If you asked me if I enjoyed being a Librarian… Well, it’s not a question I could answer. I have always been one: “Born a Librarian and die a Librarian”. As the old saying goes.
The law states that each adult must come to me on or about their eighteenth birthday and I will give them a book to read. One that is appropriate for them. I listen to all their dreams and fantasies. To all their fears and regrets. Then choose the one very special book that is for them. The book is the gift of the state to a person in danger. It is a sacred book.
Once in a while someone has slipped through the paperwork and I do not see them until they are in their thirties or even later. But everyone can remember when they were eighteen. Can you? Can you remember your desires and fears?
I do not seek to judge or punish anyone. My books can heal.
To vanquish the demons within themselves the reader must read the book I choose, the words I choose. Or, they might die or go mad. The right book at the right time may save someone. Please read these words carefully. I think you understand what I am saying.
As you know, every book in a Library has been created by its Librarian. They drew the pictures and wrote the text. Since I was a child, most of my time has been spent drawing and writing to create the myriad books on my shelves.
The gifts that I have within me are the result of a thousand years of selective breeding. I am told that any failures are humanely killed. I am lucky in that I was chosen to use my gift. Next year I will spend some of my time taking part in the breeding programme. This happens every five years. I hope my child will be allowed to live. That they have the gift as I do.
I have never been pregnant before. It will be hard when they take my child away from me. For training or for death. The parting usually happens when the child is three.
When I write my books, I do not need to vary the plots too much. Most young people have very similar lives and very similar desires and fears. Again I ask you, what are your desires and fears?
The story coaxes in the young person and also coaxes in the demons. I write as much for the demons as I do for the young people.
When the battle commences, between young person and demons, my prose changes to a chant. An invocation that asks all the demons to leave. Of course they will fight hard to stay. Demons that had never communicated with each other will all join together to stop their removal from their victim. The numbers of demons in a victim can vary between one and four. And of course they also vary greatly in their strength.
And you dear reader. What desires and fears do you have?
You undoubtedly want to ask me what my favourite story is. Well, I think the one that you might like is the story of Borthious the demon killer. Borthious had a sacred knife that could cut through the bonds that held demons to their prey. Imagine that knife. See it in your mind’s eye. See it cut through the bonds. Again and again cutting. It was sharp and curved. It never failed in the task it had. He travelled the land cutting away demons. Casting them back into the dark. He looked a bit like you. He had your gift of single mindedness. He looked like you were when you were in your late teens. His life work was to save life after life from the curse of the demons. He led a life that was worthwhile. A life you would do well to copy.
Please read the next part very carefully. Re-read it if you have to. To read it aloud is even better.
The demon chasing chant can for example go like this: Demons. Go away never wanted no good never wanted no good no use trouble maker no good never wanted. Demons Go away never wanted no good never wanted no good no use trouble maker no good never wanted.
Break the bond and let me be free! Break the bond and let me be free! Break the bond and let me be free! Cut my bonds with the sharp knife! Now!

Dear Reader, I hope that you, after all the battles you have gone through, are now free of your demons. No thanks necessary. I am only doing my job.


In the Bar I had gulped down far too many drinks. I was feeling sorry for myself. Life can be hard. After an argument with the Barman I left and went down to the sands.
It was hot but the sea was nearly empty. The huge waves kept everyone from swimming. Apart from one brave person who stood bracing himself against the waves. Every so often a big one would nearly throw him over. Crashing over his shoulders and moving towards me.
I began to worry about him. His face seemed familiar. I motioned for him to come to shore. He didn’t seem to see me. I shouted, “Come in. The waves are too strong!” He seemed not to hear me. After five minutes or so I started to wade out towards him. My trousers were soaked and I was shivering.
When I reached where he was I said, “Can I give you a hand? Help you towards the safety of the sands?”
He smiled and answered, “Thank you for your concern. I am fine. Quite safe. Safer than you.”
I stood silent beside him.
After ten minutes of feeling the waves crashing against me he said, “I ache for the sorrow that is in you. Try as hard as you can to forget all your worries. Enjoy this moment.”
Intense feelings rose and fell inside me.
I turned away from him and looked towards the shore. I could not see the shore. All I could see was the waves. And the mist of sea droplets. All I could hear was the roar of the waves crashing over me and around me. The taste of salt stung my mouth and nose. Yet it was not unpleasant. The grey waves with their white tips rolled over my waist and moved past me. Their power and beauty I knew as I had never truly known anything before. I was part of the pattern that was the waves.
I turned to ask his name. But he had gone. There had been no need to ask, for I had always known his name.
The waves were cool. But they were not cold.

