Calm your way to wellness with self soothing ~by Sandy Hector

Sometimes when our minds start to tell us unwanted and distressing stories or thoughts, everything seems to look bad, you we may start to feel sad, depressed, anxious or angry and it feels like the whole world is coming crashing down.  However, there are some things you can do that may help.

Dr Fiona Kennedy and Dr David Pearson, both consultant clinical psychologists suggest that self soothing is something you can do that tells your mind that you deserve a break and will help you to tolerate the distress.  In their book ‘Get Your Life Back’ Drs Kennedy & Pearson talk about how you can stop fighting the pain of distress and learn to accept it in a more controlled way, so that you are actually in control of the pain rather than the pain being in control of you.

However, when you are in a distressed state is not the right time to start trying out new skills.  You need to plan in advance what you are going to do when the distressing thoughts turn up.  Practise when you are feeling good so that you will be better prepared when in a crisis.

So, the first thing to do (when you are feeling good) is to give yourself permission to do some ‘self-soothing.  Find yourself a nice comfortable safe place where you feel at ease, a place that you feel you can self-soothe yourself.  You might find that a nice warm relaxing bath, or being outside in the garden or in the countryside will be the best place.

You could then try some slow deep breathing (this slows everything down and helps the body and mind rest and relax).  If you are relaxing there in the bath you could even visualise a small control room right inside your head, and you can see a struggle switch right there in the room in your mind – and imagine that you can turn it off.  Or you could imagine your thoughts as leaves blowing gently away in the wind, or clouds drifting across the sky.  If you are outside, maybe you could choose some positive words to say to yourself as you walk, such as “I can manage this” or something similar.  Say the words out loud as they have more meaning than if you say them silently.  If you are in the bath focus on saying the words out loud.  You could co-ordinate the words with your breath, for example each time you breathe out say the word “relax”.

Another good exercise that Fiona and David recommend is singing or dancing your thoughts.  It may sound ridiculous, but when you’re singing whatever it is your mind is saying to you, its as if you are replying to your mind.  Your mind doesn’t expect such a silly response and so its difficult for it to be serious.  The thoughts end up not seeming so important or distressing.  If you find that the singing feels like its mocking you, imagine that someone who really cares about you is singing to you in a much lighter tone.   You could also say the thought over and over again until the word loses its meaning.  For example if your mind is saying you are rubbish, keep on saying rubbish, rubbish, rubbish, rubbish, over and over again as fast as you can .  You will soon find that the word is no longer important.  Other things like drawing, painting, listening to music or doing your favourite hobby may also help.

The challenge for you, if you are willing, is to experiment with some of the ideas above and let me know how you get on via the Creative Mental Health Forum – and enjoy giving yourself a break.

There are lots more helpful skills and exercises in ’ Get Your Life Back, The Most Effective Therapies for a Better You’ ISBN 978-1-47213-734-0


Sick Like An Ocean ~by Abigail Elizabeth Wyatt

First you drew it from its case

and its inner black shroud.

Then you fondled it

as if it were a kitten.


There was little light that day

but I clearly remember

how your brown eyes

softened and shone.


Then you held it to your cheek

a long thoughtful while

before the dead metal

bit into my orbit.


With a crack and  flash

I fell forward in a heap

like a doll whose button

eyes no longer see.


There was darkness, darkness,

then a sharp, white light.

No blood but I was sick

like an ocean.


I did not know then

how the squeezing

of a trigger might

scar the inner eye.


I was swept away.

You were distant ashore.

I thought I saw

you smiling.


I never told anyone

the truth of what you did.

The truth of it lies

still behind my eyes.


Routine doesn’t have to be dull ~by Jude Shaw

We all know the idea of routine sounds a bit staid. Something that we associate with sensible people or work, or school, or just living in a very structured way that signifies to some of us, a feeling of oppression. Have you considered how routine might be very good for your well-being though, especially if the routine is fun and positive? What if we put a spin on the idea of routine, and realise that it could be doing three amazing things before breakfast for example. This could be three things that are preferably very good for you holistically, like eating something healthy, doing a bit of exercise and putting your bare feet on the ground for 5 minutes, or taking 10 minutes to be mindful, writing in your journal and having your favourite smoothie. Anything like this, if done regularly, is a sure fire way to not only set you up well for the day, but also bring in a routine which is very helpful for your overall wellbeing. Doing things first thing, or before the day gets going is such a great time to do it as well, because then you cannot fall in to the trap of not getting round to doing mindfulness, or making that smoothie. If there is one change I recommend bringing in to your life, it would be a ‘first thing’ routine.

My favourite times are when I am fulfilling my uplifting morning routine, which for me, is taking my dog out to the woods; so actually leaving enough time for a decent early morning walk where I say hi to trees and look at sparkly water and race my dog to the nearest bridges (he always wins)!

