Paradise Lost
The CBB -> St Hild's Sitting Room

#1: Paradise Lost Author: LisaLocation: South Coast of England PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:05 am

I have decided to post this story here as it will deal with a serious and disturbing subject which I hope to do sensitively. It won't be very long, so I hope to finish in a few days! As always I would appreciate feedback, particularly if any if you have comments about this - it is more factual and serious than any of the other things I have written and I really hope I can do the subject justice. Thanks Confused ***************** There was a gentle hum in the staff room as the mistresses were chatting over coffee. It was the night before the last day of term, and there was a more relaxed atmosphere than usual as the staff anticipated the coming holiday. Irene Ellis, her head bent over a pile of books, heaved a deep sigh which drew the attention of Nell Wilson who was handing out the biscuits. With a slight frown, the older woman moved over to the side of the younger and rested her hand on Irene’s shoulder. “Penny for them – “ she began in a light tone, but then Irene glanced up at her with an anguished expression, and with a small cry Nell dropped to her knees beside her seated young colleague – “but what is it, my dear?” she asked urgently. “Whatever is the matter?” “Oh, it’s nothing.” The tear that trickled down Irene’s face belied her words, and she impatiently dashed it away, shaking her head. “Ignore me, Nell. I’m just – it’s, oh, I don’t know!” Wisely, Nell was silent as her newest colleague tried to gather her thoughts. She patted Irene’s shoulder reassuringly and waited. Eventually Irene drew a shaky sigh and shook her head resolutely. “I’m really OK. I – I need to think it through. But Nell, I just find it so hard when I can’t get through to someone!” “One of the girls?” asked Nell softly as she discreetly drew up a chair and lowered herself into it, rubbing her creaking knees. “Yes,” murmured Irene. “If you want me to speak to her –” “No!” exclaimed Irene, her face white, “no, it’s not like that – it’s fine, really.” Her voice trailed off into a mumble and she appeared confused. “Renie, occasionally we all come across girls that just don’t seem to like us-” Nell began but Irene stood hurriedly and deposited her pile of books on the table in front of her. “But that’s just the trouble, Nell,” gasped Irene – the opposite is true!”

Last edited by Lisa on Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:02 am; edited 3 times in total


#2:  Author: NicciLocation: UK PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:44 am

oh Lisa, this looks good. I'm definately intrigued. Can you post some more please?


#3:  Author: DawnLocation: Leeds, West Yorks PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 am

Looks really good Lisa - please post more soon


#4:  Author: LisaLocation: South Coast of England PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:02 am

Nell looked after Irene’s retreating back in puzzlement, and then her gaze dropped to the pile of books that the English mistress had been marking. Leafing through them, she nodded in approval at the newly qualified teacher’s neat methodical assessments and warm encouraging comments. Helpful targets and praise followed each piece of work, why, here she had taken over half a page to explain a grammatical feature! Nell closed the books back up and placed them back on the table, absent-mindedly tidying them. The book on the top of the pile was slightly dog-eared, and smoothing down the corners, Nell glanced down at the name of its owner. Sam Harris. Sam was an unspectacular pupil, thought to be rather plain and moody by many of the staff, and her lanky tomboyish strides had alienated her from many of her peers, as they were at an age to begin taking some pride in their appearance and ladylike behaviour. Sixteen, thought Nell, amazing how fast the time went and the childish twelve year olds grew up so fast. Roused by the demands of the others for more biscuits, she stood up and thoughtfully made her way back over to them. “Have you been hogging those biscuits?” interrogated Kathie with a sparkle in her eye. “Come here and share them out! We don’t see enough of you during the term as it is!” With a smile, Nell pushed thoughts about Irene to the back of her mind, and rejoined the group. Later that evening, Nell and Hilda were taking a stroll in the grounds, admiring the mountains in the late evening summer sun. “I will never tire of that sight,” whispered Hilda as she feasted her eyes on the kaleidoscope of colour that bathed the peaks of the mountains. “Marvellous,” Nell agreed, but her mind was elsewhere as Hilda shrewdly observed. “Saw you having a conversation with Irene Ellis earlier,” she commented casually as they ducked under the rose arbour and headed towards the small landscaped garden. “Lovely girl. We made a very good choice there – she has proved to be worth her weight in gold!” “I couldn’t agree more, Hilda. She has brought a great deal of commitment and enthusiasm to the school this past year, and has excellent relationships with the older girls.” “Yes, I think she is a fine role-model for them. But, forgive me Nell, you seem reserved.” Nell took a deep breath and then stopped walking. She turned to face Hilda. “I’m just a bit concerned about her at the moment – ” “Professionally?” enquired Hilda gently, with perhaps the slightest suggestion of reproof. Nell reddened. “Yes!” she replied a little sharply, then relented. “Oh, I know what you mean, Hilda, and I admit I don’t have anything to go on, but this isn’t idle gossip.” “Of course not,” responded Hilda at once, “only young Irene appears to be a vulnerable soul, and I am unsure whether she would want - ” “I suppose I am concerned for her personally, although it may impinge on her professional duties. Perhaps you could …” “I’ll see what I can do, although it won’t be until after the holidays,” smiled Hilda, and arms linked the two senior staff returned to the school. But much was to happen during the holidays and before Hilda could have her interview with Irene.


#5:  Author: Rachael PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:21 am

Lisa - this looks riveting already and I'm sure you can do the subject justice because you're a wonderful and sensitive writer ... Now on tenterhooks for more ...


#6:  Author: JoeyLocation: Cambridge PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 11:02 am

Lisa, I'm hooked! Also sure you can do it justice.


#7:  Author: LisaLocation: South Coast of England PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 11:36 am

Thanks for the votes of confidence! Smile ****************** Irene Ellis was packing a small suitcase for her holiday. She wasn’t going to return all the way to Britain initially, but had arranged to meet with some friends who had taken an apartment in France and have a couple of relaxing weeks there first. This meant that Miss Ellis would only be travelling with the school as far as Paris, where her duties would stop. As she closed the lid of the case and looked around the room she smiled in satisfaction. It was small and neat, albeit rather bare now that many of her belongings were packed away. On the dresser sat a cute stuffed rabbit with floppy ears. The body was a patchwork of pretty fabrics and had been lovingly stitched by a quite unlikely person. Irene smiled at the memory. She had helped lead a half-term expedition and a small grateful group of girls from her form had presented her with the toy by way of saying thank you. “Sam made it,” Heather had said, and Sam scowled, but looked anxious to see the mistress’s response to her gift. When she had duly exclaimed over it, Irene noticed that Sam’s whole face had lit up, and she looked quite pretty. Was that when it had started? Over the following half-term, Sam’s devotion to Irene had become more and more apparent. She anticipated whatever jobs the teacher needed doing, always volunteered for the less pleasant ones and did thoughtful things. Neither were her attentions solely for her form teacher. Irene noticed that Sam was eager to please any staff member and was quietly acquiescent to her few friends, but she was such a gruff and undemonstrative girl that this largely went unnoticed. Irene sank on to the bed, stroking the bunny’s ears. Sam was a conundrum. She appeared to be tough and boyish, with no time for sentimentality but was obviously aching for attention. Her family background was sad – father had died when Sam was only young, but after he and her mother were already estranged. The mother had made no attempt to hide her joy at his passing which had made the daughter’s grieving very difficult. There was no love lost there, between the mother and child. The comments had started a couple of weeks ago, at a formal evening in which Miss Ellis and her form were attending. Local dignitaries were visiting, and the staff and young ladies of the Chalet School were on their mettle to convey the school in its best light. Irene was a young teacher still, and she had worn a trim but flattering outfit with a touch of makeup, and styled her hair into loose curls. They had been standing at the front of the school, awaiting the arrival of the guests when Sam had turned to look at Irene. She glanced at her slowly and deliberately, taking in her appearance from top to toe. Then, unmistakeably, Sam winked at her. “You look beautiful, Miss Ellis,” she had said very properly, but her eyes danced at the mistress’s growing discomfiture. “Why, thank you Sam. I must say you all look very nice, too,” replied Miss Ellis briskly, furiously trying to control the blush that was threatening her cheeks. “But you look like something special,” murmured Sam as she touched her form teacher’s shoulder for a moment before moving away. Irene’s heart had been racing then, and it did now as she recalled the incident. It wasn’t that she was attracted to the girl – or any girl, she was quite confident on that front, but it made her feel flattered and alive to be noticed in that way. But at the same time, a nameless feeling was creeping in her stomach – was it dread, or fear? Surely she hadn’t done anything wrong, to encourage her pupil, had she? Irene had always been the same to all of them, and was naturally kind, bright and cheerful. She began to worry about her professional conduct. Surely girls did get a ‘pash’ on a mistress from time to time? Irene decided she would probably just make herself look silly and bring embarrassment on Sam if she made anything of it, so she let it go.


