PTL – The Eternal Distance


Quick Draw by ART LADY  circa Eve Turner-Lee


Figures danced around; beautiful but at the same time intimidating. Shapes and illusions trying to describe something that didn’t really exist, or did it. Drumming beats took away the mystery; as rain spattered against the window. The rattle became a roar as the droplets became balls of ice.

Jess started as a flash and clap rattled his chest. He was shaken at the speed with which the thunder followed the light. Almost immediately a blanket of white was followed by a deep rumble breaking into a strong vibrating crescendo.

He had always loved thunder even as a small boy, which surprised his mum and dad. He grew up on a council estate near the sea in Sussex. It was a fairly sheltered and Conservative town with little exposure to the wider world or other cultural influences. It was easy to grow up with a very narrow view of how the world worked and who was in it.

It had its good points though. Jess had lots of playtime in fields and trees; games of intrigue and vivid imagination. Most children get to a certain age when the games and stories fall into the background and are quickly taken over with desire and ambition. Not so for Jess; his mind continued to work overtime and focus on seemingly peculiar things. Imagination, or was it; he was never really sure, but kept most of his thoughts to himself.

So time passed and Jess although having a few friends was basically a loner. He got to an age, after exploring all manner of illegal substances in a search of a reason an understanding, when he finally broke free from his home town and ventured up to London. The first few months were really exciting. He was able to sign on and explore but as much as he tried he couldn’t apply himself to anything that would sustain him. He had his rent paid and gradually retreated into his bedsit, that was on the second floor of a typical old building in an area of shops near an overground station that led into the underground system.

So here he was planning to escape once again. This time to Scotland for a whole new attempt to fit into the world somehow. The thunder rumbled loadly again here in his bedsit. The storm was right above the building he lived in

He got up still not sure if he was awake or asleep, took slow steps across the untidy bedroom floor. The electric storm illuminated his dingy flat. He stepped up to his window, peered through the curtain and could see people sheltering in the bridge opposite his window.

The tunnel that was holding up the overground train leading from the station was black with soot; a build up of dirty black residue. He had a strange affection for its gloomy atmosphere, it reminded him of romantic and fatalistic images. He noticed in the corner of his eye someone looking up to his window. The figure seemed for a split second to jar a memory in Jess’s mind. The man stood out from the rest of the people sheltering as he seemed to be dressed in bright colours; this seemed strange.

For a moment time froze and Jess felt connected through eternity to this voyeur, but instead of following up this sensation he nervously and gently stepped towards his safety zone; an armchair, leaving the grubby grey net curtain to rest and stick against the damp window pane. For a moment Jess pondered the thoughts connected to this meeting, but as he sunk into his favourite place any attachment to these ideas drifted away.

The chair was large and cosy. Red and battered, springs broke through like fresh growth, as if it had decided to take root. It reeked with a history of old men drinking beer and smoking cigarettes. There were yellow nicotine stains on the ceiling above it, that lit up as he was thinking about it. The safety zone embraced this young man who seemed to be anxious in the company of others, not really knowing how to be at ease with himself.

He should be asleep having made a point of going to bed early, he had to catch the train. This was a turning point for him to get out of bedsit land and see the world. Jess didn’t have a specific plan.

He had spent a lot of time on his own, partly through choice. Others would say that he had a strange way about him. It was true, he was often distracted by his own thoughts. “Not really there”; was a description his parents used. He felt that he was not in the right place or even quite the right time.

He booked the train a month earlier, it cost less that way, reserved at a certain time. He had felt pleased with himself at finally getting organised enough to plan his escape.

He sunk into his favourite chair in an anxious state thinking about not catching the train. The idea went round in his mind time and again like a hamster in a wheel; he often spent the nights in this state; ideas spinning around his head. Just go to sleep why dont you, he would think to himself and then start again with more of the same thoughts…..just count 1,2,3,4,5,6,7……………

 CHAPTER 1 part 1 THE BROADENING  part of the Eternal Distance series PTL copyright 2015


IMG_1306Courtesy of Art lady illustrations                                                                                       Eve Turner-Lee

TRING TRING TRING TRING, the alarm bell clattered as Jess jumped in his seat. His heart fluttered and his throat was dry. He felt giddy as he clambered out of the chair he so often found himself asleep in. Rubbing grit from his sticky eyes; he staggered towards the retro, wind up alarm clock. It was strategically placed on the far side of his flock wall papered dingy den. He put it there to get him out of bed.

Jess was not a morning lover or even early afternoon. Some days he had stayed in this room isolating himself. The whole situation had got out of control, that was why he was leaving. His sister Gabby had suggested it to him.

