The Bad Life

“Well that went down like a lead balloon” Alex sighed

“It’s over now,” added Loz who was torn between consoling her partner and focusing on the road. She had been worried about her Polo struggling with all Alex’s possessions. As itr happened Alex’s parents hadn’t even afforded her that luxury. All Alex had was what she’d grabbed on her rushed exit from the house and the much smaller bag she’d left in Loz’s car should things go south. There was a pause. “I’ll sleep on the floor,” Alex said finally

“The hell you will,” Loz replied

“You have a single bed,” Alex insisted

“I thought you loved my hugs?!” Loz said with mock offense

“I mean yes but you move a lot in your sleep,”

I’m fighting imaginary homophobes!” Loz explained

“What do I do?” sighed Alex. Alex was close to crying. Loz wasn’t sure what to do without pulling the car over. 

“Well you were technically a tenant,” she began. “You have your own bank account and job. Your commute will be a bigger pain in the arse but we can deal with tha-,”

    Loz never knew who was at fault. Her or the big car with the bull bars. As it collided with the side of the small hatchback she gave one of her last thoughts to why the hell someone in the centre of Plymouth needed bull bars. Maybe to deter Llamas or sheep on Dartmoor. Her actual last thought was that she was a bit embarrassed that that was what came to mind and not Alex. However Alex’s last thought was of Loz.

    The car skidded down the road and came to a stop after some time. Alex and Loz reached out to each other as they gradually opened their eyes. “Are you o-oh,” Alex stopped mid sentence. “What the heck?”

“What happened to Plymouth?” Loz asked, looking out at the buildings around them. The road stretched out in front of them, cracked and broken. Either side were buildings in a state of collapse with broken windows. Overhead the sky was a deep vivid orange through overcast clouds, lighting the whole scene like glowing embers. “I am okay though,” Alex remarked “completely, in fact. No aches whatsoever,”

“Same, very weird, although there’s a high standard of weirdness going on right now,” Loz said, getting out of the car and looking around. They both raised their hands to shade their eyes as a wind blew dust into their eyes.

“There is an explanation for this,” Alex suggested “We could be in hell,”

“There it is!” A voice said. Alex and Loz turned to face the speaker. A tall, slim man in a long leather coat, worn cargo trousers and goggles to keep out the dust.  “I’m sorry?” Loz asked.

“I’ve been doing this a very long time and I never get tired of hearing mortals work out where they are,”

“You’re very coherent and talkative for a dream,” Loz replied, “and this is quite original for a dream, it’s usually my childhood home or a 

place I went on holiday as a child.”

“No, don’t call it a dream!” he sighed and pointed at Alex. “Anyway she said it was hell first,”

“Alex is sometimes wrong,” Loz suggested

“Hey!” Alex said defensively

“No offense, Al. Anyway she might be a dream too,”

    Alex walked up to them. A good six inches taller than Alex and a foot taller than Loz. They both noticed he was barefoot, which couldn’t be comfy. “Do you remember going to bed?” he asked

“Do you ever in a dream?” Loz suggested. 

“I wouldn’t know, I don’t sleep,” he replied

“We might be in comas,” Alex said, getting some bravery from holding Loz’s hand “some kind of shared coma, I’d hate to think one of us 

isn’t real.” 

“Well you’re both real and both really in hell,” he said impatiently.

“And you’re what, a demon? You don’t look like one,”

“I look human because I sometimes have to go to Earth and horns and hooves tend to stick out,”

“Why are you in hell then?” said Loz with the confidence of someone convinced they’re in a dream.

“I’m covering a shift for a friend, now come on!,”

    Loz suddenly ran for the nearest building. Almost dragging Alex along with her. Alex Stumbled and lost her grip on her Girlfriend but quickly realised what was going on and ran after her for the cover of one of the ruined terraced houses that line the road. They ran through a doorway that had long since lost its door and weaved their way through the rooms of the house into the house’s long garden, not that it had anything growing in it. Behind them they heard a roar of anger and a shout of “Get back hear you daft bastards!” that resonated in their rib cages. They ran out into the alleyway that led off the back gardens of the ruined houses and looked both ways along it. At one end was the so-called Demon, walking down at them. With an almost fearless giggle Loz ran with Alex away from him. 

    The two of them were hit with a wall of air hiding them in the face. Ahead of them, out of the air formed another figure, as tall as the first but suspended in the air on flapping wings. It descended to the ground, landing on cloven hooves. “Not so fancy with your toes now are you Steve,” he commented. He walked up to Alex and Loz. “There’s nowhere to run, you’re coming with us,”

“Bloody hell. You really are a real demon” Alex commented  

“No. He’s just a dream!” Loz insisted. The new Demon sighed as first demon, apparently called Steve, arrived. “Melphor, what are you doing 

here? Don’t tell me the boss said I needed support”

“No I was in the area, just dropped someone off at processing,”

“Anything interesting?”

“Adulterer, tried to convince me he was polyamorous,” Melphor the demon explained 

“Polyamory isn’t a sin,” Steve replied, raising an eyebrow. 

“Acting without consent in a relationship isn’t polyamory,” Melphor said. Loz and Alex found themselves nodding in agreement.

Steve waved his arms and a wooden door appeared from thin air. Melphor pushed Alex and Loz from behind “come on then”. Steve opened the door and they walked through. Melphor closed the door after them and The three of them found themselves in a wide open area that looked like the lobby of a building. Nondescript rey walls rose up either side of them, displaying plain doors overlooking them. At one end of the hall was a row of desks with doors behind them. “Is this still hell?” Alex asked “Looks like the cheap place where we stayed on my hen do,” 

“Welcome to arrivals, the second level of hell, This is where you’ll be processed and assigned your torment,” they walked up to one of a row of desks with demons sitting behind them. A female looking demon with short sharp horns in a leather harness and tattered clothes looked up at them as they approached.

“Elboreth” Steve greeted them 

“Steven,” she said abruptly. She then looked to Loz and Alex “Names?” 

“Alexandra Lily McCrae”

“Laura Jane Smith” there was a moment as the desk demon typed their names in. “Date and location of birth”

“16th March nineteen ninety two,  Derriford hospital,”

“1st August ninety five, Queen Elizabeth Hospital,” more typing. A sigh. More typing. 

“Oh” Elboreth picked up the phone on her desk “Hello, Targaal, yeah is Ellie, good thanks. I’ve got a couple of people who aren’t showing up on our arrivals records,” she put the phone down and another demon walked out from the back of the room naked but for a loincloth. He walked over to the desk and bent over, looking at the computer screen. Alex couldn’t help but look at his toned body while Loz looked around at the vast room they were in. 

“That can’t be right,” the senior demon commented.

“It’s what it looks like,” the senior demon looked up at Loz, “Laura “Loz” Jane Smith, one eight ninety five,”

“That’s me,” she said, the awkwardness of the situation taking away some of the tension

“Grew up in Selly Oak, first kiss age thirteen to a guy named,”

“Michael Thompson,” Loz finished his sentence,

“Was immediately disgusted, thought boys were gross but took you another three years to work out you could kiss girls, at which you kissed 

Elizabeth Jones, a fellow class-”

“Oh fuck you,” Loz managed, 

“You do know we’re demons, that confirms who you are, okay, well,” he paused, “fuck,” another pause. He looked to Alex, “and we don’t even have you on record,”

“Hang on, so I’m supposed to go to hell and Alex isn’t?” Loz asked indignantly “What condemned me to hell but not her? Because its 

obviously not the homosexuality,”

“Oh no, absolutely not!” The senior demon said apologetically, Loz and Alex were a little surprised at this, “In fact a lot of homophobes are down here, which was often a surprise to them,” he chuckled, both Steve and Elboreth joined in. “No, we have a shared system with,” he pointed upwards “and you’re on their record, not ours!”

“Oh,” Loz managed,

“Hang on, so where do I go?!” Alex finally spoke up, having mostly been quiet, “some kind of limbo,”

“No, that’s the thing, nowhere, they’re Laura in heaven right now, Alex, you’re not,” he was interrupted by a door opening and a man 

stepping through. He wore a smart, slim fitting suit and looked human to Loz and Alex’s eyes with stubble and short black hair 

“Amon, what the bloody hell is going on here!” Amon, the senior demon turned to face the newcomer. Amon turned round quickly. “Boss! Sorry, this, we’re just resolving this!” 

“I’ve got bloody Raphael on the phone, one of his Seraphim was expecting someone to turn up and not only have they not turned up, he travelled down to their death site to find out their souls have departed, for down here, now I bump into Melphor. Alex noticed Steve was gesturing silently at Loz. Amon glanced at Steve then back to the newcomer, “Ah, we might have an answer, this, is Loz Smith, and her girlfriend, Alex McCrae,”

“I didn’t ask about an Alex McCrae,”

“And yet boss, here she is,” Amon explained. The newcomer looked at Steven. 

“You, Samuel,”


“Steve, you picked these two up,”

“Yes I did Mr Morningstar, I received the orders about an hour ago, with an arrival location and everything, out in the shadow of Plymouth, Britain,”

“Are you Lucifer?” Loz spoke up,

“Yes. yes I am,”

“Why do you look and sound like,”

“I’m aware who I sound and look like, that’s just your newly arrived brain processing my appearance, anyway, yes I am Lucifer Morninstar,”

“You’re satan?” Alex asked, 

“No, that’s my boss, I am his right hand man, well, me and Beelzebub, I handle new arrivals, B more handles long term punishments,” he explained, sounding a little bored. He looked to Amon, and then to Elboreth. “She shouldn’t be here should she?” he asked

“No boss,” Amon explained. “Smith is on upstairs’ records, McCrae isn’t at all,”

“Which suggests she arrived too soon, well, left the mortal plane too soon, free will and all that,” he sighed “but here is the summoning order that Steven here received, signed by several members of the scheduling staff with the authority of, myself, Balls,” he looked to Loz, then to Alex, “Right then, let’s get this resolved before it Raphael refers this all the way to my father,  Loz,” he looked to the screen, “you should be in heaven, according to this you lead a good kind life, most notably the kindness you showed, oh, Alexandra McCrae, who in turn you should not be here at all, you should have at the least survived the car crash,” he stood up. “Fine then, Steven was it? If you could take Ms McCrae upstairs, her body is battered and bruised but waiting for her, she will make a miraculous recovery, then Ms Smith, you will wait here while we untie the awful paperwork that has lead you to be here,”

“No!” Alex said

“I beg your bloody pardon,” Lucifer said, walking around the desk to face Alex

“Oh dick,” Steve muttered,

“I’m not doing back to um, back to Earth, not without Loz,”

“Loz is dead, Alex,” Steve explained,

“So am I, send us both back,”

“She is awaited in heaven,”

“I’m not going to heaven, I’m staying with Alex,” Loz said, grabbing Alex’s hand, “Send us both back, or send us both to heaven

“Well tough, we can’t send you back, literally my bloody father is expecting you, and I can’t send someone to heaven,” sighed Lucifer 

“Firstly imagine if I of all people could send people to heaven, and secondly Alex has to earn her way into heaven,”

“How long will that take,”

“I could just kill myself,”

“No, he takes that personally, he’d just have you make a miraculous recovery,”

“That’s not fair, what about people who,”

“Listen, if you argued every moral argument against the law of God we’d be here all day and there is no such thing as night here! My father is a dick!”