Admittedly, I am very blessed to have the New Forest on my doorstep, but anywhere green that is local to you could be a great place to take a walk first thing, just to connect you with nature and earth before you become immersed in the technology of the day. I then enjoy some stillness on our return, even if just for ten mins where I make a cuppa and write in my journal, or just check in and ask my heart how it is feeling today. My third act of self love is to make a smoothie or some kind of healthy brekkie, don’t forget a smoothie is something you can take with you to work too, so it doesn’t have to hold you up. I often prepare my breakfast before I take the dog out. All of these three beauties can be enjoyed and completed in an hour, and what an hour!! I feel energised and centred, before I start the day.

Bringing in changes to our everyday life, is often the simplest way to nurture our well-being. Yes, it might mean having to put the alarm on a bit earlier, or it might mean going to bed a bit half an hour sooner than you are used to, but I can guarantee, little changes like this can bring big results. I know that if there are children to get ready for school, or other commitments that hinder the freedom to just leave the house, might mean that you cannot go and take a walk, but if you do have a dog, walk it in the morning- don’t just shove it in the garden to do its’ business, share some joy with your furry friend. Even if you are tied to the house, just sitting quietly before the house gets crazy, having a delicious smoothie and writing in a journal, or taking a walk in the garden, maybe doing some simple yoga exercises in your room for ten minutes when you first get up, or reading some inspirational book- whatever three things you can think of. Make them practical, do-able and things that make you feel good, and I encourage one of them to be something edible! That way you are firing on all cylinders, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Embrace the delight of routine and see if it helps you to feel more balanced in yourself and more able to cope with whatever the day brings. You know what they say, that once something is done for thirty days it becomes a habit. I can honestly say that staring my day more or less adhering to my three favourite things, nature, writing and yummy food, in whichever way I can, does raise my energy and my vibration. If you go to work with that twinkle that makes everyone wonder what you’ve been up to, you know it’s working, and you can always reply ‘I’m just loving my routine’, or ‘routine rocks’ and leave them curious to the source of your new work ethic.

