So, some of you may remember a series I did a little while ago, with a story which I wrote aged 10. Well, I bring you… 8-year-old L’s ‘Passed Out’: a morbid tale of a bored child’s mind. It’s pretty long, yes, and I just found this in my emails; I thought I’d share it with you. It’s super long so I’ll stop rambling and just post it: enjoy!
When Ria discovers her old enemy is back in town, she needs to find a way to get rid of her. But when her Gran is dead, her parents are mad and she has no choice but to go with Anna, what lies in store? Can Anna change her ways? Can they finally work out the meaning to the world?
This is a digital recording. Some minor adjustments have been made, such as adding the speakers name at the beginning of their speaking part, adding chapter names and so on. Words that could not be made out because of poor audio quality have either been left out or guessed at.
Let’s Start At The Start
“What can we do?” shrieked Mrs Hazel, looking back at the burning remains of her house.
“Don’t worry babe,” comforted her husband, putting his arm around her.
Laura Hazel ran, clutching her rounded belly. She was pregnant with her first child and running away from evil villains wasn’t good for her health.
“I’m giving up,” she panted. “Let them take us.”
At the Liberations headquarters Frank and Laura Hazel were given a task. A task that could ruin many peoples lives. The Hazels’ were both trained for many years and then were released.
Mrs Hazel walked out of the sliding metal doors, holding a tiny human baby to her as if it were the only thing she owned. It was the only thing she owned. Her only object that is, except the knife. The knife that would be passed from person to person, leaving destruction behind it. The knife with the curse. Whoever claimed that knife would use it in the worst way possible.
“So, let’s go find your Mum,” said Mr Hazel, attempting a confident smile but not succeeding.
“How am I going to do that while carrying a hungry, crying baby?” asked his wife, clearly distressed.
“Laura! Frank! Frank Laura!”
Laura and Frank Hazel turned around as quick as a whip and saw the person they needed most. Mallorie Hazel.
As you may know, all books have happy endings. This one is an exception. Us two, I won’t tell you our names, you’ll soon find them out for yourself, are probably the most unlucky people on Earth. Nothing can help that though. That’s the way it must go. Just beware and don’t blame me if you sob your heart out and soak the pages in front of you.
Chapter 1–Where Life Goes Wrong
Look, I’m going to give you a bit of basic info before we get started. My name is Ria Hazel. I’m twelve-years-old and I live (well, used to live) in London, down a steep country road. I’m not really British. I was born in America and only recently moved to England. It’s a bit grey and gloomy isn’t it? How can you people live here all the time? I lived with my Mum, my Dad and my Gran but two of them our mad and one is dead (I won’t tell you which one as you’ll start crying and I haven’t even got ten minutes into the story). All of us love to read. However, that comes with a consequence. Our house is cluttered with all sorts. Old Dickens, some of my old Roald Dahl books. There are even a few of Mum and Dad’s ancient school textbooks! That’s the reason I’m writing this. When I was about seven I found a book that had a white cover. It had no title and totally blank, white, clean pages. I asked my Mum (Dad was in a fowl mood that day) and she said I could have it to write (or then it was probably scribble) in. I treasured it for five whole years. It would be in my schoolbag and every day I’d feel it when I retrieved my homework or reading book. Now, I decided as I travel to somewhere (I don’t know where), I’m writing my autobiography. Well, I drafted it in the book and am now using a digital microphone to record it in full. Me and… well, you’ll hear her in a minute or two.
I hated my Gran. She was always nagging at me to `do homework` and `do the washing`. Mum and Dad didn’t even like her! Well, that was my guess. Although, as you’ll soon find out, I was totally wrong about at least one thing.
It was Good Friday and I’d just gone to my room for bed. I got into my pajamas and climbed beneath the sheets, curling up into a tiny ball and putting my head beneath the covers.
I blew a strand of my red hair out of my face. It wasn’t naturally red. One of my friends (or should I say enemies) forced me to change my hair colour. Now, you might be wondering why I didn’t just refuse. Look, when someone is waving a… but I can’t bring myself to say that. She’s probably about thirteen, maybe fourteen-years-old now but I had not seen her for three years. Three years exactly that night. It was after that time when Mum and Gran had shouted at her so loudly that they’d lost their voices for two weeks and had had to write notes to communicate with me and Dad. Anna was horrible to me that Easter but I was only a little kid then and I thought Anna was God or something. This was all when I was in America. That was one of the reasons I’d moved, because of “er. Now, I realise she took advantage of my age and treated me as if I was the best to win me over.
So anyway there I was, in my bed, thinking about life in general when there was a tremendous crash downstairs. I leapt out of my bed and ran full pelt downstairs, screaming at the top of my voice for my family. I heard Mum sobbing and Dad trying to comfort her.
Gran was the most surprising of all though. She was standing in the hall, fists clenched staring at… at… Anna? The old friend enemy of mine? Who was supposedly in America? But then even if she’d moved to England she didn’t know where I lived. I thought she’d forgotten me. Just one of the many `small kids` she’d picked on in the past. I closed my eyes tight and then opened them again. I hoped it was all a terrible mistake. I would wake up and find myself shivering in my bed, as right as rain. I’m not saying that rain is right but there you have it.
Anna was busy glaring at Gran. Had she seen me? I was pretty sure that she had not so I snuck upstairs, heading for the loo. My sneaking was not exactly sneaking as I kept tripping over great piles of books and stacks of boxes. Eventually, when I had fought my way to the room I required, I snatched the toilet brush and crept back downstairs. Yes, I know. It was a strange weapon to choose but it really was the best thing that I could think of. Well, looking back on it I can think of a heap of things I could have used but I guess I wasn’t thinking straight when seeing an evil teenager beating up my Gran.
