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Scarecrows & Clowns

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Scarecrows & Clowns The small room was darker than the rest along the corridor. The light bulb needed replacing, but nobody bothered with that sort of thing around here. A man sat in the corner, his face covered in shadow, his fingers gripping a photo. The edges of it were crumpled and faded. It showed the weathering of many years of handling and sunlight. There were three people in the photo: a man, a woman and a child. * * * Barker Riley looked at his girlfriend Nina, and knelt down so he was at eye level with his daughter. 'Mummy and Daddy are gonna be back soon, ok sweetheart?' The little girl clutched the ragged teddy bear in her small fingers, and nodded with fearful eyes. Barker turned to the young man standing at the door. 'Nina and I are trusting you with this, Jack...' he said quietly, the anxiety in his voice obvious. The young man laughed. 'Don't worry, mate. I won't let you down. Hey, we've been best friends for 10 years! You think I'm gonna mess this up?' Barker smiled. He kissed his daughter on the cheek, took Nina by the hand, and walked out of the door. Later that night, the couple returned to their street. ...read more.


His eyes were hooded. He wore just the dirty blue overalls supplied by the police. The only sound in the small room was the sharp tapping of his yellow nails on the table. The door opened with a creak that in the normal world would have been gentle but in this cell was loud and ominous. The man in the chair did not look up. A police officer, neat and tidy with shirt and tie, eyed the man with disgust before gingerly sitting in the chair opposite. The man continued to tap at the table, apparently unaware of the officer's entrance. The officer held up a small clear plastic bag, that contained a white powdery substance. 'Mr Riley...' began the police officer. Barker's eyes darted upwards. They shifted around the room, eyeing the burly security officer guarding the door, and the dark concrete walls that trapped him in this place. 'Mr Riley, have you ever seen this substance before?' asked the police officer slowly, as if speaking to a child. Barker laughed a shallow, husky laugh. 'Yes officer, I know what cocaine is. I'm not an idiot. I'm not a drug addict either. Don't patronise me.' The officer's sympathetic, understanding look was replaced with a cold detachment. 'May I remind you, Riley, that you are guilty of attempted murder. ...read more.


But I let myself go. Nina's never forgiving me. The rest of the world thinks I'm insane. What the hell have I got to get out of prison for anyway?' * * * The man stood outside the prison gates. He threw his head back and inhaled the thin city air. It smelt fresh to him; after eight years, anything would. The grey city sky looked bright after that dark room. But what now? he asked himself. Where the hell could he go? A misguided fool who acted on his own baseless convictions to one woman, and a jailed lunatic to the rest of the world; where now could he run? The tears streamed down his face, but he couldn't tell if they were in pain or joy. He'd lost one eye in a prison fight; his head was shaved, and his face had the desolate look of someone who had lost everything a long time ago and had felt he had let the chance to get it back slip away. 'Barker?' Barker turned. He blinked slowly, unable to believe his eyes. Nina smiled at him. Over the years, Barker realised that even in prison his paranoia had haunted him about Nina. He had never trusted her to forgive him, and that was the one thing she had done. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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