“I mean, you would say that,” Loz suggested. Lucifer raised his eyebrows concedingly.

“So when would I go to heaven,”

“When you died, at the right time,”

“But that could be decades, I don’t want decades without Loz,” Alex said quietly, “So I’m not going back to Earth,”

“And I’m not going to heaven without Alex,” Loz said insistently. Alex looked to Loz and held both her hands. “You’re literally turning down

heaven for me,”

“Heaven without you, doesn’t hold much appeal,”

“That is so cheesy,” Alex sighed

“Not really, we are literally stood in Hell’s lobby, and are dead,”

“You do know he can just make you go,” Amon explained, Lucifer raised a hand.

“Actually, no I can’t,” Lucifer chuckled, then burst out laughing “She’s still mortal, she has free will, that’s the linchpin of it all, dad can’t make her do anything, it defeats the point, Alex, you can stay right here and Laura, well, there is so much paperwork I need to make my way through,” Lucifer said sarcastically, “Wouldn’t you agree, Amon?”

“Oh tons, Mr M, loads,” he chuckled. 

Loz and Alex watched as Steve walked down the hill into the sprawling ruins that were the other Plymouth in the first level of hell. Loz turned to look at the surprisingly intact bungalow they were standing outside, “Did you hear what Steve said? This was originally created to punish an extremely vain person whose idea of hell was having one bedroom and a single floor,” 

“Land too,” Alex regarded the ground around the flat, amongst the dead grass that seemed to go on for miles in amongst the ruins was a patch of verdant green. Smart borders of red roses marked the edge of their cottage. Hand in hand the two women walked around the outside of the building. “We could probably dick up the lawn you know,” Loz said, looking at the back lawn,

“You hippie,”

“I mean it, grow some plants, make us less reliant on Steve and Amon’s so-called care packages,”

“Which just sounds worrying coming form a pair of demons,” Alex commented


“This is actually quite nice, not quite where I expected to get on the property ladder” Loz commented as they walked in through the back door. Alex smiled and kissed her on the cheek and walked inside. “They’ve given us a kettle and everything!” she commented, she yawned, 

“how am I tired, I’m dead,”

“No, you’re not dead, you’re alive but briefly in hell,”

“Speaking of which then,” Alex walked out of the kitchen and into the hallway. She called back  “Hey Loz!”


“There’s a double bed in here!” 

Star Trek: Connection Problems Ch.1

Here is the first chapter of my Trill origin story fic. Its very rough atm and I think I’ll finish the whole fic before posting more but feedback on this bit would be gratefully recieved

Excerpts from the The Diary of Tekla Rin

3rd day, 5th Moon, 303,

Plain sunny day was ominous in normality but perhaps that’s hindsight. Light breeze, fluffy clouds. The city was even clear enough to see all the way from my apartment down to the bay which shone a deep vibrant purple. I was nursing a cup of Luva when I received a message from one Julek Burig, a representative of the blandly named Applied Biosciences. I’d heard of them in name only but wasn’t that familiar with them. He was inviting me for a “casual interview” with him at AB’s headquarters. Curious and mindful of my bank balance, I accepted. Rest of the day was spent marking first year’s molecular biology papers.


Dressing in my best business formal dress I took the metro out into the bay. I was travelling just after peak times and the train was mostly full of people like me, going out to the island for specific purposes. Applied Biosciences HQ was a tall building on the Northside of Yzpa Island on the corner of Amethyst View and fifth. Whatever they did (And their network site was not forthcoming) it earned them a lot of money.
The receptionist was crisp and professional and quickly summoned Burig. He was a middle aged man, completely shaven bald and dressed in expensive formalwear. “Doctor Tekla Rin, a great pleasure,” he beamed
“Professor Burig,” I smiled and greeted him
“It’s just Doctor, these days, if you’re being specific,” he said as he lead me out of the lobby and into the lift, taking us up over a dozen floors.
“I thought you were still a visiting lecturer at Lakeview,”
“I’m on their books yes but I haven’t taught there in over a year, my work here at AB has kept me far too busy,”
“And what work is that?” I enquired, almost automatically. I’d found the lack of information quite frustrating.
“I’ll get to that, can I get you a drink,” he said as an assistant appeared
“Just a Luva would be nice please?”
“How do you take it,”
“Oh, bitter, please,”
“Two Luvas please? One bitter one regular?” he said to the assistant and they headed off.
He led me into a nondescript meeting room, its floor to ceiling window was artfully decorated with a DNA helix in frosted glass. The view looked out into the bay across to the Shoreside center. I admired it briefly before taking a seat. It was obvious they were trying to impress me and compared to my home or my office at the university, it worked. A tablet was waiting for him on the tablet. He pulled it close to him and tapped the screen. “Doctor Tekla Rin, assistant lecturer at the school of biology, Shoreside Central University. Graduated top of your class before going on to do your doctorate. Wrote your doctorate thesis on The neural electrical communication methods of the Mak’alan Cave Worm with regards to interaction with Trill.” he looked up at me, “Quite familiar with Mak’ala, Dr Rin?”
“I could tell you the best bars and the best place to get good Luva, that’s where I got in the habit of drinking it bitter. It’s how Maks drink it, with Azna in,” I replied. He smiled and nodded.
“Your paper was a fascinating read, it’s something I’ve pondered as well. The nature of the Cave Worm to attach to larger creatures combined with their ability to communicate with Trill as proven through things like the Jha’zea ritual, you suggest it is possible that the two could be combined,”
“As a thought experiment yes, its generally accepted that the Cave Worms use similar electrocommunication methods as they do with Trill to communicate with larger creatures they connect to which for ease of terminology I call “hosts”, passing on memories of previous hosts to help them identify food sources, predators and so on.”
“Yes whereas with Trill they pass on memories of previous visitors to the caves, especially those who submerge themselves in the pools, potentially going back centuries,”
“Yes, but that’s hardly my work, this has been discussed before, Hysa Zilid wrote a book on it about two years ago, I recommend it,”
“You however go into details about how both the Worms and Trill use Isoboramine to generate neural signals, albeit in a much more,” he paused “dramatic way in the case of the Cave Worms, its fascinating,”
“It was just a thought experiment and I’m quite clear about that throughout, the ethical and culture questions of the use of a Mak’alan Cave Worm, not to mention sourcing one,” I paused, “Is this going where I think it’s going?” I said, an edge of nerves in my voice.
Julek slid the tablet across the table to me. It displayed a detailed document. I read through and found it was a non-disclosure agreement. “This will apply to the rest of the conversation. If you don’t sign it then we end the conversation here and we just discussed your doctorate work.” I thought over this and finally signed it. I didn’t have anything to lose by listening to what he had to say. I slid the tablet back to him. “Applied Biosciences, in conjunction with several other parties are looking to carry out a study into the effects of a long term interaction between Mak’alan Cave Worms and Trill and to study and potential symbiotic relationship” He let this hang in the air briefly “Possibly through surgical implantation of the worm,”
“Thats,” I began. I paused before continuing “To see what memories the Mak’alan cave worm might pass on,”
“Whether the human might be able to pick up memories from the Worm, whether the worm then acted on a third party outside the Worm and Host, to use your term,”
“So you’ve actually sourced a Cave Worm? As in you got it out of Mak’ala?”
“We wouldn’t be talking if we hadn’t gotten over that initial major hurdle,”
“This is,” he slid the tablet back to me and I read through the document presented to me. It was a detailed outline for a “Project Unity” I noted the generic name. “I’ll send a copy to your network address,”
“I’ll have to think on it, of course,”
“Of course, Doctor Rin, read over our proposal over the next few days,” He paused, “do be aware however if you share any of this information to anyone else you will not only end up bankrupt but blacklisted from any academic teaching position in the eastern hemisphere, understood?” he raised an eyebrow. I scratched my spots, a nervous movement.
“The worst I could possibly do is turn you down, don’t worry,” I said, trying to stay calm.
I left quickly after that. I will confess it was genuinely tempting. Ever since I’d written my doctorate paper I’d expended a considerable amount of further time to the concept, thinking it out of reach. The Mak’alan Cave Worms are highly protected on biological and spiritual grounds. I got the metro back across the bay but got off at the shore.
There is a small eatery just off the shoreline that has the trappings of a generic, grimy quick food place but serves some of the best Ryzpin in the entire city. As I entered the moustachioed owner of the eatery greeted me as I entered. “Tekla, you look smart,” he smiled
“I had a meeting at the university, Bolek,” I lied
“The usual,”
“Please, and a side of battered Azna,” I took a seat at a table, slightly away from the kitchen. I pulled out my tablet and immediately began reading the documents that doctor Burig had sent me. After a while one of Bolek’s children brought me my food. I kept reading. After a while she returned. “Your Ryzpin is getting cold,” she commented, I turned to face her. Eight or nine “Sorry, bit distracted,” I waved my tablet
“Must be a great story, I usually eat my Ryzpin straight away,”
“Dont bother the lady,” Bolek called out to his daughter,
“It’s okay,” as if to humour her, I picked up one of my battered Azna leaves and ripped them in the little pot of sauce supplied. They had gone cold and the leaves were a little soft. The girl smiled and walked away. I slowly, slowly ate my food. After a while Bolek walked over. “Sorry Tekla, we’re closing for the afternoon”
“Oh! What time is it”
“Ten seventy five,”
“Oh!” I repeated. “Sorry Bolek, lost in my work,” I quickly pocketed my tablet. Paid and left.
Which leaves me here, typing this up. Heaven knows who will read this though. I wish I had another reader to give me another opinion though.

Star Trek Fic: Joining.

I’m extrapolating/making up a few bits and bobs for Trill. I know it’s been expanded on but I’m working from canon for sake of ease. 

A screen turns on revealing a small room in the standard style of a Starfleet ship. There are no personal effects or decorations, suggesting this isn’t someone’s personal quarters. Outside the window lights strobe past, suggesting the ship is travelling faster than light . Directly in front of the camera sits a man in his mid twenties. He has jet black hair, green eyes and a broad face covered in a closely cut beard. He goes to speak, stops and runs his fingers through his hair. Finally he speaks again. 

