Chapter One - Porridge

Chapter One - Porridge

A Chapter by Yellow Tambourine

The second section, first proper chapter of the story of Roger.


Chapter One


Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015 was just like every other Wednesday that one could expect to experience. The USA was experiencing a drought, Celtic beat Raith Rovers 2-0 in the football, a paralysed man walked, his and hers duvets were tasked with saving marriages and Roger had porridge for breakfast.


None of this was particularly peculiar, some parts of the USA are very dry, Celtic have been the best football team in Scotland for many years, the evidence for paralysis cures remains dubious at best, everybody knows separate beds lead to happy marriages and Roger has porridge for breakfast every day.


His alarm had gone off at 06:23, the same as it does every morning. He had risen, put on his grey towelling dressing gown, his torn and worn slip on slippers and shuffled through to his kitchen. There was a short walk down a short corridor into the open plan living room/kitchen. There was only a cream fabric two seat sofa, a pine coffee table and a small old, tube television on a pine desk pushed against the wall. Roger had never paid much attention to art and as such had no interest in wall hangings or decoration of any kind.


Roger’s kitchen was equally sparse, it was separated from the living room by a waist-high breakfast bar extending from one wall to almost the other, leaving enough room for what would have been a door if it had been two separate rooms. The kitchen consisted of wooden counters, a metal sink, a fridge/freezer and a white cooker that wouldn’t have looked out of place in a kitchen from the 1970’s. The cupboards were underneath the worktop and that is where we find Roger, on his knees, removing a stainless steel saucepan, the type that looks like it has seen countless meals prepared in it over countless years. It was the only saucepan Roger owned. It was the only item in the cupboard.


He removed a two-pint bottle of milk from the fridge, a kilo bag of oats from the cupboard, combined them in the aforementioned saucepan and placed it on the hob. He stood stirring the porridge, absent-mindedly staring into space.


That was when he noticed it.


A hair-line crack, no more than two inches long on the wall above his cooker.


It looked as though a chip of paint was missing and this was most peculiar to Roger. He was sure that a crack had not been there last night, whilst he was preparing his minced beef and onions. Roger reached out to touch the tiny mark, a look of confusion etched upon his generic features. He noticed immediately that although the mark was clearly visible, he could feel no imperfection in the wall. In fact, all he could feel was the coldness of the painted plaster and the heat of the steam rising from his rapidly boiling porridge. Despite the innocuousness of a mark on a wall, Roger could not tear his solemn brown eyes from the crack. He was transfixed by it. The crack signified a change, the unknown and this confused him. He was so preoccupied with this anomaly that he did not initially notice the porridge beginning to emit a dark smoke and a noxious smell.


In a state of panic, Roger pulled the saucepan from the cooker and instinctively ran to the sink with it, turning on both hot and cold taps and changing the thoroughly burnt gloop into a thoroughly wet, thoroughly burnt gloop. Once the smoke had stopped pouring from the pan Roger left it where it was and once more turned his attention to the irregularity that had thrown him so. Initially, he struggled to be able to locate it again, but after a period of scouring, his nose centimetres from the cold hard wall, he was able to see it. Roger was sure it appeared fainter than when he had seen it before but put this down to a change in the light streaming through the kitchen window. Roger stared at the tiny fissure, transfixed by it, thoughts of subsidence, buildings leaning like they were built in the Tuscany region of central Italy, his flat being swallowed into a sinkhole the size of Huddersfield. His thoughts were only distracted by the familiar rumbling of the number 32 bus travelling past his house, as it did every morning at 07:33.


The difference this morning was that instead of standing opposite his block of flats at the bus stop at 07:33, dressed in black trousers and a grey jumper, Roger was standing in his kitchen, dressed in flannel pyjamas and a grey towelling dressing gown, his nose almost pressed against his wall, at 07:33. Roger stood bolt upright with a start, coming to his senses and the realisation that for the first time in 42 years, he was going to be late for something, he hadn’t even been late for his own birth, arriving exactly on the estimated due date. Roger shuffled as fast as his shuffling gait would allow him, to his bedroom. Picking an outfit was never a chore for Roger so he dressed in haste, forgoing acute cleanliness this one morning. Roger was dressed, change in hand for the bus and leaving his front door at 07:42. It was at this moment that he mused upon the fact that firstly, he had apparently lost an hour of his day staring at a crack on his wall, secondly, he should buy some wall filler and thirdly, he was surprisingly nonchalant about the fact that he would now be at least half an hour late for work.


