Rob is locked inside his own body and can't communicate, but knows exactly what is going on around him, but can't let anyone know.
I don’t know how it all started, or what happened really. I remember mum yack, yack, yacking in my ear. Dad yelling at Mum. Mum yelling at me and me zoning out. I remember our den and my mates. Zigger my best mate hitting on Cinder, my girl friend and Cinder liking it. I lost it. Cinder stormed off and I chased after her. And now – now things are just weird.
“Do you think he can hear us?”
I recognised this voice – it was Zigger.
“Dunno, but when this sort of thing happens on telly, they always say you should talk to them, just in case.”
A typical Slade comment.
“Yeah? Right, you start.”
“Because you’re better at this sort of stuff than me.”
“I’d go saying something stupid.”
“Okay, I’ll do it.”
This was really weird. I could hear them, but I couldn’t see ‘em. I kept on saying ‘of course I can hear you,’ but they didn’t take any notice. It was like I wasn’t there with them. I was in a totally different room with a glass held up against the wall - listening. I wasn’t doing that, in fact, I didn’t seem to be able to do anything.
What is that noise? What’s happening? I don’t like it.
Err that was weird. I think something touched me. I tried to move, but nothing happened.
What’s going on?
There was no reply. Then I heard Slade’s voice. It was softer than normal and had a weird shake to it.
“Rob, it’s me, Slade,” he paused. “God, this is hard.”
“Go on, keep going.” Zigger sounded peculiar too. “Go on, talk.”
“Hi Rob, it’s me again, Slade.”
“He knows that bit, you’ve just told him.”
“Well you do the talking then, if you can do better!”
Something was scuffing around, scraping and then I bounced. It was strange, like when I was on a trampoline with my mates. We’d all sit around the edge of the trampoline. One of us stood in the middle then jumped as high as they could trying to bounce everyone else off. Only this was different. This was more like…like a bouncy castle, but it wasn’t even that!
“Right I will.” Zigger said. “Hi, Iced, mate, what you gone and done to yourself?”
“You’re not supposed to tell him what he’s done to himself.”
“Think about it…if he don’t remember and you tell him, it could kill him.”
Kill me! Why would it kill me? What don’t I remember? What’re they talking about?
“Anyway, you shouldn’t be calling him Iced. We only call him Iced online. Offline he’s supposed to be Rob, you call him Rob, okay?” Slade pointed out.
“Right, d’you reckon it could really kill him?”
“I won’t tell him then. What should we say?”
TELL ME WHAT HAPPENED!
“I told you it weren’t easy, didn’t I?”
“Maybe we should just tell him what Flatch did last night, after his Dad found out about the shed.”
“Yeah, like we just talk and he listens or doesn’t depending of if he can hear us or not.”
What was this with could I hear them or not? Of course I could hear them. What had I done? I don’t want to know what happened to Flatch? I want to know what happened to me. They were whispering now. I could hardly make out what they were saying.
WILL YOU TWO STOP FAFFING ABOUT?
Tell me what is going on? I don’t like it here in the dark. Keep talking, please keep talking?
I heard a door open. There were metal sounds and a muffled, gentle voice drifted across me, followed by a deep voice which loomed over me.
“Sorry, boys, you’ll have to go.” The voice was so deep I could sense the hairs in my ears vibrate.
Slade and Zigger didn’t argue, “Okay.” They said.
I felt a strange sensation and then I bounced again. I heard the soft squelching squishing sound of trainers on a shiny floor.
“Come back to us, Rob, the group ain’t right without you.”
What did they mean? Why wasn’t I in the group anymore? A door opened and closed. A cold sensation crawled around me and slowly all the sound faded, leaving a still silence throbbing inside my head.