The sun was shining as I strolled through my local town of Penrith the other day. Wispy white clouds sailed across a sky that was, funnily enough, sky blue. Birds sang, people greeted each other with hearty hellos and broad smiles. The old guys who regularly lean against a set of railings in the town center, gossiping and setting the world to rights, had their jackets off and shirt sleeves rolled up. Young ladies wore short skirts, young men wore tight t-shirts, each group vying for the attention of the other. It was, let’s be honest, a beautiful day.
I headed for my favourite book and coffee shop, which is situated alongside the church, parts of which date back to the 12th century. Off the beaten track and away from the hustle and bustle, it’s the ideal place to relax with a cup of coffee and a newspaper or good book. The shops and houses that surround St. Andrew’s church and its churchyard are centuries old, and it’s easy to lose yourself imagining all the history that has passed through there. The people, the events; if the walls could talk they really could tell some amazing stories.
As I sipped my coffee I flicked through a daily newspaper left behind by a previous customer. It was full of the usual non news; posturing politicians, attention craving ‘celebrities’, whining premiership footballers, and gossip gleaned from the ex of somebody who’s sister’s best friend may have overheard something…
Then I turned a page, and read something that chilled me to the core. The article is written out below.
A SIX-YEAR-OLD boy was found soaked in blood with his eyelids turned inside out – the blinded victim of the world’s sickest black market trade.
His eyes were discarded nearby but the corneas were missing, revealing an organ trafficker was behind the attack.
A female kidnapper had told him: “Don’t cry. Don’t cry and I won’t gouge out your eyes.”
She took the child from his home at Fenzi, in the north China province of Shanxi.
He was then drugged and lost consciousness before the attacker removed his eyes, China Central TV told viewers.
Footage showed the heavily bandaged boy being taken from an operating theatre and placed in a hospital bed, writhing in agony as family members stood at his bedside weeping.
“He had blood all over his face. His eyelids were turned inside out. And inside, his eyeballs were not there.”
Police have offered a £10,000, reward for information leading to an arrest of the lone suspect. The gruesome assault is just the latest shocking evidence of the grim trade.
The illegal trafficking of organs in China is a growing problem, made worse by the 1.5million people on hospital waiting lists and low number of donors.
Seven people were jailed last year when a teenager sold a kidney for an illicit transplant operation and used the proceeds to buy himself an iPhone and iPad.
Child organs are usually more expensive on the Chinese black market, an organ trafficker told Sina Internet news portal in 2010, as “most people think the younger the donor is, the better the quality of organs”.
Organ trafficking was outlawed in China two years ago but trade continues to boom, particularly in kidneys.
The World Health Organisation last year said the issue was becoming a global problem, with huge amounts of money on offer.
A spokesman said: “There is a growing need for transplants and big profits to be made. It’s ever growing, it’s a constant struggle. The stakes are so big, the profit that can be made so huge, that the temptation is out there.”
The attack has caused outrage across China, with one user of Sina Weibo, the country’s version of Twitter, writing: “This is extraordinarily vicious. How and why could someone be so cruel?”
I enjoy writing horror stories – more the psychological kind as opposed to out and out gore – but horror nonetheless. Even my fantasy and sci-fi works tend towards the darker side of their respective genres. But sometimes, and especially after reading articles like the one above, it makes me wonder why I bother. Real life has the ability to be more shocking, more horrific, more terrifying than anything a writer could put on paper. A previous post of mine, When nature provides the perfect inspiration for horror writers, backs this up.
This world is a truly amazing place, full of many beautiful and wondrous things. But be careful, for if you scratch the surface, it has a tendency to bleed pure evil.
Sleep well tonight, won’t you.