Anna and Gran were shouting now and punching each other. Now yes, I said I didn’t like Gran. However, deep down I loved her and was rather quite defensive of her.
I sprinted behind Anna and jabbed her with the pointy end of the toilet brush. You know, the handle part. Hard. The element of surprise was on my side. Anna spun around. Her mouth dropped open in shock and she stepped back. Stepped back on to Gran. She stamped on my Gran and the old lady gave a cry. She collapsed in a heap on the hall floor. Mum and Dad came rushing out of the kitchen and ran to Gran. However, I thought it was to help her. Only then did I see the machine guns in their hands.
“No!” I shouted but it was too late. The bang was let loose and Gran gave a last word. A word that could have saved my life if only I’d heard it then.
Anna turned to Mum and Dad and slapped them on the back. Then she turned to face me. I shook in my slippers and took a shaky breath.
“M-m-my Gran,” I stuttered, still confused.
“She was a worthless piece of junk,” said Dad in a tone of voice I’d never heard him use before. “We didn’t need her any more. She was just an old woman standing in the way of our great victory to prevent you from getting to…”
“To…” I prompted but my efforts were pointless.
“Don’t tell her, Frank,” said my Mother. “We can’t have her knowing about it, can we?”
“About what?” I asked. Dad punched my chest and I went sprawling. As my head hit the floor, I passed out.
I was roughly shaken and I sat up. I found myself in a car which was travelling very fast. I mean two-hundred-miles-an-hour fast. Yeah, I couldn’t believe it at first either but when I blinked and blinked again I decided I wasn’t dreaming. I looked around the car. Dad was driving. Mum was next to him and Anna was next to me with her hands pressing down on my chest, preventing me from sitting up properly.
Dad suddenly excellerated and we zipped past cars and houses, office blocks and shops.
“They’re coming,” Dad said quietly to Mum. “Get ready to go fast!”
I thought we were going fast but apparently I was deeply mistaken. I was thrown back with my head hitting the back of the seat. I felt as if I was a fly (no I haven’t turned into a fly before but I guess that’s what it feels like).
We were going at one-million-miles-an-hour, using no wheels at all. We sharply turned into a Tesco Extra car park. We screeched into a parking space (it was a disabled space but I didn’t want to stand up for the rights of disabled people at this point). Anna grabbed my arm and yanked me out of the car. I stumbled and was dragged along the ground of the car park. Then I felt the warm rush of air which usually comes at shop doors. The ground turned to flat, slippery flooring. Yes, we were in a shop! I could yell for help! My mouth opened but just as it did another rush of air hit me. A rush of cold air hit me slap bang in the face! I was tossed back into a car. It was a different one this time but Dad still managed to start the engine up. I hit my head on the glass of the window and I passed out once more. Wow! Ten minutes and I’ve passed out twice! Maybe it’s some medical condition.
All I could hope was that Mum and Dad didn’t get away with this and if it meant my death in the process I wouldn’t care.
Chapter 2–The Deadly Pizza
The baby! She can’t even stay conscious for half-an-hour! I opened my window and let the cool air tickle my face. I kicked Ria in the legs. It was a hard kick too. She’d wake up with extra bumps on her ankles. I might as well take advantage of her while she couldn’t feel it. I wanted to sleep but I was still thinking about earlier. I’d killed someone. I still felt bad but there you have it.
I chatted to Laura, making small talk but she seemed so irritated with me as if my life was the worst thing in the world. Well, at some points in the fourteen years I’d lived I’d thought that too.
I looked out of the back window and saw a red car. I think it was a mini but I still can’t be sure. Whatever it was I wanted it. It was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen in my whole entire life and I could just picture myself in the front behind the wheel. It was following us closely, getting nearer every second. Then I recognised that car. I recognised it from my past. I’d been very small when it had happened. When my parents…
I might as well tell you what happened. This audio recording wouldn’t have reached you unless you have something to do with it. I no longer have parents. They were killed by H N F when I was only seven and since then I’ve lived on the street. It’s been hard. Some nights I’ve frozen to death. I’ve been spoken to by weird people with strange faces. I’ve hated my life so far so when I joined the Liberation Nerts I hoped my life might get a bit better. Tough. That really didn’t work. I’ve had to relive my past but this time I was the killer and someone else was the victim.
H N F were the people behind us. The supposed `good people`. I thought they were horrible as they’d burned Frank and Laura’s house down thirteen years earlier. Why had they done it? They’re so called `good people` and yet they murder totally innocent people! At least, they could have. I don’t get how they can be called Help Not Fight and yet they fought the Liberation Nerts.
I could only think about myself at that moment with the car gaining on us every minute. I had to get away!
I whipped open the door. The wheel was snatched out of Mr Hazel’s sweaty hands by the strong wind suddenly whipping everyone’s hair about. I stood on my seat, gathering my courage.
“Why you idiot!” called Mr Hazel, trying to slam the door shut.
I heard no more. I jumped.
I jumped straight out on to the M25. I landed in a stream of traffic but I ran to the side of the road. I stared at all the cars and lorries and, for some reason I felt sorry for Ria. Trapped in that car with those two evil people. They’d killed someone just for the hell of it. But then I’d helped them to do it! Was I just as bad as them? I was determined to turn my behaviour around. That sounds like the thing they say in the infants (no Ria, they didn’t say it to me twenty times a day.) I think it was then that my personality changed.
My mobile vibrated in my pocket and I picked it up. It was the latest I’phone and I loved it. I saw Ria’s name pop up on the screen and answered the call.
“Anna,” Frank’s voice came crackling through the phone’s speaker. “Why did you do that?”
“Why don’t you use your own phone? Haven’t got enough of a brain?” I asked, getting on his nerves.
