There has to be Dragons

I have taken a carving knife from the kitchen. I will take it to bed with me. It’s my twelfth birthday tomorrow; I think that I will give myself an early birthday present. After Mummy died, I was so lonely. I missed her cuddles and kisses. I wanted them from Daddy instead, but he wouldn’t give them to me. When I was eleven everything changed.

In my dreams, I escape to a place where I am free. It is a beautiful place, with trees and flowers. A big, lazy river flows through a forest. I sit on the bank and eat scones with jam and cream. There are elves there, who look after me. There has to be dragons too.

The first time he came into my bed, I thought he was going to give me a cuddle. He said that he missed Mummy very much too. I was shocked when he touched me and made me touch him. That night the first dragon attacked the elves, but they fought it off and I was safe. The next time he came, he made me do other things. Afterwards, I scrubbed my mouth to try to remove the taste. The scones didn’t taste so good anymore. The first time he violated me, he held my face down in my pillow so that my screams could not be heard. When I finally slept, that night, the dragons attacked the elves and I was badly burned. The elves looked after me and saved me. I didn’t go to school the next day. I tried to sleep all day to escape from the pain.

Every night, I pray that Grandma will be here. She loves me. I would like to tell her about the elves, but I don’t know if she would believe in them. Sometimes, she sleeps in the spare room. On those nights, I know that I’m safe. On those nights, the moon is full and the elves dance and sing. I dance with them.

When I say goodnight to Daddy, I can see it in his eyes. I know that he will be coming. I beg God not to let him come, but it does no good. I hear the creak of the stairs and his footsteps in the hallway, and I freeze in fear. The door squeaks as he gently opens it and I stifle a sob. The latch clicks, as he closes the door, like the final nail going into my coffin. I cower under the covers, huddled in a ball, as he slowly undresses. My eyes are closed, like they are stuck with super glue. I try to visualise the elves, but they desert me. He slides into bed beside me. I hate his huge hairy body as it engulfs me. His body odour makes me want to vomit. His hands are rough and calloused and they hurt me. His body is hot and clammy and it repulses me. He is scaly and his breath smells of sulphur. He devours me.

My schoolwork has suffered. I can’t concentrate in class. My old friends don’t want to play with me anymore. They say that I’ve changed, that I’m no fun. I try to tell them about the dragons, but they think that I’m crazy. Now they call me George III.

I read somewhere that sleep is the last refuge of the desperate man. When sleep eludes you, or your dreams turn to nightmares, there is nowhere left to run. I haven’t been able to sleep properly now for weeks, even when Grandma is here. My dreams have turned to nightmares. The dragons have killed all of the elves. The forest has been burned. The river runs red with their blood.

I know that he is coming tonight. I saw that glint in his eyes, when I said goodnight. It made me shiver with fear. I hate him. I cannot face it anymore. I have taken a carving knife from the kitchen. He will get a surprise when he slides into my bed tonight. I’m sorry that the elves had to die. They tried to save me, but the dragons were too strong.

The epitaph on his headstone reads, ‘Here lies George Saint, aged twelve years, taken by a demon. They got it wrong; he was taken by a dragon. The elves are long gone from this world. Daddy, however, continues to roam free.