This issue’s creative column is the beginning of a novel entitled The Rebirth of Martin Sweet.
Rebirth is a curious thing. What is it? Is it a regeneration? Will I step into my Tardis with a confused, grieving companion by my side? Will I kiss Billie Piper, as I Christopher, become David? Or perhaps Peter will become Jodie? Or maybe it isn’t like that. Maybe I will burn, in a huge spinning column of towering flame, and rise up out of the fire, leaving no ashes. I shall watch my previous-self struggle in the flames, as my new form embraces the cold world.
Perhaps it’s like Bond, or Poirot, or Holmes, and there’ll be a recasting. The casting director will meet with the producer and discuss how they’re feeling. They’ll look at the ratings, and the box office numbers. We want this sequel to be bigger, with more action! We need a lead that appeals to these target demographics. Someone with charisma! This is what they’ll say.
I hope it will be like Jesus. I am betrayed, there is a kiss in the garden. They cut me, reject me, stone me, push me, kick me. And I fall, many times. As they crucify me I slowly depart. The nails burn hot in me. Rusty, and jagged. The crown of thorns fits so perfectly, it’s smooth and earthy. Glistening and twitching, it grows, from a single circular branch into a garden, and I wear a dead Eden on my head. A bird lands on it and sits betwixt the thorns, but it is pricked straight through the heart, and the blood is so sweet. I am coated in it. So many times, I have been bathed in blood, but never so pure. Why have you fallen Dove? You were sent from the flooded world by Noah, to a world that will be flooded.
As the bird leaves this place so do I. I free my hands from the nails. Parts of them stay stuck, pinned to the cross, but with what I have left I take the dove’s wings, snapping them off at the joints, and join them to my shoulders. I leave my feet and half my hands pinned to that wood. I leave the crowds, and the world, and I go to meet the father.
And then one day I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. But I shall be Martin Sweet no longer. It’s only a name. There is no Martin Sweet. The question is what comes after? When the deed is done, what follows? I won’t be there. There will be a new body, a new face, a new person. Can they still be me if they are so new? Will I lose myself along the way?
But I must do it! I must be reborn! I crave the fresh start, the second chance, the new blood. I must discover what is next. I was always told it was strange to think about death.
“Martin Sweet you are a strange little boy, playing with dead mice and frightening the girls, when I tell your mother how you have been behaving I am sure she will be furious, and perhaps she’ll realise that this school is no place for strange little boys like you.”
But it is the greatest obsession there can be. All I want is to start again. My life’s work is my death. It must be the right one. I am to be gunned down in an act of defiance. I came to Edinburgh to kill the First Minister so that I could be killed. I’ll cut her throat and then I will be shot by her security. I will forever be remembered as a rebel and a martyr. It is the only thing that can trigger the rebirth.
I’m not interested in the afterlife. I don’t care about heaven, or hell, or the Catholic waiting room. The only thing that interests me is what I will be like after this life ends. Who comes next? When I meet death, I shall not greet him. I shall instead greet myself. I will know the phoenix, the next Doctor, the new Christ, and isn’t that the most exciting thing there is? The second coming is at hand. We shall meet him soon.