The Compound

I am in a strange city. I have no idea where it is, but I am with familiar people. It is a pretty ordinary day, nothing notable nor remarkable happening.

The street is on a hill. It is curved towards the right, where, at the apex, there is a large building. It is imposing and dominating. Also, very secret. There are no signs, nothing to reveal what is going on inside.

There are armed guards at the doors and around the perimeter, but that does not appear to disturb anyone. People are milling around and walking past the building without noticing it.

The building itself is made of concrete and glass. There is a front entrance, with a roof supported by two massive pillars, where the cars ca drop off the people.

The sun is shining brightly. I take my sunglasses out and put them on. I look to my companions and they shrug. Time to move along.

We head towards the shop selling Christmas goods. There is nothing on display and all the attendees tell us they are closed, we should go elsewhere.

It was then the fire starts. I don’t know what causes it, but it very quickly engulfs the entire wooden building. We run to the street and there is chaos and mayhem everywhere.

People, a look of sheer terror in their eyes, are running here, there and everywhere. Panic has taken hold of the street.

It seems that the source of all the trouble is the Concrete Compound. Without truly knowing why, I walk towards it. A group of people I don’t really know follows me.

I yell something at the guards. They turn, see me and continue on their stoic patrol.

Something is not quite right about that building. I can feel it in my stomach. I look around and see the same look of mistrust in my newly found companion’s eyes.

“We must storm the building.”

Everyone nods. There is a crane nearby, with a suspended platform. A group of ten , including myself, climbs on top and we instruct the crane operator to swing us around in circles by the entrance to the compound.

As we go by we yell, unintelligible screams, meant to distract the guards. By the third time going around the guards open fire on the crowd with machine guns.

Bullets everywhere. Screams. Pain. Blood. I take out my phone and start filming. The platform continuing to go round.

Everyone else on the platform follows suit.

The machine guns stop firing at the crowd. They are turned up towards us on the platform.

They open fire.

I wake up. Muscles tensed, bracing for impact.


ASCENSION The three levels of the afterlife


I died. I am not sure how or why, but I am aware that my life has ended, and a new existence has begun. I am surrounded by people I know, knew, whilst I was alive. They seem to have died with me. It must have been some form of catastrophic event.

I suddenly feel the need to ascend. Unwillingly my essence start lifting skywards. I look around. An old school classmate comes near me and tries to cling on to my shoe. A voice inside me speaks out. You belong in hell. I kick him. He falls to the ground and through a grate. Flames rise up and harrowing cries pierce the stillness of the air.

I keep rising and notice some people are being dragged through the grates, whilst others remain rooted to the ground, jumping up and down, hoping that they too, will start to rise. I cross through the sky and then across a floor. I am at a new level. The ascension continues, but then I spot the woman I fancied. She isn’t moving.

So I stop. I stay on this level, looking much like Earth and ordinary lives. You are in purgatory, you get to relive your life as a human, before deciding your final fate. You do not have to stay here, you are meant for heaven.

But I want to, for her. Can I help her ascend?

Em comes towards me. “Why did you stop? This is purgatory, live life again.”

“I couldn’t leave you here.” She looks at me quizzically. Somewhat surprised but happy. A sudden tension fills the air around me. Out of the corner of my eye I see two people fighting. I very quickly become aware that there scuffles all around. Purgatory is not like Earth, it just seems to be like it.

As time passes I am become more accustomed to this new way of being. There are no bodily needs, there is no hunger, there is no thirst. No hot, no cold. As such, tending to one’s needs loses meaning. So what do you do in purgatory? It is a wide open space, asphalted over with some forlorn sports courts to one end, and a metal shack in the middle. There is a big house in the corner. Most people are gathered there. There is only one topic of conversation: ascension. How do you prove you are ready to ascend? Is it true that if you cling on to someone who is ascending you will be allowed to piggy back them into heaven? Has anyone actually seen someone ascend?

There is a palpable panic and trepidation in everyone’s mind and heart. The scuffles are constant. There is nothing to do, so people fight. And then the grates appear, and they swallow the fighters, the flames shoot up to the sky, and the cries are heard.