She still cared for some reason; he thought everyone else had probably given up on him. He was not understood; well that was almost the case. Every now and then Jess had spent time with people who got where he was coming from. That company however was always limited.

He enjoyed his own company; it was fitting into the world of work that upset him.

Jess gradually made his way to the bathroom; shuffling the occasional screwed up piece of paper to one side with his feet with their characteristic bare big toe showing through the worn out odd sock parade. He was aware that it was really windy. The front door was rattling, which meant that the wind was gusting through the badly repaired window frame down the hallway.

Something was strange in the washroom. There was an atmosphere, a feeling and the storm was no longer at the front of Jess’s mind. The bathroom seemed to have a different colour to it. He couldn’t put his finger on exactly what was different His shaving mirror no longer reflected what was in the room. It looked like a window. He couldn’t take his eyes off of it, as he stepped closer to his grubby little hand basin to get a closer look.

Slowly Jess was hypnotised and had a sense of a spiral. A three dimensional spinning sensation was what he was looking at. Then he became a part of the mass that was turning faster and faster. He felt a sucking, he was being transported in a funnel a narrowing. Jess was spinning in a whirlwind, or a tornado but not feeling just sensing. He was without form but had a sense of existence. There was no time, no reality as he understood it. He somehow knew this feeling, it wasn’t strange to him; he had a sense of speed although no recognition of himself at the same time.

All at one moment everything focussed and Jess felt as if he was collected together. He felt as if he was being scooped up and flung down by a huge paint brush and he was the mass of paint that was flying through the air. He somehow was aware of a thrust and a fast movement then nothing.

Jess slowly opened his eyes, there was a tall man, who for some reason felt familiar, holding his hand. The man was tanned with dark brown eyes looking closely at Jess, “Well done young warrior, you had us all really worried the last few days! Now don’t talk, you’ve got to rest: no questions just sleep.” The man gently stepped back and sat in a nearby chair. Jess could feel his eyes probing him.

Although confused, Jess felt strangely calm. He didnt have a clue what was going on. Straight away from the smell of antiseptic and the clean machine feel about the place, it became clear that he was a hospital. All the thoughts of the mirror and the spinning was quickly drifting away from his consciousness. It was bright in the room but there was no lightning. He was almost forgetting where he had come from.

Still all Jess could do was be where he was; he felt unusually at ease, not in his habitual state of anxiety. Outside the window was a sort of yellowish colour, like street lights or night lights. He heard moving about, echoes, hospital noises; he was aware, that if this was a dream; it was ridiculously realistic. He couldn’t really move and didn’t even feel like he wanted to. There was a clatter, a metal jingling sound, he sensed someone else had come into the room.

Suddenly a nurse in blue with a fob watch attached to her uniform briefly looked into his eyes. She had neat brown straight hair and a small exacting face. There was a soft calming look in her eyes, genuine not harsh. She seemed comfortable and in charge. He had a sense of recognition but did not understand why.

Ah the brave young boy has come back to us. Don’t you worry little one we will look after you.” She slowly observed Jess, checking his responses as she circled his bed

Why wasn’t he in a panic. This could be a nightmare. It all seemed totally real but it must be a dream. The nurse starting jangling again. She turned a tap, on top of the metal stand that was next to the bed. Jess felt a warm feeling in his arm where a tube was inserted. This was followed by a deep sense of well being.

Continuing the new draft I am attempting to make more sense. MMMMM not easy


Courtesy of Art Lady Illustrations               Circa Eve Turner- Lee

TRING TRING TRING TRING TRING TRING TRING ……. Jess shook as the alarm clock was rattling in his senses. He clambered out of the chair and staggered towards it. The 1950’s style Alarm clock with two bells on the top of it, was placed far enough away to make him get out of bed. Jess got out the chair and without thinking, hit the clock and went straight into the shower. His bathroom didn’t have a bath. There was a shared one down the hallway, but at least his room had a shower, some of them didn’t.

He thought in monosyllables as he drifted under the hot water; is this real. For a moment he wasn’t sure. Quite quickly his memory of the hospital,nurse and man staring in his eyes faded into a memory of a dream: it must have been a dream.

Jess was always battling with a complete lack of understanding about time. This had been one of the factors for his inability to function in the working world. Daydreams were definitely not a new thing for him. Seldom had he experienced anything quite as vivid as this though. The difference this time was that he was only remembering the episode in fragments for a short period of time. Maybe his mind was salvaging something of normality so that it would be able to survive.

