Ben somersaulted through a tunnel without walls, a dazzling brightness pulling him towards its centre. Nothing remained of Ben’s body, he was a thought in a sea of consciousness with an infinite knowledge of everything that had passed and what was yet to follow. Any fear had melted away with the molecules of his existence. He was an electrical impulse now travelling through the matrix of reality stopping occasionally, dripping through a fibre of energy into a scene of life.
‘She’s murdered him!’ Henrietta screamed, her red rimmed eyes bulging crazily from their sockets. ‘I knew we shouldn’t have let him go off with that thug. He’s her accomplice.’
Percy affectionately stroked the tactile photo frame standing on the mantle, gazing into Ben’s blue eyes underlined with deep shadows.
‘Well…What are you going to do about it, Percy? Eh? What are you going to do?’
Percy shook his head, frustrated by his wife’s hysterical rants and gently embraced her.
‘There’s nothing we can do, dear. We must leave the police to get on with their investigations.’
Henrietta pulled at a handkerchief, held between her bird-like hands, as though she was about to rip it apart. Veins bulged between the sinews of her neck. She jumped up from the two-seater settee and grabbed a plastic model of Darwin’s ship, The Beagle. She flung it to the floor and jumped up and down on it until it was scattered across the carpet. Franklin, the family’s highly strung Yorkshire Terrier, scurried from beneath the drop-leaf table and scampered into the kitchen.
Ben tugged at his Mum’s dark green cardigan.
‘I’m here Mum. I’m okay. Mr’s O’Kell is innocent.’
Henrietta rushed back to the settee and buried her head into a floral cushion, sobbing wildly. Percy stooped to salvage what he could of his plastic ship. Ben tapped his Dad’s shoulder.
‘Dad, I’m here. Everything’s going to be okay now. You can call the police. Tell them to release Mrs. O’Kell.’
Percy rubbed his forehead and sighed heavily. That ship had taken him two months to complete. How could she? How could she? He placed the largest pieces onto the table and went to the kitchen. Ben followed him.
‘Dad! Dad! Can’t you hear me?’
Percy rummaged through a cupboard beneath the kitchen sink and pulled out a brush and pan set.
‘Dad! Dad!’ Ben shouted but Percy didn’t respond. Franklin did though. He ran to Ben and sat at his feet, jumping up at him and barking excitedly.
‘Whatever’s got into you?’ Percy snapped angrily at the small terrier jumping up at empty space, and left the kitchen.
Ben shook his head despondently and stroked Franklin’s head. ‘You can see me. Why can’t they?’ Franklin wagged his tail and licked Ben’s hand. ‘What am I going to do, Franklin? What am I going to do?’
Ben didn’t have time to wait and find out as his body was sucked back into the meshwork of his perceived reality. His existence raced through a network of holographic dimensions and streams of thought until it dropped into another reality, as water would fall from a dripping tap.