“Now now Anna,” reasoned Frank. “Who’s side are you on?”
“Any side that you’re not on!” I yelled and cut Frank off.
I saw Ria’s red hair. Oh god, Ria. Was that really her? Yes! Then the red hair. I really regret doing that now. I was so stupid.
Ria came gasping up to me and then stepped back. I said everything to her. All my `I’m sorry’s`. I didn’t think Ria would say anything but she did.
“How can you just say sorry after all you’ve done?” she shouted at me and slapped me round the face. I couldn’t blame her. I’d been horrid to her when she was younger. I got loads of weird looks from people in their cars but they were whizzing past so fast I couldn’t see them very clearly. One person got out of their car and asked if we were ok. He must have been really worried about us but he drove off eventually.
Finally, Ria put her head on one side and decided to accept my words.
“I heard Frank and Laura talking a minute ago,” said Ria when I’d finished. “They were talking about the plan. Something about every chase that H N F make then they get an advantage. I don’t know how that’s happened or what advantage they get or what H N F are but I’m really quite nervous. Maybe the advantage is something like H N F get weaker because they’re tired? We have to run. I’ve got no weapons or means of defence. I only have this cat. I found it in the back of the car just as I was wishing for company. What shall we do?”
I was silent. I didn’t know. I understood about the cat. It was because Frank always kept an animal with him so if he needed to get people into his car then he’d have an attraction. I don’t like admitting it (yes Ria, you smile) but I really didn’t know what to do about our situation and that was the truth.
“How much more walking?” Ria asked, sounding exhausted. We’d been walking for hours along the M25, looking for a junction to exit off. In a car it seems like just a tick but when you’re walking it takes ages.
“Not far,” I replied but I really didn’t know.
Then the car that had stopped earlier returned and the man stepped out again.
“Come with me. You look really tired,” he said and pushed us firmly into the back seat. I wanted to protest but I couldn’t. I felt quite scared of this man. I knew something was wrong but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Looking back I really should have run. I should have opened the door and continued my walk to the next junction. If I had, my life would have been so much more different. I may have even survived.
We drove and we drove and we drove and we drove. I got hungry and I could tell that Ria was so tired but still really nervous about this strange guy driving us to somewhere. We drove past a service station and I was dying to stop and look at the jewellery store that was advertised on the front window. I didn’t want to ask in case I started crying with disappointment if this guy (I didn’t even know his name) said no.
We took a junction off the motorway and drove through some narrow, twisting, country lanes until we finally arrived at our unknown destination and parked in a drive. We climbed out of the car and gaped. There was a luscious garden with lovely flowers and a small, clean, shimmering pond in the middle. Birds flew around, singing gently and perching in the tops of the leafy trees. There was several poppies here and there. There were also some strawberry plants around, which were all drowned in the red fruit. The grass was exactly the right length. Not a blade longer or shorter than the rest. It seemed like the sun only shone over that garden and it was the most wonderful place in the world. Somewhere that you could just sit and live there for all of your life. You could drink from the pond and eat from the strawberry plants. I walked in a trance towards the beautiful garden but Ria hit me and snapped me out of it.
We followed the man into his house. His hall was so dismal it could have been a dungeon not an entrance to a house that was inhabited. We took seats in the kitchen. I noticed that the guy locked the door behind us. I didn’t pay much attention to that at the time but it was strange. The room looked as if it had been painted but not finished. It was cream white but half of the paint was glossier than the other half. The house seemed old and creaky and there was lots of mahogany furniture around.
“Would you like a drink? A squash?” the man asked, looking at me with a funny expression on his face. I thought he was being kind so I said that I would and Ria, after a few seconds, also agreed. We downed our drinks quickly and placed the empty cups on the table.
“Are you ok?” the man asked. I was just thinking that the only thing this person could say were questions and all we could do was answer them. So I was going to answer his question with a question.
“Why, are you?” I answered.
“Yes, I’m fine,” he replied. “By the way, I’m Garry.”
“That’s nice. I’m sorry to be rude and all but could we go home now?” asked Ria, being as polite as possible. We didn’t have a home! I almost blurted this out but I thought that might get us into even more trouble so I shut my mouth.
“I’m delighted to have you here. I don’t usually have company. Why not stay for dinner?” he invited us. I didn’t want to accept but I knew that me and Ria both needed to eat or we’d die of starvation. So we stayed and ate pizza and chips. I have to say that there was something weird about the taste and it made me feel light headed. I could see Ria going pale and put down her knife and fork on her plate. She obviously wasn’t hungry. I wasn’t exactly either so I followed suit and sat back.
We spoke to Garry (it sounded like an old person’s name, don’t you think?) as he did the washing-up. Then the pain kicked in. It was like a needle stabbing into me and every part of my body felt like it was on fire! I fell to the floor, clutching my sides but not in laughter. In pain. Garry looked down at me with satisfaction written all over his face in big capital letters and then my body was taken over and I became unconscious. The last thing I heard was a scream from Ria and a bang. I felt, heard, saw, smelt and tasted no more.
Chapter 3–Escape and a Start of a Search
Garry’s hand came towards me. I yelled and then the hand hit my head with a bang. I fell to the floor but, just for once, I didn’t pass out! Garry grabbed my T-shirt and lifted me off the ground. I was dumped face down in a room and with a click the door was shut and locked. The world went silent. I sat up and felt my head spinning. I saw Anna who had also sat up and was exploring our surroundings.
“What happened?” she asked, looking at me as if I was supposed to have all the answers. Well, as I had not passed out for once I guess I should have but I didn’t.
“I don’t know anything except we should not have gone with this Garry guy,” I said. “I also know that we need to escape as soon as we can and then get out of this horrid dump. Well, I’m guessing we’re still in the house and not in a different world.”
