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Neutiquam Erro - Chapter Three

Based on a true story, this work has been in progress for 10 years. Alongside the stories are the poems, songs and artwork that have accompanied the journey of a child.

Neutiquam Erro is Latin and translates in English to “I am not lost at all”.


“Ok! I am coming!”

It was freezing out of bed, she knew who it was, They knew who she was and now they knew she was here. Wasn’t that enough? She opened the door to a social worker, he looked like he was on the way home from an all nighter in a local bar.

She said “yes?” He grunted and turned away. “job done, miscreant located and removed from pleasant slumber.” She hated being under surveillance but it was necessary if she was going to survive her self-imposed sentence and achieve freedom.

She was not an ideal candidate for foster care. She was far too defensive and determined to survive. She knew their hearts were truly good, and most of the foster parents she lived with really did try, but she knew she would just blow it again.

One foster family had ten kids already, and she had no peer skills. That went so well she stole $700, dyed her hair and fled on a train, only to be dragged back and moved to yet another family. She had to admire the patience these families had, but a rock of determination had formed inside her to protect the child within and survival meant independence.


She was legally a State Ward of the State of Victoria. They said she would remain under the care of the state until she reached 18 years. They were like the foster parents…they all meant well but in the end her own determination would determine her own future.

The girl appealed her wardship, supported by an insightful social worker she applied for released under her own care. She argued that at 15 a child would legally be allowed to leave her parents home if she could show she did not live in moral danger. Why then, if every other child was afforded the rights of the state did she, as a child of the state not have access to the same opportunity at independence? There was no legal argument for her request but there were certainly some conditions.

She had to prove it now; early morning surprise visits were just the start. She enrolled in a cooking course, got a job as a waitress, found a little bedsit and set herself up. And she did it. She survived her sentence and was awarded her freedom.

She was told she was the first Ward of the State ever to do so. That one achievement, for a dirty little girl no one wanted, felt like winning lotto. She was 15.

Within a year she would move across the company, become a headline strip tease dancer, take the fall for a share house full of weed and prove that every statistic showing abused children become broken adults was true.

Fortunately statistics are a moment in time and her life was a journey, and rather than a tragedy, this was the beginning of healing.


Returning home with her new husband must have seemed so bizarre… She wondered if anyone else could understand the need for acceptance, forgiveness, and rightness…

Her stepfather was out of jail now and back at home with her mum. When questioned by the police about the secret he had confessed completely. He went to jail knowing what he might face as a child sex offender and he never once called her liar. Years later he defended her. How bizarre, that the one who gave her a sense of justice and validation, was the perpetrator of the crime.

Forgiving him was as simple as choosing to and she made that choice the day he stood before her baby brother, and corrected the lie her mother had spent all those years weaving over him.

Her mother lay in intensive care, apparently with 3 days to live.It was probably the only event that would have gathered them together in one place. Her mother needed to be unconscious for this little scene to unfold. Her mother had spent years telling her brother it was all a lie, that the girl was evil and destroyed their family. Now as the girl looked at him she saw the punishing scars she carried mirrored in his soul.

His absolute trust in the one person nature says really can be trusted, his only crime.


I had a baby brother once 
I loved with all my heart  
And then a man came in the night  
And tore our lives apart
My baby brother never knew 
How could he know the truth? 
The evil things that happened 
I was the only proof.

I lost my Baby brother  
I was torn right from his heart 
I disappeared from sight that day 
Our world was torn apart.
I found my baby brother 
Still loved with all my heart 
But then I knew how totally  
We’d both been torn apart

 I miss my baby brother  
I love with all my heart 
The only one who knew me  
Way back at the start
The only one who knows the me.
Who lives deep in my heart 
The little girl who played with him 
Before our lives were torn apart

short_stories | literature

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