Wednesday, 28 November 2012

A Baby for Miss Stortford?

'Hi Mum how you doing?' Hannah said as she entered the kitchen.

'Good thank you sweetheart and you?' Hannah's mum was watching the preparation machine peel the potatoes. Hannah's favourite day of the week was Sunday where she got to come home and enjoy Sunday Roast with her parents.

'Not bad.'

'How are you feeling about tomorrow?'

'It will be the same as last time. You know I am only going because I have to.'

'But you are thirty nine now don't you think it is the right time to adopt?'

'Mum. You and dad were eighty when you adopted me. I hardly think you can tell me time is running out can you?'

'Yes but we couldn't have done it sooner. In those days government officials weren't even allowed to adopt until they were at least seventy five and then you have to wait for your name to come up.'

'I have only just started on the photocell project. This could have massive impact on energy generation and we might finally be able to stop using fossil fuels. This is something we have been working on since the nineteen eighties and finally two hundred years later we are very close to a break through. I can't spend any time with a baby right now, you know that.'

'So why didn't you apply for a dispensation?'

'Because I have applied for a dispensation for the last nineteen times and you know you have to go through the process at least once ever twenty years.'

'So do you know how many are going tomorrow?'

'Twenty as far as I can tell so it is highly unlikely I will be picked.'

'You never know you are very suitable for an adopter.'

'Mum, I have no husband, I live in a government accommodation block and I work at least fifteen hours a day. How is that suitable? There will be women there who have husbands and who are higher up the scale than I am so they may even have house with gardens and live further out of the metropolis.'

'But if you got this baby they would have to move you into better accommodation. They can't have crying babies in the academic's block can they? You might even get closer to us.' Currently Hannah had a four hour Skyride trip to get to her parents so Sunday was the only day she could see them and then only for the amount of time it took to eat dinner.

'Well it's all chance anyway. You know that so you will just have to wait and see.'

Just then the preparation machine started making some very strange noises. Hannah's mum rushed over to correct it. 'Go and find your father. He's in the study preparing for tomorrow's council meeting. Tell him dinner in ten minutes.'





'Billy Jenkins you bastard. I am letting you anywhere near me again,' Becky screamed as the contraction came again. They were every five minutes now and she had been in the delivery suite five hours already.

Billy looked down at his wife, covered in sweat and screaming at him and she was still the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. 'Come on love you know it will be okay once the pain passes.'

Becky gave him a look of pure hatred as she gritted her teeth through the pain. As the pain subsided Billy mopped his wife's brow and fetched her a glass of water. This was their ninetieth child and they knew the drill pretty well. They had arrived at the hospital the week before the due date and they both enjoyed this time. They got a suite which was so much better that the cold draughty caravan they had to live in for the rest of the year. They had tried to enjoy it this time but they knew this was the last time Becky would leave the hospital alive. The twentieth birth always killed the mother. No-one ever questioned why this was and because it always happened. The husband was never allowed in the delivery suite for the twentieth birth. The child was always taken from the breeders as soon as it was born and then it was transported with a nanny to the south. The breeders didn't know what happened to the children but they had heard they were well looked after and Becky always liked to think that her kids all knew each other and were close by. This was not the case. The children knew they were adopted but they knew nothing of the life of the breeders. The twentieth child was always held back and given to the breeder nursery to grow up to be the next generation of breeders. Once the mother died the fathers went to work in the photocell factories and never returned to the complex. The complex was an area between the M60 and M62 which ran the length of the country and was made up entirely of caravans where each breeder pair lived. The next generation children were kept in nursery's and then schools in what used to be Leeds and Manchester to learn essential things like the art of love making and good healthcare to ensure healthy babies.

Billy smiled at his wife and she smiled back. They knew they had less than a year together as she must be pregnant with the next child within one year of having the last. If she wasn't the husband was sent to the photocell factories early and the wife was artificially inseminated.

'I love you Billy Jenkins,' Becky grabbed his hand.

