The Alternatives - Re-drafted
 
Chapter 1 - Pony

I woke up in a dark room on a cold wet floor. My back was pressed up against a wall and as I ran my hands up along it I could feel the smooth ceramic of tiles. The tiles felt about four inches wide, not five! I knew that I hadn't once again fallen asleep around the base of my toilet. As I felt around in the darkness, the cold wet of the floor soaked into my jeans. Where ever I was, it wasn't my bathroom.

I tried to stand but my heels slipped and I fell back down the wall hard on to the floor again. A splash of water, or wee was my best guess, ran up the sleeves of my brand new White Egyptian cotton shirt. I shivered in disgust. Groaning,  I tried to lift myself up again but found that I was feeling a little weak and slid back down the three or four inches I had moved. Once again I splashed down hard into the wee, the smell of it wafted up into my nasal passages making me dry retch. 

I was about to try and stand again but my hands stopped all by themselves, refusing to lay their palms into that wee one more time. While I was retching I thought I could hear someone quietly crying.

‘What was that?’ I whispered into the darkness. ‘Where am I?’ I asked hoping for a response, from, well anyone at this point, ‘And why is it so dark in here?’ I continued undisputed, ‘Better question, why the hell does my face feel like someone has dipped it in acid?’

‘Shush... She’ll hear you,’ said a voice from the void. It sounded vaguely familiar.

Not wanting to show excitement, or fear that they had responded I called out, ‘What the hell is going on and who are you?’ The only response I got was the sound of intermittent sobs. 

I was trying to remember what happened. ‘I’d arrived home from work, that’s right it looked like someone had broken into my flat. Nah, it just looked that way,’ I found myself laughing in my head, who said to me, ‘stop laughing Josephine, this is serious.’ 

‘Alright!’ I said to my brain before getting back on track, ‘Then someone came to my door, who was it? Toni? Joanie? Oh that’s right, it was Pony.’ 

Who would name their kid Pony deliberately? I mean, really! I call her Saddle Soar, old SS for short. It never goes down as well as it does in my head though. I know the other girls find it funny but they just don’t know how to be themselves sometimes.

Back to my thoughts, ‘Old SS came round and what did she want? I kinda remember her saying something like goo? roo? loo...? Oh you, me, she wanted me.’ 

I praised myself for remembering. I always praise myself, daddy says, ‘If you can’t praise yourself Josephine, no-one else is going to do it for you.’ 

‘He’s so wise,’ I couldn’t help thinking as I smiled.

‘I remember that Pony looked odd and I didn’t really want to invite her in. Now I can’t remember anything since I did.'

The sounds and smells of my dark prison were marching up into my nose, dancing a jig across to my ears, while tickling the tips of the tonsils I had removed as a child. I couldn't take it any longer and yelled, ‘God! Is that piss I can smell? Where the fuck is the light switch? And who the hell is crying?’

‘Shush!’ whispered that same familiar voice from the darkness. 

Now at this point I have to say I was feeling pretty pissed off at my situation, but felt that under the circumstances I was being a real champ. Whoever was locked up with me wasn’t answering my questions and there wasn’t much choice to speak to anyone else, so I asked once more with feeling, feeling fucking annoyed that is, ‘Who keeps shushing me?’

‘It’s me Jo, Ann, shut up before she comes back,’ she sobbed out.

‘What the Hell Ann,’ whose voice I was very surprised to hear, ‘Who’ll come back? And where the fuck are we?’ I said before saying, ‘I can smell wee, can you smell wee?’

‘Yes, we can smell wee Jo,’ said an angry voice quite close to me.

I instinctively recoiled a little as I asked with a slow suspicious drawl, ‘Is that you Kaz?’

“Yeah, it’s me!’ she snapped, ‘How’d you know it’s me?’ came an angrier response.

‘I know it’s you Kaz,' I quietly said while composing myself, ‘Because you are the only person I know who can make, “Would you like a gummy bear?” sound as if it was laced with poison.’

Frustration was brimming inside me and I was getting angry, so I asked, very slowly for those who might have trouble understanding, ‘Where the fuck am I?’

‘Fucked if I know,’ came Kaz’s oh so eloquent response. I didn’t think that there was a need for Kaz to use such language but before I could say anything, a clearly fearful Ann broke through and said, ’Shush Jo!’

‘Alright I’ll shush,’ I snapped, ‘but is there anyone else here?’

Before I received an answer to that question, I barely heard Ann’s whispered, ‘Oh God she’s coming back,’ and then she started to cry again.

