Slaying the Beast.

Frantic, Sue scoured the gaunt shadows waiting for the night bus to Byron Bay.

“Jazzy! Jazzy!” She screamed, her throat constricting until she couldn’t breathe.

She’d found her daughter’s note, her scrambled handwriting running away in a river of tears. No surprise, it was only the latest chapter in her exhausting, soul-wrenching battle to reclaim her precious baby from the devil ice. Watching Jazzy turn inward, closing all her petals around her like an impenetrable shield, Sue had become a frigging smiling alien. Now, she could only pray. Be her daughter’s shadow…her guardian angel.

Feeding her baby organic, wasn’t enough.


This was a contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. This week’s photo prompt from © Shaktiki Sharma.


For readers unfamiliar with Byron Bay, it is located in Northern NSW, Australia. Known for its incredible lighthouse overlooking vast sandy beaches, it used to be a hippy haven but has long had a dark undercurrent. Many flee to Byron with serious drug, alcohol and mental health issues searching for answers or simply to run away. We have family living nearby and go up to Byron Bay at least once a year. Our kids have their climbing tree at the railway park where there are some homeless people camping out and is also a focal point for groups reaching out and giving away meals.

So much to think about…

Further reading: The Dark Side of Byron Bay

xx Rowena

12 thoughts on “Slaying the Beast.

  1. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)

    A mother can only do her best I feel… and so much happens when a kid grows up… sometimes there are just those little sidesteps, at other times there are a whole new disaster at every step. No organic food is not enough… and there are kids growing up on junk-food turning all right.

  2. Rowena Post author

    Thanks very much, Clare. I was such a purist with my kids. Breastfed only until they were 6 months old. Never had formula. When it came to switching my kids to solids, I peeled my son granny smith apples and steamed them without any sugar and wondered why he wouldn’t eat it. I am not such a health nut when it comes to my own consumption and am a dreadful chocoholic and about a year ago, my double life was revealed.
    xx Rowena

  3. Rowena Post author

    So true, Bjorn.
    I remember my Mum telling me as a teen that all she wanted was for me to be happy. However, this can be our most elusive, life-long quest…or even a distraction from finding contentment where we are.
    Both my kids react badly to artificial colours and so we’ve really had to watch their food. My daughter went to a Church thing where they had fairy bread and cordial and came home sounding like a chipmunk. It was scary.
    Obviously, being loving to your kids is so important and yet there is still that gap where things get lost in the translation, as in any relationship. Feeling loved is another story.
    My family are mostly pretty creative and a tad eccentric. Anyway, my aunt had a theatrical hand my cousin had made at the top of her Christmas tree, which I felt was turning all that Christmas OCD on it’s head and accepting and embracing difference. I loved it. Here’s a link:
    xx Ro

  4. Clare Hempstead

    I know what you mean. I was told to wean my first song on baby rice. He kept spitting it out! I pureed some proper food and he couldn’t get enough! I’m with you on the whole chocolate thing – difficult habit to break. Clare x

  5. Rowena Post author

    Clare, I did give up chocolate and much sugar for about 3 months after a false alarm with my health. Obviously, it didn’t last. I was prepared to do anything for love, but I couldn’t do that! xx Rowena

  6. Lynn Love

    I absolutely see how this story meshes with mine – they could be chapters in the same story, told from different viewpoints. Very well told – you can feel the terror coming through from mum. Nicely done

  7. Dale

    So sadly true. A mother can only do so much. When a child has chosen a path (willingly or not) such as this one, she is left pretty much helpless.

  8. Rowena Post author

    Yes, I know what you mean about McDonalds. I was among a group of locals who tried to stop it coming in here but my reasons were mainly personal. I didn’t want my kids living on the stuff and I didn’t want to be nagged out of existence either. Unfortunately, it went ahead but it hasn’t been a huge issue. It just blends into the woodwork now. I’ll head over and read your story now.
    Happy New Year…almost.
    xx Rowena

  9. subroto

    Ice is highly addictive, it’s relatively cheap and a lot of it is produced right here in Australia. We have a problem and your story brings that point across. We can only educate our kids and hope for the best.

  10. Rowena Post author

    I am also trying to give my kids that basic level of self-esteem and being loved to try to prevent them getting into drugs. I don’t know if that will be enough but I’m trying…and also keeping them busy with scouts and dancing. I am not arrogant enough to think it won’t happen to my kids.

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