TITLE: The Merrie Meghan
GENRE: Young Adult Fiction
I was born in the smoky slums of Derry, Nor' Ireland. My folks were lost to me early, which can tend to harden a lad, I guess. I was told I was unfit to live with my aunty, so they sent me off to an English boarding school where I played whipping boy to the headmaster. If I didn't eat, he beat me. When I barely could read, he beat me. When I fumbled my numbers, he beat me. When I ran away from the beatings they came and got me, and he beat me some more.
At first I accepted the beatings as my failure to conform, but nothing served to appease the man. The more harsh the treatment became the more I dreamt of my parents: My father, the proud Irish patriot who openly preached of freedom; my mother, the softly spoken persuader who matched his ardor with forethought and reason.
I would hear my pa calling out to me through the ringing in my ears, and envisioned his brave and sturdy form through the haze that clouded my eyes. I felt my mother's gentle hands deeply caressing my bruises and sores, her voice like a lullaby, peaceful and warm, encouraging me to be strong. Their message to me was unmistakable: "Run, my child, you must get away!"