'And I love you Becky Jenkins,'

'We've don't done bad for twenty years together have we? Always done our duty and produced the kids.'

'We sure have. Can you remember that time after the seventh one where you couldn't get pregnant?'

'Yeh and they were going to send you away and send me to live with the other singleton breeders on the baby farm.'

'And we found out you were pregnant with only a week to the deadline.'

'That was lucky. I don't think I could do this without you Billy.'

'But this is our life sweetie. This is what we are here to do.'

'But don't you think it is wrong that this is all we do?'

The midwife looked over at the two of them and frowned.

'Come on it's just the drugs talking you know this is our life. There is nothing else.'

Suddenly Becky's face screwed up in pain and Billy grabbed her hand ready for the next barrage of abuse.



Hannah walked into the adoption centre and handed in her appointment card. She was the last to arrive. The other nineteen women sat around each one with a husband or partner. Hannah hated this bit. It had been the same last time she had been the only one on her own. Surely she couldn't be the only lone woman in the metropolis who had to come to these things. All twenty women had been selected using advanced numerology techniques that meant they would be suited to bring up a baby born on this day. Where husbands were involved there were ignored from the equation as the numerology of the women suggested they would have chosen an appropriate male for their needs and the needs of their child. Numerology looked into many things included their date of birth, as well as the numerology of their names both at birth and after marriage.

Suddenly the buzzer sounded this meant that the baby had been born. At precisely that moment an image of the constellations above the place of the babys birth was taken. By now the baby had been removed from its mother and was being checked and cleaned.

Hannah was aimlessly looking out of the window noticing the sunny day with the ice hanging from the bird bath in the park. A blue tit desperately trying to break through the ice to get something to drink. Suddenly behind her everyone in the room issued a unanimous aaaaah. Hannah turned round. Oh look a picture of the baby. Is it a boy or a girl? Difficult to say. Oh wait it is wearing a pink blanket, must be a girl.

Hannah looked around the room. Some of these women would share her birthday; some would share her name, either first or last. The system always made sure there were never two women with exactly the same full name as this confused the selection process.

Hannah's phone rang, 'Yes.'

All heads turned and glared at her. One woman even shushed her.

'What is it I am on a personal day?' Hannah listened

'The reaction of the photocells, its happened?' Hannah listen a while longer.

'Wow that's amazing. No don't do anything I am on my way.'

Hannah jumped up and rushed towards the door and just as she grabbed at the handle an arm reached out to stop her.

'What is it,' Hannah swung round to see a stocky looking nurse looking disapprovingly at her

'Where are you going miss?'

'I need to get back to work. The reaction we have been hoping for has happened.'

'You need to wait until the baby allocation has happened.'

'But you don't understand. This reaction makes the difference. We can get rid of fossil fuels. In ensures clean energy.'

'You need to wait until the baby allocation has happened.'

'There are twenty of us here, it won't be me.' Just then another buzzer sounded and the image of the constellations appeared on the screen.

'Please miss, sit down. It will only be ten more minutes and then if it isn't you then you can go.'

Hannah was just about to argue some more when she saw two security guards dressed as attendants walking up behind the nurse. She sat down and for the first time focused on the screen.

The baby allocation was about to begin. A robotic arm could be seen on the screen and it started to draw lines between the stars. These lines would eventually spell out the name of the mother the baby had been allocated to. First letter was an H, a woman in the corner burst into tears and a few others looked down cast. By the time the first name had appeared only five women still looked interested. Hannah had never believed in any sort of God but she closed her eyes and started to pray. As she opened them she looked up at the screen and there it was HANNAH STORTFORD, the name of the adoption mother, up there on the screen, written in the stars.


Sunday, 28 October 2012


1st October

Hi, my name is Albie and you are my creative writing notebook. I started the course today and I have been told to write down all my thoughts and ideas in my notebook. Apparently the more I write the better I shall become.

