‘I always knew I was somewhat different without knowing exactly how. My earliest memory is being given a doll on my third birthday. One day around that time I am looking at a picture of a deer when it turns and runs towards me. There is a cushion with a peacock on it, it comes straight out at me. A woman in a painting turns her head to look at me, her eyes staring into mine until I squeak and run out of the room. It does not matter where I am – at home, my grandparent’s house or my aunt’s – pictures and paintings move around and then right themselves as soon as I attempt to show anyone. Whenever a picture turns itself into a television, I drag an adult by the hand to show them the magic painting, only to look like a liar when it fails to perform. I finally catch one in the act; my grandad John and I stand in front of the deer painting while it shakes its head and slowly stalks forward. “The deer isn’t moving, Nicola; it’s just your imagination,” he tells me.
Next, come the voices.’