’ I sighed, popping the box open so that I could look at the band of white gold inside. A single diamond peeked back at me, staring into me like Neitzsche’s abyss.

‘Your mum was in bits. It took me ten minutes just to understand what she was saying.’ The tears were flowing freely now, I’d lost all motivation to stop them. The words were also coming easy. I didn’t need to rehearse this. This was raw. These words hurt.

‘I could tell. Your mum’s bloody unflappable, yet here she was. Calling me, for starters. She hated me. Yeah, I could tell.’ I sniffed at the thought of the burnt roast potatoes that always got ladled onto my plate. Little things, but proof enough for me. ‘Good thing I didn’t want to marry her. I wanted you.’

‘Sarah, I wanted you to make me the happiest man alive.’ I knocked the bottle over as a sob burst from my chest, heaving its way from my stomach. ‘I wanted you to stay with me.’ I collapsed against the headstone and let my tears hit the marble.

There would be no stopping them now.


I’d waited there for a while, scaring away the mourners who came to ask if I was alright. I quite clearly wasn’t alright, but there was nothing they could do about it. Not unless they were the Second Coming of Christ. The evening started coming in, reds and golds edging across the horizon. ‘You always loved winter. I remember the zombie snowmen. You said you’d seen it in a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon and you just had to do it yourself.’ I smiled at the memory. Even now, Sarah could make me feel better.

Eventually, I had to leave. The caretakers had come round making sure that everyone was out of the cemetery and had, politely, shooed me away. I gathered up the bits and got unsteadily to my feet. I should have come here months ago. But I actually felt lighter. Some of the weight had gone from my shoulders and it felt like spring was coming. For the first time in a year, I was seeing colour in the world.


Three Days Later

‘Hello Sir, welcome to the Dog’s Trust. I understand you’re here to see Max?’

I nodded and Charity Girl brought out a bundle of golden fluff. She set him on the floor and he raced towards me, sniffing and snorting as his head bounded from side to side. His deep brown eye stared into mine and I knew it right then.

I wasn’t leaving here empty handed. It was time to try and live again.

So, that’s today’s episode. Another longer one, but I hope you all enjoy it. Personally, I see this as either an opening, some backstory, or possibly a flashback. Either way, I feel like there’s more to this story. 

Besides, who doesn’t want to write about an adorable bundle of fluff with one eye called Max? 

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 160: Tell the story of a time you lost an argument


nature-field-countryside-house.jpg‘Dammit, K, you are not going back out there!’ He brought the rifle up to his shoulder, leaving me staring down the barrel. For a .306, it was looking wider than the proverbial tunnel. No lights at the end of this one though.

‘Flick, one of us has to. We both know it. Why the hell am I the only one admitting it?’ I reached towards the barrel, to push it out of the way, but he just brought it up tighter. First time he’s ever held a weapon without the damn thing shaking and it’s pointing at me.

Sally coughed from the back of the shack, where she was lying on a filthy mattress on the equally filthy floor. We’d been here for three days now and every one of them she’d got worse. It started with her breathing, which was getting laboured. Then, on the second day, her tears ran red.

‘Sally’s dying, Flick. There’s medicine, or doctors or something out there. And one of us needs to go. You’re not going, you need to hold the fort. I’m more experienced, I’m older and so I’m less likely to die. That’s that.’ He was shaking now, his wide blue eyes flashing in the lantern light. ‘Besides, the previous tenants left it in a bit of a shit state. I was going to tell the landlord.’

He smiled at that one, but the rifle still wasn’t moving. ‘K. That’s the whole reason I should go. You’re more likely to live!’

Sally coughed again and moaned in her tortured sleep. ‘Flick! Keep your voice down. Sally needs to rest.’

‘No, K, she needs medicine.’ He lowered the rifle. ‘You’re not going out there, right? At least… Not until it’s light.’

I hadn’t even realised that night had fallen. It came so quickly now that the Winter had arrived.

The Creats were active tonight too. ‘Look, K, let’s get some rest. All of us. I’ll check on Sally in a couple of hours. Go on. You can even have the bed.’

I was dubious, but thought I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. I waited until he was bedded down on an army style cot that we’d found a few weeks back, waited for that telltale rasp in his breathing, then reached for the door handle. A Creat moaned outside and I brought my hand back as if I had been stung. If the Creats were out in force, even I couldn’t go out there. I pulled up a chair, settled myself in for the night.


Sally’s coughing woke me up. That and the fact that Flick…

He’d gone from his empty military camp cot. ‘Bastard! I looked down at Sally. Our only options, as I’d said, were me and him.

He’d taken the choice away.


The Idiot in Tin Foil


Day 159: Something you’ve always regretted saying

pexels-photo (3).jpg

“I need your help.”

