The Cosh

Written for the 'Who Framed Klaris Cliff?' Competition. Jamie is a hard-working, ambitious Year 11 student, who finds his imagination piqued by an image of Caravaggio's 'Medusa'. How will he avoid The Cosh when he wakes up to discover Michael - not so much a voice in his head as a voice in his kitchen?


3. Jamie

Jamie scoured the canteen for Michael, thinking he might still be on a mission for food, but couldn't see him. Damn. On his ride into school, he'd decided the best approach was to be honest. Not with his parents or teachers, obviously, but with this imaginary interloper. He would explain that this was a very bad time - he was concentrating on his GCSEs and didn't have time to have an imagination, let alone a populated one. He dreamt of a political career once he'd finished his studies, and would need his mind to be in top working order for that, so he couldn't risk getting The Cosh. Besides, that would certainly end even more badly for Michael, so really, it would be best for both of them if Michael could just find somewhere else to live. It all sounded perfectly reasonable to Jamie. Maybe he should try looking somewhere else.

As Jamie rounded the corner from the boys' toilets he crashed into someone hurrying the other way. It was Michael. He didn't even look up, it was like he hadn't even realised Jamie was there. 
"Hey, watch out," Jamie exclaimed, "I was just trying to find you. We need to talk".
"Not now," muttered Michael as he tried to push past and carry on his way.
Jamie's forehead wrinkled into a frown. Could a figment of his imagination really be the one in control of the situation? Surely not.
"Listen, Michael, I need you to find somewhere else to live, there's too much going on in my head already and I - "
Michael whirled on Jamie. "Who do you think you are? I said not now. And if you took your head out from up your arse, you'd see that I was trying to leave, and the only thing in my way is you, so move!"
"Uh... Oh.. Yes, yes of course. Um... Goodbye?" Jamie stuck his hand out uncertainly for a farewell handshake, but Michael just snorted derisively and walked off without looking back. 

Well, that was easy, thought Jamie.


Afternoon lessons had been cancelled, the school was closed, and Jamie sat on his bed at home, chewing his fingernails anxiously. It was already on national TV - Breaking News: boy murdered in Hampshire school. 

As soon as Mr Brown, the head of Year 11, had announced that the school would be shutting whilst police and forensic teams examined the area by the tennis courts where an 'unfortunate incident' had occurred, Jamie just knew Michael had had something to do with it. Why else had he been rushing off? IPs didn't normally just disappear so easily. Mr Brown had told the year group that a boy in Upper Sixth, Oliver Rush, had died and that if anyone had seen anything going on around the tennis courts at breaktime, they'd need to make themselves available for questioning. 

Jamie definitely hadn't seen anything, so that meant he could just go home, right? He definitely knew something though, so he should inform the police, especially now that Michael had gone rogue, and could be anywhere attacking anyone. But then he would absolutely be in for The Cosh, and all his hard work so far, all his future plans would be scuppered, and he'd just be some empty husk of the boy he used to be; the man he dreamt of becoming. He had so many visions for the future, so much good work in him that would benefit his constituents... The real crime would be to let the authorities perform The Cosh on him and deny the community the chance of having a politician who actually cared about his people and not just manipulating them with spin and empty promises. Best just to say nothing.

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