Roger shuffled his shuffle down the hallway of his floor of the building and headed for the stairs. The interior of the building was barely decorated. It was floored with grey vinyl, flecked with silver, shiny splashes. Each floor consisted of one flat, set on one side of the building. Each flat’s front door led onto a hallway that stretched the length of the building and came back upon itself to a set of stairs, this repeated twice to the ground floor where Roger was passing through. He appeared paler today than on normal days, the pallor of his face a contrast to the dark grey painted walls that were found throughout the communal areas of the building. He waddled past number 26A, home to Nancy on the ground floor.


“Good morning young man!” her shrill voice proclaimed as her door flung open. “Running late today I see? My, my, you haven’t even taken a comb to your hair, what a sorry thing you are!” Her bright eyes followed his slouched hobble, the smile on her wizened face slowly fading as she realised that Roger was not offering his usual response to her today. She gave a sorrowful tut, out of the earshot of Roger as she gazed upon him with concern. He exited the building, head down and shoulders slumped. Her door closed quietly in resigned defeat.


If Roger had cared to ponder their daily routine of exchanged pleasantries, he would have surely found it strange that every morning, every time he walked past her front door, old Nancy burst from her door with a gleeful and exuberant morning greeting. It was almost as if she was standing behind her door, peeping through the peephole, waiting for somebody to walk past that she could converse with. It was a shame that Roger never did consider their interactions as Nancy was a bright and bubbly lady in the twilight of her time on Earth. Certainly not unattractive for her age she was tall and slender, straight-backed, with tightly permed grey hair and a warm and approachable demeanour. Her eyes were of the brightest blue and held their twinkle after all of these years and her smile was enough to automatically draw you in for a friendly natter over a milky tea and a custard cream. She was always immaculately turned out in predominately floral patterned clothes and seemed to be the antipathy of Roger’s closeted and insular personality.


Roger had however never pondered their engagements on more than a superficial level, offering a polite “good morning” in response. He was not even aware that he had failed to register Nancy’s greeting today, his thoughts so preoccupied with his tumultuous start to the day. He crossed the road, making sure to stop and look and listen and look again before crossing the road, despite there not being one car driving along the road. Roger stood at the bus stop, standing underneath the roof of the rectangular open fronted, glass vestibule. It was at that moment that he realised he did not know the times of any other busses than usual two that he caught every day, coming to and from his office building. A slight sense of panic started to creep up within Roger, a sense of unease starting in the pit of his stomach and rising to his throat. Even if there had been another person to talk to, Roger would have been unable to at that moment. Roger felt a sense of gravity weighing down on his shoulders but could not explain how or why this was. He was not sure if it was from his being late for work or the fact that his thoughts were incessantly returning to his kitchen wall. It was at this moment, under the pressure of uncertainty, that Roger had created for himself, that he made the decision that he was going to do one more brand new thing this morning, he was going to go home, pick up his telephone and pretend he was too unwell to work today.


And that is exactly what he did. Roger marched across the road, failing to stop, look, listen and look, through the front door of the building, to the communal hallway, up the two flights of stairs and into his flat, slamming the door behind him. He had a vague recollection of a high pitched elderly female voice calling out to ask if he was ok but had been too engrossed in his determination to heed this any attention. Roger picked up the receiver  He stumbled through a telephone call to his line manager, trying to sound as ill as he thought ill people sounded (this mostly just consisted of Roger holding his nose whilst he spoke and adding intermittent coughs and clearings of the throat). He mumbled the words “influenza”, “laryngitis” and “colonoscopy” at points during the call in a nasal whine, without knowing what they meant,  thinking they sounded sufficiently medical and the types of things one might need a day away from work to overcome. As soon as Roger had heard his manager tell him in a very concerned voice that he hoped Roger recovered soon and to take as long as he needed to recover, he felt an overwhelming rush of anxiety. Adrenaline coursed through his bloodstream causing his heart rate to increase and his hands to shake as an overwhelming sense of terror consumed him.


