"Will you miss us?"

What happens when things are hard for children and they have no one to turn to? How do they cope when they are lost and alone? For these kids, things are too tough and they only see one way out of it-to run away.

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2. Dear Mum,

Dear Mum,

You won't get this letter, I doubt anyone will. As soon as I've finished it, I'm going to put it in my bag. And I'll probably take it out again in the winter to keep warm.

I really liked Larkbush Mum, I did. Sorry that I yelled at you when I found out. It's going to sound childish but I suppose I though you didn't love me any more and you liked Ricky better. I'm popular here and I've got some amazing friends. Friends who I'm going to leave.

I was in a band here, can you believe it? I played the drums and I got to deafen people. It was fun! My friends Shayne and Kat sang and Kai would play guitar. We were good, really good. So good in fact that we won a talent contest. Did you hear about it? We were in the paper and all. I loved every second of it.

So why am I writing this pointless letter? Why am I sitting in my room with the few possessions I have left while my friends are dancing and laughing? And why am I using big words? Heh heh. Big words. Kat's right, I am a five year old. Anyway, I'm going to tell you.

 

The crowd cheered as we took a bow, or rather my friends did. My ears were ringing from the loudness of the drums. I grinned as Shayne came over, lifting my hands into the air and the crowd cheered louder. Laughing, I stood up carefully to not knock over the drums and bowed properly before we all jumped off the stage, our signature thing. Aoife ran over to Shayne and jumped into his arms. He smiled, kissing her hair. It's so good to see him happy.

"Well come on then you lot!" Kat said, her Essex accent stronger that normal. "We've got to get changed, yeah?"

"Why?" Shayne asked, swinging Aoife's hand.

Kat rolled her eyes. "There is the ball you know," she said. "And I have the best shoes in the entire world that I haven't worn yet." Kai coughed, grinning and Kat giggled. "And the best boyfriend," she added.

"Thank you," Kai said, kissing her cheek. "Now go on, I haven't seen these shoes yet. Or the dress. Or how amazing Kathryn Thrush will look in a dress."

"Shut up, you know I hate being called Kathryn." Kat faked looking annoyed and Kai laughed.

"It is a ball you know," Shayne said, grinning. "We must be formal, my lady Kathryn. We men shall dress in suits and you lovely ladies will wear long flowing dresses."

"I can't do posh Shay," Kat objected.

I laughed. "Go on, go get changed into this pretty dress we've all heard about. I can't do posh either, I sound completely demented."

"That is because you are not gifted like we are, my dear Ryan O'Nally," Kai said. "You have not yet learned the ways of the posh English accents."

"There aint any posh English accents," Kat pointed out as Aoife and Nieve dragged her off. "There's London accents and Manchester accents and Liverpool accents and Essex accents and-"

"You've made your point."

 

My friends are cool. I love them to bits, they're so funny. I'll miss them so much. I wonder what will happen to them. Kat will cry probably, Kai will try calming her down while looking everywhere for me and Shayne-I don't want to think about what Shayne will do.

I was the 'one with the plan', that's what they called me. If there was a midnight feast, they went to me to organise it. I loved it. Someone's got an unfair detention-it was up to me to figure out a way to let them escape. I'm different here Mum, so much different. Everyone likes me. But only two understand why I'm here.

 

"You never did say why you came here," said Shayne.

Kat nodded. "Yeah, everyone else has a reason. I burnt four trees in a week."

"And I basically need to be in an asylum," Shayne said, grinning.

I laughed. "You're not mad Shay. Where's Kai?" My attempt to change the subject was unsuccessful.

"Exams," Kat said simply. "And you can't change the subject that easily, c'mon Ryan. Whyyyyy?"

I shrugged. "I really don't want to say..."

"Tell me."

"Please?"

Sighing, I fiddled with my hoodie sleeve. "I'm not meant to be here, I didn't do anything."

"Why do you always muck around with your sleeve?" Shayne asked. "Are you hiding anything?" He pulled the sleeve up, ignoring my protests, and gasped. "Ryan!"

"I didn't do it!" I said. "I swear, that wasn't me!" I quickly tugged the sleeve back down, covering the almost-healed scar.

"Then who did?" Kat asked quietly. "What happened to you?" She looked at me, her eyes wide and worried.

"My brother," I said softly. "My twin brother. Ricky bullied me last year, put me in a bin full of glass. That's how I got the scar. Okay? No more questions?"

They were quiet for a while then Shayne said, "You've got the worst reason out of everyone here. God. Your twin brother?"

I nodded, looking at my feet. "Yep. I don't know why he did it..."

Kat put her arm around me. "We won't tell Ryan, promise," she said. "Right Shayne?"

Shayne nodded. "Never ever," he said. "Cross my heart and hope to die."

I smiled. "Thanks."

 

Ricky bullied me, mum, did you not know? He's not the perfect boy you thought he was. He's horrible, him and Rob put me in that bin. I did none of the things that Ricky said I did, I swear.

But you won't know. You won't get this letter and maybe you won't see me again. I'm going to run away so I don't have to see Ricky and his gang again. I might come home one day, when I think I'm brave enough to face Ricky again. It's sort of funny, I could start a whole new life somewhere new and you'd never know.

I want you to remember one thing Mum-I love you. I'm not doing this to hurt you. I know things aren't that good between you and Dad right now and I'm sure that me running away will make things worse. I'm sorry.

I promise I'll see you again one day.

 

Ryan.

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