A Realistic Fiction For Anyone Over 10
‘I flinch. I know she’s not going to hit me, we’ve got in arguments a hundred times before and she’s raised her hand – she’s never hit me in the face. But I flinch anyway.’
I put that because whenever you pick up a book at the shop there’s always a quote on the back, and because I’m trying to put off writing the blurb. I don’t know what to put.
This is just a book about me, Iris, and the things that I do, the friends I make, well, try to make, and everything else that happens to me – good, bad and, uh, very bad.
That sounds really boring but I promise, it’s much more extraordinary. I might seem normal, (well, not normal, a bit weird really), little Iris, but there’s so much more to it than that, more than most people can even begin to understand.
Iris is available to pre-order now!:
Hard copies will also be available Nook link coming soon – watch this space!
Exciting pre-order aside, a big part of why I wrote Iris was to raise money and awareness for the NSPCC, a lot of the things that happen to Iris come from real people – Iris may be fictional but her experiences certainly aren’t. 25% of everything I take from Iris’ publication is going to them.
So if you think that’s a great cause to give money to (even if you’re not much of a reader and probably won’t pick up this book) and you can appreciate how much work Anja and I have put into making this book what it is you can still donate through our Just Giving Page:
I’m absolutely thrilled with how this project has turned out, we have some beautiful illustrations from Anja Uhren (if you like them, you can find her here: anjauhren.com), but I want to get you as excited as I am, so here’s an extract:
“Iris,” I snap to attention as Lotus’s Mum shuts off the radio, but even though she said my name she kind of opens her mouth and shuts it again, like she’s about to say something bad.
“I am allowed back to your house right?” I blurt. I know it’s rude to interrupt. But I can’t hold it in when she’s looking so grim. It’s exactly what I’m expecting.
“Of course. You’re always welcome. I just feel like I have to ask you about, well, about your wrist Iris.”
I look at it, even in the dim light from the passing street lamps you can see it’s still a dark colour, patchy and horrible. I put my other hand over it, even though I know Lotus’s Mum’s already seen it.
“And it’s not just your wrist, is it? I saw your hip.” I can feel her trying to catch my eye, but I don’t look at her. I don’t know what to say. What is she thinking? Does she know how it happened? I couldn’t bare if she thought for a second that the bruises were anything but an accident. Mum has to handle me roughly sometimes when I’m being difficult, I know, but my wrist doesn’t even hurt, and it would kill Mum if she thought someone thought she was – urgh, I can’t even think about it
“Is it always such rough and tumble at school? It’s just Lotus was talking about this girl. What was her name? Marinna I think. But I don’t know she just sounded quite bad. That bruise wasn’t her fault was it?”
I’m so relieved, “Well you know how things can get,” I shrug, it is just a little bruise after all, what does it matter where Lotus’s Mum thinks it came from? “Just a silly push, no big deal.”
Lotus’s Mum shrugs, “If you say so. It’s just Lotus is so new…” she stops herself, “But I know you’ll look out for her.”
I nod so hard it feels like my heads going to fall off. I hope she tells Lotus I feel that way. I could never tell Lotus myself because I’d feel ridiculous and dramatic. But at the same time, I’d like it if she knew.
Lotus’s Mum seems satisfied because she chats to me all the way home, about stuff that I thought she’d think stupid as well. Stuff about mine and Lotus’s plans. Really, she even knew everything about the house Lotus and I made up, she even gave me new room suggestions like it wasn’t some silly game.
I have to say, I like Lotus’s Mum a lot. The only sticky moment comes is when we get home and she peers around for a car.
“Is there someone home Iris?”
“Of course.” I say, even though I’m not sure because Mum’s car isn’t there and the annexe light is off.
“Well I’d best walk you in.”
“No.” I say, a lot quicker than I mean to, “It’s just its late. Waltz is probably asleep; I’m going to sneak in the back way so I don’t wake him up.”
Lotus’s Mum bites her lip, and for a second I think she’s going to insist on marching me to the door. But her voice isn’t harsh or anything, instead she puts her hand on mine. Not in a grabby hard way, she just kind of holds it, and I can feel her looking at me.
“Are you sure Iris?” she asks gently.
I feel like she wants me to say something. I just don’t know what.
“Yeah, it’s hard to get Waltz into bed when he starts whining, especially when Mum is late, he has this weird thing about her putting him to bed. You know what little kids are like.” I can see Lotus’s mum nodding slowly out the corner of my eye.
“Are you sure this bruise.” She taps my wrist lightly and I try not to wince, “Is just from some silly pushing incident.”
“Of course,” I insist, my heart back in my throat, after all, it was a silly falling over incident, “What else could it be from?”
Even in the dark I can see Lotus’s mum’s cheeks have coloured a bit, “My, um, I just don’t know.” She lets go of my hand then and I quickly undo my seat belt and slip out the car.
“Bye, thank you for such a great time and the pizza. See you soon.” I say quickly, then I slam the door on her and make a dash for the back garden gate.
I reach it, slip through and then crouch behind until I hear her engine rev up and the gravel crunch as she drives away.
I have a panic when I try to get in the kitchen door and realize it’s locked. Luckily when I go back to the front I find that door is open. The house is completely dark. I flip on the light, feeling like a silly shaking kid because I keep imagining people looming out of the shadows from under the stairs even after the light is on.
On the one hand I want to run to every room in the house and check they really are empty. On the other hand, I want to stay and watch the door.
In the end I just settle for galloping up to Waltz room as quietly as possible, checking his head is tufting out the top of his duvet. Then I rush back out and sit next to his door, with my back to the wall, watching the front door from the upstairs landing, and wondering when Mum’s going to come back.
I really wish I knew if Dad was in the house. I keep hearing creaking coming from his workshop, and I’m sure it’s him, but not as sure as I want to be.
I’m already really tired. I’ve had a few late nights in a row. I keep pinching myself when I feel my eyes drooping. I keep my eyes open, just, but I can’t help but lie down, my body’s so tired, it just wants to rest. But that just makes my sleepy eyes worse and the next thing I know I’m being stepped on.
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