In the rush of excitement, Roger had almost forgotten about the earlier incident of the crack in the wall. However, thoughts of this filled his mind and intermingled with the feelings of fear he was experiencing, culminating in an urge to sit down on his sofa and do absolutely nothing. Roger ignored this urge and once more returned himself to the kitchen, the pan of wet, burnt porridge remained in the sink and it was still there, as clear as day, taunting him, almost calling out to him. A line in the wall of the kitchen, three inches long. If the hair-line crack had sentience and the ability to communicate, I’m sure it would have been saying “go on, fix me, I dare you!”. It would have said this whilst waving it’s paint covered fist in the air and forcing its face into an aggressive scowl. Roger stared at the space above his cooker, transfixed once more, a grimace on his face, staring the crack down, unflinching and ready to accept its challenge, mano-a-mano.


Approximately 322 minutes later, Roger had boarded a bus, traipsed his local high street, found a hardware store and was standing in the decorating aisle, realising, not for the first time today, that he had absolutely no idea what he was doing. He stood staring at packets, sachets, tubs and buckets, all labelled with different brand names, but all advertising to fill in cracks and damage in plaster with minimal mess. Thinking it would be better to be safe than sorry Roger picked up a bucket and headed to the checkout.


“Got sandpaper?” the bespectacled, redheaded, pockmark faced, teenage boy behind the counter asked him.


Roger stared back blankly.


“Well, you’ll need to sand it down, innit. Once you’ve put it on, you’ve gotta sand it down.”


Roger continued to stare back, realising that he hadn’t given this his usual level of consideration.


“If you don’t it’ll be all lumpy on the wall won't it?”


Roger turned his back on the shop assistant, the younger man's eyes boring into his head in bemusement. He staggered back to the decorating aisle, lugging his bucket of wall filler with him, 1970’s style muzak softly playing through the speakers mounted on the wall behind him. He stared at packet after packet of sandpaper, differing grades of sandpaperishness from fine to coarse, all lining the shelf before opting for a pack that contained one sheet of each.


Roger ambled back to the cashier, sandpaper and filler in hand, both seemed to be eyeing each other up as he approached, staring at each other as if they were in the wild west and about to duel.  He set his items on the counter, looked the younger man in the eye and paused, anticipating being told he needed something else.


“You got a filler knife mate? Can’t spread it without a filler knife can ya?” The shop assistant pushed the thin, silver rim of his glasses up the bridge of his nose. “It won't go on proper and you’ll get it all on your hands, ever tried getting that stuff off your fingers mate?” Before Roger could answer he added, “It’s effort”.


Roger let out a resigned sigh as he silently turned and walked back into the maze of aisles filled with everything from nuts and bolts, through potted plants, all the way to complete bathrooms, insipid jazz inspired background music playing to accompany him.


Many trips to and from the checkout later Roger found himself back home in his flat, a bucket of filler on the vinyl of his kitchen floor, two stuffed carrier bags of supplies he knew he’d never need, filler knife in hand. He looked at the four-inch fracture in front of him and spread a thick layer of filler over it. He smoothed it over, wiped off the excess with a cloth and stood, watching and waiting. He waited and waited, watching filler dry on the wall until he felt enough time had passed and he could sand it flat. As he did so the realisation dawned on him that he’d have to repaint the wall, where once stood a magnolia wall, now stood a magnolia wall with a white streak across it. He automatically went to the cupboard under the sink where he knew he had a tin of magnolia paint that he had used to paint his flat several years ago. He’d kept it for just this reason, in case he needed to complete any emergency repairs. He knew he would have the exact paint to patch up any areas that needed it. He kept a paintbrush and roller with it, just in case and that was most fortunate today as a paintbrush brush was the one thing he hadn’t been advised to buy.