Misconceptions ~by Adam Hurford

Chapter I: Friendship
Birds sing their final songs, and nestle their way into their nests as the sun slowly begins its decent behind the spacious homes of the sunny suburb. Timmy’s toes grip the long green blades of grass as he prepares to catch the incoming baseball. His palms are sweaty, but an expression stretches across his face akin to a baby awakened to the sight of its mother. The ball connects with Timmy’s cupped sweaty hands, and the force from its prepulsion knocks him back a little, his bare toes still clinging to that green grass. Then, as if in an instant, he fumbles the ball and it drops to the ground, his clammy hands collide in the space the ball once adopted.
From across the patch of grass a small boy calls out “Ah Timmy really? One of these days you’ll keep hold of that thing.” Timmy stands dissappointed, biting his lower lip, he looks up toward the small boy. “Yeah one day I guess”, he holds his palms up in the air as if he were surrendering, “It’s these hands I tell ‘ya, too slippery.” The small boy runs over to Timmy, with his wooden bat in one hand he places the other on Timmy’s shoulder. “Don’t worry about it T, we’ll keep practicing, what are friends for?” Timmy looks to his friend, a small appreciative grin stretching along his face. “Thanks Trey, means a lot it really does.” Trey pats the shoulder he had reached out to, “Then once you can catch this ball, maybe your training will be complete.” He drops his bat and begins to dance around performing karate chops with his hands. “Then you’ll be a full on ninja and the bigger kids at school won’t be able to pick on you anymore!” He continues to perform ‘air karate’ while staring jokingly at Timmy, circling around him as if they were about to fight. Timmy starts laughing, “Hey just ’cause I can’t catch a ball doesn’t mean I’m not a ninja, I’ll kick ‘ya butt Trey!” Timmy starts to flail toward Trey who dodges and laughs out the way. The two boys tussle and eventually fall to the floor where they just continue to laugh to eachother. They lay in the tall emerald patch watching the sky turn from day to dusk just giggling to one another. Neither of them speak any words but the silence says it all.
Like a baby pulled from the comfort and familiarity of its womb, Timmy is pulled from the serenity of this moment. His mother grabs his wrist and pulls him up from the floor. “Timmy I’ve been calling to you from the house ten times and you haven’t heard a word. What do you think you’re doing out here anyway, laying in the grass getting your clothes all dirty? I suppose it’s okay because you don’t have to wash them. Would you please go to house and get washed for dinner, it’s getting late.” She yanks on Timmy’s small arm to enforce the direction he should be headed. As he stumbles toward the house he looks over his shoulder with treperdation to get one last glimpse of his friend, of peace. “You get home, get all washed up ready for dinner you hear?” She then turns to look at Trey still laying on the floor, his body rolled over and leant on one elbow, watching Timmy as he vanishes inside his large white family home. She continues to stare at Trey as he continues to stare toward her home, the black skin of his knees turned dry from an afternoon of playing in the sun. His tattered denim shorts all covered in grass stains and mud, raise a bemused look upon her face. Trey turns on the floor to look back at her, “Are you okay Mam?” he questions politely despite the awkwardness felt from her stare. Her focus shifts to Trey’s words and she begins to reassemble herself, straightening her posture and ironing out the creases of her white summers dress with her hands. As she turns to walk back to the house she looks behind her at Trey, still laying bewildered on the grass, “As good as one could hope to be.” She makes her way back to the house, every step taken with care and consideration.
Once home, Timmy makes no effort to stop. He proceeds upstairs and makes his way to the bathroom, the large granite floor tiles bring a sharp chill to his feet, which were once warm from the summer’s grass. He tip toes over to the sink. Standing on the balls of his feet, for added height, he reaches for the taps and begins to run warm water into the wide porcelein sink. As the water runs he plugs the hole and runs to grab a towel from the heated rail. He then lays the towel evenly across the floor below the sink. Once full, he turns the water off and dips a finger in the sink to ensure it’s neither too hot or too cold. Once checked, he begins to wash his hands and face. After a thorough scrub, he stretches a foot at a time up onto the edge of the sink and starts to wash the dirt from the bottom of his feet. He then dries them off on the towel on the floor, then follows by picking up the towel, drying his hands and face, then throwing it into the laundry basket across the bathroom.
Timmy quickly runs back down the wide wooden stairs, swings around the bannister at the bottom to redirect himself to the dining room. His father is sat upon their large, glass dining table. He pulls out one of the chairs and climbs atop it, sitting himself neatly at the table. His father puts down the magazine he was reading and looks to Timmy. “Hey Tim, so, how was school today?” Timmy looks to his father unenthused. “It was fine, but Mrs Spiegel really stunk of cigarettes again. She says she doesn’t smoke, and blames it on her husband, but the other kids in class say they see her smoking on school grounds during lunch, so I think she’s lying. But just now, me and Trey were practicing my catches out on the grass. I’m getting much better dad, I promise.” Timmy starts to fidget with his fingers and his toes curl with nerves. “Maybe one day you’ll come out and throw the ball for me, then you’ll see that I’m getting better dad?” His dad picks his magazine back up and flaps it open infront of his face, blocking the eyeline between him and his son. “You know I’m too busy at work to play ball son, we’re on the cusp of a new development in biological robotics. Soon you’ll…” He’s sharply interrupted by the mum. “What have I told you about shop talk at home Alan? You know how I feel about your work.” Alan peeks an eye over his magazine and follows her as she