Four green walls

It is hard to climb the stairs. Only four flights but they are narrow and steep. People piss in the entryway and offensive graffiti covers the walls. Back home early tonight. Another curfew. I stay at 45 Slaughterhouse Avenue. It’s not in the best part of the City.
From the window of my tiny one room flat, I can sometimes see fields of green far away beyond the City limits. My room has all four walls painted green. I did a good job. Slow but steady. I could have painted something similar to one of the works in the Art Gallery but painting in many colours is difficult work. And I like green! It would be nice to ask my friend to come to see my room. But I know that would never be allowed.
There is one painting on the wall. A motivational likeness of some poor Cow who had a record breaking yield of milk. It is meant to inspire me. Not something I picked myself.
On a quiet night like this I listen to the radio. I know it is mostly propaganda but the tunes are good. Sometimes I even try to dance to the music. Unfortunately that is almost impossible. I am exhausted and my body is too deformed to dance. I have been changed into a milk machine. But the frightened calf that the milk was for has been taken away from me. She will share the same life of torment that I do.
As usual, I have the windows shut tight. When they are open, the smell of death can be sickening. It gives me nightmares. I try to forget where I stay. Once I thought about ending my life. But Cows want to live. Even though we guess we will not die happy. I am polite but if someone tries to kill me, I will fight for my life. It is all I have that is mine alone.
I cannot give you my name. Well I could but it is only a long Bar Code list of numbers. It has nothing to do with the real me.
Last week I was invited for a meal at the house of a human friend of mine. I have one friend. She was kind enough to give me wild flowers and fresh grasses. Delightful! I never asked her what she ate. I was polite. As usual. But I was almost happy.
In the streets, sometimes, gangs of youths gather about me and shout at me, “Fxxking stupid Cow!” And they, at times, slap me hard. Then I move as quickly as I can, home. To cry in misery.
The only other time I cry is when I remember the time my calf was taken from me. Only two days old but the bond was strong. She was trembling and crying, like me. I shouted to her that I would come and find her. Give my milk to her alone. But I lied. When they make me have another calf, I will once more have to lie. Indeed, they did the procedure to me again and I am pregnant once more.
My udders are so sore tonight. They are always huge and distended. But in a moment I will have to take some drugs to keep down the infection. Infections happen a lot. And I have other drugs to take. They maximise my milk yield.
A few weeks ago, when I was at work, another Cow came up to me and whispered, “Don’t trust the humans. They mean you and all of us harm. They steal your calves, they steal your milk. You need to…”
The Police grabbed her and took her away before she finished what she had to say. I never saw her again. She would have been severely punished. I was re-assured by my Boss that I would never be harmed beyond was strictly essential. But he too lied.
So, I write down my thoughts. Perhaps one day a human will read them and realise, “Yes, a Cow does have passion. Does have meaning in her life.”

The old lady from Africa

This is a true story but pals have told me it is better than most of the ones I make up. Thanks pals.

I was on a busy Number 57 Bus to Kennishead in Glasgow, when I heard a young Glaswegian girl start to give a bit of cheek to the old African lady across from her. The girl was about ten and was showing off to her pal, “Where do you come from? Do you even speak my language?”
The old lady smiled at the girl and said, “Yes I speak your language. I enjoy speaking English. But I love the languages from my home country, Rwanda.” She then started talking to the girl in a language I recognised. The girl said, “What is that? What language is that?”
The old lady smiled and said, “I thought you would know that one. I was speaking in French. I was saying, ‘What a pretty bracelet you are wearing’.” She then spoke in another language, one unknown to me. The girl looked bemused, “That’s not French is it?”
The lady replied, “I was speaking Swahili. A lot of people from my part of the World converse in Swahili as a common language. Do you know any of it?”
The girl answered, “I have never heard of it. How many languages do you speak?”
The old lady answered while slowly counting up on her fingers, “Now let me see. There’s English of course which I am using now. And French and Swahili. And one you have yet to sample. My favourite language, Kinyarwanda So four in all. How many do you speak?”
The girl became embarrassed and said, “Just the one. I didn’t know you… Someone from where you came from could speak so many languages. What is the Kinyarwanda one like?”
The lady spoke in Kinyarwanda with half the Bus listening in. Then added, “Isn’t it lovely. Did you ever hear such a beautiful sing song language?”
The girl said, “It is very nice”
The two of them chatted together to the end of their journey. The girl listening with great concentration to every word the old lady spoke. I think the girl had learned an important lesson in life. And the old lady had taught it in the most clever way possible. It put a smile of my face. And on the faces of half of the Bus. Such a tiny conversation but yet so important. Sometimes the tiny things in life can be as important as the biggest things on the planet.