I started quietly asking, almost to myself, ‘What?’ and ‘Who?’ when Ann angrily whispered at me, ‘Shush!’ 

I could just tell she had that wrinkle she gets between her eyes when she’s pissed at me. It forms a connection between her nicely shaped, thinnish, well waxed eye brows. I still tease her when she frowns, like we all did in school before she was allowed to pluck an wax.

‘Do it again Ann,’ our ten year old selves would plead with her until eventually she did. She’d screw her nose up and make her then very bushy, unsculpted eyebrows look like a mono brow. 

It was all good fun, still is.

Ann has a twin sister, Deb. They’re from a Greek family who were probably on the same ship as my great grandparents sailing to new lands. I'm not Greek though, good Irish stock my daddy always says. I have links to Saxon Royalty, but I never tell anyone that because daddies a bit coy about our heritage. I’m not quite sure why…

Anyway enough about me, Deb and Ann have lovely, long and full, chestnut brown hair and pretty almond shaped dark brown eyes. Their heritage stories, handed down from their mother and grandmother are pretty fantastical, I don’t mind saying.

'It’s a female thing in our family.' Ann and Deb would say, 'we’re divine, Oma says.’

They are beautiful, but none of us will tell them that of course, because they really do look “divine” as they call it, and who would tell their best mates something like that while their taking the piss? Then we’d roll around on my king size bed laughing, put on Revenge of the Bridesmaids again, and spend the night quietly enjoying our friendship over microwaved popcorn and a bottle of Shiraz.

Kaz on the other hand, with her pointy little face, poor dress sense and dishevelled black frizzy hair isn’t much to look at, and damn if she’s not the angriest person I’ve ever met, but she’s my friend. We all try to help her. She comes from a nice family and can have anything she wants, but we have to physically take her shopping and pick out her clothes and accessories for her. Then I have to take her by the hand so we can both reach into her bag and pull out her credit card. Thank the Gods for pay wave is all I can say. Getting Kaz to swipe and pin was getting harder.

Muffled footsteps echoed through the darkness and broke me out of my thoughts. I stopped my internal laughter, or was that my infernal laughter? I’m never quite sure these days, but Ann’s echoing sobs filtered through my rumination’s and brought me back to the now.

‘Shush Ann, it’ll be alright, you’ll see,’ I tried to reassure her, and it seemed to be working, because her sobs turned into occasional quiet whimpers. ‘That’s it Ann, I’ll sort this out OK?’

‘OK Jo,’ Ann whispered.

No-one had told me anything and I had no idea where the hell I was, and as I heard a scraping of metal against metal, and the sound of a lock releasing, I don’t mind saying that I was feeling very anxious. A slither of light began to slowly snake across a dirty white tiled floor, decorated with filthy black moulding grout between each tile. But from where I was sitting I could see four stylishly shoed feet, and two that were pumped. 

‘What the fuck,’ I spoke out loud as I said, ‘Pumps Kaz?’ 

Those words continued to echo several times around the room before they stopped. Deciding that we’d talk later, I changed my focus to the doorway. 

‘Who’s there?’ I called out, then immediately regretted it as the door flew open, and before my eyes could even adjust to the light, something hard hit me across the head. 

I had a little sleep for a while. 

The next time I opened my eyes it was pitch black again. As I tried to sit upright, my now wee soaked hair swung out and then splashed back against the White of my shirt. While I was cursing my choice of shirt colour, someone put their hand on my leg. Still wondering what the hell had happened, I jumped and yelled, ‘Gods Kaz!’ but then quieted down rather quickly thinking, ‘You don’t need to whack me over the head with a lump of four by two twice.’

‘That was you, wasn’t it, Kaz?’ I growled into the dark.

‘Yeah it was me, still here, waitin for you ta wake up… again!’

I was about to respond when Kaz appeared to pre-empt it and said, ‘Just shut up Jo. We’ll tell you what we know.’

Lifting my hand to my nose, I said, ‘Alright, but there better be a bloody good explanation why I am sitting on a cold wet floor that smells like piss.’

Before Kaz could continue, I just had to make sure that it was only the three of us locked away in this damp dungeon.

In response to my question, Ann sniffed and said, ‘Yeah, it’s just us Jo, Kaz and I.’ 

‘And do we know where here is? I enquired. ‘And who the hell whacked me across the head, was that Pony?’

