Today, I Reveal “Broken” the first chapter


This book has been a long time coming, it has taken me quite a few years to write. It has been picked up and put down, more times than I can remember. It is about a subject close to my heart, child abuse and it is told from a very different angle, than most books in this genre. It is gritty, raw and hard-hitting and there is some swearing with in the book, where the narrative calls for it. Here, is a brief synopsis of the book.

"Broken" by Athena Brady

This is Susan’s true story told anonymously, of her journey from despair to healing. Susan begins to experience a feeling that leads to childhood memories of sexual abuse in middle age. Memories she has no recollection of, that begin to haunt her in the present. She embarks on a journey of discovery, which challenges everything she thought about her life previously. There are times she thinks her dark night of the soul will destroy her and all her closest relationships. Once she has opened Pandora’s Box, it cannot be closed until she has come full circle. This book is a gripping, tense and sad narrative that you will not be able to put down, until you have finished it. A must read for those who dare to explore the grey and darker areas of life.

I wrote this book to highlight child abuse and the effects upon the people who endure it. A proportion of the royalties of the book will be going to “Seren” a child abuse charity that is vastly underfunded and provides much-needed counselling to survivors. Please take the time let me know your thoughts, good or bad by leaving a comment.

                                                                                     Chapter One

Wales October 15th 2007

It was a cold October morning, one of those days when people don’t feel like getting up. Susan’s bed was warm, comfy but she had to go to work.  Reluctantly, she climbed out of bed, went into the bathroom and put on the shower. She dressed, ate breakfast and went out to defrost her car.

She felt frail, shaky, vulnerable, and fragile, like she was at the start of a virus or cold. Normally she enjoyed her drive to work and it reminded her how lucky she was, to live in the countryside.

She lived in a very beautiful and picturesque part of Wales, near Aberaeron with its sweeping landscape, that leads majestically to the sea. She particularly loved the view just at the top of the hill, as she was coming out of the small village of Llanon. On a clear day she could see for miles and Susan often took her packed lunch to this spot, to relax and drink in the scenery. Today however, she was unable to appreciate its beauty. As a heavy sense of foreboding was hanging over her, like clouds, on a once perfect horizon. She felt vulnerable and she had no idea why and it scared her. Susan arrived at work twenty minutes later, got out of the car and approached the entrance.

Struggling to remember the code to gain admission, her colleague arrived behind her and punched the number in. Susan’s hands were shaking and she felt trembling inside, which caused her to drop the things she was carrying. She made a joke with her colleague.

The fifteenth of October two thousand and seven was a day that Susan would never forget; it would be etched in her mind forever. As it was the day, the feeling came. It arrived out of nowhere, without any rhyme reason or warning. Suddenly, making Susan feel self-conscious, not good enough, inferior,  thinking all eyes were upon her; watching her, waiting for her to fail, but fail at what? None of it made the slightest bit of sense but that was how she felt.

Suddenly, Susan looked round the familiar office she had worked in for the past three years and saw it through different eyes. She saw contempt in the eyes of her colleagues and wondered why, suddenly, no one liked her. She knew her thoughts were bizarre, to say the least; every look, every sentence only went to confirm these thoughts in her mind.

Susan’s day dragged relentlessly on, as Susan frantically watched the clock willing it to be five pm. To Susan, that this one work day had felt like two.  She was finding it harder and harder to hold back the tears, threatening to fall. Trembling and she feeling she couldn’t hold on much longer, before the floodgates of her emotions consumed her.

Often when we desperately want to go somewhere, everything seems to conspire against us? The phone rings, or someone asks you a question on your way out; and the short walk to the door a few yards away, can seem like a mile.

Sometimes a feeling or event that comes out of nowhere, can be the trigger to a catalyst of events that become life changing. This was how it was with Susan, who woke on this day a much different person, than the one she has gone to sleep as yesterday. It felt she was coming down with a virus or a cold. Normally, when we feel like, there is a significant event like a sore throat or a fever but Susan it was simply, a feeling.

