Jeannette Davis was born in the UK and migrated to
Africa at the age of twelve. She
worked in the offices of a copper mining venture and rose from junior data
processing clerk to become supervisor of the section.
Jeannette went on to become head of a teaching
program that trained young African women to enter the workforce.
She migrated to Australia in 1975, where she owned
and ran a small business.
Later she became involved in residential care of the
intellectually challenged and is currently living with her family on a
Chapter 1: Awakenings (part
clear grey eyes flashed with such intense anger he was taken
completely by surprise. George
Slater had not expected such a strong reaction, from a junior pupil, to what he
saw as a simple statement of fact. He studied the child whom until now, he had
thought quite unremarkable. Morgan Sanderson stood before him diminutive in
stature her clear grey eyes a dramatic contrast to the blue black of her hair,
which was drawn back in a carefully braided plait. Around her delicate face
tendrils of hair suggested the black mop might be curly if unrestrained. She
moved with a grace which belied her tender years and spoke of a beauty yet to
was somewhat amused to see such animosity in one so young and although he was
annoyed by her defiance, his years of teaching primary school stood him in good
stead. So calling on all his patience he addressed the class.
Arthur was a legendary character from British folk lore. Now, I have just
explained the meaning of legendary. It means it is fiction. Fiction means not
real, like a fairy tale. Do you understand?”
sir.” Intoned twenty-four children, only one sat in sullen disagreement. The
grey eyes flashed as she sprang to her feet.
are wrong, he was real! Only his
courage and honour were
us how you know all this, so that we may share your vast wisdom.” George was
fast tiring of the subject and although he was struck by her choice of words,
wondering where she had learnt to construct such a sentence, he was in no frame
of mind to pursue the issue and chose instead to ridicule her. His voice was
scathing. The very tone would have stopped a lesser child in their tracks, but
if this was his intention, he failed miserably, the little girl glared at him in
defiance. Jumping to her feet once more she seemed to grow in stature and in a
voice unlike her usual lisping tones she cried.
do you know all this to be untrue? Were you there?”
course I was not there.”
“Don’t be so stupid!” George burst out laughing and the other
children joined him. He expected the little girl would sit down in confusion,
instead she drew herself up seeming again to grow in stature. She turned a
withering gaze from the laughing children to the teacher, and all, including
George, became uncomfortably subdued under that stony glare, as that strangely
mature voice echoed once more around the room.
fools teach simpletons what else can one expect?”
She turned on her heel and walked across the room, out through the door,
slamming it behind her.
with anger he rushed to the door and yanked it open intending to demand her
return, but the corridor was empty. He looked about but could find no trace of
the wayward child.
in the staffroom, he made himself a cup of tea, settled into his favourite
chair, and gazed out the window. He loved the view from this window; below lay
the green fields, where he so enjoyed walking.
One could not see the small town from this vantagepoint thus creating a
wonderful feeling of isolation. As he sat studying the view his mind returned to
the little pantomime of the morning. He
began turning the strange events over and over, trying to make some sense of it
all, he shook his head slowly, gave a rueful laugh and voiced his thoughts
yourself together George, it was just a child’s prank. Forget it!”
his surprise someone chuckled behind him and the unmistakable Irish brogue of
Father Patrick O’Malley followed.
must be pretty serious if it causes you to be talking to yourself. Will you be
needing a friendly ear to bend for a while?” The cleric proceeded to help
himself to a cup of tea, then settled comfortably into the chair opposite and
looked expectantly at George, who smiled sheepishly.
I disturbed you I didn’t realize I had company. Anyway it really was nothing,
I must be getting soft in my old age, I should know better than to worry about
the antics of a seven year old. So
like I said before, forget it!” The priest was not so easily put off; he began
probing, wheedling, and coaxing. His soft voice, usually so soothing, began to
irritate George to a point where he might loose his temper, so in desperation he
blurted out the events of the morning hoping to stem the flow of questions.
his absolute horror instead of laughing the priest became like a man possessed,
ranting and raving. Words like
exorcism, possessed of the devil, and the depths of hell, issued from his lips.
The chubby cleric was not a pleasant sight, the usually placid almost
comical figure was gone, replaced by this nasty vision with glaring eyes and
droplets of spittle foaming at the corners of his mouth like a mad dog.