#8:  Author: XantheLocation: London/Cambridge PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 11:46 am

Lisa this looks really good Very Happy


#9:  Author: LisaLocation: South Coast of England PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:24 pm

But that was where things became so much more difficult. Sam became more open in her compliments and shared glances suggesting an intimacy that was not there. Once or twice, Irene felt herself giggling at something her pupil had said and entered into banter with her. One day, she felt it went too far when Sam made an overly familiar comment about her hair, and reached out and touched it. “Sam,” Miss Ellis had warned in a strangled voice, and then left the room in a businesslike way. She had returned to her own room and faced herself in the mirror conducting an honest interrogation. “OK Irene Ellis, so you like the attention. And you like the girl. But you have got to deal with this – you are the adult here. You must not give this girl any reason to think that she can have a more familiar, or – or, intimate relationship with you.” Irene knew that there were rumours about Sam: her height and androgynous features, her proficiency in games, but most were unpleasant comments made by girls with narrow minds. The problem was that Irene recognised a great deal of herself in Sam. The girl was excellent with the younger ones, having endless patience in coaching them in various sports and taking time over them. She was desperate for approval, too, although she shrugged off praise ungraciously whenever it was offered. Sam’s eyes lit up whenever she, Irene, entered the room – how could she crush that? Irene’s first resolve was to make herself look as plain as possible. Perhaps had she been a little more mature herself, or sought advice, she would have realised that paying attention to her appearance could be misconstrued, but nonetheless she scraped her hair back into a severe bun and wore her dullest clothes. Her new appearance provoked a volley of concern from her pupil. “But Miss Ellis, you look tired, unwell,” suggested Sam, anxiety in her eyes. “Perhaps you should go and see Matey – I mean Matron,” she grinned, inviting Irene to laugh with her at the use of Matey’s nickname. “Sam, you shouldn’t use nicknames in front of me,” replied Miss Ellis stiffly and she moved off, but not before she had seen the look of crushed disappointment in her pupil’s eyes. Irene looked at the floppy rabbit in her hands again. She knew she had handled the situation badly, but couldn’t see a way out. Her heart ached to see Sam’s face at rejection and yet the girl only then redoubled her efforts to be attentive. With a sigh, Irene shook herself. She stood and placed the bunny on the bed, before picking up her case. She needed this holiday, that was for sure!


#10:  Author: Rachael PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:30 pm

Oh dear, poor Irene just isn't equipped to deal with this and it looks like things may get worse before they get better ... This must be such a difficult issue to handle professionally Confused I hope Irene is soon able to seek advice from Nell or Hilda or someone ... and that she stops blaming herself - it must be all too easy to swing between feeling you've been too friendly and then over-compensating by being too brusque ... Poor Sam, too - her behaviour may be inappropriate but it's not malicious and she obviously just wants to be loved and has found someone who she can admire and who seems to return some of the affection she craves Thanks, Lisa *sending copious quantities of toast, marmite and lettuce leaves*


#11:  Author: JoeyLocation: Cambridge PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 12:58 pm

I'm impressed by the speed of posting! If you keep it up at this rate you might have finished by the time I go to Edinburgh on Friday!


#12:  Author: NicciLocation: UK PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 1:22 pm

also impressed at speed of posting. Lisa, I'm really enjoying this and am very keen to know what happens next.


#13:  Author: NellLocation: London, England PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 1:30 pm

Thank Lisa, this is looking really good and I'm intrigued as to how Irene is going to handle the situation.


#14:  Author: patmacLocation: Yorkshire England PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 1:39 pm

This is such a difficult subject and I think you are putting it across really well. Hooked!


#15:  Author: GemLocation: Saltash/Aberystwyth PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 1:58 pm

Absolutely hooked, Lisa! Brill Very Happy


#16:  Author: LisaLocation: South Coast of England PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 1:58 pm

Embarassed Aw thanks! I, too am impressed by the speed of posting Shocked but as I say this isn't going to be a very long story, and I don't really want to spin it out. I have been thinking of it for ages, and needed to be in the mood and with a bit of time to really go for it. So, here's some more!! ****************** The train leaving the Bernese Oberland was crowded with a group of smart but excitable girls, accompanied by no less animated teachers. All had gone smoothly, although the last day of term was always a flurry of activity, and as the train finally pulled out of the station there was a subdued cheer. It wasn’t until the group were on the large overnight train to Paris that the staff could finally ease their watchfulness a little. “Phew!” commented Irene Ellis to the other staff around her. “I need this holiday, I can tell you!” “You have done so well!” remarked Kathie Ferrars warmly. “I remember my first year – it was such hard work. I think sometimes the older staff forget that!” and she looked meaningfully at one or two of them, ducking rapidly as Pam Slater aimed her knitting bag at Kathie’s head. “Cheeky urchin!” she muttered, “hope you weren’t including me in that!” and the mistresses laughed together until Pam, with a sudden frown, stopped. “What are you doing here?” she inquired in loud, cold tones, fixing her eyes on someone just behind Irene. Sam Harris blinked and swallowed, but fixed a grin on her face. “I thought you might like some coffee,” she began, balancing the three paper cups awkwardly in her hands. “Oh, Samantha!” exclaimed Miss Ferrars, “how thoughtful of you dear! But did you carry those from the dining car by yourself?” “Samantha, you know that it is forbidden for you to go into the dining car without permission,” frowned Miss Slater. “I’m sorry, Miss Slater, but I wanted it to be a surprise,” answered Sam sullenly, handing out the coffees. “Thank you Sam,” soothed Miss Ellis, “but in future just come and check with one of us first, even though you are one of the oldest,” as she said this last she shot a look at Pam Slater who was sipping her coffee already. “What do we owe you for them?” “They’re on me, Miss. My pleasure, you know…” “But we can’t have that!” interposed Miss Ferrars briskly. “Here you are, that should cover it. Now, return to the others, dear.” Sam had only just left the car when Pam’s voice sounded mockingly: “I wanted it to be a surprise!” she whined. “Honestly, I can’t stand that girl. She’s so wet, always hanging around us. And such a creep!” Irene was stung by this. “She’s a thoughtful girl who wants to help,” she began but Pam Slater laughed scornfully. “Oh, you’ll learn Renie!” “Sam is in Renie’s form,” added Kathie. “She knows her better than the rest of us, I should think. Oh Renie, I wanted to ask you, what did you think of the new library books that arrived yesterday?” Thanks to Kathie’s skilful handling of the matter, the conversation went down a far more pleasant route and other than Irene’s inward seething, the atmosphere calmed down. Later after the sandwiches packed by Karen had all been consumed, the mistresses made their way around each car, just looking in on the girls who were preparing for bed. Irene spoke to the members of her form who were there and then glanced around the carriage. “Where’s Sam?” she asked. She was looking down the full length of the carriage as she said this so missed the uncomfortable glance that flitted across Heather’s face. “Erm, Sam’s still in the lav, Miss,” the girl answered. “Oh, thank you. I’ll say good night to her there. Good night all, try to sleep well.” She watched them for a moment as they snuggled under their travel rugs, and then she headed for the small lavatory car which was between this carriage and the next. Standing outside the engaged cubicle, she heard a retching noise from within. With Miss Ellis, to think was to act and she immediately banged on the door. “Sam! Are you alright?” Within seconds, the door opened, and Sam emerged, a quizzical look on her face. “Sorry, did I keep you waiting? Good night, Miss Ellis. I hope you sleep comfortably with all that room in your compartment. I have to fit into mine with five others – and look at the length of these!” she indicated her legs with a laugh as she strolled off down the interconnecting corridor. Irene scratched her head, and then decided to use the lavatory facilities herself. As she closed the door in the small and stuffy compartment the unmistakeable acid smell of vomit assailed her nostrils. The toilet was perfectly clean, so it could only have just happened. ‘But why didn’t she tell me she was unwell?’ thought Irene, ‘and she appeared fine.’ She completed her toilet thoughtfully and when she returned to her compartment both other mistresses were sleeping. In the darkness, Irene stared out of the window at the almost invisible landscape rushing by. She recalled her first meeting with Sam at the start of the year. She had been a somewhat lumpy girl, who had apparently already lost some weight in her previous three years at the school, but in this last year she had become really very thin. Irene suddenly sat upright in her seat. She had assumed that this was just a natural process but after tonight’s incident … Had the girl been making herself sick? She crept along the corridor back to the form’s compartment and quietly put her head in the door. All the occupants were sleeping soundly, odd little snores coming from the usually quiet Mathilde in the corner. In the shadowy light cast by a swinging bulb in the corridor, Irene scrutinised Sam’s sleeping face. It looked wan and in this light the shadows under her eyes were more pronounced. ‘She doesn’t look like a sixteen year old girl at all,’ Irene thought suddenly. ‘She looks older than me, certainly more careworn anyway.’ As the mistress was about to leave the compartment, a low moan from Sam made her spin round. The girl was tossing and turning in her sleep, her face contorted with fear and pain. Her hands came up in a futile gesture of self-protection, then clenched into fists. She was suffering some sort of deep nightmare, but the anguish she was experiencing was very real. Irene felt a pull on her heart as she moved swiftly to the side of the sleeping child and stroked her hair gently. After a few moments, the touch seemed to reassure the girl, her breathing evened out and she sank back into a calmer sleep. Irene waited a few moments longer, and then stole from the compartment, watched by a pair of eyes from the back of the carriage that had been awoken by the sounds. The eyes blinked thoughtfully and then once again closed in sleep.