“Look, it’s different from last time. This time, I’m working on something big. I just need some capital to get me going.”

“All I need is a ride to the station, then I’m all good.”

It’s all he’d ever say, again and again. Didn’t matter what it was, he could never manage it on his own. He couldn’t make plans, all he could do is cause trouble for everybody else. But not everybody else, he’d worked his way through them long ago.

No, the only person he was badgering now was me. All because I made the mistake, long ago, of saying ‘Okay, sure.’

I mean, don’t get me wrong. He’s not a bad guy. He’s just a moron who needs to learn when to quit. His big ideas rarely pan out and even if they do… It tends to go sideways. He’s always been dependant on others and now he’s trying to stand on his own he’s finding that the muscles have wasted away.

Which leaves me stuck with him.

Hold on, that’s the phone. Doesn’t the idiot know that it’s midnight? Last time, I ignored it for three calls. I think he must have thought I was asleep because he stopped trying to call after number three.

Fuck it. I’m leaving it to ring. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to bed. Good night. What could happen to him?

A little bit of an intro. Personally, I’ve got a lot of things that I regret saying, but most of them were relatively private. Just a short one today. Need to get some sleep!

The Idiot in Tin Foil


Day 158: An hour to go

‘Start the clock!’

The call came down the line, just as it always did. People jumping to attention, swarming like ants around a piece of abandoned food. On the wall behind us, large red numbers appeared, each of them counting down.

‘One hour! Move, move, move!’

We set to work. All of us, from the youngest child to the oldest still able to work, rushed to our stations. The patterns were appearing and disappearing, fighting against us but we had to see through them.

It was the only way out of here. The next window wouldn’t open for another three years.

Forty minutes left, so I called the section heads to me. ‘Anything?’

Griselda looked at me with sad eyes, the smallest of shakes breaking through her facade.


The meeting lasted sixteen minutes. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but when you only have twenty-four and change, it’s an incredibly long time.

There was a commotion at one of the workstations. Two young men were at each other’s throats, snarling and circling like wild beasts. This was happening more and more.

‘He pushed me!’

‘He stole my food!’

A gasp ran through the crowd. In their society, stealing food was a crime punishable by death.A knife appeared in the hands of the pusher, teeth drawn back into a grimace as he attacked the food stealer.

I watched the attention drift away, people no longer looking at the patterns but paying all their attention to the fight. I sat on the cold, dusty ground and placed my head in my hands. Heard a grunt as one of them connected with the other.

The numbers on the wall were down to single digits now. Five minutes. They weren’t getting out this time.

I wasn’t ready to wait another three years.

It seemed like the numbers were speeding up, actively working against me to leave me here.

I watched in despair as the final zero appeared for the last time. There would be no escape for me. Not now, not ever.

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 157: Your favourite moment in film

There’s only one moment that can even consider itself my favourite moment in film.

‘Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.’ The fight on the cliffs of insanity. The various times throughout the film where that phrase is used to cutting effect. And without a doubt, we fin ourselves rooting for Inigo. There is no quarter for the six fingered man to run to, only the depths of his villainy await.

That, my friends is my favourite moment in film.

This line has always worked for me, invoking feelings that I wasn’t even sure that I had. It pushed and pulled against the classic father figure role, leaving an emotionally scarred but truly whole character waiting in its midst. 

This is always tricky, but I hope today’s short introduction to my mind can help explain some things. 

Sweet dreams all. Enjoy. 

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 156: Describe Heaven


A bright light surrounds you. Everything is soft and fluffy, full of clouds and forgiveness.

It’s a lie.

You want to know what Heaven’s really like? Is that what you want? I should warn you, it’s probably not what you want to hear. I should leave you to your preconceptions, everything you heard about heaven being glorious. About standing at the right hand of the Lord… It’s all wrong.

The truth about heaven is a much darker affair. I’ve been there. But I was lucky.

I came back.

You’re still here? Okay, then I guess I’ll tell you. The road and the tale are both long and arduous, with no convenient stops on the way.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.


It started the way most stories about heaven do. With my death. I was hit by a car going at seventy miles an hour in a thirty mile an hour zone. I found out later that the driver was a seventeen year old girl, passed her test two weeks before. She never even stopped.

I died in thirteen minutes and four seconds. That’s how long it took for my body to give up after the impact. That’s how long it took for my soul to flee my shattered bones and broken skin.

The shapeless shape of my soul began to rise. A promising sign, when you’re dead. After all, haven’t we always been told that Heaven is above us, with Hell waiting like a beast below, hungry for the sinners.

