Month: May 2014

Help The Aged

I hesitated outside ‘Help the Aged’ and glanced down at the note in my hand. I’d found it tucked into the cover of Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals cookbook which I’d bought for a bargain £3 just the day before. The handwriting was thin and spidery. It must have been put there by the little old lady who had served me; otherwise I would have seen it whilst flicking through the recipes in the shop. I bit my lip and pushed open the door. The little old lady was there again, but there was also a younger woman with a shiny ‘Manager’ badge pinned to her suit jacket.

The little old lady looked up as I walked in, then threw a lightning quick, wide eyed glance towards her manager before dropping her gaze to the counter to fold some clothes. Her hands shook so badly that she kept dropping them on the floor. The Manager sighed.

“Dotty dear, do be careful with those, I don’t want to take any damage money out of your pay this month.” She laughed a false high pitch tinkle that for some reason made my skin break out in goose bumps.

I wandered around the store towards the manager.

“Excuse me; you’re the manager, right? Could I have a quick word with you?”

“Yes of course? Just give me a minute and I will be right with you.”

She disappeared into the office behind the counter, and the old lady limped hurriedly to me. She was glancing over her shoulder, grabbed my sleeve and began propelling me towards the door with surprising strength.

“You need to go. Go! Or she’ll get you too. You need to bring help. Real help. Please just go, you’re my only hope.”

I struggled with her until the manager re-emerged from the office behind the counter.

“Dotty! What is the matter with you? Let go of the young lady. I’m really sorry about that, she’s been acting a little strangely lately. Why don’t come into the office?”

As I walked past the counter, Dotty gave a muffled sob and buried her head in her arms on the counter. It was an odd gesture from someone so old but i didn’t think much of it at the time. The manager shut the door and turned to me.

“Right, what can I help you with?”

I bought a cookbook from you yesterday and I found a note in it. I think Dotty put it there. I’ll read it. It says:

‘Help me! I’m trapped here against my will. I’m really only 19 years old. She did this to me. I’m not crazy. Please bring help.’

“I thought you should know. It sounds like the poor old lady needs to…”

I looked back up at the manager and she was giving me this really weird smile. She grabbed me and everything went black. When I woke the first thing I noticed was the papery thin wrinkled skin on the backs of my hands.


She Sits Alone

Girl Alone

Picture found here


She sits alone

Tear tracks stain her cheeks

Her eyes stare without seeing

Her heart aches with loss

She sits alone.



She sits alone

Memories make her cry

But it hurts less than forgetting

The world walks on by

She sits alone.



She sits alone

Her life is not over

Her dad would want her to smile

She wipes away tears

She sits alone.



“Now this is more like it”

My boyfriend rubbed his hands together and licked his lips as we walked into the room at the very back of the art gallery. I glanced at the picture nearest to me and sighed, rolling my eyes and shaking my head slightly. Reece had brought me to the gallery as a birthday surprise, and now I was stood in a room full of nude paintings and naked statues. He peered very closely at the paintings in this room. I scowled at him as he moved from painting to painting, a little smile playing at the corner of his mouth as his eyes roved over the naked ladies presented before him. I sighed again and examined the first picture more closely. He obviously wasn’t going to want to leave this room any time soon so I may as well get what I could from it.

As I turned to seek out where Reece was a few minutes later, I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye. I turned my head and at the back of the room was a statue. My heartbeat sped up a little as I considered the impossible notion that the statue had moved. Reece looked up at me, then followed my line of sight to the statue. He grinned and made his way over to it. I followed him over to drag him back, a little unnerved by what I thought I had seen. It was just a trick of the light, I was sure, but we were the only two people in the room and I had a sudden urge to flee.

“She’s not bad for an older woman. I wonder why the artist sculpted her instead of some perky, nubile, young thing like you?

I glanced up at the statue, it was frowning. It wasn’t frowning before, was it? I couldn’t remember but it seemed a strange facial expression to have on a naked statue. My attention was captured at that point however, by Reece sliding his arms around my waist, his hands gripping my bottom lightly as he pulled me against him.

“I’d rather look at you naked. Then again…that statue looks a lot like you. Much older, obviously, but she looks like you.”

I looked closer at the statue’s face and my mouth fell open. I stared wide-eyed, backing away hastily. My hand flew up to my mouth.

“That’s my mum.”

“No way! I’m looking at a nude statue of your mum? That’s brilliant”

I’d just turned away and lifted my arm to smack Reece on the back of the head when a third voice made me freeze.

