“You’re full of questions today, aren’t you, poppet?”
“But how am I going to learn about things if I don’t ask questions? That’s what granny tells me.”
“Your granny tells you a lot of things, but it doesn’t mean you have to believe all of them.”
I envy my daughter. I wonder how long it will be before her sense of wonder is replaced with constant mistrust and fear. I sigh.
“OK. The Facility is a prison. It’s where bad people are sent, the ones who don’t respond to Treatment.”
“Like school, but instead of learning things like reading and writing, they learn how to be better behaved.”
“Oh. So the ones who don’t learn their lessons get sent out there?”
An approaching ice-cream van distracts her. Time enough for her to realise that The Facility is merely a staging post. It is full of men and women forced to copulate and produce violent, bloodthirsty children, children who are trained in the art of war.
I am The Facility’s architect, may humanity forgive me. May my daughter forgive me.
Here’s my latest entry intoAlistair’s Sunday Photo Fiction. He supplies us with his own wonderful photos, so deserves our support! I’ve been working on my dystopian novel in progress today, and I just can’t seem to shake the dark mood, as I expect you can tell! Happy Sunday, all….
Do take part if you have time, or just pop over and read the other entries!
I was not just enshrined in black and white trained to react to a whistle and launch myself over the top I didn’t just stare at No Man’s Land jumping at every falling leaf nerves shot to pieces, trembling with fear I was not just shipped hastily to Europe attempting to aid our Allies in facing down the Nazi machine I was not just despatched to the Mediterranean sand-whipped and sweating to fight in a theatre far flung from home I am not a romantic notion of old boys and idealism telling war stories of camaraderie I am not decades past. I am the young man hobbling down the street I am the hands held out for a bit of spare change I am the woman bound to a wheelchair I am the mental health patient facing down the day I am sitting next to you on the bus. I am here. Remember, I am here.
I first wrote this poem for Remembrance Day last November, but I noticed that Monday 12th May 2014 marks 95 years since an amazing UK charity, Combat Stress, has been helping armed forces veterans overcome mental illness. I (or Freya’s real-life, living, breathing, alter-ego) will be making a donation to this charity, because it is vitally important that their work continues. In World War One, some soldiers were put on trial, even executed, for desertion and cowardice when exhibiting symptoms of shell shock, or what we now know to be PTSD. People who volunteer their lives for us should be given all the help they can get. I hope you will spread the word.