by Doreen Gee
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“You don’t need to be afraid of those boys, little girl!”, the kind gentleman said to me as he reached to squeeze my shoulder. But I was afraid. In fact, I was absolutely terrified. When I was only six, “Jimmy” was my nemesis. My halcyon days in glorious James Bay were rudely interrupted by this fiendish boy who took a delight in striking terror in my heart. He lived in the “slums” beyond Beckley Street, the dark forbidden land of punks, thugs and every demonic creature that slithered around in back alleyways under a foul mist. Jimmy and his gang of miscreants ruled the land like some kind of infantile mob. For five sickening years of my life, Jimmy threatened to beat me up. He never actually touched me, but his words stung just as much as any dirty small fist. When he and his grubby posse came slouching down Government Street that day, their evil steps casting shadows, I ran to the other side of the road where a merciful old man took me under his wing.