“Oh dear. You aren’t planning on marrying this guy are you? Tanya, you can do so much better.”

I swivelled slowly back to the statue.

“Mum? What the hell?”

“I told you I had a new job sweetie. I’m a living statue. Isn’t it great?”

Liebster Award

Liebster Award


Thank you very much to Kate Loveton @ Odyssey of a Novice Writer for nominating me for my very first award! If you still haven’t checked out her blog, then you NEED to.

The idea of the Liebster award is to get exposure for new/small blogs which means any blog with less than 1000 followers. This varies as the ‘rules’ aren’t official so I just picked a few people I liked to nominate.

First off, I thought I would share a few things about me:

  1. I have green eyes and I am rather proud of them. Apparently, less than 2% of the world’s population have green eyes. Nobody else in my family has them that I have found so far.


  1. I have four brothers and one sister. I have two older brothers, two younger brothers and a younger sister. Having grown up with such a big family, I sometimes get a little freaked out being on my own. I have been known to have the TV on just for background noise, even when I’m not in the room
  1. I am (very) distantly related to the King of Tonga. My great aunt (my grandmother’s sister) married the current king’s cousin. Unfortunately, this does not make me a princess.


  1. I have a secret addiction to mobile games like Hobbit: Kingdoms of Middle Earth. I’ve played that specific game since 2012.


  1. My friends don’t like going shopping with me because I sing along to the music they play over the tannoy and embarrass the crap out of them. Sometimes I dance too.
  1. I once auditioned for X factor. I got through a round or two but didn’t get far enough to meet the celeb judges.


  1. I have a thing for crime based and supernatural based TV shows. Law and Order, CSI, NCIS, Criminal Minds/Buffy, Supernatural, Grimm, Lost Girl… I love them all!
  1. Harry Potter is like a security blanket for me. If I am upset about anything at all, I will either put on the DVD’s or read the books until I feel better.
  1. I am left handed. I share this trait with some amazing people like: Leonardo Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Drew Barrymore, Pierce Brosnan, Jim Carrey, Angelina Jolie, Whoopi Goldberg, Judy Garland, Marilyn Monroe, Brad Pitt, Lewis Carroll, Germaine Greer, Matt Groening, Bart Simpson, David Bowie, Eminem, Sting, Annie Lennox, Kurt Cobain, Aristotle, Einstein, Joan of Arc, Prince William and Winston Churchill.
  1. My Myers-Briggs personality type is INFJ. Apparently less than 1% of the world’s population is an INFJ. (I really am a rare creature, aren’t I?) Here is what Wikipedia says about the INFJ Personality Type.

INFJs are conscientious and value-driven. They seek meaning in relationships, ideas, and events, with an eye toward better understanding of themselves and others. Using their intuitive skills, they develop a clear and confident vision, which they then set out to execute, aiming to better the lives of others. Like their INTJ counterparts, INFJs regard problems as opportunities to design and implement creative solutions.[12]

INFJs can adapt easily in social situations due to their complex understanding of an individual’s motivations; however, they are true introverts. INFJs are private individuals who prefer to exercise their influence behind the scenes. Though they are very independent, INFJs are intensely interested in the well-being of others. INFJs prefer one-on-one relationships to large groups. Sensitive and complex, they are adept at understanding complicated issues and driven to resolve differences in a cooperative and creative manner.[3]

INFJs have a rich, vivid inner life that they may be reluctant to share with those around them. Nevertheless, they are congenial in their interactions and perceptive of the emotions of others. Generally well liked by their peers, they may often be considered close friends and confidants by most other types; however, they are guarded in expressing their own feelings, especially to new people, and tend to establish close relationships slowly. INFJs tend to be easily hurt, though they may not reveal it (except to their closest companions). INFJs may “silently withdraw as a way of setting limits” rather than expressing their wounded feelings—a behaviour that may leave others confused and upset.[13]

INFJs tend to be sensitive, quiet leaders with a great depth of personality. They are intricately, deeply woven, mysterious, highly complex, and often puzzling, even to themselves. They have an orderly view toward the world but are internally arranged in a complex way that only they can understand. Abstract in communicating, they live in a world of hidden meanings and possibilities. With a natural affinity for art, INFJs tend to be creative and easily inspired, yet they may also do well in the sciences, aided by their intuition”

If that hasn’t told you lots about me then I don’t know what will!

