Saturday, 17 December 2016

Trouble At Manger

Trouble At Manger

December 18, 2016
Roy Merchant

 I am in the process of writing and editing a collection of my short stories to be called "Images".

I am doing the final draft of this section and (unintentionally) it is Christmas. The coincidence appealed to me and I felt compelled to share the story with you.

This section is about the involvement of Herod The Great of Judea and his Mighty Roman Emperor Augustus in trying to locate the new Messiah. It is not your normal Christmas tale. If you like it, let me  know via the website, I might publish the complete short story as a stand alone now...........Happy Christmas

From the soon to be published collection of
Short Stories by Roy Merchant entitled:

“Trouble At Manger -Chapter 3"
Augustus and Herod

I was 57 years old at the end of 6BC and had done most of the significant things in my life that I was going to be remembered for, when news reached me from one of the outposts in the Levant that a prophecy was going to be fulfilled. Something about a Messiah about to be born who would come to free the Jews.

At first I was not worried about it, because in 40BC, when Herod had come to Rome begging myself and my old ally Mark Anthony’s help to get rid of Antigonus who had marched in and stolen his crown, we had decided to back him and crowned him King of Judea. It did not mean much to us, but it meant a lot to him. I remember saying to Anthony, my ally at the time that he looked a bit mad, but he would do as he was told. We did not have much choice anyway, as we had our own troubles trying to steady the ship of Rome, only 4 years after the death of Julius Caesar and us hunting down the assassins remorselessly.

I remember exactly where I was when the news of Julius’s death came to me and to the day I die, I will always remember the passion I felt as Agrippa, I and Mark, before he became besotted with Cleopatra, created the new Republic.

I was always hearing about new prophets, messiahs and sages coming up and predicting the end of Rome and although I did not pay them too much mind, I kept flashing back to the Ides Of March and feeling that had Julius had been a bit more attentive, he might have avoided his own assassination. Only trouble with that is that I would not have become an Emperor.

I told the messenger to get back to Judea quickly and instruct Herod the depressed as all his subjects called him to search for this messiah and inform me at once when he was found.

I must say that I was not worried about a messiah from the Levant, I had to get the maps out to see where Bethlehem or even Nazareth was. I laughed to myself and thought, “What could possibly come out of those places”. Me being a very very cautious ruler however, also planned to cover my bet, by keeping a very close eye on this little area and that madman Herod from now on. He was a tyrant, but he was my tyrant.

Calls himself great! Herod the Great, if he is GREAT!!, then, what in Jupiter’s name am I?

Herod had been looking for this messiah, ever since his spies in the temples had told him that the priests had been talking incessantly about the prophecies of Isaiah and Micah for a long time and that the talk had been getting more insistent since around 8BC.

For the last 2 years all he had been hearing about was the MESSIAH. Now, whilst he was not a very religious man, being king, he had quickly come to realise that the temple was a very powerful place and had to be taken seriously, or there could be unimaginable consequences.

The power struggle between the Sadducees, the modernisers, those who currently favoured the Hellenic (Greco-Roman) ways of looking at the world and the Pharisees, a very traditionalist’s sect who believed that nothing should change had basically been going on for at least 1400 years, ever since Moses got the Jews out of Egypt. Herod knew that this latest argument was just that, the latest argument. There would be more in years to come, about everything under the sun. What he had to do was to manage this one and whoever came after him, would have to deal with what they found at the time. None of them loved him anyway, he mused.

He had been looking all over the kingdom to find out who, or what this Messiah was. Some said he was the chosen one, a new Moses, who would come and get the Jews out of bondage for ever. Others said that he would be the prophet of prophets, or the King of Kings. Now, Herod was not all that worried about the prophet of prophets, but the King of Kings was something else. That meant taking over his kingdom, killing off his legacy, leaving him as a nonentity in the annals of time. Funny how Jesus’s existence, ensured that his name would last forever, instead of fading back into the obscurity from whence he came, but that is another story.

