Download this Document
by David Tarbuck email
Arthur Collins, a retired railway
man, and his wife Sylvia plan to spend their remaining years in a brand
new retirement bungalow on an estate of sixty, all more or less the same. How
could they know, any more than any of the other residents, that the estate has
been built over a disused toxic landfill site? Until they all start falling ill,
that is. At first they blame the water and the change of air, but as the
symptoms increase, grow worse and people start to die, they begin to probe a
Arthur’s own symptoms have been
somewhat different from those of the others. The poisonous fumes emanating from
way down below intrude upon his sleep. He dreams a lot; nasty disturbing dreams;
some of them very real and lifelike.
How is it he dreams about riding
horseback when he has never before ridden in his life?
The answer comes when he visits
an investigator of dreams. Under hypnosis he speaks in a strange voice. His
dreams are not really dreams at all, but memories. He remembers a past life as
one Edward Sexby, trooper and agitator in Cromwell’s New Model Army.
Visiting their daughter in
London, Arthur meets the teacher of his grandchild. He is convinced she is his
wife from his former life. He is obsessed by her, pursues her, and though at
first she is embarrassed by his advances, later on she discovers his dreams and
is fascinated by them and the romance of his former life. They become lovers.
One by one the bungalows are
abandoned until eventually Arthur is left living alone on the estate.
His search for compensation
and/or reparation leads him first to seek out the company that had built the
bungalows only to discover they had gone into liquidation, and thence to Spain
to find the original owner of the landfill site. A visit to the House of Commons
to hear a debate on the issue of proper regulation of landfill sites proves too
much for him. In strangely archaic language he interrupts the speaker with a
passionate outburst of his own and is sectioned to appear before the magistrates
with a full psychiatric report. Newspaper coverage of the story goes beyond the
event and discloses details of his affair.
His resolve to find justice is
undaunted. Aided by ’Lizabeth, the now ex-schoolteacher and a band of young
militant environmentalists calling themselves the ‘Green Dales,’ (Dales =
Direct Action for Life on Earth), Arthur tracks down the man he thinks
responsible for all his troubles: Cllr. Alan James, previously Major James of
Army Intelligence and also ex-employee of the makers of Cythaldrine, a highly
toxic pesticide now banned throughout the world. Arthur is convinced this is the
stuff that lies under the ground beneath the bungalows. How can he prove it?
Why, by sinking a shaft into the
ground from his back garden in an attempt to resurrect a drum of the stuff. Of
course this proves to be beyond the means even of the Green Dales with their
seemingly endless supply of skills and resources, but, on the other hand, if
they could produce enough home-made explosive to pack into the shaft they might
just succeed in blowing some of it to the surface.
Is this what Arthur really has in
mind? Well, influenced by the contentious nature of Sexby, all the time trying
to surface within him, on the evening they plan to detonate the explosive he
leaves a message on Cllr. James’ answering machine inviting him to come to the
bungalow to talk about Cythaldrine and possible compensation. He instructs James
to come alone. James brings with him an old friend: ex-Chief Supt. Paddy
Gillespie. The ring on the doorbell is all that is required for the detonation
of the underground bomb. The frugal remains of two bodies are discovered and
presumed to be those of Arthur and his lady-friend.
Meanwhile as Ned and Liz Sexby
they have taken over the leadership of the Green Dales and prepare for more
activities that will dramatically draw public attention to the plight of a
Written in the first person and
in the present tense the story is narrated through Arthur’s own internalised
conversations as the events unfold.
Back to Index
© Copyright Efini Design 98, 99, 2000 and 2001. All Rights Reserved.