Chapter 21: What Are You Doing Here?

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I jumped at the sound of Johnny's voice and managed to stop myself from making an embarrassing squeaking noise. How did he find me?

A few people turned and stared so I pretended to be shifting position as I opened my bag and looked inside. They soon went back to whatever they were doing.

"Maddie, you can't go back home. They'll just send someone to take you back."

I gave a small shake of my head as I moved the stuff around.

"You know they will. The doctor has to sign off on you going home."

I pursed my lips together. It was so hard not to answer him.

"They will make you stay at Waratah House even longer."

Not if Mum and I could book it out of town tonight. Or in a day or two. I could hide till then.

Seeing my phone in my bag gave me an idea. I pulled out my headphones and put them on, plugged them in and pretended to make a call. "Hi, Johnny. How are you?"

"What are you doing?"

"Talking to you."

"Oh, yeah." He smiled. "Good idea. You're a genius."

I tried not to smile when he said that. I had to focus and get back to the subject at hand. "You can't talk me out of this. I'm going and you can't stop me."

He sighed. "No, I can't, but I was hoping to talk some sense into you."

"The only sensible thing to do is go home. Justina is out for my blood right now."


"She heard me talking to Kassandra and thinks I was doing it to taunt her."

"She thought you were pretending to talk to her dead friend just to torment her?" I nodded. "I... We'll figure something out. We'll find a way to show her that you didn't do it to hurt her."

"I don't know how I'm supposed to do that."

Pretending to be on the phone worked perfectly. No one gave me a second glance. My stop was coming up, so I grabbed my bag and made my way to the front of the bus. Johnny followed me and I ignored all the things he said to get me to take the next bus back to Waratah Estate.

I couldn't get off fast enough. I walked as quickly as I could, but I didn't want to draw any attention to myself.

I didn't have a key, but Mum was home. She opened the door and her jaw dropped. "Maddelyn! What are you doing here?"

"I took a bus and I'm not going back."

"You can't just run away from there. They'll only come and take you back." She looked around and waved me inside, closing the door behind us.

I followed her down the hall to the kitchen and was hit by the aroma of coffee and burgers and chips. The green doors on the cupboards that I'd never really liked were a welcome sight. "We can move and they won't be able to drag me back."

"We can't just move. And I have no authority over them. You can't be released until the doctors say you're well enough."

"But there's nothing wrong with me!"

"Honey, you were talking to people who weren't there—"

"No, I wasn't!"

How could I explain when she'd never believed that I could see them? Ugh, this was hopeless.

She gave me one of her fake smiles. "We can't move. I have my job—"

"That's never stopped you before—"

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