Author's Note: Hey everyone, hope you enjoy this first chapter. It's my first story on here so I'm going to keep posting chapters anyway but it would be great if you could read & review to make me feel better! Thanks to anyone who reads this :)

Read my blog - search 'writing under these lights in my room'

1. RUN

One girl pulled away from the leading pack, just 200m from the finish line. Her legs raced at a tempo that couldn't be matched by the other runners. It looked like they were a different part of her body, moving at an increasing rate to carry her to the end. The others looked fatigued and ready to stop, but it seemed that the previous 4,800m had been just a warm-up to the girl who was just crossing the finish. She stopped immediately, shaking out her legs and brushing fly-away strands of blonde hair from her face. Her breathing was not especially fast, and she watched the others complete the race unable to hide a slight smile. There were no spectators except students from the local school, but she still received a quiet ovation as she pulled off her battered grey spikes and hugged another girl at the side of the track who had been watching.

'Nice one,' she smiled with a wink, 'they didn't see your finish coming at all.'

'I can't believe I've won another! Come on, we'll be late for dinner.' the winner pulled her friend through the small crowd, not at all tired. They crossed a quiet road and walked along the pavement towards a red brick building that stood out among the white-washed houses. The runner was carrying her spikes and walking in her socks.

'You could be big one day.' remarked the smaller, auburn haired girl to her friend. She shook her head.

'Not if I don't get out of this place.' she sighed, gesturing to the area. 'You think the orphanage handlers would let me join a running club? They just want me outta there.'

They walked on in silence, signifying that they were new friends and did not yet know each other well enough to talk for hours.

'Ayla, do you want to get out of here?' asked the smaller girl. Ayla flicked a rubber band into the unplanted dirt outside the brick building where they had stopped and stared upwards.

'Of course,' Ayla said with folded arms, and added in an undertone, 'after all, you only live once.'

They walked up the steps to the front door, each with thoughts travelling in opposite directions. The peeling door was immediately opened by a sharp-eyed handler.

'Ayla. Lydia. Where have you two been, again?' he asked with a shake of the head. 'Every evening, it's like you do something after school. You're meant to be doing homework here. Do you want me to walk home with you?'

'This is not my home.' muttered Ayla to herself, unaware that Lydia could hear her. Lydia stepped in with an excuse.

'We had to buy some stuff…from the shops.' she said carefully.

'That's alright, I guess, but you don't need to every night. Just come straight back tomorrow. Lydia, don't catch on to this girl's roguish behaviour just because you're new here.' he said, gesturing to Ayla.

The handler ran a hand through his short brown hair and sighed as Ayla and Lydia crept past him to their rooms up the old wooden stairs. Ayla fell onto her bed as soon as she had locked the door of her bedroom. Every evening getting back to the crappy children's home was a bigger let down than the last. She supposed that running in the 5k race each night was making her believe she deserved better than this. But after all, it was her that got abandoned as a baby, and her that was useless and worthless. Winning a race was not going to change that, no matter how much faster she got and how much further she won by each time. To calm down she pulled an old blue brush through her hair. Once again she wished she had an iPod like some of the children at her state school, not only for relaxing, but because running while mentally playing songs was starting to bore her.

She put her spikes carefully down inside a shoebox that looked as old as them, and put that under her bed. Her room was small, the bed taking up most of the space. She had a chest of drawers with some school books and pens piled on top. It looked as though she could leave at any second and all her belongings would be ready to be swept into a bag. Suddenly she jumped up and kicked her bed in frustration, punching her skinny thighs as hard as she could. Why couldn't she get out of here? She could easily climb out of a window and run, leaving this chapter of her life behind. But she sensed hope coming, a change for the better coming for her soon. As if on cue, there was a knock on her door.

'Come in,' she called. Lydia entered carefully, avoiding the sharp corner of the chest of drawers.

'Hey,' Lydia smiled, 'there's someone here to see you.'

'What do you mean?' asked Ayla, confused. A foster parent or what? Lydia just nodded towards the door. A tall woman in a skirt suit with short dark hair entered Ayla's room, looking thoroughly out of place. Lydia sat down next to Ayla on the bed, while the woman leant on the plain walls of the room after shutting the door.

'Hi, Ayla. I'm Jennifer Mitchum. I'm, well, interested in adopting you.' She masked her cautious expression with a smile. 'I just have some questions first.' she added in her business-like tone.

'Go ahead.' Ayla stared at her with large, watchful eyes.

'Firstly, how would you feel about coming to live with me and my partner? Would it bother you to leave this place?' she asked.

'I can't wait to leave this place…it's awful.' Ayla said with great feeling.

'OK. And would you mind moving around a bit? My husband's job means that we will have to stay in other places even if we're based in one house.' Jennifer said, watching Ayla carefully.

'That's cool. I just want to be out of here.' she said. 'Wait a second, why is Lydia in here too? Are you gonna adopt both of us?'

Jennifer looked at Lydia as though she had not realised Ayla would notice her there.

'Err…yes, maybe. We're thinking about it.' she said, blinking a little. Ayla knew this pretty much meant that Jennifer was lying, but did not question it in case there was a reason she did not know about. 'OK, we should go downstairs and fill out some adoption papers together if you want to do this?'

Ayla nodded and Jennifer motioned for her to leave the room first. As they were walking down the dark corridor towards the stairs, Jennifer stuck a needle into Ayla's arm from behind. The world around her melted into darkness so quickly and she did not even have time to scream before both Jennifer and Lydia had hurriedly dragged her somewhere else.

A/N: Read my blog - search 'writing under these lights in my room' :) Thanks for reading, please review!