Tallie has always been normal. Just a girl at school living with her mum.
But that's all changing now.
After her mother was murdered, and the murderer never charged, she took matters of law into her own young hands. But it all went wrong. She's got to escape before everyone realises the crime she's commited. Living in a hut on a deserted moorland is her only option. Until David arrives.
He can help her; he's a police man, the only one on her side. Soon Tallie is deeply in love with David, but is he all he says to be? Or is he in fact the very man she is running from?


4. How I'll get there

If I take a train to, ooh let’s see, Manchester, I should be able to get a train to Kendal…I believe it has a train station. After that, I could get the bus to Cockermouth and then, I should be able to walk to the River Derwent and then, if I’m not too tired, I should just be able to head out into the empty space. If I take a tent, I can sleep in that, then…oh, I don’t know how I’ll be able to stay there long-term.  I guess I could…build a shack? Who am I kidding, I’m just a little kid. Sixteen year-olds are meant to just live their lives happily, but I suppose I’m not really that ordinary a sixteen year-old, seeing as I’m a murderer. That still hasn’t sunk in. I killed someone. Literally ended his life, without any real proof that he killed my mother. In fact, no proof at all. My mother could have just been writing a letter to a friend or something.

Tears are about to fall from my guilty eyes, and I let them come, let them race down my cheeks, leaving behind their mark, as I will leave behind mine. My deadly mark, the one of a killer. The mark of someone who lost all they loved, and then caused another family to lose who they loved. I really messed up badly that night, really badly.

There isn’t any time to waste though, if my aunt is to arrive at seven hundred hours. Or in modern speak, seven o’ clock. I need to start preparing my bags now.

Running up the stairs to the attic, I grab my old suitcase. It weighs a tonne, but I manage to drag it down the stairs. I fill it with all my clothes, but luckily, there’s still lots of space. I’m not really a clothes person to be honest. I’ve never been one of those people, not with my dull brown hair and my grey-green eyes. I wasn’t really a sparky, colourful person, and now that mother’s gone, I may as well colour myself in with a grey felt-tip. My hair is so greasy now, as I haven’t washed it for weeks, and my lips are pale, cracked and rough to the touch. There is sleep that seems to constantly live in the corners of my eyes, and I don’t have the time to properly wash it away. I haven’t eaten since the day she went, apart from packets of crisps and stale biscuits, so my stomach is starting to shrink down.

I feel horrible. I’m grimy and dirty, and I smell like a toilet bowl.

Turning back to my suitcase, I go back up the stairs to the attic and [pull down my own little one-man tent, its blue canvas rustling loudly in my grasp. It was a present from the very aunt who is coming tonight. Oh God, what will I tell her? I’ll have to tell I committed suicide or something, but I can’t…or can I? It’s my only option right now, or else she’ll come looking for me. It might stump the police for a while anyway, so I will, I will tell her I’ve died. It’s for her own good, I tell myself all the time I’m writing the note, because it’s true, I just can’t make myself believe it. Why is it so hard to tell a lie?

The finished note says:

Dear Auntie Saya,

I need to tell you this before I go. I love you lots, and I always will. I’m going to die tonight, at my own hand, and I’ll miss you very much. The pressure’s got to me, so badly I can’t take anymore. I need to be freed of this terrible nightmare I’m living, so I’m just going to let it all go. It may seem cowardly, but I need to stop. Stop living, stop worrying, stop grieving. Just stop.

Goodbye Saya,

The greatest love, Tallie.

It’s a terrible note, unbelievable and over the top, but that’s what I wanted, so it’ll be okay. As I pack up the tent, I think over what Saya might do when she reads it. Will she throw herself to the floor weeping? Or will she just sit there, tears falling into the empty air around her? Maybe she’ll even have a fit, or scream and shout around the house.

Then the most awful thought comes into my head. What if she kills herself too? No, she wouldn’t, she’s got a whole family, yet my brain keeps pushing the thought forward, as if it’s a warning. If she does, it will be all my fault, every bit of it. Every last awful bit of it. Because it was me who killed someone, it was me who wrote this note, it was me who lied to the police.

I never knew I could hate myself as much as I do.

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