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Some childhood fiction

My English teacher would give us assignments to write a 500 word story. I didn't often manage 500 words, but stories? Yup, I could do stories. I would try to come up with a simple concept (it's hard to do any sort of decent concept in 500 words) and then refine it in my mind numerous times until it was borderline Lovecraftian. Then it would be ready. After all, who wants to read some delusional self-aggrandising fanfic about somebody having a starring role in Grange Hill / Doctor Who / etc?


Brain Surgery - 6th March 1989

This one was around 985 words, so shorter than my usual efforts. If I recall correctly, I got a "D for Disturbing" for this.


Dr. Mansfield walked in through the plate glass doors of 'BrainDrain' amusement arcade. He walked through the amusement centre, staring with interest at all the gourmless teenagers wobbling joysticks and blasting the hell out of little multicoloured aliens. "God help us", he thought.
He walked through the double doors at the rear of the room. The doors were solid metal, alarmed, and said Staff Only across them in big yellow letters. The kind of lettering that would be noticed even by a jerkoff teenager with no qualifications other than inserting their unemployment benefit into machines that will never hand them back anything other than time lost.
Dr. Mansfield walked halfway down the long corridor. Arcade games lined the walls, but to his left was a 'BrainDrain' poster. Below it was a drinking water fountain. A large handwritten sign read, "Buggerd - ands orf!". Dr. Mansfield reached for the fountain. He touched the little lever that turned on the water. Move it in any direction, except in, and it sends water everywhere. He pushed it in. It clicked, and the lurid and slightly pervy cartoon poster of two barely-dressed female cops sitting on a tank swung open. A set of metal steps slid down to his feet. Quitely. Dr. Mansfield walked up the steps. At the top, he slid his ID card through a reader, and the proceeded through the metal bulkhead that swung open, as silently as the stairs. The stairs retracted and poster swung closed behind him.

"You bastards. I'm gonna call my lawyers you bastards!", came a loud voice.
Dr. Mansfield walked up and observed an especially gormless looking teenager tied to a chair.
"Sorry sir. Injection wouldn't do a thing.", a voice behind him said.
"Bastards!", teenager screamed.
"He likes that word, doesn't he? Maybe he is a fan of Rik Mayall?", Dr. Mansfield muttered, "Okay, nurse, in cases like this..."
He pulled open a drawer and lifted out a gun. A sleek black metal handgun with a polished wooden handle. This gun meant business.
He placed the gun to the teenagers chest, waited a few seconds for the look of surprise to turn to horror, then nonchalantly pulled the trigger. The teenager lurched, his lungs splashed across the wall of the room two metres behind. The teenager toppled over, and lay silent.
"You see, I much prefer the subtle approach, if at all possible.", Dr. Mansfield explained, "Oh, and I want that brain in box 2P in three minutes." He turned to the other person in the room, the silent observer, "Dr. Walker, good work. I'd like you to get a girl. And a dog, if possible."
Dr. Walker nodded.
The nurse removed the teenagers head with a fourteen inch butcher's knife. She was hoping for one swift cut, though the spinal column was tough going. The body dropped to the floor and blood began to pour from the open neck. It was no more than a useless carcass now. The nurse walked off with the head.

Dr. Walker signed for the cleaners to come and dispose of the body, and to mop up the mess. He then went out into the amusement arcade armed with a syringe of 'BB6'. Dr. Mansfield lay on a hospital bed, and fell asleep.
When he awoke, two girls were tied to chair. One was a bit dazed.
"What's this? I asked for a girl and a dog. A..a...a four legged quadruped. A dog! Woof!", Dr. Mansfield screamed.
Dr. Walker led one girl away and Dr. Manfield knelt down beside the second girl.
"W-what are you do-ing?", she asked.
"We're gonna remove your friends brain, and replace it with another brain."
The girl smiled gently as if this was some sort of weird joke, then noticed her surroundings a little better. Especially the cleaners trying to wrap up a headless body.
The girl puked down the front of her dress, and rapidly slipped into unconciousness.

