A digital short story from author and foster carer Maggie Hartley. Also contains a sneak peek chapter from Maggie’s highly anticipated debut memoir, TINY PRISONERS.
Brothers Ben and Damien are shockingly quiet when they arrive on Maggie’s doorstep. They don’t shout or play like normal three and four year olds. They hardly dare make a sound, so much have they been conditioned to be ‘seen and not heard’ by their mother and controlling stepfather.
More disturbingly, their little baby half-brother Noah is completely unresponsive. He doesn’t play, he doesn’t smile, he doesn’t crawl – he doesn’t even cry. In a state of blankness brought about by emotional neglect, poor baby Noah is disconnected from the world. Maggie has never seen such a young life so affected before.
Yet with time, love and care, Maggie gradually unpicks what has caused this terrible void. She teaches the children to play and laugh and to not be afraid to make noise. We see Ben, Damien and Noah take steps towards a positive future and their journey reaches a happy conclusion when they are adopted by a loving family. With love and affection, they are no longer scared to be themselves. They are free to make their voices heard.