On the 25th December 6BC, his sages came to him saying that a new star had settled over the tiny little village of Bethlehem and all the Pharisees were saying that it was the sign that the Messiah had arrived. He sent his best men, the Praetorian Guards to look for this new King. They went and looked at all the places they thought a king would be staying in, or being born in, but could not find him. They reported back that there was no King born in Bethlehem that night.

The next day, I mean the next day, 26th of December, the messenger from Augustus came. He did not even knock, just pushed the guards out of the way and barged into my sleeping chamber, where I was busy entertaining a new wife and demanded that I got dressed and tell him what I knew about the rumours about some Messiah. I nearly screamed. If I heard that name one more time, I was going to kill someone. The look he gave me told me that I had better calm down. So I did.

I felt humiliated. I, the son of Antipater, the ruler of Batanea, Peraea, Samaria, Galilee, Judea, and Idumea, the one who had made Judea yield to the power of Rome was being treated as a powerless pawn by a messenger, the messenger I tell you, of Augustus.

In any other time, I would have been seen as a great leader, my kingdom was the size of David’s at its most powerful. I had made an enemy of all my kindred people to ensure that the relationship with Rome remained intact. I got more tax collected for Rome than anyone else. The Jews hate me and would kill me without any mercy, the minute I show any weakness and still Augustus treats me as just another vassal. A Roman thrall.

Survival is the greatest instinct known to man. It overcomes humiliation, it overrides bravery and courage. It leaves you incapable of doing unselfish things and I was a great survivor.

My soldiers searched high and low, up and down the hills in every nook, every cranny, and every cave from the shores of the Dead Sea right up the hill to Bethlehem and still we could not find him. We heard that Magi’s from another country had come to see him, that the shepherds had also come across to worship him, that he was circumcised and was also presented on the 40th day, but somehow he always eluded us. My soldiers killed all the first born children under 2 years old as a lesson to the Jews, but no one came forward with a name, an abode, a relative, anything that would give us a clue as to the whereabouts of that blessed Messiah. And each day the messenger from Rome took my failure more personal, almost as if he thought, I was failing to find this messiah on purpose.
I wanted to build a great dynasty, nothing like Rome you understand, even I did not have the ego, or energy to sustain the power required to build something as huge as Augustus has done with Rome, but I was absolutely fed up to the teeth with just being seen as just a satellite of Syria and slowly, but remorselessly having to be at the beck and call of a Governor or Prefect of Rome who did not even stay in Jerusalem, but had to go and be stationed miles away in Caesarea, that’s almost in Syria itself.
I do not think that Augustus ever really cared about finding the Messiah. He just wanted to tease me, to show me up, to constantly remind me of my incompetence. To show me that without him in Rome, I could not be trusted to manage a little domain such as this. I could not even find a baby in a tiny little village of about 600 people.

I heard that the Messiah and his family fled the 250 miles to Egypt and although I was embarrassed at being made a fool of, at least he was out of my hair and the mocking face of the Governor and the messenger was no longer constantly in my palace humiliating me.

It was in my 75th year in 4AD, when I had achieved all I was going to achieve and the madness and the constant pain and tiredness from my weak blood flow was making me see things in ways even I was beginning to question, that I had the vision.

I was in my sleeping quarters having just failed to satisfy my tenth wife yet again and just welcoming the quietness of sleep again, when I felt a presence in my chamber. The presence was like a spirit, only it seemed almost holy, almost divine and of a power far greater than any I had ever encountered. I had seen Julius Caesar, I had met Augustus and Mark Anthony. I had spoken to Cleopatra on one of my treks into Egypt, when Mark Anthony was playing the fool. These people had personal power and charisma that you knew was more powerful than yours could ever be, but the spirit of Yahweh’s son was a source of grace whose power was beyond comprehension.

In my quiet contemplation with him and at some time in the twilight hours, he walked with me and he talked with me and his voice was quiet. No word was uttered from his mouth, but the primordial conversation with his eyes, went on for a long while as we walked in that garden of his village house in Cairo.

He told me I was forgiven, that Yahweh, decided what was, what is and what will be and that I had no choice in the path I took to fulfill the prophecy. He said I will always be remembered for the bad things I had done, but I will also be remembered as the greatest builder in Israel’s history. He told me to close my eyes and feel no more pain. I did as I was told and the arteriosclerosis pain disappeared along with all the other agonies and the voices in my head.

