Two Short Stories

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Max's Library
one of my ancestors was a slave owner. he was a colonial official within the british empire stationed on the caribbean island of antigua. when slavery was abolished he was forced to release his slaves but received substantial compensation for his loss. he only had three slaves, he was not a great plantation owner, these were his house servants. my first story looks forward in time to when great britain reintroduces slavery.

my second story plays with something i often experiment with in my stories, the theory that there are countless universes simultaneously existing side by side. if a person can move from one to another he can be anything he wishes.

Submitted: March 15, 2017

A A A | A A A

Submitted: March 15, 2017



When Mrs Maggs told me she was going to retire I was devastated. I should have realised this time would come and prepared myself properly for the eventuality but I had not. Her retirement was not good news. How could I possibly cope about the house without her.

Mrs Maggs was my live in housekeeper and more - a lot more. She was my support, she was my mentor, she was my friend. She was also seventy-six years old so deserved retirement.

How could I possibly replace her ?

I would have to advertise, I would have to hold interviews, I could contact the job centre.  I could put it all in the hands of an agency. I dreaded having to go through the process.

There was an alternative.

The seventeenth of March 2019 has already gone down as turning point in our nation's history.  On that date the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson reintroduced slavery. One hundred and eighty six years after it was abolished the clocks have been turned back. Things today in the twenty-first century are, however, a little different.  Slavery is now quite simply aiming to reduce the prison population.  The courts have the power to sentence repeat offenders to slavery, any time from five to twenty five years. In that way slavery is voluntary, a slave by way of his criminal folly willingly submits to it.  Slavery reduces the prison population, saves the government money and actually generates significant income for the exchequer from sales of the slaves.

Prime Minister Johnson is making some significant changes to our way of life, Britain is becoming great again.  The 2016 referendum took us out of the European Union, the last of the foreigners who came here through the then open borders are now being repatriated.  The Scottish National Party has been outlawed and Nicola Sturgeon is held in prison awaiting trial on a charge of treason. Yes things are on the up.

So should I buy for myself a slave ? Someone to take care of the house, look after me and replace Mrs Maggs. Would that be a good idea ? 

Buying a slave is quite easy, recently sentenced offenders can be viewed on-line then purchased at weekly markets held up and down the country.  Those sentenced to slavery have less rights than a pet hamster so are completely in the control of their owner who can set them to any legitimate task then punish them for failure should such arise.

The majority of slaves are male, I do not want a male, I want a female.  I want a lady. My understanding of what makes up a lady may not be congruent with circumstances which would cause a female to be sentenced by a court to slavery.  Am I being sexist ?  Should I have a male slave ?  No I want a female.

But !

Slaves are sold completely naked.  At their sentence they have a slavery code tattooed on their right buttock to identify them.  They must be kept naked at all times. I am not comfortable about having a naked servant in the house. It's not right. Slavery in history allowed, even in the hottest of climates, for a slave's modesty to be covered up.

Shall I buy a slave ? I am not sure.

I want a female slave but having a naked female about the house is not something I would want. Of course I would not touch her, I would like to think I am too much of a gentleman for that, but would I be able to keep my feelings in place ?

Shall I buy a slave ? I am not sure.

Mrs Maggs why did you have to retire ?  If I do decide to buy a slave it will have to be a male slave. I would not be comfortable about having a naked man about the house but I would, at least, be able to close my eyes to his nudity.  What would Mrs Maggs think about my replacing her with a naked slave ?  What will others who come in and out of my house think ?  There's my gardener and handyman. There's the firm of contract cleaners who come in three times a week.

Shall I buy a slave ?  You know I think I will.

MONDAY 3rd JUNE 2019:   I looked at the website today, it is not actually possible to buy a slave on-line and although those who are up for sale can be seen on the website it is really all about the system and how it works.  Fascinating, I found it so fascinating.  Work slipped into the background  while I surfed and read.

NAMES: You should start off by calling your slave BOY - never use his name.  If you have a female slave the term is the same. Slaves are sexless. Insist your slave refers to you as MASTER.  Only after a minimum of one year and only when you feel completely confident should you use real names, even then your slave should address you s Mr xxxxxxx.  Never allow the use of your forename.

ACCOMMODATION: It is best for the slave to live in a small shed separate from your house.  Electricity for cooking, heating and lighting may be provided but television, radio, telephone and computers must never be allowed in a slave's accommodation area.  It is not necessary to provide running water, a supply from storage containers is adequate.  For your own personal welfare you should ensure your slave keeps himself clean. A chemical or composting toilet is sufficient for a slave's needs.

CONTROL: You have complete control over your slave who is your property.  A slave may be beaten for any cause giving you dissatisfaction.  You are not obliged to  justify yourself to anyone or authority for the control of your slave.  Slaves must be kept naked at all times when on your property. If you have cause to take your slave outside your property he can be partially clothed but at all times his right buttock must be kept naked so the registration number is clear.

MEDICAL:  Slaves are not entitled to free medical treatment on the NHS. You will need to register your slave with a local medical practice and pay their rates for any treatment given.

There were dozens of areas for a prospective slave owner to consider.  I scrolled down to the all important section.

COSTS: There is a £5,000 registration fee which entitles a prospective owner to attend an auction.  All slaves at an auction will appear for one week ahead of the auction on the website.  At the auction each slave will appear for viewing.  Those wishing to submit bids will then do so by writing their offer and placing it into a sealed envelope.  The highest bid wins.  As a guide bids should be in excess of £15,000 for each year of enslavement imposed by the court.

Not a cheap option - owning a slave.  So with a registration fee it would cost me £155,000 to own a slave for ten years. All having to be paid up front.  I think the pricing structure was deliberately set up to exclude certain classes of individuals from slave ownership.  But the outlay and costs of keeping  slave was much cheaper then employing someone to undertake the duties.  YES, I have decided I am going to buy myself a slave and, as a writer by profession, I am going to keep a diary which I will publish and sell as part of my story library.

TUESDAY 4th JUNE 2019: The next auction is being held on Thursday in Sheffield.

Do I need a slave ?  No not really. I could find another housekeeper like Mrs Maggs but the recruiting process is something I simply can not be bothered with.

Can I afford to buy a slave ?  Yes of course I can.

Do I want  slave ?  The idea fascinates me.

As you will be aware I am an international best selling writer.  When I put a new novel on-line I can expect it to sell at least a quarter of a million downloads from my website.  I could never have achieved my fortune in the old days of paper books and ten percent royalties from the publishers but one pound per download is like printing money.  When I have finished writing this diary, whatever the outcome, I will add it to my website for you to download.  When I have finished writing this entry I will go back to the website and pay my five grand registration fee.

My home is set in five acres of its own land within which there is a summerhouse, the slave can live there. It does have a bathroom and toilet, previous owners used it put up guests as if the six bedrooms in the main house were not enough.  Slave or not I can not let anyone use a chemical or composting toilet.  Yes my slave can live in the summer house.

The gardens are maintained by a full time employee of mine, not sure what he will make of a naked slave about the place.  He will have to get used to it.  Under my former housekeeper's direction I have a firm of commercial cleaners who come in three times a week to keep my home spic and span.  At any time when Mrs Maggs was not about I tended to eat takeaway food of frozen ready meals, now she is no longer with me this is my main diet.  So what duties would a slave actually perform ? The housekeeping of course and the cooking but as well as that a personal valet, a gentleman's gentleman would be nice.  Someone to fetch and carry for me, someone to pander to my needs - my every whim, someone to look after me.  Yes that would be good. Dare I even hope my slave may become something of a companion ? I lead a lonely life much of which is within the cyber world of the Internet so a companion would be nice. But a naked companion ? NO that would not work. I have a dog as my companion.

There was another section within the website which I was less than enthusiastic about.  Not comfortable with it even if it did make sense.

DOMINATION: During his post sentencing induction your slave will have been beaten at least twice.  It is important you beat him as soon as you have him installed.  Make this a harsh beating so he knows who is master and his owner.

I closed the computer.  I did not think I could do that.  Putting all thoughts of slave ownership out of my mind I took my companion and best friend for a walk.  My best friend is a border collie who I named Jim.  I suppose I am his master but no matter what he did I could not beat him.  If I could not beat a dog how could I beat a fellow human being ? Male or female, I could never raise a hand to a female.

"A slave is not a full human being,"  the website had explained, "he is sub-human.  Nobody forced him to become a slave, he knew exactly what the sentence of the court would be if he offended again.  He chose it for himself."

On my return from walking Jim I went back to the computer and looked at those being offered at the next auction.  I looked at them closely and made my choice. Sheffield is a three hour drive away, Sheffield was where the next auction was being held, I would be there and nobody would outbid me. Only male slaves were on offer.

Which slave to buy ? When I write my stories I allow Destiny to develop my characters to a point where you can instinctively know what dictates their role in the story. When I see the slaves will Destiny tell me which one to buy ?  Will his character be visible on the outside ? Buy the wrong slave could, would, be a disaster.

THURSDAY 6th JUNE 2019:  I did not make a diary entry yesterday, there was nothing to record save my thoughts and determination to purchase the slave of my choice, of Destiny's choice.  I tried to put things out of my mind and do some work but today is the day of the auction and I have a lot to tell.

The market delivers purchased slaves, buyers do not take them away with them on the day of the auction.  I knew that from the website.  "If you make a purchase,"  I was told, "delivery will be tomorrow afternoon."

"That will be fine.  YES I will, be making a purchase."

"How many are you looking to buy ?"

"One, just the one." 

There were ten slaves up for auction and easily sixty buyers in the room.  I would have to bid high if I was to own Aaron.  That was the name of the slave I had initially selected from the website then when I saw him at the auction Destiny confirmed he was the only one I was to bid for.  The name, at least the first name, for each slave was given as was his age.  Aaron was twenty-three years old.  No mention of the crimes that had put the ten men up for sale was given.  I think I will ask Aaron what it was he did once I had him home.  Or should I say when he is delivered.