In the bible, it states that there are three heavens. There is the firmament, covering the Earth that holds the birds and the clouds. Travelling through that alone took what felt like days. But as a disembodied spirit, time takes on a different meaning. Seconds last for days, but weeks pass by in a moment. It stretches and compresses like putty in the hands of a child.

The second heaven, with the stars and the moon and the planets, everything from here to the edge of the universe takes a long time to pass through, even with the warping. An eternity, in which you think all the things that you can think, feel everything it is possible to feel. Every single experience flows through whatever passes for you. I was still interested when I got to Pluto, but past the Kuiper Belt, in the empty blackness, that’s when I got to losing my mind or at least whatever was remaining of it.

Finally, after that infinity, I passed through to the final heaven. The realm of the Lord and all those waiting at his right hand. All of them waiting for me.


The first thing that struck me was the colour. Everybody knows that Heaven is full of light and splendour.

It’s not supposed to be red. Deep red, blooming like blood through the streets of a town. I felt cobblestones beneath my fingers, roughly cut, harsh against my hands. My hands… I was no longer disembodied, no, I was firmly re-embodied.

It hurt. It hurt a lot.

I rolled onto my back and gasped for air, fighting for control of my aged mind, fraught from those countless years ascending through space. Above me, I saw no stars, no moon, no sky at all. Just an emptiness, above a clear shell. The clearest view of absence.

‘Hey. New arrival?’ A voice, gruff and low, came from about six inches next to my ear. I heaved myself onto my side and looked into the single ugliest face I’d ever seen. A twisted mouth below a bulbous nose, with patchy fur covering the lower half of the face. The eyes were the most worrying part, one deep blue, almost black, and staring straight at me, through me, beyond me. The other, milky but roaming in the socket as if it were looking for an escape.

‘Where?’ That was as far as I got before I heaved, stomach clenching and attempting to escape.

‘Where are ya? Look at the signs, kid. You’re in Heaven. Population you.’ He grinned, all tooth and gaps. ‘Have fun! Look out for the Seraphs.’

The creature moved away. As I’ve been writing this tale, I’ve been trying to describe how he moved. The only thing I’ve got, however, is multiple dislocations. It was as if he removed each joint from the socket, placed the limb where he wanted to go, then plugged it back in.

It did nothing to help my already churning stomach.

After some time retching on the ground, feeling incredibly sorry for myself, I had to explore. I found my feet, unsteadily, then made my way through the oddly familiar streets.


Cobbles gave way to tarmac, and small stone houses turned to skyscrapers, shining beacons of metal and glass. I’d have described them as reaching for the heavens if I wasn’t already there.

You’ve seen pictures of Times Square, thousands of adverts on every surface? It was recreated perfectly, but with my face everywhere. It’s quite disconcerting having your own eyes staring down at you. A face you know so well, having seen it every day of your stupidly short life.

A rumble set the glass panes shaking in their settings, reflections dancing on the red streets. I turned, slowly, to face the source.

It was a monstrosity. A mechanical creature, humanoid in shape, but a hundred times the size of a man. Ticking and whirring and stomping through the roads, clicking through jerky movements.

A voice, a thousand voices, emanated from the armoured creature. They called my name, a harsh siren song calling me towards the creature, clicks and whirrs as each layer of voice joined the chorus. It called me to it, a great armoured glove reaching down from the heights to pull me into its grasp.

I ran. I’m not ashamed to say it, but I ran. Through all of those familiar streets, until I came to somewhere I knew. The creature stomped after me, but was falling behind. I saw an open door in a small cottage and dived through.


I knew this place. This was my childhood home. This was the place where my father had beaten my mother until she bled, locked me away in a cupboard until I stopped crying. This was a place with no happy memories.

I’d come through to the old sitting room, a horrific, floral print sofa sits in the corner facing an old CRT television set. Match of the day was playing, just as it always had been, Des Lynam and his cronies chatting about something I’d never understand. He’d have been drinking since noon, cans of Tennent’s and Special Brew casually discarded all over the floor. I’d hear him calling from the sofa, he’d just shout…


I whirled around. It had been his voice, the voice that had haunted my nightmares since I was eight years old. There he was, sat on that awful print sofa, can in hand. A thin line of drool running down his mouth that he hadn’t bothered to wipe away. ‘Boy! Get me a goddamn beer!’

I looked down to see shiny shoes on my size four feet, just as they had been back then. Mum had polished them, every night, just to make sure that I wouldn’t cause any embarrassment at school. There were creases in my trousers that you could shave with. I felt the fear rise, muscles tensing as I prepared to fight… Or run away.

The can flew at me, crashing into my temple. A lance of pain flowed through me, shooting down my spine and rooting me in place. Fight or flight was no longer an option. The only option was to take the beating as it came, as it always would. The sound of leather against leather, the small tick as the buckle came undone. His face drew into a grimace as his hand went high, the lampshade swinging as the belt caught it, setting the shadows dancing around the room.