I smiled, my breathing stopped and I was no more.

Friday, 11 November 2016

What on Earth is the problem?? If the answer is Trump!!

What on Earth is the problem?? 

If the answer is Trump!!

I stayed up all night for the result of the American election, wondering how it was going to turn out.

At first, I wondered why I was so emotionally involved in America's business, when I live in a faraway little town in England. Surely America's problems would stay in America and the world would just go on minding its business while America find a critical path through its storm, but that is a dream.

The United State of America's impact on this planet is so vast, that when it sneezes, everyone else catches pneumonia, as they say.

If you are a fatalist, or you believe in destiny or providence (divine or otherwise) you could argue that the Universe or the Higher Being seldom gets it wrong, which suggests that Trump must be the answer to something and all we have to do is figure out what the problem is that he has been elected to solve, or the question that he will be answering in the next four years. Like most people, I too am completely flummoxed and do not have a clue.

As for why he won the election? Well apart from destiny and Clinton not knowing or learning how to win the big prize, or maybe her just snatching defeat from the jaws of the proverbial victory, I think this poem from my upcoming collection "Relentless Realities" might just offer another reason. It is called "The Results Could Be Tragic" (Copyright Roy Merchant). Please use the link to my website:

The Results Could Be Tragic

I Sat There Probing Resolutely Behind
The elaborate protection of a feather tough mind
What I finally perused made no initial sense
What stared back at me was virginal innocence

I must say at first I was really bemused
Then fear hit me at how easily this mind could be used
With a body so strong and a mind so lethargic
In the wrong hands the results could be tragic

The mind said it didn’t really like to think
Because it could never really see the link
Between analysing what the media say
And just trying to survive for another day

So it goes home, sit down, eat and watch TV
Doesn’t question anything, just believe what it sees
If they say plutonium dust is good for the pup
The next day it will try and get some from the shop

It says it is disillusioned with the progress of its life
But what can it do when political excess is so rife
You cannot win, so what=s the sense of the fight
It’s best to ignore it, everything will be all right

So it just goes along, giving up all of its rights
While the power of the state develops a real hard bite,
There is no one to question and keep it in control
And the minds are too busy doing as they are told

The mind said it didn’t like the independent press
Because to read them it’s like an intelligent test
Besides they never inform it what it has to do
And there is no bingo on page twenty two

At that point of the probe it started to sleep
It was only nine thirty, but the sleep was deep
I came out of that mind. Totally perplexed

And I Am Just Wondering, What's Going To Happen Next!!!

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

A Moment Of Universal Reflection And Prayer.

A Moment Of Universal Reflection And  Prayer.

I am not a deeply religious man. I think God has a lot of things to answer for and if he was to suddenly turn up out of the skies, I would be a little surprised, that multitudinous thought control, can make things happen before your very eyes. But I have faith in the goodness and hopefulness of Life.

Normally, I would keep my thoughts on spirituality, religion, mindfulness and philosophy very much to myself. However in the past decade or so, I, like many others I have spoken to, have felt at an emotional and maybe even spiritual level, a hardening in the intolerance of some humans to each other. It is almost as if everyone is only out for themselves and all the collective accepted wisdom, that has defined the goodness in us humans suddenly means nothing.
  • Millions of people are killed in the wars that rage in the Middle East and no one cares.
  • People fleeing from those wars trying to get to Europe in safety are called cockroaches (less than human) are abandoned and thousands die, because no one cares.
  • American Red Cross, collects $500,000,000 (yes Five hundred million dollars from the public to help Haiti after the earthquake and only managed to build 6 (yes 6) homes with it, no one cares.
  • Charities are now Multi-National Corporations with CEO’s earning Million Dollar salaries and not much money going towards their original intent, does anyone care?
  • United Kingdom decides to leave the European Union, because most of its inhabitants think that this will stop European migrants coming to the UK. Migrants are being beaten up and killed on the streets of UK and no one cares.
  • The Republicans have decided to select a man full of hate to run for the Presidency of the most powerful nation on Earth and we wait to see what hate can do when it has power. And no one cares.
  • The rich takes more and the poor gets left less and the media can now, only defend the super-rich that pays its wages.
  • The poor now think they are only temporarily poor, so laws brought in to protect the needy, no longer applies to them. And still no one cares.
  • And the planet just seems to be dying from the inside out as its heart gets slower and slower.