"Your salves will be micro chipped with the details of ownership,"  someone was explaining.  "The microchip has a tracker so from this you can monitor and track your property and its whereabouts using any Internet connected device."

Each slave was wearing a leather collar round his neck attached to which was a lead. Each slave had his lead held by a handler as he was paraded on stage before we prospective owners.  After each had been viewed he stepped back to form a line near the back of the staging.

"You can remove the collar if you wish but the recommendation is to keep it in place for at least sixth months. Through your app you can administer an electric shock from the collar.  There are different levels from one to ten."

He took a phone from his pocket and tapped the screen.One of the slaves, fortunately not Aaron, screamed and fell to his knees.

"That was a level four shock."

I felt sorry for the slave.  Thank goodness it was not Aaron.  As soon as I got him home I would remove the collar.  What if I knocked the phone app my mistake and did that to him ? It did not bear thinking about.

"This is a slave encouragement tool."  He held up what looked like a table tennis bat with an extended handle.  "You will all be issued with one and should not be afraid to use it.  A slave who is regularly beaten will be a good slave while one who is spared a beating will be dangerous."

Could I beat Aaron ?  I suppose if I had to I could but no I would prefer not to.

"So on with the auction."  the auctioneer in charge walked behind the first slave in the row, pulled back his hand and delivered a terrifying swat on the slaves naked bottom using the encouragement tool.  The slave lurched forward as if to move away from the pain then was pulled by his handler and the led to centre stage.

"This is Jim, he is twenty-seven years old and offered with a ten year enslavement order.  You are going to be a good slave aren't you boy !"

"Yes Master, of course Master."

Jim - that is the name of my dog.

"Those wishing to bid for Jim please write your bids then seal them in your envelopes."

I looked about the room to try and see who was writing bids but it was not an easy task. A bit silly really as the moment ushers moved to collect the envelopes it was clear who the potential owners were.  The envelopes were taken to the stage and handed to the auctioneer.  Another smack on the slave's bottom as he was dragged to a raised block at the left of the dais.  He stood upon it so raising himself higher than the nine slaves who had yet to be bid for.  I could see a nervousness in his face as he waited to learn his fate.  The auctioneer checked the bids, shuffled the papers then called to the slave's handler asking him to check the result.

"Gentleman," the auctioneer began, "I can now announce the winning bid.  Jim is now the property of Mr Peter Newman from Birmingham who bid twelve thousand pounds for each of his years enslavement making a total payable of one hundred and twenty thousand pounds."

That was a lot less than I had anticipated.  If twelve thousand was the winning bid how large, or small, were the others ?

Slave number two went for fifteen thousand pounds across a ten year period and number three attracted a winning bid of eighteen thousand pounds.  My mind raced as I tried to guess how much I needed to bid for Aaron.  One more then it would be his and my turn.  Destiny you have told me to bid for Aaron, will you tell me how much to bid ? Please ?

Number four also went for eighteen thousand pounds.  If I were to bid twenty thousand for each of the ten years I should win but only two thousand above the so far highest bid may not be enough.  I decided I would offer twenty-five thousand for each year of his ten year sentence, one quarter of a million pounds. But as my hand shook with the pen poised above the bidding paper I decided I just could not take a chance, twenty-five thousand became thirty-five thousand.  I sealed my envelope and handed it to the usher. A knot developed in my stomach as I watched it being taken to the stage.  Destiny have I bid high enough ? I must have won, surely I must have won but what if someone had bid higher.  I wished I had offered more. Destiny will you forgive me if I have got it wrong ?  Will I forgive myself ?

It took an age for the auctioneer to read the papers.  He shuffled them, called Aaron's handler to check them.  Come on - come on - I said silently urging him to hurry along.  I watched in slight horror as he put the papers down and picked up the slave encouragement tool.  He twisted his body sideways like a spring being wound, then he released it to swing and hit Aaron harder on his naked bottom than I had seen any of the slaves beaten so far.  Why hit him now ?  None of then others had been hit after the bidding closed.  Aaron screamed out in pain, the audience laughed.

"You are a lucky boy Aaron," the auctioneer said. "You have attracted a record bid for this auction." 

He hit him again.  I bit my lip to prevent my yelling for him to stop.  A record bid ?  Was they my bid ?  Should I have offered more ?  Destiny have you been on my side ? I had lost, I knew I had lost.

"Aaron you are now the property of..."  I held my breath. "..... Mr Nigel Jones from Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire."

"Yes,"  I exclaimed.

"Well done Mr Jones.  Are you Nigel Jones the author ?"

"Yes I am."

"Boy you are to be owned by someone famous."  He moved his hand to strike Aaron again. 

I stood up and said very firmly, "Do not strike my property."

The auctioneer was momentarily taken aback, hesitated then moved to start the bidding for slave number six.

I left the room and made my way to the reception area here I completed the formalities, authorise a bank transfer for three hundred and fifty thousand pounds and confirmed delivery details for tomorrow. 

FRIDAY 7th JUNE 2019:  What have I done ?  I have been awake for much of the night debating the situation I have build around me.  I live a rather strange life.  I live a part of that life in the fantasy world of my writing, the characters and the plots are all fiction yet inhabit my mind and my thinking to a level where reality could be displaced.  I do not think it has been displaced yet but it could be.  My readers, those who pay to download my stories and who have made me wealthy live for me in cyber space, I do not meet them and I do not know them.  In the area of my life where I live in the real world I am a recluse, yesterday's drive to Sheffield was the furthest I have been in a long time.  I rarely leave my home, my shopping is always done on-line.  Those coming in to my home to clean and tidy get on with what they have to do and I keep out of their way.  I speak to my gardener but I do not know him as a friend.  I have no friends and have had no need for any.  My parents are dead, I have a brother but I have not seen him for years.  Mrs Maggs was an important part of my life but she has retired and moved away to live with her son and grandchildren.  I may be a loner but I am content in my life.

A recluse I may be but I am not a hermit.  Is there  difference ?  I did not have any problem driving to Sheffield yesterday and was comfortable being with others at the auction.  Did I not get my own way ?  Is Aaron not now my property ?  I could change the style of my life if I wanted to but I do not want to.  I could get married, I would like to be married and to have children but unless I change my style of life that is never going to happen.  I am not going to change my way of life. I do not think Destiny wants me to change my way of life.

Into this life I am now bringing another human being, someone who will be dependant on me every minute of every day for of the next ten years.  Ten years time, the year 2029, I will be forty-seven years and approaching old age.  Assuming slave ownership works for me what will happen then ?  What will happen when Aaron regains his freedom and leaves my life ?  Common sense is telling me to call the auction house, tell them to keep my money and put Aaron up for sale again but I would then spend the next ten years worried about him and what was happening to him. NO, I can not do that.

It's now seven o'clock in the morning.  Aaron will be ready for his journey south.  I can not stop happening that I which have put into place.  I think I will leave my diary for a few hours, take the dog for a walk and try to forget all about Aaron.

10am I am back at the computer.  I have turned the sat tracker on, not something I usually do when expecting a delivery.  I am always here so it hardly matters what time a delivery turns up but this is different.  Aaron is on the M1 heading South, right now he is just passing Leicester. The tracker says he will be here at 12 noon.

I have been wondering why slaves are kept naked.  To humiliate and humble them ?  Yes, that may be part of it but the philosophy goes deeper.  My dog, Jim, is naked - he never wears clothes as I do.  All animals are naked and a slave is considered to be on the same level of sub-humanity.  Modern day slavery is new, slaves in history were not kept naked but they were different and attitudes were not the same.  Great Britain has been the first country in the world to reintroduce slavery but others are looking on so not doubt will eventually follow the lead.  When I publish this diary perhaps it will influence opinion in non-slave owning countries. It is important I make a success of owning Aaron.

10.45am  I have been down to the summer house to check that everything is ready for Aaron.  It is.  There was fresh bedding, clean towels, food - I could not think of anything else he would need.

11.10am  I am excited with nervous anticipation.  My stomach is in a knot and my pulse is racing.

What shall I say when Aaron gets here ?

Hello - that's a bit basic.

Hello Aaron - not supposed to use his name.  Hello boy -  Hello BOY - HELLO BOY !

Once he is here I will take him down to the summer house, show him what I have put there.  Then we can walk round the grounds, let him meet Jim. Up to the house and give him a tour. The cleaners have already left but Mr Maxwell, the gardener, will be here until five.  I haven't told Mr Maxwell I have become a slave owner.  Perhaps I should go now to find him and explain.

11.40am  I have told Mr Maxwell whose only comment was "Can he help me with my work ?"  Why not, of course he can.

Twenty minutes and he will be here.  The sat tracker confirms 12 noon as the arrival time.  I am going to close the computer.  I'll come back later and tell you what happened when Aaron arrived.

MUCH LATER:  In many of my novels I have spoken about Destiny and how the characters in the stories simply follow the path Destiny has set down for them, I have spoken about Destiny here.  I am not religious, there is no such thing as a god, and there is no such all controlling force as Destiny but I may be wrong.  I have today felt the hand of Destiny upon me.  It's late but before I go to bed I just have to set down all that has happened.

Amidst all the nervous anticipation of Aaron's arrival I completely forgot to open the gate.  The privacy of my home is protected by a high gate, fortunately Mr Maxwell saw the arrival and fortunately I had earlier told him Aaron would be coming, he let the entourage in.  Aaron was delivered in one of those vehicles you see on the road transporting prisoners to and from court.  There was no formality, not even a proper hand over, I did not have to sign anything in taking receipt of my new slave.

"You be a good boy for your master."

"I will," Aaron replied.

"Don't forget to beat him Mr James."

"My name is Jones, Nigel Jones."

"Oh, like that author chap."

"I am that author chap," I said under my breath and smiled.

"Well don't forget to beat him."

I would not be doing that.  I did not reply.

Aaron was completely naked save for the collar about his neck.  He had no possessions at all with him. The lead was handed over, the attendant and driver climbed back into their vehicle and left to make their next delivery.

"We had better go inside,"  I said awkwardly.  "You hold this,"  I handed him the lead, "follow me."

"Yes Master."

