As soon as I entered the lounge of the now all too familiar
flat, I knew something bad was about to happen. My body felt like it was
wrapped in invisible chains, and I smelt fear. my own fear. It was as though
the atmosphere pulsated with such intensity that it grabbed me, shaking my
flimsy little body, flaying my limbs in all directions, like some pathetic rag
God, I was so terribly scared.
Ropeman left me alone while he went to the kitchen to sort
out our drinks. The sight of the beer made me shudder, and the muscles that
didn't tighten, twitched instead.
A dark and gloomy, musty smell,
A place no warmer than a prison cell,
Strange thoughts enter into your head,
You now start wishing you were tucked up in bed.
A frightening chill shoots through the air,
All you do is stand and stare,
It’s a place with an eerie feeling,
Your heart by now is really speeding.
What a place,
Your heart is beating a rapid pace.
That awful chill is slowly rising,
All you think of is surviving,
But as you try to run and leave,
You can’t help thinking your eyes deceive,
Lurking in that gloomy doorway,
Is something that’s come out of doomsday,
You try to move, but are stuck to the spot,
You try to scream but breathing…, you’re not.
What a place,
It’s now your home.
To my relief, after handing me a beer, Ropeman slid the
video cassette into the player, and we settled down to watch the film I was far
too young to see.I tried to
concentrate, but I was conscious of his every move; my muscles tightening at
the slightest twitch. It was an exceptionally good summer, so when
he asked if I was hot, I replied with a simple yes,
pretending to be engrossed in the film. But I knew in fact, every cell in my
naïve young body sensed danger.And when
he suggested I might be more comfortable if I removed my top, the fear
enveloped me to the point of numbness, and before I knew it, there I was,
stripped to the waist again.
It wasn’t long before the second stage of his sick plan was
being put into action. “Shall we stretch out a bit? After all, there’s plenty
of room,” he said.I felt like a rat
caught in a trap, knowing there was no way out; no one was going to be knocking
at the door and saving me.
“Is it ok if I use the toilet?” I asked the question merely
as an escape, something that would give me a bit more time, however limited it
might be before the inevitable happened. Ropeman stopped the tape and directed
me to the bathroom.
On returning to the lounge, I noticed that he’d removed his
top.He was sprawled across the whole of
the sofa, smiling, beckoning me to join him.
What choice did I have?
With a great deal of apprehension, which I’m convinced he
was aware of, I did as I was asked.After awkwardly positioning myself into place, he began cuddling me from
behind, pulling me closer before stroking my chest. Within seconds I felt his
arousal in the small of my back.Without
success I tried to ignore the feel of his sweaty fingers by losing myself in
Try as I might . . . and I did try, going so far as
to close my eyes and picturing myself saying the words, but
somehow I couldn't summon the courage to tell him to stop.
My silence was deafening, and the sound of his erratic
breathing all but consumed me, before I fell away.
You touched me,
And stroked my chest,
Told me that you,
My teacher knew best.
I felt your hardness,
In the small of my back,
I had a chill in my spine,
When you said I’d be fine.
“I’ve always felt sorry for you, what with you being adopted
“It really is a pleasure to teach you”
“You’ve had a hard start to your life haven’t you?”
“Try to relax a bit more, you feel so tense. I won’t bite.”
These were some of
the things he was saying as he fondled me.I didn't respond. Instead, I closed my eyes and waited for the nightmare
to end, ironically finding solace in the chaotic sounds blasting from the
After what seemed a lifetime, the movie finally came to an
end. I eventually found the courage to say that I wanted to go home. To my
astonishment my molester agreed, but he made me drink some strong coffee first.
An hour later I was in the safety of my bedroom, alone and
isolated, but safe, unaware of the horrors that were waiting for me in the not
too distant future.
I intended to be the best father in the world. The love I
felt for him the instant he was born was something I had never experienced
before . . .and nothing has overwhelmed
me to that degree since. Apart from the actual birth, one of my fondest
memories of the evening was when Julie, with our baby cuddled in her arms, said
to me, “Come and meet your son.”
In my mind’s eye, I can still see his little screwed up
face; the sound of his first cries in the world still ring in my eardrums.And once I held him in my arms all that
mattered was the love I felt for him, and I vowed in earnest to protect the young
beautiful life I'd helped create.
And I failed him.
Aside from going to
work, I put absolutely no effort into providing my child, whom we had named
James, a loving family environment. In fact, all I managed to contribute was
pain and heartache.