begins to lay the dinner table, “Sorry dear, just talking to my son is all.” She gives a snide scowl at him, then returns to her prim and proper stance as she lays the table infront of him. “As much as it pains me, while we’re on the subject of your work, haven’t I told you I’d rather you not play with that boy Timmy?” At the sound of his name Timmy bolts upright in his chair, startled, he looks to his mum, “Pardon?” His mum gently shakes her head dissapprovingly. “I said I thought I asked that you refrain from playing with that boy Trey?” Timmy recoils into his chair, his toes curling and fingers fidgeting more irratically. “But I like Trey, he’s my friend mum, why can’t I play with him?” He keeps his eyes focused on his lap, too scared to look his mum in the eyes as he questions her. She gets her back up and clutches the plate tightly as she lays it on the table. Alan interjects. “Come on now Tim, you know how your mum feels about people like your friend Trey. Can’t you just put her mind at ease with this one, for me even?” Timmy’s entire body starts to fidget, his face morphs and twists as his mind races with emotions. “I don’t understand why you hate him so much! He’s no different to me or you, and he’s my friend! I don’t understand!” Timmy bursts out in a tantrum. His mum slams her hand on the glass table, the empty plates shake and jitter. “Timmy, I don’t expect you to understand, I just ask that you listen to me. I don’t want you hanging around with that boy, he’s dangerous! You can’t even begin to understand why, you’re only ten years old. You don’t get a say in this I’m afraid, and that’s the end of this discussion.” Sitting silently and still, his eyes remaining in his lap, he calmly asks, “May I please be excused?” With his chin creased up holding back tears, he climbs down from the chair. He mopes his way out the dining room, up the wide wooden stairs then into his bedroom. “Alice, why do you have to be so hard on the boy? He doesn’t understand your reasoning, he’s just a kid for crying out loud.” She sits at the table, arms folded sternly infront of her as she looks to her husband. “Quit playing the good guy to our son and making me look bad. You know why I don’t want him playing with that boy.” Alan lends a sympathetic hand to her, “Society has come a long way now Alice, we don’t have to cast them out like we used to. Timmy, upstairs in his room, he doesn’t care that his friend is different, he just cares that he has a friend. Can’t you let him have that?” Alice retracts the hand he tried reaching out to. “You can never just support me can you?” She gets up and finishes fetching dinner. They proceed to sit in silence as they eat, a small plate of food for their son goes cold on the table by his empty chair.
Chapter II: Deceipt
“Hey Timmy!” Trey calls from afar while running straight toward a timid and downed Timmy. “What happened yesterday buddy, your mum is all kinds of weird ay?” Timmy’s expression doesn’t alter, no happiness, no excitement from seeing his friend that he was so suddenly torn away from just the evening prior. He just keeps his head down as he’s approached. Trey realises something is wrong so tries not to invade his personal space. “Hey man what’s up, this got something to do with your mum yesterday?” Timmy turns and looks to Trey, an empty canvas stretched around his face. He bites his bottom lip, “Mum says I can’t hang out with you anymore Trey, I’m sorry.” Trey looks to Timmy in disbelief. “What? That’s crazy T! You’re my friend, come on, ignore her. Who am I gonna sit with at lunch, or talk to about cartoons?” Trey’s posture drops, he was once elated to see Timmy at school, now he’s deflated, lost. He picks himself up a bit and lays a hand on Timmy’s shoulder, “T, meet me at our spot after school today?” Timmy looks at him right in the eyes, “Trey I can’t, if my mum finds out…” “She won’t, it’ll just be me and you, I’ll bring my bat and ball, we can get some practise in for an hour then head home, she’ll never know.” Timmy perks up, for the first time in what felt like days he smiled, nothing more, just a simple smile.
“Hey lover boys! Almost time for school you losers, best kiss and say goodbye.” Trey and Timmy turn to see Laura, she’s the most popular girl in school. Tall, slim, withlong blonde hair. Shame she’s the school bully, everyone loves her through fear and fear alone. “Shut up Laura, go away!” Trey shouts at her, angered by her interruption. Laura laughs at his display of masculinity, “Trey you really do wear the trousers in your relationship don’t you. Best bend over ready for him Timmy, Trey’s ready to dock! Hahaha!” She keels over she’s laughing so much. Trey clenches his fists, steps out infront of Timmy like a mother bear protecting her cub, “Why don’t you just fuck off Laura!” Laura quickly stands to attention and holds her laughter, Trey smirks at his victory until a stern voice clouds over him from behind. “Trey Imwe! I do not expect to hear foul language like that coming from someone so young. Especially on school grounds, aimed toward my daughter. Nor did I expect someone of your kind to speak like that.” Trey and Timmy turn in horror, “I’m sorry principle Harris sir, It’s just your…” Trey is immediately cut off. “I don’t want to hear excuses Trey, now get to class. And as for you Timmy, I hope you weren’t using such crass language at my daughter, or to anyone for that matter.” Timmy puts his arms by his side and bows in respect, “No sir.” The principle nods, “Good, now get to class, the bell’s about ring. That goes for you too Laura, and I ask that you refrain from stirring any rumours on the school premises please.” Laura bows in aknowledgement, “Yes sir”, then turns and makes her way to class.