Last edited by Lisa on Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:05 pm; edited 1 time in total


#17:  Author: GemLocation: Saltash/Aberystwyth PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:00 pm

Um, hasn't Pam Slater left already? Or am I imagining things? Can't say I like her a great deal in this one! Nice to see Kathie handling things well though.


#18:  Author: XantheLocation: London/Cambridge PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:02 pm

Thank you soooooooooooooooo much Lisa, this is really interesting...


#19:  Author: LisaLocation: South Coast of England PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:12 pm

Gem wrote:
Um, hasn't Pam Slater left already?
*clears throat in a knowledgeable way, casting around for an excuse* *can't find one, so gives up and decides to come clean* We-eell, actually I think my idea for the story has driven this rather than the CS characters (I was originally going to have Kathie rather than Irene as the teacher but thought this might impinge a bit on portrayals of her in other drabbles, particularly Alt Challenge) and as I seemed to be making up my main characters (ie Sam & Irene) I tried to choose a couple of CS ones! I did think that Pam had left, but she suited me as the type of teacher who might make those sorts of comments (that scene based exactly on one I witnessed on a school trip Mad including teacher's comments) Also, while this is obviously set in the Oberland it is a bit timeless - almost futuristic (ie contemporary) but without getting bogged down in any of the details! It's a cop out! (Otherwise known as artistic license Wink )


#20:  Author: NicciLocation: UK PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:15 pm

Never liked Pam Slater. Hmm, feeling sympathetic toward Irene and Sam and worried about what might happen. Very sensitively written Lisa. Thanks.


#21:  Author: XantheLocation: London/Cambridge PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:15 pm

*sigh* and here I was hoping for another of those frequent posts... hmm, that was almost optimism, how uncharacteristic...


#22:  Author: Rachael PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:19 pm

This is getting more and more involving Lisa! *wondering who was woken and hoping that they're discreet*


#23:  Author: NellLocation: London, England PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:40 pm

Hmmm....very interested now. Would love to see more.... Thank you Lisa!


#24:  Author: LisaLocation: South Coast of England PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:06 pm

It was always a scramble when arriving with so many girls in a big city early in the morning, but the Chalet School staff were well experienced at this sort of thing and by half past six, thirty eight girls were seated around at Paris’s Gare de l’Est platform café nibbling on croissants and sipping hot milky coffee. The mistresses were at a smaller table saying their goodbyes. “So, I’ll see you all again in September!” declared Irene, as she spotted her friend’s brother striding across to meet her. “Have a splendid time!” called Kathie, and the others added their well-wishes too as Irene stooped to pick up her bags. “Good bye girls!” said Miss Ellis pleasantly to those that were sitting near her. “Have a lovely holi – Oh!” she broke off in an exclamation as two strong arms were suddenly wrapped around her waist and she was swung off her feet. “Charlie!” she hissed in furious mortification, “put me down!” Laughingly, a young Englishman of about twenty five obliged, and grinned with a freckled face at all around him, impervious to the stares of disapproval or curiosity wending their way towards him. Flustered, Irene stalked off leaving Charlie to bring her luggage and only glanced back to see Sam looking after her with a desolate and forlorn expression on her face. As soon as they were out of the station, Nemesis fell on Charlie Stamp in the form of his sister’s friend. “And what you were thinking, I just don’t know!” she scolded. “I would thank you to remember that I am a teacher and as such I hold a position of responsibility. I dread to think what damage you may have done to my reputation, and I’ll be for it when I get back.” Charlie stared at the scuffed tops of his shoes in shame. “Sorry, Renie. Didn’t think. I was just so pleased to see you again, and I have always played with you like that since I was ten and you were eight.” He glanced up with a mischievous look, “but I don’t think I’ll forget you’re a teacher now, not after that telling off! S’pose you’ll be having me writing lines next!” and with a merry yelp, he dodged away and lead on towards their taxi. The summer holiday was a long and enjoyable one for Irene. At first she was troubled by the memory of Sam’s lonely face and she felt a pang of guilt that she ought to be doing something about her suspicions, but she really didn’t know what she could do and so pushed it to the back of her mind. She spent two very pleasant weeks with her friends walking in France, exploring vineyards and museums and enjoying big meals in the evening. When the holiday was over, she returned to her family home on the coast of East Anglia and refreshed, began to plan her work for the coming year. She thought occasionally of the school and her form, but they began to drift from her mind. All too soon, Autumn began to approach, and Irene prepared for her journey back. As one of the escort mistresses, she was meeting a large number of girls at Victoria, and was rather apprehensive about the responsibility, but when the day came she was standing there smartly, looking efficient and confident with her lists and pen. Heather Andrews was one of the first girls on the platform and Miss Ellis greeted her with a genuine smile of welcome. “Heather! How were your holidays, dear?” she asked, ticking of her charge’s name on the list.” “Mmm,” mumbled Heather non-commitally, then looked around anxiously. “Miss Ellis,” she said urgently. “I need to talk to you. About Sam.” A number of other girls were approaching and this was not the place for a private conversation. “Right!” said Miss Ellis briskly. “Very well, Heather, that can be arranged. Yes, Laura. Good holidays?” Heather wandered off, pleased that Miss Ellis had been discreet. She patted her blazer pocket that contained the letter. Heather felt sick, but relieved that at last she would be able to pass this responsibility on. She didn’t have an opportunity until much later, when Miss Ellis had a half an hour break from duties whilst the others were overseeing the lunch car visit. The mistresses had worked out a rota that allowed each one of them two half and hour breaks on the long journey – although they were obviously still on call in an emergency. On her way to her compartment, Miss Ellis spotted Heather sitting with Sam in the lunch car. Relationships between the two seemed strained, and when they glanced up at her they were both relieved. “Hello there, girls,” smiled Irene. “Nice holiday, Sam?” Sam shrugged and gave Miss Ellis her quizzical look. “No, not really. I was looking forwards to coming back to school.” “You seem to have lost even more weight, are you eating well?” asked Irene heedlessly, and could have bitten her tongue when she saw a black scowl spread upon Sam’s face. “Oh, Heather, that book you wanted to see me about – would now be convenient?” Heather nodded, and with a sad look at Sam she got up and followed Miss Ellis to the cosy compartment. Once there, she silently took the letter from her pocket and handed it to the teacher. To Irene’s horror, she saw that Heather was crying, “Please – just read that,” whispered the girl, and Irene opened the letter with trembling hands and glanced at its contents.


#25:  Author: pimLocation: the Derbyshire wilderness PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:07 pm

*joins the interested crew* This is really good Lisa.


#26:  Author: XantheLocation: London/Cambridge PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:09 pm

My brain is meant to be with the Weimar Republic, but instead it is here, very much here... Thank you so much Lisa *desparate to know what happens next*


#27:  Author: Carolyn PLocation: Lancaster, England PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:13 pm

This is gripping and worrying at the same time. Just read it all through. Hope for some more soon, and amazed at the speed it's coming.


#28:  Author: LizBLocation: Oxon, England PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:15 pm

Just read this from the start Lisa and can't wait to read some more... Liz


#29:  Author: NellLocation: London, England PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:01 pm

completely hooked but sitting here wibbling slightly cos of what appears to be coming...


#30:  Author: LisaLocation: South Coast of England PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:32 pm