While Julie was busy at home looking after baby James, I
continued my drunken nights out down the pub, having affairs with young dolly
birds, spending what should have been my son’s money on buying them drinks and
The physical abuse towards his mother became more and more
horrendous by the day, but I believed it was justified; it was I who was the
one being hard done by. When I think of the times I used to slag Julie off to
my parents, claiming she wouldn't even bother to cook for me and ranting about
her inability to keep a clean house embarrasses me to this day.
I was an evil young man with no feeling for anyone but
One terrible occasion will always stick in my mind. It was a
Sunday afternoon, Julie and I had decided to go to the local park where there
was a bit of a fete taking place. And so, with James in the pushchair, we
walked the short journey to the celebrations. We’d arranged to meet a friend of
ours, Laura, at the main entrance, and intended to make a day of it, strolling
around the various stalls.
We had not anticipated that there would be a beer tent.
“Look. There’s only a fuckin’ bar.” I exclaimed, already
shoving my hand in my pocket, hoping I had enough cash on me.
‘‘D’you have to,” asked Julie, rolling her eyes, “you’ve got
plenty of cans back home; we won’t be here that long.”
I glared at her, “Shut the fuck up.” And with that fond
farewell, I disappeared into the crowd.Pushing my way to the trestle table, I waved a ten pound note in the
air, franticly trying to grab the barman’s attention, as if my very life
depended on it.
Getting very impatient, I leaned as far across the makeshift
bar as was physically possible and shouted for service; more than a few heads
turning in my direction as I did so. The guy behind the table finally looked at
me, an expression of total contempt etched on his face, but he served me just
the same. After paying for the glass of cloudy beer, I scanned the area to see
if I recognised anyone. My body froze, and the glass I was holding threatened to
shatter under the pressure.It was
Ropeman, fuck me, it was Ropeman!
The first thoughts entering my mind were extremely
violent.It would take no effort at all
to drive my glass into his throat; to twist and turn it until every last drop
of his poisonous blood drained from his lifeless body. I imagined a
bloodstained corpse sprawled on the grass; saw myself kicking and punching the
putrid remains until the police arrived and arrested me for the cold-blooded
murder of a “respected” schoolteacher.
Finding it very difficult to contain myself, I walked
towards him, not quite knowing what I intended to do. He began smiling that
same old pathetic smile of his, trying to look as if he was happy to see me,
saw through him; the look of terror apparent in his
At the last minute, my thoughts reversed. It wasn't fear,
far from it; in reality I could easily snap his neck. For whatever reason, it
became more important that he see, despite what he’d done, I had survived.Although this was far from being true,
outwardly it would appear I was doing well.
“Hello Simon, I don’t believe it. How the devil are you?”
“Yeah, I’m fuckin’ great, you?” I gulped at my drink
“Not too bad, I’m teaching at a different school these days,
the pay rise helps too.”
(And how many little boys’ lives have you destroyed since
It was clear he didn’t want to talk, as his next sentence
confirmed, “Anyway, it’s nice to see you, but I must get on. You look after
Tilting my glass in his direction, I nodded goodbye and he
was gone, leaving me every bit as empty and violated as the last time I'd seen
him all those years ago.
I needed another drink.
After downing four or five pints of real ale, I decided to
go in search of Julie and Laura; feeling an immediate need to be free of the
crowd which was suffocating me from all directions.
And my anger was rising.
I don’t know you,
An’ you don’t know me,
Get out of my way,
Just leave me be.
I’ll tear you apart,
Limb from limb,
An’ all the while,
I’ll imagine you’re him.
Give me an excuse,
An’ I’ll destroy you’re life,
Slash your throat,
Kill your wife
Stamp on your head,
‘Till your skull caves in,
An’ all the while,
I’ll imagine you’re him.
Murder you all,
An’ imagine you’re him.
It wasn’t long before I was pushing through a throng of mums
and dads.Everyone busy laughing as
their children ran around screaming and shouting with delight at the many
sideshows on offer.
And my anger’s still rising.
After completing two circuits of the madness and mayhem
surrounding me, I decided to go back to the beer tent; thinking they may have
been trying to find me.
And my anger was rising.
“Simon. Over here!” They were sitting on a bench outside the
“Where the fuck do you think you’ve been?” I bellowed,
causing people to look in my direction for the second time that day.
