CHAPTER EIGHT: FOREVER A PUNCH BAG

"Sweetie? Do you need any painkillers?"

With a gasp of pain, I nodded jerkily. The medication I had taken before the exam had now worn off, and I was once again, in the throes of agony. My stomach was being struck with sharp pains, and if I didn't know better, I swore that I was being stabbed.

Grunting, I swallowed the painkillers Mum produced, lapping up the water I was handed straight after. The water soothed my throat, raw from barking, yelping and screaming, and I smiled slightly at Mum to prove how thankful I was.

Mum placed the now empty glass back onto the table, then stroked my fair hair back from my forehead, cooing: "Go to sleep, sweetie. Llo will be back in a few hours, then we can have a family night if you want."

"I'd l-love that, M-Mummy, agh!"

"What is it?!"

"My t-t-tummy…. It h-hurts."

"Ssh, I know it does, honey. Tell you what? You get some rest and I'll do a hot water bottle for you. And don't worry, the medicine should kick in soon."

I sighed in relief, seconds later, falling into slumber.


When I arose, due to the sound of knocking at the front door, I was groggy. Sunlight streamed into the living room, making me throw up a hand to deflect it. I heard my brother grumbling upstairs, then voices at the front door, two familiar compared to two that were unfamiliar.

As I pondered on who they could be, my phone buzzed. Patting my pockets, I blinked, surprised to see that I was now clad in my pyjamas and that my phone was now on the coffee table. Plucking it, I opened the new message, bewildered to see that a whole day had passed, during the time that I had been asleep.

My astonishment drained away as I scanned the message I had been sent, my blood running cold.

'Think that you are protected? THINK AGAIN. Punches will reign down on you, for what you did. And you will never be free from them. Watch out, PUNCHBAG.'

Hands shaking, I gulped. Who had sent me the message?! And why couldn't I be left alone?!

Just as I was anticipating a cold call of some sort, Mum's voice jolted me out of my thoughts.

"Harvey? This is Dinah Glass, the girl, Daddy and I are fostering. Say hello.'

My eyes snapped up, my chocolate brown orbs lingering on the pinched doll before me. The girl muttered her greeting stiffly, which I could only blink back at as a response. I had completely forgotten about this girl's arrival!

At my mother's nonverbal prodding, I waggled my fingers at the girl, phone dropping onto my lap, another message making the device buzz, and buzz.

And buzz… And buzz… Until I fainted, and the buzzing could not reach my ears any more.