Mildred Drummond

My name is Mildred Drummond.When these events started I was 62 years of age and believe it or not I still had all my own teeth. My friends said I don’t look a day over 61. On the night of the winter solstice in 2022, I was one of the few people in the world who really believed in Ghosts. On that evening at around 11PM I was in the grounds of an old deserted Castle somewhere in Central Scotland. I had been there at least thirty times. It was where I had first sensed or seen something. Something not of an ordinary reality. Because of that sensation-of something other than us- I devoted my life to proving the existence of ghosts or spirits-call them what you may.

Although at that time Ghost watching was not as popular as it had once been, my website was full of comments from people who had recently seen “something”. I knew I would soon have the proof I was after. No longer would locals call me, “Dotty old Drummond”. Let me make it clear that I have never suffered from any form of dementia. My mind is as sharp as it was when I was a young adult. In my experience, I have found that newspapers will make up a story if they don’t have one to hand.

I was in the cellar of the castle listening to the rain lashing against the ruined sandstone walls above. As usual, I had my flask of hot vegetable soup to keep me warm. All I wanted was a photograph but I got much more than that.

At first, I sensed a presence in front of me. Just a few feet away. I had not yet finished setting up my camera and tripod but I could not stop looking at the spot where I knew something was. I was not scared. But I don’t recall exactly what emotions I had felt at that moment.

A rip was torn in the darkness and a brilliant white light came out of it. The light took on the form of a human. It looked solid. I remember trying to stutter out a, “Hello”. But I never managed it. I reached out to grab my tripod and camera but my shaky hand never found them.

After about twenty seconds the shape was fully formed and was that of an atrractive middle aged man. It was the spirit I had sensed all those many years before.

It did not speak with its mouth but sounds came together to make words in my brain, “Welcome to my home. I have been here such a long time. It is nice of you to visit again. I like the new tripod. How are you keeping Mildred? Joints ok?”

I eventually managed to say, “Hello. What do I call you? I am so pleased to have met you. At last I have met a real ghost. You have brought meaning into my life. I have been proved right after all these years of searching. Thank you friend. Who are you? Who are you the ghost of?”

He answered in the most pleasing of voices, “What you call ghosts … Well, we are not what you think we are. Over the centuries we have travelled here from another star system. We all, have a job to do. My real name you could never pronounce. But you can call me, Fom. That means, Friend Of Mildred. It will give you power when you have to meet world leaders. It will show that you speak for us. As I am sure you will do. You will, won’t you?”

I answered in a shaky voice, “You are aliens? Yet I will speak for you. You are not spirits? Not really the dead who walk again?”

He answered, “We are life forms that exist in a form beyond the understanding of humans. Please don’t take offense at that. We came here because we knew of a threat to your world. We came to help your planet.

“Your world had its Mongol invaders. Well this part of the universe that we dwell in has the Dreitch. They are a life form that feeds off other life forms. When they have destroyed one world they move onto another. We have fought them from star system to star system over tens of thousands of years. A thousand years ago, we saw that they travelled in your direction. So we travelled far faster than they could and came to Earth to try to save you. If your kind ignores what I am saying to you then your world has less than ten years left to it. I will be the spokesperson for my kind and we ask you to contact your Governments through your web page at first. Then later you can speak directly to world leaders. You will be our sole contact. We can not have this message diluted. And I trust you Mildred. I trust your honesty and I trust your passion. ”

I gasped at him, “What can I say. People will never believe me. How can I tell them that their world is in danger and ghosts want to be our saviours?”

