Author's Note: This is the last chapter of this book. Thank you to all who read and reviewed my work, especially XLlaMaXBaileyX and angel4evaxxxxx who stuck through with it the whole way; you guys played a bit role in helping me write this. Sorry for the crappy romance scenes between Erim and Lydia, I'm handing it in for school and I'm too shy to write anything too explicit. Anyway, enjoy. :)

Erim kicks the side of her bed angrily, getting up to pace the room and clutching her head tightly. Skye is down at school and a couple of nurses have popped their heads up to look at what Erim is doing, but she doesn't care. She feels lonely and dejected, the darkness inside of her spreading internally. She told Lydia about her dreams, about her past. She trusted her with her feelings. And all the while her doctor spoke in a soothing voice and was there to tell her it was alright. But now she's going to send her off to some half-way house because she simply displayed too much affection.

Erim was never one to display affection in the first place, and never one to receive it. The first person she had ever experimented genuine human warmth with was forced to keep a distance and maintain a professional composure.

Lydia had to do it, Erim. You were never supposed to love; you were never supposed to be loved. You are too broken, too flawed.

'Fuck you!' Erim's tongue is sharp and she is tired of putting up with Effa's murmuring in her head.

Erim has lost it. She can't stand being in her skin anymore, living her life. She wants to rip her throat out. She wants to watch herself bleed to death on the hospital floor. She wants someone to abuse her just so she can feel normal. Just so she can feel something.

You deserved it Erim, every bit of it. Don't go thinking you're some poor abused child because you're not; you're just weak.

'Shut up!' Erim clutches her head hard with her elbows and falls to the floor.

Your mother drank because of you.

Erim can almost see Effa now, her sharp words scything her mind.

Your father left because of you.

'Shut up, shut up, shut up.'

And you know why Steve beat you? Because you're a bad person, Erim, you always will be.

Erim buried her head in her lap and felt a stinging sensation in her eyes.

That's right, Erim; cry. Cry like the weak snivelling baby that you are.

Someone touches Erim's back and she lets out a small yelp, looking up to see Jasmine holding her shaking body.

'Erim, are you okay?'

Erim tries to speak but the words won't come out. They are lost in the midst of her mind.

Do you know how Steve died, Erim?

'Erim…?'

….

Erim sat at the end on the hallway, faintly watching her mother and step-father fight from behind the door. Lee sat next to her, his arms resting protectively around her waist. His little sister was thirteen, too old to have him watching her back all the time but too young, in his opinion, to witness this.

'Fucking whore!'

Erim watched as Steve beat her mother around the head and snarled as she went falling to the ground, trying desperately to hold herself up. Erim glanced absent-mindedly down at her blue, swollen wrist that her step-father caused. She suspected that it was broken, but no one took her to the hospital so she bandaged it up herself. It was healing up alright, but lately she had realised that she might be a bit different from the other kids at school. She had heard from some of them that other children slept in beds and had three meals a day. This had confused her at first, but provoked a complex curiosity inside of her.

Lee squeezed his sister reassuringly on the hand and Erim looked back up. She did not know why her brother and she often crept up and watched these fights between their parents. Erim was anxious about the two of them hurting each other and wanted to be there if things got particularly bad, but she was too frightened of the both of them to interfere.

'I hate you,' her mother sobbed, pulling herself off the ground, 'I hate you, I hate you.'

Those words were all too familiar with Erim and she shuddered slightly, biting her lip in a curling apprehension. But a heavy feeling of dread rang through her chest and she saw her mother pull out a firearm, pointing it shakily in her step-father's direction. A quick gasp escaped Erim's mouth and she shrank back to the wall in fear.

Steve was right by the door, and suddenly Erim remembered a vivid flashback of her father in the same position. She wondered if her mother was going to throw him out on threat of death. Her step-father hesitated for a second, unsure of what to do.

'Go,' her mother had tears pouring down her face and she could not look up, her gaze fixed stubbornly on the floor. 'Get out of here before I kill you.'

Steve threw his head back haughtily, his eyes gleaming with ridicule.

'You won't do it,' he taunted, 'you fucking scrawny bitch.'

'Go!'

Their mother cried out a final warning, but with that came a deafening bang. Erim screamed, fear's icy fingertips wrenching her lungs into a sharp wheeze. There was smoke everywhere and she could barely breathe, terrified of what was going to happen next. Erim prayed that she had missed her step-father, that Steve had avoided the shot and had run out the door to safety. But as she saw his wrecked, mangled body lying in a growing pool of blood she felt a sick feeling of dread crawl over her limbs.