Whew! I feel put through the wringer by this, I have found it very hard to write. I hope it comes across OK. I need to take a break for a bit before writing and posting the last bits... but I have written the last paragraph and I'm all choked up!! Crying or Very sad *********** One glance was enough to give her an impression of hell. Words and images jumped out at her in the second she scanned the paper, and with a sharp intake of breath, she refolded the letter and looked at Heather. kill myself… bruises… alone… “This is a private letter, Heather? To you, from Sam?” “Yes. But I want you to read it.” knife… gay… end it all.. “Are you sure? Because you understand that I will need to act on it, and if Sam wrote you this in confidence–” “I know,” Heather sobbed. “She needs help, Miss Ellis! I may lose her trust and friendship, but she is so important to me that I would rather that than something awful happens…” blood… afraid… hate him…. “Sit down,” instructed Irene, inside a turmoil. How was she to deal with this? She had no experience. “Tell me about the letter.” Heather sniffed loudly and then scrubbed her face with her handkerchief. “After you left us – at Paris, in July, Sam was really in a bad mood. She wouldn’t talk to me for the rest of the journey but just stared out of the window. I mean, I knew she hated going home, but this was worse than usual. On the ferry, she barged past me onto the deck and tripped on some coiled rope. Well, I put out my hand to save her and grabbed her wrist – and then that’s when I saw it.” terrified… feels good… hiding… “What?” said Irene breathlessly. “The marks, the scars, the cuts,” Heather cried, with fresh tears flooding down her cheeks at the memory. “ I pushed her sleeves up and her arms were covered with them. Then she got really angry. She pushed me and swore – and then she ran off. But about two weeks later, she sent me this letter. Please, Miss Ellis. Read it.” Irene bent her head over the letter and read it through rapidly. She then read it again, struggling to keep her emotions in check. Eventually she looked up at Heather and smiled at her kindly. There was a peculiar tightness in her throat and she had to swallow a couple of times before speaking. “Heather – thank you. You are a very good friend to Sam. What you have done now could change her life – thank you for being so brave. I need some time to think about this, but I would like to ask you to see if you think you could do one more thing.” Heather gazed at Irene with large eyes. “Yes?” “Tell Sam that you have given me the letter. Could you do that?” Heather hesitated, and then seemed to crumple a little. “OK,” she said sadly. “She might never speak to me again, but it has to be done. And, Miss Ellis – I’m sorry about all this. I saw you with her that time she had the nightmare, on the train to Paris – and I knew you would help. Not many people really care about Sam.” She left the compartment and headed for the toilet, leaving Irene sitting alone. Irene pulled her fingers through her hair and exhaled. She felt shaky and very near to tears. Never in her life had she been confronted by the pain that was expressed in this letter. It was a jumbled letter, full of anger, bitterness, then sudden wild optimism. The childish scrawl belied the adult torment that Sam had suffered and could occasionally only articulate through expletives and obscenities her heart had been laid bare in this letter, and there was now no space for doubt. Overwhelmed, Irene sank back in the carriage and pieced it all together. The letter pointed towards a murky incident in the past, something that had set Sam on her journey of self-loathing and harming. She had been unable to mourn the loss of her father as her mother gloated that he had gone. She hid under the sheets at night with a knife, terrified – but why? Her desperate craving for attention and eagerness to please masked her sense of inadequacy, of never having been accepted and loved. Sam’s pent up feelings had exploded out in this letter, ending in a stream of vitriolic self-abuse, concluding: no wonder I’m bloody gay. Irene was relieved to see Kathie enter the compartment. Her colleague was startled by the white stark face that Irene turned to her. “Kathie,” she gulped, but spoke steadily. “What do I do about a case of suspected child abuse?”


#31:  Author: ElzbieLocation: London PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:40 pm

Oh my god. Lisa, this is so good and horribly realistic. I'm all goosebumpy and tense, can't imagine what this is like to write. Looking forward to more.


#32:  Author: Rachael PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 4:51 pm

Wow, Lisa - this is utterly compelling and so sensitively written - no wonder you feel as though you have put yourself through the wringer I hope that Kathie can help Irene to help Sam ... *very concerned*


#33:  Author: NellLocation: London, England PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 5:05 pm

*very worried* Glad Heather was brave enough to tell Irene and really hope that Irene with Kathie can help Sam. Thank you, Lisa.


#34:  Author: LizBLocation: Oxon, England PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 5:08 pm

*wow* Lisa this is amazing - as Rachael said, so compelling and so sensitive. Please take all the time you need before posting any more. Liz


#35:  Author: Sarah_KLocation: St Albans/Leicester PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 5:18 pm

Lisa, this is... ok I can't put it into words but it's so powerful and no wonder you needed to take a break after this bit. I'm so glad Irene is being so sensible and kind but I'm also glad she went to Kathie because I don't think she could do much on her own. I just hope there is some solution for Sam, there never is an easy one but maybe there'll be something. Thank you and take all the time you need.


#36:  Author: AllyLocation: Jack Maynard's Dressing Room!! PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 5:44 pm

This is so amazing Lisa! Thank you for writing it Very Happy


#37:  Author: JoeyLocation: Cambridge PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 5:46 pm

*echoes LizB* Please take your time, Lisa. This is amazing writing. Reading it is making me wibble, so writing it must be shattering.


#38:  Author: JosieLocation: London PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 6:13 pm

Wow, this is fantastic Lisa. Another one to add to the looking forward to updates list.


#39:  Author: DawnLocation: Leeds, West Yorks PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 6:31 pm

Lisa this is utterly amazing - you must feel incredibly drained by writing, but immensly proud too of the emotions and feelings that are coming accros so clearly. I'm very concerned about her anorexia - were you aware that many girls who have had their father die when they were quite young develop anorexia?


#40:  Author: AnnLocation: Newcastle upon Tyne, England PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 7:31 pm

Wow, Lisa, this is very powerful. I hope Irene is able to get Sam the help she needs.


#41:  Author: NicciLocation: UK PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:43 pm

Lisa this is really powerful writing. When my mum was a teacher a worried parent brought in a letter she had found, written by her own child, and she didn't know what to do. It was such a sad letter, and so dark, and you have captured the torment so accurately. My mum's response was much like Irene's. This must be very difficult to write, so please take all the time you need.


#42:  Author: Carolyn PLocation: Lancaster, England PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 9:49 pm

No wonder you feel as if you have been put through the wringer...very hard stuff to write, and you can feel the raw emotion coming out. I'm very glad Irene isn't going to try and deal with this herself.


#43:  Author: LesleyLocation: Allhallows, Kent PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 10:03 pm

Thank you Lisa, this is gripping, compelling and must be Hell to write. Thank you again.


#44:  Author: CazxLocation: Swansea/Bristol PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2004 11:56 pm

All I can do is echo everything that everybody else has already said. This is amazing.


#45:  Author: AlexLocation: Hunts, UK PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:12 am

There are not words.


#46:  Author: Lisa_TLocation: Belfast PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:22 am

This is incredible. Somehow, I don't like to ask for more- it doesn't feel right for this, but I'd like to know how and if it is resolved. Thanks, Lisa.


#47:  Author: Helen PLocation: Cheshire PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:30 am

Just read this through from the beginning. Wow. It is so well written and so involving. When I read about the marks on the arms, I assumed Sam was self-harming, but Irene seems to think it is abuse from someone else. Am I wrong or is she? I also thought 'hate him' in the letter referred to Irene's friend's brother who swung Irene up in the air, and Sam was jealous. I need answers Lisa! Please post more when you can - I understand how draining it must be to write though. :worthy: :worthy: :worthy:


#48:  Author: KellyLocation: Auckland, New Zealand PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:33 am

I agree with Lisa_T, asking for more feels wrong almost, but I would like to know how this ends And Lisa, there really aren't words. All I can say is that you have captured the situation you are writing about unbelievably well. I am not suprised you feel like you've been through the wringer, what you're writing about is an incredibly draining topic, but still very powerfully written. Thank you.


#49:  Author: PatLocation: Doncaster PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:38 am

Wow Lisa! That's so powerful. Take your time about posting (and writing), as it must be so very hard to do.


#50:  Author: patmacLocation: Yorkshire England PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:40 am

I think this is totally compelling. I do want to know how it resolves (if that is possible) but am not looking forward to reading it if you know what I mean. This is a very difficult subject.


#51:  Author: VikkiLocation: Sitting on an iceberg, freezing to death!!! PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:41 am

Wow! Lisa, this is incredible! Thank you!


#52:  Author: LisaLocation: South Coast of England PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:11 pm

Embarassed Embarassed Embarassed Oh goodness!! Thank you all so much - I didn't feel that I was managing to convey it all that well!! I will be posting the rest this afternoon - I had dreams about this all last night!! Sorry this is not a post - but there will be the rest later! Helen P - yes, the marks are evidence of self-harming, and that together with the eating disorder, the desperation for attention etc are meant to be manifestations of this poor girl's confusion. In the same way, her crush on Irene is less a sexual one and more an identification with the one, non-threatening caring person she feels she can trust. The 'hate him' in the letter refers to someone else, not Charlie. Although Charlie was the catalyst for her bad mood on the way home, it was also going home that was making her so miserable. More later (once I am fuelled(sp?) by more toast and marmite (thanks Rachael Wink )


#53:  Author: Guest PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 2:39 pm

Feel I have to add my "me too" post to everyone else's. This is beautifully written, and so sad. Poor Sam. I really hope Irene and Kathie and Heather can help her.Emma A.


#54:  Author: KatethLocation: Heidelberg PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 4:40 pm

Just... wow. Thank you for writing this.


#55:  Author: AnnLocation: Newcastle upon Tyne, England PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 4:53 pm

Lisa wrote:
I had dreams about this all last night!!
(((Lisa))) Not a pleasant subject to dream about.