“Stardate 52988.0, soon to be the fifth day, first month, 411 of the unified calendar when we arrive on Trill. On Earth it’s the year twenty three seventy five, their calendar starting with the birth of  a  religious figure in the Christian faith, in fact upon leaving Earth I just missed the celebrations of his birth, I digress,”

He sighs, and pauses.

“Personal log, Kinaran Veled, possibly my last log under that name. When this ship, the USS Scott Kelly arrives in orbit around Trill I’m going straight into surgery in the capital. After which I will be Kinaran Tal, fifteen host of the Tal symbiote. Xara Tal, the Starfleet admiral has died, having sustained mortal injuries in the battle of Cardassia and the commission has picked me to be the next host of Tal. I, words fail,”

He pauses again. He leans back in his chair. He stands and walks over to the replicator, still speaking. 

“As well as it being a good habit I especially wanted to record my last thoughts and feelings prior to being joined. My last thoughts and feelings unaffected by the experiences and memories of the fourteen previous Tal hosts.” 

He pauses and looks to the replicator “Large latte, extra cinnamon, extra nutmeg,” he orders. The drink materialises and he returns to his seat and continues as he warms his hands on his mug.

“The joining, I don’t know how it will affect me. I don’t know whether I’ll still be me but with new memories or some new amalgamated person. Oh I’ve read other accounts of being joined. Telben Krel’s famous self help guide, various holoprograms and books but they all vary. Some people change, some people don’t. I guess this recording could be put in the commons for potential candidates to listen to. So I’ll try and make this accessible.

When I was six, my uncle Tazec was joined to the Mahl symbiote, the fourth host, he’d talked through the process in depth with his husband and his siblings. The whole process fascinated me. I was fascinated by history as a child and suddenly this man I knew had a perfect recall of over a century of memories that I would pester him about constantly and he humoured me. He’d tell me what it was like to meet President Sulu or to see Pelor perform at the Riverside Arena sixty years ago. I was obsessed. I looked up every account of joined Trill I could find. I’d watch the holovid series on the legendary Ambassador Curzon Dax repeatedly  and I pestered my mother to travel with me to the Bolarus Literature conference to see Keldon Dobar talk about joined Trill. He signed a padd loaded with his complete works which I got laser etched into its casing. I even got to meet Xara Tal, then a Captain in Starfleet when she gave a talk to our academy about Starfleet, I of course bothered her about being joined and the Symbiosis Commission. I was in awe of her, this person with over four centuries of memories, back to the earliest trials in surgical joining of symbiotes.” 

He pauses then bursts out laughing.

“Oh my word, I just realised I’m going to find out what she thought of little thirteen year old me, I might die of embarrassment right there on the surgical table,”

He clears his throat and sips his drink.

“So I start studying what makes a good candidate, what the Symbiosis commission looks for. Careers that are perhaps attractive to the Commission, anything that might give me the edge. I signed up to extracurricular classes. I took up three different instruments, the Katarwave, the Andorian Icepipes and the Human guitar, only one of which I still play, for the record. I joined the Youth Congress, ended up visiting our equivalent on Earth, my first visit there. I studied first aid and medical qualifications, learned several languages and not once did I stop to think. “Why am I doing this? Do I enjoy this?” Because even when I did enjoy it I was putting so much pressure on myself to excel and to be picked as a candidate that I stopped enjoying it”

Another pause. He then shrugs

“I got onto the program, which is great. All I wanted. Except I now had to succeed. At 18 I was assigned a mentor. Pelea Narin. Narin was the fifth host of the Narin symbiote and an accomplished Xenobiologist who at the time was teaching at the Central University on Bolarus, something I didn’t have much interest in. I was, still am, far more interested in societies, in civilisations. Still I studied it alongside her and I guess she was impressed I was willing to study new areas. She assessed my range of skills which were many. By now I was a qualified emergency medic,I was studying towards fluency in English, Dakaran-Bajoran, Standard Sign Language and a whole bunch of other skills I’ve very rarely used. She was impressed. Said as such to my face but it was obvious she was a little off put by my single focus. She brought up the same concerns I think I’d admit I had, if I was honest with myself. “Why are you studying this? What do you want from life?” 

To which I always said “To become a trill host,”

“And what would that entail, what would you give the symbiote as a host,” at which point I’d spout off all my skills and qualifications. This usually ended in a somewhat resigned “I cannot fault you for enthusiasm,” from Narin. 

“In between my placements with Narin I was studying for a degree in comparative sociology. I really liked it but all the while I was thinking “How would this affect my chances of being joined” not did I actually enjoy it. The extracurricular activities continued, I considered going to Starfleet academy if i thought that’d help, all of all the while being overshadowed by my potential joining. By my third year of study I was entering the age range when Trill are joined and I started to wonder if that’d help my study and when I might get joined before my final exams. My constant worries about joining and extracurricular tasks started to negatively affect my grades, but not long after my twentieth birthday I was informed by the symbiosis commission I’d been accepted as a host candidate. I was overjoyed, I was overwhelmed. This goal I’d been working for all this life ”

He pauses, then sips his drink.

“Then the war happened, and that all went on hold. I was stuck on Earth then travel was limited. I was on a six month placement at University College, London on Earth, rather than take the risk of travelling to Trill, UCL offered to let me finish my studies there and of course, all joining was put on hold as travel was limited. Every now and then a joined Trill in Starfleet or somewhere else near the front lines would be killed and I’d wonder if I’d recieve my call to travel to Trill but it never came. My life was on hold and until then there was little else I could do. My undergraduate degree progressed into a Masters in Sociology with a specialisation in parallel development of industrial era ideologies, I found it interesting, anyway. 

“With no movement on the joining side of things I felt a little bit free to just pursuit what I wanted. I’d already been accepted as a host, I could now do what I wanted. So I did. I spent most of 2374 on the maglev between my home in London and my job at the Trill Embassy in Paris where I helped people stranded by the war. I worked as a tutor, teaching other language scholars how to speak various forms of Trill. I was having fun, as fun as one can in the middle of an interstellar war,”

“Then the war ended, about three months ago now.  I was elated, we all were but on a selfish level I was worried. Would I now have to drop the life I’d made on Earth and go be joined. Would I be the same person afterward, what if my friends didn’t like me? What if I didn’t like them!? I could drop out of the process but it’d been my singular purpose. I received a call from the symbiosis commission two weeks ago. Admiral Xara Tal had been in a vegitative state since her ship, the Windchaser was destroyed in the final battle of Cardassia Prime. Her condition was worsening and based on conversations with her husband and with her own prior wishes on the matter it was decided to move the symbiote to a new host and I’d been chosen. I was to travel to Trill immediately”

“So here I am, On my way to the end goal of over half my life. I’ve said my goodbyes to my friends in London and Paris, knowing I might not be the same person when I return, if I choose to return,”

There’s a long pause, 

“I’m scared, I’m scared how I’ll change, I’m scared if I’ll lose who I am.”

Another pause

“I’m scared I wont be good enough, the Tal symbiote is nearly five centuries old, what if I’m a disappointment. My predecessors are war heroes, astronauts and scientists, I’m a clerk at an embassy. So I can play the guitar, what use is that compared to what’s come before me. I’m starting to question why I wanted this all along, I was more interested in everything around being joined, I never questioned what I could do for my symbiote. Now I have a life that’s worth contributing. I wonder if I’m giving it all up. No turning back now though. I guess.” 

The log entry ends. 

Ward 13: Ideopathy

Ward 13: Ideopathy


The ward wasn’t silent, it was never silent. Air conditioning fans gave a background hum to a chorus of machines saying they needed recharging, realigning or replacing. No one noticed them though. Nurses lay on the floor, patients in their beds and chairs, heads fallen forward or back. Doctors collapsed onto piles of medical notes and a volunteer had fallen forward onto her trolly which had dragged her along briefly before she’d slowly slipped to the floor, unconscious. Only one patient moved, turning in his sleep. Shaking and moving, responding to things only seen by eyes that darted around behind closed eyelids.

                A door opened. If any of the staff had been conscious they’d probably have told you they’d never seen that door opening or what was behind it. Every ward had a door like that, never seemed to open, no one knew where it went except this time, it did. Two figures stepped out, both in dark green overalls with reflective patches that caught the lights in the ceiling. The first was very tall even though he was hunched over. He held the door open with one hulking great grey hand for the second figure. She was more normal sized but for the tail that swished around behind her. Flames burned softly from where her eyes should be. The flames flickered and moved as she looked around the corridor they stepped out into. She instinctively scratched her head in between her long black braids at the base of one of her long grey horns. She produced a radio from her belt. “Hello Central its unit three entering site via in-hospital translation, currently on Ward E2, St Mary’s Hospital Bristol, All patients are unconscious,”

“How can you tell they aren’t dead, Amy?” the larger figure said crouched  by a doctor lying unconscious on the ground, checking her pulse.

“I can see auras, duh,” Amy said,

“Oh yeah, Why didn’t they call the DPA in on this, this could’ve been dangerous?”

“Didn’t come across as dangerous on scans, just big use of magical energy, plus its quicker to get us here,”

“What if it had been an explosion?” the big man asked, his voice deep and resonant. 

“well it wasn’t, Jerry,” Amy said flatly.

“Hello?” Jerry called out to anyone awake to listen.

“I can see something different up ahead. Blindlingly so,” she said, squinting slightly and walking up the corridor, stepping around people.

“Powerful aura?” Jerry asked as he followed her. He wondered how his companion saw the world, not just in light and colour but as bright waves and swirls of emotion

“Yeah, bright white, like looking at the sun!” she said, almost sounding like she was in pain.

 “Nobody has a normal aura, it seems,” Jerry chuckled

“That’s because in our line of work there’s no such thing as normal, Jez,” She said as they entered one of the Ward’s bays. All six patients were in their beds, most fallen backwards or forwards, only one looked in any normal position, on his side.

                They walked carefully towards the patient. “I can tell you one thing, he’s not human,” Amy commented. “definitely magical and something big,”

“We can turn our illusion spells off then?”

“I think that’s safe,

“Good, the portable ones always make my skin tingle,” Jerry commented before stepping forward. He glanced up at the board behind her bed. “Excuse me, Mr White,” the man stirred slightly. Jerry put a hand on his shoulder and very gently shook him. “Mr White,”

“Yes,” he said, sitting up sleepily. Looking around. “Are you a nurse?”

