It's the morning of The Day. I wake up to the ring of my alarm clock, which I immediately smack so that the bell doesn't then wake up everyone else. It's been a week since I've come up with the plan, but it's only now that I'm trusting it enough to go ahead with it. Rummaging under all the clothes in my wardrobe, I find my plan folded up at the bottom - exactly where I put it the night before. Slipping it out and into my pocket, I walk over to stand in front of the mirror. I'm still in my clothes from the night before, so I could make a quit exit this morning. My chest is covered with a dark navy blue jumper, a denim jacket over the top. My legs are wrapped with black leggings, my whole body oblivious in the night's darkness. I take a deep breath.
This is the moment I've been waiting for. Shoving my hands in my pocket I tiptoe down the stairs into the kitchen. Flicking on the light, I search the counter for any scrap pieces of paper. A business card seems to be lying on the breakfast bar, so I turn it over and grab a pen.
Mum and Michael,
First of all, I'm okay. You don't need to worry about me. I'll be back at some point (when, who knows?), but I'd just like to tell you that I've gone not because I don't want to be with you guys, but because I want to fulfil my dream first. Please don't report me being missing; I'll be back. If you really love me, you'll love me enough to trust me on this one.
Almost tearing up, I hit myself on the arm for being such an crybaby and then continue on my way to the front door, slinging my rucksack over my shoulders. This is not the time to doubt myself. Slowly pulling on the latch, I sneak out through the tiny crack between the wall and the door, careful to not close the door with a slam.
This is it.
Hurrying across the street, I duck into the bushes. It's too far for the guards to see anything from here, but just in case, I scramble carefully through the branches. For all they know, I'm just a cat.
Branches scratch my face from every direction, bringing blood to the surface. But I don't care; I'd rather be safe than sorry. So, scrambling through the bushes, I eventually reach the path - the path I always take. Looking out over the danger zone, I know it's going to be tough. The moment when I watched the first attempt replays in my mind.
You have to be better than that.
Tugging on my bag, I drop it to the floor, ducking down behind the leaves against the wire fence. They can't see me from here, only because the guards seem to be more relaxed at night. A lot of people tend to strike in the day (perhaps because they have no common sense).
A take a sip of water before pouring some over my face, that's already beginning to swell. The scratches sting like hell, but there's no going back because of a few minor cuts. The rest is going to be a hell of a lot worse.
Laying out my plan in front of my eyes, I stare at it as if it's all new to me. The pencil drawings I had taken ages scribbling and the intricate writing I'd scrawled across to display each part, are gone. Instead, a diary entry lies in front of my eyes. My hand smacks to my mouth before I can shout out with shock. I'd taken the wrong piece of paper. Somehow, I'd got them mixed up. Head in my hands, I almost cry. Why was I so stupid to not check it before I stuffed it into my pockets?
Regardless, I still have to go ahead with the attempt. So forgetting about the plan all together, I swing my backpack over my shoulder and make my way down the path slowly, parallel with the fence. When I reach the part of the fence where there is equal distance on both sides from the guard stations, I gain my position. Looking left and right, both guards seem to be sitting inside their tiny box-like station, reading a newspaper or jamming to music. Sometimes I wonder why they act so chilled, and sometimes I wonder why they're even allowed the job, when they aren't even paying attention to anything around them.
I check each shoulder for a bag strap. My hands fall to my head to check if my hood's up - it is. And looking down at my hands I see them shaking, my veins popping out wildly from my ghost-like skin. But I'm ready. Despite the flaws, I will do this.
So darting from left to right, squinting through the darkness to the lit-up stations, I take my chance. Darting over the fence, I pace through the murky grass. My breath catches with every step, every minute, every second. My hair flies out behind me in the ongoing wind and I feel my hood falling from my head. Grasping it, I'm begging to get away with this, for them not to notice me. Please let me be a stranger.
It takes longer than expected. I manage to travel for a minute with no wails, no shouts, no gunshots drilling into my mind. But now I hear them, as I sprint across the last metre before I reach the wall. Shots fire into the sky, a million a minute, and I hear the guards bellowing behind me, following my every move.
And I'm so close to reaching it - the wall. I'm one step away and then I feel my legs giving way beneath me. Don't do this. Don't do this to me. Please. But I'm falling, my cry the loudest of them all. My cry of pain, hurt, anxiety. But I can't let this stop me.
Scrabbling to my knees I'm an inch away, but my body is heaving with sweat. So I reach my hand out, finger's stretching, and it's when I feel a sense of coolness rushing through my body that I know I've felt it -something different, something unlike anything I've ever felt before - the wall. And it suddenly gives me power. Suddenly, I feel energy rushing through my veins like I've never felt it before.
Turning behind me, the guards are still there, but fairly far behind. I still have a chance. I zip open my rucksack, hands shaking like mad. Keep them in order. Don't lose yourself now.
I take out the rope, the rope that's always been sitting at the back of our garden. Useless, good for nothing. But that's how I used to feel about myself, and now I feel an adrenaline rush and the want to move forward.
Swinging the rope, I chuck it over the wall. It hits the top, hanging on a piece of wire. But I don't have time to think. Jumping, I scramble up the rope. All those lessons in PE where I'd climb up a single rope, and the other students would look at me and laugh, paid off. If anyone else had done it, everyone would have cheered. But it was me. Anything I thought I was good at, they put me down for.
My heart beating a million times a minute, I try to blank out the pain, the excruciating pain of my arms as they pull my body weight up to the top of the wall. Nearly there. Almost nearly there.
But then I feel hands tugging on my shoes. Eyes looking down I see that the guards are right behind me, swinging on the rope that's dropping with our weight. Not believing my luck, I try to kick them away, but their grip is fastened on my ankle. No. No. No. I feel my grip loosening from the rope. I feel like I'm falling but I can't tell if it's real or if the situation is just getting to me. The world sways in my presence and I see the guard's face smiling creepily at me, ordering me to let go.
And this is when I know I've lost it now. I can't possibly make it, not whilst carrying their weight too. So shutting my eyes I will myself to sleep. Don't let them kill me, I beg, I'm innocent. But they have no choice. I'm as bad as the rest of them.