Copyright © June 2013 Owen Jones Author
Copyright © August 27th, 2013 Owen Jones Author
Al rights reserved.
Megan Publishing Services Edition
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The right of Owen Jones to be identified as the author of
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In this work of fiction, the characters, places and events
are either the product of the author’s imagination or they
are used entirely fictitiously.
Books in this series:
Megan’s School Trip
Novels by Owen Jones:
Behind The Smile: Daddy's Hobby
Behind The Smile: An Exciting Future
Behind The Smile: Maya – Il usion
How to Give Your Dog a Real Dog's Life
(and make him love you for it)
Authorship – Publishing You book On You Own
The Eternal Plan – Revealed
(written by Colin Jones, compiled by Owen Jones)
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and contact me here if you have any comments or would just like
to say hel o, I'd be pleased to hear from you:
This story is dedicated to my parents Colin and Marion for the
wonderful upbringing they gave to me and my brothers.
1 Hobson's Choice
2 Rising Awareness
3 Mother's Little Helper
5 The Neighbours
6 Megan's Friends
About The Author
To my wife, my friend David Prosser and Rachel Maduro for
helping with the cover design.
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1 Hobson's Choice
Megan was locked in the coal cel ar again on the verge of
tears. She was only twelve and she could not understand why her
mother would do such an awful thing to her. It had happened half-
a-dozen times before, but like as not, she thought, her father didn't
know anything about it. She had never told him and she was sure
that her mother would never have said anything either.
There was an unspoken pact between her and her mother
not to let each other down, but here she was again, sitting in the
cel ar, in the dirt and dust with who-knew-what horrible creatures
eying her up.
She didn't know. It was pitch black and it took al her
strength to keep herself from crying and begging her mother to let
her out. But she had tried that on other occasions and her mother
had put unreasonable demands on her as conditions for her
release. Conditions that she knew she could not fulfil , try as hard
as she might like to.
Sometimes, it seemed that she was the only one who took
the pact seriously.
Despite herself, tears began to rol down her cheeks again,
making invisible river beds through the dust on her face, washing
coal dust onto her school uniform. It was too much, it real y was.
How could someone who understood her so well, behave so
cruel y towards her only daughter?
Megan jumped involuntarily as her mother willful y hit the
door with the vacuum cleaner as she passed by. There was not
even the slightest sliver of light from which to draw comfort, so she
did what she had found helped her the most and scrambled up the
coal heap to the wal and then to her right until she found the
There, she wrapped her long skirt around her legs to stop
anything creeping up under her clothes and tucked it underneath
her. She did up al the buttons on her blouse, pul ed her socks up,
pul ed her sweater over her head and retracted her hands inside
her sleeves. This, Megan knew was as safe as it got from
whatever lived in the coal cel ar.She was not worried about ghosts
and things like that, although that was the problem real y, but she
did not like insects crawling over her and could not bear the
thought of being bitten and having her blood sucked out. She
hated spiders too, but wrapped in the cocoon of her school
uniform, she knew that there were at most a few inches of skin
above her socks that the creepy-crawlies could get to. A few
square inches to the sides to be precise, because her arms
hugged her calves tight to her thighs.
She wished she could stop sobbing. Even just for a while,
but she knew that she would eventual y as she waited to be
released. She knew when that would be too – at about four-thirty,
giving her half an hour to get cleaned up before her father came
home from work.
Megan understood why her mother was doing this. It was
because she was afraid and Megan wasn't. Her mother was
frightened for her daughter and so wanted to make her frightened
like she was. The problem was that Megan was not frightened and
could see nothing to be frightened about. She had tried to explain
it a hundred times to her mother, but she just shut her up either
figuratively or literal y like now.
Her parents were both Catholic, but her mother was a very
strict Catholic and her father somewhat less so. He mother was
frightened about the afterlife, so she said, but not for herself, since
she considered herself to be a good Catholic and was convinced
that her place in Heaven was already assured, so long as she
continued to do her duty. The problem, as far as Megan was
concerned, was that her mother thought that part of her duty was
to lock her daughter in the coal cel ar, which was why she was
Her father was also a practicing Catholic, but was not as
strict as her mother. He believed that if people wanted to risk
eternal damnation, then that was up to them. He cared about his
own soul and those of the ones he loved, but he believed in an
amount of free choice, even for little girls.
Megan loved both her parents despite what her mother did
to her, because, although she was only young, she realised that
her mother had her best interests at heart. She even tried to love
them both equal y, but the problem, in Megan's opinion, was that
her mother had either not had good Teachers or had been too
frightened to believe her own eyes. Or ears, or senses.
She wasn't quite sure what they were, she just knew that
she had them and so did others, but that her mother did not admit
to them and so her mother did not want to believe that others had
them either. 'After al ', her mother had told her, 'I am thirty-four and
you are only twelve. I studied at a Catholic school, whereas you
just go to the interdenominational comprehensive school'.
Her mother had apparently not had any issues with the
comprehensive schooling system, but she had spat out the word
'interdenominational'. Megan had never understood the problem.
She had met both good and bad, clever and not so and aware and
not so from most religions.
Her mother fel into the good at heart, clever and quite
Her father was good, clever and fairly aware.
Megan judged herself to be good, reasonably clever and
That was her problem. That was why she was huddled in
the corner of a jet-black coal hole with al sorts of things probably
crawling al over her right at this very second. She shuddered at
the thought, but the snivel ing had stopped now as she had known
that it eventual y would.
She knew that she she had two options.