This prayer or reflection is sent to whatever force or energy we believe guides us on Gaia. We may need your help and guidance as hopelessness seems to be in control.

Oh Universal Force, Yahweh, Allah, Jah (whatever designed this existence)

We come to you at this time of the great need, to seek your wisdom and guidance. You know what is, what was and what will be. Your insight and advice is therefore supreme. 

Give our minds and our words clarity, so that very complex philosophical issues can be visualised, enabling us to understand what is being said and how best to implement it. Give our minds the peace required to hear the message.

Let this planet be at peace with itself today. Let it be a refuge for those who need it to be, and you know who they are. Keep all our brothers and sisters (all life) safe especially those in imminent danger.

We come to you this day in great humbleness, hoping that your grace and mercy will guide us as we take yet another step closer to you. In the Great War that rages between hope and hopelessness, let hope reign supreme. You know what is in our hearts, so please soothe any pain, any uncertainties, any anxiety any desolation as you have always done.

As we look across the world, the chaos feels like the start of the biblical battle of Armageddon as predicted in the final book of the Bible, Revelations. Nations killing each other, tribes killing each other, the world hypnotised by hate. And a lot of the haters saying that it is all in your name.

Please tell us until we understand what is going on. We know that the suffering is driven by fear and the law of “Thou Shalt Not Kill” cannot be upheld whilst fear casts its shadow across the world. It is time to let love fill the hearts of everything on this planet, enabling peace to reign. Let your mighty power of love reign over us today and give us the insight to witness you at work.

In the great turmoil that’s sometimes overwhelm us, let our minds be as fresh and alert as they can be. Give us all the strength to carry on, the will to do what is necessary, the courage to get through the day and the heart to still keep loving, when you have no reason to.

Please carry us and breathe for us, when we do not have the strength to make the next step or to breathe the next breath. Let us all have the courage to do what we know to be true. Keep us safe and at peace with ourselves and our friends and neighbours.

Let those who are imminently on their way to you have a safe journey and wipe away all fear as they journey through the valley of the shadows. Let them have the courage to do what they know to be true.

Keep guiding us as we take one more uncertain step away from wars and towards your way of peace, love, hope and wisdom.

Make each step, more certain than the one before and make the final steps a mighty gallop.

Let hope be audacious and victorious. We ask all this in your everlasting name.

These "you tube" songs might help along the way.

1          Welcome Holy Spirit: 
2          How Great Thou Art:

3          Bless The Lord Oh My Soul:

4          Indescribable – Amazing God:
5          Offer Up My Life:                                  
6          The Lord’s My Shepherd:                     

See my other blogs on the "Relentless Realities" Website:

Sunday, 2 October 2016

My New Poem On You Tube: My Words My Lines

This poem is about writing a poem...Yeah, I know!!

See what you think.

It will be part of the Relentless Realities Collection, I am publishing soon.


My Words My Line

I Am Trying To Be A Poet
I Am Trying To Write What I Think
I Want My Lines To Have Meaning
To Put A Little Smile On Your Mind
To Make You Say, Well I Didn’t See That Coming
Not All The Time, But Just Now And Then

I Don’t Want My Lines To Be Transparent
I Am Not Writing A Weather Report
I Am Not Thinking Of A Formal Document
I Want Some Of My Lines To Be Devious And Mischievous
Taking You On A Journey, You’ve Never Been On Before
I Want You To Wake Up In The Middle Of The Night Saying…
I Get It; I Get It…That’s What He Meant.

I Do Not Want To Spend All My Time
Writing Fluffy Fluffy Rhymes
And All That’s Left Is The Rhyme And No Other Sense Of Purpose.
Now And Again, God Knows, I Need A Little Prose
To Let The Words Dance And Sing In Universal Harmony
To Hear The Cadence Ring Out As One Word
Interact With The Next And As If By Magic
Synergy Manifesting And Magnifying Itself.

