The Modern DiseaseMature

Lily, a British, upper-middle class university student wants a taste of the life of "poor society" and invites herself into 21st century Bohemia. Has she bitten off more than she can chew?

They were both there, although they didn't know it. Neither knew that the other existed, yet. It would be two weeks, or so, before they met.


Lily was jostled by the crowd, shoved back and forth by the enraged protesters.

"FUCK NO, PRIME MINISTER!" Cried the man next to her, throwing his fist in the air. She had already forgotten what it was these people were protesting; she'd already recorded her voice-over on the subject. Frankly, she was disinterested. It was the behaviour of these passionate, beautifully angry people that was her real subject.

Lily pulled out her camera and started to film, inwardly squealing with joy. The footage was absolutely wonderful, no doubt about that, it would be perfect for her dissertation, presuming that she ever got that far. She was taking a year out from university to plan exactly where she was going with everything.

The shaking camera, the roar of the rest of the crowd in the background, the expletives... Perfect, perfect, perfect. Lily was high on the emotions of other people. Her lip quivered with excitement, a hand gripping the tangled mess of dark hair, as if she needed it to be there to hold her head in place.

The scent of a thousand and one sweaty bodies pressed together. This was what she had been waiting for: The real lower classes.


Roughly three hundred and seventy people ahead, Kitty stamped on the ground, knowing that it would open up beneath them if her foot hit hard enough. All of those bottled up feelings, no more! She wouldn't sit there and take it from anyone. Not from her parents, not from her boss, not from the Government.

She screamed into the air, something savage, something brutal. The sound all around her; all of these people that had come together for one reason: To be heard!

All the voices melting together in one brilliant, heavenly chorus. Unity under one banner. She craved it, she needed this. To be a part of something infinitely bigger than herself. Something more than her frail, pale, teenage body and her thin, weak, blonde curls. Something bolder than her battered, several sizes too big leather jacket and her studded boots. Something expressive.

The sweet scent of freedom was in the air. This, she said to herself, this is living. Later, she would go home and throw paint at her canvas, scratch deep welts into the coating of oil, melt wax on it; everything she possibly could to convey the pure ecstasy that she was feeling. She would never get it right. Never ever.

She could feel the Earth quaking beneath her boots. Yes, this is it. She thought, so loudly the whole world must have heard. Change the world.


Two weeks later, Lily found herself carting a badly dented, cardboard box of kit up the stairs of a grotty looking block of flats. Normally, she wouldn't have stepped foot inside this particular building without a radiation suit, but for the purposes of her work, she supposed that she'd do it. Nervously, she headed up the stairs.

"Ohy!" Came the cry from above. Lily flinched and looked up, expecting trouble. A girl with blonde, curly hair and a nose piercing was looking down on her. "You the newbie?"

Lily nodded carefully.

"Thought so. 'Ey, Dean, come 'ave a look." A bored looking, dark haired young-man appeared next to her. 

"Lovely." He said, sarcasm dripping from his voice, then disappeared again. A little unnerved, Lily continued to climb the stairs, two at a time. A loud bang filled the stairwell as the blonde haired girl's boots connected with the laminated flooring behind her.

"Kitty Lott. Flat 14." The blonde stalked up behind Lily and examined the content of her box. Her hand reached into it and snatched a book out of the box. "I rule this place, bitch. Get used to it." She darted up the stairs before Lily could say anything in protest. Inwardly, Lily cursed herself. Why hadn't her camera been rolling?

The door of Flat 14 slammed shut behind the tiny, stick-like blonde. For the sake of her art, Lily supposed she would be willing to sacrifice her favourite book of poetry. The student elbowed her way into her new living space and wrinkled her nose.

That wallpaper couldn't have been changed since the 70's. That radiator was leaking. The room smelt of mould, and she swore she saw a huge beetle crawl over the kitchen floor. The things she did for her art.


The sun sets a tremendous orange across a sea of lavender clouds. Can you hear it hissing? Can you? It's there in the background and no one knows. No one knows it's there until it's too late.

Until it's far too late.

The End

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