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Chapter 8

Alice Montgomery, 10th September 2010

Trembling, I lay in my bed. A cackling whisper whirls around my room, gently stirring the papers that rest on my desk. The curtains ruffle as if someone is poking them from the window. I know they will come soon. They always come. When the wind howls outside, when the rain punches the fragile glass, when gooseflesh covers my skin, I know it is time to see them again.

"Are we nearly there yet?" Carl moans, wriggling in his seat. I know he is impatient by the adorable scowl scrunching up his face.

"Carl, get some rest. We will be there in 3 hours; the exact amount of time it was 5 seconds ago when you asked. We chose to drive through the night so you can sleep." Mother sighed, looking in the mirror at him. Father looked dead on his feet from driving a day solid, but he refused to stop and change drivers. He was insistent we could make it, but as we wound up the perilous mountain track, I wasn't so sure. An uneasy sense of dread spread through me. I turned to my little brother and hushed him.

"Look, sweet-pea, dad is having a hard time driving what with all your noise. So shush, ok?" Carl nodded at the low, comforting sound of my voice. He looked so adorable with his dimple and frown, his mop of blond hair and sky blue eyes. Suddenly the blue eyes and blond hair had disappeared and was replaced with a mask of fear. There was no way to describe those moments to any one sane. You would have had to have felt that force and experience that noise to appreciate how much it could hurt someone. How it could turn someone that was happiness incarnate into a crippling soul just waiting for the next blow that will lead inevitably to their death. As the car hurtled towards the stones miles below, all I could see was my little baby brother's face. The face I had grown to love, the face that was so full of terror. The face that I had burned into my memory. They hurtled towards their doom, one moment so happy and anticipating, the next a victim of the darkness' pitiless slaughtering.

I sat up, panting, crying, sweating. That scene, that nightmare had stuck with me for a month. Why had the darkness of France taken my parents and beloved brother away from me? I regretted at that moment, so intensely, not going on holiday with my family. I hated my study-orientated neglect. If I had been there the darkness might have spared their car. I had signed the contract, albeit unknowingly, to my family's death. I rolled over, in my tiny bed, staring at the walls of my tiny new room, trying to imagine my home, my kin where they belong, smiling at me like they always did, even when I had embraced the darkness. But the darkness had taken them from me. At that moment, in the orphanage, I hated the darkness. I was going home.

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