After the last school bell rings Timmy makes his way out the front gates, stampeded by his fellow students who barge past him like he doesn’t exist. He makes his way out the gates and works to quickly seperate himself from the chaff, cluching his bag in fear the other kids may decide to grab it and play ‘Timmy in the middle’ with his stuff. He makes his way down the road, his head always tilted down, eyes locked on the floor just ahead of his feet. After a short walk he turns into a small opening in the woods by the side of the road. A tiny dirt trail leads him through the shrubbery and into the magically lit woods. Timmy has been in this wood countless times, but every time he walks in it’s as if it were his first. The rays of autumn sunlight bleed through the gaps between the huge leaves atop the great maze of uncivilised flora. The bugs fly in a pattern appearing completely nonsensical to humans, but to them they’re just going about their day. The dirt on the ground is a pure brown, turned up and over naturally by the far reaching roots of the trees that inhabit the woods.This place is magical as it remains entirely untouched by man, natures purity at it’s finest. Hard to find in this day and age.
Timmy continues his walk through the woods taking care not to step on any plants or break any branches from the trees, he believes this place must remain untouched by man. He makes his way toward him and Trey’s spot, a huge opening in the heart of the wood, marked by a giant Sequoia. It’s thick trunk occupies most of the open space, but a small nook at its base surrounded by a large, surfaced root, creates a natural bench under this magnificent structure. This is their spot. Timmy looks around the area but Trey is nowhere to be seen, he takes a seat on the root and waits anxiously. Insects come and go, little flying ones give him a quick circle then go about their day. Timmy just sits and waits. Ones perception of time is interesting, despite it being such a measured feature of our days, everyone experiences the same measurement differently. For Timmy, the 20 minutes he spent waiting on that root felt like 20 hours. Yet for Trey, the 20 minutes felt like 20 seconds as he hurried himself from the principles office at school, to the great root at the base of the giant sequoia where he knew Timmy would be waiting alone.
Chapter III: Escalation
Timmy just sat staring in awe at the beauty of the Sequoias existence, scanning with great intensity the details of its surface. Then his vision went dark and his heart began to race. Warm dark hands wrapped themselves around his eyes, their fingers entwinned with one another creating an inpenetrable phalanx. Timmy gasps in terror as he reaches his hands up to try and free himself, the hands quickly release him and Timmy pulls away and onto the floor, turning in fear to see Trey laughing uncontrollably. “Take it easy T”, he’s laughing so hard he has to lean on his knees for support. “Dude I was calling to you from in the woods, did you not hear me? Must of been in some kind of deep zone T.” Trey chuckles to himself then makes his way over to Timmy to help him up out of the pile of fallen leaves he’s stumbled into. As Trey helps him up Timmy begins to smirk, “You scared the devil out of me Trey, where have you been? Feel like I’ve sat here for hours.” “Yeah I’m sorry T, Principle Harris snatched me after school and had a word with me in his office about this morning.” Timmy brushes himself down. “What an ass ay? If only he knew his daughter was the spawn of Satan.” Trey laughs in shock, “Woah, little Timmy using a swear like ‘ass’, that’s new. And you are aware that by calling his daughter ‘the spawn of Satan’, that makes him Satan yeah?” Timmy stops and thinks about it for a minute, putting a finger to his mouth as he ponders. He starts to giggle, “I guess you’re right, but that works too.” Trey starts to giggle with him, then removes his backpack. Out the top sits his baseball bat which he slides out and hands toTimmy. He then reaches into the front compartment and grabs his baseball, “I’ll pitch and you bat to warm up, then we’ll switch. Today’s the day T, you’re gonna catch this ball like a ninja!” He smiles at Timmy, he pays no mind to anything else around him. Timmy starts swinging the bat around like a sword to prepare for his hits, he smirks back at Trey bat at the ready. “Bring it on Trey!” he shouts.
After hours of pitching to one another, they put down the bat and ball and sit on the root. The glowing sun spotlights them through a clearing in their leafy bubble. As they sit tuckered out from the hours of play, Timmy gets a wash of sadness and he starts to get lost in his thoughts as he stares souless at the ground. Trey, sat closely to him on the root catches it in his periferal. “Look T, I know you didn’t catch any of my hits again today, but I’m telling you you’ll be a master at catching one day dude.” Timmy looks up and turns to face Trey, his eyes glazed over and chin trembling, “It’s not that Trey, it’s my mum.” Trey turns and looks to the ground, “I know she doesn’t like us hanging out together T, but you’re my only friend and I love hanging with you. I don’t know what I’d do if we couldn’t be friends.” Timmy looks on at Trey who now sits uneasily on the root, “She says you’re different, and that you’re dangerous. How could that be?” Trey bolts up and looks Timmy in the eyes, “I’m not dangerous Timmy, I’d never do anything to hurt you.” Trey looks at Timmy with eyes of genuine. They sit for a moment in silence, Timmy’s palms rested flat on the root beside him. Trey nervously hovers his hand over the root and rests it on Timmy’s. Timmy doesn’t jolt or move, they just continue to sit, both content with the moment. Trey looks as Timmy just relaxes, then with his hand still on Timmy’s, he looks up to the glowing sun, “This is perfect.” Timmy just nods his head, he doesn’t want to spoil the perfect silence with his voice.
As they both sit content, their hands meeting in the space between, everything freezes. Their perception of time in this moment is irrelevent, time itself is irrelevent when it’s shared with someone you could exist in eternity with. Then from the bushes behind them, a rock flies between their heads narrowly missing them both. They are pulled from their shared reality and back into the cruel truth of the world. “So this is where the two lover boys come and make out is it? I told you they were gay!” shouts Laura to her posse of ‘friends’ behind her. They all snigger and giggle as they stare at Timmy and Trey sat in the spotlight upon their root. The small group of kids from school are all barring sticks and rocks which cause Timmy and Trey to jump up in frieght. Trey runs over to his bag, picks it up in a hurry and shoves his bat and ball inside. He runs back to Timmy who’s frozen in fear, grabs him by the hand and pulls him around. “We gotta run T!” The air is ripped from Timmy’s lungs as Trey forcefully yanks him around and encourages him to run by pulling on his hand. Laura steps out from the tree line with an evil smirk upon her lips, “Get them!” she shouts, pointing in the direction the boys had ran. Her small posse start swarming from out of the trees, running around her as if she were a queen, and start to make chase for the two boys.
