Chapter 1

The Halfway house

I wandered aimlessly around, not knowing were I was going, as long as it was as far away as possible than that place, I thought to myself. My rucksack began to slip of my shoulder and I quickly yanked it bag up, not realizing while I was doing this that I was stood in the middle of the road, with cars either side beeping at me.

I carried on walking, I needed to find somewhere, I was in too much of a daze to be wandering around at this time of night in the busy streets of London, and seeing as we had only just moved here, I didn't know where anyone or anything was and every building was a surprise.

Suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder; I span around to see a quite young looking woman in a woolly jumper and jeans, staring at me with a huge grin on her face.

"You lost chuck?" said the woman

I nodded,

"Come on, follow me." She said, I was in no state to object and I followed her up too a big, posh looking building with a sign on it saying 'The halfway house'. I'd seen one of these before back in Chesterfield, but it was a horrible, grotty, run-down looking building that no one ever went into or came out of.

We walked inside; it was a grand building inside, a lovely red colour with lots of beautiful paintings on the wall.

"Wow…..did you paint those?" I gasped

"Yes, you like them?" she asked

"There…there beautiful!" I gasped again

The woman smiled and led me to a big red sofa,

"Sit down and we'll have a chat when you've warmed up a bit ok?"

I nodded and sat down breathing in the soft clean air, so different from the outside.

After about five minutes the woman was back again with two cups of tea in her hands, she sat opposite to me.

"So chuck, what's your name?" she asked, sipping her tea.

"Amy, and you?" I replied

"Tracy, chuck, how did you end up out here then?" she smiled

If anyone else had asked me this question I would have felt un-comfortable, but even though I had only met her couple of minutes ago, it felt like I'd known Tracy all my life.

"Well, 2 weeks ago we moved from Chesterfield to here, I left all my friends behind………everything………. I got the small box room because my mum had to go and have a stupid brat with Mark and……….." she stopped me

"Wait a second who's Mark?" she asked, obviously sensing a problem.

"Oh he's my mum's goon of a boyfriend…" I answered almost shivering at the sound of his name.

"So why don't you like him then chuck?" she asked gently

I laughed "Why do you keep calling me chuck, my names Amy remember?" I asked confused

"Oh that's just what I call everyone, you know instead of ducky or something like that?" she replied, with a warm caring smile and then taking another sip of her tea.

"I see, original, I like it!" I smiled back and finally took a sip of my tea which had now gone cold.

Then my mind came back on track and I started to answer the question.

"Well the reason I don't like him is……"

Suddenly the doors of the house came open; there he was the one I'd been running away from all this time, Mark.

"Excuse me is Amy here?" he asked trying to sound innocent

I was shaking my head at Tracy, I knew she'd get taken in by his act, but it was too late.

"Here she is!" shouted Tracy

"Thank you, I'll take her now!" he said still acting

He walked in, grabbed my hand, waved bye, and walked out. But as we left he pulled my ear to his lips and whispered:

"You'll be in for a beating when you get home, just wait….."

"HELP!" I Yelled at the top of my voice but my screams were muffled by the sleeve of his jumper as he dragged me into the car were mum was sitting.

"I'm so sorry sweet heart, I'm so sorry" she whispered

As strange as it may seem, I really believed my mum was sorry, because on top of everything else she was my mum and I know she never wanted any of this to happen, it was just one date that spiralled out of control.

2 weeks and a couple of days earlier………..

"Morning mum, what's for breakfast then?" I asked cheerfully as I walked down the stairs in my dressing gown and rather embarrassing bunny slippers.

"Egg and soldiers chick!" said mum also in a rather unusually cheerful mood.

"What's got you in such a good mood then eh' mum?"

"Oh it's just that date last night with Mark, he's so romantic, she said going all gooey eyed and cutting the soldiers into the sizes of the trenches i.e.: not very big.

"I've got a bad feel about him mum and by the way the eggs just exploded from the pot to the ceiling!" I laughed

She lucked up at the mess on the ceiling, you could tell she was in a good mood because she's usually a total clean freak but this time she hardly seemed to care.

"Oh don't worry about Mark, he seems like a tough guy but he's a real softie really!" She giggled, acting like a teenager

"Sure……." I said not feeling reassured

"Oh come on sweetie, relax!" she giggled as she pinched me in the ribs

I giggled a little but still tried to look annoyed, by the look on her face I obviously wasn't fooling her. She walked into the living room, sat down on the sofa and switched on the TV. I stayed stood in the kitchen wondering what to do about her and Mark, I knew he was a turn for the worst but mum just couldn't see it.

There was a knock at the door and as I glanced at my watch I realized something horrifying I had 10 minutes to get to school, and I wasn't even dressed, I knew who was at the door it would be Tori expecting to be walking with me as usual only today was obviously going to be different.

"Mum why didn't you tell me?????" I gasped

"Sorry cupcake, I'm sure you wont get in too much trouble!" she giggled obviously not realizing the seriousness of the situation.

I rushed too the door,

"Sorry Tori, I'll get dressed really quick, err would you mind doing my hair?" I said panicing

"Yeah sure!" she said as if it was nothing unusual

I ran upstairs, threw of my pyjamas and slippers, pulled on my tights and skirt, and yanked on my shirt and blazer.

I ran back downstairs, grabbing a black hair bobble and brush on the way, along with my makeup bag. Tori stood behind me doing my hair, while I did my makeup.

"Ready?" asked Tori, I nodded, waved goodbye to my mum and ran out the door and we ran up to school as fast as we could, Tori's shiny, black hair flicking all over the place as we ran.

Victoria Scott had been my best friend ever since our first year in primary school, she hated her real name and punched anyone who dared call her Victoria, instead of Tori. She had long black hair down to her waste and always wore and unusual amount of eye-liner, which always seemed to look good on her.