I woke hoping it had just been a dream, but it had not been, I was still
Here was a squalid flat on the nineteenth floor of a tower block in one
of the most run down areas of the country. I realised then that my life
would be the same round of beatings, terror and near starvation as it
had been for the past two years.
I looked back to when I first met my flatmates they seemed great, friendly,
kind and good-natured. How that soon changed. After only a couple of
days the first beating happened. Blondie, the leader of the flat decided
I had not responded to one of his orders quickly enough and he set about
me with great gusto. It did not last long but it left me bloodied and
bruised. Unfortunately I am one of those that do not respond well to
violence and from that moment on I decided I would give in only over
my dead body. Over the next two years how close that outcome nearly came
on several occasions.
After that first beating it became a regular occurrence. Blondie would
start of showing me attention but it almost always ended up with him
losing his temper and taking it out on me. I became adept at spotting
the signs and I could normally avoid the worst of the blows being rained
down on me by making a hasty retreat to another room. It seemed I wasn’t
even worth chasing.
My life consisted of avoiding the attention of Blondie, finding anything
I could that would pass for food and to top it all trying to evade the
teeth of Blondie’s two pit bull terriers. They may not have been
as big as Blondie but they certainly had his mean streak and would spend
hours terrorising me, always with the threat that if I let my guard down
even for a minute I would pay the price. Over the years I had been bitten
several times but the wounds had all healed without becoming infected,
which was lucky, as medication would not have been an option open to
me. I live with the scars of these wounds, as a permanent reminder of
my hatred for dogs. The bruising from my regular beatings were also a
source of constant pain but I learned to live with it and even began
to accept it as a normal part of everyday life.
I had long since given up worrying about my appearance and as I had been
denied access to water for the whole of my time in this living hell,
I knew I must have smelt pretty bad. However, any odour was lost in the
permanently overpowering smell of vomit and excrement that prevailed
constantly in the flat. Still who would have noticed anyway? The days
of all those admiring looks were only a distant memory.
How proud I used to be of my appearance, the hours I would spend pampering
myself so I always looked my best. I soon learnt that there were more
important things to life than looks, such as mere survival. I made a
promise to myself then, if I survived I would never act in a vain manner
Food was always on my mind and I spent most of the time on the verge
of starvation, surviving on any scraps they dropped and I could reach
before the dogs. The best time was when they were drunk or high as they
usually fell asleep and then was the time to make the most of anything
In the whole two years they never allowed me to leave the flat and the
only daylight I saw was through the grubby windows. They all slept most
of the day but as night drew in they came to life. At first I found it
strange that they seemed to have a constant flow of visitors during the
night but soon the beatings and starvation made me too weak to worry
and I took no notice.
Looking back I suppose I could have avoided some of the beatings but
that would have been to give in and my spirit would not allow that, besides
its surprising how you get used to pain.
The future looked grim and it was not really a life just an existence.
I could not see a way out.
Fate has a strange way of intervening sometimes and I’ll never
forget that fateful spring morning back in 1994. They were all asleep
as usual when all hell broke loose. It started with an almighty bang
as the flat door fell off its hinges and before anyone could react we
were surrounded by a large group of policemen from the drug squad in
full riot gear. I instinctively tried to make a break for it but I was
taken into custody with the rest. The next few hours were a blur, but
I remember being taken out of the flat and seeing the early morning dawn
and breathing in the fresh air for the first time in two years, no matter
what happened at least I had survived to see daylight for one last time.
I was not taken to the same place as the rest as they seemed to realise
I was different and the next thing I knew I’d been passed into
the care of this kind, and gentle man who seemed to understand what I
had been through.
I was more emotionally scarred than I had realised and when it dawned
on me that I’d escaped Blondie’s evil clutches I withdrew
into my own shell trying to forget the past. My carer was great and did
not press me, allowing me to heal in my own way and in my own time.
Before I knew it 18 months had passed and I finally woke one morning
and realised I had healed as well as one can from such an experience.
Without a word being said the man seemed to understand and plans were
made for my future.
Together with my new friend I now repay my rescuers by going around schools
and clubs, in fact anywhere that has a crowd and will listen, telling
them how evil people can be, hopefully encouraging those that see me
not to turn in to the kind of monsters I was unlucky enough to get involved
I now live in a lovely home where I feel safe and secure and I can spend
as much time as I like sunbathing and taking in the beautiful fresh fenlands
countryside air. I must admit I do tend to eat too much and I am quite
vain about my looks again, spending hours making sure I look just so
but what the hell, I’ve got a lot of time to make up for. Slowly
and surely I am learning to trust people again and eventually I may not
treat every new person I meet with obvious suspicion, but my dislike
of dogs is too ingrained, I fear.
"My name is Delilah by
the way and all in all I am now probably the most spoilt and pampered
European Eagle Owl in the country.
I have a 5ft. wing span and weigh about eight pounds.
I was less than half that when I was rescued!".