As I am supposed to get three pages out each day I shall tell you a little about myself. I am Albie and I have been married to Shelia for thirty five years next May, if we make it that far! No, that's not fair; we don't really see much of each other so we don't have time to fall out. She is currently in her study doing yet another of her Open University courses and since I retired six months ago all I have done is get under her feet. She finally lost her temper with me about a month ago. Apparently after thirty five years of running the house she has a system and my helping was disrupting that system. Shelia has done all-sorts of courses over the years; she would be amazing in a pub quiz, so she suggested a creative writing course. I always say I could do better than some of the rubbish out there, so now was the time to prove it.

15th October

Just had our first tutorial and it was amazing. There are so many levels of skill in the people in the group. I am somewhere in the middle, so not as good as I thought but not the worst. One woman has already been published, so I am not really sure why she's bothering. I suppose we can always keep improving. On the other end of the scale Mr Garcia doesn't seem able to speak English, never mind write it. But I suppose as long as he's happy. After all the point is to write as well as you can, not to make millions.

I tried to tell Shelia about it, but she's shut away in her study again. We don't really spend any time together anymore.

We had a whirlwind romance and were married within the year. We travelled to some really exotic places when we were young; Egypt, Cambodia, Iceland, Brazil to name but a few. We had never tried for children but equally we had not consciously decided not to. Shelia was forty-two when she got pregnant and all through the pregnancy we were extra careful due to Shelia's age. Everything was going fine until Shelia went into labour two months early. Dusty Rose was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, her little body perfectly formed on the outside but unfortunately not on the inside. After that I threw myself into my work and Shelia locked herself away. Now through her courses she has some virtual friends but she doesn't leave the house anymore.

 30th October

I have joined an online creative writing group that post stories once a month. I don't think I'm ready to write a story this month but I have read some of theirs and they are so well written. Behind these funny avatars and user ids must be some published authors, they are so good.

30th November

I have posted my story. It's based upon my travels with Shelia before ... well you know. Let's see what people think.

 7th December

I got some votes! In the group, Housewife65, said how wonderful the imagery was and how it reminded her of travels with her husband when they were young. Her story was about a husband and wife who have grown apart over the years. It really made me think I should try harder with Shelia.

 15th December

I have spent a lot of time emailing Housewife65 since the last story. She really seems to understand. We have so much in common. I feel like I have known her all my life.

 The theme for this month's story is about loss and I want to write about Dusty, but I just don't know how. It's not just the loss of Dusty but the loss of Shelia as well. We both locked ourselves away and didn't even let each other in. I should have held her, I should have told her I loved her and it wasn't her fault, I should have gone through it with her. I couldn't, I was too absorbed by my own grief. I went out and got drunk. How sensible was that? I threw myself into my work determined never to experience those feelings of loss again. Now I sit here writing these feeling out and I realise how lonely I am and the one person who can understand I pushed away a long time ago.

 30th December

Shelia is locked away in her room thank god. I have just read through my story and I wailed like a baby, only my baby never got to cry.
That's it I have posted the story.

Suddenly I can hear a strange noise. It sounds like crying. A gentle tap on the study door. I get up and there is Shelia, tears flooding down her cheeks and then it all makes sense. I take her in my arms and hold her close. She is Housewife65. Maybe there is hope for us after all.


Sunday, 7 October 2012

Rapunzel's near miss

From my room in the tower I could see him riding towards the castle.

'Shit', I needed to get to the Black Knight quick.

I guessed I had about twenty minutes until he got to the moat and possibly another thirty minutes after that before he could climb the tower to rescue me. I needed all that time and more so I had to move fast. I ran down the tower stairs and banged on the gong in the hallway. I was suddenly surrounded by a motley gang of dwarves, elves, trolls and the Black Knight.