“We will fight alongside your kind Mildred. But most importantly you need to build weapons of a kind that you do not have on Earth. All nations must work together and must start work as soon as possible. To show the world leaders and mathematicians of your world that I speak truly, I will ask you to write down some formulae for them. With your permission I will place these into your brain. These formulae will be evidence of an intelligence far beyond the capacity of humans to understand. We need your leaders to speak to you and me and no other. We need you to do this work immediately. There is no time to waste. I have received confirmation that our enemy is within a few light years of earth.”

I let him place all the formulae he wanted into my brain. He said it wouldn’t hurt and it didn’t. Over the next few months I spent hours and hours in debates and conferences with scientists and mathematicians. And then finally some world leaders. Eventually I spoke at the United Nations. I had been given a speech, put directly into my brain by Fom. I, or rather Fom, received a standing ovation.

All over Earth, factories started to produce the new weapons and we made ready for war. I still spoke with Fom in private but we were watched by spies and Fom told me there were listening devices all over the castle. He was always very polite but had a job to do and we did not have much time for small talk.

When the first of the weapons had been built and were being tested Fom came out into the open and into the daylight. With me at his side he spoke to world leaders and to Generals and Admirals. He explained that the only way we could effectively fight this menace was by his species fighting closely alongside human armies. And both of us using these new weapons. Although we had assumed the presence of a few dozen “Ghosts” around the world, there were in fact thousands. They all took on the form of humans but all of them were – to us humans – very “Ghost” like.

A few people still did not trust Fom and his kind. They said that Fom probably lied and that the Dreitch could be our friends. Fom convinced most people on Earth of his case but not all. His species sometimes trained to fight alongside our soldiers as they knew better than anyone else how to use these new special weapons. However, some Generals refused to work alongside “Ghosts”. Fom was a diplomat and worked hard to avoid any disharmony between his species and ours. There were argumentative beings amongst Fom’s kind but they were hugely outnumbered by the antagonistic humans. At times I felt ashamed to be human. Faced with this threat from space, a dozen different Generals all demanded that they personally lead the defence of Earth.

Eventually there came a day when the Dreitch took orbit around the Earth. There were three huge spacecraft. They took over all communication systems-apart from a few built by Fom and his kind. Humans were told to surrender within one day or the planet Earth would be wiped out. Destroyed completely.

Fom told us of the lies of the Dreitch. Told us that even they would find it hard to totally destroy out a planet. And anyway he said, “They want to capture you humans alive so they can feed on you and use your energy for sustenance. Indeed, they plan to feed on all animal life.”

Fom had told us exactly what they would say and it had long been agreed that the only we could survive was by destroying one of their spacecraft before their time limit was up. We had to take the initiative and keep it.

Fom and I were in one of Earth’s six highly protected strong points. I had wanted to fight in an army group but Fom told me I was too valuable to risk being killed in battle and that I could do a better job by working closely with him. We watched on monitors as a battle group of “Ghosts” smashed their ramming spacecraft into the largest of the enemy’s craft. Its shell was punctured and the Ghosts fought their way to the inside of the enemy spaceship. There they detonated their own spacecraft thus also destroying the spacecraft they had attacked and one that was nearby. They had used one of the new energy weapons that I had been given the details of by Fom not that long before. Fom was near to me when this attack happened and I felt waves of anguish come from his mind. I do not know if he cried but I cried for him. All of our allies in the ramming craft had died in that attack. It made us all united in our fight against the enemy.

There was still one enemy spacecraft left and it immediately fired missiles at the nearest army base. The base was a decoy and only a few humans died in that assault. But the Dreitch are fighters and their troops came down in airplanes that each carried a hundred troops. Dozens of Earth’s best fighter planes attacked in flight after flight. All were brought down by energy blasts before they got to their target. By dawn the next day, thousands of heavily armed soldiers were attacking the nearest city which was London.

They set up huge mortars which bombarded London. Their intention at that point was to destroy as many roads and railways as possible. They also wanted to destroy our morale.