‘You know Jo,’ said Kaz, ‘if ya just stop talking for a minute maybe I can shed some light on what’s been happening. Yeah, that was Pony,’ she continued, ‘she stopped by my house two days ago, and like a fool I invited her in. I knew there was something off about her, and then I blacked out for a little while and woke up here.’

‘Oh,’ I shyly said, not wanting to piss Kaz off anymore than I already had, ‘That’s what happened to me.’ 

‘Me too,’ said Ann, ‘she showed up on my doorstep Sunday morning. Deb had just left to take some milk next door to Mama. We were still hung over from Saturday night and had just had a good laugh about... Oh, wait, could that be why she’s gone all bride of Chucky on us?’ 

‘What do you...? Oh... Don’t worry,’ I said, ‘I think I remember it’s kinda coming back now.’

‘Saturday night,’ I laughed to myself. ‘It started as it usually does. We all got pissed on a cheap bottle of wine, slapped on some makeup, dressed to impress, and staggered to the first in a row of clubs.’

‘God, I think I was offering rides on the Pony? Did I... did I offer up SS for Pony rides?’ I said slowly as my brain struggled to remember.

‘Yes you did Jo,’ Ann whispered into the darkness with a hint of a smile in her voice. At least the tears were drying up.

‘And, um, did I get any takers?’

‘Yes you did Jo,’ both Kaz and Ann replied.

Ann was almost laughing, Kaz still sounded as if this was all my fault.

‘Oh! um... Was one of them called Horse? I kind of remember a horsey?’ I asked, with all the innocence of a puppy that had just cleaned up the last of the cream cake on the coffee table. I might have been able to feign ignorance to my actions, but the cream caught up in my jowls was always going to betray me.

‘Yep, Horse,’ said Ann, ‘and you made him show you why his mates called him horse,’ she giggled, ‘before you would let him ride the Pony.’

I joined in Ann’s laughter as I remembered why he was called horse, and said, ‘Come on, that can’t be why SS has gone all Chucky on us, surely? I mean, it was a good time had by all, right? right? You all had a good time didn't you?’

A little Kaz laughter began to mingle with Ann’s as it echoed from the dark places when they both said, ‘Yes.’

‘So what’s the big whoop?’ I asked, ‘has she said anything to either of you?’

‘Nothing!’ said Kaz, ‘I got a good look at her when she stormed in here to whack you on the head with a toilet brush, she still looked... strange... and I know strange...’ 

Kaz seemed to stop herself from finishing that sentence. I was too busy thinking about my poor head to prod for further information. In hind sight, maybe I should have.

‘Toilet brush?’ I winced as I thought about the future ramifications of that. ‘Gods, I’m never going to live that one down,’ I said, ‘Old Jo, she can handle a bottle of cheap wine, but whack her with a toilet brush and she’s out for the count.’

That seemed to tickle their fancy as more laughter filtered through the darkness. We were actually starting to have a good time, reminiscing about our weekend together, and for a few moments I forgot I was locked in a dark room with two of my friends, sitting in wee. I took it to the obvious next step.

‘Look, there’s three of us and one of her,’ I bravely declared before venturing further, ‘Let’s get close to the door and over-power her the next time she comes in here. We can do that, right?’

‘I don’t think you've correctly evaluated the flaws in that plan Jo,’ said Kaz devoid of the laughter we had been enjoying moments ago, ‘Go on, stand up,’ she almost demanded. She may as well have finished that with, ‘I dare you!’

I didn't really want to put my hands on the floor again, but I leant forward anyway because I was getting out of, where ever the fuck I was, as soon as possible. Lowering my knees on to the wet floor, I felt the wee soak straight through the denim of my jeans to my bare skin. 

‘You’d think by now I wouldn’t notice it anymore,’ I thought to myself as I laid my hands flat into the wee. Once again that familiar splash shot up the sleeves of my new shirt, but then I heard an odd noise, odder than the splash that was. I was wondering what it could be as I put my beautifully shoed foot as firmly as I could on the wet floor and tried to stand up. Tried being the operative word.

‘What the hell?’ I whispered in angry surprise, ‘are we chained to the wall?’

‘That we are,’ said a sarcastic Kaz, ‘and  together at the feet, just above your Billini Chiara Lace ups and my Pumps! I’ll never get a refund for them now,’ she continued as if that’s what she actually had planned. Maybe Kaz was coming around after all.

I could have kissed Kaz in that moment, instead I felt welcomed and sudden relief wash over me. ‘You realise,’ I said, ‘Pony isn't that mad at us.’

‘How do you know that?’ Kaz hissed directly at me. I could feel her breath catch in my wee soaked hair and she was obviously pissed about her Pumps. 