Then everything stopped. Everything was still. The shadows ceased to dance and my father froze in his anger, the brown leather of the belt defying gravity in his grasping hand.

I fell to my knees, retching once again. This is not how I’d ever imagined Heaven.


‘What were you expecting?’

I’d been lying on the Axminster carpet for a long time when the voice came to me. It was my father’s voice, but softer. The father I’d imagined instead of the father that I’d had.

‘I… I expected the Heaven we’ve been told of. The lights, the chorus of angels, peace and goodwill?’

‘This is a path to peace. I created this place for you. Your truest fears will prevent you from finding peace in any guise. Your fear of your father has followed you throughout your years, preventing you from peace. Here, I provide you the chance to find it. This is Heaven.’ My father’s body released it’s grip on the belt, leaving it hanging in the sickly yellow light. ‘Nobody said that it was easy.’

He reached a hand down to me, kind wrinkles around his eyes as opposed to the anger lines I was so used to seeing. He pulled me to my feet, staring deep into my eyes. ‘But…’

‘No, there has always been misconception. Heaven is a trial, an ordeal. And then you can rest at last.’ He sighed. ‘So few of you understand.’

I heard the Seraph bellow outside. It was coming back for me.

‘I can let you out. I can send you on your way.’ He said, holding my hand tightly.

‘I want to go home.’ I told him.

‘I might be able to do that.’ He smiled, sadly, before continuing. ‘Most people just want to rest. Are you sure this is what you want?’

I looked into my father’s eyes, those same eyes that were once so terrifying. He had been right. This was a path to peace. But I wasn’t at my destination yet. ‘Yes. I have to go back.’

The Seraph’s hand burst through the wall, fingers circling my body. I heard the gears clicking within, as the grip tightened. My father’s hand was still in mine, my own grip matching the Seraph’s. A final bellow from the multitude voice, then the fingers fully closed.


I woke in incredible pain. I had been officially dead for six minutes. I’d been I had fractures in more than half the bones in my body and I’d lost three pints of blood. The doctor’s told me that I shouldn’t have made it out alive.

My father was sat by my bed. Eyes of anger softened by pain. For the first time, I saw him as he was.

An old and pitiful man. Hurt and lonely, where he’d put himself. I reached out from my bed and took his hand in mine.

‘I forgive you.’

Blimey, that was a long one today. Could probably do with some editing, but here it is. What would your trial be? 

The Idiot in Tin Foil

Day 155: An unexpected gift


I hate the dark.

Every time it gets dark, I run. I scurry back to whatever hold I can find where the light is and I wait for the day to come back. Night is acceptable as long as the air is clear, the stars are bright and the moon hangs like a beacon to guide me home. But when the cloud cover is thick and the lights from the sky can’t break through, panic rises in me like vomit.

There were three of us out that day. Fred, Elena and me. We were out on the Dales, crossing the fields and climbing the hills. The sun was shining, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, just the way I like it. Summer was at its peak, heavy in the air like a waiting storm.

Three steps. That’s all it took to get me from the light, open fields to the darkness. I strayed from the path by three sodding steps and the ground swallowed me up like I’d often wished it had. No warning, no ominous rumbling, just three steps and then whoosh. The Earth claimed me, summoning me with the soil, entombing me.

I was trapped. Buried alive. I could hear Elena and Fred calling for me, searching for me. Occasionally their footsteps would reverberate through to my poorly protected ears, but I couldn’t risk calling out in case the earth got into my mouth. I was struggling enough with keeping my breathing under control, let alone waste any precious air in shouting.

I wanted to scream. Or cry. Or both.

I did neither. The darkness had finally found me.

I started to squirm. Felt the rocks that had surrounded me scratch at my skin like fingernails grabbing at me, the soil crumbling around me. I didn’t know how long I could stay here but I was sure that I wasn’t going to go without fighting for it.

So I wriggled. I squirmed. I wormed, wiggled, whatever word you want to choose I did it.

The ground let me go. I plummeted again, further into the darkness. I landed with a bump.

It was still dark. Panic rose, fighting for control of me, fighting me to make me run around screaming. At least I wasn’t trapped inside an earthen coffin any longer.

Something gave me pause. I raised my hand to my face and realised I could make out the shape of my fingers. My eyes darted around the blackness before catching, hiding on the very edge of my sight, a blue glow.  A second appeared, and another, until I realised that the ground was giving me a present. The glow stretched away from me, but the darkness was kept at bay.

In for a penny, in for a pound. I followed the glow, deeper into the bowels of the earth.

The Idiot in Tin Foil