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Cara Morgan was killed in a horrific accident. She has been sent to a parallel universe where the dead thrive. Her parents there didn't know she existed until she died, but her old parents don't know that they could make contact. Cara makes it her mission to re-join her family in her previous universe, but the dead in her world are determined to stop her. Will she ever make it back? Will she ever make contact?
*Awesome cover by Lily Anna Nightshade!*

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24. Poster

The aisles were easier to navigate than Dal had imagined, and she found herself relaxing with every step. The first item she picked up was a loaf of bread, just because she knew that it was sensible. After that, she just grabbed a random selection of fruit, some crisps, two enormous, two-litre bottles of water and a packet of her favourite sweets: Skittles. She chucked in a camping pillow and headed on for the tills, her heart suddenly beating faster at the prospect of speaking to the person on the checkout. There wasn't much of a queue, but she decided to use the self-service machines anyway. 

Five minutes later, all that anyone could hear was: "Please place item in bagging area. Please place item in bagging area. Please place-" Dal groaned and slammed the packet of Skittles down into the bagging area. The voice stopped. 

Another five minutes later, Dal was walking out of the shop, proudly carrying her bag of shopping. Instinctively, she turned right and began to walk into the car park, searching for the family Honda car. That was when she remembered: she hadn't come in the car. Inside, she felt a stirring loneliness and a rush of panic. Her parents would be worried to the point of madness; the whole family would have heard; all her school-friends would be...confused, at the very least. But then again, who were her school friends again? Yes, she had a few nice people to talk to, but she didn't have Cara. 

Cara.

She'd almost forgotten through the haze of upset the divorce had caused. 

Cara. 

Why did you have to die?! Dal screamed in her mind and as she turned back to walk through a tunnel that led back out to the fields, she felt her lip begin to tremble. Clenching her jaw, she stormed on ahead and into the tunnel.

Cara was dead. 

Dal, however, was alive. 

It was time to stop hanging onto old memories; it was time to start living her way.

~

Dal had been walking back out into the farmland for about an hour, when her trainers began to peel apart. 

"Damnit!" She yelled, stomping hard on the ground. Just her luck...

And as if the world wasn't already unfair enough, an all-too-familiar rumbling sound started up in the distance. 

"Oh my God! It cannot be raining! No no no no no! NO!" Dal screamed in frustration. Despite having almost-broken trainers and no destination, she started to run blindly into the grass, not caring where she ended up. 

Twenty minutes later, she was lying on a patch of ground, sheltered by a lone tree, sobbing her heart out. Her lilac t-shirt and shorts were soaked through - and not just by the rain: her tears had been steadily flooding her face for a while now. It felt like she couldn't stop. There was no control left in her; nothing left for her to live for. 

And yet, somehow, she managed to send herself off to sleep.

~

The light was so bright - too bright. Dal squinted through eyelids misty with sleep, before stretching out her arms. The sensation of cool breeze on her bare arms brought her senses round and she looked around properly to see that she was still on the ground. Nothing seemed to have moved, but her watch told her that she had slept for about ten hours. 

Stretching again, Dal lifted herself up, groaning as her joints protested. The field was drying out, the light flooding the streaky sky. She knew that she needed to move today - maybe go home, maybe go further away. But first, she needed breakfast. 

The bread on its own was really not filling, so in the end, Dal decided to eat most of the food: she could pop back to Sainsbury's and then head on out further away into the countryside that surrounded her town. 

It took her another twenty minutes to get to Sainsbury's and she ended up buying a large bag of useful groceries, as well as some superglue to fix her trainers. 

It was only when she walked out of the shop for the second time that she noticed the poster on the wall. In fact, she couldn't understand how she'd missed it - there were about five others dotted around. And the text read:

MISSING:

Dalia Bittern, 14, has gone missing. Last seen on the 28th June, if found, please notify the police immediately. Last wearing: purple t-shirt and shorts. 

Below the text was a slightly blurry image of her at her 14th birthday party. Dal's heart stopped. 

They were searching for her. 

There was no way she could go back home now: what would the police say?! 

No, she would have to keep away for a while longer.

And so, without thinking, she turned around and ran.

 

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