Anna gave a shaky laugh but I think it was forced. (Anna is now telling me that it was forced, as if I didn’t know that already.)
“Shall we try and find an exit?” I asked. I just noticed that I still had the cat. The way that thing had appeared was weird. I’d just wished for some company and it had appeared. Was I some sort of magician or something? It must have just been a fluke.
Without another word I started investigating, looking for an escape. Maybe a loose brick, a key for the lock, anything that would help. Then I saw something. A little piece of silver metal right in the corner of the room. I picked it up gingerly and examined it. Nothing special. I showed it to Anna but, like me, she thought it was nothing much either.
Then Garry’s voice came echoing through the silence. It startled us and we jumped.
“What are you two doing in there?” Garry asked in a cheerful voice.
What could we do? Should we answer? Should we just stay quiet? I decided to go for the second, more safer option and stay as quiet as a mouse. Garry repeated himself but again got no response. Then the door was flung open and Garry’s horrid face leered at us from the gloomy hall.
“It’s time for you to meet my friends,” he said, a broad grin on his face.
“Why?” I asked.
Garry acted as if he had not heard my question and led us off down the hall. He must have been really excited because he didn’t even hold on to us.
I saw an escape immediately. I gave small signs to Anna to follow me and then ran to the car. Garry spun on his heel and ran after us but he tripped and fell on his face. Anna took the time to go back and stamp on him. He wouldn’t be up and about for a while! The car door (luckily) was unlocked so I jumped straight in and jump started the engine. Anna got in the back and we sped off.
The hard country roads were the worst place to learn to drive but I didn’t have much of a choice. Anna had driven before so after a few minutes I managed to pull over to the curb and we switched places. The journey was much smoother with Anna driving instead of me and I found myself much more comfortable. I started looking around the car to see what we had. Money was one thing that Garry obviously never ran short of but none of it was English currency. So we were trapped with no money and no idea where we were going or where to go.
Anna was quiet for a while. I didn’t want to disturb her but eventually I had to ask. “Why were you so horrid?”
“Sorry?” she asked. I could see she had not really misheard me but was just putting the question off.
“Why were you so horrid?” I repeated with a hint of impatience in my voice.
“Well, I had to take my anger out on something.” she replied. “Look, Ria. There’s no easy way to put this so I’m just going to get straight to it. I have no parents any more. H N F killed them many years ago and since then I’ve lived on the streets. H N F are the good side and my parents were part of the Liberation Nerts. That’s the bad side. I used to belong to them too. I’ve had to defend myself for six years. I’ve got into some pretty rough fights in my time. Some that you really don’t want to hear about.”
I couldn’t believe my ears. Anna, a homeless person? How could it be? I thought Anna bullied for the fun of it but now I realised that I had been seriously wrong.
I fiddled with the silver piece of metal which was still in my pocket from earlier. I put it on the cats’ back for a moment while I looked for my phone and when I looked back the cat had been turned to… to… silver? How had it happened? The cat had disappeared and in its place was a perfect statue of the cat with every last detail of the real thing! I refused to believe my eyes. I blinked. I blinked again. I blinked one final time. it was real!!!!!
I told Anna and she also was transfixed. She didn’t look at the road ahead. There was a crash. A shattering of glass was heard and we were tossed every which way.
I felt as if every bone in my body was broken but I appeared to be unharmed. Anna seemed to be the same. She started cursing herself for not paying attention to the road. I told her it wasn’t her fault although deep down I knew it was. When I looked at the cat, I discovered it must have been the light. The cat wasn’t silver at all! That crash for nothing.
We had to get out of that place. We couldn’t just lay there. In the time that Anna had been talking about her life I’d remembered Mum and Dad. Were they looking for us? Was Garry one of their friends? None of the answers were clear and I couldn’t think straight anyway.
We ran. People were shouting out of their windows but we didn’t care. We just ran, looking for a hiding place where people wouldn’t think to look for us. We eventually found a small cave and dived inside. We panted for several moments before actually speaking.
“Thank god,” said Anna.
“What now?” I asked.
“I’m not sure really,” replied my friend. I could tell she was scared but was trying to hide it for my sake. I was grateful for that.
We decided that the best thing to do was to stay in the cave over night so we made ourselves as comfortable as we could (that wasn’t very comfortable because we were freezing and the ground was bumpy) and fell asleep. I don’t think it mattered that our sleeping conditions were rough because we were so tired we just went straight to sleep.
When I awoke I found Anna gone. At first, I thought she’d just gone to look for a shop or something but as one hour, two hours, three hours past I got scared. I shouted out her name. I called her mobile but it had been left in the cave with me. Did that mean she’d come back to get it? Then I noticed that Anna had a text. I checked the text and saw it was from her voicemail service, telling her that she had a new message. I listened to the voicemail. As it went on, I turned whiter and whiter.
“Hi. Don’t worry Ria. It’s me, Anna if you didn’t know. Look, I’ve gone looking for help. You remember H N F? Well, they might help us don’t you think? I’m going to look for them to help us. Stay where you are. Don’t ring this number back. My phone is with you. Keep it. I might ring it every now and again. Just because you lost yours when Frank took it to ring me yesterday. It will come up as an unknown number but just answer it. Right, remember this. There’s some money in my bag so go and spend it on some food and drink or something. Don’t spend pointlessly! See you soon. I’ll be back in touch soon. Keep the phone on at all times. Don’t worry. Bye.”
The crackly voicemail voice said, “This message from unknown number was left on the 7 April 2012 at 23,57.”
I pressed the button to save the message and cut the old woman’s voice off. The message had been left after I’d gone to sleep last night. I looked in Anna’s many bags but gave up halfway through the search. I sat on the ground, putting my head in my hands and sobbed. Sobbed for the world. Sobbed for myself. Most of all though, I sobbed for Anna.
