Once Upon a Time


This is a pretty deep post, hugely personal but also something I think the world needs to hear about more. In essence it speaks of abuse, and how that abuse does not affect only the victim, but spreads like a ripple effect into the lives of all those surrounding her. This is in tribute to my mum, a beautiful soul who was abused in the most horrific way imaginable. Please read if you are able, and please please, if you think for one second a child you know may be experiencing abuse, speak up. You may be the voice they just don’t have.

Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time there lived a beautiful Princess Child. She lived in the Land of Love; a place full of springtime joy and colourful summer. Birds sang, their magical music adding depth to the already saturated kingdom. Princess Childs’ hair shone like the moonlit night, her eyes were small sparkling oceans and her face radiated warmth and sunshine. Like all the other children, Princess Child was special and unique; her golden heart made her precious like no other and she had big exciting dreams of her future in Wide Wide World.  Family was her safe place; her home was her comforting castle and she loved her brother and sisters with all her soul.

One day, when Princess Child was still very small, a terrible storm hit. Brooding and black, the storm whipped up fierce electricity- words sparked and anger flew, plunging her safe sanctuary into dangerous darkness. Princess Child and her brother and sisters felt scared as fearful fingers enveloped them. When the storm finally lifted the castle stood in wreckaged ruins and their father was gone. Princess Child’s world had been broken, and through her child’s eyes she saw only a bleak grey landscape where there was once such vibrancy and life. Wide Wide World looked so very different, but she still had her dreams, holding tight to them like bright stars of hope in the dark night. Her mother struggled to look after Princess Child and her siblings; her heart had been stolen by the storm, taken with her father and replaced with stone. Harsh words rained down alongside blows of frustration and even the umbrella of her dream-world couldn’t stop some of those words sticking to Princess Child; ugly labels on her soul. Worthless. Stupid. You-Should-Never-Have-Been-Born. A faded reflection now stared back at her from the mirror, a whisper of the beautiful joy that once was. In reality, Princess Child was as lovely as she had ever been, but the mirror of self distorted her image through a cracked lens of despair.

One day, Princess Child escaped her ruined castle and met another little girl. Sparkle Girl lived in a corner of the kingdom that had escaped the furious storm, and her lighthouse glowed so brightly Princess Child almost forgot the darkness. Sparkle Girl scattered goodness and warmth wherever she went, and soon the two children were inseparable; their friendship a welcome anchor in Princess Child’s turbulent life.

The infants grew, their time together like pocketfuls of sunshine, until they found themselves to be awkward In-Betweeners. Embracing the next step on their journey in Wide Wide World they were no longer children, but not quite grown yet either. This was the exciting time when dreams glimpsed reality, when Princess Child could dare to imagine an adventure outside her dark tempestuous childhood. But alas, this was never to be.

Monster Man had watched Princess Child for some time now, his eyes hungry and his belly craving fire. He was captivated by her innocent beauty, those sapphire blue eyes and milky white skin drove him to the brink of desire like the animal he was. He had to have her. She filled his thoughts, consuming his mind with twisted longing, as he set about meticulously planning his attack with cat-like precision. And then he waited. Waited for his moment to pounce.

Princess Child was fourteen when Monster Man first broke her.  Callous, cruel, depraved acts which robbed her of the small amount of dignity and worth she had left. Cowering in fear she summoned her dreams as he methodically shattered every last piece of her spirit. But the things he did drained her vivid dreams to a drab faded grey. Things too awful to speak of, Monster Man stole her heart and embedded himself in its place. The shame was overwhelming, the suffocating weight all but crushing Princess Child. Somewhere deep inside herself she found steely determination; a strength she never knew she had. And she carried on, not because she could, but because she had to. She needed to survive.

The contentment lasted for a while but faded fast, leaving Monster Man more empty and dangerous than before. Each encounter acted as a drug, fuelling his addiction and leaving him desperately aching for more. Deeper and deeper into the dark he fell, until nothing else mattered, nothing else but having Princess Child. He didn’t care about the pain he caused; in fact the pain thrilled him. His warped normality became her living hell right up until the day she disappeared and slipped from his grasp forever.

Princess Child saw Monster Man everywhere. Lurking in the shadows he waited to strike, each time taking another piece of her, her heart slowly drowning in the dark. Summoning every drop of strength left she tried to shout, but her muted screams for help fell on deaf ears. Finally she ran, leaving her past and pressing forward to her future.

With every step she took Princess Child buried another memory in a frantic attempt to wipe her childhood clean. It seemed to be working and in time she met the love of her life, the man who brought the long forgotten sparkle back into her world. Prince Charming was the most beautiful thing Princess Child had ever seen; with shining eyes he wrapped his blanket of promises around her and she finally felt safe. The whole town flocked to the fairytale wedding and celebrated the union of the Prince and Princess.

A few years passed and the couple welcomed two gorgeous baby girls into their lives. Red was a cheeky, outspoken little thing, while her sister Goldilocks wooed even strangers with her adoring smile. The Prince and Princess worked hard to build a home for them. Not an expensive castle, but an asylum from the world- a place they could call their own. Happiness reigned. Happiness reigned the same way calm reigns before a storm.

At first his visits were so fleeting and brief Princess Child wondered whether she’d imagined them; fragmented remnants of yesterday that confused and muddled her. Monster Man was back, fighting his way to the surface of her mind, and with each visit the memories crystallised into painful shards, wounding her all over again. He inhabited her dreams, bringing with him a blackness; a quicksand of despair which sucked her deeper and deeper. The more she fought it, the more trapped she became; reality slipped from her grasp as she scrabbled frantically against Monster Man and his new reign of terror. She tried everything to remove him from her head but his power held fast. Prince Charming tried his hardest to help, but his weakness won, leaving Red and Goldilocks alone as they battled their mother’s demons. They grew up fast, learning to look after Princess Child, now a husk of her former self. Years passed and Princess Child still could not escape the grip of her tormentor; there were times she hurt herself and times she tried to leave this world altogether; the release of death sweetly tempting in the chaos of her mind. Monster Man had branded his kiss of doom onto her soul, and no matter how hard she fought, her strength still bowed under the weight of his abuse. Despite this, she loved Red and Goldilocks with all her heart. They were the candle in her gloom, the one ray of sunshine in her weathered existence. The smiles she shared with them were precious gems and Red and Goldilocks stored them up in their tiny treasure chests.

And then one day, Princess Child earned her freedom. After fifty-four years of breath she was granted her last, and the deicious release of death rendered Monster Man powerless once and for all. Red and Goldilocks watched as their mother grew her wings, finally free to dance. The tears they shed were only for themselves, their sadness tinged with bright thoughts of hope for Princess Child. They vowed to stand guard against Monster Man, knowing how easily he reared his ugly head to cause heartache and grief. It would stop here. The shadows of yesterday would not shape the landscape of today.

The cycle will be broken.


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