“Ouch!” I yelped, dropping my weapon. Something had smacked my forehead.

Tar Beast hissed and the tentacles retracted. I sat up, scanning around, trying to find where my weapon had gone. But instead, my fingers curled around my cellphone.


It was open to a webpage listing emergency numbers. But the one that had caught my eye was:

Suicide Crisis Line
0800 567 567
SMS 31393

“You can do it, Hope,” a voice said.

I looked around the room, but I couldn’t see anyone. Tar still clung everywhere, but Tar Beast had retreated, and this didn’t sound like Tar Beast anyway. More like my dragon, but smaller, more human.

In fact, the voice sounded like me. Me, as my dragon.

And before I could think that much more about it, I dialled the number.

“Good evening, this is The South African Depression and Anxiety Group. How may we help you?” said the voice on the other end.

Words poured out of my mouth, as tears fell down my face, but finally – finally – I was telling a real human being what I was going through. How my own mind – including my feelings – was split in two. One half of my brain was trying to kill me as the other side tried to save my life. That, maybe, I didn’t really want to die. But I no longer knew how to live.

And that voice over the phone heard me. We started talking about how to rid Tar Beast from my life.

* * * * *

It has been six weeks now. Six weeks since that last night, the night I thought I was coming to an end. I’m still getting help. But I am a bit better. It’s simply going to take time. Nor do my parents hate me. Not even close. Although they find it hard sometimes to understand why I got this way, why I never said anything, how I could ever believe that dying was the best answer.

But I’m not going to lie. This hasn’t been easy.

Sometimes Tar Beast sneaks back.

But now I know what to do. I know where to get help.

I want everyone who might feel a bit like I did to get help, too. So that’s why I decided to write my story. Because while I don’t see my dragon anymore, she still exists, right here, in this tale, and now I’m sharing her with you. Please, use my dragon, let her guide you away from your Tar Beast, whatever that may be.


Tell us: What do you think about Hope and her dragon?