- Vol. 03
- Chapter 01
Image by Coralie Bickford-Smith
Claiming FablesJane was a girl with curious eyes and thick, flaming locks. Her most striking feature however, was her limitless imagination. It was unfortunate that she was born in a time and place, where these things were close to worthless. The girl's home was a church-run orphanage on Albert Road in a small town, not far from London. She had arrived there after loosing her father to cancer and both her mother and a sister, younger than her, to the flu.
When Jane turned twelve, she was sent to work for a wealthy family. The house was often busy with people: children playing marbles and women having tea on the sofa. Meanwhile, Jane's occupations were reduced to polishing, scrubbing and dusting.
One evening, she asked herself whether anyone would notice if she disappeared. This wonder steered her feet away from Albert Road. A fair amount of time passed and she continued to place one step in front of the other. Once she reached a forest, it was pitch dark. Jane lied down on the ground, imagined it rocking her tenderly, like her mother used to when she lulled her to sleep in her lap. When calmness was interrupted by the flutter of birds, Jane attempted to outrun her loneliness.
Then she met Sean, who was playing guitar in the forest and they started spending all their free time together. Sean was a street musician and a performer of all kinds. He was talented, too. So talented that most didn't notice it, when he performed vanishing acts on their coins. Next to him, the streets shone with light.
The day Jane turned sixteen, Sean asked her to be his wife. They moved to a small room in a cottage at the outskirts of town. Sean found work as a sailor, which meant that he was away at sea for months. With each return, he was less the Sean she had remembered him to be.
Claiming FablesThey remained childless, but at least they had each other - that is, till he was drafted. Before he left, he kissed her with his dry lips and she hugged him tight, till he started to cough out flocks of tobacco.
Jane wrote him often. She wrote him about chirping birds, bright skies and happy families - stories that so far from reality, they were comical.
After the war, Jane returned to Albert Road. There was always work to do, but occasionally, she found time to frequent the forest that brought her Sean. She would listen to the swoosh sounds of the chestnut branches, slide a tired hand through her white hair and let her mind drift.
A year later, Jane met a little girl at Albert Road, who was whispering to a small teddy bear on her lap. Jane soon adopted her and poured all her love into her daughter. Together, they tapped into the power of imagination, brightening the days of all orphanage residents with wondrous stories of elves and fairies.