This wasn't happening; Erim knew it couldn't be happening. Suddenly she wasn't there anymore; she was far, far away and a different person inside her had taken over her body. All that went through her head was that none of it was real, that Steve was alive and her mother wasn't a murderer.

Their mother was breathing hard, frozen to the spot and unable to move. But then she caught sight of her children's fearful stares and her eyes flew up in a fit of fury, raising the weapon once again.

'Get out my house.'

Lee didn't need to be told twice. Immediately he grabbed hold of his sister and tried to lead her through the other end of the hallway, but a feeble word such as fear could not describe the way Erim was feeling. She tried to move but she found herself unable; her limbs were temporarily paralysed. Lee managed to drag his sister down the hallway and, shaking, led her out the door and into the windy night. They were leaving everything behind – their chaotic home, their possessions, however little, and their sick mother. But something Erim did not know was that she would never be returning home again.

….

Erim lies curled up on the floor, firmly clutching her slender knees in fear and apprehension. She is shaking, having just relived the murder of her step-father that has been a blank patch for so long. Jasmine left quite a while ago, and the nurses' station is empty. Everyone is out doing evening observations.

Erim raises her head slightly and sees Steve's dead, mangled body lying on the floor next to her. Panicking, she looks wildly around the room to see blood dripping from the walls in a deep scarlet cascade. Effa is sitting cross-legged on Skye's bed, a shrewd grin playing on her lips. She looks older than Erim, with abundant waves of auburn hair and distinct emerald green eyes.

'See that, Erim?'

Erim lets out a quiet sob, both from the shock of seeing Effa in person and the scene before her eyes. The whole place smells of death and she shudders, hugging her knees tighter.

'Run, kid. You have to get out of here.'

Erim shakes her head lividly, withdrawing further into herself.

'Run, Erim! He is not really dead. He is coming for you.'

The sound of an ear-splitting shotgun erupts through the room and Erim lets out a small yelp, instinctively jumping to her feet. Effa grins and rises from her seat, taking Erim's hand and leading her out the door.

'Run,' her voice is a whisper, repeated over and over again, 'get away from here.'

Erim clamps her hands firmly around her ears and runs, slipping out of the ward quietly when no one is looking. Effa runs down the corridor of the hospital and beckons for Erim to follow her, who does so willingly. She doesn't know where Effa is taking her, but she has to get out of there. The whole place smells of death, and still blood drips eerily from the walls and rotting corpses lie in Erim's way. She screams, trying desperately to dodge them but managing to trip over one. Recuperating herself, she follows Effa to the echoing stairwell and descends, listening to the sound of her feet rebounding off the walls, her breaths shallow and quick. Soon they are out of the hospital and into the late afternoon wind, playing gently with Erim's hair as she continues to run, unsure of where she is going.

Effa stops at the town lake, sitting comfortably down on the bridge. Panting, Erim approaches her, bending over to grasp her knees and breathing heavily.

'Effa,' she says quietly, 'why are we here?'

Effa rises from her seat and shifts closer to Erim, her grin widening with every step she takes.

'You saw how Steve died,' she spits. 'That's where you should be now, Erim. Dead.'

Erim steps back, her breaths weakening. She is inclined to agree with Effa, but something inside her screams in protest.

'No,' she whispers quietly, 'you're wrong.'

'This is where it ends, Erim. You were never meant to be born. It's time to end it here.'

'No!' Erim clamps her eyes shut, praying that Effa will disappear.

'Yes, Erim, yes. It's time to join your brother.'

'I don't –'

But Erim is cut off as Effa throws her hands up around her neck and holds her throat in a tight grasp. Erim feels her smothered windpipe and begins to choke, ending in a violent coughing fit. She grabs Effa's arms and desperately tries to throw them off, feeling her lungs screaming for air. There is a brief wrestle between them, until Effa pushes Erim towards the edge and throws her off the bridge.

Erim hits the water with a deafening thud, and slowly her body begins descending to the bottom. Everything is silent, except for the sound of Erim's body furiously struggling to break free of the water's heavy grasp. She can see the sky above, its light cobalt colours distorted by the water. She can see her pale slender fingers reaching frantically for the surface, but she can't hear anything except for the muffled sound of sirens going off in the distance.