The Mona’s – Ra-, and the new, sunless Mona – opened their eyes. As the fires burned, they were connected. Ramona saw the whole of everything: The moments of connection, everywhere, every when, that Mona could connect to.

Ramona thought she’d throw up, and closed her eyes again, breaking the connection as she moved Mona to memory.

She opened her eyes again. “The cameras are the wrong way round. Why are they the wrong way round.”

She felt the ground against her back. “Maybe I’m the wrong way round? Why am I the wrong way round?”

***

Santa knew why he was on his back. He was strapped to an altar.

His existential crisis had raised a few notches.

“Now, while you’re an idea, and your utter destruction would take making everyone who knows about you…” The Bad idea used a tentacle to pull imagined fluff from its suit. “Forget.”

“But – you can feel pain.” He leaned in, its tentacles crawled over Santa’s face. “You can feel pain, can’t you?”

Santa was too afraid to even nod. Not that it mattered.

“Well, really. Who cares. Let’s do this, anyway.”

It plunged its hand into Santa’s chest. Felt the bones crack and give, felt them tear at its unwholesome flesh. Felt the sting as its blood ate into Santa’s wound.

Felt Santa’s Heart.

His big, healthy, beating heart.

And pulled it out.

All over the world, Children started crying.

***

All except one.

Simon was being given a lesson in the timelessness of dream.

He was running through a swamp. His feet were not moving fast enough.

Tears streamed down his face.

Behind him were sounds. A sloughing, heaving, giggling sound.

And as fast as Simon was trying to go, it was faster. Sometimes if was in front of him, forcing him back, sometimes behind. Always just out of sight – outlines and shapes suggesting something that he didn’t want to see.

***

“You’re looking pale, there, Fatman. Is it because you don’t have any blood in you?”

Santa gasped weakly.

The Bad Idea sighed. “You’re no fun like that. Let’s have that original idea back.”

Santa took a huge gasp of air as his body returned to normal.

“We’ll be doing that again. Now, you know what we’re doing to your helper. To make it stop, tell he what you did with the tomato.”

“Is…is that what you want to know?”

The Idea seemed taken aback. “Well…of course.”

“But I don’t know how that worked?!”

The was a silence.

“Wrong answer. Kill the boy. Reset him.”

***

Simon stopped running. Everything had gone quiet. He tried to hold his breath.

To make sure it was gone.

All he could hear was his heart pumping in his ears.

“Bequietbequietbequietbequietbequietbequietbequiet” over and over. A mantra for safety.

The silence was deadly.

Which made the noise that the creature made when it dropped on Simon all the more awful.

***

Simon wet the bed.

***

Santa screamed noiselessly before slumping back on the slab, sobbing uncontrollably. “He was just a child. Why would you do that?”

The Bad Idea chortled. “Oh come now. Dead is no use to me. We’re just warming up. That little charade took about 5 minutes where he was. We can do this all night.” Its voice hardened. “And we will. Until you tell me what I want to know!”

***

Ramona could hear a child crying, and remembered the boy with the book. She tried to sit up but Nathan grabbed her. “You fainted. It must be the heat. Are you ok?”

She nodded. “The cameras are the wrong way around,” she said weakly.

The child stopped crying.

“Nathan. You know how you love me for my spontaneity?”

Nathan nodded.

“I need to learn to meditate.”

***

Today’s photo was supplied by Henrik Chulu.

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