I can’t remember exactly when he stopped being the perfect stepdad, or even if he ever was one. Perhaps that was just other people’s perception of him. I can remember, though, the first time he hit me. And the first time he crept into my room at night. Last year a girl from school got cancer and everyone rallied around her. I’m not saying she didn’t deserve the sympathy, but her suffering was heroic, whereas mine feels like a source of humiliation. You can see cancer. Or a broken leg. You can’t see this. You can’t see the suffering caused by living with someone who goes out of their way to torment you.
Kya is the best big sister ever. She’s sixteen and I am only five so she is my really big sister. When Mummy goes to work Kya does my bath time and reads my bedtime story. Tonight she read my favourite story about the baby bear who couldn’t sleep because there was too much dark in the cave. Kya says I am her baby bear and she will always protect me. I don’t need protecting from the dark though, I have a night light shaped like a mushroom.
Her lips are blood red, and she speaks the words so softly I barely hear them. ‘I know your big secret’. My blood runs cold, but she’s pinned me to the bed and I can’t move. Her eyes are like fiery emeralds, burning into me. Damn she’s sexy. ‘I know your secret, Zak. It’s your fault he’s dead!’
When Zak meets Kya, he desperately wants to save her from whatever she’s going through at home, but Kya is determined to save herself, and Lizzie. Plus, Zak has his own demons to contend with…
Due to be published May / June 2021
Watch this space!