Something triggered inside me, like an internal alarm clock, I didn’t know it had been set, but I knew as soon as it went off. I recognised instantly what it meant, I had to go back. It started as a nagging feeling, a vague restlessness that was at odds with my usual precise logic, it grew into a compulsion which soon outweighed my desire to stay. I had been in a self-imposed exile for over a year, I had enjoyed it, not that I was happy, but I was at least unrestricted, free. I could do as I wished and be as miserable as I had to. I contemplated the injustice of the world, allowed self-pity to consume me, I let grief sit like a boulder blocking every path. I could have stayed away, I could have lived the rest of my days as a recluse and the better part of me longed to do it. My rehabilitation though, I was certain, depended upon me returning to some kind of civilisation. That was about the only thing I was sure of.
I guessed that the days ahead would be very similar to those that filled my recent memory; regret, anguish, despair. Dark brooding days followed by worse nights, fitfully sleeping between vivid nightmares of noiseless screams, tracer fire and the smell of cordite filling my nostrils. Unfortunately it was a pattern that had repeated itself all too often of late.
Life is pretty simple as a child, eat, sleep and play. That’s all you ever need to think about really. The troubles of the world don’t seem to reach you. My child-hood, as far as I can remember, was pretty much straight-forward. Food, water, loving parents and a beautiful Bath town-house and garden to play in.
Set over four storeys, the house was very typical of the Georgian architecture that comprises much of Bath, behind a honey coloured, classical façade, sat large rooms with high ceilings, decorated in creams and greys. Lavish furnishings, hardwood parquet floors covered by deep, soft rugs and antiques my father had accrued on his various secondments all indicated a level of sophistication far beyond my comprehension. It was not the sort of place a child was meant to live, but I revelled in the stories that went along with my parent’s belongings. Each artefact seemed to have a mystery of its own derived long before my parents had owned them and each begged me to ask questions about the wonders of the world. I was encouraged to look closely at each relic, touch and feel them as if my parents had acquired them simply to help me become inquisitive and subsequently learn. They seemed not to care about the welfare of each piece and I sensed that the value of objects wasn’t necessarily related to how much they had cost. Continue reading
I found myself wandering the streets again, jolted back to consciousness by the cold night air, I had no idea where I was or how I had got there but my bearings returned after a few seconds as they had always done, it was a trait I was grateful for, particularly given my recent propensity for forgetting in the first place.
It was around 01:45 and the streets of Soho were filled with the last leavings of the nights festivities, media-execs talking even faster than usual, a cocaine breakfast already crusting in their nostrils, haggard looking models wearing a lot less than the bitter autumn weather advocated, most with the seductive sales pitch of “you want a massage baby” not far from their lips and scores of beggars, all looking to make enough cider money to wash away their self-loathing for yet another night.
Revellers leaving bars, clubs and late-night restaurants, all with the dull gleam of alcohol smudging their eyeballs, I pitied them all. I envied them all. Mine was a world where celebrations did not come easy, the usual medicine for the masses no longer cured my disease. Continue reading
My name is Frederick James Wolfe and I am a vigilante.
This hasn’t always been the case, but the world at large has forced this upon me.