47 Random Fragments of Unauthorised Hope and Despair


A LONG, long, time ago children’s laughter filled the morning air.

They babbled, they shrieked, they sang, they skipped, they ran.

The joyful hubbub echoed all around the houses and the old people in their kitchens smiled to themselves as they heard it.

Then a bell rang. Once. Twice. Thrice.

The children stopped still in their tracks. Their games and their shared worlds of magic evaporated into nothing.

Young faces turned down to the shadows that had swallowed their smiles. Silence engulfed them all.

One boy sat huddled in the corner of the yard, gazing defiantly away through the fence towards the Downs beyond.

But even he knew, deep inside, that his refusal could change nothing.

Playtime was over.