Trey continues to drag the bewildered Timmy through the thick woods by his small clammy hands. “Come on Timmy, we gotta keep going!” he calls out, trying to get his friend to snap back to reality. Suddenly Timmy trips on a root sticking out from under the ground. As he falls Trey loses his grip on his friends hand and Timmy skids on his front across the floor of dirt and fallen leaves. Trey deccelerates to a halt and backsteps toward his friend to help him up. “Come on T, get up, you okay?” Timmy is lifted up off the ground by Trey who starts to brush the leaves off his friends clothes. “Trey why are they like this?” Timmy asks confused, “Why can’t they just leave us alone?” Trey looks to Timmy, fear struck across his face, but a kindness and worry in his eyes. “I don’t know T but we need to keep running.” Suddenly Trey watches as Timmys face is blindsided by a rock thrown by one of the kids. Timmy falls back to the ground and screams in agony, “Leave us alone!” Trey shouts as he reaches down to help his friend. As he pulls Timmy up from the floor his forehead starts to bleed prefusely, terror reigns over Trey as he hurls one of Timmys limp arms over his shoulders and continues to run for the clearing ahead.
With Timmy out cold lumped over Treys shoulder they make it out of the woods and into the grass field that leads up to their home suburb. Trey continues to carry his friend all the way up the field and back toward Timmy’s house. Relief runs over Trey as he finally arrives across the street from Timmy’s home where he sees Timmy’s mother sat on the porch. Trey drops his bag on the floor from exhaustion, his bat already poking out the top of the zip, slides slowly out and onto the concrete pavement. He slowly starts to lay Timmy down, he can carry him no futher so he calls out to Timmy’s mother. “Mrs Turing! Mrs help! Timmy… He’s hurt!” the words can barely escape his empty lungs. His heart begins to pound more so than before. He knows he shouldn’t have been with her son, he knows she doesn’t like him. But he saved his friends life, she should be grateful for that. But Timmy never would have gotten hurt if Trey didn’t ask to meet at their spot after school. Trey’s mind races with angst and worry. “Mrs Turing!” He calls out one last time and catches the attention of Timmy’s mum who turns so slowly, only for the colour to drain from her face so quickly.
She jumps up from her chair on the porch and runs toward Trey, and her son bleeding from the head on the pavement. Treys heart continues to punch its way out of his chest as she quickly approaches. “Mrs Turing I’m so sorry, the kids they…” Trey fumbles and trips on his words as he tries to quickly relay the sequance of events to her, but she keeps charging toward him paying no mind to what he’s saying. Treys entire body tenses up in anticipation and then completely relaxes as she passes right by him and her son. Trey slowly turns to see where she is going and watches as she reaches down to his bag and picks up his wooden baseball bat. She holds it nonchalantly in one hand as she slowly retraces her steps back to Trey. “Mrs, what are you..?” Clear, glistening sweat beads down Treys dark face as he recoils in fear, raising his arm up to defend his face from the impending swing. Alice reaches around her body with her unequipped hand and takes to weilding the bat with a firm, two handed grip. She raises it toward the beating sun, then with all the power in her body, she starts to repeatedly beat Trey with his own cherished bat. The first hit smacks his own arm into his face, the second his face into the pavement. Without hesitation or a second thought, she continues to beat the young child senseless with the wooden bat, each hit that trades off with his body causes the bat to splinter more and more.
The sound of the bat smacking against Treys pulp causes Timmy to slowly come to, his eyes bolt open at the sight before him. “M…Mum! What are you doing?” Timmy shouts to no avail. He forces himself up to his feet and runs to his mother, latching on to her arms in an attempt to stop her from killing his best friend. “He saved me mum! He saved me from the kids at school! Why are you doing this to him?” As a splicing of blood, sweat and tears run down his face, he continues to shout at his mother, clinging desperately to her arms to hold her back. Blood and samples of Treys skin drop from the bat and land on the pavement, Timmy can only focus on them as motivation while he clings for dear life to his mother. She quickly slithers out of her son’s grasp and pushes him away, “I told you Timmy, I didn’t want you hanging around with this boy, now look what he’s done to you!” She raises the broken bat, saturated in blood, and stares down at the mess of a child that holds next to no resemblance of the boy it once was.
A scream echoes from down the street as a woman comes running toward the scene. “Mika call 911!” she shouts in desperation. Alice lowers the broken, messy bat, and takes a step back, looking in horror at what she has done. The woman arrives and drops to her knees beside the symphony of gore on the street, she runs her hands through the gupe and knows it’s her son. A man soon follows, he’s on the phone to the police, “Yes I need a…” He’s soon lost for words when he sees his wife on her knees in a pile of what used to be his son, recognisable only from the blood soaked Giants T-shirt mixed in the mess. “Oh my god… I need an ambulance, police… Everything, just hurry, please!” He drops his mobile to the ground and runs over to his wife. He kneels beside her and holds her tightly in his arms. His wife, tears pouring from her eyes, looks to Alice still holding the bat now loosely in one hand, “What did you do to our son?” she quietly pleads.
Chapter IV: Semantics
