Simon was finding it hard to understand what was really going on. He didn't trust the big people and he couldn't put aside the idea that they had all been in on it from the start, that God and they had been playing some kind of grisly, macabre joke on them all from the beginning.
Not God, no. That much he believed. At least Sally hadn't been alive to hear that terrible, beautiful truth. She'd fallen, trying to get out of her cot and landed on her stomach killing her baby and herself in the process. She'd been so weak she hadn't had the strength to lift her face out of the water and she had drowned. It was a small mercy, Simon thought, this new world would have destroyed her.
This place wasn't Heaven. He wasn't sure he believed in such a thing any more. God had been just a man, a monster of a man, all along. Things called newspapers and televisions wanted to talk to him, wanted to tell his story but it wasn't a story, it was his life. All the talk of demons, of being monsters down in the dark, of forbidden touches and love and God, those were the stories. Stories were lies, Simon decided. The big people loved stories.
When he had emerged and had been ready to attack the man, but then the angel had appeared. She was so beautiful that at first Simon thought he'd found heaven but soon he realised that wasn't true. He later learned the man was Paul and the angel was just a woman called Claire. He'd never seen a woman before, she was like Sally, or Sally was like her, but only in the same way that he was perhaps like Paul. They weren't the same, not really.
They'd taken Carl away from him when the black men came. He'd hardly noticed, he'd been too awed and confused by everything he had been seeing. Something called sky that seemed to go on forever like a never ending ceiling. They'd taken them to another room, one white and clean and made him do things. At first he'd refused, afraid they would touch him like God had done. He wanted to forget everything he had ever known and ever done, wanted nothing to do with the faith but they kept reminding him, kept asking him questions. They prodded and poked but he refused to let them do anything until he could see Carl again.
He heard words like retardation, deformity and inbreeding. He didn't know what they meant but he knew they were talking about him and Carl. The big people seemed sickened by them and for a moment he had allowed himself to feel the shame and self-loathing God, no, the man, had taught him to feel all his life before burying it deep inside.
Finally, he and Carl were allowed to stay together. They lived in a special place for special people, the big people had said. People that were retarded, people that were deformed, people inbred. People like them. He hated it. The big people had taught him enough to recognise a prison and so he knew that nothing had really changed. He had escaped one prison only to end up in another.
However, Simon had something that they could never take away from him. He had found himself, down in that darkness and clawed his way up to the light. He had freed himself of a lifetime of lies and pain and saved Carl. This prison wasn't so bad. There was no touching, no faith, no Hole.
Simon had found his own strength, his own courage. It might take forever, but one day Simon knew that when the opportunity came, he'd have the strength to escape again and that this time they'd never go back to a prison. He'd found a new faith, in himself.
* * * * *
Sarah and Jane had just finished unpacking when the door bell rang. They kissed and then Jane skipped to the door. They were so happy to finally be in a new home together. It was a big step but the biggest surprise was yet to come. She fingered the ring in her pocket and stifled a grin. It wasn't the most romantic thing, she supposed, proposing over a takeaway meal in a new, messy house, but it just felt right. There was just an aura about the place. She answered the door.
"Hi, pizza." The delivery boy said, leaning to look into the house. "Just move in did you?"
Jane rummaged around in her pockets for the money. "Yeah. Me and my partner." She rummaged some more, counting out coins in her palm. "Sorry about this."
"Oh no worries. It's £10.98 by the way. Never thought we'd see people move back in here after what happened..."