Have you ever painted in your house and thought that perhaps you can get away with painting just that little tiny bit that you think needs painting? Think along the lines of a patch of ceiling that once you’ve painted, makes glaringly obvious how much the rest of the ceiling actually needs painting. This is exactly what happened to Roger. It took him all afternoon to paint his kitchen but as the twilight sun shone in through the window, casting its orange-tinged haze over the freshly painted walls. Roger dressed in paint-splattered clothing, looked in pleasure at his handiwork, a glimmer of a smile causing his lips to turn up at the edges just slightly.  For the first time today Roger felt at ease with life and it was with that thought that he decided it was time for him to eat. He walked to the fridge and removed a bag of stewing beef, freshly prepared and wrapped in a plastic bag by his local butcher. From the cupboard, he removed two carrots and an onion and from another, he pulled a packet of suet mix and a tub of gravy granules. He set about preparing his Wednesday meal of beef stew and dumplings. He ate in silence, savouring his hard-earned meal, stealing glances at his freshly painted kitchen and continued to try and find where the crack had been. Try as he might he could not locate it on the wall and felt the deep sense of satisfaction from a job well done.


Roger washed up, making sure to wash the burnt pan of porridge that had been well and truly thoroughly soaked after spending all day submerged in the sink. Following that he decided to retire for the day, it had been a day full of stress and upheaval and cracks and decorating after all.


*                                  *                                  *


Thursday, September 24th, 2015 was just like every other Thursday that one could expect to experience. The pope praised some nuns, a man and woman bit each other on a train in Melbourne, boffins discovered a test to tell if breast cancer will return, climate change was blamed for bumblebees tongues shrinking and Roger had porridge for breakfast.


At least he would have. Instead of having porridge for breakfast today, Roger had a minor meltdown. His alarm had gone off at 06:23, the same as it does every morning. He had risen, put on his grey towelling dressing gown, his torn and worn slip on slippers and shuffled through to his kitchen. So far, so good, but that was where Roger’s day started to unravel.


Roger stood at the entrance to his kitchen, his eyes wide, his mouth agape as he stared at the wall. Not only had the crack returned, but the crack had grown. What had been a four-inch, hair width crack yesterday, was today a six inch long, one-inch wide gash. Roger continued to stare, dumbfounded and struggling to process what he was seeing. He knew at that moment that he would not be going to work today. He bumbled his way through a telephone call to his line manager, once more pinching his nose and muttering “Clostridium difficle” in an effort to make himself sound genuinely unwell. It appeared to have worked and his line manager advised him to take off the rest of the week and the weekend to recover. Roger knew that this would give him time to plan a way to deal with his now recurrent issue and he knew that this time he would have to sit and devise a plan to end this affair once and for all. His initial thought was to contact a surveyor to come and check the property for subsidence, however being a large block of flats with other residents, he was unsure how to go about this. He decided instead to try and manage the situation himself. By manage the situation, what Roger actually did was nothing. He felt that at this juncture a perfectly acceptable response to the nagging concern of a recurrent crack in a wall was to completely ignore it, he intended to pretend it wasn’t even there.


Roger stood at his stove, stirring his porridge and tried as hard as he could to ignore it. This, however, seemed impossible. The more he didn’t look at the fissure, the more it almost called out to him to be looked at. This had only happened once to Roger before, at the local bus stop. He had accidentally made direct eye contact with an incredibly attractive brunette lady, he instantly looked away but when he glanced back he noticed her looking at him, a shy smile on her face. The rest of the time waiting at the stop was spent with Roger sneaking cursory glances at her, to make sure she wasn’t still looking at him. He found himself doing the same now, except this was no pretty lady. He continued to give the crack fleeting glances as he prepared his breakfast, transfixed and drawn to it, unable to pretend it was not there. He poured his milky breakfast into a bowl and sat at his table, his back turned to his newly found nemesis. Numerous times he looked back over his stooped shoulder and stared intently, his eyes boring into the crack, seemingly lost in its depths. But being the stubborn man that he was he refused to act upon it today, he would learn to accept that his flat may well be falling down around him and agreed in his mind that he would only act if the crack widened.


