Elwin waited for Erian to come out of his trance. It was not uncommon for him to go into these trances and Elwin was used to them. Rather nervous ticks, hallucinations, and trances seemed so common among the Delphorians it was simply accepted they were a degenerate people full of such defects. Elwin was used to Erian’s bizarre habit of going into a poetic trance that he knew confidently that in a few moments the thorn embedded in his right temple would start to sting and he would snap out of it.
“Agh!” cried Erian clutching his right temple. The thorn swelled up into a putrid black boil.
Elwin waited for Erian’s pain to subside and then he questioned him straight away on what he said about water washing away sins.
“Oh that was just something I heard some crazy fool in tech school muttering once. No one took him seriously. Although, I do wonder if that’s the key for removing these thorns.”
“Are you sure we won’t get the plague if we pull out all of these thorns?”
“Elwin, I am sure of it, we were not meant to live like this. We were meant to be rulers.”
“The Kelites say that when we were rulers that we were cruel and arrogant. Maybe we deserve these thorns. Maybe the thorns are justice for our people’s sins.” Continue reading “Thorns – Part 7”
When Elwin reached the door to his apartment, he deliberately slowed down his footsteps. The light was on inside. He listened at the door but heard nothing. This was not a good sign, so he poked his head through the small dirty window into the multipurpose room. He gasped audibly for staring straight back at him through the window was the sour face of his face wife, Holda. He had been seen; there was no point in him trying to avoid this any longer, he had to step into his apartment and face her. The thorn in his leg ached and his leg started shivering uncontrollably. Once he was inside the apartment he closed the door silently while looking down on the ground before him: avoiding all eye contact with Holda as she glared venomously at him. His leg was shaking uncontrollably as it did when he was afraid.
Holda was sitting in one of the plain chairs next to the table. She was a large woman, large enough that her frame from shoulders to hips was an almost perfect square. Her flesh seemed to bunch up near her joints and when ruffled he would pull her head back creating a second chin. Her hair was dark and curly, while her small dark eyes blazed with malignant intensity. She was thorned in her throat so most of her face was clear. However, several black filaments reached over the top of her chin terminating in her lower lip. She was pinching her thin lips as she watched Elwin walk in half dragging his shaking leg. Continue reading “Thorns – Part 6”
At first the Kelite woman glanced over the top of her book when Elwin entered. Then she resumed reading her book without further acknowledgement of his presence. Elwin crept towards a rusty chair, but his thorned knee buckled slightly again and he skidded onto the chair scraping it on the concrete loudly. The woman scowled him silently before resuming her reading. Elwin waited patiently as she completed the page she was on and continued to read the next. While she was distracted with the book he surreptitiously ran his eyes over her. She had dark brown eyes and her hair was an immaculately tidy mass of tangles and curls. Her top half was covered in a thick turtle neck jumper while a knee length brown skirt protruded from underneath it. The fabric of the skirt was of a much finer quality than anything a Delphorian woman might have worn. Elwin tried to imagine what it would be like to wear clothing so soft, as everything he had worn in his life had been coarse or threadbare.
Elwin’s eyes were drawn to her legs. What was peculiar about them was that they were tanned. No Delphorian ever had a tan, at least not on their legs. On their arms and head from working out in the sun if their duties required it. However, to have tanned legs only happened occasionally to a Delphorian should they win the monthly prize for most efficient worker; the prize being a weekend at the Gladsdale Beach resort. Elwin was so distracted with her legs that he hadn’t noticed that the woman had finally folded her book and placed it down on the table. A mischievous smile lingered below her intense gaze. A gaze Elwin was too afraid to meet. Continue reading “Thorns – Part 5”
Elwin stepped into the multipurpose room of the flat. There were only three rooms in his flat: the aforementioned study room, the bedroom, and the multipurpose room. It was a square shaped room; on one side was a kitchen bench, cooker, and sink, on another wall the television, the next wall the door leading out of the apartment, and on the final side the two doors leading to the study and bedroom. The space in the centre of the room was greedily consumed by a wooden table with two padded chairs. The apartment was identical to all the others in this condominium that Elwin had seen. It had not occurred to him that it might be absurd for there to be no toilet located inside the apartment. Instead, all the toilets were located outside the apartment. While the only shower was located in a corner of the bedroom.
