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Come with me. Feel the blistering heat twist your mind. The contorting fear. Let your mind twist, let it turn, let them take you, alone, afraid, abandoned, innocent, just keeping saying that word, innocent. Why, why should this happen, to you, keep saying that word, innocent, innocent of atrocity, innocent of crime, just when you thought you were safe, well, happy. Innocent.

And as they take you, lift you high into the warm air, you feel the kiss of home. Yet the mind morphs and nothing stays the same. Trying to keep those memories, like trying to catch smoke and the carpets are gone, concrete under blistered toes and everything is orange. The sofa, the walls, the ceiling. Ada sits in a little orange dress, no a little orange suit muttering, sobbing, pleading, I try to speak to her yet I cannot, my voice will not come and she has a strangers eyes. Mika is huddled in a corner, shaking, rocking, staring upwards, blind, unseeing. Little Reza has grown so big, lying motionless, asleep maybe, in his little orange suit, all wet and dripping.

And now the stairs are orange too, I do not climb them, I float, no I am carried, hands lifting me,  and the bathroom is orange, the sink and the bath, and Mana’ lies in it’s orange water, her hair that sickly corrosive orange, not the black I remember. She opens her mouth and screams, terrible, long, drawn out screams, the noise she made as I was dragged away, on our break, our holiday, the one we’d looked forward to, saved for, for years, me and Mana’ and Ada and Mika and Reza. The last time I saw them so long ago, my beautiful children my loving wife.

And they force me into the bath, she is gone now, no water, nothing, and they take a flannel, and my body is possessed, overtaken by that dreadful fear, the fear I thought I had left behind so long ago, the fear of a little boy knowing daddy was about to come home that he had done wrong.

“No, I’ll be good, please, it wasn’t me, I didn’t do it, I’m innocent, no please” and the darkness, and my last breaths, and their voices, and the shapes that morph between father coming to purge me and my terrible captors, and the pain I know shall come, immobilised, helpless, a drowning child, a sinking stone, and the voices keep changing.

“You’ve been a very naughty boy, tell us, and naughty boys have to be cleaned, tell us, and the only way to clean is to purge, tell us, tell us, tell us.” And I know they will do it, and I try plead, to tell them I know nothing, I am innocent, they have nothing against me, it was just a holiday, with my family, and for it I may die, and now I cannot breath, I cannot move, panic, fear, twisting, warping, pain, darkness, air, I need air.


Daisy Charles

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