‘God damn it,’ I thought, ‘can she see me in the dark?’

‘She just whacked you around the head,’ Kaz continued, ‘with a toilet brush, and knocked you out for 20-minutes.’

‘Because my lovely friends,’ I whispered, ‘she still cares about our shoes.’

‘Oh,’ was the thoughtful reply from both Ann and Kaz.

‘But you lot can’t stand my Pumps,’ said Kaz. 

My quick witted response was, ‘Pony’s always been an equal footed opportunist.’ Ann snorted as she laughed, which made me join in.

‘OK new plan.’ I said, ‘We apologise if we went too far, then she’ll forgive us like always and we can all go home, right?’

‘Sure, you can try that Jo,’ Ann slowly said, ‘she won’t listen to us, so you give it a go.’

‘Yes dear Ann, she didn’t listen to either of you because you didn’t have all the facts did you?’

Kaz angrily whispered, ‘Shush, here she comes.’

‘Over to you Jo,’ said Ann. 

I could feel the smile in her voice, ‘Oh! Ann... Ann?’

‘What?’ She hissed suddenly so close to my face I could actually still smell the garlic bread on her breath from her last meal... on Saturday. Sniffing the air I said, ‘Pizza was it?’

Kaz got it, she was still laughing as I asked. ‘Where’s Deb? You two are usually joined at the hip. Can’t you send out a message on some kind of twin psychic hotline? Ooo oo better still, use your hereditary diviness.’

All I heard was ‘Fuck you,’ as the door began to open and then there was silence.

When I heard the key turn in the lock, I decided this time that I would not bow to fear, but as that door started to open I suddenly didn't feel like getting knocked out again. So with much more care than even I knew I was capable of, I spoke through my fear anyway by timidly saying, ‘Hello? Hello Pony, is that you?’

I’m pretty sure that a growl shook the wee covered floor I was sitting on, but I fearlessly continued, ‘I don’t want to have another sleep Pony, but I am just curious about why we are all here?’

‘Oh God,’ I said as I heard her footsteps splashing fast towards me. ‘Pony, is that you?’ I called out in a panic.

The next thing I knew, Pony’s face was nose to nose with mine. It was cold and kinda greenish looking, and I’m sure she was surrounded in a ghostly green aura. Or it could've been my sixth sense and green was actually the colour of her aura. 

‘You’re a sensitive.’ That’s what my friends tell me, though it’s usually followed by riotous laughter. 

‘Bitches!’

My mind was running through all the usual things; ‘You've got lipstick on your teeth; that dress makes you look fat; maybe you do need a little more eyeliner around them Pony eyes, so we can call you Palomino.’

Yeah, none of that was going to work.

Right now I wanted to ask if that glow came in Blue, and let Pony know that I knew a great dentist who could treat gingivitis on a day visit. More importantly I asked Pony to step back a bit so I could see if she had legs. That was an important question from where I was sitting, and I was sitting in wee. I wanted to know if she was a Ghost or a Ghoul. 

If she had no legs, but could produce the sound of footsteps, Ghost! If she had legs with that green aura thingy going on, Ghoul! That was my philosophy anyway.

Pony didn't seem to want to move, so with no option for personal space I looked her in the eye and demanded a little too angrily, ‘Why can’t I see your legs Pony?’

I recoiled a little, unsure of what her reaction was going to be to my demand. Looking me squarely in the eyes, she drooled something green and slimy as she tried to speak. It sat on her lower lip and just hung in the air for a few seconds, waving in the rotting breeze that entered the room as the door swung open. Up until that point I was unsure if anything could smell worse than the room I was chained to. I was so wrong. 

Pony’s glow gave me a bird’s eye view at that glut of slime hanging there, taunting me with its, ‘Will I or won’t I’ gooey wiles, and just when I thought I couldn’t take it any longer, it let go. I watched it float down in front of my eyes caught up in Pony’s green glow. It sailed past my face, then my Shirt, to finally land on my new jeans. It was all I could do to not throw up.

‘Horsey wanna ride Pony?’ she growled at me.

Then she widened her oozing, slimy mouth into a huge smile that looked way bigger than her face, revealing one tooth, the last of her teeth by the looks of it. Her eyes opened and it appeared as if her iris’ where missing. She had two huge yellowish whites with fully dilated pupils. She pushed herself away from me, but I had a blind spot in my sight from the sudden light hitting my eyes out of the pitch blackness, and it kinda looked like Pony was hovering in the centre of the room.