A human army had argued for the right to defend London with human weapons and they were given the chance to do this. It was a disaster. Most of them failed to harm any of the Dreitch. Within less than a day, an army of humans 10,000 strong was almost totally wiped out. The antique weapons of the humans either failed to hit their target or never harmed the Dreitch when they did. Fom had correctly forecast what happened.

The Dreitch fortified position was impossible to assault. Millions died in London and millions more fled from the burning city. Fom knew that the Dreitch tactics meant that they would look for total control of one area before they moved to the next. Fom’s plan was for Birmingham to be evacuated while London was fought over. The evacuation was quick and effective. Most of the World’s cities had practised evacuations and London was attacked just too quickly for the plan to work there.

Fom’s elite troops laid traps just before Birmingham and their advanced weapons stopped the Dreitch from any more movement on the ground. Newly built pulsed energy generators brought any Dreitch airplanes crashing to the ground. While this was going on, every major nation on Earth was sending new energy missiles against the remaining Dreitch spaceship. It could not defend against them all and after taking one hit lost the ability to defend itself against any. It only lasted a few more minutes before it was torn apart.

We knew from Fom that the Dreitch on Earth would never surrender. In less than a day, humans and Fom’s species had turned Birmingham into one huge trap. This scenario had been acted out in mock battles and in game play and in computer programmes.

The troops of the Dreitch nations took three days to battle their way to an empty city centre. A decoy command centre had been placed there. The Dreitch had been allowed to intercept communications that erroneously told them that most of Earth’s leaders were there planning a fight back. The energy blast that was unleashed on the Dreitch killed all but a very few of them. The remaining Dreitch troops had to be hunted from house to house by our joint forces. The battle was fierce.

When the last of the invaders had been defeated there was much rejoicing. Fom told me that when the Dreitch were defeated somewhere that they hardly ever invaded that planet again. They did not like an equal battle. As well as that, Fom said that in only a few decades, humans would be advanced enough to repel the Dreitch on their own. Though the bond our two species had formed would remain for a long time. Fom and I had formed our own very special bond.

Fom told me that even though he was, to my eyes, a shimmering patch of translucent light, yet he was a male of his species. It took him some time to properly explain their concept of male and female. We both giggled at his explanation. He said that he loved my smile and he wanted to marry me. He could perform the rare ceremony of energy changing: I could become, if I wanted, like Fob. To age only a little in every century. Never to have to wear dentures. To be loved by Fob. To marry a “Ghost”. Of course I said, “Yes!”

The Work of a SAVER (Chapter 1 of a horror novel I am writing)

People come to see me if they have been having visitations from a relative or a loved one. If the one they grieve for has died recently and is in a reasonable state of preservation i.e. not “soup” or just a skeleton, then I can be hired to perform certain acts which are usually of great assistance to the person seeking my help.

Suppose you have lost someone who had lived a life where they bullied others and went out of their way to be nasty. Perhaps they were even an out and out criminal. Well then, you employ my services to try to free that spirit from further pain and to allow them to be free of their bodily remains.

As a professional I always learn as much as I can about the subject. It helps me and it helps them. I show respect for them and do not verbally condemn them.

They have been held here on this world within their coffin because of the wrongs they had done. For whatever reason-and there are many-they cannot suffer the extreme pains that would expiate their wrongs. In their coffin they lie consumed with guilt and sorrow.

Sometimes they are just cowards. It happens. Often there are blockages-for all sorts of technical reasons (that I deal with more fully in my bestselling book, From here to Heaven).

I am the only one in my firm who does the actual ceremony. And I do it alone and at night. If possible, with a full moon. Such things are also weather dependent.  If you need to hire my services I should add that Christmas is a busy time and I am always totally booked up about then. I know it is hard but you need to plan ahead when dealing with such things.

Of course freeing spirits requires specialist help which only the rich can afford. Truthfully, I would not have the time to also free the poor –even if I did not require sustenance for my family and me. I do a difficulty job and I do it well. Again and again customers tell me I am, “The best in the Business”.

I am well paid. But only three times has a client found the price too high. In each case I walked away and never dealt with them again. There are others who do similar work but they are not as skilled or as motivated as me. I am Jeremy Stoughton and freeing spirits from their earthly remains is my lifetime work.

I am in such demand that I feel it vital that those who think they may need my services – and are not wealthy – plan ahead and join one of my much praised, Stoughton’s Saving Plans. If you really care for that wayward relative or lover then you should think about it.

