Authors: Sharianne Bailey
Kiss of the Wolf Spider
Copyright © 2013 by Sharianne Bailey. All
Cover Art Copyright © by Regeneration Publishers
All rights owned by Regeneration Publishers,
All rights reserved. No part of this
book may be reproduced
in any form without permission in
writing from the publisher,
except in the case of brief quotations
in critical articles or reviews.
All characters, personalities and names
(relating to both
characters and institutions) used in
this book are products of the
author’s imagination and any relation
to names of real
persons and organizations is purely
Where place names are used, they are
Published in New Zealand by Regeneration
Scripture quotations taken from the HOLY
NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973,
1978, 1984 by International Bible
Society. Used by Permission
Printed in USA
ISBN: 9781 481080491
My beloved husband, David – for your
constant support and help throughout this project. You are truly a man after
God’s own heart.
Howard Andrew – for helping me to craft a better
My parents, Evor and Naomi – for reading,
re-reading, listening, encouraging and unending support in everything I’ve ever
done. You taught me to believe that nothing is too ambitious for me to try. What
Phyl Wessels – you were the first to read
my manuscript and encouraged me to keep working on a very difficult topic.
Thank you, Phyl. I’m glad you got to see the whole of the first draft! Fly,
run, breathe well, dear friend.
Nomathemba Pamela Biyela – your meals, cups
of tea and valuable friendship kept me going all through the first difficult
drafts. You listened to my ideas and you gave me precious time to write. Your
loving support will always be appreciated.
Tanya, Natalie & Claudia my girls! Also
Rowan Phillips, my friends at COGS and ANLC – and all my other supporters
along the way. Thanks for reading, criticising, correcting, encouraging and
cheering me on. It has definitely taken a team to get this job done!
(Author of Faith Like
), Gavin Pryce-Lewis and the late Charles Gordon – your writing
seminars gave me inspiration, direction and fortitude.
Bless you, sweet girl. I pray that this
book will help other girls like you find healing and restoration. Remember, no
matter how imperfect we are, God loves each of us in our weakness and
desperation and longs to make us whole.
My Lord God
for setting this task before me with
great clarity and direction.
“There is no question of our being qualified in ourselves:
We cannot claim anything as our own.
The qualification we have comes from God…”
2 Corinthians 3:5
To all those
Suffered in secret.
May you cast off
I write my story, not
because misery loves company but because victory deserves to be shared. I don’t
ask for your pity, but hope that when the truth is told, my story, our story,
will free a multitude of prisoners from a shared consciousness of guilt and
When I was a young girl, I
had a strange nightly routine. Standing in front of my dressing table, brushing
my hair in the dim night light, I would stare into the mirror and let my eyes
grow blurry. My imagination would stir. Slowly the scene on the other side of
the glass would ripple and change.
If I stared long enough a
woman would appear. She had my dark colouring, my full lips, brown eyes and
slim figure, but she was an adult. Occasionally, she stared back but often she
wouldn’t see me. She tenderly cradled a baby in her arms. Then a handsome man
would come in and lovingly caress them both. Sometimes he kissed her gently. So
night after night, I’d wish that woman living safely behind the mirror was me. Instead,
more often than not, my secret reverie would end with the dreaded sound of the
door knob being turned.
Diving under the bedclothes,
I would lie as still as I could. “Please don’t come in. Please don’t ….”
Perhaps tonight he would change his mind. Perhaps tonight he’d go away. But he
In no time his big, hairy
hands would be sliding over my skinny ribs like a softly creeping spider and
his warm breath would be in my face.
I’d have to stay very quiet,
so as not to waken my little brother. Head spinning, I’d close down my reality.
I taught myself to divorce my adolescent body from my confused and fearful mind
and so would begin my nightly retreats to a place of inner darkness.
