Chapter 1

"I'm sorry" Kate pleaded her green eyes begging for mercy as she took cover behind the sofa knowing it wouldn't stop the beating but would slow it down. Her heart hammered against her rib cage as she cowered in the corner waiting for the next hit.

"You should be, you worthless brat, after everything I have done for you and your mum this is how you repay me" her mum's boyfriend Roy moved the sofa now standing in front of her, bottle of alcohol in one hand, his other hand curled into a fist.

Kate hide her head in her hands, playing the game, but didn't cry, she never cried. It was a weakness that's what Roy said, crying was for babies, she wasn't a baby not anymore she was 7 years old a big girl, that's what her mum said. Babies cry big girls like you Katie they don't they stay strong.

Kate stayed crouched in the corner as his footsteps faded, she heard shouting in their bedroom but stayed huddled behind the sofa. Experience told her any minute he would storm out hitting anything in his way and go to the pub.

The door slammed, he torpedoed his way out the front door almost knocking it off its hinges. Kate scrambled, ignoring the pain in her tummy from where his blows had hit she ran to her mums bedroom. She sat on the edge of the bed, holding her blackened eye. Carefully Kate climbed on the bed next to her saying nothing as she sought protection in her mums arms

"I'm so sorry I got you into this Katie. He loves me I know he does" she whispered. "He wouldn't have asked me to move to across Australia if he didn't. He is just stressed at work, it'll get better you'll see Katie" she kissed Kate's hair lightly stroking her back. Kate just huddled closer wondering why they had left England for this. "Right now you better go to bed, you have school in the morning, new school, new friends, you'll love it" She stood up noticing Kate had fallen asleep, gently she lifted her up holding her close tucking her into bed. She sighed regretting moving to Cains from Perth, regretted leaving England sure the weather was better but she just didn't feel at home. Poor Kate she thought stroking her hair swapping schools at her age. Still this would be the last swap Roy was a keeper.

Carefully she laid out Kate's uniform for school the next day. Neatly ironed, second hand and 2 sizes too big, Marie sighed, hopefully the other kids wouldn't notice.

With one last look at Kate she returned to her bedroom to try to assemble some version of neat out of the broken furniture and split make up.