The courtroom is silent, this case has been the talking point of world news for months and everyone is anxious for today, the final hearing. The case has been dubbed ‘The Turing Case’, a double entendre of the famous Alan Turing’s test for conscious artificial intelligence, and the last name of the Defendant, Alice Turing. News organisations have stated that the outcome of this case could rally in a new era of thinking, for not just mankind, but all conscious beings.
“I’d like to call to the stand Alice Turing your honour.” states the Prosecutor. Alice raises up from her chair and walks to the stand to be seated. The court martial asks Alice to raise her right hand. “You do solemnly state that the testimony you may give in this case now pending before this court shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?” “I do.”
The prosecutor walks up to the stand and confronts Alice head on. “Mrs Turing, I’d like to get the facts laid out about the repurcussions of your actions on September 29th 2074. Your son Timmy Turing and his friend Trey Warren were attacked in the woods near your home by a number of children who, since the incident, have been prosecuted. Is that correct?” “Yes.” “The victim Trey Warren then carried your son, who was knocked unconscious by a rock that was thrown at his head, all the way to the street outside your home?” “Yes, that’s what I’ve been told.” “Of course. Trey Warren then calls out to you for help, you run over, pick up this 11 year olds baseball bat, and beat him to death with it.” “Objection your honour!” shouts the defense attorney. The judge sits up in her seat, “Please state your reasoning.” The defense attorney stands up. “Trey Warren was not beaten to death, that is a poor choice of words used purposefully in an attempt to get the jury on his side. Mrs Turing did not murder Trey Warren, as we all know, the ‘victim’ Trey Warren was killed by a drunk manual driver in 2070. What Mrs Turing did was a damage of property, and I will not sit idly by as the prosecution uses phrases that sway the jury.” The judge contemplates for a moment, “Denied! For weeks we have argued in this courtroom as to whether the destruction of a Cast is murder or damage of property. Trey Warren’s consciousness remained intact and has now been transferred to an identical Cast in the making. Mrs Turing has agreed to pay, in full, for said replacement Cast for Trey Warren’s consciousness. This case has now moved on to the discussion of a monetary compensation for the mental damages done to everyone in question. Mr and Mrs Imwe had to see their son’s body destroyed before their eyes a second time. That’s something no parent should have to see in a lifetime, even with the advancements in modern technology, there’s still something to be said for purebreed humans.” The judge takes a breath, “I agree that the prosecutor may be swaying the jury with his choice of words, but this is now a debate about what it costs to be human, not whether Mrs Turing murdered a child. Continue.” The defense attorney holds his tie flat to his core as he sits down frustrated by the prosecutor.
The prosecutor continues, “As I were saying before being rudely interrupted. You destroyed the ‘Cast’ of Trey Warren without reason. I’ll clarify for anyone in this courtroom living in the stone ages. The Cast is a synthetic body made by Alliance Robotics, that replicates the original humans body to 99.9% accuracy. That point one percent that can’t be replicated is the human’s consciousness, a low percentage for the part that makes us ‘us’. But as we still don’t know what consciousness truly is, and these Casts are a compound of so many ingredients, why not just make our souls worth only point one percent. Plus, 99.9% looks better in adverts I bet, maybe we could ask your husband Mrs Turing, after all, he is the founder of Alliance Robotics isn’t he, ‘One Future For All’ is the slogan right?” The judge interjects, “This rambling is seemingly irrelevent, please get to the point.” The prosecutor clears his throat, “Sorry your honour.” He rubs his hands together and shakes his head slowly. “Here’s the thing people. We’ve already declared that Mrs Alice Turing here beat Trey Warren, now whether that child was a purebreed or a Cast, the intent is the same, I just have one pressing question for you Mrs Turing, if you don’t mind of course.” The courtroom sits up in attention. “Did you know?” Alice stutters into the microphone, “P… Pardon?” “Please clarify!” orders the judge. “Did you, Mrs Alice Turing, know that the victim, Trey Warren, was a Cast?” The courtroom errupts with whispers and the defense attorney starts looking through his files in a frenzy. Alice nervously eyes the DA then looks around the courtroom. “Order, order!” calls the judge, “Mrs Turing please answer the question.” Alice leans in to the microphone hesitently. “Yes, I knew he was a Cast. I was told by my hasband when the Imwe’s visited him at his office. They had their son’s consciousness on disk and were looking for an affordable payment scheme for a high end Cast.” The prosecutor thinks for a moment, “Final question. Now we know from witnesses throughout the case that your son, Timmy Turing, was extremely close friends with Trey Warren. Did he know?” Whispers dance around the courtroom once again, the judge sits up in her seat. Alice leans in to the microphone, “I… I don’t think so…” The courtroom errupts once again, “Order!” shouts the judge, slamming her Gavel. The prosecutor turns to the judge, “For the first time in this case your honour, I’d like to call to the stand, Timmy Turing.” The judge leans forward in the bench, “Timmy Turing has been dubbed an unreliable witness for this case due to his head trauma. May I ask why?” “You said it yourself judge, this case is no longer about whether Mrs Turing here did what she did and why, it’s about the emotional damages caused by her actions. And yes, Shannon and Mika Imwe have been traumatised once again by the loss of their son, but what about an, at the time of the incident, ten year old boy watching his best friend get beaten to, what he perseives as, death?” The judge sits back, at no point during this case had the mental trauma of Timmy been considered. “I’ll allow it” the judge states in confidence.