His breakfast finished, he stood at the sink washing the pan and the bowl. He made a  conscious effort to stare ahead, out of the window that overlooked his sink, onto the world three stories below him. He watched as the 07:33 bus rumbled past and stopped outside, he watched as Nancy left the building, striding purposefully down the road, he listened to the unintelligible murmuring whisper coming from behind him in the vicinity of his cooker. He placed his freshly washed items onto the drainer and headed to shower and then the realisation struck him.


His cooker didn’t normally whisper to him.


A look of trepidation spread across his features as he turned to face his cooker. He approached it slowly, with the caution of a man not wanting to awaken a beast, almost tiptoeing across the soft vinyl flooring. He was sure he could still hear it, a blanket of quiet noise. He thought it was voices, many voices, mixed together to make an indistinguishable hum of soft, barely audible sound. He approached the crack in the wall, he knew that must be the source of it all. He’d never heard this noise before and he’d never had a crack in his wall before. Forgoing the rationality of the fact that correlation does not imply causation, he felt that it must be the reason. He reached the wall and with a deep breath, he lunged forward to place his eye to the crack and discover what was causing this abhorrent reverberation of noise.


It would appear that Roger had misjudged how close he had been to the wall as he awoke, sprawled on the floor of his kitchen. A dull ache emanating from his brow, just above his left eye and as he rubbed at it he could feel that it was already beginning to swell. He cursed as he rose to his feet and yanked open the freezer door, pulling a bag of frozen peas from the top drawer and placing them over his throbbing forehead. The second thing he noticed, after the throbbing in his head, was the silence. Roger had never been so pleased to hear nothing and this lack of noise started to dispel the nagging thought that maybe, just maybe, he was going stark raving crazy.


With a new, rational mindest Roger set about gathering all the tools and equipment he’d need to repair the crack once more. He removed his bucket of filler from the cupboard under the sink, his newly purchased filler knife and his sandpaper, then set to work. It took him half of the time today, his previous experience obviously teaching him a thing or two about house maintenance. As he worked he muttered under his breath, mumbling curses, a look of steely determination etched upon his face, the tip of his tongue poking between his pursed lips as he concentrated. He stood back and appreciated the work he had completed, for the second day. In the space of two hours, he had managed to fill, smooth and paint over the gouge on his kitchen wall. At least today he did not need to paint the entire kitchen.


The rest of Roger’s day was as uneventful as he could hope to imagine. He ate lunch and dinner, he watched daytime television and more than anything he felt an overwhelming sense of pride of the fact that he had managed the situation so well. He continued to have nagging doubts over the sounds he had heard however dispelled this as being down to stress and confusion. He still could not fathom how this had happened for two days in succession but tried the best he could to steer his thoughts onto other topics, such as how dire daytime television in England really is. He quite simply then retired to bed.


*                                  *                                  *


Friday, September 25th, 2015 was just like every other Friday that one could expect to experience. SeaWorld somehow got approval for an expanded orca tank, A New York lawyer choked a woman dressed as Superman, some Mormons thought an upcoming ‘blood moon’ spelt the end of the world, Bubba the Love Sponge Clem was accused of tampering with radio listening ratings and Roger awoke with a start.


Roger awoke, bolt upright. He glanced at the LED alarm clock on his pine bedside table and noticed it read 02:42. His room remained dark, illuminated only by the red glow of his clock and he noticed that his heart was pounding. He searched his memory for any recollection as to why he had awoken so suddenly and to why he was experiencing an innate sense of fear. He started to have thoughts and memories flooding into his still waking mind, he had vague recollections of wall filler, holes in the wall, phoning in sick for work. He put his hand to his head, for some reason he had thoughts of a knock to his head but could feel no bruising or swelling. He laid his head back on his pillow, thankful that it was only a dream and that his alarm would wake him in 221 minutes and he would have a perfectly normal day.


