Okay. This is going to sound crazy, but I promise I’m not crazy. It’s 4am now and I might be dead tired, but this is real and I’m not just imagining it.
Those diggers outside, they keep moving.
There’s two of them. It’s one of those annoying building sites where the workers start around 6:30am, just so they can wake normal people up, and they keep going until the early afternoon. They started shortly before Christmas and this must be an important thing because this hole is massive and they’ve been at it every day. But like those building sites are, not a single time did the workers stay until the evening and they certainly never worked during the night. And I’ve been looking out there for the last hours and there was definitely no worker out there.
But I have no doubt anymore that those diggers keep moving by themselves. Continue reading →
Usually it’s just a number. I read it. I skip past. Fourteen per cent. Now things are different. Now I think “What if my daughter was one of them?” Seven billion people and fourteen per cent of them hunger. And I sit here, well-fed, stare at a screen and feel a tug inside my throat; a surreal tug, one that’s not there and not true. But one that takes my breath and twists my stomach. A tug that says “What if my daughter was one of them?”
The first time I arrived at the club I could think of nothing but my brother.
Bare walls covered with dirty blue tiles, foldable wooden chairs, a net on top of what used to be a pool. Five men inside.
Not a place you find in the newspapers; a place to which your friend brings you along. A place where you know that whoever is running the show must have a lot of friends and certainly the right friends – because if they don’t the place would long be shut down.
When you have crossed the parking lot the first thing the two large men ask for is your name. They don’t ask for you ID, but they ask for your name and if your name is not on the list then you won’t get in. The list says whether you’ve been there before; the list says whether someone trusted you enough to bring you along the first time. The list also has the name of the friend that brought you along and if you mess up then that friend will have a problem. Continue reading →
Trigger warning: This short story contains episodes of graphic sexual violence.
Gray tiles, some already chipped, all with greenish stains. Large sinks, rarely cleaned. Showerheads, large and too high to be reached.
Push the button. Wait for the water to get warm. Jump inside and quickly wash. Make sure that no one else sees too much. At that age it’s scary to be seen. What if the others have more hair or bigger things down there? Just don’t be seen.
Scary age. You grow into it and you when you think back you can’t see when you got into it. Maybe it was that first PE lesson after the summer; the one with the new teacher that said that we are soon men and will start to smell and all have to shower.
I was always one of the first. We all rushed in there, quick in, quick out. Not be seen. Continue reading →
A light cough. Then a heavy, throaty cough. I still go to class. Still do sport. Still have too much to drink. The pain starts. Itching and a scratching sensation inside my chest and throat. The cough syrup makes my throat explode in flames of pain. A morning with a throbbing headache; two or three weeks after the first cough. I am eating cereal rings. Another cough. Something liquid and the taste of iron in my mouth. Another cough. The red slowly mixes with the white of the milk. Two hours of plastic chairs and blood in my mouth. I open my mouth and he presses the wooden ladle so hard on my tongue that I gag. “Wow.” Doctors should never say “Wow.” Continue reading →