If someone knows your real name, that gives them power over you. People have believed that for thousands of years.

What if a man was keen to keep his identity a secret for reasons that were very twenty-first century? What if he went back into a low-tech past to achieve that?

And what if the same problem was waiting for him there?

It was an idea that came to me as I was walking the cliffs near where I live. An old belief translated into the now, an ancient version of a modern peculiarity. ‘Hide and seek’. ‘Here I come ready or not.’ The hunter and the pray, is the game that prepares us for almost every fear we will ever have.

Peering over the tops of his fingers, Derek paid close attention to the pub and the stores but he saw no sign of any security cameras. In a country where the population was more observed than anywhere else in Europe, this was one of the blind spots but of course, that was no accident.

The last time his face had appeared on CCTV was at a garage over a hundred miles back. The forecourt camera showed him filling the Landrover with diesel, a camera behind the counter showed him paying and then the forecourt camera watched him as he drove away. What neither camera saw was what happened while he was waiting for the previous car to drive off so he could drive up to the pump. Derek had pulled his debit card out of his wallet and rubbed his thumb over the bottom corner where his name was embossed. He rubbed and rubbed but his name stayed there, clear and easy to read. He then bent the card in half then reluctantly snapped it in two.

Abracadabra, he thought. Disappear.”


From SILVERBACK, a collection of imaginative short fiction published by Climbing Tree Books. Available in paperback or as an eBook via Amazon and other booksellers.