Stained draft.indd

Chapter 1: The Kite Must Fly!

RUN!

Run faster!

I could hear the words loud in my head as I scurried away. It was a beautiful, warm June evening, but my body was shivering.

I was sprinting like a maniac, although I had no idea how, as though some gust of mysterious wind was dragging me along, like a flimsy kite on a string; the kite flies high only because of the wind, but descends lifelessly to the ground without it.

I alone could hear the silent screams in my head as I raced across the park toward home. And only I could hear the tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. It was still ringing in my ears. Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock. Piercing through my head, in and out, around and around. Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock.

When I got to the front gate of our old, stone, terraced house, I stopped dead. They could not see me like this. I clung hard to the curls of iron at the top of the gate, the whites of my knuckles protruding, and dimming the redness of the scratches on my hands.

I wiped my tears with my sleeve, leant over and slowly opened the gate. I tentatively went up the two stone steps, and peered through the letterbox. Neither of them was in the hallway, so I entered the house, painstakingly quietly, and crept up the stairs. Just as I reached the landing, I heard my mum’s voice shouting from the bottom of the stairs.

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