Recurring Nightmares

Back in that room – a dark, cold room. I can still see the outline of the window, but it seems smaller now. It’s just a square of pale light, the only light in the room, barely 8 inches wide.

The train is passing again; the room seems to shake and the noise is loud enough that I know, without speaking, that my voice would not be heard anyway. Not that it matters, when there is no one to listen.

But then I hear it, as the train fades away; there is that voice again, spiteful and bitter. I can’t understand the words – what language is that? – but I understand the tone well enough. Teeth chattering with fear, I reverse away until my bare back is pressed hard against the plaster, cold and damp. I don’t want to make a sound, don’t want to risk revealing my position.

The voice spits and hisses and then I hear something else; a liquid sloshes at my feet, and I smell petrol. Heart racing, thoughts muddled, I start to really panic. My chest is tight and I’m finding it hard to breathe, and all I want is light; all I want is to be able to see the face in front of me and understand.

And then my wish is granted, as he lights a match. Then I can see him, as he lets it fall and the room is awash with flames. That face I know. I’m screaming, as he laughs. No door, no escape route but that tiny window.

My hands bleed as I strike the glass and break it, clearing the shards with my fists. My wrists are cut, and I’m watching myself bleed out, knowing that time is gone, seeing the red fade to black.


Dreaming Boxes



‘He said I am Pandora’s Box,’ I confide, whilst telling my wife about this man, and she halts in her tracks and looks at me sharply.

‘He said that out loud? Why would he do that?’ She is shaking her head, looking worried now, perhaps frightened. ‘Why would he make that comparison? Death… death and disaster… that is what Pandora released. He’ll be the reason they’re watching you. Stay close by, my love,’ she says, and takes my hand as we find ourselves in a high, tight maze. I look up, and the light is too far, too dim.

‘What about the foreign one?’ she asks, as we run around the twists and turns, searching for an exit, ‘Did he tell you who sent him?’

‘I don’t speak his language,’ I tell her. She laughs, loud and sharp.

‘You speak all of their languages, every single one. How have you forgotten that?’

I don’t know what she means and I am about to ask her when she asks about his gift. ‘It was sleek, long and narrow, made of polished metal. It’s empty; I don’t know what to put inside it,’ I say, remembering the weigh of it in my hands, knowing that I’ve missed the significance here and waiting for her to enlighten me.

‘It was me, he was me, and you didn’t recognise it.’ Her tears flow freely now, and I still don’t understand. ‘You forgot your own language while trying to find his. You lost it.’

She backs away from me, shaking her head. ‘They know now, because of the Pandora Man. They know that you hold all the hope. That is all you left inside. Everything else left, when you opened that box…’


Dreaming of boxes all over again. Any dream analysts want to help?


Day Dreams

I dreamed of a plane sounding just like a cat

And glass full of juice that appeared on the breeze

Regal carriages trailing black horses in flight

With ribbons of sparks lighting dusk by degrees

I dreamed of a visage familiar but lost

Seductive inflection sounding close but not here

I dreamed and I woke, having wasted a day

But not really wasted til you disappear



“She loves me, she loves me not,”

I hear your familiar voice say from downstairs. I’m on my feet, looking, searching, wondering how you can just disappear.

“She loves me, she loves me not,”

But you know I love you, ‘plus que la lune et les etoiles’; how can you doubt that for a second? How could you forget?

“She loves me, she loves me not,”

Into the garden, but you’re not there either… Just a million daisies, torn asunder, scattered in the breeze.

“She loves me not,”

I hear and I cry out. It isn’t true, this can’t be real.

And it isn’t. Your voice is just inside my head.

Dreaming of Ofsted Inspectors


It must be playing on my mind, knowing the Ofsted call could come any day.

I was sitting in my classroom marking books, when my line manager came in to talk me through some changes.

“It’s been decided,” he announced, “that the best way to impress Ofsted is for us to talk in rhyme. It shows a good grasp of literacy and, depending on what pentameter you use, numeracy too.”

Interesting, I thought, and spent the night trying to make my lesson plans rhyme. I practised with my children, and we rhymed over dinner, and homework and chores.

During my lesson the next day I heard a knock at the door, and watched as my line manager ushered an inspector into my room. Year 9 had been investigating area and we’d come to the point in the lesson where they needed to share their findings. So I set them off…

While the children are talking, I catch the eye of Mr Ofsted and realise I know this man. Oh my.

Suddenly I’m being asked questions, and I’m stumbling to find rhymes for my answers. Every single rhyme I can think of is something highly inappropriate to say in front of my pupils, and I know I’m blushing and stuttering. Mr Ofsted seems to understand my predicament, and starts to laugh out loud.

I think perhaps rhyming is not the way to go when Ofsted appear…


The Stuff of Fairy Tales


There once was a girl who chanced too far; she reached for the sky and stumbled gravely. She lay for a month in the ruins of her life, before a cryptic magical being breezed in and brought her back to the other side. The other side? The other side of what?

She was cherished and nursed and, slowly at first, gained confidence in the moon and the stars and their sparkling promises. Before the end of half a year, she knew her character and picked up her story.

It should have been a new beginning, right there. But she turned the page and entered that gingerbread cottage, the one that looked so promising but was crumbling on its biscuit foundations. Her humanity disintegrated along with the sweet façade, and she no longer recognised her essence or her spirit in the portraits on the wall.

She woke in the dark, shadows eclipsing the starry brilliance that should have been. She heard the whispers of fabrication and deceit, and understood no more. Her intelligence was invention, her comfort was malice and her hope was bravado.

She searches still for the mystical key that she once had such a firm hold upon, but she no longer believes in its brilliance.