‘Ghost!’ is what I told myself.

It was good that Pony hovered there, because that green glowy shit she had goin on gave me a better view of the room, and its inhabitants… and some previous inhabitants by the look of it, but we’ll get to that in a minute. I also got a quick look at her legs.

‘Damn! Ghoul!’

‘Thank God she’s all there,’ I eventually thought to myself. ‘All there, being a relative term that is.’ 

I really wasn’t up to date on my Ghoul historiography, but at that point I wasn't quite sure if we’d all get out alive either. I knew that I would but I was worried for my friends.

I couldn't help myself as I blurted out, ‘I see you've had a trial run then?’ pointing to the gooey mess near the back wall.

Kaz hissed, ‘Shut up Jo!’ and Ann started to cry again.

‘Alright,’ I said, ‘I’ll shut up if Pony just tells me why I’m here?’

‘Oh, I see, you like face to face conversations,’ I said as Pony’s cold nose touched the tip of mine again as she sat on my lap. ‘Alright, we’re here, you and me and we’re talking... one on one, this is... good... You know you can tell me anything Pony. So what’s the goss? How did Horse work out for you on Saturday night? All night long like the song or what?’

She kinda growled out the word, ‘Great,’ although it sounded more like, ‘Gwaith.’

Just going with it, I commiserated with her, ‘Slobber, slobber, growl, growl, yeah I know I've been on some dates that could even make your tale stand on end Pony. Anyway, so tell me, what’s with the chains and the room that smells like piss?’

‘Pith,’ she slobbered out.

‘Yeah, piss,’ I drawled. ‘Come here, let me just get that for you.’

I lifted my right wee coated hand up to her mouth and grabbed the last remaining tooth with my thumb and forefinger, and gave it a good yank! As I removed the tooth Pony smiled. It had almost, but not quite fallen out and was acting like a lock on her lips.

‘That’s better isn't it? Now tell me what’s been happening?’

‘Howible,’ she moaned out, ‘Horsey good... Pony saddle bang bang, Horsey saddle bang bang, Horsey go pop, eveywhere. Pony run, hit, sleep.’

‘Popped?’ I asked as I looked around her to see me mates checking out the opened door. I’m just glad we’re all chained together, otherwise those bitches would leave me here for sure.

‘What do you mean, ‘Popped’ Pony?’

‘Popped, ther, o ther, Horsey,’ she said pointing to the slimy remains.

Suddenly it dawned on me that it wasn't piss on my hands and clothes, it was Horse. 

There was a collective ‘Ewwww’ that echoed around the room as everyone got on the Pony express and realised what they were sitting in. I motioned to my mates to make all the right oo’s and ah’s to try and make Pony feel a little better, like we always do after a particularly enjoyable evening at her expense, in the hopes that she would let us go.

While the girls kept up the, ‘Poor Pony,’ tummy rubs, I was trying to think up a way to get these damn chains off my legs when Pony’s nose touched mine once more. 

I think it’s fair to let you know at this point that I have a small flaw. I’m a curious beast, and usually, to my detriment, I continue to ask questions of someone when really I just want them to go away, or look away as the case maybe. So rather than continue to figure out how to remove the chains, I asked Pony a question instead. 

‘How did you get like this Pony?’ I asked as I ran my hands up and down to mimic the length of her body.

I got the slobbery reply, ‘Whathhh?’ 

‘Well not to put too fine a point on it, but you are now a Ghoul aren’t you?’

‘Be own one moobie,’ Pony slobbered, ‘Horsey be own one, moobie.’

‘I take it that she means that Horse had something to do with her new look,’ Ann informed us.

‘Yeah, no shit Sherlock,’ came Kaz’s surly response.

Ann raised her no shit with a, ‘Fuck you.’

Sending them both a look of, ‘I see your fuck you and raise you an eat shit and die,’ I asked Pony, ‘How did Horsey do this,’ I again ran my hand up and down in mid air as I continued, ‘to you?’

‘Moobie like,’ she said making an eerie laughing noise and... ‘Oh God,’ I thought as she slimed me with that bigger than face smile again. Pony had moved away from me and was back in the centre of the room. It was almost like she was bobbing in air as she continued, ‘Can be own one... Can be own one... moobie like,’ she seemed to be getting frustrated and slime was flying everywhere.

