Wednesday, September 29, 2010


We’re 15 years on now, a lot of water has passed under the bridge. Not that Harry was ever angry with his lot, the cards he was dealt or the pain he so obviously felt going through the 20-odd operations. Unlike Sarah, my aunt. Actually, not my real aunt, as in one of my parents’ sisters – Sarah was really an old school friend of my mother. And it was her scalding tea that splashed all over Harry’s face and upper body when he was just a babe in arms, a few months old. He couldn’t even walk, then, could hardly focus on what was going on around him. He must have been, what? Between a month and three months old? Three months at the very most.

I remember the screams. Not Harry’s, though, I think they were what you’d describe as a whimper. Shock, we found out later. The screams came from my mother; Sarah took in a huge gulp of breath and sat, open-mouthed. I took this opportunity to surreptitiously look up her skirt. She was wearing pink knickers. Frilly. In my defence, I was eight at the time. If that’s any kind of defence.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Meeting Jack

Early evening and London was bustling as people left work and headed to the many bars that litter the streets of Clerkenwell. I was still sat at my desk, trying to turn the tumbling thoughts in my head into some coherent and solidifying entity. It wasn’t going well. I was feeling distracted, flitting between my document and Twitter.

I caught a glimpse of a post: a grand and potent threat. Another nutter, I presumed. I determined that goading this person would perhaps alleviate the challenges I was facing with my work. What seemed so wise then only heightens the stupidity I feel now.

Just a short message, that’s all. A joke, some people would call it. I didn’t give it a second thought as I stepped through the glass doors of my workplace. I darted across the road, the sharp beep of a taxi’s horn reverberating off the yellow brick buildings; I hurried down a side street, the buildings pressed so close together the sun makes only a rare appearance between the hours of 1403 and 1406.

That’s where he must have been hiding, out to shoot this messenger. Or at least cause him some harm. I recall the shiver I gave as his shadow crossed across my back; I faintly remember the sharp pain I felt at the base of my skull. After that, it’s a blank.

When I finally came to, I found myself strapped to a hard wooden chair. I was in small room with a tiny window up high on one wall, which allowed a trickle of sunlight in. My head was sticky with blood at the back and a fresh wound on my forehead was leaking a steady stream of red over my face. There was classical music playing; I think it was Mahler, but the memories are, even now, slightly hazy (I’ve since been sent a letter from Jack containing a link to this site and his name signed in blood – whose blood I know not, but I shudder to think it’s my own). I turned my head to the left and was faced with a hideous creature, a man I now know is Jack the Twitter.

My eyes slowly focused on his revolting form. Without provocation, he pressed his twisted face up against my own and began shouting in German. He switched to English, screaming about his mother. For hours this went on; I was unable to speak out, mostly from horror and shock but also from a parched throat that felt as if it had been burned with napalm and scraped with sandpaper. Occasionally, he would rise from his seat and begin a conversation with his mother, with her ghost. I pleaded with him in the rasp that my throat was able to accomplish, but to no avail.

But there was a light, a pinprick of light at the end of the darkest of tunnels: the straps had a little give in them. I knew, if I could survive this onslaught, I had a chance. A slim one but a chance all the same. This ranting, slathering, monster couldn’t possibly keep this level of ranting up. Surely he couldn’t? I was banking on this being true as I worked slowly to release the straps holding my legs and arms tight against the chair. I had time, I just didn’t know how much; would he lose his temper at me, cause me more pain, more damage? I prayed he wouldn’t.

I lost any notion of time during this episode, this madness. I may have fallen into unconsciousness at some point; I may have begged like a child wishing his parent would stop uncle Jimmy doing those things; I may have turned on the anger. All negotiations failed.

Without warning, he left the room. This was, quite possibly, my only chance. I pulled my wrists free, yanking at the straps to free my legs. I stumbled through the door, searching frantically for a way out. Through several doors I crashed, not caring if the noise brought my jailer forth. If I couldn’t break out then death was a consideration I would happily embrace. I was lucky, I finally broke out into the night. I ran, just ran.

The next moment I remember was the cold steps of this church where I’d collapsed, pressed against my face, the hands of a paramedic touching my neck to see if there was a pulse. There was pain in my back (the surgeon informed me this madman took some of my liver!), my head ached and my wrists were sore from the straps. Mostly, it was the visions that I couldn’t rid myself of.

I still wake most nights, the nightmares so horrible I cannot bring myself to describe them; the tickle of his facial hair against my cheek, the stench of his breath, the wild, unfocused eyes. It’s haunting me even now. My doctor assures me that, once my wounds have healed, so too will the abrasive thoughts which scour my brain.

But take heed from my tale, for I have been made an example of. I have many questions about my experience. I just never want to meet Jack again, to have an opportunity to ask them.

And I pray that he’ll never cross your path, either.

Find out more about Jack the Twitter or follow his Twitter feed.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Just found this

The leaves were fluttering in the summer breeze, casting brittle shadows along the path as Jim and I rode our bikes down to the rec. We were both screaming our heads off, not just to release our youthful exuberance but also to warn anyone on the path of our imminent arrival; Jim had caused Mrs. Bothol a mild case of concussion last year, ploughing into her at top speed on his Raleigh Grifter. We’d been told by our parents to take more care before someone got killed.

Or something.

Because it was a something that caused Jim to spill it on the path on this particular day. I was following, at speed, too closely, so I wasn’t able to stop myself careering into Jim, my front wheel skimming the back of his head.

It says on the Word document that this was started in July last year. I may well expand it, but for now let this be my first post of 2010.