God’s sake father.” George shouted in an effort to bring some normality back
to the conversation. “Listen to yourself, we are talking about a child, not
some bloody witch from the dark ages.”
might you say ‘For God’s
O’Malley’s eyes burned with indignation. “For
that is the very reason we must act against this demon. I know the child in
question; she challenged the very teaching of the church last week. I asked the
children what they thought our God was like and this abominable creature said
she did not understand my concept of God but was willing to concede there was a
supreme being who created all and ensured the smooth running of the universe.
When I tried to stop this outburst. She jumped to her feet and seemed to swell
up, expand in some way. Then glaring at me she cried out in a changed, much
older voice ‘Not everyone follows the Gallilean priest, some of us still
honour the Great Goddess and the Motherhood.’
Then she turned on her heels and swept out of the room.
When I ran out after her, like you, I found nothing. Don’t you see we
must act before she pollutes the minds of the other children?”
could see where things were heading and was not inclined to join the priest’s
Father, I am six months off retiring and I’m not about to blot my record with
a witch-hunt on a seven-year-old, in any case no name has been mentioned so it
may not be the same child.”
has to be the same child, there cannot possibly be two like that in the small
community of Bridehaven. Indeed it would be odd if there were two in the whole
of the British Isles. Think man, we have discovered such evil we must terminate
it now.” The priest was beside himself with rage. “The child, if that’s
what she is, is Morgan Sanderson.”
George was stunned, this was indeed the name of the child, however, he
made no sign of recognition and calmly studied his companion before replying.
six months I shall retire and I want my exit from this profession to be as
unheralded as was my entry some forty five years ago. I refuse to become
embroiled in this nonsense.” Father Patrick would have interrupted but George
held up his hand. “I warn you, don’t start broadcasting this, because, I
promise, I will deny everything.”
that would be a lie.” The priest screamed the words.
my friend, exactly.” George rose from his chair, crossed to the door, opened
it and with a serene smile exited the room leaving his companion to fume.
O’Malley was not one to give up without a fight and over the next few weeks he
tried hard to convince George to change his mind. But it was as if their
conversation had never taken place, George was quite blank and annoyingly
absent-minded about the whole episode.
trying to convince George still remained his top priority he tried several other
lines of attack. He called the little girl to his office and gave her a note,
addressed to her parents and suitably sealed in an official envelope to avoid
tampering, in which he outlined some of his concerns, being careful not to alarm
them. The child took the note turning it over in her hands, studying it for a
moment, and as he watched he became convinced she could read the words inside.
She looked up into his face; her eyes mocked him, her smile never quite
reaching them. Raising the note in
a gesture of salute, she turned on her heels and left him feeling very
inadequate. He was not surprised by the lack of acknowledgement from her
parents. He was sure she did not
deliver the note.
tried to phone but there was never any reply just a recorded message asking him
to leave his number so that his call might be returned, which of course it never
was. And to his utter frustration he could not even find an address. The cleric
searched long and hard, through all the school records, to no avail. It was as
if the child did not exist. The fact this was a simple clerical error did not
enter his mind, convinced, as he was that she was the Devil’s spawn. Finally
he decided the only way round his problem was to follow the child one afternoon
after school. To this end he stationed himself out of sight near the main gate,
awaiting his quarry.
children came running out, happily calling to each other as they took their
various routes home. Morgan
farewelled her classmates and was soon heading towards the town into the main
shopping area. This made it easy for him to follow but soon he became bored as
the child dawdled along the rows of brightly-lit shop windows, as children are
wont to do. He expected her to turn off toward the new town area where the lower
class housing estate was situated, but instead she turned away and continued
along the main road leading out of the town.
He hurried after her not wanting to be left behind. He cut a ridiculous
figure ducking into bushes and hiding behind trees like some comic sleuth. Still
he was sure he could accomplish his mission without too much trouble. Soon he was having second thoughts, the child continued on
the road leaving the town behind.
turned off the highway and took a path leading up into the surrounding hills,
higher and higher she climbed never once looking back. The rotund priest found
the going hard, his breath was coming in painful gasps and perspiration ran down
his face. Still higher she climbed
and he began to think she was well aware of his presence and had deliberately
chosen to lead him along this gruelling path, to punish his persistence.
as if she had read his thoughts she paused by a large boulder, turned to face
him raising her hand in acknowledgement of his presence before she disappeared
behind it. Running to the spot the
priest quickly passed the rock, but the child had gone, he could find no trace
of her anywhere. He sat down to
catch his breath and wondered what his next action should be. The answer was
only too clear. He would have to
return empty handed to the town. On
beginning the long walk home he had cause to give thanks that it was all down
hill, having to concede that he was not built for this kind of activity.
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