'Okay guys, this is not a drill. Prince Charming is on his way so we need to make the castle secure. I mustered my troops as I had needed to do many times before. 'Dwarves get the drawbridge up and fortify the moat, elves and trolls on the battlements. Elves get ready with your bows and arrows and Trolls get started on boiling up that oil. Only remember, try not to hurt him. He is just the latest in a long line of idiot Princes' sent by my Father.'

Okay Rapunzel what about me?' called the Black Knight.

'Up to the tower with the fake hair, if he makes it past this lot haul him up and keep him trapped there as long as you can.'

'Right', I turned to address the whole team, 'Action stations everyone and remember the freedom of your future Queen depends upon you all.'

I rushed down into the dungeons and quickly donning a monk's robe I pulled the torch holder which released the secret passageway. The underground tunnels would lead me under the moat and out into the woods at the back of the castle.

By the time I left the tunnels the fighting was well underway but there was still no time to lose. I collect a horse that was always kept ready at the exit to the tunnels and rode solidly for two days.

Finally I came across small cottage deep in the heart of the woods. I tied up my horse and removing my disguise carefully entered the little house. Inside there was no-one home but everything was about a third of the size you would expect it to be. Round the dining table were seven chairs and on the drainer were seven bowls and seven spoons obviously left to dry after supper. I was exhausted and the sun was setting so I went to the bedroom to find seven small beds all in a neat row. I lay down across three of the beds and fell quickly into a dreamless sleep.

I awoke the next morning with the sun warming my face and seven strange little men all staring at me.

'Who are you?' asked the grumpy looking one.

Thinking fast I knew my last alias had been burnt but luckily I always had at least two other identities to fall back on.

'I'm Snow White. I am so glad you are here. Please help me.' The little girl lost act always worked in these situations. My step mother is trying to kill me. I have been on the run for two days and I just needed somewhere to rest.'

Of the seven little men at least four already looked convinced and two of the others wouldn't need much more work. It was just the grumpy one I would have trouble with.

I knew if I could convince them to let me stay I would have a good few months before father's spies worked out where I was and he sent another Prince to "rescue" me. Maybe this time father would get the hint and leave me to live the peaceful life I craved. But then again maybe not.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Ghost Stag

The exams finally over they had decided to have few weeks away before the results arrived and then they would hopefully be off to different universities. Suzy was expected to do well and was looking forward to chemistry at Exeter, Brian was hoping for Sports science at Loughborough and Jenny was already guaranteed a place at Liverpool doing media studies.

Suzy and Brian had known each other all their lives and were the best of friends. Their mothers had worked together and got close when they discovered they were pregnant at the same time. Suzy and Brian were like brother and sister with him being the gung ho adventurer and her usually the voice of reason. Jenny's family had moved to the area when she was eleven and she and Suzy had had a proper cat fight on their first day at senior school. No-one remembered what the fight was about or how they got over it but ever since they had been firm friends.

Lots of their friends were heading off to Ibiza and other Spanish islands so their parents had been quite relieved when they had said they wanted to spend a few weeks camping in Cornwall. The weekend they were setting off all three sets of parents were tied up but as they were a sensible trio who had never caused any concern it was agreed they could catch the train and the extra cost would be covered by their parents.

'Do you realise that the money for these train tickets could keep us in beer for at least two days?' Brian mused.

Yeh can't believe they can charge so much but what can we do?' Jenny moaned.

We are three resourceful individuals and I am sure we can get there for much less than the cost of these train tickets.' Brian had that mischievous smile on his face that usually preceded something going horribly wrong.

'I am not about to get involved in one of your ridiculous schemes that may well be illegal and will almost certainly end up with it costing us more to get there.' Suzy frowned, crossed her arms and sat on her bag. This usually meant she would let Brian run around for 30 minutes and then he would calm down and agree to the train ride.

But for once luck was on Brian's side. As Suzy plonked herself down a coach pulled up outside the station emblazoned with the words "Exeter 50p"

'Wait there I'll be back in two minutes,' called Brian as he raced over to the coach.

Two minutes later he appeared from inside the coach waving madly.

