• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 10


Camera three. A girl with pink hair, high heels.

I check the rota. She’s been in for twenty minutes. Her treatment schedule is an hour a week for six weeks. The book they’ve given her is only short. Presumably she’s not too bad. It’s that book with the moon. I watch it float up to the ceiling of the room on the multicoloured clouds and wonder for the hundredth time why they make them sit on such uncomfortable chairs. Maybe they don’t notice. Maybe the book is enough of a comfort. God knows, these kids need comfort, after all they’ve seen.

In Room Two there’s a boy who can’t stop crying. It’s his third time at the centre this week. They’re trying a book about trains with faces. I watch the trains trundle out of the pages and around the floor, chattering, laughing, but the boy still cries and the trains fade. Terrible cries. The trains don’t stand a chance.

I flick back to Room Three. She’s lucky to be here. There’s a long waiting list for book therapy these days. Dr Jay told me that. She’s nice. She seems to understand the youngsters. It’s all much easier now we can actually see how well it’s working. Does away with the need for brain scans. Sometimes we had to strap the poor kids down to do the scans. Didn’t make sense to me.

I don’t really get how it works, the reading thing. I can’t read. Not like that. I mean, I can read the rota, but making pictures, that’s different. Me and Jim tried it once, when everyone had gone home and we were locking up. I sat and read a book about a man who lived in London a long time ago. I got it, but it was just words. Jim watched me for five minutes. Said there were no pictures. We packed it in and went for a drink.