I stamped around the cave and continued the search for the money. Then I found a pouch marked with a pound sign. I opened it up and found… no money. Instead, there was a folded note which read as follows:
This is a warning we’re giving to you and if I were you I’d read and take notice of the words printed here.
Your Gran might not be gone. You may be able to get her back. All you have to do is abandon Anna and then we’ll see. She was working for the Liberation Nerts anyway.
We will know if you have accepted in the following manner. If you stay in the cave for four days you have accepted the invitation we have given you. Upon your acceptance, your next set of instructions will be delivered to you.
You know what the right choice is. Trust your heart.
What? What was it on about? Who was it from? Was it Anna trying to trick me? No, she wouldn’t do that to me. Or would she? My sight began to go blurry and I felt tears trickling down my cheeks. I didn’t even bother to try and wipe them away. Anna had told me to stay put but if I did that I’d be playing right into the hands of whoever wanted Anna dead. Anyway, I’d seen my Gran die. Was she really alive or was I being tricked? Maybe this note was from the Liberation Nerts. Anna had quit from there so maybe they were determined to get her and kill her.
Anna was looking for H N F. She had her own difficulties searching all over the country. I had a horrible decision to make. We were separated and were confronted with our own problems. Was that the Liberation’s plans to separate us? Then they could throw troubles at both of us. Was Anna ok? I had no idea whatsoever.
I was sure about one thing and one thing only. I would save Gran and Anna if it was my life’s work. I’d go through hell to keep them both alive and well. That is, as long as it’s possible. I don’t know how my Gran can be alive after what I saw two days ago but I’ll search until my dying day. I swear I will. I swear I will. I swear.
Chapter 4–The Search Is On (the find too)
Give me the microphone. Hey, Anna here. Ria has eventually stopped chattering on and given me the microphone. So you have the one and only… me. (Ria’s telling me that we only have a few hours and so I should get on with it.)
Right, Ria was telling you about the crash right? (Ria is now telling me actually she was telling you all about when I left her.)
Well, I collected some essentials and made my way out of the cave, careful not to disturb Ria in the process. I stood outside our temporary living quarters and shivered. Not with the cold but with fear and anxiety for what I was about to start. I gave myself a thorough telling off. I could not hesitate. Any hesitation would be the death of me and I knew it. H N F were my only hope. I had to find them and then track down Frank, Laura and Garry.
With one last look at my surroundings I set off on my travels. I had several ideas about where to start my search. I’d used my I’phone and surfed the web for anything that might help. Several maps had appeared but nothing for sure. As the locations of the multiple places were reasonably near where I was at the moment (according to the built in GPS system on the phone I’d found on the ground and borrowed) I decided to go ahead. I started up the GPS app on the borrowed phone (Ria says I stole it) and set my first location. I’d made a map of where to go first, second, third etc. I made it make sense so I was going in some sort of order and not doubling back on myself (well, not any more than I could help.) I turned left. I turned right. I turned right. I turned left. I took the middle fork. I walked across the square. I turned left. I lost track from then on and simply followed the directions the phone was giving me. I didn’t like being dependent on a piece of technology that could break down at any minute but it was my only option and I had to lump it. Eventually, I arrived at my `destination`. I think I got to the wrong destination as a boarded up house didn’t look like an organisations headquarters. I searched anyway although the results were pointless. A book and a strange lock on the front door. No help in that. I moved on.
It was maybe 11,30 PM now and I thought about Ria for the first time since the beginning of my journey. She must have been worried sick. I ran to the nearest phone box and took out the minimal money supplies I’d taken with me. I shoved them into the coin slot and dialled my mobile number. It rang. It rang. It rang. It rang. Then my own cheerful voice could be heard through the speakers! I realised that it was a voicemail message.
“Please leave a message after the tone!”
I followed my request and left my message. Part way through the message my voice began to crack but I tried to hide it. I hung up the phone and let the flood of tears roll down my cheeks.
I huddled myself into the corner of the box and tried to prevent the tears from rushing down my face but to no avail. I cursed myself harshly. How could I have left Ria all alone? What kind of friend was I? Now, you guys out there who are unfortunate enough to be listening to this may be wondering how I could care so much when twenty-four hours ago I’d killed this girl’s gran. Well if you think that, you need to get it into your head that I hate myself for doing that. I’ll never forgive myself.
Just as I was busy feeling sorry for myself and feeling very cold, a grubby-looking man opened the door and entered the telephone box next to me. I looked at him wearily. I couldn’t make out his facial features in the dim light of the moon outside which worried me. What if it was Garry, back for revenge? I’d have no hope here, battling in the deadly silence with no passing person to lend a helping hand.
I scampered to the door but this man blocked my way. I shoved him out of the way and kept going. He yelled after me but I ignored him. My GPS system was beeping at me, alerting me I was heading the wrong way. I didn’t care. I flung myself into a bush as running footsteps went past me. I shuddered as I recognised those shoes, those yells. It was Frank.
I let him pass and then slowly stood up, shaking leaves out of my hair and clothes. I looked a wreck. I could see that without looking in a mirror. I looked at my GPS app on my phone and it told me that my destination was the same way Frank had just gone. Should I go? Well, if Frank was going that way to destroy H N F then I guess I should go too, to save them of course. I stealthily followed Frank, keeping him enough distance away that he wouldn’t suspect anything but near enough that I didn’t lose sight of him. He strode on, making me trot to keep up. I prayed that my GPS system wouldn’t give me away. Thank god it didn’t but something else did. This phone rang! Of course, as it wasn’t mine I had no idea who `Betty Grayham` was but I didn’t really want to speak to her either. I’d probably be arrested for stealing a phone or something. Look, big tip to all you heroes out there. Don’t follow a villain who doesn’t know you’re there with a phone that isn’t on silent and isn’t yours. It can give you away instantly. It did me. Frank turned on his heel and stared straight into my eyes. I ran.
