• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 02
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Grandma’s Big Lies

Once upon a time, there lived a family in a cottage on the edge of a forest...

'A single family!' Silas rolled his eyes in a full nine years of wisdom, and Isla giggled, a wheezy seven-year-old rattle of near disbelief.

Grandma called the stories history; the older children, who patrolled, called her stories lies.

'Listen,' Grandma said. She did not like it when she thought they showed her disrespect.

'You forget.' Silas shrugged.

'What's a forest?' Isla's eyes were as big as saucers.

'You remember the trees I told you about?'

'With leaves that changed colour in the cold and dropped off, but grew again in the sunshine.'

'Exactly, Isla. A forest was an area filled with trees.'

Silas shook his head silently. Isla liked to hear Grandma's stories, and he liked to see his sister smile.

'Every morning this particular family would receive a delivery of milk in glass bottles with foil tops; someone - usually a man - would leave milk bottles on the doorstep at the entrance to the cottage.'

Isla knew what glass was because Grandma had explained that bottles didn't used to all be made out of plastic, but foil as a lid sounded odd; silver that ripped.


Grandma’s Big Lies

Grandma said that milk used to come from cows, not nuts, and Isla clapped her hands in delight at the description; she moo-mooed until her face grew scarlet from the effort.

But Silas sulked when Grandma called him simple. 'A milkman!' he scoffed. As if anyone could drive with food or drink stored in an unarmored truck, or leave it on a doorstep where an individual family owned a whole house.

But Grandma, (who wasn't their grandma at all, but a woman taking shelter with the children in an underground car park) insisted it used to be so.

She said the bottles were left outside without fear; she said the skies were sometimes blue and calm for days; she said the men didn't all carry weapons, or shields to protect from the sun.

The only thieves were blue tits, mythical birds that were cute enough to peck into the foil tops and drink the richest part of the milk (the cream, she called it) before anyone had fully woken up.