Some people, they was sayin ‘Why didn’t they stop him? Why didn’t somebody stop him?’

When they say ‘him’, they mean ‘me’.


Thing is, that ain’t askin the right question. And it’s all about askin the right question. In cases like this. People like me. That’s why they sent me to that psychiatrist bloke in the hospital, the one they found chopped up in his chair. He never asked the right question, see.

You just can’t rely on no-one nowadays.

When I say ‘you’, I mean ‘I’. He used to pick me up on that all the time. That psychiatrist bloke.

Tell me about your childhood, Steven, he’d say.

I’d say, it was all right, like most people’s, nothing particular.

He’d take off his glasses – he always did that when he thought I was talkin out me arse – lean back in his chair like he was thinkin of what to say next, then move forward quick, elbow on the desk and stare at me with his eyes all fucked. Don’t think he realised they was that fucked.

Then he’d say, you don’t really mean that, do you, Steven, about your childhood?

But I’m still lookin at his eyes. One’s dropped to the left, the other’s moved to the right, way out to the side. Like a cartoon. Then he’d put his glasses back on, and they’d get right back straight again.

What was that? I’d say. What you said?

Your childhood, he’d say, how far back can you remember?

Black. Dark. Hummin in me chest. Lights flashin in me brain. I wanna shut me eyes. But not now. Not yet.

Ten, I say.

And he gets this smile on his face, this fuckin knowin smile what makes me wanna kill him.

And he starts askin me these questions, all these fuckin questions, like he’s tryin to get inside the dark with me and he keeps sayin ‘I’ Steven every time I say ‘you’, and every time he says ‘I’ Steven every time I say ‘you’ I can feel meself sinkin down and down, and turnin him to shadows.

And you know the last thing he asked me? The very last thing he ever said?

Still makes me laugh, just thinkin about it.

~ fin ~

Ian lives in London, England with his wife and three children.  He has had almost forty stories published online and in print, and his debut novel 'ABIDE WITH ME' will be published by Caffeine Nights Publishing (www.caffeine-nights.com) later this year.  Ian blogs at http://ianayris.blogspot.com and you can also follow his miscreant ramblings on Facebook and Twitter.