In the Corn Field by Lydia Unsworth It happens that there is a child running through a heaving swaying mass of corn. The corn stands higher than the child itself, is more complete and more richly developed. The child's face is pink against yellow, beige against green. The midday sun makes everything incriminatingly visible. A giant voice is behind the child. Child is skipping away from our conceived gaze. Voice is behind us, behind our disembodied 2-D character. Voice is loud, booming, deep. Voice, although deep, is muffled and slow. It is decreasing in tempo with each syllable, dragging. Voice warns child not to enter the competition. The child will remain innocent, will not be in the race. Child is running and skipping, is in a different world to voice. Corn protects child with its warming enormity and child goes on, ripping off an ear, twirling it in hands or before face, discarding it, claiming another. Voice is slow and loud and threatening. The child will not disobey! Voice envelops child in its frequency, slowing until it resonates, until bones of child are shaking with deep, low sound-waves. Child fears and is lifted out of playful wander. Child is halted and knows the fear of the world. Child is snatched out of time's continuum for one brief and everlasting moment. The frequency is more than words, the slowing. There is meaning in the deceleration, awful truths the child cannot yet understand. Child knows fear and child knows rebellion. Child buys a ticket because this is the only way to be strong. Child knows the chances of winning are minimal, has basic concepts of probability. In buying a ticket the child learns risk, danger, protest, freedom. Booming voice is still beckoning in background. With ticket in hand, child runs, flees. Corn field could not be emptier, less useless, or more fragile. Child flees. It flees but there is no chance that child will win. Child would not be singled out among many, for child is nothing, no-one. Voice and ticket and irreversible actions haunt the child. It considers consequence and shivers in the steady one-way traffic of time. The thing is done. Child learns worry. Irrational worry in the face of statistics. And the child learns guilt, is paralyzed by fear. Voice repeats, is looping round and round in mind of child, until new sound forms and expands out of the distance. New sound is melodic, uplifting and final, lifting cheer straight out of the brown earth. New voice is death's own messenger, oblivious. Child cannot share in the joys of the world. Child looks down at number on ticket. New sound is reading out its improbable numbers, destroying the world. Child has put an end to everything with one rash gesture. It cannot be taken back, voice will be listening. Voice is unseen yet always within earshot. Child cannot hide. When it does not stand tall and go to collect prize, new sound reads out child's full name. Ears of corn and ears of father are one and the same. Child runs as voice beckons to it, a deafening wail which deepens and spreads to infinity.