Similar to, the beginnings of a depression, Susan lost her usual confidence and happy go lucky nature. Yet, no significant event had taken place that had upset her. The feeling just came and it stayed there. As though it was waiting silently, for her to acknowledge its presence. When she did, it escalated intensely until she had no sense of self-worth left at all. Just an overwhelming all-consuming, sense of deep sadness within, that refused to leave her.

Imagine if you can, if you felt you had no one in the world that cared about you. No one you could take into your confidence, how alone, would you feel? How hopeless, how lost? If you were unable share your distress with anyone, because, you did not trust the people around you, who you had trusted the day before.

Susan had no clue, why suddenly she didn’t trust anyone, or even her own instincts and her world, suddenly, became a very scary place.  Shewas beginning to experience the terror within herself. Where did it come from? And how could she make it go away? Thoughts unexpressed, or not rationalised with others, become more powerful and can quickly grow out of all proportion; but sometimes they are necessary evil in the journey to self-awareness and recovery.

The length of our journey through life depends upon our own commitment, to its completion. We either walk into the darkness and terror willingly, with bravery, hope and as much faith as we can muster; or can be  dragged into it with no control. Susan was being taken somewhere, against her will, by something inside of herself.

Present Day

Years later, Susan realised it was the hidden part of her, that guided her through the terror and darkness within her. That her higher-self had kicked in, because of her extreme distress. Not unlike, when a distraught mother lifts the car from her trapped child without even thinking about it. As it’s a reflex reaction to save her child. She just reaches within herself and finds the strength. Looking back years after the day that everything changed, Susan knew without doubt, that there are parts of ourselves we have little knowledge of unless we have urgent need of them; and that they hide even from us, until we have no other choice but to call upon them. Susan followed the feeling she experienced that day and it led her, to the events connected to it.

She supposed now, as she looked back years after the event of that day; that this was how the soul and brain worked together collectively. To store our memories, until we are ready to look at them in the light of reality and see them through the eyes of truth. She was more aware after her journey, of the fragile tapestry of fantasy that we all weave. To protect ourselves from the things that may destroy us, if we dare to acknowledge them.

She sifted through the evidence, taking nothing for granted, assessing all the key characters in the play that was, her life. She looked at the facts with fresh eyes; untainted by what she previously thought, or was told, had happened; and when this examination was spent, she realised that most of her life had been a carefully constructed story that had no resemblance, to what she had, believed it to be.

The experts will tell us, that a breakdown is when everything we believe in is challenged.  Which then leads onto us struggling to know who we are anymore? This was how Susan felt when the feeling appeared out of the blue and she decided then, that she had two choices.  Either to fall aimlessly into an abyss of depression and mourning for the person she felt she thought she was before the feeling arrived; or reinvent herself; as she would like to be and step into her future with fresh eyes and a bold spirit.

Susan’s journey, took her deep inside the darkest parts of her mind, where many people never travel to. There were times, she felt that she would never recover from the horrors she discovered there. Susan’s dark night of the soul nearly destroyed her. As Susan made the connection that the feeling, she first experienced, was the first clue, she began to move forward. That clue led her to another clue and another, until eventually she completed the jigsaw and at last, the process of healing could finally begin. What follows is Susan’s story, of despair, loneliness and depression, which led her towards acceptance and a place where finally, the healing could begin.

Well that is it for this week, over the next couple of weeks I will be posting chapters two and three. Please take the time to leave a comment good or bad as without readers, a writer is nothing.

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3 Comments

  1. Reblogged this on ARON JOICE and commented:
    I have been lucky to have a sneak peek at forthcoming chapters. This book is compelling and shakes one’s inner core.

  2. This chapter is really good at getting us into the head of your character. I’m wondering if maybe you could have added some hints as to what the cause of her problem is. Maybe some foreshadowing.

    • Thanks Broadblogs, for taking the time out of your busy day to leave a comment. The reason I have started here, is because at this time, the character does not know what the problem is. When she does discover what it is about, it leads her on a journey of discovery to other issues in her life. If you read the synopsis, which is above, it gives you a broader view of what is going on. The book depicts the journey, which takes some amazing twists and turns. I will be publishing chapter 2 soon, I do hope you come back. It is great to get honest feedback.

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