Dr. Morranis walked to container 2B. A slip of paper told him a girl's transplant brain was to be found here. The first girl was lying on a bed. Her skull was brainless. Dr. Morranis took the brain from it's container and washed it in some red liquid. He looked at 2Bs label. "Pit Bull - 12/02/89". The brain was over two months old, and probably defunct.

Dr. Walker walked in. He was carrying a poodle. He put it on the second girl's lap. It licked the sick and jumped off. Dr. Mansfield whipped out a syringe of 'BB6' and was just about to stick it in the poodle, or the girl. The girl was still out cold and the poodle was a stupid dog with an even stupider hairdo. There was no fun in either of that. Maybe he should accidently 'oops!' shove the BB6 into one of the cleaners? Decisions, decisions. Ah, wait, the girl was coming round...

The door to the operating theatre burst open. The first girl walked out, on all fours.

"What the hell is this?", screamed Dr. Walker. Dr. Mansfield was frozen to the spot. The girl leapt on Dr. Mansfield, sunk her teeth into his neck, and ripped his throat out. Dr. Walker was slain next, in a similar manner.
"Samantha! Samantha, it's me!", the second girl cried. Tied to a chair, she had no chance.
The nurse ran. As she ran, she made one great mistake. She didn't close the hatch behind her. She was killed in the same way, in the middle of a snooker table.

Samantha looked around, at the horrified crowd. Her stomach, once full of junk food burgers and fries had recently taken a liking to fresh warm blood and flesh. Samantha looked around, her mind picking out the youngest, weakest and slowest looking people.

It was lunchtime. It would always be lunchtime.
And Samantha was very hungry.


Last Flight - 3rd December 1988

This one, I think I nailed the 500 word target. But it was an EDWORD2 file which was really peculiar (stored to disc entirely backwards, with seemingly unnecessary control codes instead of spaces). A bit of hacked-together BASIC got me a usable text file from the data.


A screeenshot of the EDWORD editor
How this story was originally written...


The little girl was apprehensive as she looked at the boarding pass in her hands. It was a long tunnel, brightly lit, leading to the airplane. Her first time on a plane, with her mother and a replacement father. The little girl did not like him. Not one bit.

Stepping into the body of the plane, the little girl sensed a change in the air. Something was just a little bit off but she could not tell what.

"Don't worry", a voice whispered. The little girl looked around but was unable to see anybody who was close enough to have said that.
A woman dressed in a gaudy uniform led the family to their seats. The little girl sat by the window but the replacement father said that he wanted to sit there. He insisted, and her mother as was becoming increasingly common, went along with him.
The little girl moved, let him take the window seat, and her mother the middle seat. The little girl finally sat down on the aisle seat.
"Is is better this way", the voice whispered, "You can run if you need to."
The little girl nodded gently. She had no idea who was talking to her, but the voice was clearly a friend. Somebody who understood.

The little girl watched absentmindedly as the uniformed woman went through the routine of explaining the safety procedures. How comforting it was to know that there was a little inflatable thing to stop people from drowning in the ocean. So useful once they have survived a seven mile fall, hitting the ocean at a speed of around a hundred miles per hour, not succumbing to hypothermia in the frigid northern atlantic waters, nor being eaten by predatory wildlife.

Doors closed, the aircraft started to rumble and shake as it made its way to the primary runway. Then, with much noise, it started to speed up, faster, faster, until everything became smooth and started to tilt upwards as the aircraft rose into the air.

"You can escape this, you know?"
The little girl asked herself how she would be able to escape.
"See that door? See the big handle with the red arrow saying open?"
The little girl looked towards the door and saw that.
"Pull the big handle around to the open position. That's all."

The little girl waited until the uniformed woman had gone to the front. Then she unfastened her seatbelt and dashed across to the door, grabbed the handle and pulled it as hard as she could. It slid around and the door unseated itself and swung out of the way. Around her various people were screaming but nobody tried to stop her.
Now what, the little girl wondered.