Liebster Award3

Onto the Questions Kate set for me:

  1. What are you currently reading? – I have just started The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. I belong to a book club and I need to finish it by the end of the month. It’s long, but so far really good. 
  2. Who is your favourite author, and why? – My favourite author is Stephen King. I love how he addresses the human psyche in his stories; their strengths and their weaknesses. I have a ‘thing’ for psychology so I love reading fiction with real life situations (but mixed with a bit of scary creepy horror too.)
  3. If you are a writer, do you try to get a certain word count each day? – I don’t keep track of how much I write each day, but I do make sure to write something every day, even if nobody ever gets to see it.
  4. In 25 words, tell me about yourself. – Can I use up the words complaining about how I hate these kinds of questions? No? Damn. Okay:

    I am a feisty sarcastic, cheeky, music loving, compassionate, left-handed, occasionally grumpy British woman with a love for cats, singing in inappropriate places, and writing.


  5. Why do you blog? I started my blog because my creative writing course told me it would be a good idea to have a blog to get some practice and experience with writing, and also to get my name out there. It’s good for marketing my ‘brand’ or something. Three months later I am blogging because I love when people enjoy my stories and I am enjoying every moment. Now have received my first award! I hope to be blogging for a long time to come.
  6. What’s your favourite song or piece of music and why? – This is impossible to answer because I can’t pick just one song or even a small number. Music is my first love; my vice. I have sung for as long as I can remember and I tend to associate people and memories to songs, making them all precious to me in their own way.
  7. How many magazines do you subscribe to, and what are they? – I only subscribe to one at the moment: Writing Magazine. If you anyone has any recommendations for useful or interesting magazines then I would love to hear them.
  8. Share one weakness and one strength with us. – Okay, strength wise, I would have to go with my ability to see the bigger picture. I am good at seeing a situation from every angle, and understand each person’s point of view. I think that is especially helpful for writing fiction, as I can see how each character would react to a situation, how their reactions would differ, and how to show that in my writing. Weakness wise, I would have to say that I am far too emotional. Whilst I enjoy that my writing often revolves around an emotional theme, I do tend to react emotionally to advice/constructive criticism first, before my logical side kicks in and points out that its truthful, sensitive, helpful advice that I can benefit greatly from.
  9. Which animal are you most like, and why? – For this question I turned to the internet and took a test on to find out what they thought. Apparently I am a penguin! I have to say, I like the results. Here is what the website says about penguin people.

Now you see it, now you don’t. Aggressive yet gentle, outgoing but shy, stable yet flighty – everyone sees the penguin in a different way. It’s that black and white thing: the penguin only reveals the side that it wants to you to see. So whether you like this darling-devil or not, you have to concede that it’s a fascinating and enigmatic individual.

Penguins are birds condemned to live out their days on the ground. Unable to fly, their excess energy has no outlet save their creative talents and emotional outbursts. Penguins are poetic, artistic, and intellectually gifted, and as writers penguins have no equal.

But, if unable to channel their impulses in a positive way, the resulting turmoil proves damaging to their relationships and careers.

Penguins are deceptively intelligent and are particularly animated when intellectually challenged. They excel at word games and puzzles but are modest about their abilities and are generally underestimated by others.

With their misunderstood personality, penguins find writing an ideal tool for expressing their true feelings. They have a natural aptitude for languages and penguin personalities dominate the world of publishing as writers, editors, and journalists.

With a natural aptitude for languages, penguin personalities dominate the world of publishing as writers, editors and journalists. A strong sense of drama draws them to the theater and cinema, although unlike typical bird personalities they avoid the spotlight unless they’re able to hide behind the characters they play. Once on stage however, they prove to be excellent performers with their multifaceted personalities conveying the full gamut of emotions.

However, a lack of confidence affects their work. Penguins tend to give up on tasks they were otherwise capable of and are often disappointed with their performance. Still, work never dominates their life and they always put their family first.

  1. Share one goal you plan to achieve in the next 6 months. – I have a novella/novel in the making which I am excited about. I hope to have it completed and published in the next 6 months as my first ever published piece of work. I will make sure to announce it loud and proud on my blog. 

I hope this has provided lots of insight into my world and I would like to thank Kate once again for nominating me.