“No, no, we’re just going to move you to another ward but first we’re going to run a few tests on you,”

“oh, oh okay,” he said with what could be confusion, what could be torpor. Amy produced a small computer and began running tests on the man.  Jerry scribbled the information down on a computer tablet. “Temperature 96.7, Pulse one twenty over sixty, sats 98%, “

“Very healthy, Mr White,” Jerry said positively.

“Yes, all good, right Mr White, we’re going to get you a chair and we’ll move you to your new bed, do you have any possessions with you?”

“N-no, just myself,” he said as Amy pulled a foot long metallic bar from her bag and pressed  a button in one end. It doubled in length. It then unfolded at both ends twice to form a frame, then in half to form a seat. Wheels popped out the sides and unfolded until full. Soon enough she had a wheelchair ready for the patient. “Right, do you need a hand Mr White,”

“Please call me Kenneth,”

“sorry Kenneth,” Amy said with a smile. Mr White swung his feet around unassisted, if a bit slow and pushed himself upright. His feet patted across the floor to the chair and he sat down a little unsteadily. “No mobility issues,” Amy commented to Jerry, who was checking the patients notes from their folder at the end of the bed. “Admitted this morning, apparently he was brought in because he was reporting pain when urinating.

“Seems a bit minor for admission but whatever, I’m sure we’ll get to the bottom of it,” Amy said as she got behind the chair and began to push the patient gently forward.

                They left the bay and Amy noticed Mr White start to shake in his chair, swinging his weight side to side, “Careful Ken, you don’t want to fall out,”

“Where are you taking me!?” he demanded loudly, all the louder for the quiet ward.

“to another ward, Ken, where they’ll be able help you”

“I won’t go, you villains!” he said swinging at her with a fist, Amy continued forward towards the still open door they’d come in on. Jerry produced his radio. “It’s fine we’re almost” Amy stopped mid-sentence as the doorway back to ward Thirteen was replaced by an open doorway into a café. The smell of coffee and baked goods filled their noses.  She saw people around her.

“Illusions!” she barked and her and Jerry both touched their belt buckles. A Little tingling sensation was the only thing that told Amy that the people around her were now seeing her as a regular boring human, with a quick amnesia spell thrown in for good measure. “Where are we, where’s?” They looked around. “And where the hell is the patient?”

“Treliske Hospital, Truro,” Jerry commented, pointing to a sign. He lifted his radio up. “Central, can you confirm patient arrived on Ward Thirteen safely, have found ourselves suddenly translocated to Treliske hospital, Cornwall under unknown circumstances,” there was a pause

“Ward Thirteen reporting the patient has arrived safely and is being dealt with by nursing staff but you were both missing.

“Do you have a door for us?” Another pause, distant noise of tapping at a keyboard

“Main reception, lift on the left, first, second, third, fifth,”

“thanks Central,” Jerry said with a sigh.

                “What the heck happened?” Amy said as they left the café and headed towards the lift. 

“Buggered if I know, magic spell?”

“you’re on one for stating the obvious,” Amy said, raising an eyebrow

“Fair point,” he chuckled. “Who though. White?”

“I guess, you did say there was something unusual about him,”

“We’ll tell them once we get back to the Ward.” Amy suggested. They studied the map and followed its directions. “I mean, he’s clearly not human, that aura almost hurt it was so bright,”

“Bright in a good way or a hellfire kind of way,”

“So bright it was hard to tell what the colour was, so maybe just white light, bit like staring at the sun,”

“You know,” said Jerry, “I’d love to see the world through your eyes, I’m just a boring ogre,” he snorted

“Just take a bunch of PCP, from what I understand it,” Amy suggested

“If you did PCP wouldn’t that cancel your vision out and make everything normal,”

“No, I’ve never done PCP but this one time in New York. I was at David Bowie’s back in ninety one and”

“Get away!” Jerry interrupted

“No really,”

“How old are you?”

“Technically, two thousand three hundred-ish, on continuous experience of the mortal realm, Thirty two, of course I turned up here as you see me now,” Jerry whistled an impressed noise at this.

They entered the lift and pressed the buttons they’d been instructed to. When the doors opened again Amy could see they were back in Sevenside. Out the window she saw the city walks of Severnside and beyond it the tightly packed medieval buildings of the city centre. Amy noted it was still early as they passed various other nurses, doctors, porters and domestic staff on their sleepy ways to their own wards. She turned down a corridor saying with arrows to Cardiology admin, porter’s lodge, St Michaels Ward and finally “William Harvey Annex,” seemingly a dead end. Amy walked through the solid wall of the dead end, approached a familiar looking set of double doors and stepped through.

Amy briefly had a glance of the main entrance of Ward 13 before it started to rush upwards. One moment Amy was walking down the corridor, the next she felt like she had missed a step. She looked down, confused at what still looked like a flat surface that her leg was ankle deep in and sinking fast. She felt her balance shift and she instinctively put his hands up to stop the ground from hitting her face. Instead the ground rushed straight past her and after a few flashes of grey and silver she saw another floor about two meters below rushing up to meet her.

She collided with the floor and the air was forced from her  lungs. After a second she climbed up and looked around. She was in another empty corridor. A nearby sign pointed her to Ward Nine in one direction and to radiology in another. She was relieved to realise she was still in Severnside hospital but was on the floor below Ward Thirteen, insofar as Ward Thirteen existed in any specific place. She looked up at the seemingly normal ceiling she’d just fallen through. Unsure how to react, she just stood there for a minute before walking down the corridor towards the lift.

Her second attempt to enter Ward Thirteen was more successful and she strode purposefully onto the ward only to be greeted by a cacophony of noise and action. People’s auras blazed red and yellow with anger and confusion. High pitched voices screaming and shouting. A nurse ran across in front of Amy and ducked into a side room. A small figure, human shaped but about a foot tall ran after her brandishing a cannula needle. The figure looked like a woman in an old, almost medieval dress with a flowing skirt rushing around behind it. The creature looked annoyed briefly at the closed door then turned to Amy and ran at her, swinging the needle about. Amy sidestepped the creature and it fell towards, tumbling across the corridor. 

She walked towards the main desk of the ward where another creature, again about a foot tall in a ruff and britches, was swinging a pair of scissors at a nurse. The secretary was moving around trying to avoid it. “Amy!”

“Nick, what the heck?”

“These just appeared as we tried to approach that new patient, they seem to be defending her,”

“Is he actively summoning these, I mean are they pixies or?” Amy trailed off “he didnt exactly seem with it,”

“Well we checked his records, he was in for a UTI,” Nick explained

“That explains the confusion, but there’s no way she’s human,” 

“Could be a witch?” 

“Unlikely, his aura was ridiculous, bright white like, it actually hurt to look at him, I dont think a human can give off that kind of effect,” Amy explained

“Looks pretty human,” Nick commented

“So do I when I walk down the street,” She countered.

“But you don’t here, he should revert to his true appearance,”

 Nick turned and started walking back towards the room where the new patient was being kept. As they approached it a figure, maybe fifty centimeters high and clad in shining metal armour stepped out, “None shall pass!” said the tiny being at it drew out a sword that was barely ten centimeters long but still looked viciously sharp. Nick rolled his eyes. 

“We’re trying to get to Mr White,” he said, trying to negotiate with the little Knight 

“None shall approach his lordship!” Nick and Amy looked at each other,

“I mean it’s not the first time I’ve been threatened with a knife,” Amy remarked. 

“I’m a nurse! I’m trying to help!” Nick said, trying to keep a calm tone of voice. The little knight looked at him from behind a visored helmet. After some thought, the figure lowered his blade slightly and let Nick and Amy go past. The figures out in the corridor followed them into the room, forming a little squad of guards around the two medical professionals.

As they entered the room the knight followed behind them, carefully eying them with his hands tightly gripping his little sword. There were little figures stood all around the bed, angrily brandishing little rolling pins and miniature axes. “Mr White?” Nick asked calmly,
“Aura is slightly subdued,” Amy commented under her breath

“Yes?” Mr White said, a little dazed. 

“My names Nick, I’m a nurse, I’d just like to run a few checks on you if that’s okay,”


“I’m going to get you some water and when you’re ready, we’ll need a sample of,”

“You’re not going anywhere near me!” Mr White said, his voice suddenly booming all around them. The voice shook their skulls and they both instinctively covered their ears. As if hit by a wall of sound, Amy and Nick were knocked back across the room. Amy was knocked against the wall of the room but Nick was thrown clear through the door. He landed on the ground on his back and skidded across the corridor. “Get out!” Mr White boomed again and Nick looked up to see Amy stumble out of the room and shut the door behind her. “Are you okay?” she asked Nick

“I’m fine, just a bit shaken, I wasn’t expecting that,”

“Story of our job, really,” she commented,

“Well yes, I think I recognise something though, he had a pendant on,”

“Little gold thing, I didn’t recognise it” Nick commented 

“I did, I recognise it from,” she paused “before,”

“Before?” Nick asked, a little confused,

“Before I came to Earth, to the mortal realm,”

“You’re saying he’s an outsider of some sort?” Nick asked, “A demon? Or an angel?”

“Do you have any books on angelic symbols?” Amy asked “It’s on the tip of my tongue, it really is,” 

Nick led Amy through the ward to a small room marked “Archives”. Inside was a desk and a bookshelf that dominated the tiny space. Nick walked up to one of the bookshelves and yanked hard on one of the shelves. To Amy’s surprise the shelves moved downwards like a lift going down a shaft, being replaced at the top by fresh shelves with new books, seemingly appearing out of thin air. Nick did this for a short length of time before stopping the scrolling shelves. He ran his fingers along the shelf and pulled a book out. Amy read the spine. “On the Hosts of the Higher Planes by Professor F.J.Lewis,” 

Nick placed the book on the desk and Amy began going through it before finally stopping. “There, that’s the symbol of one of the groups the Ishim,”


“Also called the thrones in christianity, they’re a group of angels, most likely to interact with mortals,”

“So why is an angel behaving like a confused old man?”

“I think we might need to get some help in sorting this out, do you have a phone number for heaven,”

“Yeah I think so,” Nick commented

“Oh I,” Amy paused “I was joking but okay!”

After explaining what was happening to the shift leader and why he hadn’t been doing the medication rounds Nick took Amy to one of the doctors offices and picked up the phone. He picked up a ring binder marked “Useful numbers” and after some searching began dialing one in. First a string of numbers, then letters and finally a string of symbols that Amy had never seen on a phone before. “I’ll put it on speaker phone,” Nick said politely. A dialing tone rang out from all around the room as he did before a voice, booming not unlike Mr White had, spoke out.

“Can I help you?”

