It had been three days since Simon had woken screaming.

Brad was in first, pulling his son from his sodden bed. The bed, it turned out, was so set it had to be thrown out. His eyes weren’t focusing when his dad had got to him, and Simon had punched and kicked until his dad could calm him down.

He then withdrew, sat and rocked. Or cried silently.

A day in the hospital and all his parents could be told was that he was in shock.

They had been about to accept a sedative but Simon had snapped out of his state long enough for his opinion about that very clear.

And, that night, both Brad and Janet had heard him walking about the house late into the night.

The found him the next day sleeping fitfully under the sofa.

Over the next couple of days he had been more communicative – but he still wasnlt sleeping.

Janet was beside herself. The doctor’s had warned them both about not making Simon feel guilty for being like he was; that he was obviously terrified of something; that guilt would make him withdraw more. She tried to be happy and smiley around her son but she needed to know that he’d come back to her.

Brad had more pressing things to worry about – interviews with the police and social services. Warnings about what they’d do to him if he’d touched a hair on his son’s head. He was less than pleased and was seeking legal advice. As he hissed to his wife. He didn’t pay his taxes to be called a pervert.

In the space of 3 days, the house that was so happy, so solid, had broken.

***

Simon was siting by the fountain. He found looking at the water calming. Comforting.

It took his mind off Santa being murdered over and ov-

He looked at the water, and took a deep breath.

It stopped him thinking about the dark, the impenetrable dark that held things unimaginable, things dancing and gibbering and eating and killing and –

“Son?”

Simon jumped; looked up at his dad. His eyes were dark, sunken. Brad hated to think how little sleep he must have had.

“Are…are you ok, son? You know you can tell me, right?”

Simon thought about the dark Gods waiting to kill him; thought about the monster with the tentacled face, murdering Santa again and again.

Tears ran down his face.

He wrapped his arms around his dad and sobbed into his chest.

“No, dad. I…I don’t think I am ok.”

***

Today’s image was supplied by Chris Wild

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