A Dream of the Future by Kevin Murphy

I don’t remember my dreams no matter how hard I try. There are five exceptions from a lifetime and I have no idea why they stuck. They relate to getting a new job or railways (I am not a spotter).

If any of you feel like interpreting this, (aside from the obvious Animal Farm reference) I welcome comments.

The one about the pigs

I jumped down off the wagon with a shovel over my shoulder. Another holiday job labouring in another new place. What a strange place – a quick three hundred and sixty assured me that all the houses were of a uniform light muddy colour.

Looking back at the old hands, I saw they were engaged in auto-pilot lifting the aluminium mess-hut down – ‘first priorities Spud – let’s mash up!’ They wouldn’t miss me for a few minutes.

I soon realised that it wasn’t only that the houses were mud coloured, but that everywhere was mud-covered. It was a poorer suburb of town, full of terraces of two-up and two-downs, probably built for the mill-workers, with an occasional break for a ginnel to get down to the backs. We were on a hill overlooking the town, quite a refreshing prospect, especially on this bright but crisp day.

The excited cry of children playing some way off, drew me towards its cheerful sound. On my way I looked for signs of habitation. No one was about, no curtains twitched.

A brisk tip-tip-tap approached from behind. I turned to see an incongruous shooting-stick making the tap as a gentleman, dressed in a tweed hacking-jacket, deerstalker and plus-fours, out of which protruded the source of the ‘tip-tip’ – a pair of trotters. A large bristling moustache bestrode a pig’s nose, thrust high in the air, intent upon ignoring me.

My forced cheery, ‘Good morning’, earned only a reluctant reply.

I chose my banana to distract me this apparition. – was I dreaming? – my shaking hand hungrily peeled and stuffed the fruit into my mouth, before lazily dropping it on the floor.

Hearing the slap, Sherhog dropped onto all fours and raced back to gobble up the skin, before scuttling off down a side street.

I had arrived at the source of the noise, now a din of piercing squeals, giggles and shouts of children racing and chasing around a school yard – boys in navy blasers with silver trim; girls in yellow gingham dresses, most with green cardigans, and all smart upright piglets.

So that was why I didn’t know this part of town. It was a new job with a new team – they must have overlooked telling me how secret a locality it was. Sitting in the mess-hut on the back of the wagon, I was intent on attending to the same old bragging of my fellow navvies, I must have missed any sort of checkpoint. Who else knew about the development of so many mutants – and at so advanced a stage? Who was in charge of the project – people or pigs?

The schoolma’am clanged the bell. She was a very large sow. She woke me from my wonder. I realised that I had better get back to the gang or lose my job before I had turned a spit.

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A ripple? by Magz Makiolla

A Ripple? by Magz Makiolla

The light from the landing, cast shadows along the wall, which danced eerily in the headlights of every passing car. He lay with his head gently cradled in the soft pillows, duvet pulled up to his chin, fear holding him rigid.

He cursed his decision to dawdle with his supper, had it not been for him wanting to stay up, he would not now find himself in this situation. Swallowing hard he pulled the duvet up over his head, but in doing so the bed started to rock and roll, as a ship on the high seas.

Swiftly pulling back the duvet, the motion stopped, but the shadows still played, dancing and chasing almost taunting him. Sitting up he looked over the side of the bed. Gingerly he touched his tip-toe onto the dark carpet. His big toe disappeared through its surface, swirls rippled from his toe. Another car passed its light reflected off the waters swirling surface. A shadow circled his foot from deep down in the depths. Pulling his foot back hastily, he shuddered with fear.

He peered hesitantly over the beds edge again, staring down at the unassuming blue carpet, no longer seeing the circling shadow deep in the rippling depths, but knowing that any attempt to step on that carpet and water would return, swirling and whirling, pulling him down into the waiting jaws.

The late film his mum had been watching hadn’t seemed that scary at the time and dawdling with his super had seemed like at good idea; he didn’t want to miss anything. Everyone else was still awake watching, he too had wanted to the end. After all he was nearly ten now and a film about a shark had seem cool to him. But now alone in his room, in the dark with scary pictures running through his mind about sharks circling his bed, just waiting to attack, he was wishing now that he had just given to sleep and gone to bed.

If he could get to the light switch he was sure that the monster lurking in the shadowy depths would disappear. But how could he get there safely, it was at least twelve steps to the light switch. He knew if he wanted to escape the monster he had to face his fears; he had to get up and get to that switch, putting the light on would end his torment.

Sitting up and edging the side on his bed he glanced down, he saw his blue carpet in the passing headlights. Wishing that the carpet would stay as he placed his feet down on it, but feeling the icy water encircling his feet as they came down where the carpet had been just seconds before.

He pulled his feet back sharply, panic racing through his mind; he would be struck with the monster all night if he couldn’t get to the switch.

Suddenly it was like a light bulb going off in his head, he ripped the duvet and pillows from his bed and threw them on to the floor, then pushing his fear down deep inside himself he eased on to his feet, feeling the bedding becoming soggy under his feet and fighting the urge to jump back to the safety of his bed, he pushed on water slowly starting to spill onto his feet, just a few more steps, then light would flood into the room.

It was coming; he could see its long dark shadow gliding towards him, its fin just starting to peak through the icy water, he was inches away his hand reached out for the switch, its open mouth, teeth showing was almost upon him.

Warm yellow light flooded into the room, the shadows on the walls disappeared, the pale blue carpet returned, his bedding was no longer wet. And the circling monster was no more.

The lights would stay on tonight.