“Stop!” called Frank. Like a completely mental person, I froze. I ever-so-slowly turned my head and spotted Mr Hazel stalking towards me, a look of pure glee on his face. I couldn’t stand for that. I continued my running. I ran round the block as I gathered that if I went round the block I’d be facing the other way. Then I could at least head for H N F who should help me and not fight me instead. Frank must have assumed my plan as when I came round the block I found him smiling, barring my path.
“I’m cleverer than that, little girl,” he chortled, grabbing my T-shirt. Now what I’m about to tell you isn’t good. I slipped out of my T-shirt and, after a few deep breaths, forced myself to be sick all over Frank Hazel. I can do things like that.
After that I pushed him over and continued my journey down the moonlit road (after getting my top back of course). I came out on to a main road which, although not as many as usual, had some cars racing up and down it. My instincts earlier were right as just at that moment the first few clean, white, fluffy snowflakes came tumbling out of the sky and began to settle on the pavement ahead, behind and generally all around me. Hang on, snow, in summer? I don’t believe it! But then, I’m not believing much nowadays and yet I still get on with life. My footsteps began to crunch beneath me. I thought of Ria. Had the cave been blocked in? Was she ok? I’d had some change from the last phone call. Should I ring her? I decided against it. I would just start crying. I’d find something first.
I walked for hours! On a map it didn’t look far but it must have been miles away. As I walked the light of the sunrise began to shine over me, making the snow twinkle like the stars that had been in the sky no longer than an hour before. (Ria is telling me to stop sounding so poetic.) I began to walk down a quiet back street as my navigator was instructing me to. I walked across a park with the swings covered in a thick blanket of snow.
When I turned into a driveway and looked up at a tall building looming above me, I knew it was the right place. I just had this feeling. It was a tall building, maybe four or five floors high with an automatic door and many windows. I trembled. I needed to go through the door and inside. I needed help.
“Can I help you?” asked the receptionist, looking at me skeptically.
“Erm,” I started. “I’m looking for H…”
“N F?” the woman asked helpfully.
“Yes,” I said, giving her a grateful look.
“This way,” she told me and walked towards a bank of lifts. She pressed a button on one of the controls and the doors slid open revealing a space big enough to fit maybe ten or eleven people inside.
“Just take the lift and when it stops turn left and then enter room B18,” she instructed me and so I thanked her and stepped into the lift.
The lift took a while to arrive but in the end there was a sharp ping and the doors smoothly glided open. There was a plain, white, clean passage leading both ways. I stepped out of the lift and turned to the left. As I progressed further down the passage doors began to appear. Odd numbers to the left and even numbers to the right. I found B18 and stood outside. I took a deep breath. I knocked.
“Come in,” called a man’s voice from the room beyond.
I opened the door gingerly and walked in. The walls were a light blue and there were filing cabinets all over the place. In the centre of the room there was a chair behind a desk which was littered with papers. The man himself looked kind and friendly.
“Hello,” I began. “I’m Anna.”
“Ahhh yes,” the man said, studying me intently. “I heard you were coming.”
“How?” I asked, amazed.
“I can’t give all my secrets away,” the man chuckled. “What I will say though is that you were very clever to get here. It’s a bit of a shame that I must destroy you.”
I gasped. What did he mean? H N F were good, right?
Without any warning the man sprang at me, grabbing me from around my neck. I screamed but he slapped his hand over my mouth. He tossed me upside down. All my blood rushed to my head. At that point I must have passed out.
I woke in a comfortable bed which was in a beautiful room smelling of chocolate with a window. I sat up and saw a woman next to me. I didn’t know her but I was not going to take any chances.
Just as I sprang to my feet the door swung open and the man from earlier entered. I jumped up and ran out of the room. I found a lift and punched the ground button. The doors slowly opened but before they were fully open I dashed inside. I knocked another man flying but I didn’t have time to stop and say sorry. The lift went painfully slowly but I eventually reached the ground floor.
I stepped out of the lift and walked straight into a woman with a baby in her arms.
“Sorry,” I muttered and tried to push past the lady. She wouldn’t let me. I took a good look at her, getting ready to punch her but I recognised her as one of the people that had seen the car accident. I quickly made my excuses and continued. I pushed the heavy door of H N F but they wouldn’t budge. I shoved them but not even my best attempt could prize the doors ajar.
“Please,” I said in my most polite voice. “Could you unlock the doors for me?”
“I’m sorry,” the receptionist said and then, due to my confused look she added, “Orders from high up.”
“What?” I asked. I couldn’t believe what she’d just said.
“However,” the girl continued, looking around to check nobody could overhear us. “I’m going to let you out on the condition that you tell nobody.”
“I wont tell a soul,” I promised. Of course, back then I didn’t know that I would tell a soul. Well, not a soul apart from Ria.
The receptionist walked cautiously over to the door and took a small key from her pocket. She turned the key in the lock and swung the door open. I quickly ran out of the H N F offices and nodded my thanks to the girl. Then I ran.
I found my way back to the cave with not too much difficulty and ducked inside. Ria jumped up and gave me a great hug.
“Where have you been?” she asked.
Where should I begin?
Chapter 5–Capture and Lily
She’d come back! She’d remembered me! I thought after that message she… she wasn’t coming back. But she’d come! Come for me!
“Where have you been?” I repeated through tears of pure delight and joy.
“Well,” said Anna. “I went to find H N F and they’ve all turned evil and I escaped through a locked door and ran back to the cave and a receptionist helped me and…”
“Slow down,” I said, “I need you to start at the beginning.”
