She stared into the darkness and counted the beats of her heart, hoping they would slow.
One two three four.
She tried to calm herself down, stay quiet, but she had trouble not emitting any sound. The sound of her shallow breaths sounded like thunder in the quiet room.
FIve, Six, seven, eight.
To tell you the truth, she was scared. Scared of the noise and darkness and the thundering footsteps of the man in the other room, only a few meters away, separated by only a small wall.
Nine, ten, eleven, twelve.
Her small and delicate fingers covered her mouth, scared to make the slightest sound. Alas, she let out a small whimper. Her emerald green eyes widened in fear as she heard the man's footsteps stop and turn towards the room she was in.
Thirteen, fourteen... what?
As the man's footsteps grew closer she forgot the number of heartbeats or how loud she was being. He had found her.
No longer caring in the slightest how much sound she made she jolted up and pushed her couch against the door, having a huge amount of trouble. The couch suddenly shook as the man pushed against the door, screaming profanities. Scared, tired and high on fear she pushed open her window and almost fainted from the sight. A whole two stories stood between her and the ground. She frantically looked around, the wind whipping her long red hair across her face. She took one last glance when her eyes spied the old shed she and her father used to use. If she was lucky she could make the jump. The door banged again.
"Now or never" She thought.
The fall was terrifying, yet exciting. The wind whipped her hair stronger than before as she stretched her arms out, willing her body to move further forward enough to land on the small shed. She buckled as she hit the roof of the shed, making a loud clang. She sprang back onto her feet quickly, then climbed down the side of the small, tin building. She looked back fondly at her house and ran, smiling slightly as she heard the man's screams of frustration growing further and further away the more and more she ran.
The streetlights guided her away from the place she had grown to love, her home, her safe-house, the place where it seemed nothing could go wrong, but yet it did. The further away she got, the more scared and tired and sad she became. She soon was shivering at the exposure to the cold. She wandered down countless streets and alleys, getting more lost the longer she pushed forward.
"Why, why,why?" She complained to herself. Her life shouldn't have played out this way, with all the misery and crushing loneliness that plagued her life. Because life wasn't that easy. When other girls her age were having sleepovers and playing with dolls she was looking after herself and worrying wether today was the day it would end. She was quite independent for a girl of her age, she was able to cook and wash and care for herself, unlike many far older than her. It gave her a sense of pride that she was somewhat better than all the other girls she knew. She looked around to see a shadow coming towards her. Fearing her life the girl ran faster then she had ever ran before. Yet she realised that the shadow was just a tree. She shook her head in irritation.
If a tree scares me now, how will I go for the rest of my life?
She sighed sadly. Now there was nothing for her, the man had inevitably taken her home so she couldn't go there. She didn't want to go to the orphanage, that place was terrible. She had no close friends that she could go running to. She was completely and utterly alone.
A long way away she heard a crash, kind of like thunder but with the added sound of screeching metal. She covered her ears and turned in the other direction, pretending not to hear the sounds of screaming bystanders or the orange flicker of fire just above the horizon. Really, what could she do? She was just a scared little 12 year old girl with no experience in first aid. If she tried to help she would probably become more traumatized than she is now. She could hear the unmistakable siren of an ambulance screech by her, the flashing lights blinding her momentarily. She stumbled around slightly confused as she tried desperately to regain her mind. She was tired and cold and scared. Scared of the night and the man. Anything could hurt her out here. She had no protection from the ferocious winds, no comfy bed to sink down onto after a hard day. She doubted she could dream well with all the happenings tonight. But altogether she had to stop wandering and to find a place to spend the night. She slowly looked around, and saw a sign in dull light. She walked over to it and read it.