We decide to take the bottle to the little patch of grass near the cemetery so the PCSOs don’t get on our case, maybe
smash it in and then head back into the town centre.
We wait until the trucks have been round to empty the bins,
and then we stuff our quilts into the bin at the back of what used to be BHS because we know hardly anyone uses it.
As we’re about to set off, the usual suspects arrive: Carl, George and Ricky. It’s like they can smell the alcohol from miles away, the same way a shark can smell blood in the water.
They’re all ok I suppose, all apart from Ricky, who’s a bit of a perv. His little beady eyes – rammed into a thin, weasel face – always seem to be looking me up and down. One night in the Corn Mill, I awoke to find him trying to put his hand down my jeans. I screamed bloody-murder and punched him in the face, and then everyone woke up and Barry got him round the neck and threatened to strangle him. He started crying, reckoned he’d done it in his sleep, didn’t know what he was doing. He hasn’t tried anything else like that since then, but I still don’t trust him.
We get to the park and pass around the bottle. The cider is sharp and cheap, tastes like a chemical approximation of cider rather something made out of real apples, but it does the job. As we’re about to head back into the town centre, Ricky pipes up: ‘Hey guys, got summat you all might be interested in.’
He takes a small container from his pocket and shakes it. The tablets rattle inside. ‘Got some of that Subatex,’ he says through his daft, toothless grin.
‘Giz a couple then,’ Barry says.
Ricky frowns, shakes his head. ‘They’re expensive, these,’ he says.
‘What about all that fucking cider you just downed?’ Barry says.
‘That’s different,’ Ricky says. ‘Besides, whenever I’ve got some booze, I share it with you guys, y’know that.’
Barry looks at Ricky as though he’s about to belt him one, but Carl gets between them. ‘So what are we talking then Ricky?’ Carl says.
Ricky laughs, says, ‘Let’s calm down guys. I’ll sort you out. You can owe me.’
‘Owe you what?’ Barry says.
With that, Ricky turns to look at me, a sinister gummy smile opening up on his face.
‘Fuck that,’ I shout and I lunge towards Ricky. ‘I’ll wipe that fucking grin off yer face.’
I’m surprised by the force of my own reaction. I’m swiping and clawing at Ricky like a mad-woman, and then George gets hold of me. ‘Calm down luv,’ he says.
‘What? What have I done?’ Ricky says.
We calm down. Ricky is pouting like a kid who’s just been told off for being cheeky.
‘Arseholes, the lot of you,’ he says. ‘Try and do a fucking favour, and this is what you get.’
Eventually, we manage to settle on an arrangement, whereby we all get a couple of tablets each, on the understanding that we pay Ricky as soon as we get straight. Barry and I drop our pills before slinking off back to the town centre.
I’m surprised by how quickly the tablets kick in. Within a few moments, everything begins to ebb and flow, and it doesn’t take long before I feel as though I’m wading through a gelatinous substance instead of air. Wobbling and bumping into things. Barry grips my arm tightly to stop me from falling over, but I don’t register the pain of his fingers digging into me.
Feel as though my spirit is detaching from my body and drifting away. It’s like I’m outside myself, watching as I try and make my way through the treacle.
How did it get like this? I think as I’m careening around. Things are worse now than they have ever been. I’ve been stuck in this cycle for a few years now. It’s always the same. I’m out on the streets desperate and fucked up, and then I manage to get in a hostel where I start to sort things out. I get my own flat, and support to get sober. Then something mad happens and I’m back to square one; penniless, hooked on something and back out on the streets…
The difference is that now there are so many more like me. The hostels are stretched thin, chock-a-block, and they’ve seen me and people like me time and time again, they know how the system works, know that I know how it works: wash, rinse, repeat. How and when will it end? Just how many chances does one person get?
I can hear Barry’s voice, off somewhere in the distance: ‘I don’t understand what yer saying luv, yer babbling… Are you ok?’
I know the rules. Know that if someone collapses and passes out, everyone else bails. Can’t hang about, that’s
how people get busted. You get fucked up and keel over, you’re on your own.
It’s only fair. Despite this, it still comes as a shock to find myself alone, sliding down a wall.
The green marble feels cool against my face as I shrivel down towards the ground.
Everything around me is noise and colours, can’t even make out faces. Where exactly am I? Is that a siren I can hear?
I might recover from this, might not. It makes no difference to me, really. Either I wake up, or I don’t. As the darkness envelopes me, my thoughts become disparate, unfocused, broken.