“Oh, hi, this is Nick Lawson,”

“Yes, we know,” the voice said calmly,

“ I’m a nurse on Ward Thirteen at Severnside hospital, United Kingdom, um” he paused “Earth,” he finished

“Yes, we know,” the voice repeated

“Oh, right yes, well, we have a patient, a Mr Kenneth White, who is showing strange powers, teleporting people, summoning small creatures to defend him, knocking entire wards of people out, and he has a pendant around his kneck that looks like the symbol the Ishim when interacting with mortals,”

“What?” the voice boomed, surprised, “Oh,” there was a long pause, “blast!” it exclaimed. There was a clicking sound and the familiar hung up tone. 

They both jumped as distantly they heard the buzzer at the entrance to the ward sound. They saw a nurse go past and answer it. After a pause she popped her head into the office. “Nick, you have a visitor, they say they’re also,” there was a pause, “Oh you’re also here Amy, they’re here to see you too,”

They walked out into the corridor to see a tall figure that seemed at once both masculine and feminine, barefoot but in a white suit, blonde hair was brushed down over one side of their face. Behind them six great wings rested, taking up much of the corridor. They shifted awkwardly as a porter politely asked to be let past with a wheelchair. “Ah, Nick Lawson, Amy Jones” the angel spoke in the echoing, surrounding voice, “I am Masemiel of the Ishim. This is,” they paused “quite embarrassing, could I please be taken to this Kenneth White,”
“So you know he’s an angel,” Nick asked

“I believe so,”

“You believe so?” Amy raised an eyebrow. Nick briefly flicked her a glance of annoyance. They started walking towards the room where Mr White was.

“I am aware that angels have a reputation for being all knowing, to be well versed in the worlds of mortals but we,” they paused “are less aware of the affairs of other angels, especially those that wish to be left alone,” They stopped at the room to the door. “Several years ago, Sheleg, one of my kin travelled to Earth to be with a mortal he had,” another pause, the angel was clearly carefully picking their words, Amy thought. “He was very fond of, so he took mortal form, abandoned his angelic abilities and this was the last we saw of him. May I go in?” Nick nodded at this.

The angel stepped inside, the room was empty of all the creatures that had been causing havoc. The room was still, no one fell through the floor or found the door opening into the wrong place. There was just Mr White, lying in his bed. “The mortal he went to live with, showed up with us about a month ago, when he didn’t show up with her we went looking for him but he’d hidden himself from us, that is until you found him. It would seem he made himself too mortal, illness and all,” The angel stood by the bed. 

“Hello Kenneth,” they smiled 

“Oh,” White began, confused, “It’s you, I remember you,” White reached out and held the fellow angel’s hand. “I think I remember now, I think I’m ready to come home,”
“Once you’re feeling better, Ken,” they said softly. The angel looked to Nick and Amy. “I trust his problems should be easy  to fix?” Nick smiled

“Oh yes, after all that, it should be very straight forward,”

Ward 13: The Ogre in the Polo Shirt

Ward 13:

1.      The Ogre in the Polo Shirt 

Standing in the entrance hall of Severnside train station Hannah Davies watched the rain blatter against the automated doors. Late running commuters came and went, bringing the rain in with them. Rather than try to fight the rain for control of her phone, she studied the screen and tried to memorise the directions it was giving her. She extended her umbrella, stepped out into the rain and it was enough to keep her suit dry.

Hannah was just passing under the medieval ruins of one of the city gates when she saw something in the corner of her eye. This stopped her mental  interview preparation. She dreaded what it might be and  tried to ignore. She failed. Slowly she turned to face the disturbance. About ten meters away, In amongst the crowds milling about the pavement was a figure that stood well over two metres tall but for its stooped posture. It or he, for he seemed male to Hannah and reality probably was, had leathery grey-green skin, a heavy set face and wore a black polo shirt with Hannah figured had to have been bought from a specialist store. The “man’s” eyes lacked irises and only his tiny pupils suggested where he was looking. Her heart began thumping and suddenly she didn’t notice the rain, focused as she was on the creature in front of her. She studied him as he in turn smiled and spoke to someone seemingly oblivious of the creature chatting with them. “It’s just a man,” Hannah began to think to herself, “just some tall guy who hits the gym, who you’re projecting this image onto. It’s probably just stress, you have an interview” she said, unconvinced, 

She checked her watch and considered if she could take a detour around the man without being late for her interview. She took a deep breath, steeled herself and quickly walked past him. She stole glances at him as she walked. The “man” didn’t notice her and carried on conversing with his friend. His enormous leathery hand dwarfing his takeaway coffee. “He’s not real” she repeated in her head. He looked real. He sounded real.  As she passed she sniffed the air and her nose was filled with the smell of set off fireworks and rain on mud. He smelled real.

Hannah hated coming to Severnside. Something about this city just brought the monsters out of the woodwork. Maybe it was just the crowds. Crowds always seemed to make her hallucinate more. Maybe it was a subconscious expression of a fear of crowds. She wasn’t sure and she hadn’t dared speak to a professional about it.

Ten minutes later she sat in the reception of Burroughs-Leary Pensions awaiting her interview. While she was still mentally preparing for the interview, she found her mind kept turning to the “man” she saw on the way here. She’d never got that close to one of these monsters before and never close enough to smell him. She looked at her reflection in the glass receptionist’s desk. She wore far more makeup than she usually liked to and thought she still looked tired. Her hair was wet but tidy, her once-blue undercut now redyed brown and grown out in hopes of getting a new job.  A door opened and she and sharply dressed young man stepped out. He had an obviously forced smile on his face. “Ok Tim thanks for coming we’ll be in touch soon,” said a woman’s  voice from behind him. Hannah tried to assess how well her interview competitor had done by his demeanour and expression. He walked past with his well pressed, dry suit, good haircut and sense of confidence. She formed an unintentional sneer form on her face but her expression quickly vanished as the voice spoke again. “Hannah Davies?” She turned to see a smartly dressed woman and nodded, before finally managing “yes, that’s me,”

“Hi, I’m Sarah, we spoke on the phone,” the woman said, looking to her with a pre-prepared smile “If you’d like to come with me,”. Hannah picked up her belongings and followed. Her thoughts of the monster in the polo shirt drifted away as she began to focus on the interview. She was lead through the door and across the open plan office which if it weren’t for the Burroughs-Leary signage would look like half a dozen other offices Hannah had been in while unemployed. She stole a glance out the office’s floor to ceiling windows. The office was on the seventh floor of the city’s only modern office building. Hannah thought it stood out like a sore thumb from the exterior but from inside she had to admit it gave a wonderful view of the city centre with its uneven slate roofs, tiny streets and imposing gothic spires. 

Sarah turned to Hannah “I hope you don’t mind, I’ve invited Steve to sit in on the interview. He’d be your team manager if you were successful in your application.” Hannah nodded 

“Sure, of course,” she smiled convincingly. 

“As much as skills, we like to know how each candidate would fit into the feel and personality of the team,”

“Absolutely,” she smiled professionally.

Sarah went into the interview room first, followed by Hannah. Hannah noticed there was a strange smell of damp in the air as she walked in and her gaze immediately went to the other interviewer. Hannah stopped walking for a second. Steve was a goblin. That was the only word she could think of. Save for the pink fitted shirt and sky blue tie he looked for all the world like a goblin, last seen hunting Frodo Baggins through the pages of a Tolkien novel. “Hi,” said Steve the Goblin.

“Hello,” Hannah forced out. She sat quickly and looked across the conference table to Steve and Sarah, or more accurately, to Steve. His skin was a deep green and seemed permanently wet and greasy. His ears were long and each one tapered to a point long behind his small, rounded skull. He had  professionally styled black hair. His teeth were jagged and each ended in a slightly rounded point and interlocked as he smiled at Hannah and leant forwards, offering her a hand. “Hi Hannah,” he said, his voice screeching and nasal and yet undeniably amiable and polite. It took a second for this to register with Hannah before she returned his greeting and shook his hand. It felt as wet as it looked.

She desperately tried to focus on the situation at hand. Surely, she thought, he was just some bloke who probably had greasy skin and bad teeth and her stress about the interview had morphed him into the creature before her. She hoped her reaction came across as simple interview stress. Which it was. It was, she insisted to herself. “Thanks for coming in Hannah,” Sarah said with the same practiced and well-worn smile.

“No problem, thanks for inviting me in,” Hannah said with similar practice. Although given she hadn’t been successful in finding a job she considered she should perhaps change up her replies. “The role seems very interesting, and the view from your office is amazing,” She continued as she held one hand in another, knuckles white in her lap. Sarah glanced over her shoulder out the window. “Yes, we’re quite lucky in that respect,”

“I’m from a small town, so being this high up is still very novel in that respect,” Hannah commented and the other two laughed. 

“You went to University in Bristol though, that’s much bigger than Severnside,” Sarah replied.

“University of West of England,” Hannah said, “so I wasn’t exactly in the city centre, and living with my parents for three months makes you forget how big cities can be” This was going needlessly off topic, Hannah thought and she stopped there in an act of damage control.

“Right,” Steve began “What attracted you to this role?” Hannah could see his tongue, long and pointed like his ears, whipping around inside his mouth, visibly affecting his speech pattern. She could even see a slight reflection of Sarah on the right side of his slimy face. “Well,” Hannah began before realising she’d forgotten the rest of the sentence.  She tried again. “I’ve got, I have,” another pause. She could feel her heart in her chest .. “I’ve got the range of skills as requested in the job advert.” she said, desperately trying to string together an answer.

“We asked for someone with at least a year’s experience in the office, all your roles to date have been in retail” Sarah replied. Hannah had expected this.

“I believe I have the relevant experience one would gain with a year in an office environment,” she said, her eyes flitting from Sarah to the Goblin. Hannah’s mind skidded to a halt as the goblin raised an eyebrow or would have if he had any. The bridge that overhung one of his sunken eyes raised in scrutiny and his tongue smacked around his teeth, stretching a good inch beyond his mouth. The smell of damp was obviously coming from him and Hannah found it was overpowering. “You know what,” Hannah suddenly said and she stood. She found her face stretching in a nervous grin. “I don’t think this role is for me, and you’re right.” she continued “I don’t have a year’s experience in an office environment,” she said as she gathered  things. “My apologies for wasting your time,” and she left before the woman, or the goblin, could get over their stunned silence and reply. She crossed the office, signed out at reception like a good guest and took the lift back down to the rain covered streets.

