I'd like to take this opportunity to tell you about the more unusual aspects of my childhood, which began when I was discovered, as a baby, in a wooden lifeboat that washed ashore on the rugged coastline of a remote isle in the southern oceans, between Australia and Antarctica. I'd also like to describe my early years on Si-Sique Island, raised with the family of the lighthouse-keeper, Albert Ross, who found and adopted me.
My origins could not be traced. Who were my parents? Had they been drowned in a boating accident? Where had I come from? Was I of noble blood? Alas, no answer could be found.
They named me 'Cecilia' and I flourished like a rare orchid, even on that windswept isle, in the rough-and-tumble company of my seven step-brothers. They taught me fencing, archery and equestrian skills, at which I excelled.
Last year, at the age of sixteen, I became aware for the first time that I possessed an extraordinary gift. Whenever I held in my hand one of the seagull-quill pens commonly used for note-taking on Si-Sique island, fantastic alien worlds would flow from the sharpened nib, positioning themselves on the nearest sheet of parchment in flawless, three-dimensional detail. Comprehending this might prove a money-making proposition, I changed my surname from 'Ross' to 'Dart-Thornton', packed my mascara and departed from the isle - to the sorrow of my seven handsome step-brothers, who were all achingly in love with me.
On reaching New York I was staggered to learn that I must update from the seagull-quill pen. Fortunately, my astonishing powers worked equally well on a computer keyboard. Any attached monitor sprang to life, becoming a window that looked out onto alternative worlds of vivid strangeness, beauty, peril and passion, far grimmer and more serious than I am leading you to expect.
I'd LIKE to tell you all this, however I suspect they actually wanted the real story, not just a somewhat implausible reflection. Unfortunately, there's not a lot of space on this page and I'm running out ...
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