Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.
Once upon a time, long long ago and in a land far away there was a little girl called Hope. In the town where she lived everyone was worried. A monster had been troubling them for some time, but now it was looming larger in all of their lives. Some people had seen it and could describe what it looked like – although it was hard to get an exact picture because it seemed to be a little different depending who you spoke to. Some people had heard it and could describe how it sounded – although it was hard to get an exact idea because it sounded a little different to everyone you spoke to. Some people had felt it brush up against them, and others had sensed it looming large in the background, it’s breath on their neck. Hope would worry day and night about the monster – wondering when it might be her turn to come across it. She would look out for it walking home from school and she would try to spot it from her bedroom window before she went to bed. She would ask her mum and dad every day when it might come, and what might happen if it did. They could offer no reassurances because, quite frankly, they were worried too.
One morning Hope woke up very early determined to find someone who might help. She had heard about a silver bullet – a magic answer to end scary things once and for all and so she set out on a mission to find it. Her first stop was a wise woman who lived down by the river. She was nervous, but she remembered the saying her grandmother had taught her many years before. “Just a few moments of fear might change the course of history” She wished her granny was still alive, but even so the memory gave her the courage to knock. She waited and waited until eventually she heard foot steps. When the door opened the woman looked a little cross. “I’m sorry to disturb you” Hope said “but I wondered if you might have a plan to catch the monster”. “Well I am very busy” she said “ but yes, I have a plan. In fact I’m working on it right now”. She quickly told Hope what it was before closing the door so he could get back to her thoughts. Hope scribbled the ideas down in her note pad and went on her way. “It’s a good plan” she thought to herself “but I’m not sure it’s the silver bullet.”
Next, she called upon a young boy who lived near the woods. He was known to be good at making things, and sure enough his garden was filled with beautiful wooden carvings of animals and toadstools, and benches and swings. “How clever” Hope thought to herself. “I bet he has a good plan”. It took a while for Hope to find him as he was up a tree, but sure enough he was working on an idea. He didn’t have time to come and tell her, but he threw down a piece of paper with a diagram explaining it all. Hope tried to make sense of it – it looked complicated but it might work, she thought. Although she wasn’t sure it was the silver bullet. She taped it into her notebook anyway. And so Hope went on her way, calling on the Doctor, the Teacher, the Mayor, the Baker, the Farmer and just about everyone else, gathering their ideas together in one place. When her notebook was full she headed to the meadow where it was peaceful so that she could sort through everything she had written and put it in order. The ideas were as different as the people she had met along the way. As she read and re-read through the notes she could feel herself getting more and more tired, her eyes growing heavier and heavier. Eventually she fell into a deep sleep, the soundest she had slept for a long time.
Back in the town Hope’s parents noticed she was not at home. By now it was very late and they were very worried. They raised the alarm, convinced the monster had captured her, and desperately fearing the worst. Everyone in the town gathered round as fear grew for her safety. Without exception they all came out, overcoming their own worries about the monster which would usually keep them at home, safe indoors. It was a cold night and so they lit a fire, and some brought food and drinks whilst others made plans about who would search where. They worked well together late into the night, always making sure they set off in small teams; with plenty of people back at the base resting, and there to welcome Hope in case she returned.
When Hope eventually awoke it was very dark and she felt very alone. Clutching her notepad under her arm she set off in what she hoped was the direction of the town. Somehow it made her feel a little braver. As she drew nearer she caught what she thought was the flickering light of a fire. Then she heard the reassuring hum of voices in the distance – growing louder as she moved closer. Approaching the gathering she felt a warm feeling inside; and eventually she spotted her parents and ran full pelt towards them. As the crowd realised who it was they let out a huge cheer. Hope felt overwhelmed with relief as did they all. ‘”How ever did you find us all in the dark?” “Well first I thought I saw something, and then I thought I heard something – but mainly I just felt something – I think I felt your love” she said to the crowd. They turned and smiled at each other, a little amused but mostly touched by her childish innocence. “What’s that?” her father asked, pointing at the note book under arm. “It’s my book about how to catch the monster” she said. Everyone gathered round as she read it out loud by the light of the fire, page by page.
By the the time Hope got to the end everyone was sat on the ground listening intently. A calm had descended and all that could be heard was the crackle of the fire. Eventually the Baker spoke up. “These ideas are so good it would be great if we could all have a copy”. Everyone nodded in agreement. Suddenly the shop keeper shouted that he had a printing press rusting in his shed, someone else had ink and someone had paper, someone could help with diagrams and someone could help with binding. Before long there was a plan to turn Hope’s notes into a proper book that every family in the town could have a copy of. They would start the next day. Everyone joined in and after a lot of hard work the book was finished. Bound in leather it was called “How to Catch the Monster” by Hope and the Townsfolk and it took pride of place in everyone’s home. Just having it there made a difference to how people felt.
After that people set about their business as usual – but they somehow missed the industry of the day before. The Farmer had an idea – now it was out and cleaned up they may as well put the printing press to good use. “Let’s start a newspaper for the town” he suggested. There was immediate agreement, and an army of volunteers to help. As Hope had started this all off in the first place they asked her what the newspaper should be called. “The Silver Bullet” she declared immediately, and everyone agreed. No other name would do. And that is how it started – “The Silver Bullet” delivering weekly news to everyone in the town, and keeping them in touch and up to date with one another. It is still printing to this day. In addition to local news, there are items for sale and adverts for events and gatherings. Hope writes a page for the children – usually with quizes and cartoons and dot to dot puzzles. Of course, there is a section in case anyone has ideas to catch the monster, but people seem a little less preoccupied with this these days. Occasionally there are stories about a sighting or something similar. They never make the headlines though because somehow the story feels smaller once it has been told.