Anna explained slowly and I got the facts at last. I was so stunned. H N F had turned into F N H! I never thought that would happen.
“And so,” Anna concluded, “the receptionist gave a helping hand.”
“Waaaaaa!” whined a voice from the back of the cave. We both jumped and spun to see the last person we expected.
“A baby?” Anna asked, confused.
“Waaaaaa!” repeated the baby more insistently this time. However, me and Anna had no idea what it was insisting. It could have been wanting to eat cheese or asking to smash a window!
Anna gave the baby a funny look, almost as if she had seen it before. Had she seen it before. They definitely had a likeness. The same eyes. The same pointy ears. Hang on! Oh god! That was it wasn’t it? Anna had a… I got that thought straight out of my head. I didn’t want to think about it. But I had to think. I couldn’t stand this not knowing.
“Lily,” whispered Anna softly as her eyes began watering. No not just watering. She was crying. I ran to comfort her but she pushed me away as if she didn’t want to be with me.
“Anna?” I said, a questioning note in my voice. “What? How”
“It’s my child,” Anna said and cried harder.
The floor beneath me disappeared and I fell unsupported. My heart bounced up from my feet to my head. Anna’s child. Anna’s child. Anna’s child. Just those two words could make my head go into complete madness. I didn’t know what I was thinking. Was I happy? Was I jealous? No, I was j… j… emotionless.
“It’s my child,” Anna repeated, more strength in her voice this time. “The child I had with Michael.”
“Michael?” I asked. “Who’s Michael?”
“My boy, boyfriend,” Anna told me, her voice losing its conviction as quickly as the strength had filled it only seconds before. “My friend.”
Anna, a fourteen-year-old girl and she had a child? This baby looked… I don’t know… eighteen months or so? I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t believe it! Anna rushed at the child but at the feel of its skin she let go. She dropped to her knees and picked the child up, cradling the youngster in her shaking arms. It looked as if it needed a bit of tlc but where could it get some of that around here. The faces we’d seen yesterday during the crash had looked harsh, even mean. This baby didn’t deserve t… this baby… this baby… not just this baby. Not just this baby but Anna’s baby. It wasn’t just any old child.
“Michael,” said Anna, turning to face me. “Michael. We were f… similar backgrounds. Both on the streets. And, well, we loved each other. Not just like any old love. I mean really strong stuff. We had Lily but he left me before she was born. He, was on the run. From the police. Mistaken identity. They had no right to go after his like that. I hope he’s alive but its just so unlikely. I wanted to find him, to show him our baby but I never did.”
Then I passed out. It may have just been shock of seeing Anna and her baby and hearing her tale. All of it must have taken me over and now I was passed out.
Next thing I knew I could hear a whining sound, like a cat being strangled (trust me, I’ve heard it). Anna was trying to comfort what ever was making the noise but wasn’t succeeding. Then I realised it was Lily. I sat up slowly, wondering what Lily was moaning about. I looked around and saw something I really didn’t expect.
“Woof!” the dog barked.
“Waaaaaaaaaaa!” the baby moaned.
“Anna?” I asked, looking at the dog as if it was a bomb ready to go off any minute.
“I’m trying to get rid of it,” she answered and just then she threw a stick out into the open. The dog bounded after the stick while I shoved stones in front of the cave entrance. All daylight was shut out and we were in total darkness.
Footsteps crunched on the gravel outside. Quick, smooth footsteps, as if the dog was coming back, hunting for a way into the cave. Then they stopped. The sound of breathing could be clearly heard through the rock of the cave. I looked at Anna, and our looks were identical. They were looks of confusion. Who was standing outside of the cave? Or rather, what was standing outside our cave?
“Who is it?” I asked in a hushed whisper. “I mean who’s ou…”
“I know what you mean you idiot,” Anna retorted. “I don’t know. And, to be honest with you, I don’t want to find out.”
I crawled to the cave entrance, where we’d stacked rocks only minutes before and tried to press my ear against them. But the unusual angle of the rocks poked my head. It was painful! I didn’t try that again! I closed my eyes for a minute and then opened them again. Something had changed. At first, I couldn’t work out what but then I saw it. The rocks were moving! The entrance block was moving, just enough for me to see out. Just enough for someone to peek in.
The first sign of the person outside was the ugly face peering in at us. Lily whined and shook her fists at the man–or was it a woman, it wasn’t clear. The features of it were rather unclear in the narrow gap of the rocks. However, I could see pretty clearly that the person was grinning. Grinning in a way that I… didn’t exactly like. It was a mean, nasty, intimidating smile, used by those who wish to scare and yet not scare themselves. I looked away although it was too late. The person, who I think now was a man, had seen my face and was surely going to call out to me.
Five minutes passed. Then ten. Then fifteen. I thought it would be safe now but then a sound of moving rocks got my attention. Oh gosh, he was moving the rocks aside, coming in! I dared not scream out for Anna as they may punish me in some strange, harsh, frightening way.
The stranger continued pushing rocks aside. Lily was oddly silent. It was a bit unnerving all this quiet. I exchanged a look with Anna, well tried to but she wasn’t looking in my direction. She wasn’t looking at Lily or the stranger either. She was just staring into space, a fixed look on her face. Eyes open, mouth slightly drooped. Her chest didn’t even move with the pattern of her breathing. Hang on. No breathing. No breathing. No… breathing…
Oh god! Anna! She wasn’t… no, she couldn’t be. Not after all we’d been through. I charged at Anna, shook her, shouted at her twisted her. No reaction. But then, the two tiny wounds on her wrists became noticeable to me. The tiny pools of red blood at her hands. No, she hadn’t done it on purpose. She wasn’t the type to just give up. And Lily. What about Lily? No, this couldn’t be true.