I do not always want to write complex quatrains
Where words can mean everything and nothing
Where history can be re written again and again
And the writer can never be wrong.

I Want My Words To Take You On A Journey
I Want Them To Meander About A Bit, Take You Here, Take You There
And When You Think That’s It
You Suddenly Find That The Lines Are Taking You
Backward And Forward At The Same Time
Up And Down, Left And Right, Creating Paintings In Your Mind.
You See My Words Creates The Vehicle
That Drives You Ever So Slowly To My Heart
And Finally My Soul.

Copyright Roy Merchant Oct 2 2016 @ 16:43

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Plagues To The Heart

Plagues To The Heart

Sometimes I wonder if I am trying to prevent the World from becoming what it is destined to become. 

Other times, in the depths of my certainties I am powerless to create right from wrong, light from dark or even right from left.

Why do I worry so much about what others are doing? I am not in control of anything, including myself. If the world is going left, I should only worry if I wanted to go right.

I am fed up with people hiding their actions in the brightest lights, denying it all in plain view, as if your eyes are blind, your ears deaf, and your nose incapable of smelling the truth.

What is it that’s left?
When innocence escapes its cage
And in an angry rage
Attempts to disengage
From the not so innocent sage

Sometimes my fears, my uncertainties overwhelms the very things I Love, Nothing can harm you if you worry less and care more.

It’s not your fault if it goes wrong, don’t worry be happy
Go With The Flow

Things are only a problem, when they become a problem. Until then they are just possibilities which don’t exist. 

Not all problems will cause you woe.

Monday, 22 August 2016

The Black Man's Song: Live for Slavery Remembrance Day

The Black Man's Song

An erudite and emotional reflection in the middle of a long journey.

Last Sunday, 21st August 2016, I performed one of my poems at Trafalgar Square in London in memory of my ancestors, those who came and went, so that I could be.

They would have come and gone unheralded, like most ancestors, simply mythical beings that have been handed down through the generations until they become grainy pictures in the mind or just footprints in a sandstorm. The ancestors who lived through the slavery years however fill me with a great sadness. The sadness comes from knowing that no matter what potential they had as they travelled the 9 months from conception to the birth canal, most of them would not be realised.

In the version of slavery adopted by the Europeans, the unborn child was also the property of the owner, which could have kept slavery going forever.  From all I understand about slavery, the idea that a human being still attached to the umbilical cord of its mother is a slave is one of the most unbearable things I have ever come across. Before that child is born, before it takes the first suck of its mother’s teat, even before its conception, the potential of that child is enslaved. Think about that and imagine that it was your child.

I am a descendant of slaves. I am the result of slavery. Slavery across the Atlantic was the starting point in a new and perilous journey that nature made in my name a few hundred years ago. I am in the middle of that journey and the final destination is unknown.

Whether you believe in Nature, Yahweh, the Universe or whatever you think is worth worshipping, or giving praise to you must recognise that something fundamental started in 1441, when the European slave trade in Africa started. The Portuguese captains Antão Gonçalves and Nuno Tristão capture 12 Africans in Cabo Branco (modern Mauritania) and took them to Portugal as slaves.

In 1444: The Portuguese de Freitas lands 235 kidnapped and enslaved Africans in Lagos a city in Portugal, the first large group of African slaves brought to Europe. It is now becoming big business. This is some 50 years before Columbus stumbles across the Caribbean in his search for India.

Those realities that have made me, also denied the me, I ought to have been, from ever becoming real. That me, drifted off into a parallel universe where hopefully, I grew up in the love, security and traditions of the past thousands of years in the river beds, plains and valleys of West Africa.

The new me after all this time, will look you in the eye and proudly say, I was , I am and I will become again, what I was always intended to be.

This is part of my story and I give homage to my ancestors.

This poem is copyrighted and is a section of a much longer poem which continues the journey to the present day. It will be part of a new collection of poems to be published soon.

