This tail is told by 1 that died at birth by 1 that came into the world in days of endles war & at the moment of disaster.
He grew in isolayshon wile the enjins of destrucshon ?ew & smoke rose over the sitys & wile wilderness & waste crept all acros the world.
He grew up with the birds & mise as frends.
He wos a secrit shy & thick & tungtied emptyheded thing.
He wos tort to read & rite & spel by his tenda littl muther & by Mr McCaufrey the butcha & by Missus Malone and her gosts.
So he is not cleva so plees forgiv his folts & his mistayks.
Mebbe you alredy no him. Mebbe you came to Blinkbonny & to Missus Malones door & into the parlor wer he told you of all the spirits that wer still arownd you and that stil lovd you even tho you thort they wer gon.
Mebbe he roamd the afterlyf for you & sang for you & dansd for you & became the thing you thort youd lost the thing you lovd so much.
Mebbe you came in serch of healing & he tuchd you jentl jentl & askd you wer the pane wos & drew that pane owt from you & you wer heald.
Mebbe you even stood ther & watchd wile he tryd to heal the ded.
Bak in those days he wos the Aynjel Childe.
He wos the worker of majic & miracls the speaker in tungs & the yellerowt of drivel & bollox & nonsens.
Those days ar long gone. The ded ar gone. God & his aynjels & sayntes are gone.
The Aynjel Childes no mor.
The Aynjel Childe has dun the deeds of monsters.
Wether you no him or not he has been here always.
He cud be just a thing of dreem & nitemare a thing that prowls within you at the ded of nite & glares into yor hart & prowls inside yor deepest dreems.
Whatever he is it is tym to tell the tail.
Mebbe it is not for you. Mebbe you do not want these words to be ritten into you. Mebbe you do not want them to enter yor blud & boans & to infect yor dremes.
Turn away if you must.
Or read on if you wish. Try to desifer the words. Or lissen. Or do watever els you do to allow these words to enter you.
I am Billy Dean. This is the truth. This is my tail.
The Hart of Everything
The Start of It
I am told I wil lern how to rite the tale by riting it. 1 word then anotha 1 word then anotha. Just let the pensil wark. Let it move like footsteps throu the dust & leev its marks behind. Let it leev its marks just like birds & beests leav ther misteryous footprints in mud.
Just fill the pajes.
A word a mark a word a mark.
What do I hav to begin with?
Things like this hand of Jesus.
Thees fethers from an aynjels wing.
This dryd out skin of long ded mows.
This purpl scarf with blak frinjes on it.
I tuch them & sniff them & stare deep into them & O what stories start to rise. What memries feelins thorts & horras loves & dremes. They churn together like tormented water. How to get them into orda how to get them maykin sens?
I have these pajes. I hav this pensil.
I hav this nife that sharpens the pensil that tells the tale that leeds to the nife & to the act that had mebbe always been intended.
No. Dont think of that not yet.
Sharpen the pensil & go to the start & wate for the word.
Wot is the word that is at the start of it?
Dont pawse. Rite it.
Darkness with a boy in it.
A Littl Memry
Im very small. Im wyd awayk. Im staring up into the sqare of niyt. Thers dozens of stars even in that smarl spays. They glitta & they even seme to dans.
Thers a clik & a clak & a shaft of lite farls ova me. Thers the sownd of footsteps. A dark shado stands abuv me.
Hands reech under me & lift me qwikly up.
I see his eyes glitterin lyk 2 massiv nereby stars.
1 of his hands suports my bum. 1 hand raps arownd my bak & holds me cloas to him. I fele the cloth of his blak jaket the stubbl of his blak hare the smooth skin of his throte. Im held so cloas agenst him. And O the sents of him. O the feel of his breathin agenst my body & his breth agenst my skin.
My son, he siys. O my dere son.
And his body vibrayts & eckos with the words & so dos mine.
My son. My dere son.
And he sways with me in his arms almost lyk hes dansin with the stars.
A Littl Boy
This tym its her tuch that draws me back. I feel her fingers & her thums on me. They hold my hed & tilt it. They stroke my hare & lift it to feel the lenth of it & then the cowm moovs throu it & I feel the teeth of the cowm agenst my scalp. I here the sownd of the sissors snipping snip snip. And her voys sings in my ere & her breth is on my skin. And the cuttas sweep up from the bak of my nek towards my hed & they sweep ova my templs. Then I feel the fingers rubbin the brilcreem onto me & I smel the smel of that. And then she finishes her cowmin and she laffs & stroaks my cheke & she says how lucky she is to hav such a lad.
Now the vishon cums & I see the woman & the boy befor me in the littl room. Much tym has passd sins he wos the bayby on the bed. Hes a littl boy. Hes sittin by the tabl on a chare & shes behynd him & the sunlites shinin down on them from the sqare abuv. Shes taking a towel from his sholders now & tippin the snippdoff hare into the toylet & flushing it away.
He smiles & runs his fingers across the new sharp luvly stubbl on his templs & his nek.
Thatll do she tels him. Billys bak to bonnynes agen.
She kisses his cheke. She smyls. But look cloasly. Her eyes ar tyrd. She sags a bit. Tyms alredy started takin its toll on her.
He sees a mows runnin along the bottom of the warl. Then anotha. He poynts he wayvs he sqweeks he laffs.
Mows! he crys. Mows! Eek eek! Eek eek!
She laffs as well. She says she wishes she cud do sumthing abowt them. But wots to do? Blinkbonnys riddld with them. And it cud be wors. It cud be rats. Dont encuraj them Billy.
The True Tale of The Monster Billy Dean. Copyright © 2011 by David Almond. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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