         She ignored the rain as she pounded the pavement back towards the train station. Her knuckles were white as she gripped her umbrella like a sword. She just wanted to be as far away from this city as possible. Maybe there were jobs in Ledworth? Who was she kidding, Ledworth was practically two streets, five pubs and a church. Hannah looked up to see where she was going and let out an audible curse as she saw what was ahead of her. Hannah had often mused on why her brain picked such clichés or easily categorizable creatures when she saw these monsters. She figured her subconscious was clinging to archetypes of fiction, drawn from childhood stories or creatures from films or telly. Like the goblin not ten minutes before there was no other way of describing the woman ahead of her than as a demon. The Demon seemed to be defiant against the rain in a sleeveless top and Capri jeans as she chatted idly to a friend. The first thing Hannah noticed was her eyes which seemed like lumps of coal burning from her eye sockets. They gave off flames that rose gently for several inches into the air, somehow leaving her eyebrows and hair alone. As the demon talked, Hannah could see she had  interlocking pointed teeth. Behind her she had a long tail which ended in a vicious, horn like barb and whipped around behind her like a cat that had just spotted its prey. The light from the flaming eyes danced over her dark brown skin as well reflecting in the glasses of her companion.  Two long bone white horns curled back over her head.

Hannah cursed again as she noted the woman stood in her way back to the station. She considered going around but she was gripped by a feeling of defiance. She wasn’t going to let these hallucinations dominate her life. She kept walking forwards past the demon woman and again stole glances as she went. Hannah walked close enough she could feel the heat from the flames of her eyes against the cold autumn day.

             Hannah thought for a moment that without the hallucinations, the woman would be really cute when she stepped out into the road and collided with an oncoming car. Hannah didn’t remember a lot else after that. She remembered a brief moment where somebody dressed in green shone a torch into her eye and pinched her ear. The figure had fiery red hair which weaved about like something underwater. Someone picked her up, she looked at him. This was a figure with grey skin and huge tusks that caught the light of something flashing blue. There was a green flash of light and then nothing.

Beep, beep, beep. Her bloody alarm. Hannah thought. Beep beep. She’d get up soon.

“Can someone turn that noise off?” an elderly voice asked. She wondered what was this person doing in her bedroom. The more she thought about it, the beep wasn’t an alarm and she was sat propped up in bed.  Suddenly She remembered the goblin, the demon and a brief mental image of a car bonnet

She opened her eyes and saw a fluorescent tube light hanging overhead. She turned her head towards the beeping and winced. “Can someone turn that noise off? It’s not like she can hear it, poor thing,” the old lady voice remarked again.

“It’s okay. I’m awake,” Hannah replied

“Oh sorry dear, I thought you were still out,” the old woman added. Hannah shifted her weight slightly. Her chest was tight and every movement hurt. The whole world seemed far away. She looked to the old lady. Was the figure very small, or very far away. Whatever had happened to her had shot her perspective. The figure seemed a foot or two tall but otherwise shaped like a human. A lady in her seventies perhaps with long white grey hair. Hannah went to feel herself but felt a tug at her wrist. She tracked the sensation to the cannula in her hand and felt the plastic tube under her skin, going into her vein.

The fact Hannah wasn’t in agony led her to figure she was on strong painkillers. This would explain the light-headedness. She wasn’t entirely convinced she wasn’t floating above the bed. She was reminded of having teeth removed as a teenager. Her first sensation of or like being drunk, years before she first tasted alcohol. She braced herself for neck pain and looked around. She moved her head and a dull stab went up the back of her like a blunted knife. Well it was definitely a hospital, that was reassuring. There were five other beds, four were occupied. Along with the tiny woman there was another woman, who sat reading the Daily Express. She had a pack of Snakes coming from her head. Some looked over the paper while one tried to eat it. Hannah laughed in a daze as the misbehaving snake was slapped away by the woman reading the paper. The laughter hurt. Another woman looked normal to Hannah though her white hair went all the way to her waist and covered her like an ever present shawl and Hannah kind of hoped she looked like that when she got old. The final bed was occupied but with curtains around it. Hannah eyed it as a green glow came from a gap in the curtains. 

She craned her neck down with a wince. She definitely had whiplash or something similar. She was in a grey hospital gown. She considered the events leading up to the accident. She’d felt the heat from the demon and she’d smelled the goblin in the interview and all the patients sat around her seemed real. She thought on this for some time and it dawned on her that the idea of it being real was probably far more terrifying that it being fictional. Despite this all, eventually, she fell asleep again

Hannah woke up. A woman with a thick glossy beard was shining a torch into her eyes and saying her name. She fell asleep again.

Hannah woke up. A man with a blonde buzz cut was near her. “Hello?” she managed. She looked to him. His right arm had a sleeve tattoo of strange symbols. They seemed to move and dance around his skin. They constantly changed order and formed shapes and patterns on his arm. He put the clipboard down and looked to her and smiled warmly.

“Hello Hannah,” She fell asleep again.

Hannah woke up, it was night. someone was looking at her. A pale woman in a dark blue nurses uniform. Her eyes shone a bright red at their centre like she’d had LED’s placed inside her pupils. “Don’t mind me Hannah, I’m just changing your drip,” she said in a west country accent. She smiled and Hannah saw that two long fangs reached down over her lower teeth, each like a freshly sharpened knife. She opened a box. Something inside it gave off a bright blue light and cast long shadows across the room. Hannah could just about see other beds, with people asleep on them. The nurse produced a plastic bag filled with a liquid that was clearly the source of the bright light. It shone and danced over the nurses pale skin like patterns underwater as she hung it on the drip stand. Hannah watched the blue liquid move down the fine tube into her arm before she fell asleep again.

She woke again. An alarm had gone off. She opened her eyes to see figures rushing to the bed opposite her. Someone wheeled a trolley into the bay and pulled some machine off it. Despite the noise, Hannah fell asleep again.

Hannah woke an indeterminate amount of time later. She went to sit up and realised she was already propped up by the bed. She remembered the previous day and her monstrous surroundings before the pain meds had knocked her out. A quick glance reminded her than the patients were still there and mostly still not human and the glowing blue liquid was still flowing into her veins. It was dawn outside and the smell of toast and coffee filled the room so she figured it was morning. She ached everywhere, mostly in her head and her left arm. She followed the tube from her wrist to the strange blue liquid hanging next to her bed.  She studied the bag briefly and saw it was marked with what looked to her like Norse runes and other strange symbols. She glanced around, double checking she hadn’t been dreaming. No she definitely was in a hospital. Nurses in various coloured uniforms stood talking to patients and serving food. 

             She looked at the patients. The woman with snakes for hair was enjoying her breakfast. The snakes moved around and some of them tried to get a bite of the breakfast cereal and others were fighting amongst themselves. The two foot tall lady sat nursing a seemingly huge cup of tea. The fairly human looking woman with hair down past her waist sat on the bed next to Hannah sipping coffee A man came in and checked the charts at the end of her bead. She recognised the slightly short man with a brown buzz cut with the moving tattoo. “Morning,” She said to him

“Morning Hannah, how are you?” he asked politely. He  was well spoken with a hint of a local accent.

“Unsurprisingly, I feel like I hit a car, or a car hit me,” she laughed

“Well you’re not wrong there,” he noted.

“What’s the damage,” She asked, sitting up slowly. Her head felt warm and heavy. 

“Well the doctors will discuss that later, but you’ve fractured a rib and they had to apply stitches to the back of your head.” Hannah instinctively went to feel the stitches and found the skin was sensitive to the touch. She looked back to the nurse

“Oh okay, cool,” 

“I’m Nick by the way, I’m one of your nurses today,”

“Hi,” Hannah managed.

Another nurse approached them and spoke. Hannah noted the new nurse was reassuringly human looking. Nick looked to Hannah and smiled.

“I’ll be around if you need me, just ring the bell,” he gestured to a remote by her bed with a big red button on it. She nodded and smiled

She watched as two Healthcare assistants came in and asked what people wanted for breakfast. Hannah smiled as they both appeared reassuringly human. One of them, a short older woman with close cropped greying hair came up to her and offered her options in a slightly tired nasal voice. She ordered Brown toast, marmalade and corn flakes. All normal, all mundane. It was reassuring for a second until she looked past the nurse to see three of the twelve  snakes on the other patients head looking straight at her. A thought hit Hannah. “Excuse me, nurse?” Hannah knew the woman wasn’t a nurse, but calling her Healthcare Assistant seemed awkward.

“Call me Kim,” she said with a tired smile.

“Ok, Kim, what day is it?”

“Tuesday,” So she’d only been out a day. Between the monsters and injuries and everything else this just warranted an “oh okay.” before adding “And I’m at Severnside Hospital?”

“Severnside Royal Hospital. Ward Thirteen,” she paused “Bay C Bed 5 to be specific” Kim said with a smile.

Kim returned with breakfast and placed it on the bedside table that could be pulled across her lap. It was only now she realised the small piece of paper. An NHS “With compliments” slip with a message hand written on it. “Cariad, see you soon, love of love, mum and dad,”

“Excuse me, do you know if my parents were here?” Hannah asked.  Kim thought for a second.

“They phoned up last night. I think they are planning to come this afternoon,” Hannah’s face beamed with a smile and the HCA couldn’t help but smile back. “Thank you,” Hannah said. It hurt to smile, but it was so worth it.

             Hannah ate her breakfast silently, removed from the wider world by her sleepiness and the painkillers going through her bloodstream. She found it hurt when her teeth applied pressure to anything. As she swallowed she could feel the bruising down her neck. Someone came and served her coffee. It was cheap instant coffee and the best and worst thing she had ever drunk as her body screamed for caffeine that it’d gone without for a whole eighteen hours.

                  Another indeterminate amount of time passed. Hannah knew she’d checked the clock but she’d forgotten what it had said. She checked and forgot again. Finally two figures entered the room. One was a Doctor and judging by the different coloured nurses uniform Hannah figured the other person was a Sister, or whatever senior nurses were called. Were Sisters still a thing? It took a moment to notice next to the doctor floated  a pair of gloves. They were brown leather gloves with large metal rings around the cuffs. They moved around as if attached to an invisible person walking alongside the doctor. “Hello Doctor!” the woman with snakes for hair said quite loudly,

“Hello Mrs Katsaros, I’ll be with you in a minute, I just need to speak to this lady here. The two stopped at the end of her bed. The doctor, who was reading through Hannah’s file, offered her a polite smile.  He was tall, with light brown hair in a short in an immaculate quiff. His white shirt was rolled up and he wore a Brown Paisley Waistcoat. “Hi Hannah, I’m Doctor Cunningham, this is Anne, she’s the ward manager. The nurse was quite striking. She was tall and quite imposing and even under the loose uniform she was quite muscular and toned. Her face was quite stern with defined cheekbones and a shaved head. She smiled politely. Hannah smiled back, admiring the woman’s look and pondered briefly if she should shave her head. It distracted her for a moment from the gloves which now floated just to the right of Doctor Cunningham, their fingers intertwined.

