Haylee's Story — chapters 3&4



Continued: story about how an 8 year old girl left home with her older brother, escaping the neglect and abuse of their parents.


        Chapter 3

                Part One.

        A Decent Meal and A New Life:


        Stepping off the train at New York was the best feeling ever for Luke and Haylee. Finally they were free!  

        They both took in a few deep, shaky breaths, both due to their nerves and the cold chill that had crept over as the day had gone on.

        Luke's idea of dinner and a warm drink sounded fantastic right now, so the first open cafe the two came across seemed as inviting as could be.

        Somewhere to put their bags down and rest, re charge and finally have a decent meal.

        'How are we gonna live, Luke? We don't have any money.' Haylee worried.

        'I have some. Not much I'll admit, but we'll get help from somewhere. I'm sure these places round here we could go to. A children's home, maybe.'

        'A children's home?! What if we're split up?' Haylee almost shrieked.

        'I won't let them do that, don't worry. I promised I would never leave you.'

        Haylee was unsure, scared but knew she couldn't show it. If Luke knew he'd be worrying about her and she didn't want that.

         The lady in the cafe told them it was almost closing time, but they were fine to stay, they looked as though they needed the food.

        'Excuse me?' Luke said. The lady turned around.

        'Yes, how can I help?' She asked smiling widely at the two children.

        'Can I get two hot dogs and a coffee and a orange juice please?' Luke asked politely. 'Also, do you know of any cheap places to stay the night? a B&B or something like that?'

        'Oh, err... There is a place a few blocks from here... A bit run down, not great but if its just for a night it should do. I'll see if I can find out the address. Would you like to take a seat and I'll bring your things over.'

        'Thanks, miss.' Luke said. 'Come on, Haylee, lets go sit down.' 

        They sat next to the window looking out onto the busy main street. People walking so quickly and so dangerously close to each other they knocked each other as they passed.

        The cars on the road beeping and screeching to a sudden stop when a pedestrian got in the way. Haylee sighed.

        'Hey, chin up sis. At least we got away from that hell hole. They wont find us now. I promise.'

        'You said that last time.' Haylee said, rather cruelly, but Luke understood.

        'I know, I'm sorry. Last time we weren't just quick enough. This time we've gone further. We're in a completely different town... Different city! I don't think they'd come find us.'

        'What if they call the police?' 

        'They wont. And even if they did, all we need to do is tell them everything, what they're like to us, and they'll help. Don't worry Haylee, I got this covered this time. Now I had time to think on that train, things are looking a little clearer...'

        'Are you sure? You're not just doing that 'brave face for Haylee' thing this time then?' Haylee said smirking.

        'No, this time I mean it.' Luke smiled.

        It wasn't long until the lady behind the counter came over with a tray with their hot-dogs and drinks. 

        The coffee for Luke, the orange juice for Haylee. With it she held a slip of card. 

        'There we go guys. And here is the address for the B&B. Like I said, it's a dive but, it's somewhere to stay.'

        Luke laughed, 'Well you didn't say a dive exactly but I get your point, look at the state of the place!' On the card there was a picture of the B&B and it looked horrible.

        Better than home, though. Luke thought.

        As they ate their meals, they stayed quiet, sipped on their drinks and every so often Luke would pick up that slip of card and giggle.

        'What?' Haylee asked eventually after finishing the last mouthful of hot dog.

        'The way the bricks are in the wall, see how some are slightly darker?...' He showed her the picture and waited for her answer.

        She gave none, she just nodded instead. 'Well, I think it looks like the building has an angry face.' He grinned. 'You see?'

        'Yeah, that's cool...' Haylee laughed at how easily Luke was amused.

        As they were about  to leave, Luke went over to pay for the food and then they exited out into the warm evening.

        The sun was on its way down so Luke thought it best to make their way to this B&B.


        Steptons B&B... Family run business by the looks of things. It's small, stingy and not a soul in sight as they entered the lobby.

        'Hello?' Luke asked, slightly raising his voice to be heard by someone... If there was anyone around. It was so eerily quiet Luke almost wanted to leave.

        There was no answer. 'Hello?' He tried again. This time an older man, around 65 years of age, came out to the reception desk.

        'Sorry kids, just having dinner. What can I do you for?' He smiled.

        'Just wondering how much a room is for tonight?' Luke asked. 

        'For you guys, its less due to your age... I take it your under 18 too.' The man said looking up at Luke after glancing at Haylee. Luke nodded.


        'Then for 2 nights you can have a room for $25-30, depending on whether you'll need food or not. Sorry I'm Harvey.'

        'We just ate thank you. I'm Luke and this is my little sister Haylee.'

        'Sorry can I take your last name?'

        'Yes, its Parker.'

        'Thank you, right your in room 7, on the first floor, here's your key... That'll be just $25 then. That's for the two nights.' Harvey smiled as he handed over the key in exchange for the money.

        'You sure? Two nights only 25?' Luke asked. 'I heard doing this kinds stuff was expensive.'