As he lay in his bed, his eyes closed, his duvet pulled up to his chin, curled into a fetal position it happened.


An explosion.


Loud enough to cause Roger to involuntarily jump and pull his duvet over his head. To Roger it was reminiscent of an iceberg cracking as a large portion falls off into the icy ocean and it filled Roger with an icy cold feeling as if he himself had fallen into the depths, he struggled for air as his breath came in short jagged bursts. He tried to focus his mind but fear had overtaken him. There he remained, cowered under his blanket, a whimper left his lips as he trembled. He lay there for what felt like an eternity in silence, there was no other noise and Roger had no idea what had happened. He peeked out from under the covers and looked at the clock, it now read 02:55. He glanced to his left, to his open bedroom door and saw a slither of orange light cast over the hallway wall. He stared, engrossed by the light and noticed that it had a slight swaying quality to it, as he was watched, absorbed by it, he felt the fear starting to die down inside him. Slowly as he watched the light flickering and almost imperceptibly moving from left to right he started to hear a slight whisper, as earlier in the day, he could not make out the voices but he was clear in his mind that people were whispering in the next room. He heard a childlike giggle clearly through the muttering and chattering of whispers. The noise was akin to that of a young girl in his flat, playing and having fun, laughing and shrieking. Intrigued Roger stood from his bed, he neglected to put on his dressing gown and walked towards the glow, like a moth approaching a bulb, fixated and no longer fearful. He approached the hall in a trancelike state but as he did so, the light vanished, disappearing in an instant as if the power had been cut. Instantaneously the noise stopped as well.


Roger was left standing in the dark silence, the fear starting to well up inside him once more. He expected a horror movie trope, a monster to jump at him from the dark, an axe murderer to emerge from the gloom, but the longer he stood there, motionless in the hallway, the more he came to realise that he had, in fact, lost his mind completely.  As his anxiety rose so did a sense of bewilderment. How had his life gone from a such a simple, modest existence to the extrication of senses that he was experiencing at present? The only conclusion that he could come to harked back to his thoughts of a few minutes prior, the thought that he was in fact still asleep, he was sleepwalking, that must be the truth of it. No other option could possibly make sense to Roger, he’d spent his entire life trying to avoid being in situations such as this. Now that he was having to face his only minor adversities he had no idea what he was going to do. Flustered and confused he turned and returned to his bed, sure in the knowledge that he would awake to it being Wednesday morning, he would get up, have breakfast, shower and go to work.


At 06:23 Roger’s alarm beeped in a shrill incessant manner. He rolled over and turned it off. He wasn’t in the mood for it this morning. As he lay in bed, his brain clicking into a functioning gear, he reminisced about the dreams he had experienced in the night. Roger had always experienced very vivid dreams, some bordering on nightmares but the dreams he had dreamt last night felt different, more vivid than normal. If they hadn’t been so surreal and out of character he would’ve thought they had been real events. As he sat up on to the edge of the bed, his legs swinging over, memories of his dreams dissipated and he slipped on his slippers and wrapped himself in his dressing gown, ready to face the day with a hearty bowl of warm porridge. He walked into the hallway and instantly felt the crunch of something underfoot. As he put his foot down whatever he had trodden on was hard, but crumbled under the pressure of his foot. He lifted his foot and underneath his slipper, he found a smear of white powder. Reluctantly and slowly, he looked to his right. Strewn across the floor was a splattering of small white and grey chunks, as they led to the kitchen they became more frequent and closer together. It looked almost as if there had been some kind of explosion, causing debris to be spread over his flat.


Roger looked up to the wall, where he had dreamed of a crack appearing. Twice he had repaired it during his slumber, but now he gazed in horror as he realised the source of the debris. A gaping hole in the wall had appeared, three feet wide, leaving lumps of plaster hurled across the living room. He could only surmise that there had been an explosion, a gas line, that was it! A gas line must have burst behind his plasterboard wall, it finally made sense, he was finally able to think rationally. The pressure behind it must have caused the plaster to crack, possibly leaking gas, causing him to hallucinate and imagine hearing voices and whispers. Roger mused to himself that the noises may even have been the gas escaping. Like a coin perched on the edge of an arcade coin push attraction, the penny dropped.


