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Stringed and Alone

by Rhiannon Petty

Stringed and Alone

Read by Robert Blythe from the BBC Radio Drama Company.

At first there was only darkness - inky black. Unending pain followed because that is the thing about pain, it demands to be felt. Then nothing.

"I can see you," the cold calculating voice of the puppet master sneered. Curled against the wall of the box, I whimpered. I could not do it not again. Not again. Large, meaty hands make a grab for me. Dodging them, I look for a way to escape. Suddenly I am being pulled out of the box: pulled by the strings attached to my back. I am a marionette puppet.

Days pass by, each the same; each as long and painful as the next. I stop living, stop believing. Until one day I got up, one morning, and decided to fight.

Dawn is once again upon the world. Now is the time to act. My arms tremble as I haul myself out of the box. I heave myself on to the stage and manage to reach the door. Just as I am about to slip my thin body through the crack beneath the door, a voice says, "Going somewhere?"

My entire body locks up at the master's voice. Then I hear footsteps ... quick, quick think.

If I go under the door, my body will be crushed when it opens. Turning, my eyes dart over the stage to the side exit. I can escape through that.

Hurling myself across the wooden planks, I make a dart for freedom. Suddenly, I begin to fall through the trap door I forgot about.
Shaking, I wiggle my legs and notice that to be able to do that I have to be in mid-air. My breath is coming out in wet rasps. "Help me," my stupid strings are making escape pretty hard.

Struggling, I pull on the strings. I cannot be trapped, not again, not after getting this far. One of my strings slips free and I make a start on the others. "Come on," I urge myself onwards.

All of my strings are soon unstuck, but I still cling desperately onto the hook my strings were stuck on. Letting go would mean that I would fall into the abyss of death and pain. I shift my hand to the right and feel a load of braided material.


Arms aching, I pull myself out the hole and sit on the side. I do not sense the blow until it is too late. Oblivion sweeps in.

When I awaken, in semi-darkness, my head is aching: my entire body sore. Someone has tied up the strings on my back - knowing I am helpless without them. Sitting to the side of me is the puppet master. Sensing I am awake, he comes over to me. I am not afraid as he slides the blade across the strings.

At first there is only darkness- inky black. Unending pain follows because that is the thing about pain it demands to be felt. Then nothing.

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