Without a life pattern, the suffering is unbearable, it is a pointless existence, a real test. I go deep within myself and think. I meditate and calm myself down. All I have suffered in life, it was for a reason. I survived that, I got through it, I can still make it to heaven. I have no fear, and no anxiety. I spend my time with Em, and she smiles and hugs me. All is well, yet somehow staying in purgatory is not a pleasant experience. I know deep within myself that I just have to will myself to ascend and I will get to heaven. I am not sure why I am so confident, but it just seems logical.

So at night, I take Em towards the back of the house, hug her and then lift my arms to heaven. I look up and I start to ascend. As I slowly rise towards heaven, Em holds on to my foot and she starts to rise too. It is working, but then, three people come out of the house and they see us. They notice Em rising with me, so they desperately cling on to her shoes. The weight of so many people is dragging me down. I begin to falter. I then make an irrational decision, out of love. I stop mid air, and propel Em and the clingers skywards. They continue to ascend, whilst I fall.

I crash on the ground with a loud thump. I look up and see them disappear. They made it. Suddenly I am surrounded by all the inhabitants of the house. There is a deep rooted anger in their eyes. Why them? Why not me?

Thunder. Echoing, booming thunder, all around. I close my eyes waiting for the mob, and the inevitable trip to hell as the punches start rolling and the grates start opening. The fire rises. I hear the deafening screams in my ears, the agonising wailing of people burning; yet I don’t feel a thing. I am once again suspended mid air, and as the flames swallow the people from the house down to hell, I rise. Once again, I ascend. All the way to heaven.

Heaven is a sight to behold. It is a city of skyscrapers built at sea. There are different levels, and as soon as you enter you realise you are not authorised to all levels, you must once again ascend between them.

Time is immaterial, yet it somehow passes here too. I don’t know how long it has been, it could have been minutes, it could have been years, but I realise that there are gangs in heaven, of people plotting their way to the top. There are also controllers, those who guard the different levels and ensure no-one rises by devious means.

I find a small group, no sign of Em, yet somehow, in heaven, no need of her, to spend the time with. Like everyone else we discuss ascension. Through the passage of time, and we guess good behaviour, we ascend a level every so often. We are mid way up the glass skyscrapers, looking down at the waves and the people in the lower levels. It is a pleasant existence. The need to ascend keeps you focused, but not having any fears keeps you at peace. Having a purpose, I realise after comparing heaven to purgatory, is essential to us.

One day, a rift forms amongst us. One of the group accuses another of being at fault for delaying our ascensions. I look on, bewildered. It seems a pointless argument, but it only gets worse as the days go by and nobody ascends. It poisons the atmosphere and brings the mood down. Rotten people still cause pain, even in heaven.

I step into the argument, trying to hold the peace, to bring everyone’s hopes up. This action earns me ascension. I ascend, I rise and rise all the way to the top, where I find Em. And joy. Blissful joy, the like of which I had never felt.

Then I hear God’s voice, in my ear. I slip out of the cloud and circle the skyscrapers all the way form the bottom to the top. Now touching the waves, now touching the rooftops.

He is coming to try and destroy this. All of this. He is evil incarnate and he must be stopped. You have suffered all your life in preparation for this, the ultimate sacrifice. You must stop him, yet the choice is yours, I will not force you. You can stop him, but you must be careful not to befriend him.

As I spin through the skies, with the words reverberating  inside my head, I contemplate the situation. I take the plunge. I’ll do it. It’s all I say. I then close my eyes and wake up under water, in hell, hugging him. The test has started.

I wake up. Once again, I really felt it was God’s voice. Does he speak to me? Is doom coming towards us? What does it mean?

Wounds that won’t heal

Today I went to see a show. It was spectacular. It starred an old friend of mine from school. We lost touch, we haven’t spoken in years…

I was reminded today of how it ended. Of how, had I known about my schizophrenia back then things could have been so much different, but I didn’t know…neither did she.

Like with her, I’ve lost so many friendships to this disease, so many people have come and gone from my life.

And it hurts. Every single one of those lost people is a wound that won’t heal…if only they had known, if only I had known. But I didn’t. And neither did they.

And now, now it is too late, whatever chemistry there once was is now gone and the gap in years cannot be made up.

So I am left with the people I meet…yet I cannot start by saying “hello, I am schizophrenic” or that would drive them away, so do I start with a lie? When exactly is the right time to say it? For if they do not know, then the outcome can only be one, the one I’ve always known…

we need more awareness about mental health, about schizophrenia. So that there is more understanding, so that I can be upfront about it and not have to fear the worst….