#56:  Author: SignaLocation: Lily ponds, Bosherston PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 7:43 pm

Whoa - just found this. Sam is just sooooo close to my (older) best friend when I was about 13 - it's really eerie. No CS magic for her, though. Good stuff


#57:  Author: LisaLocation: South Coast of England PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:10 pm

Thank you everyone, I'm so sorry to keep you waiting - I couldn't get on line until now! The story is finished Shocked (In just 2 days - I'm amazed at myself!!) but is still another 3 800 words or so Rolling Eyes It gets pretty grim. I will post in bits so you're not overloaded at once! *************** The pupils and staff of the Chalet School trooped off the coaches at their destination and were greeted by their Head, Hilda Annersley and the Head of St Mildred’s, Nell Wilson. Irene stepped off the coach gratefully with a heavy head and anxiety burdening her heart. The open doors were inviting, and the school quickly sat down to a hot supper before preparing for bed. Hilda’s sharp eyes noticed her youngest staff member’s exhaustion and was about to comment, when Kathie Ferrars appeared at her side. “Miss Annersley, I appreciate that this is quite irregular, but may Irene and I request an urgent meeting with you this evening?” Hilda’s brows lifted momentarily. “Why of course, Miss Ferrars – but do you think Miss Ellis needs her rest first?” Kathie shook her head firmly. “No. She won’t be able to rest – yet,” she said. So it was that half past nineteen brought a tapping on the door and Miss Annersley was visited by two of her youngest members of staff. Kathie held the door for Irene and Miss Annersley noted with approval that she was taking good care of the staff baby. “Sit down, ladies, and have some of Karen’s marvellous coffee. That’s it, pull up a chair. A biscuit, Irene? You ate very little at supper. Well, the journey appears to have gone off very smoothly, largely due to you two. Thank you. What can I do for you?” “Miss Annersley,” began Irene, but that lady waved her hand at once. “Let’s all call each other by our first names,” she said kindly. “I feel it will ease conversation.” “Hil- Hilda,” spoke Irene again, stumbling over the familiar term of address. “Kathie is here as I confided this to her on the journey, having only just found out myself. She has advised me, and is – some moral support.” She paused and took a deep breath. “I think that Sam Harris in my form has been sexually abused.” Hilda sat upright in shock, but spoke entirely steadily. “What are your grounds for this, Irene?” Wordlessly, Irene passed the letter to the Head and then sat there, regarding her face as she read it. Hilda winced at some of the expression, but Irene knew that this wasn’t disapproval at the language but disgust at the experiences expressed therein. Finally she folded the letter and placed it in front of her. She picked up a pen, wrote something neatly on a slip if paper, popped it in an envelope and held it out towards Kathie. “Kathie, dear, would you take this to Matron please? Then you may go – and thank you for your help. Now,” as the door closed behind her, she turned back to face Irene, “tell me all about it.” Irene spoke for twenty minutes. She scarcely knew when she had begun to weep, but found herself with Hilda’s own handkerchief, which was damp by this time. Her self-remorse came pouring out: “I should have said something earlier – I thought there might be something that time on the train, I should have realised that there were reasons for her behaviour –” “Now stop there, Irene,” instructed Hilda rather sternly. She leant across and took Irene’s cold hands in her own: “and listen to me. You have done everything right. You cannot blame yourself for any of this. Rather, you should feel pleased that at last, thanks to your unfailing kindness and professionalism a damaged young girl has begun to find some hope. Now,” she sat back and the tone of voice changed. “The first thing we have to do is speak to Sam herself. Then we need to establish whether the abuse is ongoing – and whether the abuser is still alive. If he is, then I’m afraid we will need to involve higher authorities at once. Do you feel able to conduct an interview with Sam, Irene?” Irene nodded mutely, and at that moment there was a knock on the door. “Herein,” called Hilda musically, and Matron bustled in with a cup of something steaming. “Ah, Gwynneth,” said Hilda. “Good timing. Irene has had a very traumatic time and needs some restful sleep tonight.” “Here we are, dear, drink this up,” advised Matron, using the gentle tone that only the very sick girls or staff usually got to hear. She passed Irene the hot milk that she carried, and gratefully the young woman drank it. “In the morning, I will arrange for you to be off-timetable and duties. You may come to see me if you wish before contacting Samantha, and of course I am willing to be present in the interview should she wish it. Now, I think you need to be off to bed.” Irene’s eyelids had grown heavy thanks to Matron’s nostrum, and she allowed herself to be escorted to a bed in the pretty room just off Matron’s. On receipt of Hilda’s note earlier, Matron had prepared the bed and popped a hot water bottle in it, and so it was cosy and inviting for the tired teacher. Once she was sleeping, Matron crept out of the room and made her way to the Head’s office. The two women had a conversation in which Hilda summarised the situation for her old friend and colleague, and it was a much subdued Matron who later left the office and headed straight for the Bluebell dormitory where Sam slept. All was quiet in the dormitory, and Matron stood for some time surveying the sleeping girls. She was filled with horror that something may have happened to a girl in her charge, and she had not noticed. Well, that was not strictly true, Matron admitted to herself. Some years ago she had become aware of Sam’s nightmares and had supplied the girl with various remedies to help her sleep. Matron had also been monitoring the girl’s weight loss a little anxiously, but as she seemed to eat well every mealtime, and was a very fit and active youngster, she had not been duly unconcerned. Matron was a practical woman, and she did not dwell on the false guilt that was threatening. Sam had been an unremarkable child who had not caused any fuss or complaints over the years but something stirred in Matron’s heart as she watched the sleeping innocent. How she must have suffered all these years. Just as Gwynneth was leaving the room, there was a rustle from a bed near the door, and a small white-clad figure slid out of the sheets and padded over to her. “Matron,” came Heather’s small voice, as she tugged rather pathetically on that lady’s dress. Without a word, Matron scooped up the girl, who unlike her tall friend was petite, and carried her off to the cosy annexe where she wrapped her in blankets and prepared to heat up more milk. “Do you know?” asked Heather tremulously as she watched the woman bustle around. “I do,” said Matron, calmly. “As do Miss Annersley and Miss Ferrars – but only those at the moment, and I believe that Miss Wilson will have to know soon. Heather, I am so very proud of you. You have been a true friend to Sam, and a mature and brave individual.” Heather snuffled a little, and buried her face in the blankets. “I told Sam that I had given Miss Ellis the letter,” came her muffled voice. “She wasn’t very happy, but she didn’t blow her top at me.” Her face emerged from the pillow and she faced Matron squarely. “I think she expected it. I think that by putting it in a letter to me, she was showing that she was ready to be helped – a sort of cry for help.” Matron, somewhat startled by this wisdom, nodded in agreement and passed Heather the hot cup of milk. “I think you are right. Here is your drink. When you have finished it we will get you back to bed – or would you prefer to stay here tonight?” “Oh no, Matron!” protested Heather in horror. “I’ll go back to my own bed thank you very much!” and so she was escorted back to the dormitory where she slept a deep refreshing sleep.


#58:  Author: XantheLocation: London/Cambridge PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:13 pm

Thank you Lisa Kiss


#59:  Author: LesleyLocation: Allhallows, Kent PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:27 pm

Thank you Lisa. Lovely that Hilda and Matey were so perfect. Have horrible feeling I know exactly who poor Sam's abuser is...


#60:  Author: NicciLocation: UK PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:33 pm

Thanks Lisa. Poor Sam. But Heather is a wonderful friend.


#61:  Author: Helen PLocation: Cheshire PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:38 pm

Thankyou. This is amazingly powerful.


#62:  Author: aliLocation: medway, kent PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:38 pm

I don't know what to say. It is so compelling and so realistic. I applaud you for being able to write like this about such an issue, you must feel drained and emotional. As a teacher it worries me to know that there are horrible things happening in the lives of the children I teach that I know nothing about. I only hope that if presented with a similar situation I can act as well as your charaters.


#63:  Author: KellyLocation: Auckland, New Zealand PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:40 pm

Thank you. Again I just don't have the words to express . . .


#64:  Author: Catherine_BLocation: Oxford, UK PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:40 pm

Wow. I'm lost for words. You're treating so many difficult subjects so sensitively, Lisa, it's a privilege to be reading your drabble. :worthy: I hope we'll hear more about Sam soon - and that she doesn't take Heather's action badly.


#65:  Author: SusanLocation: Carlisle PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:44 pm

Lisa as everyone else has said what a powerful drabble. Very compelling.

Last edited by Susan on Thu Nov 04, 2004 3:37 pm; edited 1 time in total


#66:  Author: Carolyn PLocation: Lancaster, England PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:57 pm

This, Lisa. Love your portrayal of Hilda and Matey.