At the same time, the terror of further explosions and standing in a flat potentially filled with gas struck. Roger turned as swiftly as he had ever done and bolted for the front door. His hand frantically grabbed at the door handle, trying wrench it down to open the door, but the handle was stuck. Roger’s heart was pounding in his chest, his eyes wide as he jerked the handle up and down. No matter how hard he tried Roger was unable to open the door, in his desperate effort he felt a hard lump of debris beneath the sole of his slipper, as it rolled to one side, his balance toppled, he fell, shoulder first into the obviously locked door. As he slowly slid down against the cold painted wood of the door, he was convinced that this is how his life would end, trapped in a gas-filled flat, waiting as the oxygen in his lungs was slowly replaced by carbon monoxide, his breath failing him and his mind slowly following it. The process was starting already, he could hear the sound of laughter again, emanating from the newly blasted hole in the wall. A high pitched, feminine giggle flowed into the room, the effects of the gas were already starting to take hold. He felt the fear leaving him once more, a sense of resigned relaxation washing over his adrenaline-fuelled body. He felt exhaustion and fatigue and struggled to concentrate on anything other than the mass of whispered buzzing filling his ears, intermittently pierced by the shrill squeals of delight and pleasure coming from beyond the hole. Roger was sure he had read somewhere that in the moments before death you enter a state of bliss and begin to lose touch with reality gradually.


A tear formed in the corner of his eye at the sounds of girlish glee and the imposing sense of his own mortality. As he felt its cold sting trail down his cheek he made a decision, for the first time in his life Roger decided that he was not going to sit down and take his lot as it was served to him. Roger decided that he needed to explore the sounds and to peer into the gaping maw of the hole in his kitchen. He felt an unexplainable sense of bravery as he rose to his feet. He had decided, that his final act would be a brave act of mercy upon himself. If the gas was leaking from that hole, he would approach it, peer into the abyss and take a deep breath of the toxic fumes, an effort to make the inevitable faster and to ease any future suffering. Roger was amazed at how easy he found it to rise and walk, surely death was meant to weaken you, to make you sluggish and light headed? He approached, assuredly, his head held high, his resolve strong.


As Roger approached the source of the furore a sudden, sharp, bright, orange light began to emit from the crevice. “This is it”, thought Roger to himself, “the light at the end”. He walked, transfixed, the giggles and laughter turned to shrieks of joy, an infinitely happy sound, a sound Roger was glad to hear in his darkest hour. It was only as he approached closer that Roger realised that he had not even attempted to open a window, to find a key to open the front door, he was once more overwhelmed with a sense of panic. He screamed inside his own head “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!?” but by this point, it was too late, Roger was powerless in his own body, a mere observer as his frame moved into autopilot, drawn by the orange glow and the cacophony of voices and laughter. His slow stumble to the wall continued, but as he approached, darkness, silence. The light was gone, the sound was quietened once more. Roger stared aghast, where one would expect to see the outside world through the wall after an explosion he saw darkness, a yawning maw, not even the brickwork of the wall behind the plasterboard. He had come this far and Roger had no choice now but to look. He knew there was no gas, that he was not about to end his life and with stoic abandon, he pushed his head face first into the darkness.


What he saw was certainly not what one would expect to find inside one's walls.

© 2018 Yellow Tambourine

Author's Note

Yellow Tambourine
This is the very first draft of the second chapter. I'm very aware that some of the sentence structure and vocabulary isn't great but just looking for feedback as to the general direction it's going. First draft and is very likely to be completely overhauled in the future.

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Added on February 25, 2018
Last Updated on February 25, 2018
Tags: fantasy, fiction, whimsy


Yellow Tambourine
Yellow Tambourine

United Kingdom

I'm brand new to writing but have always been told I'm incredibly creative and a great story teller, so I thought I'd take the plunge and try my hand at jotting down my ideas! more..