The Space under the Stairs.


Larry, Sylvie’s second husband and my ‘step-father’ was a bully, he liked to be in control and could use his physical size to get his own way, as well as psychologically terrifying me.

Under the stairs in the house was small cellar type space that went down some stone steps to a small, thin room. At the end of this area was a hole in the wall that went only a small way under the house. This space was used to store food cans and other bits and bobs and it was cold and dark. There was a light in there but the switch was on the outside of the door.

A punishment Larry frequently used was to shove me in there, kicking and screaming, lock the door and switch off the light. It was probably the punishment I dreaded the most and I would much rather have endured a physical beating than be placed in that dark, cold room, with a gaping black hole from which I was convinced that all sorts of monsters and ghosts would emerge and tear me limb from limb.

No matter how many times it happened it was a fear I was never able to conquer and I would sob, weep and scream to be let out but to no avail. When eventually I would be freed, often after several hours, I would be reminded “That’s what you get when you think you can do what you like, you stupid bleeding Yank!”


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