Excerpt from The Fifth Child :
“She was at the end of a long ward, which had any number of cots and beds along the walls. In the cots were- monsters. While she strode rapidly through the ward to the door at the other end, she was able to see that every bed or cot held an infant or small child in whom the human template had been wrenched out of pattern, sometimes horribly, sometimes slightly. A baby like a comma, great lolling head on a stalk of a body….then something like a stick insect, enormous bulging eyes among stiff fragilities that were limbs… a small girl all blurred, her flesh guttering and melting- a doll with chalky swollen limbs, it’s eyes wide open and blank, like blue ponds, and it’s mouth open, showing a swollen little tongue. A lanky boy was skewed, one half of his body sliding from the other. A child seemed at first glance normal, but then Harriet saw that there was no back to its head; it was all face which seemed to scream at her. Rows of freaks, nearly all asleep, and all silent. They were literally drugged out of their minds .Well, nearly silent: there was a dreary sobbing from a cot that had its sides shielded with blankets.”
The Fifth Child is published by Flamingo.
Its part of the opus of Doris Lessing who was silenced recently by HMG for opposing aspects of the Peace process
– she wanted , as a writer to confront mainland bombing issues. others works include, The Golden Notebook,
and Her Space series.
In another part of this blog in relation to Lovecraft‘s Opus I had mentioned that it takes a woman to really write horror, Lessing is a lifelong socialist, an adherent and student of Sufism and an author silenced by vested interests who think peace comes from burying the past.
The Fifth Child is a horrible little tale about a mother’s love for her atavistic son, the scene above details Harriet’s rescue of the boy from a care-home, where forgotten children are placed because of her physical differences. it’s worth the read- best contraceptive I ever had.