Nowhere

She is hanging below me, clinging to a loose rope. I reach out. She’s too far away. She is too afraid to let go, and I am too afraid to lean out any further.
She’s helpless.
The rope creaked ominously. I look up instinctively, and in that second I see the rope snap high above us. My head snaps down in an instant. Just quick enough to see her fall.
I hear my own screams mixed in with hers.
“Megan…!”
***

Lauren's friend, Megan, died five years ago and Lauren has never really gottten over it. Finally she decides that it's time for her to face her fears. She goes back to the place Megan died, hoping to find it in herslef to move on. What she doesn't bargin on is what she discovers about her death. What really happened? And what has it got to do with Lauren? All the while she finds herself falling for boy she'd have ben better off running far away from...

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10. Why?

My mouth falls open, my jaw almost hitting the floor. I try to make my mouth work, but nothing comes out. Alicia, however, has still has the full use of her voice, and she uses it. “YOU WERE GOING TO KILL HER?!”

  Tyler hangs his head low, but doesn’t deny it. My heart beats erratically. No, no, no. This is not happening. All I can do is stare; the boy I have a crush on, the boy who, despite everything, I still have feelings for was – or is? I don’t know anymore – trying to kill me. Why is my life so messed up?

  “Tyler Donald Harrison, why on earth did you agree to it?!” I can hear the forced calm in her voice. I envy her, because right now, I don’t have a calm cell in my body. What did I do? What did I do to deserve being hunted down and killed? I want to move away from Tyler, turn as far away as possible, but because of my stupid leg, I can barely shuffle to the other side of the bed, but Tyler doesn’t move to stop me this time.

  “I- I’m sorry, but I was just too wrapped up in the past – in revenge.”

  “Sorry isn’t good enough! You were going to become a murderer! Whatever someone’s done they don’t deserve to die for it! And Lauren hasn’t even done anything, and you were still going to kill her!”

  I watch Alicia rant, but at the same time a thought occurs to me, somehow this one rational thought weaves its way into my consciousness. “But you didn’t.” I speak so quietly that my voice can’t be heard over Alicia’s shouts, but, to me, the thought brings back the rest of reality. If he was going to kill me he had plenty of chances where it was just me and him, but even then, when nobody was around, he didn’t. Okay, so he was cold and distant, but that’s better than murderous. And if I’m here now - Tyler must have been the one who saved me from Yasmin and her men, so he saved my life instead of taking it.

  “Stop.” I say with more confidence this time. Alicia pauses mid-scream and Tyler halts his mumblings, looking up at me in surprise. I look back at him, hard-faced. “You didn’t kill me, why not?”

  I see relief flood his face, but another glance at my stormy expression, his smile vanishes to be replaced by a serious frown. “I didn’t believe them. I just could believe you deserved to die. So I kept putting it off, telling myself that I wanted to get closer to you, to know the best way to kill you.” We both wince as he says it, but he carries on. “Yasmin started to get suspicious and-”

  “Why couldn’t Yasmin k- kill me?” I have to force the words out. “Why did she need you?”

  He frowns, “I always assumed that it was just because she didn’t want to get her hands dirty, but turns out... turns out I was wrong.”

  “How?”

  “It was a test. It was all a test to see if I was dedicated to the Service, if I would kill for it. Turns out I failed. Miserably.” He pauses, but I stay quiet, not knowing what to say. “The ropes weren’t faulty yesterday, Yasmin made sure she’d fall.” He pulls in a breath. “When Megan died it was no accident either-”

  “Tyler, I know.”

  He head jerks up, “You know?”

  I nod my head slowly, tears springing to my eyes at the thought of Megan. “Yasmin told me. I was meant to die that day, but Megan died instead. The same thing happened with Chloe, except thank god no one died this time.” I sniff, holding back the waterworks.

  Tyler nods his head slowly, but he runs a hand through his hair, looking nervous. “Lauren...” I raise my eyebrows for him to continue. “Would you... were you actually going to jump?”

  His words feel like a stab to the heart. I look down, not wanting to lie but not wanting to hurt him with the truth either. “I...” I take a breath. “I think I would have.”

  His eyes fill with so much pain I can’t bare to look at him. “You would have killed yourself?”

  “Tyler, right then I would have jumped. You’ve no idea what was going through my head. I just... I thought I’d killed her. I didn’t see the point in living because I’d have to go through the same pain as with Megan.”

  A lone tear makes a path down my cheek and Tyler reaches out a hand and brushes it away. His touch sends shivers down my spine. I can feel myself instantly relax at his touch. “It’s okay, Chloe didn’t die and she’s going to be fine.” He whispers softly. He’s so close that I can feel his breath on my lips. I so badly want to lean in and close the distance between us, but then I remember that Tyler’s mum is standing in the doorway and I pull back quickly.

  I glance at her and she smiles slyly at me, before crossing her arms over her chest and looking seriously at Tyler again. “Care to explain? What’s all this about suicide?”

  I look down awkwardly. It’s not exactly a moment I’m proud of, but I feel I have to explain, not Tyler. “I- when Chloe fell from the rope course, I was about to jump after her, but Tyler stopped me.” I smile gratefully at him.