Elwin listened to the sound of the shower at the door of the bedroom. When he was satisfied his wife was indeed in the middle of one of her marathon showers he crept over to the small rectangular window near entrance. He checked that no one was there then quickly slipped through the door. Like all the other doors inside the condominium it had no lock on it. The walkway outside was made of metal, and would make a loud pounding sound normally. However, Elwin had learned to strike the walkway so carefully that he didn’t make a sound. Thus he started making his way to the farthest staircase in the back corner of the building. Continue reading “Thorns – Part 4”
Elwin set down his pen. He looked over the ten or so pages he had just written about his time in the nursery. He took half a dozen slow deep breathes and rubbed his eyes. The room he was in looked different to him now. It was a small room. It wasn’t much more than a meter across and two metres deep. It had a single bookcase, a small writing desk, a small window, and a wooden chair slightly too low for Elwin to sit on comfortably. The bookcase had only about two dozen books on it, but the spare space was filled with various pieces of junk. The kinds of spare parts one might find in a mechanic’s workshop.
Elwin felt the thorn on his left cheek itch. It itched all the time. The itching of the thorns was like tinnitus: it never ceased but often one stopped noticing it was there. He continued reading over his account of living in the nursery when he reached the part about Agatha the thorn over his heart started to twitch and his hands started shivering slightly. He stopped and focused again on his breathing. Long slow deep breaths. It would pass soon, he told himself. Continue reading “Thorns – Part 3”
There are few other memories of note that I have of the nursery. Certainly few that are particularly distinct. But in the days leading up to my seventh birthday there was one memory that stayed with me indelibly. I recall feeling terrified and sad for my leaving the state nursery soon. One of the nursemaids noticed and she asked me what was wrong. I told her than I didn’t want to leave, that I was afraid of being thorned. This nursemaid was called Agatha and she had been thorned in her right cheek. The thorn was not a small spot or blemish on the skin. Where the thorn was inserted into the flesh a large black welt appeared. From this black protrusion of the flesh emanated a network of black veins so that Agatha’s entire right cheek was covered in black lines. If I had only had the experience of the other children who were free from such blemishes, I would have thought the sight of a thorn to be disturbing, however, as all the adults had at least one thorn somewhere on their head and so I was accustomed to the sight of them.
Agatha looked anxious for a moment, looking over her shoulder before smiling kindly at me. “This place has become your home hasn’t it?”
“What’s a home?” I asked innocently.
“It’s an old word, long ago people used to live in just one place to grow up in. It was a really small place, nowhere near as big as this nursery. But children would stay with their parents.”
“What are parents?” Continue reading “Thorns – Part 2”
My earliest memories were from the nursery. I might have been four or five years old at the time. Guards had come into the building. They were men, big tall men, I don’t remember ever seeing a man before in my life. They came for Mariam, one of the nursemaids. I remember them dragging her kicking and screaming out of the building. Then one of the guards punched her in the face. Her slender frame crumpled to the floor started jerking convulsively. She was silent from that point one. They just dragged her out. I wouldn’t see her again until my first thorning years later.
The other nursemaids gathered us together in the main play room. They gave us children a lecture about the dangers of favouritism. Mariam had been guilty of treating some children better than others. I don’t remember feeling any guilt at the time. Years later though I felt horribly guilty when I realised that I was definitely one of Mariam’s favourites. She used to sneak me in extra biscuits and cuddles at night through the bars of my crib. I would eventually conclude that I was the reason why the guard had punched her. That it was my fault she was gone. Continue reading “Thorns – Part 1”