"Take a step forwards, you'll be alright. It'll all be over. All those things your fake father did to you. It'll all be over."
The little girl looked towards her mother, locking her eyes for just a moment. Then she closed her eyes and stepped forward.


This one was not marked. Instead I was sent to see the school counsellor who pointed out that plane doors don't work like that. I said I knew, but it would be a boring story if it didn't have the twist ending. He suggested that I could have made it psychological. I said it would take a lot more than 500 words.
Then as a formality he asked a bunch of questions regarding my parental relations before deciding that this work of fiction was, in fact, a work of fiction and not a subtle cry for help.



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jgh, 7th July 2024, 15:37
Yep, my EDtoTEXT program became a mainstay at my old school. ;)
A tree-dwelling mammal, 8th July 2024, 21:48
Those stories could be taken as pretty disturbing. So be honest, were you just trying to mess with teacher's heads? 
Kinda like the time I drew out a diagram on the blackboard of how to build a nuclear bomb, before asking the science teacher if there was any uranium in the store cupboard. Only you did it with words? 
(If so then I'm impressed.)
Who, me?, 8th July 2024, 22:02
Rick walks away whistling. 
Nothing to see here... 😉
A tree-dwelling mammal, 9th July 2024, 14:43
Think I might have mentioned this one already... 
When I was 9 years old, I was referred to an 'educational psychologist' due to being 'difficult'. (Actually one of the teachers in Year 4 primary school had said that I was 'disruptive and unteachable'.) 
After a few sessions with this chap, he went off long-term sick. Turned out he'd had a nervous breakdown. 
Now, I'm not sure whether I was responsible, but 9-year-old me took great delight in thinking that I'd messed with his head enough to make him crack. 
Or am I just too subversive?
C Ferris, 9th July 2024, 16:43
Looking back - would you have liked teaching yourself:-)
Rick, 9th July 2024, 17:27
That depends upon my freedom as a teacher. If a child is asking precocious questions, you can either roll with it and the child benefits, or shut it down. 
Unfortunately most of my teachers chose the latter option, and only one of them was honest enough to tell me that they actually had no idea. 
One teacher, one of my science teachers, said "I don't know, come back next week" and he actually went to the library and found an answer for me. I don't remember the question (many many years ago) but as you can imagine I tried very hard not to "be difficult" in his class. 
I would like to think I'd be the sort of teacher that would find out (easier with the internet...) but having said that I've read a lot of stuff in the Guardian and the Mail. Who would willingly choose a career in teaching these days? 
C Ferris, 9th July 2024, 19:10
Got to very careful what you say - not too sure where free speech comes in :-/
VinceH, 10th July 2024, 00:38
Heh. Enjoyed those. I like things with twists - and as for disturbing? Disturbing wins. 😁
Gavin Wraith, 10th July 2024, 11:47
The headmistress of the kindergarten I attended told my mother that I pulled hideous faces, threatened to burn the school down and was uncontrollable. She replied that if she could not control a child of four then maybe she should be looking for other employment. I have no experience of teaching children, but my impression is that the heaviest load on teachers comes not from their charges but their administrators. I think part of the problem comes from "clerification", the application of business principles which are simply not suited to the realities of the job ("mission statements", for example). But my opinions are many decades out of date, so probably not worth expressing.
David Pilling, 10th July 2024, 13:25
Teaching - you get a good salary and pension, you're doing a public good, who doesn't like teaching someone something. I did some teaching once, I regret not doing more. 
The comments make me recall I met the full spectrum of teachers - from the one who lost it and struck a child, the old sick guy (prob. WW2 veteran) who we mercilessly tormented, the one who had given up, the one who taught nothing but could keep control, the competent and (yay!) the inspiring one. 
These days you'd surely send anyone with a question to Google - teach a man to fish and all that. There's the 'right answer' problem when writing essays, the right answer is the one that is taught in class, even when that is no longer the generally accepted answer. 
Egress - these days - doors lock themselves. Stuff of nightmares. 

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