Liebster Award2

I would like to nominate the following people:

  • Emily @ 90,000 Words. This may come as a bit of a surprise, seeing as I haven’t actually spoken to Emily or commented on her blog (yet) but I have read her posts and it is blindingly obvious that she is intelligent, articulate, funny, and full of passion for her writing. If you don’t follow her already, please go and check out her blog.
  • E.B.Thompson @ An author’s Quest. E.B Thompson’s first novel Starling was released at the new year and I recommend you go and download a copy and give it a read. In the meantime check out her blog.
  • Chris Musgrave @ Chris Musgrave – Writer in Training. Chris’s blog is full of writing tips, amazing stories and book reviews. He is also always willing to give me a hand with whatever I am working on or trying to learn about the big scary world of writing and for that I will be eternally grateful. Check out his blog.
  • Bethanie Hardie @ Left- Hand Writer. Bethanie is my writing twin 😀 we are both british, left handed and writers. (Although, Bethanie is far more experienced and knowledgeable than I am.) Bethanie actually has two blogs on the go so check them both out. Check out her published work too 😀

Everyone else I have thought of already has this award so four is going to have to do. accepting this reward is entirely voluntary and does not have a time limit. If you do accept, make sure to answer the below questions on your post.

  1. Where in the world are you blogging from?

  2. If you were Santa, what would you give to the children on your naughty list?

  3. Introduce a character from your current writing project.

  4. If you could go back to any point in your childhood, where would you go to?

  5. If you won the lottery tomorrow, what would you do with the money?

  6. If you could choose any author to be your mentor, who would you choose and why?

  7. Name one possession that you just couldn’t live without.

  8. Who is your biggest inspiration? (can be famous, fictional or someone you know personally)

  9. Name one thing you can’t do, that you wish you could.

  10. If you could be anyone in the world for one day, who would you be and why?

I hope you enjoyed getting to know me through my gross over-share of random stuff, feel free to comment if you feel this wasn’t over-share enough and you want to know more.

Who’s The Dog?

I watched him wolfing down his dinner out of a dirty bowl and made a low grumbling noise in the back of my throat in disgust. His coat was dirty and matted with mud and god knows what from all the time he spends outside. He finished eating and, repulsing me even further, licked the bowl clean. The floor was filthy where he’d walked in mud from the garden without a care in the world, sniffing and grunting in that irritating way of his. I couldn’t stand to look at him any more so I went and flopped down on the sofa.

I thought back to life before Bianca brought him home. Everything seemed much brighter. We were happy with each other for company and didn’t need anyone or anything else to make us happy. I often wonder what on earth possessed her to bring him home. We didn’t need him cluttering up the place and making everything dirty. She claimed she loved the filthy creature but he always ignored her when she called to him, and he’d growl at her when he was in a bad mood. He was in a bad mood all the time as far as I could tell. He’s hurt her before too. I’ve seen the welts on her arms. Once she had a couple on her face. I wanted to tear his throat out when I saw marks on her. It was his fault Bianca never smiled any more. She would always fret about leaving things out because he’d spitefully break them. I have lost count of the times I’ve wished he wouldn’t come back when Bianca found him gone and the front door left wide open. He always seemed to find his way back when he was hungry, more’s the pity.

He wandered into the room and I glared at him. I’d had about enough of this and I was no longer going to keep my opinions to myself. He came over to the sofa and I thought fiercely at him “Keep the hell away from me you filthy waste of space.” He stopped dead and looked at me, hesitating. He took a tentative step towards me and low growl escaped my throat as I thought “I’m warning you, keep away from me or i’ll tear your throat out.” He shook his head and said to himself “I need to stop smoking crazy shit, i’m imagining I can hear the dog talking to me.” I thought “You aren’t imagining this. I’m sick of you kicking out at me, breaking Biana’s things, and leaving marks on her when you get angry. Get out. Get out now and don’t come back or I will make your life a living hell. Bianca was happier before she met you. So was I. Leave now and never come back or so help me, i’ll kill you in your sleep.” He gave a girlie scream as he ran away. I chased him, of course. I couldn’t help myself.

Patience and Commitment – Where Can I Find Them?

I keep seeing all these amazing writers on WordPress with their published novels, or talking about Camp NaNo and their finished/almost finished first draft and I can feel the excitement bubbling inside me and threatening to spill out. I want to write a novel! The problem is, I only have one or two vague, half-formed ideas on what I could write a novel about and I want to just jump right in and start writing. The over-excited little girl in me is jumping out and down, squealing and clapping her hands. All the while, she is telling me “We’ll find the plot line as we go. We’ll make up the characters as we go. We’ll work out if its a good enough idea to become an actual novel as we go…” I see a pattern emerging. She’s impatient and over excitable and needs to be reigned in. A lot.

Yoda Patience

Image found online here.

