Reception, Part I

When Roy was four years old, his mother heard him humming while he played with his little wooden train. This did not occur to her to be at all unusual, apart from perhaps the particular tunefulness with which he did it. That and the choice of song, which was a chart-topping pop song of the moment, rather than a children’s rhyme. Then again, the song was being played everywhere so perhaps it was not all that surprising.

As Roy turned five his parents certainly noticed a few surprising aspects to his character. He was very much into football, far more so than any boy of that age, and he frequently seemed to know the result of a recent match before anyone else. Then the fact that, when left to play by himself, he would sometimes burst out laughing. When asked what was so funny, he would reply that he had imagined an incredible joke, which he would sometimes proceed to tell, and would sometimes be as funny as he had claimed.

As he turned six he started to become interested in foreign languages, particularly French, which he would practice when his mother’s friends came round to visit at weekends. His schoolteacher commented that he seemed rather well read and informed, certainly unusual for a child at his stage.

One day, shortly after he turned seven, his mother found him sitting in a corner of his bedroom, crying. She comforted him, and asked what was wrong. Roy told her that he had realised he was mad, that a friend at school had told him that mad people hear voices, and he heard voices all the time.

To be continued…

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