But it was and the stranger seemed to know it as he stuck his knife into my back and pushed me out of the cave. It wasn’t a hard push but I got the message. I struggled and that knife would go bang into my spine and I’d be like Anna. As dead as a doornail as Dickens said in, one of his boring books that we’d read at school when I was half asleep.
I was bundled into a long, black car with tinted windows so no one could see in and, I suppose more importantly, I couldn’t see out. There was a partition between the passenger area and the drivers seat. I guessed I was in the passenger area. When the doors had shut, a few silent seconds passed. The car must have been soundproof as I didn’t hear the man go to the drivers door until it opened and he got in. The car immediately started and we zoomed off into the afternoon light.
Hours and hours and hours and hours passed before we actually stopped but even then I wasn’t let out. The drivers door slammed shut but my door didn’t open, not even after half-an-hour. I fell to the floor and put my head in my hands. I just cried. I thought about Anna’s body. Just the little pools of blood. And she wouldn’t even get a proper funeral or burial either.
The van door opened and in came… the police? But not happy looking. I was dragged out and was thrust into the police station where we’d arrived.
I was in a cell made of stone. Nothing in there. Just stone. I’d tried to explain what had happened earlier to a strict looking officer but she’d simply looked at me scornfully and walked on as if I didn’t exist.
A note was posted through the bottom of my door. I looked amazed at it and then picked it up, unfolded it and began to read.
Righting this fast. Look, the pleace are bad. There after us for some thing. Don’t wurry. It’ll be ok. I wos protending 2 b ded so thay wood not take 2 much truble with me. Just no that I’m still hear. Sea u soon. Be carm.
Anna! She was alive! Or was it fake? No, it had to be her! I mean, there was loads of mistakes. I’ll list them:
(4) Some thing
Nineteen mistakes! But it had to be her! I trusted her. Just at that moment, I heard the key in the lock of the door. I shoved the letter in my pocket and acted as if nothing was wrong. The same officer I’d tried to talk to earlier entered, snapped handcuffs on me and took me out of my cell and towards the open door and the end of the passage.
I was in the cave and saw Ria being, well, kidnapped. I followed. Well, at first I did but then, I really needed to speed up so I, um, jumped on the roof of the car top: It was easy. Lily, well, I had to leave her behind. Well, when I arrived I was obviously spotted by the police and carted off. I quickly wrote a note and slipped it under the cell door marked Ria Hazel. Then I was stuck in my own boring cell. Soon I was led away down a passage and I caught sight of Ria! She was ok! Thank goodness for that! But we were being led outside! Whatever for? I wasn’t expecting the police just to put us in a car and say “Here you go. Have a nice day.”
There was a crowd outside all watching us. We were sat in two big chairs and were strapped in tightly. I could barely breathe! There was a short speech with language I couldn’t understand. But then a needle was injected into me. A sharp needle. And it hurt like hell.
Oh god, I’d worked it out now. But I was too slow.
“Ria!” I screamed. “Ria! Ria! Ria! Ria!”
“Anna!” Ria cried back.
Then it all stopped! I was being lifted up, taken away and put in a car with Ria. We were being driven. I couldn’t think properly. Then we stopped. Out of the car. On a stage. Lots of people. Sharp thing in my back.
My consciousness was fading, fading, fading… I… couldn’t think… properly…
Snap out of it! No, too late. Too late. Too… late…
Before The Beginning
Note: Anna’s past was complicated. You can stop reading here and not here about it or you can read on and here this distressing tale.
Why would they care? I’m just here, in this doorway, begging. I’ve made 42 pence all day. Not even enough to use a train station loo. I need sleep. But what if someone shoots, steels, anything? I’ve got to keep watch. Watch for a mate, a person to hang out with. To stay close to. To protect me. I had a quick nap in Tesco Extra’s doorway. I hope they wouldn’t mind.
“Hello?” I woke to see a boy, about my age looking down at me. It was obvious he was homeless too. Not unkind just worried.
“Yes,” I said warily.
“Could I stay with you?” he asked timidly. “I’m new at this. You know, begging, living rough, being on the…”
“Yeah, yeah, stop the chat,” I said. “You can if you want,” I added, seeing I’d hurt his feelings.
So for weeks, month even years me and the boy, Michael, were getting closer and closer. And then one day, it happened. He took me to a toilet and we just loved…
But then he had to go. He said he’d be back in a minute or two but he never came. I just sat in the toilet and let the tears stream down night after night. That’s when I got a grip on life. I went to a school, got an education and tried to forget. But it didn’t happen.
Nothing could ever be the same.
Why It Turned Out Like This
Note: Ria’s childhood was not easy. Some diary entries have been found and inserted here.
Tuesday December 9, 2007
Dad and Gran arguing again. Something about the right side? Dunno. H N F and Liberation something. Mum tried to block me from hearing but I heard alright. Didn’t like it. Scary. Keep getting scared that Mum and Dad and Gran my split up. Where would I go? Mum is cool and comes to shop for dresses with me. Dad likes me more b…
Mum coming. Going.
Thursday December 25th, 2007
Christmas. Very dismal. Presents rubbish. Who wants an IPod? I’ve already got an IPhone! Turkey was alright. Gran cooked it. Gran is a good cook. She used to cook at my school and everyone would come back for more! She gave up. Too stressful. Board. Going to bed.
Thursday January 1st, 2008
New Year’s Day
Another year older! Yay! Eight now! And I can spell eight! Big birthday cake. As I said, what, a week ago, Gran is a great cook and she baked the cake. There was a big party and all my friends came round. Anna tried but Gran got her out real quick! Oh, I’ve got a new phone! The newest IPhone! Yay! Another year older, another year wiser, or so they say.