I am new to the whole writing ‘thing’, I only started writing in January with the exception of one or two made up stories on the fly. Because that is what I did when I didn’t take writing seriously, that is what my inner child wants me to do now. The thing is, I take my writing rather seriously now. I don’t want to go at this half-baked, I want to do things properly. That means making preparations. So my over-excitable inner child needs to be subdued a little and I need to look at this in the most organised way possible.

I have just started Module 5 of my creative writing course which conveniently looks at novel writing. Modules 6 and 7 are also dedicated to the subject. That alone lets me know that there is a lot to cover. The basics of story writing was covered in previous modules regarding writing a short story, and there are STILL 3 more modules to do with turning that into “How to write a full blown novel”. The first part of the module is all about commitment. What do I define as commitment? How do I stay committed when I realise just how long it can take to get from an idea to a full blown fully written, re-written, re-written again, edited, edited more, edited to within an inch of it’s life manuscript that is ready for publishing? What will I do when my famously impatient inner child gets bored of waiting and starts jumping up and down, clapping her hands and telling me all about this other great idea she’s had for me to do?

My answer so far is….


I don’t know. I have never attempted anything of this magnitude before so I don’t know how I will handle it. I suspect it will involve arguing with myself, alcohol, chocolate, and some lovely nagging encouragement from my new writing friends to make sure I keep moving in the right direction. How do YOU keep yourself motivated during the long and arduous process of plotting, planning, writing, re-writing, editing, crying in frustration, marketing and publishing your precious work of literary art?

Writing Process Blog Tour


Hello! I have been asked to write this post for the Writing Process Blog Tour by the lovely Kate Loveton. (My apologies for being slightly late.) Kate has this fantastic description of herself on her blog that says:

Aspiring novelist. Avid reader of fiction. Reviewer of books. By day, my undercover identity is that of meek, mild-mannered legal assistant, Kate Loveton, working in the confines of a stuffy corporate law office; by night, however, I’m a super hero: Kate Loveton, Aspiring Novelist and Spinner of Tales. My favorite words are ‘Once upon a time… ‘

If you haven’t already taken a peek at her blog, then you can find it here.

Before I get to answering the questions given to me about my writing, There was another part of the deal. Nominate three other writers to also write a post about their own writing process.

Writer Number 1 is the fabulous Bethanie Hardie from the UK who has two blogs on the go. She has her usual blog here, and also a second blog where she posts diary entries from the point of view of the main character in her ‘An Immortal In London’ Series. She’s left-handed and proud of it (as all lefties should be; we are the best.), she’s a law student, and she runs a business with her fiancé. Thats a heck of a lot to be getting on with but she seems to handle it all magnificently. To find out more about Bethanie, take a look at her blogs, and make sure to check out her blog post.

Writer Number 2 is the blonde haired beauty, writing from Germany, H. M. Brooks. This lady claims to love writing over talking, and maybe even over reading too. She has been writing since she was eight (She wrote a story about a girl called Chelsea), with more focus on writing from the age of fourteen. She has recently celebrated her twenty-fifth birthday. You can find her blog here.

These ladies will be posting on (or around) the 19th May.

Writer Number 3 is technically someone else’s victim as she has already posted her Writing Process post, and I am cheating slightly by including her on my post. Unfortunately pretty much all the other writers I follow seem to have already posted too. American writer E. B. Thompson’s twitter profile describes her as a “Reader, Writer, Dreamer and unashamed nerd”. Her book ‘Starling’ was published on January 1st 2014. You can check out her blog (and her Writing Process post) here.

So! Onto the questions. I have never had more trouble answering questions in all my life. I feel like I should have studied for this first. Anyway:

What am I working on at the moment?

Well I started writing a short story for the creative writing course I am studying. I had to write a 1,500-ish word short story and make sure I had all the points I had just learned in the previous module. In my own typical style, my story escalated. Apparently I ‘lack discipline’. My short story became a not so short story with 6,500-ish words at the end of draft 1. Since then I have extended it to just over 12,000 words. That’s not a short story, that’s a Novella! Oops! That is now in the stages of editing, finding plot holes and fixing errors (there’s bound to be loads) and generally tidying it up. It’s with a critique partner at the moment. I am taking this quite a bit more seriously than I ever thought I would this quickly. I am also researching for an up-coming joint project with another writer which I am pretty excited about. I have been reliably informed that you can never have too many projects. On top of that I try to come up with at least one post a week for my blog so I don’t leave all my lovely readers hanging. And I have a few half formed plotlines in my notebook for other stories I could be writing already if I wasn’t so good at procrastinating all the time. Ooh! A butterfly! Preeeettyyyyy…

How does my work differ from others of it’s genre?

