My name is Beatrice Clay.
Part of me died during the first world war. Most of the rest died during the second.
This is the story of that life.
It is not the life I would have chosen, but it is the life my choices made for me.
I lived most of it in a cottage by the sea. I told myself I was its prisoner because it was easier to believe the sea isolated me from the world rather than the husband who took my fear, weakness, and love and made chains from them to bind me to him for his own dark purpose.
I told myself the things I almost saw out of the corner of my eye could not be real, that the night’s malevolent whispers were just my own sorrows and insecurities giving voice to the sea, the wind and the creaks and sighs of an old, salt-scoured house.
Our home was not haunted. No monster stalked the shadows. No phantoms taunted me.
I convinced myself my children were safe. They were happy here, and I could endure anything, even my husband’s strangeness and cruelties, for them. Because they were all I had, and I could not leave the prison my husband made for us.
It was far better to question my sanity than to believe they were in danger from things that could not be real.
Even after something took my baby from me…