Part 1

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Copyright by L.B. Shimaira. All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the author except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, and events are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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It was a cold autumn night, though the smell of winter was in the air. I was just returning home from my best friend Mary; together with her boyfriend Kai and my cute neighbour Liam we had devoured several horror movies and probably a kilo of popcorn and chips. They had begged me to stay the night, but I had never been fond of sleepovers- I simply couldn't sleep well under a strange roof.

Liam had even offered to walk me home, the sweetheart. I had declined; I was going to be seventeen in a few months and big girls don't need escorts. That, and Mary only lived a few blocks away from me.

It was well past three in the morning and I relished the cold air, my hands deep in my pockets. As I entered the alley leading to the back of my house I noticed the garbage cans near the side of the road; one of them had been kicked over. I never understood why people enjoy making a mess of things, or worse: destroy stuff that isn't theirs.

My neighbourhood was alright, there wasn't much crime if you didn't count the occasional acts of vandalism by bored teens. I thought about this as I searched for the key to the door shielding our garden. Just as I concluded I couldn't even recall a single burglary the lock clicked and I entered the backyard. I fumbled a little with the key- it would often get stuck in the lock. After a few grunts and angry turns it finally released and I started to close the door.

I saw something black in the periphery of my vision, on top of the neighbour's shed. My initial thought was that it was a cat and I turned my back to it as I shut the garden door. Just as I turned to walk to my house something heavy landed on my back and I fell onto the ground. I had managed to soften my fall with my hands, but I felt a sharp and throbbing pain in my back.

I groaned as I got back on my feet and my eyes widened in shock as I realised what had just happened. Next to me stood a hunched figure, fully clad in black, a hood shielding his face from the already scarce light. My eyes locked onto the shiny object in his hand and I felt my senses heighten by the amount of adrenaline released into my veins.

It seemed like an eternity before I was able to turn my head away from the dripping blade and for my feet to move. I sprinted to the house, though it felt like I was running through water. My hand grasped the door handle and pulled it down. To my relief my parents had left the door open- we always left that door open and locked the garden door instead when I was out.

I entered the kitchen, one step, two steps. I hollered for help; called out for my dad, my mom, anyone to come and save me. I took a few more steps in and my next call ended in a smothered scream as I felt something sharp pierce my back. My vision blurred and I got pushed to the ground. I tried to scream again, but my chest burned and I felt out of breath.

Just as the person trying to kill me started to drag me back outside by my feet I realised what had happened: he had stabbed me in the lung. Panic washed over me, intensified by the sight of the bloody trail left by my body as I got dragged further and further into the garden.

I tried to scream again, but I doubted even my killer was able to hear me. I tasted blood in my mouth and that's when it really hit me: I was dying.

He had already dragged me more than halfway through the garden and I feared where he was going to take me more than death itself. I noticed the tree to my left and with every bit of power I had left inside of me I wrapped my arms around it and held on for dear life.

Even though my vision was blurred I was able to see the light inside the house turn on and a shadow hurrying towards the garden. Through all the pain and fear a little hope bloomed. I tried to call out for my dad, but I only ended up coughing blood.

The killer tugged on my legs a few times, but released them as soon as my dad entered the garden. It seemed like I had only been able to hear my own raspy breath and the frantic beating of my heart, but the sound booming from the creature I knew as my dad when he came running my way I heard too. I noticed another figure appear in the house, but my dad blocked my view as he knelt down in front of me.

He talked to me, I realised that much, but my world was spinning and my senses seemed to have gone haywire. I tried to tell him I loved him, but all I did was spray my blood all over his legs. I heard a different voice and noticed another figure appear beside me. A scream made my ears ring and in a way I was thankful that I was able to tell it was a scream. My mother held my hand as my dad stood up and disappeared from view.

I tried to smile to my mom, she had always been so kind to me. I started to grow dizzy from the world spinning the way it did, or maybe it was just the blood loss. The burning in my chest grew more intense and I felt lightheaded. I wrapped my hand over my mother's and closed my eyes for I was just too tired to keep them open.

Not to mention the pain. There was so much pain.

Perhaps if I were to go to sleep it would all fade away.

If I just slept it off it would all-

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