Often, when my tormentor
had gone, I’d tiptoe to the bathroom. There, in the bright light of reality,
I’d see another scene. An angry, young face glared back at me through a mop of
dishevelled hair. I’d stare at her and at the small curves of newly forming
breasts hiding under those blue pyjamas. Then she and I would both start
My story began
long before January, 1989 but that was the year I finally escaped from my
It was a
Wednesday afternoon and the midlands were spitefully hot that year, the air
thick with humidity. As Dad shifted down a gear and revved the old blue
Mercedes up another incline, I opened the window of the stifling car. He yelled
at me to close it. I could never understand him; after all, the air-conditioner
was broken! But Dad always shouted and got what he wanted ... except for now.
He had constantly said ‘no’ to boarding school but today I was on my way! I
smiled inwardly, while staring out at thin tick-riddled cattle, mud huts and
skinny African children waving and holding out their hands in the hope of a treat
as we passed by.
My two little
sisters slept in their car chairs, red-faced and sweaty. Joanne, my stepmother,
fanned herself with the road map and tidied her almost-immaculate hair for the
third … or was it the tenth time? Cars flashed past in a blur.
turned off the main road and drew to a halt outside an austere face-brick
building which looked rather like an ancient post office or police station. Dad
said this was
and so, with a mix of anticipation and terror,
I stepped out of the car into the full force of the midday sun.
I followed him up some stairs, onto the red-cement veranda,
past a sign that read: ‘RECEPTION’. Dad pushed open the big French doors.
A red-haired woman was tapping away proudly at her very
modern electric typewriter. A large ‘St. Catherine’s High School’ crest hung
importantly on the wall behind her. As we waited, a second woman, as thin as
the other was buxom, her grey, wispy hair knotted in a bun, bustled into the
“Welcome to St. Catherine’s. And you are…?”
” Dad answered with a smile, his blue eyes
twinkling as he held out his hand to the woman. She shook it, and then passed
him a stack of forms to complete. While he took forever to finish the
paperwork, I stared at a row of black and white photographs hanging on another
wall. These were the previous principals, each one’s name prefaced by the title
‘Miss’. As their tight little buns pulled the skin on their foreheads up into
greying hairlines, I sensed their corporate disapproving eyes staring … as
though they knew something distasteful about me ... something I wanted to
A stern voice interrupted me. “Jane!”
“Yes, Miss …?”
Petzer. I’m secretary to the Principal, Mrs
Martingale.” She spoke abruptly. “Jane, you will be expected to wear your
uniform smartly; do
be late for anything and most importantly, you
must participate fully in all the activities we offer here. If you’ve any
problems, you can talk to your teachers or Matron Ruth. Observe the rules,
keep busy, and I’m sure you’ll have a happy stay here at St. Catherine’s.” She
turned to Dad and continued, “Matron Ruth is expecting you down at the boarding
At that moment Joanne burst into the reception with the little
ones in tow. Obviously hot and irate, she asked, “How long is this going to
take? Susie needs the toilet and we’re sick of the hot car!”
Mrs Petzer continued speaking in her best secretary’s voice,
apparently choosing to ignore the intrusion. “Just follow the road round there,
Mr Farrell, past the large pine trees. The boys’ hostel, St. Simeon’s is
first. Go a little further on to St. Maria’s. There you can off-load Jane’s
trunk and cases right outside the door.”
She turned to Joanne with a condescending smile and waved her
in the direction of the toilets.
When Joanne returned we piled back into the car amidst loud
protests from Susie, who didn’t want to be strapped into her seat again, and continued
to St. Maria’s, another red-brick building with a massive staircase leading up
to the vast red-floored outer veranda. Staring at the monumental building, my
heart sank a bit further. So this was to be “home” for the next few years. Was
there any chance it could be a little less intimidating on the inside?
As I climbed the front stairs behind my dad, dragging my
suitcase with difficulty, I noticed a couple more girls about my age, also
hauling their heavy luggage up the steps.
An elderly woman (I never did work out if she was blonde or
grey) bounced over to greet everyone with a welcoming smile.