We went into the sitting room.

"The first thing we are going to do is to take this off," I spoke as I unfastened the neck collar.  "You won't be needing it any more."

"No Master, Yes Master."

"You have not brought anything wish you ?"

"No Master."

"Why is that ?"

"I do not own anything Master.  Slaves are  not allowed to own anything."

"Well that is going to change in this house."

"Yes Master."

"Here take this,"  I said unfastening a gold rope chain I wear round my own neck. "A welcome gift."

Aaron looked confused and unsure.  "Take it, it belongs to you now."

"Thank you Master."

"Go on, put it on.  This Master stuff has got to change, I am not going to call you BOY, I will call you by your name Aaron and I want you to call me by my name - Nigel"

"Yes Ma........," he hesitated.  "Yes, if that is what you would like."

Throughout this brief conversation I could not help but focussed on his nudity, it was as if our talking took place aside on the main attention.  It had been my intention to have him to eventually wear clothes, I immediately attended to the matter. I handed him my raincoat which was hanging in the hallway.

"We can go now and look at your living quarters."  I explained about the summer house. "But first I need to find you something to put on your feet, you can not go around bare footed."

I found a pair of my own trainers which were slightly too big for him.  "These will have to do for now but tomorrow we will get you something of your own." 

"Yes. Thank You."  He did not call me master but was not able to call me Nigel.

This was a surreal experience for me but I could see poor Aaron's mind was being turned inside out, nothing was as he had been told during his enslavement induction. There was much more I intended to change but would leave things while I waited for him to settle in.  The nudity had been temporarily attended to but a more permanent solution was needed.  He could not believe his eyes when I opened the door to the summer house.

"Master, I mean Nigel, are you sure you want me to live here ?"

"Of course."

"This is so much more than I was told to expect.  Oh I am sorry, I was told not to make conversation only reply to your orders and answer your questions YES or NO. Please accept my apology."

"I have brought you here as a companion, your duties are to look after me as a valet, to organise little things to make me happy. You are not going to be able to do that if we do not engage in conversation.  There are things I want to ask you and you must have things to ask me but we will leave that until you have had a chance to settle in."

"Thank you."

"I'll leave you here alone now to look this place over, take your time then come back up to the house when you are ready and I'll show you round.Do you think you can find your way ?"

"Yes. Yes Nigel."

"I'll be in the sitting room at the front of the house, where we were before.  Come up when you are ready."

"Yes Nigel."

What am I going to do about this naked thing ?Aaron is going to wear clothes, clothes that will also cover up the tattoo on his buttock.  That may be against the rules of slave ownership but Aaron is my property so I will decide.

Aaron returned in just over an hour.  He tapped gently on the sitting room door.  He was holding a sheet of paper.

"You left some paper, pens and pencils - I hope you do not mind, I have used some."

"I put them there for you."

"I made this for you." He held out the sheet of paper for me to take. "It's to say Thank You."

"Oh my god !"  I was astounded.  "You drew this ?"


I had been handed a sheet of A4 paper on which Aaron had created a pencil drawing of myself.

"This is incredible."

"I wanted to be an artist."

"You ARE an artist.  This is fantastic.  Thank you."

One of the things I wanted to talk over with Aaron, something I wanted to clear from my mind, something I had intended to ask him tomorrow now felt important to deal with straight away.

"Sit down please."  I gestured towards a chair.

I wondered if his slavery induction had told him not to sit in the presence of his master, I had to issue the invitation a second time.

"Aaron I want to know what it was you did for the court to pass a sentence of ten years enslavement."

"I stole cars."

Those three words lifted a weight from me.  I had not taken an armed robber our house burglar into my home.

"You stole cars ?"


"But technology these days make car theft impossible."

"Not impossible," he smiled.  "Not if you know how to do it.  I did it, three times."

"But you were caught."

He lowered his head and took his eyes from me.

"I wanted to be caught,"  he said.

"You wanted to be caught ?  You wanted to become a slave."

Still not looking at me Aaron nodded.

"Why ?  For goodness sake why would you do that ?"

"To escape."

"What ?  Who from ?"

"My parents, my family.  Slavery has freed me from them but it has also taken my sister away from me"

What was he talking about.  Before I could ask him he explained.

"My parents belong to a weird religious order, they are Jehovah's Witnesses.  All my life I have tried to escape the all controlling power of the sect.  I was not allowed to go to university, I wanted to study art."

"Couldn't you have walked out, run away from them ?"

"The church is too powerful and far reaching.  I would have been found and returned to them.  I tried to get them to disown me but it just tightened their grip on me. I had to try to help my sister escape as well."

"What did you to ?  To try and have then disown you I mean ?"

"I started making erotic sketches and left them where they could find them."

"What happened ?"

"The church sent me to this place where the devil could be driven out of me.  It is where they cure profanity."

How terrible.

"So I stole some cars and let the court impose its slavery sentence on me.  My parents have now completely disowned me, the church has excommunicated me.  I am free but I have lost my sister, lost her for ever." There were tears in his eyes.

I wanted to grab hold of him, to hug him tightly but I did not.  What a terrible story.  How sad.

"Tell me about your sister."

A tear fell from his eye and on to his cheek. "She is my twin sister, I will never see her again.  She is also free of our parents and the terror of the church but I am so frightened for her."

"What happened."

"My parents told the police she was my accomplice in stealing the cars, she was not but they still charged her. She will be a slave as well now.  I did not plan for that to happen."

"How terrible. I am sorry."

"Would you mind if I asked you something ?"

"Of course, ask away." 

"Your name is Nigel ?"

"It is."

"At the auction they called you Mr Jones so are you Nigel Jones the author ?"

I smiled with relief at the simplicity of his question then nodded my head as I said, "Yes I am."

Time for the conversations to end.  Time for me to show Aaron round the house. Time also to introduce him to Jim. "This is Jim," I explained.  "Jim the dog, more commonly known as JD."

Aaron reached down and patted Jim who appeared to take an instant like to him.

"You can take him for walks, he has the general run of the house and garden but being taken on a lead for a walk is special for him."

Soon enough the neighbourhood would know I have a slave and slaves are supposed to be naked but mine will be clothed.  Another reason to end this nudity.

"Most doors in the house are left open in the summer, only closing to conserve heat when it gets colder.  There is no need to knock before entering a room except for my bedroom, it would be better there if you knocked first."

In the kitchen I explained how I exist on frozen food and ready meals.  "Have a look through what we have, see what you could prepare for dinner tonight.  I have a guest so prepare for two.  I want to eat early so have everything ready by six."

"Yes Nigel."

"We will eat in the dinning room which is through here."

Mr Maxwell has a small radio which he uses if he needs me or visa versa.  I gave a unit to Aaron.  I keep my radio in my pocket, Mr Maxwell has his clipped to his belt.  Aaron has to start wearing proper clothing, where else could he put his radio ?

SATURDAY 8th JUNE 2019: 

2am I am wide awake, in a little while I am going to call Aaron on the radio and ask him to come over but first I need to record the events of the evening.  Destiny has now given me a firm push in the direction it wants me to take.

Precisely on six o'clock Aaron came into the sitting room to announce he had dinner ready to serve.  There are many clocks about the house but I do need to get him a watch. Aaron looked about the room for my guest but there was only myself there.

"Will you be eating alone ?"

"No I told you I have a guest."

"If he has not yet arrived I can hold things back,"

"You are my guest Aaron, shall we eat ?"

The first course was asparagus soup, out of a packet, with hot take and bake rolls.  Still dressed in my old trainers and raincoat I explained that clothing was a priority and tomorrow we would buy all he needed.

"I do not mind being naked,"  he explained, "But you are the master and I am the slave - if you do  not like the sight of my naked body then I will comply with what ever you want me to wear."

"I just want to do what is right,"  I said. "It is not right foe you to be unclothed like an animal.

"You are the master but slavery says it is right for me to be naked."

"This soup is delicious,"  I changed the subject. 

From deep within the freezer Aaron had managed to conjure up a full roast turkey dinner the like of which would grace any Christmas table.

"Did you like the portrait sketch I gave you earlier ?" 

"You  bet I did.  Drawing me from memory and your shortest knowledge of me was brilliant, it looks just like me."

"Thank you.  I hope you will not be offended if I show you these."  He handed me four simple but clever sketches depicting characters in one of my stories.  "It's Di Central Eating,"  he said.

"I can see that.  These are brilliant.  You did them this afternoon as well as preparing dinner ?"

"It wasn't difficult."

"Have you read Di Central Eating ?"

"Who hasn't ?" He smiled.  "We read it in class at school."

"I have read it many times and each time I cry."

"Many people have said that to me,"  I smiled, "which is strange because it is not a sad story." Then changing the subject I said.  "It is such a pity you did not go to art school."

Within the best selling lists I currently hold two places for my children's novels even though I am not really a children's author.  Between them those two books have sold more than three million downloads.

"Chocolate ice cream is my favourite Aaron, a perfect end to the meal."

"There is cheese and biscuits yet. That is if you would like it."

I nodded.  It is going to work out just fine having Aaron here.

After the meal and making arrangements for breakfast Aaron went back to his accommodation in the summer house, I typed up a few thousand words on my latest story, went over all I have written here then checked my website for the latest sales figures.  There had been during the day another one hundred downloads of the Di Central Eating story, is there anyone anywhere in the world who has not read the tale ?I want to write a story about JD - his own autobiography.  Crime thrillers are my favourite and I love to write tales which involve time travel.  Now I have this diary project, I think it will be a success among my readers.

I went to bed relatively early and was soon asleep.  I awoke from a dream where Aaron was at the centre then had one of my serendipity moments.  I am never short of ideas for stories but the best are always those where an idea flashes into my mind with the complete plot and characters all there.  It takes nothing to develop the plot or expand the characters, they are there - all I have to do is write it all down.  The Di Central Eating story was a serendipity moment.  My dream in which there was Aaron fired a serendipity moment like no other.

I grabbed the radio.  "Aaron, Aaron - wake up - I need you right now - come here.  Aaron are you awake ?  AARON !"