#67:  Author: LisaLocation: South Coast of England PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:00 pm

Oh STOP! Embarassed Embarassed I can't take all this adulation!!! Grr - tried to post more half an hour ago, but the internet crashed (can it do that?!) in our house!! Lesley - I am intrigued as to who you think the abuser is ... are you right? ************* Irene blinked sleepily and frowned at her surroundings, taking a moment to register where she was. With the realisation, memories from the previous day came flooding back and a sick feeling of dread flooded the pit of her stomach. Casting about for her clothes, Irene was interrupted by the entrance of Matron with a tray. “You have had your sleep out!” she exclaimed. “You are to eat this before you do anything else.” She handed a tray of hot rolls, marmalade and coffee to her and then began to tidy the room. Waiting until she had heard Irene’s murmured ‘grace’ she then spoke casually. “I had Heather in here last night,” she mentioned. “She told me that she has spoken to Sam about the letter, and Sam wasn’t too upset. So she will be expecting to be summoned soon. Heather said that she felt the letter was a cry for help.” “Heather said that?” asked Irene in surprise. “Yes, I think that’s what I concluded. Apparently for years Sam has kept this well hidden – it’s as if she has chosen to let it out now. Matron – I’m such a weak woman! It’s Sam that deserves the sympathy and care here, and yet here I am, responding like this. I have had a wonderful childhood, and yet I can’t cope with hearing about someone else’s awful one.” Ignoring her own dictum for once, Matron sat on the end of Irene’s bed and looked at her kindly. “Irene, the face of evil is ugly and terrifying. It is of no wonder that you have been this deeply affected. But you are suffering because of your concern for Sam, not for your own sake. You have not been weak, because you recognise that despite your feelings you are going to face this thing and deal with it to the best of your ability.” Irene nodded and reflected on this as she washed and dressed. Hilda had arranged for her own office to be used, and after a brief chat with the Head, Irene organised the room to be as comfortable as possible. She set a pitcher of water on the table with a couple of glasses, pulled the chairs up to the fire, and arranged one so that it looked out slightly over the view of the mountains, so that Sam wouldn’t feel as if she was being interrogated. Finally, Irene set a box of tissues discreetly within reach and then paced the room, her stomach a fluttering mass of butterflies. Sam was sitting in her French lesson, outwardly as calm as ever. She had been kindly told after breakfast to come along to Miss Annersley’s office at eleven o’clock, and a strange sort of excitement gripped her. This was it. There was no backing out now. She glanced at the clock in the room and raised her hand. “S’il vous plait, Mam’zelle, est-ce que, je m'excuse peux partir de la salle maintenant?” With a nod, the teacher dismissed the girl, knowing just that Miss Annersley had wanted to see her, and it was only Heather who watched her friend’s exit from the room with trepidation. Irene jumped as the knock sounded on the door. Shooting up a desperate prayer, she opened it at once, trying to smile naturally at Sam. “Come in, Sam, sit down, make yourself comfortable. As you know, Heather and I have been concerned about you, and Heather has shown me your letter – did you know?” Sam shrugged and looked around the office. She looked out of the window. She felt strangely exhausted and reluctant to speak. “I know,” she said at last. Irene cleared her throat. “Now before we begin I have to tell you that anything you tell me in this room, I will have to report – ” “I know, I know,” interrupted Sam, still staring out of the window. “For protection and all that. Because my grandfather raped me.”


#68:  Author: LesleyLocation: Allhallows, Kent PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:22 pm

Well I could lie and say that I was - but no, I thought Sam's mum had remarried and thought it was her Step-Father. Still a gripping story Lisa.


#69:  Author: NicciLocation: UK PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:26 pm

I wasn't expecting that. I was thinking along similar lines to Lesley. How terrible.


#70:  Author: SusanLocation: Carlisle PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:28 pm

Wow Lisa! Well done Irene and Matron. Poor Sam. I thought it was her dad.


#71:  Author: LisaLocation: South Coast of England PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:35 pm

****I'm quite explicit in this post - mods please let me know if you think I should remove it**** Irene drew in a breath as if she had been stabbed. Her throat closed and she poured some water with trembling hands. “Would you like a drink?” she asked lamely. Sam turned back to face her and smiled sorrowfully. “Poor you. This is harder for you than it is for me, isn’t it?” “No, no – ” began Irene, but Sam was continuing. “I’ll tell you everything. I always wanted to, I knew that you would listen, you always have. You’ve been the only one to listen to me, the only adult who seems to really care. My mum doesn’t care. When I told her what he had done, she didn’t believe me.” “Your – your grandfather? Is he your mother’s father?” Sam inclined her head. “Was,” she emphasised. “Now the bugger’s dead, thank God.” Irene gave an inward sigh of relief at least the abuse wasn’t ongoing then. “When did all this happen?” she asked, hoping that there was just the one occasion, but this hope was thwarted. “Oh, many times, years ago now,” Sam laughed bitterly.” Don’t worry, Miss, it all stopped when I was eleven. Just before I came away here, actually. I’m fine. I mean, I know I have my problems, but they help me to control things,” she finished obliquely. “But, your mother?” protested Irene. “How could she not believe you?” Sam raised her eyebrows in mock wonder. “Perhaps because she loved her father more than her daughter,” she replied sarcastically. “I was always a disappointment to her she had wanted a boy you see. I think I reminded her of my Dad – who she hated. He left when I was a baby and had affairs – I hope I’m not shocking you too much, Miss?!” Sam spoke cruelly, but Irene knew the rage was directed elsewhere. “No, Sam.” Irene wanted to ask questions, to try to formulate her own reasons for the mother’s behaviour but she knew that she must refrain from putting words onto her pupil’s mouth. The mother clearly needed help, too, but the way she had treated her daughter was sickening. “Grandad used to come and baby sit me lots, when Mum went out. It was my eighth birthday. He had bought me a party dress and told me that I looked like a beautiful princess. He said that princesses got special presents. That night he came to read me a story as usual, but this time –” Sam swallowed hard and her eyes became hard bright coals in a deathly white face. Her voice raised a tone and she spoke rapidly: “he lifted up my nightdress and put his hand – on me. He said that I could only have my story if he could keep his hand there. Afterwards he told me I was special and gave me some chocolate. I was happy to think that we had a secret and that I would get rewards.” Again the bitter laugh. “He gradually did more, he told me I liked it – and I think I did, at least I believed him when he said I did. It was probably more than a year later when he really did it, you know. It hurt so much, but by then I was scared. My mummy smacked me the next morning when she found the bloodstains on my sheets she said I had been eating chocolate in bed.” Irene was so furious a leaden pain had begun in her chest, and all she could do to stop herself from speaking was to drink more water. There was a silence for sometime the words didn’t need to be said. Irene struggled to repress the tears she felt burning at the back of her eyes: tears of rage, unfairness and frustration. She looked at Sam’s dry eyes in some wonder, but the girl had shed all her tears long ago. “Sam, why do you cut yourself?” asked Irene, quietly. Sam’s head snapped up. “I thought you’d read that in the letter,” she said. “It makes me feel good.” She shrugged again. “When I feel the pain, it helps me to feel real – I often feel so detached, you know. And when the blood runs – well, it’s like purifying myself and letting all the dirt out,” Sam’s eyes glittered as she spoke, and Irene suppressed a shudder. “The first time I did it by accident,” continued the girl, turning her unseeing gaze out of the window. It was here – I was in my second year at the Chalet School. I broke my mirror one morning, and a shard cut my hand. I mopped it up and kept it hidden because I was worried I might get into trouble for it, but during the day I realised I was getting a thrill from knowing I had this and no-one else did. I think it started from there.” Irene got up and pretended to fiddle with the curtains. She looked out at the view and indicated it to Sam. “But you like school, Sam?” “I love school!” cried Sam at once but with a vehemence that was surprising. “I feel – safe here. You know – it was because of him that I came here? He died – heart attack. And I was pleased. I told my Mum what had happened but she said I was a nasty little liar to say all that – especially now when he couldn’t defend himself. And she said she was sick of me messing things up in her life. So, she sold the house he had left her and used the money to send me here. But only until I was sixteen.” “But, Sam, you’re sixteen now!” cried Miss Ellis. “Yes, and this is to be my last year. Mum says she refuses to support me once I’m an adult.” “But what will you do? Go home?” “No fear! I’m never going back!” said Sam coldly. “I’m going to go to London and I’ll get a flat, and find work. I might even go to evening classes in typing. Don’t worry, Miss, I won’t go on the game.” Irene winced at this barb. This vitriolic girl was not the one she knew, but the poison had been festering in her for too long. “But you’re only sixteen – ” “I’m old enough,” Sam answered with some truth. She stared at Irene steadily for a long time until the mistress reddened and her eyes dropped. “Perhaps I’ll meet someone like you,” the girl continued in softer tones, “someone who feels the same about me. You know how I feel about you – don’t you? But I’m not stupid, I know it’ll never happen.” The gong sounded in the distance. “Lunch!” announced Sam. “I’m ravenous,” she proclaimed. Irene laughed nervously. “So what happens now?” demanded Sam. “That is up to you,” said Irene, recalling her conversation with Miss Annersley that morning after that lady had consulted an organisation in London. She looked at Sam with pleading in her eyes. “What can I do to help you, Sam?” “You already have, Miss,” said the girl, and she got up and left the room quietly. Once she had gone the office seemed forlorn, and Irene considered her attempts to make the room comfortable to her young pupil earlier wryly. Neither the water or tissues had been touched by Sam, who had remained composed throughout. Heaving a sigh, Irene gazed at the now vacant chair over by the window and reached for the tissue box herself. *********** One more post to go ...


#72:  Author: NicciLocation: UK PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:52 pm

Lisa, I'm not a mod or anything but I don't see anything in the post that shouldn't be there - besides there's plenty of warning about St Hild's being for adults and containing sensitive material. I actually think that it would do the subject an injustice to skim over details like that. This is what abuse can be like, and we'd be pretty irresponsible if we ignored the truth of it. Besides, you write so sensitively - that last post made me cry. Sam is so bitter, its that harshness that is so unrealistic in a child. It shouldn't be there, and I'm releived that she's opened herself to help. Again, thank you Lisa - this must be agonising to write.