Anyway at this moment his thoughts stabilised and he remembered that he had to get this train. Jess definitely had no time to ponder what might be going on. His kidneys were aching, maybe because of the rough and peculiar night’s sleep. In truth he was full of anxiety and stress. He was fighting against the tide it felt and the surf was powerful.

The train was pre-booked so it would be cheaper; the consequence of being late was unthinkable. That was how it had always been for this particular young man. Battling against what was expected of any normal person; just getting to places on time was a mystery for Jess. Holding down a job. Having a relationship for more than a couple of weeks.

Developing a career; “there was no reason why not you are an intelligent boy”, his mother used to say. These anxieties continued to whirl around his brain as he started to collect his life together in a suitcase on his way to leaving this place at last.

Finally he was ready and made his way to Euston Station to begin a new chapter or at least this is what he hoped.

A shrill whistle blasted unexpectedly and made Jess jump. The platform manager was standing right next to the carriage window. Jess liked to look out just before departing on any journey. There was an element of memories and nostalgia and ending as well as beginnings. He hadn’t lived in London for that long really but somehow just leaving a place made him experience deep emotions.

He found life generally boring, and had failed to hold down a job for longer than a few months. A sort of arrogance, petulance and inability to grow up really. The time had come to change and this journey was a cause for this to happen he hoped.

On departing from London, having all but forgotten about his experience the night before, he had read the paper and found an article that got him thinking. Parallel universes could exist. Jess always took interest in sensationalist science. The headline usually was much more exciting than the content, but on this occasion the content lived up to the headline. Physics was on the verge of breaking through with its understanding of how the Universe worked.

The train for this part of the journey was probably one of the oldest on the line, so there was a bit of swaying and a clickety-clack cliché performance. Jess seemed to be sitting in the part of the train that every now and then sunk like a rollercoaster and at the same time the storm was still raging. At times he thought the sway may go to far; tip him over the edge.

By the time the train had reached the Midlands Jess’s mood had become sullen and grey like the weather. He felt that someone had turned the colour off, it was misty and monochrome. He couldn’t seem to focus on anything and became hypnotised by the train track. Clickey clack Clickety clack Clickety clack……


Episode 4

Jess, wake up, we’re nearly home.” He felt a seat belt pulling at his arm. Plantain trees lined a green sunny wide road with massive houses set back behind the trees. There was that man again. The memories of the hospital came back to Jess and the familiarity of the young man next to him.

He was kind of gob smacked as he looked up and saw the sun streaming through iridescent sumptuous green leaves. His concious mind was still registering greyness and storms; again he was struggling to grasp the situation but at the same time was not afraid. The branches of the trees created a cool tunnel, passing through the scorching and rich residential landscape.

The car they were driving in was vast and plush. It was shiny and hummed gently along. It was a far cry from the clickety clack that was his reality seemingly seconds earlier. As he peered out of the car window he saw fantastic houses; he guessed this was America, nowhere else could support such extravagant opulence. There were gargantuan four wheel drive cars in every driveway; like tanks protecting the meadow like gardens that adorned the front view of these houses.

The car majestically glided in to one of these driveways that seemed like an airport runway. The house he could see was Spanish style, with an immaculate tended lawn with tell-tale stripes of exact proportions. At strategic points the landscape was tastefully adorned with large pots with exotic yet tasteful trees and plants. Smack bang in the middle, at the back of the lawn, near a substantial wall was a summer hammock swing chair, facing an outbuilding that had a basketball hoop with an area below covered in marked out rubber matting.

He must have looked like he felt because the man said, “Don’t worry the doctor told me your memory would take a while to recover. You’ve been through a lot, in fact we don’t really know what yet until we have a look at the data.”

Jess again was relatively calm considering. He sort of felt like he was meant to be there. There was a nurse waiting with a small wheelchair when the reached the doorway. To say doorway, this was as big as the bedsit that was still fresh in his mind. He allowed himself to be manoeuvred into and then pushed through into the entrance.

The first thing Jess saw was a large fancy cage. Inside was a very beautiful green and yellow parrot who chirped in an unerringly human sounding voice, “Jess is a good boy”. He suddenly had flashback to the train and the dull grey tracks then straight back to sun streaming through the sparkling bird cage.

They went through to a huge room with a long oak table and at the end sat a man dressed in a military uniform with a hat resting on the table in front of him. The man stood up and walked towards Jess and took the wheelchair from the nurse. He purposefully moved them both toward the French window and then into the garden towards a bench. The man sat down and faced Jess.

OK I guess we need to explain you what is going on Jess”. Jess nodded still unable to speak.