Here to Stay by Mark Edwards

“Over many years, Japanese knotweed has acquired a reputation as one of the most invasive plants, and has been blamed for causing damage to properties. This, combined with its zombie-like refusal to die, has made it into a big green bogeyman for the housing industry.”

They say a man’s or woman’s home is their castle. The place where you can close the door on the world, a place of sanctuary or a place you can call your own. So what do you do when someone encroaches on your safe place?

When I moved away from home for university the thought of coming home filled me with a sense of belonging. Not to mention mum’s homemade cooking and washed and ironed bed sheets. Home for me is the place you can hide under the duvet when you are having a bad day or sit on the sofa in your comfy trackie bottoms watching Netflix when you are feeling unwell. It is the place you spend the day nursing the hangover caused from the night before texting your friends about what you said and to whom.

Now as a mum home is the safe place I want to create for my little girl. The place she can be herself and let out her fears and anxiety. The place she can feel happy and relax. The place where we can snuggle for movie night and create chaos whilst baking in the kitchen.

Elliot loves his house, it is haven. He has put time and effort into making it his home. he has loving sanded the floors and restored it to a thing of beauty. Swept up in a whirlwind romance he meets and marries Gemma within a few months. All seems fine until Gemma asks if her parents can come to stop with them just for a few weeks. Well Elliot can hardly say no can he?! But soon that few weeks turns into months and things are not quite what they seem. There is something very cagey about Gemma’s parents and their past and the more Elliot tries to dig the less information he can uncover.

“Come on, I said to myself. It’s only been a few days. It’ll all return to normal soon. But they haven’t found somewhere to go yet, said the other voice in my head. They could be there for weeks.”

As time goes on Elliot’s haven has become hell and he can feel the knotweed wrapping around his home. The question is does he fight or flight and is Gemma really the woman he thought she was or has the apple not strayed far from the tree?

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