#73:  Author: Catherine_BLocation: Oxford, UK PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:52 pm

Crumbs. *reaching for the water & tissues myself* Poor Sam. I hope she'll be OK. And that she gets what she wants - whatever that is. (((Sam))) (((anyone who's ever been in Sam's position)))


#74:  Author: LisaLocation: South Coast of England PostPosted: Wed Nov 03, 2004 11:58 pm

Last bit! ************** Irene stood on the edge of the athletics’ field, clapping as loudly as her gloved hands would allow her. The final stretch of the sixteen hundred metre race was in action, and Sam’s long legs and determination had carried her into the first three. School was breaking up tomorrow for Easter and the unseasonable weather had prompted a last minute athletics display. Around her, the crowd started to cheer as one girl dropped back and the battle was between Sam and Marielle Demas of the same class. Irene willed Sam on with every fibre of her being. Oh, she was a fighter, thought Irene, and she could win this, overcoming the challenges as she had been doing all her life. There was a heightened sense of excitement in the crowd as one girl gradually emerged ahead of the other, inch by painful inch. “Come on, Sam, you can do it!” yelled the English mistress suddenly, startling the girls around her who began to giggle. But Irene didn’t care. She shrieked and cheered as Sam crossed the finish line a clear second before her rival. The applause was deafening, and Irene beamed with pride as her charge went to the front to shake the Headmistress’s hand and receive her prize. Her cheeks flushed and her eyes sparkling, Sam turned and looked directly at Irene and gave a radiant smile. The last day of term was always a hectic one, and Irene found herself yet again on escort duty as the train sped across Europe with its contingent of schoolgirl passengers. The miles were flying by and Irene felt a pang of regret at the thought of losing some of her form. She thought about Sam as she did so often. Soon she would see her for the last time. Irene reflected how much the girl had taught her over the last year: fortitude, courage, and the vulnerability of the innocent in the world. She felt the surge of protectiveness again sweep through her complete with fear for the girl’s future. At length, the long journey ended at London’s Victoria station, and here the girls and Mistresses parted company. The platform was thronged with parents who had come to collect their daughters and in the flurry of activity, Irene was kept busy. She glanced up as the waiting room at last seemed to have emptied and suddenly an icicle of fear shot through her as she realised that she hadn’t seen Sam, but at that moment the girl came up beside her. “I’m going that way,” she said, indicating her direction to Irene. “Opposite way to you.” For a moment the two women, separated not only by seven years but by different worlds of experience stood and regarded each other wordlessly. Sam gave her characteristic shrug, and headed to the waiting room exit door. “Wait!” called Irene in a strangled cry, and she went over to Sam and placed her hands on her shoulders. They hugged each other very tightly for a moment they were one: locked in an embrace that need no words. Then Irene released her hold on the younger girl and gave her gentle push. With a final look of longing and trust, Sam turned and walked out of the door, out of Irene’s life and into her own future. Irene watched with a small smile on her lips and a solitary tear trickling down her cheek. *********** Crying or Very sad Crying or Very sad Thank you and goodnight. Sad


#75:  Author: KimLocation: Tipperary, Ireland PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:10 am

Lisa - congrats on your brilliant handling of an incredibly difficult subject. I worked for several years in Child Care & Protection Services (not as a social worker) and know just how prevalent these situations are ...and how many people turn a blind eye to it rather than get involved. Sad The school's handling of it was much better than most Take care of yourself after this


#76:  Author: NicciLocation: UK PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:11 am

So powerful, that's all I can say. Maybe I'll come back tomorrow when I have the words.


#77:  Author: PatLocation: Doncaster PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:12 am

That was so powerful Lisa. Thank you.


#78:  Author: KellyLocation: Auckland, New Zealand PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:27 am

I read those last two posts and went away to try and think of a response. I still can't formulate one yet. But Lisa, this is an incredibly powerful handling of such a serious subject, and I want to thank you for writing it.


#79:  Author: KateLocation: Ireland PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:45 am

I know someone that happened to - two people really, but one in particular had a very very similar experience. It breaks my heart. I actually have tears streaming down my cheeks right now. I want to tell you that it was excellently written without trivialising it, and I'm struggling for words, so I hope this suffices.


#80:  Author: MissPrintLocation: Edinburgh PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 3:25 am

***Emphatically for the over 18s, kids, you really do not want to read the following*** Lisa, I found this story four hours ago, and have been scampering about the internet until I could stop running enough to come and comment. It seems like you have been writitng my life story, but with somewhat better outcomes. Mods, do you want to mod this? I was abused by my maternal grandfather from an early age to my teens, as was my cousin, though at the time I had no idea he had started on her. When I post about my family in other parts of this board, it is always the nice side of my family I talk about, my father's family, never him. Although I showed classic symptoms of abuse, physical and psychological, as a child it was never picked up on. Not even when I was taken to the doctor aged eight with a vaginal infection and bruises down there. And the psychological signs were dismissed as me being highly strung. It wasn't until after my grandfather's death that my cousin disclosed her story, and I could not deny that it had happened to me too. We have both struggled to survive with the after effects of abuse, and sadly she became a victim of it in Janauary when she hanged herself in a park. I, however, survive. I have my daughter to thank for that as she is what makes life worth living. Every child is a message of hope from God, and it's the worst form of wickedness to destroy that hope. I used to lose myself in Chalet books, longing for a Jo or even a Mary-Lou to come and rescue me, Chalet style. The far away world of girls it created for me seemed like an idyll. Children's fiction from the chalet period is still a refuge for me. How strange, Lisa, that you should pick my christian name for the mistress. It was incredibly well written, and it was just the hopeful story I would have expected from the Chalet School. Might I ask what it was that inspired you to write this story? I always feel a bit strange when other people weep at such stories, but I'm like the hard bitten Sam, and all my tears were shed long ago.


#81:  Author: LisaLocation: South Coast of England PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 5:57 am

((MissPrint)) Bad dreams last night, insomnia tonight. sigh. Woke up at 3 and that's it. I feel like I want to apologise for writing such a disturbing piece, but that would be somehow undermining it. I want to thank you all so much for your encouragement. Smile


#82:  Author: LesleyLocation: Allhallows, Kent PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 6:29 am

Lisa, thank you for writing this, I'm not surprised that you have had difficulty sleeping, this is a powerful and disturbing subject. There is no need to apologise. With my Mod hat - I have no problem with any of the posts on this thread - it is the reason for St Hild's existence.


#83:  Author: Kathy_SLocation: midwestern US PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 6:42 am

If we didn't find this disturbing, wouldn't there be something wrong with us? Well written, Lisa! And hope you get some sleep soon.


#84:  Author: CazxLocation: Swansea/Bristol PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 10:41 am

Crying or Very sad Your writing in this was so moving and powerful Lisa.


#85:  Author: Rachael PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 11:11 am

You know my views on this already, Lisa - powerful, perceptive and sensitively handled Congratulations on writing such a thought-provoking and responsible piece - I think you've made everyone who's read this really stop and think ... about our own lives, about others and all the evil in the world today I agree with Lesley - this is exactly why St Hild's was created (((Missprint))) No MOD-ing required I think you say it all with "I, however, survive"


#86:  Author: KateLocation: Ireland PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 11:19 am

(((Missprint))) Sad You'd think that, with my friends going through a similar thing, I'd know what to say, but I still don't. *huggles* Lisa, don't apologise, thank you for writing it.


#87:  Author: AlexLocation: Hunts, UK PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:26 pm

If I haven't said anything it isn't because I don't want to.


#88:  Author: DawnLocation: Leeds, West Yorks PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:06 pm

(((((((((MissPrint)))))))) I can't find the words to express properly what I am trying to say, but it is only when people are prepared to talk about abuse like this that it becomes more acknowledged that it does happen and that we all have a responsibility to be aware and to support. My daughter had vaginal infections when she was about 2 or 3 and the doctor asked if there was a chance she could be being abused - I had to say I didn't know as she wasn't with me 24 hours a day. I did tell that to all the adults she was close to at that time and the infections stopped which was probably just coincidence but.....


#89:  Author: Helen PLocation: Cheshire PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 2:54 pm

*Adds to the pile of hugs for MissPrint*I don't know what to say either - I'm feeling lots and lots, but can't find the words.Lisa, you don't need to apologise for writing this. I think it is important to acknowledge that such abuse does go on, and we need to be aware of it. Writing as sensitive and 'real' as this can only help.Is there likely to be a sequel at any time in the future?


#90:  Author: Carolyn PLocation: Lancaster, England PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 3:39 pm

Can't say anything that hasn't already been said, and finding it hard to say anything that doesn't sound...well...I'm still lost for words. Thank you.(((MissPrint))) Thank you for sharing that with us, not only was it very brave of you, but it also brings home very effectivly just how real this story is and how many children are 'survivors'.


