Author Name: Cheryl Headford
Book Length 214 Pages
Book Name: Shade’s Champion
Release Date: 15th September 2017
Publisher: Extacy Books: Devine Destinies
Sixteen-year-old Shade has spent years imprisoned in a dark cellar after being snatched off the street as a young child. Events since his release have left him traumatised and desperate to die.
Dory is a lively and engaging seventeen-year-old with mental health issues that make him a slave to his dangerously uncontrollable emotions.
When Shade comes to the secure children’s home, Eastbrook; because no one else wants him, the manager appoints Dory as his champion, an appointment Dory takes very seriously indeed.
As friendship turns into something else, something new and exciting, they struggle to find their feet, but every step leads to more complication.
When a spiteful act separates them, it seems their love is doomed before it ever had a chance, but when Dory falls ill, it’s up to Shade to pick up the standard and become his champion, although it might already be too late.
“You can’t be serious. No. It’s out of the question.”
“Penny, you’re our last option. The hospital won’t keep him any longer. They can’t. His own family doesn’t want him, and no foster family will take him. He can’t go to a children’s home because he’s such a high risk. Frankly, I have no idea what to do with him.”
“But this is a secure unit, and that kid’s done nothing wrong to anyone but himself. Do you have any idea what kind of kids we have here? We can’t watch him all the time, and half the little bastards would be queuing up to hand him the razor blades.”
“What else can we do? He’s stable enough for the hospital to discharge him, but he can’t live alone, and no one else wants him. We’re out of options.”
“Don’t get me wrong, I feel for the kid. He’s in an impossible situation, but we’re just not set up to handle someone like him. Are you sure he wouldn’t be better in a care home or psychiatric unit?”
“Honestly? I believe that’s where he’s likely to end up, but the kid’s sixteen and has been through the most horrific experience. He deserves a chance.”
“And you think he’s going to get it here?”
Penelope Creedy, Penny to her friends, struggled and failed to keep the incredulity out of her voice. It was evident the social worker was new; she hadn’t had the idealistic desire to help everyone beaten out of her by the system.
“No, no I don’t. Not really,” the social worker said, “but the poor thing has to go somewhere.”
“I don’t understand why he can’t go to Hillcrest or Maes Y Ffynnon.”
“They won’t take him. It’s too much responsibility for them, and they can’t give him a high enough level of care.”
“Care?” Penny laughed aloud. “We don’t provide care to our kids, Donna. We provide food and shelter and locked rooms. If we’re lucky, we get them to study now and again, and a couple even go to school. Most of them are under psychiatrists and headed straight for prison. Occasionally, we see one of them turn around, but mostly we’re marking time until they can be unleashed on society and start committing their crimes.”
“That’s a very bleak view.” The social worker had a hint of censure in her voice, which made Penny defensive. Damn these idealistic idiots with their rose-coloured views.
“This is a very bleak place,” Penny snapped back.
“No worse than his last.” The comeback was soft and sincere and made Penny feel vaguely guilty. She sighed and closed the folder that lay open on the desk in front of her. She ran her finger over the name on the cover and sighed again. “It’s one prison for another, Donna. Is that really what he needs?”
“A prison he can handle, Penny. It’s freedom that’s too much for him.”
About the Author
Cheryl was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.
Cheryl has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews and cousin and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play.
Later in life, Cheryl became the storyteller for a re enactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.
It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.
In present times, Cheryl lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son and menagerie of three cats, a dog and a dragon. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close.
Immersed, as always, in the world of fantasy, she maintains a burning desire to share the stories and these days it’s in the form of books which all contain her spark and unique view on life, the universe and everything.
Wher to find Cheryl