Chapter 1 - Not Now

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Author's Note

Dear readers,

This story is being written right now and I invite you to be a part of it by reading it as it is released and telling me what you think of it. You will be helping me to write a better book.

~ Sue

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I was getting out of here today. I needed to believe that.

My plan had to work; I'd been careful. I'd been on my best behaviour.

Right now, I needed to keep busy so I wouldn't keep stressing about what the doctor would say or do or think.

Looking around the large rec room, I thought about watching TV for a while, but I wouldn't be able to sit still.

My nerves were jangling, but I managed to set the balls up on the pool table in the corner.

Closing my eyes, I breathed deeply and let it out slowly. Concentrated on projecting calm. A scene at the beach played through my mind. A place Mum took me to when I was twelve.

I opened my eyes and hit the cue ball, watching the balls scatter. Seeing the randomness of the first shot always fascinated me.

Jim was watching TV with a silly grin on his face on the other side of the rec room.

Maria was looking out the windows at some pigeons on the lawn. She loved the birds. Said they didn't talk back.

Melanie was sitting quietly in a corner lounge, staring at the TV. She was always quiet, but I couldn't blame her with the trauma she'd suffered. The staff said she'd be alright, in time.

Mrs Dawson was staring at her knitting. I wasn't sure whether she was off with the fairies or if she was deciding what to make next. Her fourteen-year-old granddaughter, Nellie, sat on the floor at her feet, just happy to be spending time with her.

Her true dedication made me smile.

Quiet music played through the speakers in the ceiling and fake plants sat either side of the four-foot fish tank, giving everything a false sense of normalcy.

But this was anything but normal and I didn't belong here. The urge to escape grew stronger each day.

Mr Jones gave me two thumbs up. Mrs Carpenter gave me words of encouragement. I allowed myself a small smile and totally ignored them both.

They walked out into the garden together, smiling and waving. I didn't look at them directly and didn't respond, but inside, my heart swelled. They understood how important the next hour was to me.

Turning my attention back to the table, I tried to decide which ball I would go for. It was hard to concentrate, but I managed to make it look like I was just taking my time to pick the perfect shot.

The smell of beef and onion wafted to me from the kitchen and made me wish it was dinner time already.

Jim laughed at something on the TV, making me jump.

A voice in my mind whispered that my plan wouldn't work, that I'd never get out of here.

I shook my head.

Focus.

The butterflies in my stomach were having a party. The clock on the wall told me it was almost two o'clock.

I took a deep breath and let it out slowly.

Mrs Dawson started to moan and I cringed. Her knitting was on the floor and she rocked back and forth. "Nellie? Where's my Nellie?"

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