If he did not answer I would get out of bed and run down to his summer house to wake him.

"You want me Master ?"  The radio crackled.  "No I want you, it's me Nigel.  Come here straight away, do not bother to knock on the bedroom door just come in."

"I am on my way Mast......, I mean Nigel."

I paced round my room as my mind bubbled with excitement. 

Aaron was clearly astonished when he came into the room. "You are only wearing underpants Master, where is your dressing gown ?  Are you alright ?  Are you ill ?"

"Nigel," I said pointing a finger at him. "Stop this master nonsense."

"Let me get your dressing gown, where is it ?"

"No time for that come and sit down, over here at this table."

Destiny had made it clear what I was to do.

"I am a writer, I have made millions selling downloads of my stories from my own website.  If I had tried to become a writer fifty years ago, say in 1969, I would not have made a penny.  I would not have been able to find a publisher, nobody would have given my stories a second glance.  Even if I could have found the money to print and distribute them myself I could never have been able to market them and sell millions of copies.  The Internet has changed all that, I set up a website which grew of its own accord and continues to grow every day.  We could do the same for you, for your works of art."

"But you have talent, your stories are special."

"Talent !  Perhaps but it is nothing compared to the talent you have.  I have seen just one simple sketch but that is enough to know you have abilities we could use to replicate with your on-line your drawings everything I have achieved with my stories."

"I am better at painting than I am at drawing."

"We need to get a website set up, we can use the same firm as produced mine."

"I know how to write websites."

"Excellent."  I was on a roll so stepped over this comment from Aaron. "You can sell printable downloads of your work for a pound a copy just like I sell stories.  Then, and here's the biggie, you can auction the originals for thousands."

"But how will people find the website ?"

"Aaron I have ten million users on my site, they will also become your ten million. If you illustrate some of my stories you will be famous overnight"

"But my best drawings have been erotic.  I played about with it to annoy my parents and try to get away from them but classical nudity I can do so well."

"A bit like Michelangelo,"  I laughed, "and he did not have the power of the Internet behind him."

"Nigel please let me get your dressing gown."

"Oh yes, perhaps you should.  Inside the wardrobe there, you'll also find a towel bathrobe - you put that on and take that ridiculous raincoat off."

"I want you to take my laptop, log into as many websites you need and order everything you want to set up your studio.  Expense does not matter and pay for special delivery so you can start work within the next few days.  Here's my debit card."

"Are you sure about this Nigel ?  I am your slave after all."

I did not answer him.  "We need to fix a room to be your studio.  My website is nigeljones dot com, we need to decide what yours will be called. Any thoughts ?"

"Not really."

"We can decide later, get all the materials ordered."

Aaron has just left.  I am alone again.  Setting my slave up as a renowned international artist alongside my own fame and fortune as a writer is going to be exciting.  The initial exhilaration within my serendipity moment will be nothing compared with the way this will develop. 

I need to sleep but I doubt I will.  I am going to close my laptop and get back into bed.  Destiny if you have another serendipity moment can you please keep it until the morning.

SUNDAY 9th JUNE 2019:

Destiny, Destiny, Destiny this has been the day on which the deep cunning of your plotting has been revealed.  I did not write anything for this diary on Sunday, I was too busy following the path Destiny has mapped out.  Today. Monday. I am catching up.  I have never liked to use the dictation tool on my laptop, I much prefer to type on the traditional keyboard, I have so much to add to my diary I may well dictate as well as typing.

I did sleep but during that time my brain remained active and sharing one idea after another with me.  I awoke to Aaron gently tapping on my bedroom door.

"I have your breakfast ready."

"Come in." I rubbed my eyes.

"Would you like me to put your breakfast on a tray and bring it in for you ?"

"Yes please and bring a tray for yourself."

Aaron had prepared a full English breakfast. I took my tray on the bed while indicating for Aaron to sit and eat at the table, the table where the night before I had expounded my ideas for Aaron's future as an artist.

"The room I use for my study,"  I began, "is one of two guestrooms which are linked with an adjoining door.  The second is still a bedroom but never used, that can be your studio.  On Monday we can ask Mr Maxwell to clear the furniture out."

"I can do that,"  Aaron replied, "that is if you will allow me to."

"You are going to need a computer to set up and run your sales website.  I suggest we go and buy what you need this morning.  Have you come up with a name for the website yet ?"

"No but I am a slave, correct ?"

I nodded.

"Surely part of the appeal for my work will be the fact that I am a slave,  I mean people will want to own a painting or a sketch by a slave, so we need to some how incorporate that into the website design and name.  Slaves are kept naked, everyone knows that, slaves have their mark tattooed on their bottom.  I was thinking we should design the site logo and the way I sign my works using my tattoo and registration number, I am slave number Vd56y.  We could even call the website"

"It could work."  I was not certain but there was a possibility. "You are not going to be naked though."

"If we set up a series of webcams about the studio, three or perhaps four, and broadcast into the website when I am working people could watch.  A slave live on cam painting, I think people will flock to log in."


"I want you to come with me to buy the computer."

"Thank you."

Aaron was relaxing into my way of life, he has not been here for long at all, but this is clearly not what his enslavement induction prepared him for.  Calling me master has been sorted - well almost - but he does not naturally call me Nigel.

"You can not go with me to PC World wearing just my old trainers and a raincoat, you can wear some of my clothes."

"Thank you.  I will need to have my registration number on view."

"NO !  You can cover that up as well."

"But what if.........."

"We'll drive to a branch some distance away, nobody will know who we are - just two guys buying a computer."

"The assistant will recognise your name from your debit card, everyone know the name of Nigel Jones."

"We'll pay cash,"  I smiled.  "We'll find somewhere for lunch and make a day of it."

"If that is what you want."

"It is.  Now go and chose something from my wardrobe to wear."

Where to go to buy Aaron's computer ?  Luton, that would do it.  I know where the Luton branch of PC World is.  Luton is hardly a sophisticated town, not one where there would be an abundance of Nigel Jones fans.  You are probably, quite rightly, guessing I do not like Luton - dreadful place.  In one of my stories I refer to it as Chav City, chavs it has in abundance but a city it is not.  Yes it would suffice for our computer purchase but not for somewhere to have lunch.  I am not accustomed to eating out, I like my food but am not adventurous.  If we want somewhere where we can slip in and out without being recognised then perhaps McDonald's would be the place to go.  No Pizza Hut that is where we will go.

"Is it alright if I wear this ?"  Aaron came back in dressed in a tracksuit.

"You look fine."

"I have not worn clothing since I was sentenced.  It feels strange."

Get used to it, I said silently to myself. Destiny placed a hand on my shoulder and whispered into my ear.

I do not go out very often, there is no need, the journey to the Sheffield auction had been a major expedition for me and now I was about to drive my car for a second time in a week.  Although he obviously could drive, after all was he not a car thief, I could not ask Aaron to take the wheel of my Jaguar.  I instructed the satellite navigation to take the most direct route to the Luton branch of PC World, set the auto drive controls then off we set.

"I lead a strange life,"  I said.  "My writing inhabits me in a world of fantasy.  Selling downloads places me into the cyber world of the Internet.  Until you came here I did not spend a lot of time in reality."

"Is that why you bought me ?  You did spend a lot of money."

"I don't really know why I decided to buy a slave,"  I said partly in honesty and partly telling a lie.  I had not decided for myself to become a slave owner,  Destiny had decided for me.

"The world my family live in,"  Aaron explained, "is a fantasy world of superstition and the lack of reality, religion wraps round those who are foolish to believe the rubbish it suggests."

"You would sacrifice your freedom to become a slave in order to escape ?"

"Without hesitation but the life you are giving me is not slavery as those who advocated its reintroduction planned it. I hope my sister is as lucky as I am."

Change the subject.

"I want to start writing spy thrillers,"  I explained.  "So many spy stories are set in the Cold War and that all happened more than a generation ago so many readers may have difficulty relating to plots. It's religious extremism that poses today's threat."

"All religion is foolish," Aaron said, "some of religion is dangerous, more dangerous than anything the Cold War offered."

"I agree,"  I said.  "If jihad fighters could get hold of weapons of mass destruction there would be no hesitation in using them."

"Not just Islamic fighters, sects like that my family subscribe to would consider wiping out thousands of sinners at a single stroke as doing god's work."

"Your destination is twenty minutes away," the satellite navigation unit interrupted our conversation.

Change the subject again.

"You are going to need models to pose for you as you draw."  It wasn't a question, a statement.

"No, not really."

"But how.......?"

"When you write you have a basic idea then you develop that with your creative mind and imagination."

"I suppose so."

"I can do the same.  I know what people in general look like, I simply adjust things in my mind."  He smiled.

This was probably the most relaxed conversation Aaron and I have so far had.  It was interrupted by the sat nav !

"Your destination is ahead on the right."

DAMN, I cursed silently.

Inside PC World Aaron selected a laptop but a Mac, not a Windows machine.  "Windows is rubbish, too unreliable with too many programmes launched without proper testing."

Few would disagree with him on that subject.

"Do you think I should buy a Mac as well ?"

"If you only want to use it to write your stories and upload them to your website then Windows is good enough, but if you want to do more then forget it and change to Mac."

"We'll have two the same then,"  I said.

Aaron's relaxed attitude towards me was continuing in the store.  That was good.

"I am going to need four wireless free webcams to place in the studio,"  Aaron said as he scanned the display then picking out what he wanted.

"Get what ever you need."

"Have you ever thought about adding a live webcam to your story website ?"

"I wouldn't know how to do that ?"

"Let people see you writing, position it over your shoulder so people can see the laptop as you write.  You type rather than dictate ?"


"Give it a try."

I could see how those who would log into Aaron's website would be attracted to watch an artist at work but a view over the shoulder of a  writer rattling letters on an old fashioned keyboard was not likely to have the same appeal but I agreed to give it a try.

Perhaps it was having Aaron outside the environment of the house that changed his outlook and opened up his conversation, all I can say was his calm  attitude towards me made me feel more relaxed and comfortable.

