The Fire With Couldren

He woke up and did not know his name or who he was. He rolled off the softness. It was dark and a light, probably a streetlight was shining through a half curtained window. Must be my room he thinks but he has no idea who he is or what his life is. Creeping panic – but I have hands and there is carpet. I have short hair he quickly discovers as he rubs his head seeing more darkness. And a dressing gown and a made up bed with plain sheets. Adrenaline making him seem less panicky as he recognised all this as normal. A large wooden wardrobe looms against his hand and a table with slippers underneath. He puts the slippers on and half feels half sees around the wall to a dark door. On the other side of the silent door he remembers his name is Tom and he is twelve as he hears his drunken Dad snoring in the dark house. He creeps back into his room planning on going back to bed now all this is over but when he climbs into the old bed there is a nameless inhuman moaning coming from the window. He climbs over the other side of the bed and then it becomes completely dark as the light outside goes out in what must be a power failure. He opens the old wooden window up because the moaning and choking is out there. He leans out and sees the billions of stars above – he imagines them as afternoon sun so bright you cannot look at it except they are so far away to be a dot and he looks from one to the other across millions of miles in one glance. Somewhere above is Venus but he does not know which light that is or Pluto. He is now leaning right out into the dark street and the moaning comes again from the direction of the forest reducing volume but focusing his eyes and mind and minds eye to one of the bright lights above which could spell panic as could the universe be any more extreme and violent? But it makes him feel a moment of simple emotion and his back muscles relax and he feels a point of nerve energy up his spine near his skull and also somewhere on his elbow remembering the large woman with small amusing back pack and big dark coat who had been holding a deck of cards for no apparent reason outside McDonalds when he had been going in to buy five burgers and the onion rings. He jumps down onto the roof of the lounge as he had been told to do if there was a fire. And jumps down to the garden breathing smoky air in the cold. The front gate too is silent and across the road is the path into the forest as there are no more houses here. He looks back and all is dark in the town.

The forest is quite big but not as big as the one in Germany. The moon he now noticed over the hill meaning he had come quite far as he could not see the moon back there. The noise was now simply a pleasant ringing that he did not notice until he remembered it. He finds that the particular point of light – a planet or star is above but he knows it is not important any more except until the next clear night. Suddenly to his right there is a cave with a clearing and the in the clearing a figure on a dark horse. The moon is bright enough to see the breathing of the man but the man has some sort on fury dark antlers and large purple eyes with the face of an owl or cat and what appears to be the same hair as the horse on his body. As Tom tries to walk closer the figure seems to reduce in size but had always been that size as if the horse descends some hidden steps and is gone. Tom now stands in the clearing where the horse and figure had been having covered the distance too quickly or had he been in a time warp? A black time warp he thinks, and above the unmoving stars again even though they have been moving incredibly fast since way before he had been born and he feels the horses mind in the clearing from down at the bottom of the imaginary steps neighing to his mind that the horse thinks that 99.99999999999999 to the power 100 percent of the big bang died instantly in the beginning and the universe is what’s left – a taster of paradise which is incalculably vast but still finite, but don’t worry human as you can play the same Call of Duty maps and poker games on the same green table for all eternity with no fear of reprisal. But as yet you are only alive. Tom goes into the tunnel feeling a revelation.

The tunnel inside is not normal natural rock and suddenly round a corner a small orange light. He freezes and watches the reflection of the light grow, surely a fire. He leaps round the corner like some sort of SAS special forces man and unexpectedly sees the way lit which is no cave at all but a large old dining room out of a castle with empty wooden seats and long dining table with a fire at the end in a huge fireplace. His brow furrows as he creeps past the chairs and on all sides are large framed paintings with half seen grim figures with swords and cannons. The ceiling is high and the stone floor is clean and grey in front of the fire and there is a black cauldron like what bad foxes boil Chicken Lickens in and so on. He stands near the heat for some time. There is no one else there but who lit the fire? Tom sees a door and edges towards it. A door to the witches who own the cauldron? He puts his ear to the door and hears a snoring. Dad? Baffled he thinks yes it is his Dad. He opens the door quickly without further thought and sees a moonlit garden with a half destroyed structure and his Dad is lay on his back with straight legs and feet up at a comical angle as if he has just been knocked out in a fist fight in a black and white comedy western. But the top half of him is on the floor of the structure and the lower half is off which is not possible as his lower half should be on the lower surface which is the garden. And suddenly whatever the structure is made of half explodes around Dad and bits fly around and Dad sinks entirely through both floors and disappears underground as the bits of metal and paint land all around. Tom runs to the spot but it is just the corner of a old fallen down shed with no hole or anything where Dad had been. And now he sees that the garden has no trees around it and he realises it is not a garden but an allotment. Probably the one next to his school. The moon is still there and so he shakes his head but all seems not too far fetched and he decides enough for one night hoping that Dad is not really disappeared that’s the main thing. He should get back and check. He knows the way home if he can get his bearings and find the path which he knows of behind the allotments. He hurries away.

Soon he has climbed the fence and as the streetlights are back on finds his way home where he manages to clamber up to his bedroom window and goes through his bedroom out onto the landing where he can plainly hear Dad snoring as usual. Well thank the god’s for that.

The next morning Tom goes down into the bright kitchen and Dad is eating delicious sausages.



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