'It's only two quid each to Exeter and even if we have to catch the train from there it should save us some money.'

'Fine, if it'll make you happy,' frown Suzy. Jenny just shrugged, Brian grabbed the tent and the rucksacks and they all jumped on the bus.


Five hours later they pulled in at Exeter services.

'That's why it was two quid. It stopped at every village between home and here,' Suzy was tired and grumpy.' We would have been there by now, tent up, enjoying some good old scrumpy. Well done genius. Now what do we do.'

'Look you'll appreciate the extra beer money once we get there. Let's go and get something to eat.'

Suzy was not in the mood for any more of Brian's cost saving ideas but she was hungry, maybe they could sort something out over some food.

Yet again Brian's luck held and just as they were finishing their burgers two camper-vans pulled in. They were carrying three people, a pink one with a group of girls inside and a blue one with boys in.

'I'll be right back.' call Brian as he ran off to talk to them.


'You won't believe this but they're only stopping at the same campsite as us. They are just having a quick loo stop and they're happy to give us a lift.' Brian was grinning madly, happy to be proved right again.

'Come on Suzy,' smiled Jenny. 'It's better that sitting around here or trying to get to the train station.'

'Fine but you can take the tent and go with the boys and Jenny and I will take the bags and go with the girls.'

'Cool. See you there.'


Two hours later the pink camper pulled into the camp site.

'No sign of the boys,' Sharon, the driver called back,' I was worried they had taken a different route and would have beaten us here.'

'Right let's get booked in and crack open these beers,' called one of the other girls.

Once the camper had been booked in there was still no sign of the other camper or Brian with the tent. Suzy and Jenny decided to book in anyway so they could hopefully get the tent set up as soon as Brian arrived.

'Hi there,' Suzy called.

'Oh hello. I'm sorry were full this weekend,' smiled a jolly and lively looking Cornish woman.

'Oh it's okay we booked,' chipped in Jenny.

'We're the party of three with a tent.' finished Suzy.

'Oh I see it's just there's only two of you. Is your friend out there with the luggage?'

'No he got a lift with a different group of people. He should be here any minute now.'

'Well as long as he didn't get a lift with the ghost stag,' chuckled the woman.

'What do you mean the ghost stag?' Jenny looked worried.

'Don't worry deary. It's an old wives tale for the tourists. In the early seventies there was an accident on the main road down here from St Ives. The woman driving was killed and her boyfriend's body was thrown from the car. The body was never found and she now drives that stretch of road picking up male hitchhikers.'

'But why do you call her the ghost stag?'

'It's the car she drives, a 1973 convertible white triumph stag. But it's just a folk story. Nothing real.'

As they were booking in they heard a cheer rise up from outside the port-a-kabin and they ran outside. Attached to the back of an AA van was the other camper-van.

'About bloody time.' called the Sharon.

Suzy and Jenny ran over to the van.

'Where's Brian?' they called in unison.

'Has the lucky bugger not turned up yet?' Dave the driver from the boys van looked puzzled. 'He left us about an hour ago. We broke down just outside St Ives and had to wait for the AA. Brian said you guys would be worried so he would try and hitch the rest of the way.'

'Great. Knowing Brian he's still looking for a lift now.'

'No, not at all. He got picked up almost straight away. Damn lucky as the road was almost deserted. This gorgeous blonde pulled up and in he jumped. Car was nearly as hot as the bird. 1973 triumph stag convertible. Sweet.'

Suzy and Jenny stared at each other and the colour drained from their faces. A 1973 white triumph stag convertible. It looked like Brian's luck had just run out.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Classified ad

For Sale: camcorder, used only once, good as new


'Finally', Jenny had been waiting nearly a week for the camcorder to turn up and at last the postman was walking down the path with a parcel under his arm. Jenny opened the door before he had chance to ring the bell and Ffion was behind her like a shot.

'Mummy, is it here?' Ffion was tugging at her mothers trousers desperate to see the parcel.