Ah problem !

I had drawn what I guessed to be enough cash, more than enough cash for our purchases so I did not have to use my card and disclose my identity but buying two laptops took the purchase over the amount of cash I had in my pocket.  I know what you are thinking,  I know what you are thinking, how by using my card to make a purchase will reveal my identity as Nigel Jones the author and now slave owner ?  But it will leave a trail which someone may pick up and use.  Just imagine if the tabloid media found out.  But I was thinking rubbish, too much time as a recluse.  I paid with my card, loaded everything into the car and was ready to leave.

"Time to eat,"  I said.

"There's a McDonald's over there,"  Aaron pointed.  "We can go to the drive through."

"Don't worry about it,"  I said.  "I am being silly about my identity, we can go anywhere."

"You are the master,"  Aaron said. So was he relaxing in my company or was he not ?  "But if we go to McDonald's and eat in the car we will be back sooner and we can start setting up the studio.  If that is OK with you ?"

"Relax Aaron, of course it is."

The moment we got home, the moment I pulled up the car and Aaron got out he became my slave again.  While we had been away there had been a hint, just a hint of a change but home again he was once more slave number Vd56y.

As a writer I take a plot, a story with a beginning, a middle and an end.  I then bring in characters to walk through the plot, characters who I develop and with whom I have other characters interacting but this is different and I am not sure my idea of keeping a diary is working.

Writing these words I have no idea where the story is going.  One minute I think I understand Aaron then the next I simply do not have a clue.  When I plan a story I seldom brainstorm ideas to get a plot, stories come to me in an instant - what I call a serendipity moment.  Perhaps I do brainstorm subconsciously somewhere within my head where thoughts move at the speed of light.  Here, as I read what I have so far written it appears as a jumbled mess, a brainstorm gone wrong,  but these are my thoughts as they are when I wrote them down.  There is a danger these thoughts may become irrelevant, confusing and not actually a part of the story I am trying to tell.  As an example look at the silly nonsense I have written about not wanting to use my debit card.  At the time I wrote the words they made sense in my mind but now they are gibberish.  Should I go back and edit them out ?  If I do that then this ceases to be a diary.  Should I abandon the idea of a diary and write a traditional story about Aaron and myself.  But what is that story ?  I don't know yet.

Over all of this looms the hand of Destiny.  I can feel it there, sometimes it gently steers then at others it is pushing hard to send events in the direction it insists they go.  Destiny do you know where this story is going ? There is more in your plot than you are revealing.

10pm Aaron has gone to bed. I will soon sleep but first need to make this diary entry,

As I was typing up those words in the four paragraphs above I felt a hand gently rest on my head.  It was Aaron.

"Are you alright ?"  He said softly.  "Do you mind me asking ?  You look stressed and did not notice me come in."

"You are very kind for asking Aaron.  Yes I am fine.  It's just this story I am writing, it's proving difficult and stressing me a bit.  Do not worry."

"Would you allow me to help ?  Not with the story I mean but a head massage would ease your worries."

"Thank you, yes that would be nice."

My slave, NO Aaron, stood behind me,  I could not see him but my senses pictured him.  As I closed my eyes it was as if I floated somewhere behind and above us both to look down on all that was happening yet my sense of touch, my sense of feeling, was firmly within my body.  Aaron's fingers moved gently but firmly across my scalp, electricity ran up and down my spine creating the most marvellous sensation.  Within moments the worries of my writing faded to insignificance. It was if some magical force was leaving Aaron's fingers, penetrating my scull them massaging my mind itself.  I could feel the aura of his body behind me, in my mind I could see us both.  Everything felt like  a dream but it was not.  I can not say for how long Aaron's therapeutic soothing touch continued, time was not a factor.  When he finished all the stress was gone, I was a new person.  Now I am going to sleep and dream the night away.

MONDAY 10th JUNE 2019:

Aaron is my slave, if I order him to he would repeat that head massage from yesterday but would it be so effective if delivered by a slave ?  When Aaron soothed my cares away it was almost as if he were a friend.  I am going to stop writing these thoughts down before my diary descends into silly gabble again. 

We have a busy day ahead of us.  I have to learn how to use a Mac after wrestling with Microsoft all my life, I am hoping there is not that much difference.  Well actually I am hoping it will be different, the rubbish of Windows to be replaced with a better system while the operation remains the same.  Aaron is going to set up the single webcam so people can watch me write.  I don't think many will.  On the other hand hundreds each day will log in to watch a slave artist in his studio. He is next door setting up his laptop and four webcams.  All of the artist materials are due to be delivered this morning.  Aaron has to start writing his website.  Yes we have a busy day ahead of us.

Aaron has just come into the room so I am going to stop writing.  I'll come back later.


Aaron wanted me to look at how he has set up the webcams and where he planned to put the easel and paint table.  "Is that alright with you ?"

"How ever you want things will be fine."

"But I need to check with you."

No he didn't but I kept silent.

"Do you mind if I ask you if you are feeling better today ?"

"Wonderful, thank you, your fingers have magic within them."

"Can I ask if the story is now going well ?"

"You can ask and it is, thank you."

"Perhaps one day you will write a story about me."

I blushed, my face growing deeper in red like the warming bar of an old fashioned electric fire.  I did not blush because I am actually now writing a story about Aaron but because Destiny threw a thought into my head.

"Oh I am so sorry Master,"  Aaron said, "it was wrong of me to suggest it."

"Aaron please call me Nigel, not Master."

"I am sorry, you have asked me before not to call you that but it is hard to get out of the way the slavery induction beat things into me."

"We have time Aaron and yes I will certainly write a story about you.  I promise."

"We have ten years," he said trying to smile.

A slave owner can sell on a slave at any time, I have no intention of selling Aaron, but he can only grant the slave freedom after fifty percent of the sentence has passed. Even then a penalty fee of ten times the original purchase prices has to be paid.  To free a slave without this would make a mockery of the court's punishment.  I have owned Aaron since last Friday, we have plenty of time.

With Destiny hammering at my brain yet not telling me what it wanted, I went with Aaron to look at his preparations in his studio, as soon as I stepped inside the delivery van arrived.  Rather than let the driver see a slave I signed for everything and stood the numerous packages in the hallway.  I then helped Aaron take everything upstairs and left him alone to sort the contents while I came to type up these few hundred words.

Destiny you are dancing round me aren't you ?  What are you up to ?


Having been inside all morning with the air conditioning maintaining the house at a constant, comfortable temperature I had not realised how hot it was outside.  I took JD for a little walk, the moment we stepped outside the door we were hit by a wall of heat.  I guess this is what people call FLAMING JUNE although the temperature was more something I would have associated with August and August in countries with a warmer climate.  Typical of a British man to talk about the weather but actually it was too hot to stay outside for long.  Back inside JD made straight for his water bowl and I for a can of beer in the fridge.  I picked up two and took one up to Aaron.

"Wow this looks impressive."  The studio was set out with everything in place.  "I am sure Michelangelo would have been happy working in here."

"Just imagine if he had a website,"  Aaron smiled.

"Do you have a favourite artist ?"  I asked.

"L S Lowry,"  Aaron replied without hesitation, "although his style is nothing like my own."

"The matchstick man, yes I know of him."

"So who is your favourite artist ?"

"I am not sure I have one at the moment but fairly soon I think it will be a young man by the name of Aaron."  I do not know his surname. I owned him, he was my slave yet I do not know his full name.

"When are you going to start ?"  I asked.

"With your permission I will try paining this afternoon.  Then later I will take the laptop down to the summerhouse with me and work on the website before I sleep.  If that is alright with you of course."

"Aaron I will support you in any way you want with this venture.  Please know that."

"Thank you."

"I'll leave you for a while then come back later and see how you are getting on."


The temperature outside has reached thirty-five degrees.  Mr Maxwell came in to say it was too hot to work, he was going home and would be back in the morning.  Not that I minded but after all I am his employer and will be paying him for the time he has been away this afternoon so perhaps he should have asked permission rather than state a fact.  I wish Aaron did not seek permission and my approval all the time.

The phone rang.  It was the slave unit at Sheffield.

"Just a courtesy call to ask Mr Jones how you are getting on with your boy."


"No problems ?"

"No problems at all, he is settling in well."

"Have you beaten him yet ?"

I hesitated then lied. "Yes, of course, within a few hours of his being here."

"Excellent.  Now if you need anything, anything at all you can call us."

"I will do that. Thank you."

Aaron will find it hard to sleep tonight, there is no air conditioning in the summer house.

I have only just realised we have not had any lunch, oh I feel bad - Aaron would never ask no matter how hungry he was.  I am going to break off from writing and head to the kitchen.


I picked up the radio,  "Aaron I am fixing something to eat, what would you like ?"

"Anything you wish."

"But what would you like ?"

"I really do not mind."

"I am not very good in the kitchen, I'll send out for something.  Do you like Chinese ?"

"Love it."

I was so much wanting to see what Aaron was painting but I kept my patience until the food was delivered. When I opened the door it was hotter than ever.  The driver made some comment about it and said he was sorry they did not have ice cream on the menu.  With anticipation surging round my body I took the food up to Aaron's studio.

I had expected to see a work in progress, that was silly of me.  Aaron had a canvas on the easel but nothing on it.  He had a series of pencil sketches where he had been playing around with ideas ready to commit to the canvas.

"If it would help I am happy to hire models for you."

"That will not be needed."

"Let's eat."

As I type up these notes it has gone very dark outside, a thunderstorm is on the way.  I am going to pick up the radio and speak to Aaron.

"Aaron are you still in the studio or have you gone down the garden ?"

"I'm back in the summer house."

"Good there's a storm on the way.  If you have any problems down there you call me."

"I will but I'll be fine.  Thank you.  Thank you for everything."

TUESDAY 11th JUNE 2019:


That was the most terrible night I can remember and yet it was the most special night ever.  Aaron is  still sleeping, I awoke about twenty minutes ago and came to my laptop to record the events of the last twelve hours.  Ok Destiny I give up you win !

