Author: Bill Cox

“Hello, my name is Fragog”.

The voice was the deepest I’d ever heard. I’d been playing in the garden with some action figures, as you do at age seven and looked around to see who’d spoken.

“Oh, I’m not there on Earth,” Fragog explained, somehow sensing my bewilderment, “I’m on the planet Saturn. My people are telepathic and I’m contacting you with our telepathy telescope. I’m speaking in your mind.”

Even at that young age, the popular culture of the time helped me to understand.

“Just like Professor X!” I replied. “Am I going to be an X-Man?”

Fragog laughed, a deep bass sound that I felt all the way through my body, down to my feet.

“No, Kevin, you’re going to be my test subject! You’re going to help me learn more about your world.”

And that’s what happened. When I woke up every morning, I would feel Fragog’s presence behind my eyes, watching as I went about my daily routine. Sometimes he would ask questions and I would do my best to answer. My parents caught me speaking to him a couple of times.

“A bit old for imaginary friends, aren’t you?” asked my Dad.

I just shrugged. I knew Fragog was real, but I also knew, somehow, that there was no way I could persuade my parents of this. So I didn’t try.

After a while, Fragog stopped asking questions and started asking me to do things instead.

“Observation is part of the scientific method, but so is experiment,” he explained.

At first, most of these experiments seemed boring and pointless to my younger self. Then one day he told me to get one of my sister’s hamsters from her room. Despite my trepidation, Fragog whispered words of encouragement to me and I went into Sally’s bedroom and lifted Hokey out from his cage.

“Good,” said Fragog, “Now I want you to bash its head in.”

“I don’t want to,” I said. I knew that it was wrong. I liked Hokey!

“But you have to,” said Fragog, “It’s for science!”

“No”, I shouted, “I’m not going to!”

“Then I’ll make you,” Fragog replied.

Suddenly, I felt as if I was looking down a long tunnel at my hands as they held Hokey. I watched those small fingers take the hamster and smash it repeatedly against the bedroom door.

“There,” said Fragog, “that wasn’t too hard, was it?”

Then I rushed down the tunnel and was back inside my body, holding Hokey’s bloody corpse. I dropped it on the carpet and ran out of the bedroom, tears flowing down my cheeks. My mother eventually found me hiding under my bed. I told her everything, about Fragog and how he’d made me hurt Hokey. She went through to Sally’s room and I heard her gasp then shout for my dad. I can still remember the panic in her voice.

Afterwards, the doctors taught me that Fragog wasn’t real and eventually I was prescribed anti-psychotics which seemed to block his voice out completely. I’ve been on them ever since. It took me a long while to feel well again, but I’ve had some good years since then and have built a life for myself that I’m quite proud of.

Until yesterday, when, despite my meds, I once again felt Fragog’s calculating presence watching from behind my eyes.

Yesterday and that final item on the news: ‘Objects erupting from the atmosphere of Saturn, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope. Scientists are baffled.’

Yesterday and that single sonorous sentence ringing through my mind.

“See you soon, Kevin!”