Laughing, this time with my mouth shut, I could see my mates were getting more than a light sprinkling too. Then all of a sudden I guess we were talking again, because Pony was on my lap again and her nose was touching mine. I’m pretty sure her eye ball jelly dripped onto my lower lashes, and I had just been thinking that, ‘This day just couldn’t get any worse.’ 

How wrong I was.

‘OK Pony, just so we’re clear though, Horsey’s favourite movie is... was... “There can be only one,” is that right?’

‘Fwend, get fwend, hep Pony,’ she said, as all of a sudden her slimy hand was running back and forth over the top of my head like I was her pet dog. I do have to admit that her slime was easing the pain from the toilet brush incident earlier. 

I was starting to feel a little frustrated at the language barrier when I asked again, ‘How did Horsey do this to you?’

I could hear the girls having a good laugh, but all I could think was, ‘You bitches better not leave me here,’ when just as quickly as Pony was in my face, she showed up in their faces too.

‘Yeah you show em Pony,’ I said laughing, forgetting what was happening for a moment. I remembered again pretty quickly and drew Pony’s attention back to me by saying, ‘Now tell us why we are here?’

‘Hep Pony Horse go pop, fwend.’

On my lap once more, Pony said again, ‘We fwend, fwend hep Pony, oo hep Pony fwend. Pony fwend, lub fwend.’

‘Yes, we are your fwend, and yes we do, we help our fwends... I mean friends, so can I just ask then, I mean I don’t want you to think I’m being too ungrateful or anything, but why the hell did you whack me around the head with your toilet brush?’

‘Sad, not wan hurt fwend, lub fwend. I hap fwend an ver hap, me wac. Stil fwend? Fwend go sleep, Pony go sleep, not want fwend be Horsey go pop.’

‘Yeah,’ I said, ‘I kinda don’t wanna go pop either. So, you wanted your friends here to... help you? And you were so happy that I was here… that you knocked me out?’

‘Fwend.’

‘I’ll take that as a yes, seeing as you appear to be a little closer to my face than you were a moment ago. Why haven’t you spoken to the other girls? Ann and Kaz have been here for a couple of days at least?’

‘Cry, not talk, fwends scweam, not want fwends go pop, horsey go pop. Fweinds be shh. Oo fwend, oo lub Pony, oo tak Pony, hep Pony no go pop,’ Pony said as she hugged me. Giving me a full body slime. She continued, ‘Pony talk, toof, toof bad not make Pony talk, Pony moan.’

I laughed as I said, ‘I bet that’s all they did as well?’ pointing to Kaz and Ann through the green glow. Pony seemed to enjoy that and let out an eerie laugh spraying more slime all over us.

I looked to Kaz and Ann and through gritted teeth, quietly mouthed, ‘Are you seein a green glow around Pony... or is it just me?’ 

‘It’s just you Jo,’ Ann called out, ‘Maybe it’s left over from your head trauma,’ she laughed.

‘So,’ I said to Pony, choosing to ignore Ann’s obvious humour concerning my head injury, ‘Do you know what we can do to help you? I mean, you are... dead, aren’t you?

‘Pony liv, not ded, hep Pony, fwend hep Pony,’ she said and seemed to get more than a little angry at me for asking. Her face, generally pressed up against mine since she’s been here, was now in the face of Kaz who was almost at the door.

‘No leeb Ka, hep Pony, not go way,’ she said as Kaz grumbled and moved back up against the wall next to Ann.

I didn’t know where Kaz thought she was going to go, she was still chained to the wall and us, so I quickly called out, ‘Pony, let’s try and help you,’ so she would get outta Kaz’s face. I knew she wasn’t really going anywhere. I was feeling a little jealous though. ‘What I wouldn’t do for a few seconds of fresh air.’

‘Pony not wan go pop.’

‘I get that, no-one here wants to go pop either, but how can your friends help you Pony?’

She leaned into me and whispered in my ear. She was quite eloquent in a whisper but slimy. She told me what she needed to feel better. She needed flesh, dead, human flesh. Pulling away from me a little, I looked her in the eyes. They seemed to have taken on a stranger glow than earlier.

‘Alright,’ I said, trying not to look at her eyes again, ‘Let me just talk with the girls and we’ll see what we can sort out, OK?'

‘OK,’ she said and whisked out of the room, pulled the door closed and activated the lock all within mere seconds. Then there was silence in the darkness.

‘Geeze she’s quick,’ I said to the girls then called out, ‘You could have turned a light on Pony.’

Before I knew what was happening, the door opened, and from the darkness we heard, ‘Sowy,’ then a light came on.

As the door closed, I called out, ‘Thanks Pony.’