Oh! To hallucinate at work

This is not a dream post, but having nowhere else to put it, here it goes.

The worst part of schizophrenia is living a lie. Hiding it, why? Because nearly everyone I know tells me I should, and God forbid people at work found out. But, if no-one speaks out things will never change.

My schizophrenia is pretty well controlled, but any emotional stress and it goes off…or it can and my own self expectation can’t make it spiral downwards.

Today there was an incident at work, a very minor and trivial thing. Except it wasn’t, it meant that my assumptions as to what relationships I had built there were wrong. Someone got angry at me, I got angry at them.

Expectation and anticipation of catastrophe. I started to spiral. I started to hallucinate, here that age old voice telling me I was worthless and nobody cared less about me. What happened was to be expected, because it was all my fault, no less than I deserved.

Already angry, plus hallucinating, I was a dream employee…anything would make the vile, spiteful Arkangel rise up. Ready to sabotage me and bring me down…all to prove a point.

And then of course, come the helpful comments. Such as this gem:

“I better give you a wide berth or you will snap at me, you get angry very easily. Ha ha ha”. Hilarious. And oh! so helfpful.

With very few people knowing what’s really going on I felt trapped and cornered. What to do? Speak to someone, was the obvious choice, but then of course the Arkangel had his own views on that: she doesn’t care, she’ll just shrug.

Better not risk it then…but keeping it to myself would not help.

So speak I did…she looked concerned, but what could she do? What can anyone do, really?

Should I just go home? Admit defeat and exit stage right? Do that to often of course, and some day you won’t be allowed to return (oh yes, probably illegal, oh yes, heartless, but oh yes, inevitable).

So battle on…once again, until it is time to go home.

Something has to change, if it had been low blood pressure no one would have expected me to work, take some time, have something for it, just relaxed, it will be fine. Same for an asthma attack, or diabetes.


Schizophrenia? No. Is it any less crippling, no. Does anyone know or care? No. They’d probably laugh at me for it to be honest.

Someday, at some point, things will change…and I hope this blog entry goes that little way forward and changes things in the mind of those who read it.

The Gates of Hell were open…

The Horrors Unleashed

I woke up in the midst of a war. The world was a dark, nasty place; where all the evil, conniving men got their way. I was sent to liberate a group of women trapped in a prison and forced to do an act every night. Displaying their bodies in revealing dress – not naked, no, never naked, but revealing and tempting attire.

In theory it was an easy in and out job. All I had I to do was infiltrate the prison, release the women and exit the compound. Little did I know that the gates of Hell itself would open that day…

I got into the prison pretending to be a boxing promoter. I promised to line up a big fight inside the prison, along with the dancing girls. The Crook in charge could not resist the temptation, a big money fight, exactly what the decadent city craved and lapped up.

“Come, meet the girls,” he said with a disgusting smile, which revealed his rotten, perverted personality inside.

I nodded and followed. He introduced a group of ten women, all subdued and forced into submission.

“What an extravagantly exquisite bunch. I almost want to escape with them,” I said grinning. In theory, the intelligence officers had passed on the message and they knew that was the code word.

“That can always be arranged,” one of the women said in an enticing voice, “for a price.”

So far so good. I had infiltrated and the targets had received the message. I only had to wait until the appointed time.

As the afternoon waned I set about releasing the women. They gathered around me without a fuss, and followed silently. When we got to the main gate, where we would rendezvous with the escape team the Crook appeared.

He smiled wickedly. Then he spoke, and his words sent a chill up my spine.

“You leave me no choice, but to release my beasties.” Then he laughed. The sky turned a dark orange, the omen before a massive storm. A dark, swirling maelstrom opened up in the sky, and the screech of terror unleashed came through it.

“Gold team, with group 1, go! Red team, group 2. Blue team, group 3, on me, GO GO GO!” I barked my orders at the top of my voice. Splitting up was a plan of last resort, but necessary. It would ensure that at least some would escape.

I ran through the gate and went for the bus stop. The guards swarmed my group and separated them from me. I dove under the bench and started firing, aiming at the guards. The Crook vanished.

