A laugh that sounded like a bubbling cauldron, if a bubbling cauldron had the timbre of a hundred helium-induced sheep shouting, tittered into the dank cell where Roman lay. He responded with weak moans that successfully expressed a mixture of fear and how little faith he had in the character entering the room. By now the skin on his wrists beneath the straps were red, almost blistering. He grit his teeth and pushed his chest upwards, closing his eyes as if to ping out of the situation into some imaginary paradise that straining with all your remaining strength teleports you to.

The erratic tittering came closer. A shlink of chains hit the floor by his head, followed by a heavy metal clunk. He winced, as a rough, cold object touched his forearm. He dared not open his eyes. "Please. Please. Please," he whispered, "just leave my Franklin."

The cold sensation that had been travelling down his upturned forearm halted and the cauldron of sheep overflowed with a flock of laughter. Then Roman convulsed in agony; a blood-illuminating scream teared like a pterodactyl ripping out of his chest. In his rage and panic filtered vision he saw a giant pink peanut with the painstaking smile of a cheap doll. Its pupils rattled in its sheer-white eyes like a dishevelled fly trapped inside a lampshade. Whether or not the creature really was a peanut was far less important to Roman than the fact that it was gouging out the tendons in his right arm with a rusty meat hook. It chirruped like a vibrating hummingbird on ketamine all the while.

In a moment of clarity, Roman knew he was going to die. He knew that this was it.

His face lay back in the pale square of moonlight and gave up a sort of sick overwhelming allowing. He stared into the moon, which seemed to have grown five times its normal white size, and his vision became as crystal clear as when he were five years old. The hacking pain of the peanut remained in his flayed arm, but it was felt alongside the clocktower corner in Arfandol at the age of 17, watching her screw up his letter and turn away for the last time; the desire to get a good sniff of Mrs. Raibu's fresh apple pie at the age of 6, but being sent to lie in the dog kennel in the rain after he tugged the tablecloth and it smushed on the floor; holding the stamped letter from the king at the age of 8, learning that his father had died somewhere thousands of miles across the ocean and would not be returning.

The closest things to what he experienced next is a breath, the word everything and the word nothing. Asmaraj con Junifer mon Ploon agade non secule paaafways to other mun strukcha own haaf gud melondeys wisk u\z inna ho ho hold up vommnisch misky weay bu bulloon volt vamp dutrashank abla no.. //sd//f////wetr/t//g/g/g//g//ライブg/gs/dseropiti][][][425][34p56970]a]]a]a]adofifopoii-11111-----11110000010 10 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0

1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 10100100100//////23//30--0-2-34-#'[#[#;#[;#;'?/.,/ hhhd///ds===d sand 6 befoa hopns I looked info gauurgh bage trah ckksss peee ckckck eeeeng mmmm eeeeee owt und chuk eeeeng mi doun. Ah ah ah ahahahah I caaaaaandfsdfn held torumbsh before long I'll be yurong forhistro blak and I watch the bin men chucking the rubbish into the back of the lorry with awe while I hold my dad's hand. I sit in the living room holding a baddie from Biker Mice from Mars and a toy motorbike made of plastic that looks like toxic waste. I sit in assembly and use my imagination to escape. At night, staring at the glowing star stickers on the ceiling above my bunkbed, I glimpse a man with black hair writhing on a raised door in a dank cell being tortured by Mr. Blobby from the TV. I don't like it, so I try to push the thoughts in a different direction. I'm listening to my granddad tell me the joke about the Scoddish min howh who alwyz etz ceez samwichzzz ev ee nn thg he hates thammmmmm bloghran fahuthe hgald icuiperlu po235#//# fa#/#/#/'#'#2345/2///?/23.4#.2/////g/g/g/g/g///h/h/h/h/hh//h/h/hh//h/h/1=-=1==1-0-1-1-1--1-1-1110000011111000 1001 10 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1

0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 1 01001 0101 10 12-- 10 1-0--0 1-310249-=34004-535605=6788/////g/g//g/g/g/g//g/gggggggggg/////g//g/[[[[[]][[[hdfhuihhieho duo sa l latin swr iis t t t t t aa sf arrhjhj a aarrrghhh a arggrhga a sou eru peeeling p epepeelling pieeelinjg a change of hartyyy decisions to be made after ransacking Roman's arm, the peanut creature's effervescing laughter subsided. Roman gulped huge and heavy breaths of air, eyes trained onto the moon wider than they'd ever been. The pink peanut undid the straps around his limbs and peeled him off the torture device. Then the peanut hoisted him over its shoulder. Roman coughed a chunk of blood up, which the peanut beast caught in his free hand and threw into the square patch of moonlight behind him, before closing the door to the cell.