Katy has always lived in York. She knows it's busy streets like the back of her hand. So when strange events begin to unfold, and the very streets she knows as home begin to turn against her, she begins to realise that no matter how familiar a place is, it will always hide secrets... and some of those secrets are staring you right in the eye.

(For the City of Bones competition)


1. Something Wrong

As soon as it happened, Katy knew there was something wrong. Something very wrong.

      It all started with the pain; she was sitting in fifth period maths when out of the blue, a terrible pain sliced through her chest, like a jagged knife was tearing straight through her skin, flesh, muscle, bone, and right into her heart. She had stiffened, the agony too great to even let out a scream, her whole chest torn open and blazing with fire, the pain growing and growing to an unbearable crescendo until she could take it no more; her eyes rolled back into her head, her muscles spasmed like puppet limbs on a string, she was on fire and she was going to die, right here, right now in the middle of maths.

      Then, as suddenly as it had started, the pain had just stopped. Just like that. Relief washed over her like a tidal wave- she was okay. it was over. Needless to say, even when she insisted that she was fine, her teacher’s face still betrayed a reasonable amount of doubt in her sanity. The absence of the pain however was accompanied by the strangest feeling of claustrophobia, which she had never felt before. She could only compare it to maybe the way a goldfish would feel, if suddenly another fish were thrust into his bowl, but the bowl was only big enough for one.

      After that, there was the mystery of the unlocked door. She had arrived home to find that her father was still at work- not unusual, but the front door was unlocked, the lights on, and her father’s breakfast bowl still sitting unwashed on the table. That was unusual.

      Even more unusual still, was the fact that four hours later, two hours after he had been due home, Katy’s father was still nowhere to be seen.

      Twice as unusual and equally terrifying were the scratch marks on the walls. With every tick, tock of the ever-growing clock on the wall, she had grown more on-edge. Something was not right here. She had tried calling her dad, but each time it had gone straight to answerphone. She was just retreating to her bedroom, as if lying on her bed would hold all the answers, when she noticed something she hadn't before. Along the hallway that led to the front door, there were parallel lines of scratches on either side, becoming tainted with red as they trailed further towards the door. Katy suddenly felt more than a little sick; it looked like.... No. But yes. 

      Exactly like someone had been dragged from their own home, grabbing at the walls with their fingernails until they turned bloody.

      With a shocked cry, she had called "Dad! Dad!" but of course she was met with nothing but the echo of her own frantic voice bouncing off the walls. She looked all around her, horrified, and that's when she saw it. The most unusual and terrifying thing of all. Only, it wasn’t an ‘it’ at all. It was a her. No, not a her. Her. Katy was staring herself straight in the eye.

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