The finale of that terrible afternoon saw me kick my child’s
pushchair over, and punch Julie in the side of the head twice; my son was in
her arms at the time.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, once I’d returned home, and
with my temper still raging, I completely trashed the lounge, destroying
everything I could get my hands on, which included James’ toys.
If I’d heard of someone else acting in such a despicable
manner, I would have had one simple word befitting such a person; scum. Anyone
in their right mind knows behaviour like that is beyond unacceptable, it is the
lowest of the low, and there are no excuses to defend such horrific actions.
I’ve not been in James’ life since he was four years old,
and it hurts me far more than any of the evil acts I was subjected to. I've
missed out on so much; kicking a football in the park, helping him with
homework, enjoying the look on his face on Christmas morning . . .so many lost years, times that no amount of
wishing can bring back.
Often there are simply no second chances. This is something
I've found out the hard way; the way I discover most things, by fucking them up
And in truth, when it comes to James most especially, I'm
not deserving of a second chance.What
bothers me most is that my son is paying the consequences for my selfish
acts.He was the one cheated, and I got
exactly what I deserved.
On numerous occasions I’ve taken steps to find my on, but I
always seem to come up against a brick wall.
However, if I’m truly honest, I certainly could’ve done
more, an awful lot more.
The first few months went swimmingly well. There were no
clashes between me and the other five residents, and I’d been allowed to shop
for myself following my initial trip with Caz. Even the relationship with my
family was back on a fairly even keel.
As soon as the time came for me to leave school everything
changed. Between what the state paid me and my food allocation, I was receiving
£35 a week. After paying £4.50 board and lodging, the rest of the money was my
mine to spend.
I began to drink heavily and it wasn’t long before I made
friends who were keen to sell me as much cannabis as I could afford. As my drug
and alcohol abuse grew, the unemployment money was no longer enough to cover
the lifestyle I’d become accustomed to, and I became very aggressive towards the
staff at Kingfisher.
To make my money go further, I started drinking very strong
lager with a volume of 9%, only
Returning home when I was out of drink or spoiling for a
The more the staff
tried to understand why my behaviour had taken such a dramatic turn, the more I
rebelled against them, threatening to run away or smash up furniture. When my
threats centred on violence towards whichever staff member I was arguing with,
Bill informed me that they’d been instructed to call the police, telling me my
adverse behaviour would no longer be tolerated.
The anger inside me continued to escalate and my alcohol
consumption remained astronomically high. Feeling unable to release the tension
coursing through my veins, I started to self harm in a manner which never
happened before; taking kitchen knives to my forearm and really cutting myself
in a disturbing way. I’d butcher my arm, hacking rather than cutting, causing
gaping wounds that pumped rather than oozed blood. The hatred I’d often shown
towards others was now turning inward; and my greatest wish was that death
would take me away.
Things got so bad I was being taken to the local hospital
two or three times a week to be stitched up. The casualty staff demanded an
explanation as to why I was being allowed to hurt myself whilst still under the
supervision of council care workers.
It was decided all the kitchen knives were to be kept under
lock and key, and if I needed to peel some spuds or cut some meat, it would be
done for me, but short of locking me up, there was pretty much little else they
could do.Caz continued to try and help.
She was genuinely concerned, but I really didn’t have any
interest in sorting things out. The self destruct button in
my head was now activated, and there was little anyone could do to help.
As well as self harming, I reacquainted myself with sniffing
glue only now I no longer did it privately, thinking nothing of sitting in the
communal lounge with my “bag,” waiting for a reaction. When none came, I was
more than happy to just get high, revisiting the euphoric world which had
welcomed me only a few years before.
I remember one situation in particular, when I pushed my
luck to its limits with the officer in charge. His name was Malcolm, a very
experienced social worker, being in the job for over ten years. I’d decided to
glue sniff in the lounge, desperate to create an argument with him.
Sure enough it was only a matter of minutes before he
entered the sitting room, demanding I hand over the bag of Evostick. I told him
to fuck off; and he did. Thinking I’d won the battle, I strutted into the
kitchen, where another member of the staff was making a hot drink. Proud of my
apparent victory, I boasted, “he’s a fuckin’ good social worker aint he?
Couldn’t even get the glue off me, wanker.”
The residents present looked at me in disbelief, and the
staff member, a black guy called Les, smiled at me and simply said, “D’you want
to talk about it Simon?”
I paced around the dining table, inhaling the bag of glue,
laughing hysterically between breaths, knowing I looked insane.
“Simon, you don’t need that stuff,” continued Les, “why
don’t you come into the quiet room and have a chat?”
