Fred’s Journey

He feels the ocean lap against his bare feet as he sits on its edge. His eyes remain closed as he simply breathes in the air, lets it filter through his body. It’s warm. He imagines himself sprawled out upon a sandy beach in one of those holiday brochures he remembers flicking through in a past life. Mini paradises packaged and sold as if they’re a gift from Heaven, when their reality is little more than a lie, a sanctuary that turns out to be a shit hole roach infested hovel. Without even opening his eyes, he knows that is what his fantasy will reveal.

‘This is it,’ the stranger’s voice says from behind.

‘What is it?’ he replies, his voice dead.


He allows his eyes to open as he stands. The sea stretches before him, behind him feels the shadow of the city. He chooses not to look. ‘How is this salvation? Do I look like a fucking fish?’

‘The whole world is an ocean, Fred, and it is filled with sharks. Nasty, controlling, deceitful sharks. The question you need to answer is simple. You may be nothing, but choose which nothing you want to be. A slave or a shark? Both belong somewhere, but their existence is completely different. Two options. The third is to simply walk forward and let the water claim you forever.’ She pauses, places a hand on his shoulder. ‘They will never let you do the latter. You will never be free, but play their game and spin it. Whilst you are in control of your thoughts, choice to do that remains yours.’

Fred’s Journey – Part 6 was originally published on author Dennis Cooper’s The Weaklings blog. It was the fifth winning entry for a story series that charted Fred’s journey and featured a new author each part, chosen by Dennis Cooper and Joakim Almroth.

Copyright © Dominic Lyne, 2012

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