I went to bed at about ten o'clock.  The thunder storm started at about half past.  There is something I find majestic in the awesome power of a thunder storm, well that used to be the case - I am not so certain now.  With the curtains open the night sky flashed and illuminating my room moments after each flash the crack of the thunder shook the walls.  The distance between the flash and the crack of each explosion was getting shorter then came one where their timing coincided.  It was as if that thunder clap was condensed into the space of my ears, so loud it was.  The flash of the lighting made the room brighter than day.  The security lights in the garden came on, the bolt of lightning must have triggered the sensors.  With the explosion still echoing round the room the radio crackled to life.

"Nigel, Master - HELP !"

I leaped from my bed, thrust my feet into a pair of shoes, grabbed my dressing gown and raced down the garden to the summer house.  "No, No,"  I screamed.  "Aaron !"

The lightning bolt had struck a large tree, bringing it down on top of the summer house and flattening much of the building to the ground.  Flames were lapping on one side of the crushed summer house.  I tore the dressing gown from my back and began futilely to beat the flames.  "Aaron," I screamed.

"It's alright I am here."

I ran the few paces to him, threw my arms round him and pulled him to me.  "Thank god, are you alright ?"

"I am a bit shaken up but alright.  I don't think we should be thanking god, my parents would say this is a sign from the lord."

"Stuff the lord ! Oh Aaron. Aaron, Aaron."  I pulled him closer to me. "Come inside quickly."

I took his hand and headed back up the garden.  My heart was pounding like crazy.  JD came running out, bounded to Aaron and licked him.

"See he is relieved as well."

"We should call the fire brigade."

A fire crew attended and quickly doused the flames.  I was still in my rain sodden pyjamas and dressing gown when they arrived. Aaron had discretely moved himself to his studio.  I offered to make them coffee but they politely declined.

"Would you like me to find some dry clothes for you ?"  Aaron asked.

"Later, perhaps later.  Come here you."

I embraced him again, my friend.

"Should I sleep in the studio tonight ?"

"No way !  You are sleeping in the house in your own room, come on."  I took his hand and made our way to Mrs Magg's former bedroom..

Aaron looked surprised.

"In the morning you can change this room to make it your new home. I will show you the story I have been writing about you and you can start work on becoming a world famous artist."

"Really ?"

"And something more."

Aaron looked at me, our eyes meeting. It was as if he could read my thoughts before I turned them into words.

"Tomorrow, tomorrow you and I together will hire a private investigator to locate your sister."

"Andrea ?"

"Is that her name ?  When we find her I will buy her, no matter what it costs, from her owner. She will then come and live here as part of our family."

Is that OK with you Destiny ?

1st August 2024

That is where my original story ended. It sold five million download sales which is just as well as Andrea's owner drove a very hard bargain.  She came into my house as the new Mrs Maggs but that role lasted but a few weeks. We employed a new live in cook housekeeper, Mrs Attwood, who is still here and like a mother to us all. 

Aaron is my best and dearest friend, we are like brothers. You will know him, of course, his artistic talents are famous.

Andrea became my secretary and supported me as an internet author, she even dabbled at illustrating some of my stories. I have always hoped Aaron would illustrate some of my work but he is in so much demand the world over it has never happened.  It was not long before Andrea and I became lovers. That was always your plan wasn't it Destiny ?

It is now three thirty on what I know will be a beautiful summer day. At nine o'clock Aaron and Andrea will receive their legal freedom from slavery. I have paid that which was demanded and the paperwork has been completed.  At two o'clock this afternoon Andrea and I are to be married. Aaron, of course, is best man.  He is getting on a bit now but JD will walk down the aisle with Andrea as a page boy. 

You got your way didn't you Destimy ? Thank you Destiny, with all my heart Thank You.

I noticed him as soon as he walked in.  The similarity was so close, save for the moustache which was absent.  I avoided staring, it obviously was not him, he had been dead for ages.

Continuing eating this was naughty, it was my third visit to this branch of the international fast food chain in a week.  Usually I would eat a burger and fries at most once a week, as much as I enjoy it I could not live entirely on a fast food diet. It was strange to be there for a third time in one week but circumstances within my daily routine took me there.  If my intended schedule had run to plan none of this which I am about to share with you would have happened.

Or would it ?

"Would you mind if I sat with you ?"  As he approached I could not help but tell my brain no matter how close the resemblance it could not be him but then as he spoke, inviting himself to sit with me the voice, that was not similar, it was the same. Exactly the same.

"Please," I indicated with my hand for him to sit down.

"You are Nigel Jones aren't you ?" He said unpacking his meal from its paper cartons then giving all a liberal sprinkling of salt. "Nigel Jones the writer ?"

"I am."

"Well fuck me, I thought it was you.  I  am dining with a fucking world famous writer darling !"

When he was alive he had been known for his excessive use of the F Word. Who ever this look-alike was his voice and what he said with that voice were exactly in character.

"Has anyone ever told you," I began, "that you look like....."

He cut me short preventing the full question. "Only my mother," he smiled.  "That's a line from one of your stories isn't it ?"

"Yes,"  I confirmed, "it's from Dickie Williams."

"Fucking amazing story that.  I bet William Shakespeare is bricking it in his grave in case it becomes a bigger love story than his Romeo and Juliet."

Who was this person ? The looks, his voice and effervescent swearing made it clear who he was but, of course, it was not him.

"I want to be a writer," he continued. "Could you help me get started ?"

"I could but really all you have to do,"  I paused, "is to do it."

"I have read everything you have written, you are an on-line fucking superstar."

"You flatter me."

"I want to be a superstar."  It had been at least forty seconds since he had last sworn so out came the word again.  "A fucking superstar."  Then he changed the sentence slightly, "I am going to be a fucking superstar."

How was I supposed to answer that ?

"So will you help me ?"

"If you want me to of course I will."

"Excellent, thank you.  I'd better fuck off and start writing."  He stood up. "I'll come back when I have something for you to read darling."

And with that the greatest rock star who ever lived was gone leaving me to clear his meal cartons and return his tray. He would comne back when he had something to show me ?  I would never see him again. 

At home I had three of his CD's.  I put one on, turned up the volume, closed my eyes and reflected on our brief time together.

In two of my stories I have used quantum physics as a way to bring time travel into the writing. I do not pretend in any way at all to understand but I know quantum mechanics will allow an object to be in more than one place at any given time.  There is not one single universe but a multiverse with an infinite number of space and time dimensions allowing almost anything and everything to happen. It is possible for something to be both alive and dead at the same time. But the way I had used the theory in my stories was fiction.  It was not a way to share a burger and fries with a dead rock star in a fast food restaurant.

The phone chirped signifying a message. "Thanks Nigel, talking with you was really good. Thank you for your time,"

I started to reply before asking myself how on earth did he get hold of my number ?  Something very strange was going on.  It was to become stranger.

I did not send him a text.  Using the number he had messaged me from I called him. I said Hello then addressed him by his name.

"Hello Nigel."

"How come you know my number ?"

"Sorry did my text offend you darling ?"

"No, of course not.  I just wondered how come you know it and how, if it is you, you are able to speak with me when you are dead ?"

There was silence for a few moments then ignoring my first question he answered the second.

"Nigel in my previous career I said I wanted to be a legend.  You can not become a legend until you are dead.  I have decided on my pen name by the way."

"What is it ?"

"Rudolph Cadwallader."

"That sounds ridiculous."

"Well fuck you," was his reply, a rely given with a smile in the tone of his voice. "Rudolph after Rudolph Nureyev."

"Not the red nosed reindeer then."

"Nigel take me seriously will you.  One day in another life, in another version of the multiverse, I will become a ballet dancer the equal of Rudi Nureyev."

"So where does Cadwallader come from ?  That isn't a name."

"Oh yes it is.  I used to have a roadie whose name was Alex Cadwallader, we always called him Cad.  I quite fancied him if truth be known but before you ask - NO I didn't."

"Didn't what ?"

"Fuck him."

"Oh, I see."

That four letter word I seldom use but in the short time I had known Rudi he had used it more times that I would expect of myself in an entire  year.

"Time to go, I want to start writing.  I'll call you when I have something for you to read. Goodnight Nigel."

"Good night Rudi."

Why did I have to go to that particular fast food restaurant at the precise time I did ? If I had not then none of this would be happening.  My life, I knew, was going to be turned upside down. But within an infinite number of universes I had to be there, Destiny would have made it impossible for the encounter not to have happened.

I took myself off to bed and was soon a asleep and dreaming. My dream was a kaleidoscope, one beautiful pattern of events gently changing to another.  I have never taken drugs in my life but I think they would present life in this beautiful way.  My new friend was in each pattern.  Friend ?  Dare I call him my friend ?The world's greatest rock star, yes he was my friend. No I don't have any friends, not in my life as I live it.  No room for friends.

Rudi Cadwallader, the kaleidoscope turned a new pattern. Rudi, I could never think of him as Rudolph, was a nice name. My dream moved gently through my mind.  I knew next to nothing about Rudi Nureyev, yes I did know he was a ballet dancer but I had no interest in ballet.  My friend obviously did.

Cadwallader, that was an awkward sounding name. Was it Welsh ?  It certainly was not a word, a name, that would be easily forgotten once it had been heard. Could the same be said about my friend's musical stage name ? Yes, but not to the same extent as his real name.  All of his fans knew his real name.

The kaleidoscope turned again and told me the phone was about to ring, told me with at least ten minutes warning. In those moments I decided I had to completely forget I was dealing with a world famous rock star, that was not part of this particular multiverse, instead this was an aspiring writer by the name of Rudi Cadwallader.

One more turn of the dream and the kaleidoscope allowed the phone to ring.

"Rudi," I said, "do you know what tine it is."

"Fuck that ! Listen Nigel I've someone I want you to meet and I've written the first chapter of my book.  Can we come over darling ?"

He may have phrased what he said as a question but it was actually a statement of intent to which no answer was needed.

I started to explain where I lived but Rudi cut me short. "No need for directions," Rudi said, "we are parked outside."

How did he know where I lived ?