“How are you feeling,” Cunningham asked

“Okay, mostly high as a kite,”  Hannah replied, frankly.

“Yes, you’re on opiates as pain management , they can have that effect. Are they managing your pain though?” he enquired

“Yeah, I think so. I occasionally get stabbing pains and my chest feels tight, it’s hard to tell, I’ve not long woken up”

“Right well if the pain gets worse we can give you something extra,” he said. Hannah’s gaze kept moving from him to the strange floating gloves and back again.

“Right, we’re going to send you for an MRI later today if possible,” Cunningham

“Is that the Big Ring one you go through or the big thing you go inside,” Hannah asked, a little excited

“the one you go inside,” He clarified

“cool,” she remarked. “I’ll have to take my piercings out?”

“Yes please, We just want to check if there’s any trauma to the brain tissue, we may also do X-Rays if thought necessary,” he said plainly. There was a pause, “If that’s okay?” he finally added.

“Yes, thanks,” Hannah said and they said their goodbyes. She watched as they walked to the next bed.

The doctors moved on and Hannah watched them speak calmly to the woman with the long hair in the bed next to her. She heard the woman’s name. “Jean”. Jean, Mrs. Katsaros, they all had names. Were they people? What if they were real? Did that mean they weren’t people? Or people but not human? Her mind considered this vast thought for a moment before a stabbing pain in her side overrode this and filled her head at the cost of all other thoughts. She reached for the buzzer and pressed it, soon enough. Nick was there. She asked for painkillers and Nick swiftly returned with a sweet tasting liquid to help and soon enough her eyelids grew heavy and she fell asleep again.

She awoke as one of the porters arrived mid-morning to take her down to radiology. A wheelchair rested in front of him. “Hello,” The porter smiled. He looked reassuringly human.

“Hi,” she said, smiling back.

“Radiology? MRI?” he said politely. She nodded and she swung her legs out of bed and hobbled over. She landed with a thud in the chair. “Careful,”

“Sorry, I think I’ve pulled a muscle in my,” she paused and sighed “Everything,” he chuckled at this. 

“That is the correct medical term, yep,” he said before turning the chair around with Hannah in it . He headed first out of thee bay and then the ward. Hannah watched the patients and members of staff go past. She was a little disappointed to find out they did indeed still look like elves, ogres goblins and whatever else. Even the normal looking staff members seemed to have an eccentricity about them with bright, luminescent hair or dancing tattoos. Glancing into other bays she could see they too were populated by an even mix of monsters and normal looking humans. Well maybe they were all normal looking humans, she considered but to Hannah’s battered brain, many looked like inhuman creatures.

They left the ward at a tremendous pace. At first Hannah felt quite unsafe but was reassured by the knowledge that the porter knew what he was doing. Soon enough she was waiting in radiology and bathed in the normality of it all. Normal patients waiting for normal treatments. No glowing liquids or moving tattoos or whatever else. Was it chance that the hallucinations seemed to stop at the ward door?

The MRI was exactly what she had expected. With more wincing and slow movement she lay back on the stretcher sticking out from the enormous machine. She’d been dosed up again on drugs before the MRI and resisted screaming with pain as she lay flat. The Radiologist handed her a button to hold while she was inside in case the enclosed space became too much. There was one final check that she’d removed all piercings. She reassured the radiologist that all her piercings would’ve been visible if she still had them in. She hadn’t been convinced that they were magnetic and had to be removed but figured it was sensible given the potential alternative. She rested her head in the surprisingly comfy rest that engulfed her ears and muffled all sides. As the stretcher slid inside the huge machine she wondered for a moment if metal sparked and lit with plasma inside this machine, magnetic or not. Like her grandmothers plates with the gold inlay when put inside a microwave. Hannah’s grandmother had been so confused when she found her granddaughter microwaving clean, empty plates for fun.

THUNK. Hannah jumped briefly, taken by surprised. Another THUNK all around her and an enormous mechanical whirr, like she was inside a giant dot matrix printer or floppy disk drive. More whirrs, more thunks. Thunk thunk thunk thunk thunk. She found herself tapping her foot as the massive machine started putting out a beat.  She found herself singing along, ”Hearts on a string like an old fashioned phone can, bang ringy ring and you think you’re gonna get some,” She mumbled to herself. The beat got louder. Her mind drifted onto another song. “Good morning Killer King you’re a Star. That’s perfect hold it right where you are, the weather’s kinda lousy today, dum de dum de dum dedum dum,”

The radiologist looked to his assistant, “Is she saying something?” they both frowned and looked through the glass at the patient inside the MRI. “I don’t think so,” his assistant replied

“She’s tapping her foot,” the Radiologist observed. “Is it affecting the scan?”

“No, we’re looking way further up,”

“Whatever, carry on then,”

The regular thumping of the machine continued and Hannah was off in her own world inside the machine. “Do you wanna dance? Do you wanna fight? Do you wanna get drunk and stay the night? Do you wanna smoke? Till our throats are sore? Make out then and then talk and then make out some more,”

“She’s started moving about quite a lot in there,” The radiologist commented, “and is she shouting for help?”

“She hasn’t pressed the button,” the assistant replied. The radiologist leant into the microphone. 

“Are you okay in there Hannah?

 Hannah froze on the spot as the radiologist’s voice came in through the pads holding her head in place. Her face flushed bright red. “Sorry, I um, yes! I’m fine!” she said quickly. “I guess I was singing to myself, sorry,”

“It’s fine, we just wanted to make sure, and can you stay still while you’re in there please?” the Radiologist added.

“S-sorry,” she stuttered and stopped singing. Still the song carried on in her head.

Following the scan Hannah returned by chair, to the ward. She braced herself for the return to her fantastical surroundings. In fact, the first member of staff she saw was a tall, lithe creature she could, true to cliché, only describe as an elf. She was taken aback by the man’s inhuman beauty. Silky arrow straight hair was tied back into a bun and he moved with a grace and purpose. The whole image was only spoiled by the slightly oversized white polo shirt he wore, adorned with a badge that told Hannah he was a physiotherapist.

A bright light caught her eye. A flickering yellow and gold. Her heart began to beat faster as she saw a familiar figure ahead of her. Speaking with the brown haired  nurse from when she first came in, was the demon she’d seen in the street. She now wore green overalls with reflective stripes. Her hair was worn naturally with her horns sticking up from her brown curls and as before her eyes burned softly and their flames cast shadows over her and the nurse. Hannah’s eyes went wide, contemplating what this meant. Only to be taken into her bay and out of sight. “No!” she yelled. The porter stopped. They were already at her bed.

“It’s alright, you’re here, what’s wrong” he said, sounding ignorant. Hannah wondered whether wilfully or not.

“Nothing, I’m fine, thanks,” she lifted herself out of the chair and onto the bed with a wince.

Why was the demon here? If they were all hallucinations why should another one repeat itself so specifically? Perhaps it just meant the woman she was projecting onto worked here. Long odds of a city this size but it was possible.

The smell of dinners filled her nose. Shortly after, Kim the healthcare assistant walked in. “Hannah, love. We weren’t able to offer you a choice of lunch yesterday as well, you weren’t conscious” Hannah chuckled at this, laughing still hurt.

“It’s okay,” she said, focusing on the human looking woman in front of her.

“We’ve got Jacket Potatoes with beans or Tuna, Sandwiches, Chicken Curry, Shepherd’s Pie.” Hannah looked around and noticed the curtain around the bed three had been drawn back. Sat on the bed was a woman, bent over and aged. Her skin was a deep green and even by day she emitted a steady green glow. The old lady opened her mouth, her tongue snaking around her teeth. Her voice echoed around the rooms, into Hannah’s ears and down her spine, leaving her shivering.

“WHERE’S MY LUNCH?” She asked

Hannah interrupted Kim at this “Jacket and Beans is fine! Can’t go wrong” Kim looked at the menu

“Apple or orange Juice?”

“Um, er, orange?”

“Apple crumble for pudding?”

“Sure!” Hannah said, still looking at the old lady.

“WHERE’S MY LUNCH” she repeated again

“We’ll bring your lunch in a minute, Hannah, excuse me,” Kim turned away and faced the glowing woman in the corner. “Your lunch will be with you in a minute, Mrs Mortimer,” the old lady frowned.

“YOU DIDN’T ASK ME WHAT I WANTED!” Mrs Mortimer snapped. Kim smiled

“Yes we did Mrs Mortimer, you filled out a form yesterday. I think you asked for a shepherd’s pie,”

“I LIKE SHEPHERD’S PIE,” Mrs Mortimer smiled. Kim nodded politely

“Good, that’s what you ordered,” she said and walked back out of the bay. The old lady looked squarely at Hannah who  felt like she couldn’t move her arms as the lady began to speak,

“DO YOU LIKE SHEPHERD’S PIE?” she asked, Hannah panicked


“YES,” Hannah forced a smile

“Y-yeah. I do. M-my mum makes a good shepherd’s Pie.” Hannah replied nervously. The old lady smiled a fanged smile back.

“SO DOES MINE, GOOD MOTHERS,” She said before she was distracted by her dinner. Soon enough, Hannah was too and she tore her gaze off of the old woman. Maybe it was the painkillers but she couldn’t seem to be worried for very long.

At some point after she must’ve fallen asleep as Hannah woke in darkness, something hit her in the face and she struggled to breath. She struggled for air and clawed at her face. She could feel the thing smothering her and grabbed at it pulling it away. Light filled her vision as she pulled held it in front of her and saw  a hooded sweatshirt in her hands and heard a familiar laugh.  “Dad, you utter cock!” Hannah said, looking up at her parents.

“I tried to convince him not to,” Hannah’s mum, Mary said with a sigh.

“I’m sorry Cariad, I couldn’t resist,” said Lloyd, Hannah’s dad, “Do I still get a hug?” he asked.

“Yes,” Hannah replied as her dad moved in for a hug, “but that doesn’t disqualify you from being a cock!” Her mouth felt weird, like it wasn’t well attached to her. Words were hard to get out. She then hugged her mum warmly. “ We came as soon as we heard you’d woken up, well, and once you were allowed visitors, How are you feeling?”

“I’m not really, to be honest, I’m doped up to my eyeballs,” Hannah said frankly.

“I bet!” Hannah’s mother exclaimed

“Well you did hit a car,” Her dad added,

“She knows that Lloyd!” snapped Her mother

“Well she might not, memory loss and all that.” he suggested

“It was rather silly of you,” her mum said, clearly filling the silence with whatever came to mind.

“Thanks mum, that helps,” Hannah sighed

“Yeah, thanks mum,” Hannah’s dad joined in, taunting his wife, “Now who’s being overly honest,” Hannah chuckled at this.

