Before The Beginning
There are some places in the world that everyone tries to avoid. They haven’t seen anything threatening there. They haven’t heard anything threatening there. But they avoid it all the same because they sense something, something, out there, hidden away.
Something... or someone. Somethings, or someones.
My mum used to tell me that just because you haven’t seen something, it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. She believed in adventure, and angels, and wishes. She was thirty-two. I was ten.
And her personality and uplifting presence wasn’t the only thing to die when she did. Dad threw himself into work, and bought a small chain of nightclubs, running them and the main one in particular, where he hangs out with the young women with short skirts and heavy makeup and hourglass figures. His excuse is that we have to move on from the past, and he wasn’t going to spend the rest of his life in mourning and staying miserable. He moved on from the past within months, and it seemed like he’d moved on from me too. A few months after her funeral, he bought the clubs, a couple more months and he had a girlfriend, and a couple of months after that she was out of the picture and someone new came walking in.
I mostly spent nights at my friends’ houses, Laura Bushby and Nancy Burnett. They were closer than family ever since things started changing, and their parents were always understanding, letting me stay for as long as I needed and not gossiping to others or asking too many questions. When I left high school, I managed to get my own small apartment and started working at a nearby nursery. Occasionally hearing from my dad. Mostly sticking with Laura and Nancy.
That’s the way it had been ever since.
I often wonder what life would’ve been like if I hadn’t gone down the wrong road at night when I was coming back home from Nancy’s house, or had taken up Laura’s offer of travelling with her. I would never have seen what I did in Ashdown Forest. I would never have found him. I would never have found out that mum’s stories and imagination were right all along.
Wishes do come true without you realizing. Fairy-tales are inspired by the unseen. And you haven’t seen fear until you look him in the eye.