“Hello, hello, hello! New girls over there; helpers go
straight up to the dormitories. Go on, you all know where you belong,” she told
some seniors as she waved them away.
Stretching out her hand she said, “Welcome, I’m Matron Ruth
Bennett. Are you the Jameses or the Farrells?”
Dad said, “The Farrells. I’m Dirk Farrell. This is my wife
Joanne. The little ones are Susie and Mickey. And this is my lovely daughter
“It’s Jane,” I said and tried to smile.
The Matron shook my hand in a strong ‘don’t mess with me’
grip, but when she smiled, her eyes crinkled at the corners. I liked that.
Two senior girls fetched my huge black trunk from the car and
carried it upstairs, while a dark-haired prefect who was in dire need of a new
hairdresser and an orthodontist, showed Joanne and Dad around.
Later the other prefects told us that
Brewster, the hostel Head Girl. “So we have to show her respect … or else!”
I placed the suit-case on one of the faded bedspreads. The
girls dumped the metal trunk on the floor and pushed it towards the bed, adding
more scratches to the ancient vinyl.
“Unpack and then take your trunk downstairs,” they ordered.
As they left, my parents’ ‘tour’ brought them up to my room.
“Hmm, this is more than adequate!” muttered Joanne, looking
around. “We’re certainly paying enough for it! Well, at least she won’t have
anything to complain about! Come on Dear, it’s not as if she needs help to
unpack! Susie and Mickey are tired and we have a long drive home.” I hated the
way Joanne talked about me as if I wasn’t there! I supposed she’d rather have
me locked in a dungeon.
Dad put his arm around me and pulled me close. “Well I hope
Daddy’s little girl isn’t going to be too homesick! If you are, just phone me
and I’ll come straight up to fetch you.”
“No you will not!” interjected Joanne. “Babying children does
nothing to help them grow up! And maybe while she’s here, she’ll learn to stop
being such an attention seeker!”
Dad looked hurt. “I only want to make sure she’s okay.”
“I’ll be fine Dad,” I answered quietly, trying to avoid a
scene. “I told you, I
to go to boarding school.”
“It’s time to go, Honey! The kids are tired. And I’m sure
Jane would like to settle herself in.” Joanne couldn’t wait to get rid of me.
“Other kids’ parents are helping them unpack.…” Dad argued.
“No, Dirk! That’s a mother’s job and Jane doesn’t have one
here, does she? We’re leaving. Now!”
My bossy stepmother gave me a cold peck on the cheek,
reminding me of a chicken eating corn. “We’ll find the bathroom again and see
you at the car!” she told Dad.
As she walked out with Susie trailing behind and the baby in
her arms, my father placed his hands firmly on both my shoulders and drew me
I grew tense.
“Don’t you love me? I just want to say goodbye!”
“I do love you. You’re my dad. But I don’t want you to
He leaned in close to my ear. “Don’t forget to phone me.
Every Thursday night, because that’s when I’m always in.”
“You already told me that – twice!” I answered. He was
annoying me now but his stern look reminded me that if I spoke in those tones
he would get angry.
“And remember ...” He whispered something in my ear, then
added more loudly, “... or there’ll be big trouble.” I’d heard this line often,
but whenever he said it, his glare made me afraid.
“I already did promise,” I muttered through gritted teeth. I
twisted out of his grip as the door crashed open and a dark-skinned, gangly girl
with brown pigtails and an enormous suitcase fell through it. The case promptly
burst open and spilt its contents across the floor.
“Hi! I’m Tinkie! Sorry about the mess. I’ll get it cleared up
in a moment ….” and with that, Tinkie’s mother followed dragging yet another
suitcase, equally large and looking just as likely to explode.
“Dad, you’d better go,” I muttered, offering my cheek as he
“Looks like you need some help,” I said. “My name’s Jane, by
the way.” I knelt gratefully on the floor and began to gather up Tinkie’s things.
“Come on Dirk,” Joanne whined as she poked her head around
the door, “we’re tired of waiting….”