This is it, thought Barton in flight.”


This is the only story I have ever written that was inspired by a dream. In the dream, I was Barton, dragging my fingernails through the deep, greasy fust on the metal I-beams above the heads of the boy and the father.

Suddenly awake, buzzing with bad adrenalin, I wondered firstly why I would have a dream like that? To be someone else in a dream, and someone so different from one’s self, rattles the shakey foundations of why we believe we are who we are.

But rather than frighten myself further, I asked, “What am I supposed to do with this image? With this character?”

And so this is a story in which I put to use some of my training and experience as a psychotherapist and took the opportunity to say:

“This is what you do when a kid discloses trauma to you. You believe the kid. You love the kid. You accept the kid.”

Didactic, perhaps. But I have learned not to assume that people know what to do in response to disclosure of this kind.

I found this story frightening to write. I find this story frightening to read.

What about you?

Why, yes, Janette: you are creepy.

Naw, it’s not so bad.