This is really hard for me to answer because I don’t think I know yet. I have only been writing since January after starting a creative writing course. “Ooh look! Amazon Local has a creative writing course. That sounds like something that could relieve my intense boredom. Let’s give that a go.” I never imagined I would be blogging, making friends and getting myself over 60 followers in just a few (what feels like very short) months, let alone have a novella on the go!

I also haven’t really fully settled into any particular genre. My writing tends to lean towards Horror, Psychological Thrillers, and Fantasy, but I can’t help adding my sarcastic sense of humour into almost everything I do. The quick comedic comment cutting through the suspense adds a little shock all of its own, and sarcasm is a character trait I admire so I like my characters to use a little wit whenever they can.

Why do I write what I do?

When I first started writing, it was just about the course. I very quickly realised that my stories tend to revolve around something very personal: Feelings. Most of my stories are about different feelings and how people deal with what they feel. Loss, love, loneliness, attraction, fear, hatred. The feelings are the theme that runs through my stories, more than a specific event. Basically, everyone has ‘issues’. They are often the same, just experienced in different ways. I like to explore these experiences in my fiction and lets face it; writing stories sure beats sitting in front of some stranger who’s asking you “How does that make you feel?” I am honoured that you all enjoy reading my work and sharing in the little snippets of me that I leave in each piece.

How does my writing process work?

The first thing my creative writing course taught me, was the importance of a writing process. It is important that I write every day, so that I get into the habit. It also taught me to have a particular place to write so that I know when I am in that place, that I should be writing. I have a number of notebooks which I keep with me so I can write down anything that inspires me or takes my fancy, and I do write almost every day. Almost, because sometimes I like to go out and pretend to have a social life. I don’t really have a place to write. I am at my dining table right now, but sometimes I will be on my sofa, or, more often than not, in my bedroom, cross legged on my bed, getting sore shoulders because I am slouching. I know, I am a very bad girl and I need to look after myself better (aka get a desk). My bedroom is my sanctuary. I write nonsense, look at pictures, go for walks, people watch and write things about random people I find in cafe’s and shops until I stumble on something I want to explore, then I will write about that. That is how I first came up with the plot for my Novella and all the other half formed stories in my notebook.

So that’s it. Thanks for stopping by to read my baffled wafflings. Make sure to keep a look out for the posts belonging to my first two nominees and take a look at all the blogs I have linked. I promise it will be worth your while.




When old Mrs Bishop passed away in her house two doors down from me, a surprising number of ladies appeared in our tiny village. They claimed to be here for the funeral of their “poor friend Sarah” but they could be heard gossiping and cackling with laughter all the way up the street in the days before the service. None of them seemed particularly upset at her passing and I had never seen any of them before in my life. Mrs Bishop had taken me under her wing when I was just seven. I spent every day after school in her house while the doctors and my father attended to my sick mother. She taught me about gardening and how different plants and herbs could be used for healing. My father called it “alternative medicine nonsense” but my mother took comfort in the gifts I brought home and it kept me out of the way of the carers that surrounded my mother’s bedside.

My mother passed away when I was twelve, and my father sent me to live with Mrs Bishop for a few years. He had always been a hands-on dad, but I was approaching puberty and he had no clue how to deal with me. Whilst living with Mrs Bishop she taught me the importance of being a woman, how to meditate and clear my mind, and how to make my own candles. She would put herbs or scented oils in them and taught me which scents would help with relaxation, focus, calming and energising. I found it all fascinating.

When I was sixteen I moved back in with my father. He expected me to take on the cooking and cleaning in the house, so I found myself unable to spend much time with Mrs Bishop. I missed her company. Strange things reminded me of her; cabbage, for instance. I would be in the kitchen preparing dinner for my father and I would hear her voice in my head.

“Cabbage is important for your diet, child. It will help prevent you getting sick like your mother.”

I was twenty five when she passed. The funeral was a quiet affair. I attended on my own; my father was too ill to go too. After the funeral, there was a reading of the will. I wasn’t going to go but I was asked to attend. All the strange ladies were very attentive. My attention was caught when I heard my name.

“To Miss Maria Bradbury, I leave my house, garden, money, and all of my possessions, on the understanding that she will take on my precious healing work. I also leave her my most prized possession: My walking staff”

The ladies in the room hissed in shock and glared at me as I accepted the staff from a man stood before me. An almost painful tingle spread from my hands through my whole body. As I trembled with shock, an old woman turned to me.

“Welcome to the Coven, Witch”