Chapter 1

Clunk! CRASH!

I bolted upright in bed, all thoughts of sleep gone and wondered what on earth was happening. I looked at my alarm clock, 2:02am Oh this had better be good, I thought. I am not a morning person, at all.

Without warning a blood curdling, high pitched scream sounded throughout the house, echoing off the walls. It made me shiver and all of a sudden I was afraid. Fear gripped me and I couldn't move the darkness was swallowing me up; whatever was happening was not good. A sense of dread was building up inside me, No! I told myself, you have to go and see what's happening; mum and dad might be in trouble. I tip toed out of bed and silently made my way over to the door, it wasn't as hard in the dark as I had expected, I didn't fall over or stumble at all, and that's saying something in my room.

Another crash sounded from the other room and I heard voices. All sense of victory about myself getting across my room without any stumbles gone, I opened my door. All the noise was coming from my mum and dad's room, directly opposite my room and as I looked through the darkness I saw that their door was slightly ajar. I soundlessly crossed the hallway, thanking the Lord as I did, that no floorboards were creaking. I reached up to push the door open but instead of the smooth painted wood of the door, I felt deep gashes carved into the wood and the handle was gone, a small, circular, golf ball sized hole in its place. I was shocked and once again fear threatened to hold me back. My dad's shouting made up my mind and I quickly shoved the door and burst through into...Hell.

There was a person standing with their back to me, wearing an all black jumpsuit with a hood and brandishing a nasty looking knife towards my dad, but that wasn't what made me stop dead and fall to my knees gagging. No. What made me do that, and what image is still swirling around my head was, my mum. Her lifeless eyes stared up at the ceiling, her skin was grey, dead, but the most disturbing thing was the huge jagged knife, or rather machete, jutting out from her chest, blood still oozing from the wound and making a puddle on the floor next to where her body lay.

It was obvious to me straight away that she was dead, and that this person waving weapons around was the one who had killed her. All at once I felt a huge wave of anger build up in me, how could he do this, just come in here and stab mum to death and then go after dad. I was not going to let 'him' (I don't know when I decided it was a him, I guess I just thought that the way he was standing and what he was wearing looked more like a guy) do this!

I gathered all of my courage and ran at the murderer, screaming insults at him while I did (I realise now that stealth would have been a lot more effective, but hey, I was angry and I'd never done this before). I caught sight of dad as I was running at the imposter and his face was a look of horror, just as I jumped into the air ready to tackle this murderer to the floor and demand answers, he mouthed the words "no!" but I didn't have time to stop and wonder what he meant because I was already mid-leap. I looked at him, confusion building up in my brain why doesn't he want revenge? This weapon brandishing murderer just killed mum. Why isn't he fighting back? So many questions swirled around my head but I didn't have time to think about any of them because right then I smacked into the 'weapon brandishing murderer' and we both fell to floor.

I didn't think it would hurt as much as it did; this dude must be made of metal or something I thought as I scrambled across the floor to where he was getting up. As I reached him I had so many emotions building up inside me: Fear, confusion, pain, anger.

I saw that he had dropped his weapon and was reaching for it and I raised my fist and put all my emotions into the punch aimed at 'his' head but just as it was about ten centimetres away 'he' suddenly turned as if he sensed my fist and caught it. I was so not expecting that and tried to pull my arm back, but 'he' had a firm grasp on it and was not letting go.

It hurt and panic was building up in me as the 'man' was slowing bending my wrist back and I tried to resist but his grip was too strong. It hurt so badly and tears had started streaming down my face. I tried to fight back, to punch 'him' with my other arm, kicking anything, but he blocked it all, Like Jackie Chan I thought and then where is dad? Why isn't he helping me? I was so confused and the pain was terrible, I knew that my wrist was about to break I could feel the bone straining against the force of being bend back, but apparently this 'guy' liked to torture people because after all the pain he suddenly, all at once bent my wrist all the way back and with a loud CRACK! It snapped.

I screamed and black dots swirled in front of my vision, the pain was white hot and I gripped my wrist with my other hand. I heard the shuffling of feet and then a weird kind of squish. My vision cleared and I saw my dad standing over the man, (I knew it was a man now for certain because his hood had fallen) who had a massive stick in his neck pinning him to the floor. He's dead, I told myself, cradling my arm it's over (I didn't even stop to wonder how my dad had killed this 'metal-made muscle man' I was in so much shock).

"Grace" My dad's voice was croaky but his tone told me that there would be no questions and that I would do exactly as he told me. I'd only seen him like this once before, in a car crash we were in when I was younger. "Grace, run" I was so confused by what he said I just sat and stared at him in horror, pain and confusion, "Grace, listen to me, there are more coming, now go, and don't stop, you hear me? Don't stop for anything, not until you reach the woods. GO!" His voice had gradually gotten louder and louder, the fear evident in his words and he ended up screaming the last word.

I scrambled to feet, my arm hanging limp by my side, the bone sticking out, ignore your arm, dad never shouts, it must be important, GO! I yelled at my body to move and it did, the pain in my arm almost overwhelming me and making me lean against the wall for a few seconds to regain my strength. "I love you" I'd never heard my dad's voice so full of pain and I didn't want to leave him, but knew that I had to.

Somehow I managed to make it outside, the images of my mum's body haunting me and my dad's words filled my head 'Don't stop for anything, not until you reach the woods' The cold November wind whipped at my pyjamas as I ran down the street in the darkness, I wasn't paying attention to the street names or roads I passed, just focusing on getting to woods. I realised then, that I wasn't wearing shoes and felt the stones on the pavement cutting into the soles of my feet, but the cold numbed the pain of that and my arm so I kept running.

I have no idea how long I ran for, or how far, but slowly I became aware of a darker atmosphere around myself and stopped running, gasping for breath. I was bent over double and staring at the floor when I the saw mud. I must have made it to the woods I thought and considered my dad's words "Not until you reach the woods" he had said and I wondered why he thought the woods were safe.

Now that I had stopped the pain in my arm was coming back, leaving me seeing black spots again. I leaned against a tree and slid down to the floor, still breathing heavily and feeling rather sick.

All at once I became aware that it was almost completely pitch black, yet I could see almost as if it were daylight, there were no animal sounds at all, though I could hear a car on the road which was miles away and there was a heavy breathing sound coming from just behind the very tree I was sitting against.