Then the terror came. Howling dogs at first. Feral and clearly from the netherworld. They did not notice me and went straight for the Blue team with group 3. I kept my position and continued a steady stream of fire, at the dogs, at the guards. Soon the Blue team joined me. We had gained the position.

We scouted ahead, and noticed that there was no escape down the planned route. A dark mass had enveloped that part of the world. We took a side route, towards the shopping centre.

Gold team was already there, holding the position. Red team was coming up from below. We were all facing heavy fire, and the dark mass was getting closer. The feral dogs were wreaking havoc amongst my men in the Red team. We had to shore up their defences.

“Double time, go. Never mind shooting for now, just run as fast as your feet take you. Bolster Red team’s position. GO” I yelled.

In the melee that ensued we reached the shopping centre, all the women made it inside along with a handful of men and myself.

“Right, let’s take up positions, we can hold this as a fort.”

As soon as I had said so, my heart fell. The dark mass had arrive. Wailing banshees, hags, demons, possessed spirits, fallen angels and all the creatures of Hell itself had been unleashed upon us.

I took up my sword, blessed by the Holy Father himself at the heart of the Vatican, the only weapon we had which could vanquish them. The gunfire would slow them down, but not stop them.

“Ladies, go towards the cinemas, there’s a secret escape route that way.”

The remainder of Gold, Red and Blue team, stationed outside, opened fire. The screams of terror and anguish penetrated the air. The storm came. Thunder lit up the sky. Dark clouds swallowed the sun, rain came pelting down, sharp as razor blades.

We ran for the cinemas. Inside the projection room there was a hatch, down which we could escape towards a safer position. Could we perhaps outrun the Evil?

The glass burst, and the banshees came inside. I swung my blade left and right, cutting them down. Gunfire and grenades flew at them. Slowly but surely, we made our way towards the cinemas.

“Quick, inside the screening room. Unhook the popcorn machine and go through the hole left in the floor.”

The women went first, soon they were all gone. I was swinging and thrusting, keeping our position safe. Then the growls came. The demons had joined the party.

I gulped down. We were exhausted, we would not be able to keep up this frantic pace all night. I had to do something and do it quick. I looked at Ava, the leader of the women, who stood resolutely at my side with a gun, making sure her companions had escaped.

She nodded. It was desperate, but our only choice. We drew the demons towards us, all the time stepping sideways. Then we ran for it, in the opposite direction. We ran towards the great crystal wall. Ava shot it down and we jumped into the fountains below. We fell into the water and swam for the mirror plated bottom.

The demons followed. And then. And then something miraculous happened. A burst of light shone through from the mirror and the demons fell. They were defeated by them. We went up for air, and as we gulped it in, the demons lay writhing in agony.

“Ava, snatch loose a mirror, and see if the power remains once it’s removed.”

We dove down again and swam up with two mirrors.

Their light shone and the demons fell. Soon we were surrounded, by corpses, and by their living friends who now wanted revenge as well…

Him, Her and the Voices

NOTE: The following is a play based partly on experience. It offers insight into the schizophrenic mind.

Act I Scene 1

[He storms into the room and slams the door.]

HIM [yelling at the top of his voice]It can’t be! Yet another time. For heaven’s sake, how can this be possible? [lowers his voice to normal volume] Why, why does this keep happening to me?

VOICE 1 Because, you bring it upon yourself. It’s your fault!

HIM [He shakes his head] No. It can’t be. It’s them, it’s all their fault, they do this to me. I just suffer. They are useless, hopeless, ignorant bastards. Always attacking me, always hurting me. I do nothing wrong. I can’t stand this any more.

VOICE 1 Then don’t. End it. Have the courage, go on, it’s easy.

HIM [looking scared] What do you mean? End them or end me?

VOICE 1 Yourself. It’s not worth carrying on, you know it, you said so yourself. Finish it. Go on, have some guts for once and kill yourself. Stop wallowing around in self pity and end your miserable life, what are you waiting for? What do you think is going to happen?

VOICE 2 Don’t listen to him. That will not solve anything. It is simply running away from the problem. You are stronger than that, face up to the trouble and it will get better.

HIM [with violence in his voice] When? When will it end? It keeps going on and on and on. I keep telling myself it will ge better, but it doesn’t, it won’t. They all hate me, and I hate them back. Nobody cares about me, and to be honest, if I did kill myself, who would even notice? Who would care? I don’t care any more about anything, maybe I should do it.

