Far Horizons: Tales of Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. Issue #13 April 2015 - Page 48

in Florida every Christmas. After Fiona, my mission was clear. Collecting the bright souls was easy. The good die too soon every day. I had hundreds stored in jars of every size and shape, filling every shelf in my spare room. But I couldn’t go around killing criminals with my bare hands all the time. For one thing, if I died in the line of duty what would become of the gentle souls waiting patiently for me to rehome them? They needed me. Plus, I wanted to give those poor, beautiful spirits a real chance. Not saddle them with bodies that were already half-pickled from drugs and alcohol, or in danger of being carted off to prison for a previous crime. I didn’t know what to do. I knew it was my task, my gift, to help the good souls live again, and in doing so help the world to be a better place. I pleaded with heaven to show its humble servant the way. That’s when the Lord answered my prayers. As soon as I saw that ad, it all fell into place. A school full of the dregs of society. Those that would grow up to be nothing more than a drain on the world. Or worse, perpetrators of evil. What better place to find homes for all the good spirits, taken from this world too early? What wonders they could achieve, with a whole new life ahead of them. I know what you’re thinking. Your head is full of liberal tosh. You’re thinking it’s impossible to judge how a child will turn out at such a young age. You’re thinking that just because a kid comes from a bad home, has a bad attitude, beats the crap out of those weaker than he is, it doesn’t mean he won’t grow up to be a decent member of the human race. Yeah, right. And we’ll all sing Kumbaya and dance on fucking rainbows. Check the stats. I have. They’re not pretty. Should I let little bastards like Georgie Thompson continue on the path to delinquency, just because there’s a one in ten thousand chance he might have a road to Damascus moment and become a force for good in the world? It wasn’t his fault. I know that. He didn’t have a chance. Father in prison, mum jacked up on heroin. Maybe he never got a fair crack of the whip. But fast forward and try telling that to the parents of the sweet PAGE 48 little girl he grows up to rape, and gut. Doesn’t she deserve to have the streets made a safer place? Aren’t we all sleeping a little sounder now that the brave and brilliant Jamie Dawson, struck down in his prime by a drunk driver, inhabits Georgie’s body? He even contacted the right authorities, got his Mum through rehab for Christ’s sake. Now that she’s back training for a chance at a better life, she sure as hell isn’t complaining about the sudden turnaround in her son’s behaviour. No one’s complaining, in fact. The teachers are thrilled, the board of governors euphoric. Everyone for miles around is desperately trying to buy property in the catchment area. Not one parent has thought it a little odd that their thick as shit offspring have suddenly stopped receiving suspensions for anti-social behaviour, and are now excelling in subjects they never gave a crap about before. They’re all either far too delighted to question it, or too disinterested to even notice. I coach them, of course. Each soul takes time to adjust. But my little protégées soon get the hang of their new identities. It’s amazing how much better an adult soul can cope with childhood than the children themselves. I’m just finishing the odious task of removing all traces of vomit from the corridor, when Jilly Holmes’s body comes walking towards me. She’s wearing the prefect sash with pride, clipboard under her arm. I grin at her. Jilly had been a hateful little brat. Always making the other girls’ lives a misery. Beautiful exterior, no doubt about that. Tall, blonde, athletic. But boy did she know it. The slightest physical defect in others was enough to give her the ammunition she needed to tease, taunt and turn them into a social pariah. Now that Sarah was living her life, she was the chairman of her own anti-bullying initiative. That had been a triumph. One of my finest moments. I’d watched Sarah for weeks as she deteriorated. Wheelchair bound her whole life, finally taken by cancer aged 45. She died in terrible pain, but never once spoke one word that wasn’t kind, even when the nurses were late with her morphine. She’d never had a chance to run, to jump, to have children. Now she’s