Spruced up and updated, Not My Life, by Anita Dawes #Fiction,YA

We have just finished renovating Anita’s book, Not My Life. It has a new cover, title and been freshly edited. As the black sheep in our book pile, hopefully this will help to find some interest out there!

SOMEONE HAUNTS Sarah’s dreams, someone who looks just like her.

Her name is Kelly and her life is a nightmare.

Are these dreams a message for Sarah’s future, or a glimpse of Kelly’s past?

Or are they both trapped in a world that isn’t their own?


Excerpt from ‘Not My Life’

Their house seemed like any other house, without them in it.  As I walked around to the back door, I couldn’t believe my luck at finding the small side window in the hall was open a crack.  You had to get close to notice it.  The question was, could I climb in?  Did I still remember how?  It had been so long since I had climbed anything.  Looking around, there was no one in sight.  I found a milk crate, one big enough to give me the boost I needed.

Climbing through the small opening, which in a few more months would be impossible, I thought of Jimmy.  He would kill me if he found out, because of the baby.  Mother would simply kill me before dying of embarrassment.  Dad would probably hang his head in a dark corner of the pub and wonder where they had gone wrong.

Once inside, I looked around.  Curious as to what they thought was a normal home.  Mother had mentioned that Sally Woodford would be giving up work soon, as he didn’t want her continuing in the Bank, carrying heavy money bags around. I was surprised he hadn’t thought of a way for her to carry them home, judging by the video collection I was standing in front of. 

There were many old gangster movies; I recognised some of the titles.  I also found several ‘video nasty’s’.  There was ‘Spit on your grave’, ‘Silence of the lambs’ and ‘The Devils’, amongst others. No romance or comedy, nothing light-hearted.  I wondered if Sally watched them with him.  Did they sit here late at night, imagining themselves in the lead roles?

I would have liked to find the place covered in dust and cobwebs, but the house was clean and tidy. Downstairs, there was a faint odour, which gave me a funny taste in my mouth, but I put it down to what I felt about the house.

There was little in the way of ornaments, two cookbooks, an A-Z, and one large, heavy book on old English tortures. Complete with horrible pictures of the rack and other devices.  With details of exactly what happened to those unfortunate enough to fall foul of them.  Horrible things done with hot coals and pokers; it turned my stomach.  I knew I shouldn’t be looking at this disgusting stuff.  A history book or not, it should be burnt.

Making sure to leave everything as it was, I tried the front door and found it hadn’t been dead-bolted.  I couldn’t believe he had been so slap-dash, after telling my mother she was far too trusting.  Open windows and unlocked doors were an invitation to those less desirable.  That was me; I was undesirable.  I was in their home, their sanctuary, a place I shouldn’t be unless invited.

 

On the way back to my house, I felt decidedly odd and my legs were shaking. People passing by had me jumping out of my skin.  My heart was racing, adrenaline rushing, terrifying and exciting me all at the same time.  Do burglars feel this way, I wondered; when they sneak out with their ill-gotten gains?  Is that what makes them do it again?  For the feeling of excitement, as well as the family silver?

Hoping no one had seen me leave, I crept into my own house.  I couldn’t be sure, but I thought the neat curtains of the house opposite had twitched.  I could always say I had absent-mindedly walked through the wrong gate.

Our front door was unlocked as usual; something that had me wondering if my mother could ever change the habits of a lifetime.  I found her in the living room knitting baby things, all pale yellow and white. I could have told her to go ahead and buy blue wool.

I sat in the room with her, flicking through a magazine to the sound of clicking knitting needles, my mind unable to shake the images I had seen in his book.  One, in particular, stuck fast in my mind. It was a picture of a merry-go-round, a high wooden platform with cruel metal spikes.  How it was meant to be ridden was left to the reader’s imagination, but the poles protruding from the side of the platform allowed the men to rotate the device.  Several images of how it worked flashed through my mind. The caption underneath the picture read, ‘Round and round she goes, where she stops, no one knows.’

The magazine was open on my lap, but I had no idea how long I had been staring into space when mother said, ‘Penny for them, Sarah?’

As if I could tell her what I had done, what I had seen in that book?


 

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Bucket of Dreams… reposted

The First Dream has happened again… so I’m reposting

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I have reached the time of life when you start to think of all the things you wish you had done. The proverbial Bucket List.
Usually this consists of something you have never done, but always wished you had. The one I am going to tell you about is something I have been trying to do for a very long time.
As a keen bonsai grower, the exquisitely beautiful flowering trees have always fascinated me. Usually far too expensive, so I didn’t have one in my collection.
So I tried the next best thing. I planted seeds, pips, fruit stones, anything I could get my hands on. Some of them did grow, but a lot of them didn’t. Peach stones in particular, are impossible, and what they never tell you, is that it can take years for a seedling to produce any flowers.
I have two cherry seedlings that I planted four years ago, and every Spring I watch and watch as the first buds appear. But so far, none of them have been flowers buds.
It tests your patience to the absolute limit, but you do it anyway, repeatedly.
Apple pips are never very successful I have found, for some reason, they get mildew and gradually die.

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The Year one Dream Came True

When we first moved to our present house in Hampshire, in the south of England six years ago, I noticed a Laburnum tree on a roundabout in the middle of town. You don’t see many of these anymore, as people are a bit put off by the fact that the seed pods are poisonous. Silly really, when you consider that most of the plants in our gardens wouldn’t do you any good either.
I love the Laburnum. Such pretty leaves, and in the Spring, long spikes of drooping yellow flowers cascade like a sunshine shower. I had to wait until the flowers had finished and the seed pods were ripe, and then I went and retrieved some.
To cut a long story short, they started to grow. The years passed, and every Spring I waited for the buds to appear. When no flowers appeared, I just assumed they would come along when nature was ready.
But this year something was different. What I first thought were just leaf buds began to change shape, becoming pointed. I showed them to Anita, but she doesn’t really share my passion for bonsai. She took a quick look and said I was imagining it.
But I was having none of it. I believed.

Gradually, the flower shoots emerged, growing steadily longer with each day that passed, some even had a faint tinge of yellow. Every day I watched as they grew bigger. I had finally done it. Something I had grown from the seed I collected had finally flowered.

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I wonder what will be next?

I look at it every day and marvel. Now I keep thinking about all the other things that should be on my list…

This is what a full grown tree looks like…

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