Please please just stop it with this talk of tunnels and fences and walls and rubble and rockets and us and them and who is stronger and who said what first and what might happen only if and all about the media and bias and how you keep interrupting and making accusations and that everyone is wrong and that the terrorists are elsewhere and use civilians and not you and that there is right or wrong because it is not words not words and the real blood is there not words it is children the blood of children nothing else nothing.
As he walked away from the football fields he heard a cheer. One of the kids must have scored. He looked at the time on his phone: it was fine, he’d be in the pub in twenty. Sometimes he wondered whether his own boy liked playing football. How old would he be now? Nine, maybe ten? Sarah had made it so difficult though. Splitting up was difficult. She’d taken him. It was better if you just stayed away – and they would be okay for money. Her family would help. What could he do anyway? He was skint. He couldn’t help.
Decades ago, the town’s councillors had erected a large mirror in the municipal hall. It reflected light into a function room where, at receptions, the townsfolk would see themselves in it.
One day, a party at the hall became debauched and the mayor turned the mirror around so that the revellers’ actions could never be reflected in it again. He called it ‘the dead mirror’.
After years of increasing clamour, the mayor again turned the mirror around. The townsfolk came to look. In it, every person saw themselves as a child – with one horrific alteration: they were dead children.