When I am at work I wear only a white costume as I lie onto top of a structure topped with an open gold mesh. The structure prevents me crushing the fragile body beneath me but allows me to get very close to him or her.

I never use perfumes or scent blockers as I am aided by the smell of death. What I do simply speaking is to take these extreme cleansing pains into my own body and mind so that their spirit does not have to endure it. And yes I do have frequent night mares. I wake up screaming and find the bed soiled. My work is not easy. Some have called me a hero. I am not a hero but I am a dedicated individual who genuinely cares for others. You have to empathise with the body beneath you or you could not do your job properly.

It does not take long for the two of us to make a spiritual connection. I quickly explain who I am and what I will do. The spirit yearns even more than I do for them to be free. I do though have to channel their energy in the most appropriate way.

There are-of course-those who I would not Save. They deserve what they endure. Let them stay forever in their state. I would not and could not free such as those.

Beforehand I often look at pictures or listen to audio recordings of the deceased. I do not need them with me when I am working as I have a photographic and an aural perfect memory.

During the last ceremony something unusual occurred. The spirit did not want to be saved. That has only happened once before (which I write about below). His brother had come to me in desperation. Several times he had witnessed the ghost of his beloved brother Charles in the room in which he had died. Shortly after being married, Charles had betrayed his wife who had then gone and taken her own life. I was almost overcome by the waves of immense guilt that I felt coming from the subject. Never before had I came across such remorse in a spirit. I had to detach contact for a moment in order to recover my control over my own emotions. I saw images of his wife and of her corpse when he had found it. I felt his tears flow from my eyes and wet my cheeks. I took his pain and absorbed it into me but it was too much pain and too much guilt for me to deal with. I did understand his guilt but I had a job to do. So, I lied. I thought it was the only way to free him. I communicated to him that I had recently Saved his wife and that she had not wished him any harm. Indeed she had wanted to meet him again in the afterlife. The spirit lost its fury and the passion changed into white tipped waves of hope. I channelled this energy and did what I had to do to Save him. Sometimes I sing a song or use a chant but now everything was ok. In a few moments his spirit thanked me and left the corpse. His brother would never again be visited by a ghost filled with remorse. I had lied but I felt only a little guilt.

I never give the full names of my subjects as total discretion is a big part of my work ethic.

My most frightening case was also my only failure so far. He was a person who had inflicted terrible cruelties on others when he was alive. His Father took some time to persuade me to take on this case. I told him how I had never before worked with such a malevolent subject. I told him that I needed payment up front and that there were no guarantees. He paid willingly for he had had his house nearly destroyed by the hauntings of this malicious poltergeist. He was close to taking an overdose. He had been a good Father and had given his child every opportunity in life and now he was being haunted.

After reading about the son, I found it hard to find any empathy for him. Just beneath my gold meshed platform he lay out of his coffin. He had died only a few weeks before and his body seemed untouched by death. The smirk he had when he hurt his victims was still on his face.

My spirit saw his body glow with an unusual reddish tinge. I had never seen this before. As soon as I made contact with his spirit, he fought me. He did not want to be saved. His spirit forced me to see some of the various horrors he had unleashed on others. My body and mind and spirit were all attacked at once and with a furious intensity. I could channel nothing and could only fight him with every fibre of my being. My body froze for a while and I had difficulty in moving any of my limbs. Then his corpse emitted a stench worse than any I had ever known. I had to spit the bile from my mouth. His spirit was filled with an evil I had never encountered before. I was terrified.

My eyes were hurting from the bright light that came from his spirit. A bright red light like a spotlight. I am a strong man and have great endurance but I was wracked with pain and exhaustion.

Although impossible, I could have sworn that his smirk became even more pronounced.

I heard him shout into my brain, “If you send me to Hell, I will take you with me!” His spirit shouted other things that I will never speak of. As we battled on I heard thunder crashing in the skies. And lightning lit up the darkness. Rain fell down in torrents but even though I shivered, the rain seemed to revive me. Even though I believe in an afterlife –know there is an afterlife-I have never believed in God. So there was no one to pray to. I had to Save myself at that moment in time. Only the devil occupies my dreams, never God.