"This is Daphne - my secretary," Rudi said introducing the young woman he had brought with him, "but she likes to be called Daffy.  Don't ask my why. Fucking silly name if you ask me, sounds like a duck."  That from a man who wanted to be called Rudolph Cadwallader.

Daphne smiled a sympathetic smile as if to apologise for her employer.

"Right I'll be off, I'll leave you two to it.  Daphne has the manuscript."

"You are going ?" I said.

"Nigel dear it's three o'clock in the morning, time I was in bed."

Again Daphne gave me a sympathetic and apologising smile.  Rudi was then gone as quickly as he was there, leaving we two strangers to get to know each other.

"Some people think," Daphne began, "the world revolves round them.  I don't know if he thinks that or not but when he was a rock star it certainly did. Now as a writer it will soon be exactly the same."

"You knew him before ?"  I said.

"Oh yes, I was his secretary then."


"We had a good time then. Sorry..." She paused. "I didn't mean it like that."

"Like what ?"

"I didn't sleep with him," she hastily explained.  "Lots of people did but I didn't."  Drawing breath Daphne raced into an explanation. "He was bi-sexual, he had a boyfriend AND a girlfriend.  He loved them both.  He had sex, of course, he had sex all over the place. Everyone knows that, it's no secret but there was never any love in sex.  He had friends, the band members, me - we were his friends. We were close and there was a friendship but never any sex. That could never have worked. "  She raced through her explanation almost tripping over her words to get them out.

How could I answer that.  I didn't.

"How that man survives on two, three or at the most four hours sleep a night I'll never know.  It was just the same before. If he got an idea into his head he'd call me no matter what the time. He'll become every bit as famous in this dimension as a writer as he did before as a singer.  Look."

She handed me the manuscript. I flicked the pages. There were about 20 of them typed with double spacing between the lines' I picked out a few sentences from which I instantly knew I was reading something special.  I returned to page one and started to read properly.

"Wow !"

"Is it good ?"  Daphne asked. "Do you think it is ?"

Those few pages contained only the first part of the story's introduction, neither a plot had been set down nor any character properly introduced but I was holding a work of genius.

"Put it this way," I said.  "I have readers for my stories in fifty-seven countries of the world and I am very proud of that but I could never, never write as good as this.


"My stories appear on-line, they are free to read but people can make a donation if they enjoy the tale. Some do, most don't but I earn a minimum of ten thousand pounds a month.  When Rudi starts to put his work on the Internet, if he does the same as I do, he'll make ten times what I do."

"So do we not need to do any editing to the manuscript then ?"

"No, it's perfect."

"Then I can go home and back to my bed.  I'm not a night person, I'm not a morning person, I am middle of the day person.  If I don't get some sleep I'll be completely useless. I'd better call a taxi."

"Where do you live."

Daphne shrugged her shoulders then explained where her home was.

"God,"  I exclaimed, "that's miles away. Even if you can find a taxi at this  time of the night it'll take you ages to get home. Stay here, I've a spare room."

"Oh I don't want to put you to any trouble."

"No trouble at all.  I'm not letting you go all that way before you can sleep."

"Thank you."

Back in my own bed I found myself thinking more about Daphne than Rudi. Rudi was an idol, almost unreal in his mysticism. Daphne was every bit as real as I was, as real as either of us could be in a new multiverse dimension. Although my mind was jumping all over the place I was soon asleep again, this time the kaleidoscope had a new colour in Daphne which with every turn brought her into greater prominence in my dream.

I have been married twice.  I have been divorced twice. My first marriage lasted a year, the second six months.  I am my own person.  There will not be a third marriage, failed or successful.  I do not view people as men or women, just people. I ignore any aspects of character or sex which would may be appealing to me.  I avoid friendships and am content with acquaintances.  I am aware that in the notes I have so far typed I have explained Rudi as a friend, he of course is not, I will have to go back and edit that.

I heard Daphne's door open. I was awake. I got up to find out if she was alright. The landing light was on and there she was.

"Oh I am sorry,"  I said.

"No I am sorry," she explained.  "I was just going to the bathroom."

I was a little embarrassed. I always sleep in my underpants so my modesty was covered but little else. What did she think of me ?

"Do you think we should go through his manuscript ?  He will expect us to even if there is nothing to change.  I'm wake now and doubt I will go back to sleep."

"If you are sure.  I'll make us some coffee.  Would you like to borrow a dressing gown ?"

"I'm fine but if you have a spare one to hand," she smiled.

Returning upstairs, I clothed myself in that I had taken off earlier, then with a tray holding a cafeteria, bowl of sugar, jug of milk and two mugs I found Daphne had returned to her room.  The door was ajar, balancing the tray I gently tapped on the door before entering.  Daphne was propped up against pillows on the bed. .

"I should have asked how you like your coffee,"  I said placing the tray on a table.

"Black with no sugar,"  Daphne explained.

"Same as me."

"Great minds think alike."

I pulled a chair against the bed and tried not to look too much at her body and imagine what lay beneath the dressing gown.  I gave my mind a kick and forced it to return to the usual way I regard others.

"How about I read the manuscript and you stop me if you have any comments as we go along ?"

Daphne's face changed as I read the story.  Sometimes she would frown and at others smile but never did she invite me to pause.  Only when I had finished speaking did she make any comment.

"The songs he wrote,"  Daphne began, "are true masterpieces but listen to them as many times as you will it is impossible to understand everything.  I rather think it will be the same with his story writing."

"Did he ever ask you to look at a song while the composition was in progress ? Like he has done with this story ?"

"No.  The band members would have had an input but only with the music.  Rudi always had complete control over the words."

"I see."

"He once told me that he was The Great Pretender but I don't know what he meant by that.  This is going to be a love story isn't it ?"  Daphne said. "From what he has so far written I mean."

"I think that is the direction the introduction is pointing."

"None of his songs were love stories,"  Daphne observed. "There's love in them but it's not the sentimental love of most songs."

I began to think of the songs I had in my CD collection. I ran through them in my mind.  What she was saying was right.

There was a pause then Daphne said, "I've never been in love so I am not really certain what love is."

"I have,"  I said in reply, "and every time it has caused me pain.  Terrible pain."

Just for one brief moment our eyes met before we both turned them away. As tiny a moment yet within it it was as if thoughts passed between us.

"Rudi had a boyfriend and a girlfriend,"  Daphne said.  "He always said love was no respecter of gender.  I do not know if he was right or not about that.  I could love a man as a brother or a woman as a sister but any physical expression of love would have to be with a man."

There was a need for me to answer that, to give an opinion but before I could speak the phone rang.

"Good morning Nigel," Rudi said. "Are you looking after Daphne darling ?  Daffy," Rudi clarified. "Don't know why she insists on that fucking duck name - Daphne sounds much better. You are taking care of her for me ?"

That was a strange thing to say.

"I've got the next couple of thousand words written. Get the breakfast going and I'll bring it round."

"Which do you prefer,"  Daphne asked, "shower or bath ?"

"Bath,"  I said.

"You take a bath, I'll use the shower.  If I know Rudi he will be here very soon so best hurry."

"What's for breakfast then ?" Rudi asked with a smile.

"What would you like ?"

"Roast beef, Yorkshire pudding and rich gravy," he giggled then added, "I could murder a bacon sandwich."

"So bacon sarnies all round then."

"I've written more." Rudi handed me a bundle of papers.

"We can take a look once we have finished breakfast.  We really enjoyed the first part, you set the scene in a unique and clever way.  Daphne and I can't wait to see how you build the characters on that."

"Thank you but I am afraid you will have to read this next bit on your own.  I am going to have to take Daffy away from you, I need her help with something."

"Oh. OK."

"Don't look like that.  I'll bring her back this evening then you can read it to her."

What he was saying definitely ended there but I could have sworn I heard the words in bed together tonight.

No !  NO !  No !

I gave myself a metaphorical shake to rid the thought from my mind then gave the side of my face a slap for thinking it in the first place.

"Time for another coffee darling then Daffy and I will have to take our leave of you."

I have lived alone for many years - ever since my second divorce. I like the solitary life which works well for me as a writer.  I have had house guests, of course I have, but am always glad  when they are gone and I am alone again.  With Daphne no longer there the house was empty.  I tried to work but my mind lost all of its creativity. I took a CD of Rudi's music, inserted it into the audio system and clicked MIX. The system selected The Great Pretender as the first track to play. As it neared the end I pressed another button so the song would repeat.  Unlike many of his songs the words were easy to follow, perhaps it was because it was a cover of the 1955 hit recorded by The Platter and not from the genius of my friend.  (Stop using that word ! Friend.) Why was this piece of music making its way into my life ?

I was not glad when I closed the door behind Rudi and Daphne. Far from it. The house felt cold and void of everything now that they were gone.  I mean Daphne not Rudi. Daffy - I really do not like that name.  Rudi always calls her Daphne, I think I am going to start calling her Daff. You know like a daffodil, a beautiful spring flower.

I tidied up the kitchen, sprayed an aerosol to mask the smell of bacon then made another cup of coffee. Rudi's manuscript was calling to me, demanding I pick it up and read it.  Three paragraphs into the narrative and the hairs on the back of my neck began to prick.  Another two pages and my spine was tingling as micro electric shocks ran up and down the vertebrae.

"This is all about me,"  I said aloud.

Rudi was not using my name - Nigel - but instead calling me John.   Daphne was there in the story with me but she wasn't Daphne nor even Daffy but Daffodil.  I had only just decided I would call her Daffodil so how ever did Rudi know ?

Everything outside the words on those printed sheets of paper was gone. Everything in the universe, this universe, was right then centred entirely on Rudi's story.  The writer's style was brilliant, genius even, gripping me to read on. My heart beat faster and faster with every page I turned.

I was reading fiction, the product of Rudi's imagination but fiction the writer was projecting towards fact. The kaleidoscope I had turning the colours of my dream was now doing the same for my waking. When I had finished reading Rudi's story that kaleidoscope was hurling one psychedelic cascade after another.  My thought were racing in several directions at once as Rudi's words knotted my stomach in anticipation. Why was he doing this ?

