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There were eight blueberry bushes down near the creek, among the horsetails and spongy grass. There were morning glory flowers that grew on the fence, and tea parties with fairies among the gardens and secret places, and juicy blueberries and meaty hazelnuts to fill my mouth.

I visit there often in my dreams, walking those paths I trod as a child–Among the herb gardens, up in my apple tree in spring, bare feet clinging to the doghouse roof as I reached for hazelnuts.

Where has that past gone?

I wish I could say you have stolen it from me. Some hold with the truth that the more stories you tell, the more of your soul you give away. My stories feel sullied–because of you.

I gave, and you shredded them.

There were moths in the tall grass plots that used to be gardens, and I’d stir them up in summer as I walked through them. There were bonfires, and the sweet smell of freshly cut grass, and that of wood smoke. There were imaginary games–and where has the time gone?

I am so different, so very different. You sparked this, and destroyed it, all in one wave of your hand. And I will never forget. I will write, and never forget. This will always be my soul, and never yours.

Nightmares, flee.

There was a secret attic room, its door looking to be merely a door to a linen closet. There was a gap in the stair to the basement where the Borrowers lived. There was my room, full of sunlight and childhood fantasies. I shall never forget them. I was young enough then that the darkness had little control over my life. Sheltered–yes. Sheltered and happy. A child. In a safe and happy place. My home.

Flee. You are a curse and never were anything else. Flee.

And I shall shout out after you–this is my soul. Not yours. These are my stories. Not yours.

My soul is my own. Flee.