#91:  Author: SusanLocation: Carlisle PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 4:00 pm

As a childrens and young peoples worker I have had a little training in what to do if faced with a child or young person suffering from suspected abuse. I spent hours wondering how I would cope if it evere happens. Thank you Lisa for writing this I hope I will be as caring as Irene. Reading what you have written made me wonder if he abused Sam's mother?MissPrint huggles for you. Thank you for being brave enough to post what you did - you are a survior. I managed not to cry whilst I read the story but am crying now for all those poor children that this has happened too.Did anyone else hear an item on the radio news last night about a father who abused his daughter to such an extent she had six children by him? The social workers thought she was being abused but could not prove it. Apparently the father was allowed to exercise his parental rights and attend all meetings and he dominated the meetings so much that the girl couldn't speak. It didn't say how it finally came to light but thank God it did!


#92:  Author: Joan the DwarfLocation: Er, where am I? PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 4:23 pm

Lisa: :worthy: (((MissPrint)))


#93:  Author: Sarah_KLocation: St Albans/Leicester PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 4:39 pm

Thank you for writing that Lisa, It was amazingly well written and horribly real. You even managed to keep to the values of the CS in the way the teachers tried to help Sam.Thank you for posting your story MissPrint, it can't be easy to do that. I'm so glad you have your daughter now.


#94:  Author: Lisa_TLocation: Belfast PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 5:34 pm

Thank you Lisa. I don't know what else to say.


#95:  Author: JoeyLocation: Cambridge PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 6:49 pm

Lisa, I have no words. That was amazing. I hope you can sleep now!((MissPrint)) Again, I have no words, but thank you for being brave enough to share with us.


#96:  Author: LizBLocation: Oxon, England PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 6:59 pm

I'm another one who doesn't really know the right words to say.So, inadequate thought it is, Thank you Lisa for writing this and sharing it with usAnd thank you MissPrint for being brave enough to share with us as well.HugsLiz


#97:  Author: JosieLocation: London PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 7:35 pm

(((MissPrint))) Please take my hug to convey everything I want to say but can't. Lisa, thank you. And 'wow'.


#98:  Author: EmilyLocation: Land of White Coats and Stethoscopes. PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 9:46 pm

Thank you so much for writing that, Lisa, and for telling us your story, MissPrint. Again I don't know what to say that doesn't sound feeble and meaningless.


#99:  Author: EllieLocation: Lincolnshire PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 11:00 pm

I've been reading this over the last couple of days - I didn't comment, because. like so many other people, I didn't know what to say - still don't in fact.Thank you for writing it, I think that it would be wrong to say I enjoyed the story, but I certainly appreciated it, and you handled it so well and so sensitively.((((Miss Print))))I'm glad you felt able to share your experiences, I'm so glad you have your daughter to live for. That sounds very inadequate, but once again, I'm stuck for words.


#100:  Author: CathLocation: Cornwall PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 11:21 pm

Can't believe I didn't find this earlier... a really powerful story, thanks, Lisa. It did have me going 'wow'.((((MissPrint))))


#101:  Author: pimLocation: the Derbyshire wilderness PostPosted: Thu Nov 04, 2004 11:53 pm

Lisa, this was just amazing, and I'm another one who can't quite express properly what she wants to say.(((MissPrint)))


#102:  Author: KellyLocation: Auckland, New Zealand PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2004 12:58 am

(((MissPrint))) and Thank you Lisa.*Still lost for words*


#103: Paradise Lost Author: Guest PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2004 3:21 am

Lisa, this is a beautifully written and exceptionally moving account of this very difficult subject. I'm very impressed by the sensitive way it was dealt with by both Heather and Irene, and, as so many others have noted, how much their help was in line with all the best values of the Chalet School. I only hope that Sam was able to find some happiness in her life in the end. (Fancy writing a sequel, Lisa?) Joking apart, I can quite see why you lost sleep while you were writing it, but you did a fabulous job. (Miss Print) - you are so courageous to tell your own story. It seems I only post comments to the most moving stories in Cookies and Drabbles. This is the first time I've posted one to St. Hild's. I think I'm probably a good bit older than most CBB-ers, and only found the list a couple of months ago - one of these days I'll de-lurk! I'm very impressed with the sensitive and sincere way people have handled some very difficult real life topics.


#104:  Author: TrishLocation: Australia PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2004 11:34 am

Just read this and ... wow... Thank you Lisa. I also have a similiar story and so much of what you wrote was spot on. One thing that especially struck me was Sam's reasons for cutting, I could really relate to that. And also her letter - somewhere on a (passworded) disc I have many similiar rants that I have written in the past in an attempt to release some of the pent up emotion. But it was Sam's conversation with Irene that I really related to. Like Sam, whenever I tell my story I am deathly calm. It's a coping mechanism, telling it factually and bluntly and keeping all emotion (except the odd bit of black humour) locked up. I'm pretty well ok now, and haven't self-injured for about 3 years and only have the occasional flashback/nightmare but I'll never forget either. (((((((((Miss Print))))))))) - from one survivor to another.


#105:  Author: RoseaLocation: Edinburgh PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2004 12:27 pm

(((((Trish and MissPrint))))) and big hugs and thanks to Lisa for such a wonderful, moving piece of writing.


#106:  Author: MissPrintLocation: Edinburgh PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2004 3:11 pm

((((((Trish)))))) And thanks everyone for the hugs. Trish, I know what you mean, I tell it without emmotion too, the feelings have long since turned in on me. I too have a very black sense of humour, and non-abused people often find it inappropriate or embarrassing. It's just another way of coping. I never wrote anything down, I was too afraid someone would find it and think I was mad. I did, however, go back to their house, some 12 years after his death, and stand at the place his chair would have been and rant and rave and scream and kick. Then I turned round and saw that I had quite an audience at the first floor window of the office opposite. Perhaps I should have closed the shutters.


#107:  Author: JennieLocation: Cambridgeshire PostPosted: Fri Nov 05, 2004 5:59 pm

Why should you have closed the shutters? You needed to do it, so you did it!


#108:  Author: MoraLocation: Lancaster PostPosted: Sat Nov 06, 2004 11:50 pm

Lisa this, as everyone else has already said, is a terrible, brilliant piece of writing. And I'm glad we have St Hild's as a place where stories like this can be. Thank you for letting her walk off, 'to her future'. I can't give you any higher accolades than all the other people on this thread but I wish I could, for writing this truly. My girlfriend has a habit of quoting something she saw somewhere once, to the effect that 'my scars are the signs of my survival' like battle scars. (((((those who deserve hugs more than most))))))


#109:  Author: AnnLocation: Newcastle upon Tyne, England PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2004 11:50 pm

Lisa, that was a wonderful piece of writing - the content was highly disturbing and yet the way it was written was so compelling I couldn't stop reading it.
Susan wrote:
As a childrens and young peoples worker I have had a little training in what to do if faced with a child or young person suffering from suspected abuse. I spent hours wondering how I would cope if it evere happens. Thank you Lisa for writing this I hope I will be as caring as Irene.
I know exactly how you feel, Susan. I hope that if it did happen to a child in my care (and obviously I have an even greater hope that it doesn't), that child would have the courage to let someone know what is happening. (((MissPrint and Trish))) You are both incredibly strong women.


#110:  Author: patmacLocation: Yorkshire England PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2004 12:11 am

I feel rather humbled by this. I have never experienced this and have only met one person who has admitted that it happened to her. I wonder now if, through the years, I have missed the signals and not helped someone who needed it.*Troubled but grateful for the experience of reading this*Thank you.


#111:  Author: MihiriLocation: surrey england PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2004 1:22 am

((Trish and MissPrint)). Lisa this was an incredibly well-written story. it is so powerful and you should not apologise. I thinky ou told it really well. I used to cut myself and the way you described it I could identfy with immediately. Stories like this need to be writtent o help people confront the realities of life.


#112:  Author: SionedLocation: Manchester / Anglesey PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2004 2:10 am

Lisa I haven't been on the board for months so just found your story. It is incredibly well written and moving...I think others are right when they say words just can't do justice to the quality of the writing considering the horrific subject. Well done Sioned x


#113:  Author: AngelLocation: London, England PostPosted: Sun Nov 14, 2004 9:29 pm

There aren't any adequate responses. Love to all concerned, but brilliant.


#114:  Author: catherineLocation: Newcastle upon Tyne PostPosted: Tue Nov 16, 2004 10:47 pm

Lisa, this was incredible! It must have been very hard to write but thank you for doing it. Hugs to all those who have suffered/know someone who has suffered.


#115:  Author: LisaLocation: South Coast of England PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2004 10:27 am

You lot blow my mind! Embarassed Heart I have been reading your comments and I have been overwhelmed by them! A couple of people have asked for sequels, but I don't feel they would be appropriate for this story - we let Sam walk off into the distance and we don't know what will happen. I felt that this is most realistic - we get glimpses of people's lives sometimes, and never know what will become of them ... As some of you know, this story was inspired by real events and I feel almost a fraud in getting such adulation for a story whose characters (ie the real people involved) are the real ones to deserve it. However I do have a number of ideas on a similar theme - but might wait a while before I attempt those! Thanks all - you really have no idea how much your comments and support have meant. You really are a bunch of wonderful people! Crying or Very sad :love:


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