As I try to remember the last time it rained, words form a sentence in my brain.
The train station was full of children, a mass exodus of sorts. Some were crying, others were brimming over with the obvious excitement of their impending 'holiday'. A variety of ages, the children were all dressed in their best clothes and stood around on the platform with their boxed up gas masks hung over their shoulders and suitcases littered around with their names and destinations printed on them.
'Now you listen to me Billy,' his Mother said. Her voice wobbled a bit.
Fiction - Incident Number 33217 By Grant
Colonel Hafetz strode purposefully down the hall of the Knesset. He gripped the attaché case firmly and braced himself for his meeting. A quick reveal of his ID causes one of two guards stationed to open the door and announce:
'Mr. Prime Minister, Colonel Hafetz.'
Colonel Hafetz enters and a silent Prime Minister gestures him to sit.
The Colonel places the silver case on the desk, unlocks it and turns it to
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Summertime By Julie Hines
The curtains of early darkness are drawn back for summer.
Gardens become beautiful this time of year.
Contrast of flowing colour. The fragrances of the pink Fuchsias draped in deep purple emphasizing their elegance. The Stock has a powerful aroma. Yellow Marigolds resembling regimented soldiers.
Placing the bulbs into her basket, she made her purchase.
Fiction - Fiend By Jarrett
It happened when I was only seven. They let their eyes off of me for only a moment and he snatched me away. I never saw them again. They are the only ones I ever loved. In fact, it was so long ago I don't even remember how it feels, and to be honest I don't want to; I'm sure it will only bring pain.
I don't know why he did it. I'll never fully understand why he did, but I've come close. I guess like me he yearned for that same feeling so many people take for granted, love.
Fiction - Leonard By Frankie Lassut
Ring ring, Ring ring ...
Leonard smiled, and tubbed his hands together. He picked up the phone, and went into voluntary professional mode:
'I've got nothing to live for. The credit card companies are threatening to take my house away to
pay my bills, which they have piled the interest on.
My wife got fed up of it and left with my children, and my firm has collapsed.
I don't know what to do.
Fiction - One All By Mike Watts
The knock on the door sounded official; usually callers just pressed the bell, but this morning, they didn't...
Dean's heart rate moved up a notch.
'Who the fuck's that?'
He stood up from the chair that he was slouched in and walked over to the window.
Parting the curtains slightly, he observed two powerfully built characters standing there.
One was holding a clip-board; his sleeveless arms were loaded with tattoos
Fiction - The Dance Of The Pheasodile By Tim Roux
I have to admit that I am in a bit of a predicament.
I have regained consciousness to discover myself swinging upside down outside the plate glass window that wraps around the lawyers' office where my wife works - where she is a partner, in fact. I am bumping up against the pane as I dangle here. I can see several of the office staff taking pictures of me with their mobile phones, and feverishly distributing them somewhere over the ether.
Fiction - Conversation By Scott Rorrison
Rome! Have you ever seen the Colosseum? Beautiful isn't it; how strange it is that things of immense beauty contain contrasting qualities. From the outside tourists marvel at the grand scale and arresting architecture, it is ideal for a photograph or postcard. Step inside, though, and a whole complexity of emotions will haunt the senses. Stand on the arena floor and wonder how many men and women have followed your steps into oblivion.
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - The Mother From Hell (following on from A Depressive and a Botched Suicide) By Laura Fry
Outside, a woman in late middle-age tries to look through the large crematorium doors.
Despite the November wind, she is dressed in six-inch stilettos, thin stockings and a tiny mini skirt which leaves nothing to the imagination.
One mourner hears a sound over the music and makes her way outside, aghast.
Fiction - Loved Ones By Emma Williamson
I remember the day my mother and father split up. All the family had gone out for the day with our parent's friends, Claire and Craig and their two daughters, Lauren and Molly. Me and my two younger brothers, Jasper and Cohen were in the ball pit with Lauren and Molly.
'Silver, drink!' Jasper announced, he was only 3 years old and hadn't quite grasped the concept of full sentences yet.
Fiction - What Colour My Dear? (Exercise in experimenting with different voices)
By Michelle Dee
"What colour my dear?"
"Blue. Yes blue to match my mood."
"Why so blue dear on such a promising day?"
"Well I'll tell you. I have just this moment been turned down yet again for employment; that is the third this morning if you please. I am doomed never to find a suitable position.