The Black Man Song

I Want To Tell You A Story
I Promise It Won’t Take Long
It's About A Tribe That Is Filled With Glory
It's Called The Black Man's Song

We..The People Of That Blessed Land
Were Stolen In Our Innocence
Taken..By An Unmerciful Hand
And Cut Off From Our Inheritance

We Had Our Native Culture
We Had Our Native Tongue
Suddenly There Was A Vulture
Forcing Us To Sing His Song

He Took Us In His Stinking Ship
Three Hundred At A Time
Our Incentive Was His Stinging Whip
Our Food Just Gruel And Lime

For Long Long Months..Imprisoned By The Seas
In The Bottom Of His Pit
No Recreation..Just His Histories
Us Tired..Dying..In Our Own Shit

More Than Half Passed Away On Those Rides
Too Sick..Forgetting To Be Proud
Bodies Thrown To The Ever Present Tide
While The Wailing Grew So Loud
While The Wailing…Grew…So Loud

They Must Always Be Remembered
They Will Not Die In Vain
Their Bodies..Now Dismembered
Must Illuminate Our Brain

If Willie Lynch existed, he would have said
“Slavery Is A Psychological Game
Where The Master Makes The Rules
Being Afraid To Die Is Just The Same
For Wise Men Or For Fools”

For Three Centuries We Helped The Master
All His Countries Became Great
Economically..They Could Not Grow Faster
The Blacks Just Grew Inanimate

In Jamaica "Mada Nanny and Cudjoe" Fought And Won
Very Small Victories
Tacky Took Over Where They’d Begun
Trying To Brighten, Our History

Our Women Took The Brunt
Of The Master's Attack
They Were Not Important
Even Less..Could They Fight Back

Raped..Vandalised..And Scandalised
Self Respect And Dignity Drained
Through Fear They Were Totally Hypnotised
And The Master's Will Was Maintained

Men Seeding Children For Three Hundred Years
Painfully Discharged From Responsibility
Whipped..Flogged..And Killed..The Scars They Bear
To Remind Us Of Their Sensitivity

We Say That Uncle Toms Were Nought
Paradoxically..They Saved Our Race
Outgunned..Outmanouvered..And Out Thought
They Kept Us From Our Final Resting Place

All Our Heroes Fought And Died
Too Proud To Toe The Line
Too Impatient To Wait For The Turned Tide
Survivors..? No. Heroes..Fine.

Slowly The Tide Began To Turn
Toussaint L'Overture Beat The French
Slavery Economics Was Now Being Spurned
The Europeans Couldn't Take The Stench

In 1838, We Thought We'd Come To The End Of The War
But It Was Only An Interlude
They Gave Us Our Freedom..Then Charged Us A Star
Just For Water And For Food

And Maya Angelou Cries
And Still We Rise
And My Heart, My Soul, My Spirit Replies
My Father Is The Great God Osiris
And I lived In The Delta Of The Nile
We Were Sent Here To Learn Peace And Forgiveness
And These Lessons Are Taking A While
So…We Take Our Pain And Go Forward
New Horizons Are Ahead..
They’re Not Too Far
Keep Remembering Our Past..
Remember Every Word
Let’s Never Ever Forget ..

Exactly Who We Are. 

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

6 Days In Cascais

What a holiday!!

Must tell you about a trip we took to Cascais earlier this month. We had never been there before, normally go to Algarve. What have we been missing? Cascais is a beautiful part of the Atlantic coastal region of Portugal, about 40 minutes from Lisbon Airport and 20 minutes from the capital itself. Also near the World Heritage site at Sintra and the biggest casino in Europe at Estoril, if you like that sort of thing.

We were looking for a Spa type hotel, well my wife and daughter were anyway. I was just looking for a holiday of wondering about doing nothing. We were both satisfied. 

We arrived on the night Portugal won the European Cup and in fact just as we were booking in, Portugal scored the only goal of the match and we just joined in the celebrations with a fantastic set of staff at the Hotel Miragem, where we stayed.

What can I say about the Miragem that has not already been said? It is simply amazing. The organisation, the meticulous processes, the food, the professional staff, the facilities are such that you can see why we met the Man of the match of the final game of the Euros there. I understand that another famous footballer who shall remain nameless was also there a few days before. Miragem is undoubtably one of the great hotels in the world.