“I honestly thought you’d be hospitalised playing that sport of yours!” her mother said

“I’ve not so much as sprained a wrist playing roller derby, mum,”

“No head trauma? Might explain why you did what you did,” Hannah thought back to the burning eyes of the demon. Then she wondered how the heck she’d explain that to her parents.

“Otherwise, you came out of it pretty well!” Hannah’s dad smiled. Hannah looked at her then at her warmly smiling father. Then at the patient’s around them. They didn’t see any of them, did they? Then again maybe this was all in her head. Any semblance of security at her situation and conviction in her opinions melted away again back inside her own, probably malfunctioning brain. She was in the right place to find out though, her internal monologue insisted, and at least her mum and dad were there. They’d support her whatever. She knew what she wanted to do. She just needed to find the courage.

                Hannah was left with a warm feeling in her heart, her laptop and a bunch of films to watch. She placed the laptop screen as a wall between her and the rest of the world and finished the wall with her headphones. Only the bravest member of staff would climb over this wall. She felt her head float and her movements not feel quite like they were her own as the painkillers continued to do their job.

As a film finished she pulled out her headphones, closed her laptop, inhaled deeply and purposefully pressed the call button. Nick answered.

“You’re still here!” she remarked

“14 hour shift,” he said with mock exhaustion

“Ouch, that hurts, and I’ve just collided with a car,” Hannah laughed, so did Nick. That was reassuring

“How can I help?” Nick said matter of factly. Hannah paused. Nick was about to ask what was wrong.

“Your tattoo moves about,” she remarked. “like, it moves about over your skin and you were talking to a woman with eyes that were on fire,” once she started she couldn’t stop. “I saw a man in an office with green skin, the vampire nurse, all of it!”

Nick thought on this then spoke quietly.

 “So you can see?”

“Everything? Yeah,”  .

“Snakes for hair?” he asked


“That shouldn’t be happening, you should be seeing wall to wall,” he paused, “well, humans,”

“Nick, I’ve been seeing things for years,” she found she was crying, “I thought I was hallucinating,” Nick smiled reassuringly. 

“I probably shouldn’t be so blunt with you but no, you’re not hallucinating,”

“The woman with flaming eyes and a tail! She’s real?” Hannah said, sobbing slightly. She wasn’t sure how to feel about all this.

“Yeah, that’s Amy, she’s my flatmate. She’s actually a paramedic, she accompanied you in,” Nick smiled. “Actually she said she suspected that you could see the real her,”

“How’d she figure that?” Hannah asked

“Amy being,” Nick paused “well, being a demon, she doesn’t see the world like us, she can see emotions, auras, waves of happiness and anger, fear and joy, everyone giving them off and intermingling,” he paused “but around you, nothing,”

““I’m guessing most folks look at her and just see a normal,” she paused “or um, average human,”

“Yeah, non-human folks should be protected by” it was him turn to pause, “this may sound stupid but by a magical charm,” Hannah scoffed

“You just told me demons and goblins really exist, nothing can shock me right now,” Hannah chuckled and sniffed. Nick passed her some tissues.

“Amy’s human appearance isn’t super dissimilar to what you see but no horns, less sharp teeth, not-flaming eyes,” Hannah nodded at this. “Tell you what, I should get a doctor and we can have a chat about this,” Nick left her with her thoughts for a moment

He returned with Doctor Cunningham. Who drew the curtain around Hannah’s bed “So Hannah,” the doctor began “I hear you are seeing things as they really are,”

“Yep, demons, goblins, Mrs Katsaros’ snakes, whatever is going on with Nick’s Tattoo,”

“Right, we did wonder that about you” Cunningham said frankly.

“Because of the aura thing?”

“Partly that and partly because we’ve been trying to use magic on you for the last 24 hours,”

“That glowing blue liquid I was on last night? That some kind of magic potion?” she scoffed, finding the words absurd as they passed over her lips.

“More or less,” Cunningham commented “and we’ve been trying to cast magical spells on you,” Hannah raised an eyebrow to this. “Without my consent?!” she asked sternly and to her surprise she found she was actually offended. “Have I been sectioned or something?”

“No, no. It’s just. Under the Magical Secrecy Act we can perform magic on anyone deemed a threat to security, technically we were supposed to wipe your memory,” before adding, “but we didn’t! By the way!”

“You probably couldn’t if you tried,” Hannah said, finding her tone quite defiant and cocky.

“Well exactly,” Nick remarked

“As far as we can tell Hannah you’re basically the opposite of magical,”

“That sounds like an insult,” she chuckled. “What do you mean?” She asked

“Well most people are just about magical, have enough of a magical presence to be fooled by an illusion charm and go about their day, some people are more magically sensitive, some can train themselves to be more magically sensitive,”

“Like you two?”

“Well, sort of, actually I’m a Werewolf,” Cunningham said calmly. “In fact my first interaction with Ward Thirteen was after I was bitten, so I had to be introduced to all of this, like you. I understand how mind blowing it call all be!” he said reassuringly and Hannah found she was actually calmed by this

“And what about you?” Hannah asked Nick

“Ah, this is all standard to me, my family is a long line of people involved in magic in one way or another,” he explained.

There was a pause. Suddenly Hannah began to laugh. “This is so ridiculous! I can’t tell if I want to be terrified or relieved! Magic is real! Werewolves are real! It all sounds so stupid!” she paused “No offence. “ she added to the doctor.  “So there magical creatures and people who can perform magic walking around, hidden in plain sight.

“Yes, pretty much,” Cunnignham said

“All over the country,” Hannah added

“Yes, well partly.” Cunningham began “over the years a lot of them have moved to Severnside, hence why Ward Thirteen is here,” Hannah nodded at this. Something started beeping at the doctors waist, Hannah noted it was a pager “Crap, sorry Hannah, can I get back to you,”

“Its fine, I’ve got enough to process,” she said quite calmly. “What’s the course of action now?”

“for what it’s worth the MRI didn’t show any brain damage, we can probably discharge you tomorrow morning,”

“And my um, new found knowledge of the world,”

“I’ll arrange for you to see Tariq, he’s an existential councillor. He really helped me after I was first bitten, helps people ease into this new world,”

“That’d be good, thanks,” And Cunningham was off again at full speed.

             Nick looked to Hannah. “I should probably get back to work, let me know if you need anything,”

“Will do,” 

“You seem pretty calm about all this,” Nick said

“It’s partly the pain meds!” she chuckled. “Also,” she paused, “this might sound weird, but it’s reassuring. You’re just doctors and nurses and you’re all really supportive!”

“Good to hear,” Nick smiled. There was a pause

“I think I want to get some sleep,” Hannah said finally.

“Me too, half an hour left,”

“Good night Nick,”

“Good night Hannah,”

The Abridged Life and Times of Lizzie White (Vignette)

Doing this as a one shot because very similar ideas have been done before.

The Abridged Life and Times of Lizzie White

As later translated by Agrippa Fabius Vectis
Printed by Sejanus and Sons, Printers
In the 4th year of the Emperor Atnoninus
From the original text.​

Date: 18th July, 2051 by my reckoning. Summer 2051 at least, just after the equinox. We never did quite work out how long we’d been thrown back in time by. Judging by the reigns of emperors present in both our history and this new history such as Augustus and Tiberius we are fairly sure it was a nice round two thousand years but we don’t know when our arrival started to change history so we can never be entirely certain.

Location: York, more or less. Eboracum Colonia, to give it its Roman name. It’s on the Ouse in roughly where the maps say York was. Some locals, mostly English Scholars, call it York. I have a small house here. Like many other “English” my knowledge, as well as language, have made me quite wealthy over the years. So I’ve settled here, far from the fronts in the slow burning war that came out of our arrival.

What follows is a mixture of memory and contemporary diaries. In those opening days we were too busy surviving to write everything down. Then I turned to writing everything on whatever pieces of paper had survived. Later as we started to make our own paper and teach the locals the same I made an effort to re-transcribe my diaries onto new paper. Sam once called me “the mother of Celtic Chroniclers” but I always said this was hyperbole. None the less this is transcribed and perhaps abridged from my main diaries into a single transcript of those opening days. Maybe, depending on how long I have left it may go into several volumes. Flavia says my accounts must be written down for history and reminds me that some money might be made along the way.

In addition to Flavia, enough of my other friends, not to mention my students can read and write English to understand what I am writing. I hope they will copy this as they have copied many other books that survived those tumultuous early years, not to mention the

I am one of the last “English” that I know of. I lost track of the rest of them many years ago. Maybe others are out there. I know I wasn’t the youngest to survive those first few years so I hold out hope and I am not yet at death’s door yet, merely aware of my mortality. The last English person I spoke to was Bill Aldridge, who worked as a financial advisor to the governor of Anglia Septentrionalis. He left last summer on an adventure to see Jerusalem. That isn’t to say I am alone. While I lost Lou in those opening weeks I maintained many friends from Edgbourne for quite a long time. In as we learned to communicate with the locals I made friends among the Dobunni, the Atrebates, the Trinovantes and eventually among the Romans, among whom I’ve been living for nearly fifteen years now and am a more than minor celebrity. However all my friends from Edgebourne I either know I’ve lost or are scattered across Britain and Europe.

Chapter Summaries:
All dates will be in the Common Era calendar of the Pre-Transportation United Kingdom

  1. My life prior to the New Years Day Event. A prime example of average, uneventful life in the Twenty First Century.
  2. The New Years Day event. The relocation of the Town of Edgebourne and its surroundings and a hangover I will never forget.
  3. The formation of the Emergency Government. The disastrous first contact with the locals
  4. The first months, my life as a scavenger and later, a farmer.
  5. The First Winter.
  6. The English-Celtic dictionary
  7. On the subject of historical contamination.
  8. The Early Years. My travels across the Cotswolds
  9. The War with the Silures
  10. The Battle for Edgebourne.
  11. My new life as an adviser to Verica, king of the Atrebates
  12. Travels to Colchester and Chichester, the Pan-Tribal Accords
  13. History arrives Early: the Tiberian expedition of AD 30
  14. My time as a prisoner of the Roman
  15. The first Romano-Silurian War
  16. My time as an advisor to Julius, first governor of Anglia
  17. My freedom and times in Noviomagus
  18. Meeting the Emperor Drusus
  19. My time in Rome.
  20. My return to Britain and the second Romano-Silurian, or Romano-Celtic War.
  21. The Coup of King Roger I of the Celtic Kingdom. The Fragile Peace
  22. Moving to York and meeting Flavia.
  23. The establishment of York University.
  24. On the years yet to come.