I begrudgingly followed Les, doing a shit job of imitating
his swagger for the benefit of no one in particular.
“Fuck it, what d’you want me to talk about then?”
Unbeknown to me, Malcolm had called the police, and just as
I handed Les my bag, two officers came running towards me. I legged it through
the lounge and out the back door, making it halfway across the garden, before
being caught. A torrent of abuse flew from my mouth and I began to kick out at
my captors. They managed to get the handcuffs on me and I spat in their
“You bunch of fuckin’ pricks, get yer fuckin’ hands off me
you dirty cunts!”
I was frogmarched out of the building and shoved into the
back of the van, with Les following.
“Calm down Simon,
we’ll get it all sorted out at the police station. Don’t worry, it’ll all be
Deptford “nick” was a mere stones throw from Kingfisher, and
so it was only a matter of minutes before I found myself sitting in the custody
Following a search the cops also found a small quantity of
cannabis in my jacket pocket, together with some “poppers,” (amyl nitrate).
I’d discovered poppers a few months prior while browsing one
of the many adult shops in London’s
West End. The arresting officer took the
Away and I was left sitting with Les on a bench running
along the back wall of the room.
“What’s up mate? You’ve really got to sort things out buddy,
why d’you keep doing these things to yourself?”
I was crying.
I was scared.
And I hated me.
“I just fuckin’ hate myself Les, just wanna fuckin’ die.”
My voice was raised and a few of the policemen milling
around glanced over, probably concerned I was going to kick off again. But Les
carried an air of confidence, it was clear he had things under control, so they
refrained from intervening.
When Les instructed me to stay put and left, the minutes
seemed like hours.I was convinced they
were going to charge me for possession at the very least, if not resisting
arrest, and in all honesty, that's not what was bothering me.I was more concerned that my stay at
Kingfisher was in jeopardy.
Finally, Les returned together with the arresting officer.
It was decided I would only be cautioned, but it was made clear, next time
would definitely be a different story.
Morris was not to blame. He was just unlucky enough to be in
the wrong place at the wrong time, and I was there waiting for him.
It was a Friday afternoon. I’d stopped caring whether I’d be
put away and wagged school with Sean. We sniffed glue most of the day, and
returned to the school at home time, hoping to find someone who’d “donate”
their cigarettes to us. Poor old Morris came bounding around the corner, nearly
knocking me over. You could see the fear sweep across his face, his mouth
moving but no words coming out.
“Hello wanker, got any fags?” I asked, widening my eyes in
an attempt to scare him even more.
“No, I, I smoked ‘em all at lunch.”
“Fuck off.” I took a step closer.
“I haven’t! I smoked ‘em all, honest!”
I took hold of the lapels of his blazer, “Bollocks, don’t
lie to me you little prick!”
“Leave me alone, Si’, I aint got none!”
I punched him full in
the face. He let out an agonising cry as his nose exploded. Blood and tears
began to stream down his cheeks.
When he fell to the ground, I began brutally kicking
him.He curled into a ball, attempting
to avoid the swing of my boot. Morris was howling like a baby. With every kick
I delivered the faces of Ropeman, Stuart, and Karen, flashed in my mind; and
the clearer the pictures became, the more violently I kicked.
I could hear my name being called, but it sounded as if it
were somewhere in the distance.
“Fuckin’ hell, Si’, leave him! You’re gonna kill the
fucker!” I heard Sean's voice; no longer off in the distance, but shouting
directly in my ear.
Somehow Sean managed to drag me away, tears now pouring from
my eyes as well. We ran down the hill and across the road at the bottom,
franticly dodging cars like frightened rabbits. With Sean still clutching my
arm we sped down an alley and into the garden of a derelict house, my
adrenaline pumping and the anger still very much in control.
“What the fuck did ya do that for?” I shouted, still readied
“Bollocks, Si’, you’d have killed the poor little cunt!”
I grabbed Sean by the collar and pulled his face close to
mine, “You ever do somethin’ like that again, I’ll fuckin’ well do you, an’
all, d’you understand me?”
I let go of him and he fell to his knees, still gasping for
air after all the running we’d just endured. Sean knew better than to argue
with me, therefore nothing else was said.
We left the garden and peered around the corner; everything
seemed quiet, so we casually began walking down the road. I asked if we were
going to meet up on Monday morning, the usual place, at the entrance to the
cemetery.He nodded, before turning on
his heels, and we went our separate ways.I never saw Sean again.