It was the main event of the night, and the crowds were packed to the rafters. The lights of the stage burned lightly onto my skin and left me feeling warm inside. I had been rehearsing my illusions for a long time, it was my turn to step forward and to dazzle them with splendour and awe.

It was my turn to tell them what they wanted to hear, and it was my turn to tell myself what I wanted to hear. Denial the greatest magic trick of them all was now about to make me the greatest magician of all time. 

Instead of the rabbit, I pulled out my mental anguish from the top hat and laughed as it flooded the audience with its chaotic and pungent smell of deception and pain. With the audience transfixed I never saw the look of fear in their eyes or their desperate attempts to escape the madness from within my soul. Instead, I conducted my madness to weave and flow entangling all in its path.

You will live my madness, and you will taste my fear and loneliness’ I screamed at the top of my voice. 

For this night will be remembered for generations to come, it was a time when the audience sampled my very own personal taste of bedlam, and what little empathy they had left was eroded when I pulled out the top hat. Tired of my deceptive behaviour their only recourse to rescue their own sanity was to walk away from me.

Extract from Bedlam and Tea available to buy on Amazon Kindle.