The entire courtroom turns as the young Timmy is escorted by an officer down the walkway and onto the Stand. He sits nervously as he swears his testimony, never looking up at the courtroom packed with people interested in the case. “You may proceed” says the judge. The prosecutor walks to the stand and leans to Timmys level in an attempt to engage. “Hey there Timmy.” The prosecutor smiles politely at Timmy, trying to show that he’s a friend not an enemy. “Timmy, I know what happened was terrible, but I’d like to hear the story from you please, if you could.” “Objection.” calls the judge, who then proceeds to call the prosecutor over to the bench and whispers, “What are you doing? You know that the boys testimony is redundant, he suffered head trauma and therefore cannot be used in this case.” The prosecutor explains, “This kid hasn’t had the chance to say what happened to ‘him’ yet, if I can get him to see me as a friend and open up, I promise I’m taking this somewhere.” The judge ponders for a moment, “Proceed” then sits curiously in her chair. The prosecutor hurries back to the stand where Timmy waits. “Sorry about that Timmy, like I said, if you wouldn’t mind, could you please tell me what happened that day?” Timmy raises his head slightly and looks at the prosecutor’s goofy face smiling back at him. His toes curl up in his little black leather shoes, and his fingers begin to fidget with the cuffs of his shirt around his wrists.
“Trey wanted me to meet him at our spot in the woods after school but I said I couldn’t because mum didn’t want me hanging around with him anymore.” The prosecutor interjects, “Do you know why your mum didn’t want you hanging around with Trey?” “No, she just said he was different, and always said how he was dangerous. But he wasn’t dangerous!” Timmy exclaimed, “He was my best friend, and he always looked out for me.” The people in the courtroom all look at Timmy as he talks, their attentions undivided. “I’m sure you were sad after what happened” the prosecutor asks. Timmy just sinks his head back down. “Why don’t you carry on telling me what happened.” Timmy raises his head, “I didn’t want to not be friends with him, so I met him at our spot in the middle of the woods. He was late, he said Principle Harris talked to him after school about swearing. But Trey only swore at Laura ’cause she was being horrible about us!” He begins to get agitated. “Laura, as in Laura Harris, the principles daughter?” asks the prosecutor. “What kinds of things was she saying to upset your friend so much?” “She called us ‘lover boys’ and says that we kiss. She’d always tell Trey to bend me over or something, people at school would laugh but I never understood what was so funny.” The people in the courtroom started to murmur once again. Timmy tries his best to ignore them and continues. “I sat waiting on the root by the big tree for what felt like ages. Then Trey finally turned up. We played bat and ball for a few hours, he was always trying to help me learn to catch, I’m a terrible catcher. That’s why I don’t understand why mum didn’t want me to play with him, he did nothing but help me. We sat down for a while and talked, that’s when Laura and her friends appeared and started throwing rocks at us. I completely froze up, luckily Trey was there to grab me and have us run away. I tripped and muddied my clothes in the hurry and Trey helped me up. It was then that everything went black.” “That’s when one of the kids threw a rock at your head, it struck you unconscious” explained the prosecutor to Timmy. “What’s the next thing you remember?” Timmy’s head fell into his lap, “I know it’s hard Timmy, but if you could just do your best to explain.” “I woke up, my head was in so much pain, but that was nothing. I bolted upright to see if what I was seeing was true, and it was.” Timmy started to tear up. “My mum had Trey’s treasured bat in her hands and she was hitting Trey with it. He didn’t move, I don’t think he could have. I could barely tell it was him, but something in me knew. I got to my feet and ran over to stop my mum, I was so dizzy, it was hard. But I had to try and save my friend, he had saved me from bullies so many times.” The prosecutor looks to the judge who’s sat forward, listening intently, then turns back to Timmy. “Timmy, I think it’s clear to everyone that Trey was a true friend to you and you miss him dearly. And what you saw your mum do to him is unimaginable, especially for a child as young as you. But I need to ask you the same question I asked your mother. Did you know that your friend, Trey Warren, was a Cast?” Timmy looks up confused, “I’m sorry I don’t know what that is.” “I object!” shouts Timmy’s mum. The judge shouts “Denied! You’ve clearly sheltered your son from the realities of our lives, this is my courtroom, and for the sake of your child he deserves to hear the truth.” The judge reclines into her chair, Alice sits back down frustrated. The prosecutor continues. “Timmy, a Cast is a fake body made to replace peoples bodies who have previously died. Your friend Trey’s body was destroyed in a car accident years ago, and his mind was put into a new body, a Cast, made by your father.” Timmy looks with curiousity, his eyes held open by the truth he’s finally being told. He then starts to cry uncontrollably at the stand. “It’s okay Timmy, you’ve done enough and you did really well.” The prosecutor then turns to face not just the jury, but the entire courtroom. “What Timmy witnessed wasn’t just his mum destroying a Cast that can be easily replaced, he watched his mum kill, what he believed to be, his purebreed best friend. So although Mrs Turing wasn’t convicted of murder, to her son, that’s exactly what happened. Now how much is that Trauma worth?” The entire courtroom stands up, clapping and cheering as the judge slams her Gavel and calls order.
Chapter V: Epilogue
Alan sits at the large glass dining table reading a magazine, the front page reads, ‘The Case of Consciousness, and Our Perceptions of Life’. There’s a knock at the door and Alan calls upstairs to Timmy, “You want to get that, son? I imagine it’s for you.” Down the stairs runs Timmy, he makes his way toward the large door and opens it. His face lights up as he sees Trey stood before him. “Hey Timmy, wanna come practise your catch?”