For nearly an hour we fought before he finally screamed out his fear of Hell and started to weaken. He had not wanted to be saved because he feared the fires of Hell. I felt no sorrow as I sent him there. Another job well done. Yet it was a failure in that he had not went to a better place but to a much worse place. And for an eternity.



It was about the start of June in 2045 that their strategies first had an effect on Earth. But that effect, at first, went unnoticed. We received no identifiable communications signal from them. The first noticeable effect was that all beings on Earth started to become stronger and fitter. Not just humans but cows and fish and even insects.

I am no Biologist but I presume it had something to do with our genetic makeup being altered. That DNA substance. We must have all been infected with something strange.

By 2050, we had all noticed how much stronger we had become. And how few illnesses we had. My wife and I even became attractive to each other again. And I didn’t forget things like I used to do.

It was most noticeable in the young and those who had just been born. Change. Everywhere change.

Someone on the TV said that it was a prophecy of a second coming. Someone else said that we were getting better as a result of better diet.

Yet, not all changes seemed to be for the good. Many of us developed allergies. And any kind of pollutant in the air made us cough and belch. We were I think being fine-tuned.

After fifteen years of these changes, the Mental Hospitals became filled with people who had dreams and visions. Who thought they could read the minds of others and of animals. By 2065 my wife and were easily able to communicate via our minds. It was a pleasant form of communication with none of the misunderstanding you used to get in normal conversation. At first I could not use telepathy to understand those who spoke a different language but eventually I could understand every person I tried to make contact with. Even over hundreds of miles we could communicate.

It became much harder to get people to work in abattoirs as the animals would scream and shout into the workers brains. They kept crying out for freedom. Those of us who wanted to could even make some kind of contact with ants and bees. Sometimes I would talk to the crows that gathered in the fields. Most of them were clever creatures and I could understand many of the messages they sent me.

There were two big questions that we had to deal with. Firstly, what would we do with those animals now begging so forcefully and cogently for their freedom? And secondly, why were these changes happening?

There were riots in some countries and people tried to free animals from abattoirs and laboratories. Quite a few of these protestors were killed. The air was filled with the screams of animals and the screams of people protesting for them to be freed. Many people could not take the thought of such immense animal suffering and ended their own lifes.

Many Scientists tried to genetically alter animals to destroy their ability to communicate. They also tried burning out particular brain cells. Some used chemical controls. Electric shock was used a lot to try and train animals not to use telepathy. None of these methods worked well enough to stop their communications. Scientists had to kill an animal to make it totally silent.

At noon on June the 20th 2069 we all – human and animal – received the First Message at the same time. For each of us it was slightly different. Yet similar in the main point it argued: We speak to you from a different World. A World in a different Galaxy. Our thoughts are not troubled by limitations of the speed of light. We had not intended speaking to you for another few years but we have been forced to do this. We need to give you a choice. All intelligent life forms wherever they exist anywhere in the Universe are too big to travel large distances across space. So we sent material, each the size of a few molecules, that would change all animal life on your planet for the better. We optimised what you already have. We have done this for thousands of Worlds that seemed likely to produce intelligent life. The only way we could end the silence of space was by helping others improve their minds and letting them communicate with us over thousands of light years distance. You were all-each human and animal – given the ability to be better and to communicate. Yet you humans continue to torture and kill your fellow species. All those who can give up eating animals should do so now. Humans should free all creatures from your labs and abattoirs now. If you do not do this then we will never again try to contact you or help you to be even “better”. The First Law of Communication restricts us to only make changes to individuals that overcome faults in your own coding. We are not allowed –and do not want – to make you the same as us. Are you worth the gift we gave to you? Would you like to communicate with us and see our World through our senses? You have till a week today to decide. At that time we will know what you have decided. There is no space time lag on mind to mind contact.  Out of all the World’s we have contacted, the human species is the first we have found that even after being able to use telepathy still continues to willingly harm other species.

There were crisis meetings in Parliaments all around the World. Protestors filled the streets on many cities carrying placards that showed their concern for other creatures. There were just as many people protesting for the “Right” to continue to eat whatever creatures they liked.

My wife and I sat in bed and cuddled and knew what each of us wanted.

That week passed very quickly. Before I tell you what we decided, you must tell me the choice that you would have made at that time.