VOICE 1 [viciously] Look at yourself, you pathetic weasel. You can’t even kill yourself. You do nothing right. No wonder nobody likes you, no wonder nobody cares about you. You’re scum, you’re worthless and you deserve to die alone. Soon you will start crying no doubt. Always complaining, always somebody else’s fault. You’re just a poor little victim. Pathetic. Enough. At least have the decency to end your life.

VOICE 2 What would that solve? What is you want most? To be loved. Will you get love if you are dead? Either you take the religious approach, where you go to hell to eternal damnation and suffering, or you take the scientific approach, where you become dust. What happens then? Nothing. No love, in either of them. So, if you kill yourself, do you get what you want?

VOICE 3 There is another alternative. You could kill them. That would solve the problem, don’t you think? You can make them pay for what they have done to you. And, if it all goes wrong, just kill yourself to escape. You’re thinking about it anyway, so why not?

[He clutches his head in his hands and kneels down. Then shakes his head violently, repeating “no, no, no”]

HIM Go away! Leave me alone!

ALL THE VOICES We’re not going anywhere, we are here to stay.

HIM I can’t think properly. I..I…don’t know what to do.

VOICE 1 [simultaneously with Voice 2 and 3 below] Kill yourself.

VOICE 2 Stop, do nothing.

VOICE 3 Kill them.

HIM NOOOOOOOOOOOO! Enough. Please God, help me, deliver me!

[His face turns, bloodlust in his eyes]

HIM Perhaps I will. Enough is enough.

[He grabs a dagger from the table and takes it to his chest.]

VOICE 1 Do it! Come on, show some courage, end your life!

[He breathes in and out, inhaling and exhaling ever faster]

VOICE 1 C’mon, do it, you can end your life, just plunge the knife, one inch at a time, a little bit deeper with every breath and you will be done. Take the step into bliss, and freedom. Do it!

HIM No, I can’t. I don’t have the courage, I wish I did, but I don’t. [Throws the knife on the ground.] I’ll just carry on, until the end of time, miserable and alone. Crying into my own pillow, soothing myself to sleep…even if there is no point carrying on I will…

Scene 2

[A knock on the door. The door opens. She walks in.]

HER What’s going on? What’s wrong?

HIM I… me.

HER Is it them again? The voices?

[A silent nod.]

HER Don’t worry, I’m here, I’ll help you, I’ll take care of you. Whatever they are saying, don’t listen to them. Remember! Don’t do anything they say, and come straight to me. Look for me, call me. I will be there for you. What happened, what’s wrong?

HIM I-I can’t. I don’t want to talk about it.

HER Please, tell me. Keeping quiet does not help, talking about it will. If you tell me, it will help you feel better, you will feel less alone. Don’t worry, I will always be here.

[She walks towards him. Him, still on his knees, leans in towards her. She kneels down and embraces him.]

HER There, hold on as tight as you wish. I am here, they can’t hurt you, I’ll protect you.

HIM I love you.

HER I love you too.


Death of the Sergeant

The phone rings. PC Bellew has an urgent phone call.

It’s the sergeant. There’s a fire, a very big one. He is needed there. But, just as the sergeant tells him where the fire is, the line cuts. Desperately, he puts on his helmet and heads out.

There is chaos and turmoil on the streets. The fire brigade are doing their best to control the population and the flames. As PC Bellew approaches the fire area, a fireman comes and orders him back.

“I have direct orders from the Sergeant, I need to get there. I need to help him.”

“Get back! No written orders, no access!”

PC Bellew goes back, knowing he can’t argue with that man. He tries to go around, through another road. This time he is allowed through. He rushes towards the police station, not knowing where else to look. He is too late. Way too late.

The firemen present explain that there was no saving the policemen inside. The Sergeant is dead. PC Bellew looks around, for some comfort, he can’t help but feel it is his fault. He spots the Sergeant’s wife.

“Why didn’t you save him? You should have been here sooner! You’re a murderer!” She shouts at him.

As he tries in vain to formulate a response, the rest of the building crumbles, bringing down the flats next to it.

The whole town, still aflame, blames PC Bellew for the misfortune. He runs back to his flat, trying to hide, not to get lynched by the angry mob.