  “Oh no, dear!” Alicia hurries towards me and wraps around me, trying not to hurt my arm. “Lauren darling, don’t you ever do that, however bad things get you can never take your own life.” She pulls back slightly to look me in the eyes. Hers are the same colour as Tyler’s. “Promise me you’ll never do that again?”

  “I promise.”

  She sighs, “Good, that’s one less thing to worry about.” She sits back on the edge of the bed and I try not to wince as the bed dips consequently moving my leg.

  I look back at Tyler. “What did Yasmin do when you saved me?”

  He tousles his hair nervously, making it look like he’s just gotten out of bed. Cute. I shake my head; Concentrate Lauren, you’re being hunted by the secret service. “She wasn’t happy to say the least. We didn’t have any chance to speak until after everything had calmed down at the hospital, but she was suspicious. She asked me what the hell I was doing. I told her some shi-” He starts to swear, but then remembers his mothers presence. “Some rubbish about how I needed to gain your trust, but she saw right through me.”

  “What did she do?”

  He realises he’s stopped talking and gathers his thoughts. “Um... I had my argument with you and followed you to the woods.” We both look away awkwardly. Alicia looks between us quizzically but doesn’t say anything. “After you left I was ambushed by some of Yasmin’s men. They tried to kill me, but I got away. I knew straight away there was something wrong, so I came to find you.”

  That explains a lot.

  We sit in silence for a few minutes, each of us lost in our own thoughts.

  “Why didn’t they follow us?” I look worriedly at Alicia as I say it; what would happen if they turned up at her front door.

  “They did, but I had to ditch my car. I took Flynn’s instead. It was an emergency.” He adds as I glare at him. I don’t want Flynn dragged into this as well. “We’ll have to go soon before they trace us here, but they don’t know about his house. Luna made sure that Mum had a place to go that the government doesn’t know about, just in case anything ever happened.” He shrugs. “I guess this is the sort of thing she was talking about.”

  “So we’re going to find your sister?” He nods. I motion to my leg. “I’m not going anywhere fast like this.”

  Tyler sighs exasperatedly. “I know; we might have to stay here a bit longer – two days at the most.”

  I look up at him nervously, asking the question that’s been on my mind ever since I woke up, but I don’t really want to know the answer to. “Why do they want to kill me so much?”

  “I always thought it was because you were a danger to society, and international criminal or something, but now? I just don’t know.”

  “Yasmin... She... she said they wanted something in my head?”

  “Something in your head?” Tyler looks just as confused as me. I feel disappointed; I thought maybe Tyler would know what that meant, but he’s as clueless as me. So they’re trying to kill me, but they don’t even know why? Perfect. Note the sarcasm.

  I close my eyes and lean back on the headboard. I try and assemble my thoughts. So Tyler was going to kill me, but he couldn’t bring himself to do it. When he saved me, Yasmin decided to take matters into her own hands and kill me, but I got away. The rush of memories from the fight overwhelm me, and I remember something that I don’t know how I could ever have forgotten; Yasmin’s expression as the knife thuds into her chest, and the surprise as she fell to the floor.

  I bury my face in my hands, ignoring the pain in my broken arm. “Oh god, oh god...”

  “Lauren?” Tyler asks tentatively. I see both of them looking down at me.

  “What happened to Yasmin?” I choke out.

  Tyler’s eyes widen as he realises what I’m getting at. “I don’t know, I just drove off, I didn’t check.”

  “Is – is she – de- dead?” The forced words come out as barely a whisper. I can see Tyler’s conflicting expression; he doesn’t know what to tell me for the best. “I want the truth Tyler.” I say a little more confidently.

  “I- she might be.”

  I squeeze my eye shut against the nightmare unfolding in front of me. The nightmare also know as my life.

  I killed her. I killed Yasmin. She was evil, but that doesn’t mean she deserved to die. I’m a murderer. How ironic; she was the one meant to murder me, but that backfired on her. Now she’s dead, and it’s all my fault. I rebury my head in the pillows on the bed. I want to wake up, I want to be in my own bed back at home. I want this all to have been a nightmare, in a minute I will wake up, and none of this will have happened. But I know even now that I could never have dreamt this up. It’s all too real.

  “Lauren, she might not be dead. Lots of people are stabbed and they survive.”

  I lift my head off my pillow. “It was right in the heart Tyler! Right in the heart – no one survives that.” I scream at him, angry that he is trying to lie to me. I know that she’s dead. I can just feel it. I knew the moment the knife made contact.

  “If you didn’t do it, she would have killed you.”

  “I wish she had!” The moment it comes out of my mouth, I realise it’s a mistake. I don’t mean it, however bad my life is I don’t want it to end. I lift my head to look up at Tyler and instantly regret it. The pain and regret in his eyes as he looks at me, makes me feel like I’m the one who’s been stabbed. “I didn’t mean that.”

  He turns his head away from me. “You really want your life to end that badly?”

  “No, I said I didn’t mean it, I... I’m just tired and I can’t think straight.”

  “I think we should leave you to rest now dear, we’ll give you some peace.” Alicia speaks up and stands up, dragging Tyler out of the room with her

  I flop back onto the bed, staring at the swirls on the ceiling. What am I going to do?

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