As Grandfather Atkins sat down, he clicked the switch on his chair. Slowly the seat slid back to a more comfortable position. Then he picked up the remote and turned on the wall screen. A moment later, his granddaughter, Isadora, quickly followed by the robot dog, tumbled into the front room from the garden outside. ‘Oh Granddad am I just in time?’ ‘Well I was-‘ ‘But granddad its children’s hour’ Isadora gently insisted. He stared at her gently, recalling Becky say “Don’t let her run rings around you.” But he could never say no to his daughter, how he could say to her child. With a welcoming smile, Isadora, all blonde hair and blue eyes sat comfortably on his lap, while the wall screen clicked then burst into life. A man appeared on the screen making grandfather feel slightly uncomfortable. There was something un-nerving in his black slicked back hair. His eyes appeared cold and almost hostile and the black polo-neck jumper felt far too formal, for lunchtime on he assumed was a children’s channel, but, he had to admit, it had been a while since he had watched a screen. ‘What’s this Isadora?’ he asked. ‘ It’s Children’s hour, granddad.’ She looked at her grandfather, with sweet light filled almond eyes; ‘Don’t you have a wall screen?’ ‘Err, no, darling…Grandad can’t afford one, in my day-‘ ‘Oh granddad, when you were young.’ Isadora mocked her granddad gently as she kissed him on the cheek. ‘Good morning children…’ the man on the screen said gently and slightly too formally for Granddad’s ears. ‘…and now an episode of Fireman Fred.’ ‘Oh, goody, I remember that…’ began Grandfather, gently as Isadora nestled down to watch the screen. ‘…Fireman Sam used to help people in distress-’ ‘Not Fire man Sam silly!’ Said Isadora; Her tiny round face looked frustrated, her blue eyes looked up at the ceiling as she spoke, as she shook her head, telling him off in her same adorable way. Her curls bounced around her. ‘It’s Fireman Fred!’ ‘Oh…’ began grandfather. ‘…I have never heard of him before.’ ‘Oh grandfather…’ sighed Isadora. ‘Fireman Fred protects us from those, nasty people.’ ‘Nasty people?’ ‘shhh its starting.’ Said Isadora, as she nudged him in the ribs. The cartoon music started.
When he hears that fire-bell chime, Fireman Fred is there on time .Putting on his coat and hat, In less than seven seconds flat .He's always on the scene. Fireman Fred! And his engine's bright and clean. Fireman Fred! You cannot ignore, Fred is the hero next door.
Driving down the busy streets ,Greeting people that he meets .Someone could be in a jam, So, hurry hurry Fireman Fred. So move aside, make way. Fireman Fred! 'Cos he's gonna save the day. Fireman Fred !He's the one we adore. Fred is the hero next door.
When he's setting all the fires, Catching people who transpire, He's always cool and calm. And everyone admires, When there's a fire alarm. He's great, he never tires. He always sees it through And that's true…
No, thought granddad, that’s not right... that’s not right at all. Isadora could see that Granddad was upset. ‘What’s wrong granddad?’ ‘I…I don’t understand…’ ‘what do you mean?’ The cartoon started and Fireman Fred entered the fire station an met Station officer valis. ‘Fred.’ ‘yes station officer valis?’ ‘There has been a report handed to us…’ ‘You mean-‘ ‘Yes, a library has been found! We must get there quick!’ ‘where is it?’ ‘On the other side of the valley.’ No this is insane. Granddad thought. Fireman don’t burn things, they put fires out… I watched this as a child, it was called… called… fireman Sam… that’s it… I know I'm right! this is wrong all wrong! ‘Granddad?’ asked Isdadora gently. ‘are you ok?’ She looked upset as she could see how tense he was getting. ‘I, have been away, for a while.’ he said quietly. ‘yes.’ Began Isadora. ‘Mummy told me. ‘You have a cabin in the mountains, and never really come to town. ‘No, never come to town.’ He said distantly, as he watched the screen. The fire engine made its way out of the town and up the mountains. Towards no, he thought, that’s my house… my house!’ ‘is that my house?’ Isadora looked sweetly up at granddad. 'yes, look Granddad, that's where we put the swing, when I came to stay the other day.' Isadora smiled and clapped her hands happily, as the cartoon Fred kicked down the cartoon door of the little cartoon cabin that He knew looked precisely like his own front door. The front room was exactly the same, even the grandfather-clock in the corner by the stairs looked exact. The fireplace directly in view. ‘Come on!’ Shouted Fred, ‘Let’s trash this house!’ So the Fireman who came into the house with Fred ran from room to room. They pulled apart all the furniture; they ripped up every floorboard’s, and looked in every cubby hole. And from every place they looked, out came the books… his books, his precious books, the writing of Poe, the poetry of Shelly, the words of Plato, the stories of Ray Bradbury and the tales of Stephen king, books by known authors by unknown authors filled the comic setting, but felt so real, so terrifyingly real, as they were taken out and thrown down in a pile. ‘and what do we do children?’ ‘Burn them!’ said Isadora ‘I can’t hear you!’ ‘Burn them ’ said Isadora a little louder. 'I CAN'T HEAR YOU!' ‘BURN! BURN THE BOOKS! BURN THE BOOKS!’ shouted Isadora screaming at the wall-screen. And as if in answer to her call Fireman Fred torched the books, and the hall and the house itself. Then the scene changed and Station officer Valis now stood outside a door, he recognised, but dare not face the reality of it. Granddad leapt to his feet. The dog turned and set itself ready to pounce, as there was a quiet knock on the door. As Isadora fell from his lap, she turned to face him. Granddad Atkins looked down upon her. How did she know? it wasn't fair! She’s just a child! A child! He looked down at the little girl on the floor. ‘You should have been more careful when we last came to visit, Granddad. We have to tell Fireman Fred. Fireman Fred want's us all to tell.' There was a knock on front door. She turned to face it. 'Come in Inspector Valis. He’s ready for you now.’ (c) adh 2017