I have never needed love - perhaps that is why my two marriages failed, neither to give it nor receive it yet I always found it so easy to write love stories, by far it is my favourite genre within which to work. Does that make me a fraud ?  Did it make my writing false - a fake ?  If it was then how is it when I publish a love story it instantly becomes a best seller and earns me far more money than anything else, even fetish content ? Was I pretending ?  Was I a pretender ?  Was I Rudi's great pretender ?.

What a strange day.  My emotions were turned upside down.  No longer did I want to live a solitary life.  The house was empty and I was lonely.  That was something new to me.  I longed for Rudi to come back and return Daffodil to me.

Did she love me ?

I hoped so.

Did I love her ?

I certainly wanted to.

The day crawled by.  I tried to work but writing was stopped by an impenetrable mental block.  I tried to listen to music but the only sound in my ears was Rudi singing and telling me I was The Great Pretender.

I read Rudi's manuscript over and over but it was the next chapter I wanted - I needed. I wanted not only to read what Rudi would write but I needed to live through it.  What if Rudi did not return ?  What if he did not bring Daffodil with him ?  What if this was only a dream.  The kaleidoscope was turning, twisting my thoughts. What if there was no multiverse ?  What if there was no such thing as Destiny ?  The thought was unbearable.

The day continued to crawl by so slowly as my emotions were constantly confused as the kaleidoscope turned.It was not until gone seven in the evening when Rudi called, "I'll be with you in fifteen minutes,"  he said.

I'll - Not we'll - we will.

"Is Daphne with you ?"  I asked

There was a pause before he answered in which I could hear him smiling through the silence.  "Do you want her to be with me darling ?"

"Of course.  She has got to read the next part of your story."

"No, you have got to read it to her and I have told you where I want you to read it. Remember ?"

I remembered ? But had hadn't told me. He hadn't said the words only projected the words into my head.

"That was a complete waste of a day, "Daphne said when we were alone. " That man drives me crazy. He dragged me round six different branches of PC World looking at laptops.  One branch is exactly the same as another - same stock - same offers - clones !  At the end of the day he didn't buy anything anyway !"


"When he was a rock star he did not go out shopping, he would be mobbed so always sent me.  Now as an author nobody knows who he is so he loves it.  You are world famous and yet nobody knows who you are, that's what Rudi wants."

"Is that better for you ?"

"No way !  Before I would always drive but now he drives.  You know how he always leaped about on stage and in his videos, behind the steering wheel he tries to make the car perform like that.  He scares me witless. And if you think he swore as a singer, that is nothing to the way he curses other drivers."

I giggled at Rudi's stage antics translated into his driving a car.

"It is not funny."

"Sorry. Have you read the story ?"  I asked softly.

I could see her face start to redden. "Yes," was all she said.

"He told me I was to read it to you."

"I know."

"And he told me where I was to read it."

"I know."

"What is Rudi up to ?"

"He is a kind man."

"Is he ?"

"Oh yes."

"So what is he up to ?  I asked again.

"Trying to set us up."

"Why ?"


"Kindness ?  I am embarrassed."

"So am I."

"He has left you here again."


"Presumably overnight."


"And he expects us to be together."

"Would that be such a terrible thing ?  Would you prefer me to leave ?"

Before I could answer she began to cry.  She did not make any sound, there were no heaving sobs but huge tears flowed down both of her cheeks, Frantically she tried to wipe them away but could not stem their flow.

"I am sorry, I am making a fool of myself."

"No you are not."

"It is just that I have never loved anyone in my life and now Rudi is doing this to both of us."

"You know Rudi's song The Great Pretender ?"

"Of course, I helped him script the video for it."

"It is me who is The Great Pretender," I tried to explain."  "Not only are the love stories I have written fiction but I have no experiences in my life to take and use in writing them."

"Surely not."

I smiled gently. shook my head and said, "Oh yes I'm the great pretender."

"Oh my god !" Daphne exclaimed.  "Oh my god !  It can't be ! It is ?  Yes !  No this is impossible !"

She stood up and turned to face me. "What is he up to ?"

I moved to stand behind her and placed a hand on her shoulder. She turned to face me again. As our eyes me more tears than ever began to spill down her face.

"What is the matter ?"

"Would you hold me please ?"

Embracing Daffodil I tightly pulled her to me

"This strange.  I feel so strange."

"Sit down."

"Would you mind if we were to do what Rudi said we should."

"Mind ?  I think I would like it." I smiled.

We both felt relaxed and calm. each could feel the other's body heat.  It was beautiful.

"The Great Pretender,"  Doofodil said.

"That's me."

"No you don't understand."

"Tell me."

"When Rudi decided to record The Great Pretender I asked him why he was going to do it.  Everything he sang was original but this was a cover, it was out of character."

"It's a good song.  His version is better than the original."

"Be patient," he told me. "The Great Pretender is for someone who we shall meet in the future."

"Surely he could not have been talking about me."

She took my hand and squeezed it.  "I rather think he was."

Rudi did not return the next morning and when we called his mobile it went straight to voicemail.  We tried all day but it was as if Rudi Cadwallader  had vanished.

"This is awkward,"  Daphne explained. "I live in an apartment within Rudi's Kensington mansion.  I can't really go back without speaking to him."

That sounded silly to me but I did not ask her to explain.  I wanted her to stay with me.

"I do not want to be a great pretender. Stay here."

"Can I ?  I would like that.  Perhaps I should tell Rudi."

"If you like."  But I had a feeling Rudi already knew.

Again when we called Rudi there was no reply.

We heard nothing from him at all the next day. The day after when Daphne called it was to an unobtainable number.

"Perhaps we should go round to the house and see if he is alright,"  She suggested.

The house appeared to be empty. No matter how many times we rang the bell nobody came to the door.

"That's strange, Even if Rudi is not at home there is the staff."

"Staff ?"

"Housekeeper, cook, gardener, cleaner, they all live here so someone should be home."

"Don't you have a key ?"

"Never needed one."

"Well," I said, "Destiny is suggesting you don't need one here. "Perhaps we should get you one to use in your new home."

"My new home ?"

"Don't be so naive,  you are coming to live with me aren't you ? Please. That looks to be Destiny's plan."

What is the opposite of Pretender ?  Realist.  That does not describe the change Daphne, or Daffodil as I call her when using her pet name, has made to my life.  I became a completely different and better person.  Daphne also changed from the person I first met.

The days went by, the weeks went by and eventually the months went by.  I continued writing but my style changed. I would like to think that since Daphne came into my life the quality of my writing developed to new heights.

Daphne started to call herself my secretary, secretary and promotions guy but really she was my inspiration.  If she were not there I could not write even one sentence. Of course she was there, always there by my side.

We knew everything about each other, we were two halves of the same character.  Since the time Rudi vanished Daphne and I had never been apart.  It is strange that we did not share before something which Destiny had implanted in our lives.  Anyone reading this text will find this hard to comprehend but it is true.

Winter came early that first year. It was as if Autumn was passed by completely as the year leapfrogged from Summer to Winter.  "I think I would like it if we were to go abroad, somewhere warm, for my birthday,"

"Where would you like to go ?"  Daphne asked.

"Barbados." I said without hesitation then added, "Does that sound good to you ?"

"Certainly does."

"I want to write a love story set on a sugar plantation. We could do some research there."

"So when is your birthday ?"  Daphne asked.  "Our lives have become so close but I do not know when your birthday is.  Oh I am so sorry about that."

"Don't be sorry, I don't know when your birthday is."

"I shall be twenty-nine on the fourth of November."

Not for the first time in my life since joining it with Daphne's life a shiver ran up and down my spine.

"The fourth of November ?"


"That is my birthday but I will not be twenty-nine I am afraid."

"Your birthday will be on the same day as mine ?"

"Yes but I will be thirty-five."

"That's how old Rudi is,"  Daphne said, "but his birthday is in September."

Rudi, I was starting to forget he ever existed. He had brought Daphne and I together, I would always be grateful to him for that but I doubted we would ever see him again.  Nobody has ever heard of Rudi Cadwallader and I suspect they ever will.  Did Rudi Cadwallader still exist ?

We made our visit to Barbados and planned it to coincide with our birthdays.  We chose a beautiful hotel on the Atlantic side of the island away from the tourists.  When we arrived and checked in we found a welcome gift waiting in our room.  Someone had placed a huge basket of fruit in the room.  We presumed it was the hotel management but no, asking at reception we were told A gentleman left it earlier.

"There's a card here,"  Daphne said when we returned to the room.  "I am sure it was not here before."

"What does it say ?"

"Have a happy birthday and have a lovely holiday. Love and best wishes from an Angel of Destiny. PS - you do not need to pretend any more"

"Rudi," I said.

"Rudi," Daphne agreed.

The next year we did not go on holiday for our birthdays but instead chose to celebrate with a holiday our being together for a year. When we entered our hotel room a gift and a card were there waiting for us.

It has been like that every year since. We have never seen Rudi, have never heard from him directly and have no idea where the Angel of Destiny is but every year the gift and the card are there.

As our fortieth anniversary approached I took time to reflect on my happy, happy life.  Just how much I had to thank Destiny for.  I was coming up to seventy-five years of age and my darling Daphne sixty-nine.  We were old but deliriously happy.  We decided for our ruby anniversary our holiday would be in California.  We had been there before, several times and liked a Chinese restaurant in the old part of Sacramento, the State Capital.

When we checked into the hotel there was something wrong, perhaps not wrong but different.  The gift and the card were there but the writing on the card had been changed. "Have a happy anniversary and a lovely holiday. Love and best wishes from an Angel of Destiny. PS - see you later"

At the restaurant we were warmly welcomed. "Your guest has already arrived, he is waiting at the bar."

We had booked a table for two but as I looked at the maitre d's list I could clearly see the number three written by the side of my name.

Rudi had not changed at all, he was the same age as when we had last seen him. "Hello you two,"  he smiled. "Darlings I need your help with something. Do you mind if I sit with you ?"

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