• Vol. 07
  • Chapter 01
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It wasn’t a big garden

It wasn’t a big garden. It wasn’t well-tended or full of fragrant flowers. It had bushes. Not roses or anything with thorns, but ones with wispy leaves and bendable twig-like branches.

At the age of five I learnt I could crawl under and find myself in the middle. I was sheltered from the wind, the rain and more importantly from the constant squabbles between my brothers, sisters and the street children who lived on our estate.

As I grew the bushes grew, and so I could still head from my hiding place when noise and trouble hit our family with the force of a tsunami. My brother was arrested for drug dealing and then my older sister was taken in to care for trying to sell drugs at school. My father gambled and my mother worked harder and harder to pay the bills and feed us.

Whenever, family life became too much or I just didn’t want anyone to find me I would escape with a book. I read about princesses and dragons and finding wands that would transport me to magical places. I always wanted to be the dragon. The type of creature that could defend itself and its kingdom.

Then one day I came back from school and found that we’d been evicted. I was taken in to care and couldn’t even say goodbye to the nest I’d built in the garden. It was may refuge, a tiny island in a sea of uncertainty.

Only later I discovered that the island hadn’t left me, because it was still there. In my bleakest moments my imagination can fly me back to the sense of calm and safety I found there as a child.