'Yes sweetie. Let me just sign this and then we can go and try it out.'

Jenny thanked the postman and pushing the door shut with her bum, ushered her overly excited daughter into the living room. Ffion had a dance recital the next day and her father was away on business. He hadn't wanted to miss the dance so had ordered a second hand camcorder from a classified in the local paper. It should have been here days ago and just as Jenny was starting to think it was another one of John's money saving ventures gone awry, it had turned up.

Jenny opened the parcel and was surprised to see there was already a tape in the device. Well the advert had said it had been used. She threw the used tape onto the coffee table and inserted one of the new ones she had bought and pressed record. As she pointed the camcorder at Ffion, the little girl lit up and started dancing around the living room. After a few minutes Jenny stopped recording and pressed playback. After a few seconds she could see Ffion on the little screen and by adjusting a few controls she could hear her too. Looked like John had fluked it this time.


"Play it again,' Ffion called. This was the fourth time the little girl had watched the tape of her dance recital.

'Okay but this is the last time and then it's off to bed.' Jenny smiled.

After Ffion had finally settled Jenny poured herself a glass of wine and settled down in front of the TV. She had really missed John this time and she was looking forward to having him back tomorrow. Ten minutes and fifty channel flicks later she started looking round at the DVDs on the shelf to find something to watch. She noticed the tape on the coffee table and smiling to herself popped it into the camcorder. You never know what sort of things people video themselves doing, it might be worth a look, she thought.

Jenny pressed the play button and the first five seconds where black, then it looked as if the lens cap had been removed. In front of her on the screen she saw the image of her husband, strapped to a chair and badly beaten.

'Jenny. You have to help me. They want money. Call my company. Whatever you do don't call the police. Please Jenny do as they say and then I can come home.'

The screen went blank and the phone rang.

Friday, 24 August 2012

The Doppelganger

Sean Preston jumped off the school bus and threw the football towards Richard Dicks who expertly headed it back.

'Nice job, knob head,' called Sean, a nickname Richard had earned by being the eldest of the three Dicks brothers.

'Easy when you throw like my Gran.'

Jenny Preston grinned as she sat in the Land-rover Discovery waiting for Sean to head over; even £5,000 a term couldn't stop boys being boys.

'Sean,' she called through the open window.

'Coming,' Sean glanced over at his mum and waved just as Richard kicked the ball at him. 'One minute,' he turned and chased after the ball.

'Come on mum we need to go,' moaned seven year old Christian from the back seat. He was impatient to get to the swimming gala as he expected to win the twenty five metre breaststroke event.

Jenny turned and smiled. 'Don't worry; we'll be on our way in two minutes just as soon as...'

Suddenly the screeching of brakes and a dull thud made her stop in her tracks. Without even looking she was out of the car and running.

'Stay there Chris, don't move.'

By the time she got to the roadside there was a crowd. Everyone had got off the school bus and as she pushed her way through everything went quiet.

'Sean, Sean. Oh my god Sean, talk to me.' As Jenny knelt down next to her son she vaguely noticed the man next to her.

'Try not to move him. His pulse is strong but he is unconscious and we mustn't do anything until the paramedics get here. The bus drivers calling them now.'

Jenny grabbed her son's hand tight not really understanding what she had just been told. 'Sean, I'm here baby, don't worry mummy's here.'




 'Is my husband there please, Stacey?' Stacey hated it when Mrs Foster rang to talk to her husband, she was always so demanding.

'I'm not sure I can disturb him at the moment Mrs Foster.' Stacey was one of those PA's that was hired to look good and not necessarily to use their initiative.

'Stacey, I want you to get my husband out of whatever meeting he is in a get him to this phone now,' her voice was starting to crack. 'It's Scott he's not come home from rugby practice and I'm worried.'

'Oh I sure he'll be fine Mrs Foster, you know what young boys are like.'

'My husband, NOW Stacey.'

