I have been asked by the Essex based Arts companies, Old Trunk Theatre and Sundown Arts, to contribute a story to their night 'Ales and Tales', which is being held at the Alex in Southend on 7th July 2013. I thought I would share my contribution here...

The Knock


There was a knock on the door. I was trying to write. I’ve been trying to write all my life and never has one single word found its way off the page and into someone’s heart. I go to answer it but something stops me, something deep inside at the root of my soul says that to open that door is to invite a whole world of trouble into my life. What should I care? My life is one continuous intoxication of sense and smell gone deaf and blind with the dull drudgery of the days. The sky is leaden outside my window; at the door there is a knock again.

I pause. I’ve never paused before, never felt the need not to open the door wide and let in the world. But these are barbarian times, or so I’m told. We must keep insular and protected from the outsiders, the ones that try to take from you. My door is solid. It will take a lot for whatever is on the outside to come in.

I go back to my desk and my typewriter. I try to ignore the fact that the knocks occurred. I was busy, I didn’t hear it, maybe I was under the desk retrieving a pencil and never really heard it seeing as the pressure was building up in my ears. But I cannot fool myself. The knock knows too and resonates for a third time. My room is quiet and swallows up the sound, leaving the clock ticking on the wall, a second hand marching to meet the hour.

There it is again, the knock. Number four. It is even once again- balanced like the world, full of its odds and evens but balanced just the same. I take a tissue from my pocket, tear it and place two compact pieces in my ears. The fifth knock comes rapid and it pierces my tatty defences so I double up the tissue. I start to type again but with the hammering of the keys I swear another knock is sounded. I carry on typing, forget the knock at all costs! But I can hear it. I stop typing. Silence. Another knock on the door. Whoever it is will not go away, they are patient. They are persistent. I type more to block it out but it is no use.

I cover my ears after the ninth or tenth knock. I place my hands tight over the ear drum and the lobe. I block out the sound and look out to the leaden sky. It begins to rain. Light at first but then heavy, steady and unrelenting on the pane. KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK. I fall to my knees pushing the chair away and over onto its back, the legs sticking sideways, rigid like a dead man.