I am looking for an excuse to get back there in September or October. Don’t tell the wife though, otherwise she will want to try somewhere else. 

Loved it to bits.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

A Blast from the past


You’ve probably gathered from my last post that I am supposed to be writing a book with the rather grand title "Rhythms Of My Life".

However, I have been stuck in stasis, that place of motionlessness for such a long time, I am beginning to wonder if I will ever finish this book!

I have done 50,000 words and the creative pool from which all my words come, seem to have run out and I cannot find another pool to dive into.

I know the ideas will return, maybe I am being punished for being arrogant and living on the assumption that all I had to do was take and the pool would automatically fill up again, with even better and bigger words than before.

If that assumption is true, then a full pool is a long time coming. However, I wait, I mind-map, I walk, do all the mental exercises that forces the brain to think differently, but nothing changes.

I will continue to go fishing in the pool, and in the meantime, here is part of a true story from the pool when it was full to the brim.

It is a section from my current book "Walking In The Shadows Of Death" available on Amazon, see link below.

 "It was 5am on Friday, 22nd December 2000, when I woke up with a bit of a start. I felt, from the time my eyes opened and my head cleared, that my old adversary was in the room. Since my stay in the hospital, I always seem to wake up at the same time in the morning. This time, however, it was different. I knew something was seriously wrong. I felt nauseous, faint and out of breath. I automatically checked my wrist and could not believe what was happening. The VT had returned. My heartbeat was up at 140 beats per minute as opposed to the 55 beats per minute it usually ran at.

I went to the toilet and sat down and as I was about to get up, a hand from the netherworld pushed itself up my rectum, grabbed my heart and started pulling it right out of my body. At least that is what I felt was happening. What was really happening was that the ICD had fired its first shock to bring my heart back into its normal rhythm.
 The pain was intense. It was not of this world. It was not just painful. It was without any redeeming features in its remorselessness. It just was what it says it was. Absolute pain.

I screamed and in my own head it sounded like the voice of death. I felt that I was dying again, only this time I knew all about it. My first scream woke Sue up. She looked at me, sleep still in her eyes and she must have seen in my eyes what I was feeling because she quickly changed and, even as she was changing, the second electric shock sank into my heart and literally lifted me up from the bedside table, where I was frantically taking my socks and underpants out to prepare for the ambulance I knew would have to take me back to the hospital, and threw me into the middle of the bed. I weighed fourteen stone and I was lifted like a grain of salt and thrown.

I stayed in the middle of the bed, lying foetus-like and minimising my size and dying. And death laughed at me. It said I was a coward who could not take a little pain. It said did I really think I could escape him by going home? Did I not know that he knew where I lived? I lay there foetus-like, trying to get back into my mother’s womb, where there would be no pain, where I would be safe.

I lay there and screamed as the third shock came and I heard Sue knocking on our next-door neighbour Simon’s door, and Simon, who had already heard the scream and was coming down the stairs as she rang the bell, came over and helped.

I heard Sue’s frantic call to the ambulance and their controlled information gathering, which was more than Sue could bear, when the fourth shock slammed into my heart and I screamed again. I glanced at Simon, who was sitting on the stairs, with his head in his hand, looking totally helpless.

I screamed for the fifth, sixth, seventh and eighth shock and wondered whether any God would let anyone suffer so much pain. What, I wondered, was in it for him? I was now waiting for the shocks to come. I thought they would just keep coming until the battery in the ICD ran out or my heart stopped as it had done before. Only this time if it stopped, there was no cardiac crash team to leap to the rescue. There was only Sue, my by now poor hysterical partner, Simon, my next-door neighbour, and my two youngest children, lying fast asleep in their beds, downstairs.

By the ninth shock, I would have welcomed death. I would have gone over to him and said, “It is a fair cop, just take me and let me not have any more pain, and release Sue and Simon from their nightmare. This fight is between you and me, keep them out of it.” Only in that dark, stark moment of total and absolute despair, when I looked for him, actually sought him out, death was not there".

Copyright: Roy Merchant 2015