Cathleen Foster had been married to Joel for twenty years and she was the perfect CEO's wife, always there for the charity galas and meals smoozing other CEO's and their wives. Scott was her pride and joy and at thirteen was as handsome as his mother was beautiful but had the cunning and charm of his father. As the CEO of Pharmacorp Joel often received threats from animal rights activists and the worry of Scott being used against him had always been a concern.

Cathleen usually collected Scott from rugby but today she had one of many committee meetings and Mrs Rattle the mother of Scott's best friend had said she would collect them both. When they had not returned by seven, Cathleen had rung and been told Scott had been taken to hospital with a suspected broken wrist and she had assumed the school would have rung her. She had then rung the school to be told one of the fathers had taken him to hospital. A call to the local accident and emergency department had not helped as they claimed no-one of that name had ever been admitted.

By the time Joel got home thirty minutes after the 'phone call from his wife the police were already there.

'Oh Joel, thank God your home.' Cathleen ran to her husband and began to cry, finally able to let go.

'Are you in charge?' Joel addressed a tall, slender but worn looking man who had just risen from the arm chair.

'Yes sir, Inspector Fisher.'

'So where are we?'

'I have just taken all the details from your wife, and my colleague is having a look at Scott's room. If you could let us have a recent photo I can start mobilising the troops.'

'Cath can you get a photo for the Inspector please?' As soon as his wife left the room Joel Foster turned to the Inspector with a look of foreboding on his face.

'You know this could be a kidnap. It was only last week that the damn tabloids plastered all over their front pages that I have just had a $3million pound bonus.'

'Yes I do understand sir. We are not ruling anything out at the moment. I'm going to bring in the tech guys to put a tap on your line and Sergeant Wilmore will stay here just in case theres any contact. I'm going back to the school to see what we can find out from them.'

Cathleen entered the room with the photo.

'Thank you Inspector and please make sure you find our son and soon.'



'Well Mrs Preston physically Sean's been very lucky. Nothing's been broken and the tests have shown no swelling of the brain.'

'So why hasn't he woken up? Jenny couldn't believe the doctor could say Sean had been lucky. It had been nearly twenty four hours and he still hadn't woken up.

'Mrs Preston as I have explained these things don't follow a pattern. Keep talking to him and we will keep monitoring him but I am sure he will wake up soon.'




Sergeant Peter Swann had just had a very uneventful visit to A&E. No-one had seen Scott Foster and the school had no idea who the parent was who had offered to drive him here. The games teacher had only just joined the school and had just been grateful of the help. Peter hadn't been able to believe that parents were paying good money for their children to go to a school who let anyone walk off with one of its students. Peter was dreading taking all this information back to the Inspector when suddenly out of one of the side rooms a woman came hurtling into the corridor and very nearly sent him flying.

'Doctor, doctor, come quickly. He's awake but he's delirious, he's talking nonsense.' She called as she continued down the corridor at speed.

Peter picked himself up and just as he was about to continue back to the inspector he glanced into the room the woman had just come from. He glanced, shook his head glanced again and then took the photograph out of his pocket and studied it carefully. Lying on the bed was Scott Foster. This couldn't be possible. The hospital had checked its records and Scott Foster hadn't been admitted. He entered the room and picked up the notes only to see that the name on them was Sean Preston and not Scott Foster. Weirder and weirder!

'Is someone there?'The young boy looked straight at him but his eyes were glazed almost as if he were blind.

'Sean, its alright I'm back now.' The woman who had left in such a hurry was back with a very harassed looking doctor in tow.

'Why do you keep calling me Sean? I'm Scott.'

'See what I mean doctor. Its alright sweetheart you've been in an accident the doctor will explain.'

'Excuse me miss but can I have a word please?' Sergeant Swann stepped forward and Jenny Preston saw him for the first time since she re-entered the room.

'Who are you?'

'I am Sergeant Swann and I need to talk to you about Scott here.'

