‘Freedom! Freedom!’ shrieked by an anxious young mother as her wild  child sprints away in a shopping  centre in town. Freedom, the child’s real name, red haired, feral, was having none of it. The name had stuck. I imagine the christening  ceremony, or whatever. Perhaps an ancient font, the overhung pulpit, and the wily baby, eyes wide and haunted,  Freedom, welcome.

‘You don’t know me’, she said, ‘but I know you‘. Then that look. I feel part of a failed experiment, part of the control group, the ones given the useless, lying pill, chalk, dust, the droppings of a non-existent animal powdered and pressed. to believe only one part of what we are told, and that the least important. Then: ‘I know you’, I say, ‘Yes, I really know you. You are Zen. Yes?’ She nods.

Outside, night explodes its rain onto late bonfires. The crouching Queen scuttles down a secret tunnel, holding up her vermillion dress out of the  channel of  blood and rum.

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