Shade’s Champion

by Cheryl Headford

Shade's Champion - Cheryl Headford
Editions:Kindle: £ 3.67
ISBN: 978-1487413774
Pages: 291

Sixteen-year-old Shade has spent years imprisoned in a dark cellar after being snatched as a young child. Events since his release have left him traumatized and desperate to die.

Dory is a lively and engaging seventeen-year-old with mental health issues that make him a slave to his dangerously uncontrollable emotions.

When Shade comes to Eastbrook secure children’s home because no place else wants him, the manager appoints Dory, for better or worse, to be his champion, an appointment Dory takes very seriously indeed.
As friendship turns into something else, something new and exciting, they struggle to find their feet as every step leads to more complications.

When a spiteful act separates them, it seems their love is doomed before it even has a chance. Then Dory falls ill and it’s up to Shade to take up the standard and be his champion, although it might already be too late.

Excerpt:

“Dorien....” Richard was looking at him in such a strange way it made his stomach feel tight. It was never good when they called him by his full name.

“What have I done?”

“Oh, nothing, nothing. Penny trusts you, Dory, and I’m not saying I don’t but... Shade’s got a lot of problems, serious ones. He’s very confused right now and it would be easy for there to be... misunderstandings.”

“It’s okay, Rich, I know the score. I promise I won’t make a move on him. I’m not that bad. I can control myself, you know.”

“I know that, Dory but.... Dammit, I’m not supposed to tell you this but I really think you should know. Shade tried to kill himself, and he still wants to.”

“Oh.” Dorien put a hand over his mouth and suddenly felt breathless. “Do you think he might... might... try?”

READ MORE

“Yes, I do. We’re taking every precaution we possibly can, but we really do need someone to watch him all the time. There should always be a member of staff very close by, but no one can watch him every minute.”

“I can. I will. Penny said there was no responsibility, but I can do it. I can take responsibility, Rich. I didn’t think I could, but I can. I can’t go through all my life being taken care of and protected. I have to face reality sometime, and I guess this is it. I’ll be Shade’s champion, and I’ll take care of him, I promise. I won’t let him hurt himself, and I won’t let anyone else hurt him either.”

Rich looked stunned, and Dorien didn’t blame him. He was quite stunned himself. He hadn’t meant to say those things, they’d just come out.

“No one is expecting you to take responsibility, Dory. Just keep an eye on him, okay?”

“Okay.”

“Off you go then. Max is waiting for you.”

Dorien raced through the house toward the boys’ bedrooms, his heart thumping. No matter what Rich said, he knew this was a huge responsibility. He had someone’s life in his hands. Jesus. Suddenly, he froze and panicked. Backing against the wall, he closed his eyes and gasped for breath. He couldn’t do this. There was no way he could do this. He was Dorien, the screw up, the freak, the nutjob. He couldn’t be trusted with his own life let alone someone else’s.

Waves of panic washed over him, and he desperately worked through the exercises his psychiatrist had given him for controlling his emotions in cases like this when they threatened to get completely out of control.

COLLAPSE

About the Author

Cheryl/Nephy was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.

Cheryl/Nephy has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews and cousin and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play.

Later in life, Cheryl/Nephy became the storyteller for a re enactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.

It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.

In present times, Cheryl/Nephy lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son, dog, bearded dragon and three cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close. She’s never been happier since she was made redundant and is able to devote herself entirely to her twin loves of writing and art, with a healthy smattering of magic and mayhem


Leave a Comment