'His name's not Scott its Sean and he's my son.'

'Mrs Preston I need to examine Sean so why don't you and the sergeant pop to the relatives room for a coffee and I will come and talk to you there when I have finished?'


Paul Swann and Jenny Preston settled down in the relatives room and the sergeant got them both a coffee. Jenny explained about Sean's accident and how when he had finally woken up he thought he was called Scott and not Sean.

Paul then showed her the picture of Scott Foster

'Oh my God, they could be twins. What is going on?' suddenly understanding why a policeman has been so hostile towards her.

'I don't know but I'm going to call my Inspector and see what he thinks about it all.'



 An hour later the doctor had said that Sean was well enough to be questioned. Inspector Fisher, Joel Foster, Jenny Preston and Sergeant Swann were all sitting round the bed.

'Now Sean, my name is Inspector Fisher and I need to ask you a few questions.'

'Why do you keep calling me Sean? It's me Scott,' answered the boy obviously anxious and confused

'Scott, its your dad,' Joel Fisher jumped in, 'How are you?'

'Oh dad thank god your there. I can't talk long they might be back soon.'

'Okay son. Now we don't really understand how we can hear you or how long we've got, so we're going to try not to interrupt but you need to tell us everything you can about what happened. Do you know where you are?'

'I don't know where I am. When I hurt my wrist this guy said he would take me to the hospital. When we got to his car he grabbed me and shoved me under a blanket in the back. He got in with me and held me down. I think there was a woman driving 'cause I could smell perfume, a bit like the stuff mum has but not as nice.'

'How long were you in the car? Did you hear anything that can give us a clue as to where you are?' Inspector Fisher wanted to narrow the search area before they lost contact with Scott.

'Only ten minutes and it was all town roads, we never went really fast and stopped quite a few times for traffic lights. I heard the tram bell as we pulled up and I think there is a train passing nearby about once an hour.'

'Can you see anything?'

'No I've got some kind of sack on my head and they've strapped me to the chair.' Suddenly Scott's voice grew panicked. 'What do you mean who am I talking to? No one, just myself. No I haven't got anything. No not my wrist please it hurts.' Scott then squealed out in pain and Sean passed out.

The Inspector and Sergeant rushed out of the room and back to the station.


'Right lets get the map.' called the Inspector to the gathered throng of the team put together to find Scott Foster. 'Okay so ten minutes at thirty miles an hour is five miles. Lets draw that around the school and see what we've got.'

'There Inspector.' The sergeant called out pointing at the map. There are some old garages under the railway bridge right on the edge of the circle.'

'And look the tram line runs right passed there.' confirmed a constable standing near the front.

'Okay let's see what we can find out about those garages.' The Inspector called.

About fifteen minutes later the eager constable suddenly called out, 'got it sir.'

'What is it son.'

'One of those garages was rented less than a month ago by Stacey Sullivan. She's Joel Fisher's PA.'

'Good work lad. Get the SWAT team we're going to get that poor lad back.'


The Inspector had stayed back when the SWAT team had gone into the garage but in no time at all they had brought out a man and woman and the paramedics were allowed in to check of Scott Foster. His wrist was broken and it looked like the extra pressure the kidnappers had used would mean he'd need extensive surgery but apart for that he was fine and was soon reunited with his family.

The two kidnappers turned out to be Stacey Sullivan's sister and her husband. When Joel had spurned her advances she had decided to teach him a lesson and her sister and brother-in-law had been willing partners once a sizeable ransom had been mentioned. She had left the ransom note on Joel's desk and he had never seen it.

Once Sean awoke the second time it was as if nothing had happened and he had no memory. The next morning he was discharged and as they left the hospital there was a stretch limo waiting to collect them. At home there was a new football signed by the Liverpool team for Sean, a signed photo of Michael Phelps for Christian and a large cheque for Jenny all with a note, Thanks for helping get Scott back, we couldn't have done it without you, signed Joel and Cath Foster.

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