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Born and raised in France, Pauline holds a degree in English Language, History and Literature that she completed with a distinction grade at the Université Paris Diderot. She has lived in France, England, Australia, and is now living in Scotland, where she recently moved to attend the MSc in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh, and works on writing that often explores the topics of gender, sexuality and feminism. Pauline is also passionate about discovering new countries and wrote a number of travel articles that were published in her university’s journal. Her hobbies include drawing, reading, and singing.

As a Story Terrace writer, Pauline interviews customers and turns their life stories into books. Get to know her better: you can read an autobiographical story of her own below. Get in touch today to work with her!

Mother of Dragons

“I’m not doing this,” my friend whispers to me. She is looking at Tony, the owner of the wildlife park, with his cowboy hat, his strong accent, and his khaki, Indiana-Jones-style outfit — the cliché of the Outback Australian ranger. He’s holding a lizard in his calloused hands, and looking around the group.

“Come on, don’t be scared,” he says.

I hesitate for a moment, but finally step forward. “I’ll do it.”

Tony smiles and walks up to me. The sweat is running down my back and along my hairline, giving me shivers when the wind blows through my light shirt, and my feet are covered in red dust; it coagulates under the straps of my flip flops.

“Take this one,” Tony tells me, and places in my hands the pinecone lizard that he introduced earlier as Nelly, his own favourite.

The reptile is light and cold, and not at all bothered by my sweaty hands. “You okay?” Tony asks me.

“Yes.”

“Good. I’m gonna put another one on your head now.”

I hadn’t known I was agreeing to that, but I barely have time to nod until I feel another weight on my head, and tiny claws lodging themselves through my hair.

“Still okay?”

Another, more awkward nod. “Yeah.”

“Great.” He pauses for a second. “Hang on, I’m gonna put one on your shoulder too!”

And that’s how I end up, on a regular March day on an island just off the East Coast of Australia, with three reptiles on me, two of which are threatening to slip off any time and the third lying flat and still on my open palms. I feel like the Mother of Dragons, powerful and dangerous, but it is still hot, the sun is blinding me, and Nelly ends up peeing on my hands. I urge my friend to take the picture, hand the lizards back to Tony, and join the rest of the group to see the alligator.

But later that day, as we float on the surface of the pool in the darkness of the hot night, under a sky full of stars and surrounded by the croaking of toads and the sound of possums in the trees above us, I remember the sensation of the cold skin of the lizards on my own, the light vice of the snake that Tony put around my neck only minutes later, the softness of the koala’s fur under my fingertips, and I realise that, at that very moment, we truly are the luckiest people alive.

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