        'Depends where you go.' Harvey laughed. 'But yes, I'm sure, your booked in for two nights if you need the second. Its a deal we do for under 18's.' 

        'And if we don't stay the second night?' Luke asked.

        'We'll give you some of your money back.' 

        'Fair enough. Thanks.' Luke smiled and picked up his bag.

        Haylee and Luke made it to their room. It wasn't big, wasn't small, it was in the middle. It wasn't warm but it wasn't cold either.

        'The lady was right... This place isn't great but it'll do.'

        The curtains were old and stained, so was the carpet. The chest of drawers and wooden tables were all scratched and the chairs and sofa looked lumpy and half way down their graves!

        Shaking his head Luke dreaded to think about the bedroom.

        'Oh.' Was all Luke heard from the corner of the room where Haylee had sneaked off to peek at the bedroom. She looked over, reading the look on his face she said, 'And you wont like it.'

        Luke groaned and flopped on the sofa. 'We can get through this Haylee... Even if this is how we live for a while.' He sighed. 'Now, lets see about electric...'

        Luke tested the lights and the TV. Not that they would us it that much.

        'I just realized...' Haylee said.

        'What?' Luke asked a little worried.

        'We haven't seen the bathroom yet...'

        Luke and Haylee laughed with each other on the sofa as the TV was playing away to itself. The signal wasn't great though, kept cutting out.

        Haylee sat and read her book which she purposely brought with her... It was all she had to remind her of her Grandmother.

        Betsie Parker-Wright had died aged 76 just two months ago, and this book was given to her the day she died.         

        'I want you to have this, you loved me reading it to you when you were a bit younger...' Haylee remembered her saying.

        Sitting upright in her bed with her knees tucked under her chin, her arms wrapped around herself to keep warmer, it had gotten chilly in here now, Haylee sighed as she heard the rant of the couple in the room a few doors down.

        They'd been arguing all evening, and almost reminded Haylee of her Mama and Louis when they were drunk.

        She squeezed her eyes shut and turned off the lamp.

        Lying down, she drew a deep breath before preparing to try and get some sleep before they start on the run again tomorrow.

        Although she tried, sleep didn't come easily. She couldn't get comfortable, that couple were driving her nuts, and on top of that, Luke had started snoring.

        She could hear the clattering of heels as young ladies from the floor above trotted down for a night on the town. 

        No doubt we'll be woken by them in the morning... Haylee thought to herself.

        It was just after that, she heard the last wail of a police siren that she would hear that night before slowly drifting off to the sound of her older brother's heavy breathing.

        Sometimes a snort here and there.

        Before either of them knew it, it was almost ten the next morning, and Luke had been woken by their idea of room service which was basically a maid giving you sheets to put on the bed yourself.

        Luke was left standing in front of the door after the maid had left holding a bunch of blankets and pillows and their cases, slightly open mouthed.

        After a few seconds of silence, he dropped the load and said, 'Yeah... I'ma do that later. Come on, let's attack this bathroom.' He said turning to Haylee who had sleepily stumbled to the bedroom doorway to her brother.

        'Attack it?' She asked.

        'You have to near enough fight with these damn taps to get them working.' Luke explained. 

        Haylee watched while her brother strained to twist the taps on. Eventually a flow of clear water was running, and the bath filled up half way for Haylee to bathe. 

        As she bathed, Luke was banging and clattering in the small kitchen area, preparing some coffee and toast but dropping everything as he got it out the cupboard.

         'Dammit!' He started sweeping up a bit of coffee he'd accidentally poured onto the floor, along with the spoon and milk carton.

        What in the world is he playing at in there?! Haylee thought to herself. 

        More to the point, I wonder what Mama and Louis are doing... They will know we've gone by now, taken the tickets and money... 

        Bet they're going absolutely mental... Never mind, she smiled.

        Why should Haylee care how they feel?!

        After her bath, Haylee dressed quickly, headed out of the bedroom into the living space where Luke was looking through a map of the city.

        'Found somewhere for us to run to yet?' Haylee asked, making him jump slightly.

        'No, it's bugging me, I've been up all night thinking...'

        'Er, I wouldn't say all night... I was up half the night listening to you snoring!' Haylee interrupted him.

        'Alright then... Most of the morning. I was up well before you. Haylee, the only thing I can think to do right now is either the police or social services...'

        He looked down, and bit his lower lip. 'But I'll keep my promise. I won't let us be split up.'


         Part Two.

        'Louis! They're both gone! How could you just let them leave?!' Karley screamed at her boyfriend for probably the thousandth time that week.

        'Well, sorry, I was out cold on the damn floor what could I do?!' Louis argued back. He rubbed his head, and grabbed more tissue for the stream of blood escaping his nostrils.

        'You let a 15 year old knock you out?!' Karley screamed.

        'He's 16.' Vicky pointed out. She had suddenly appeared in the doorway of the kitchen where her mama and Louis were fighting. She knew it wouldn't help matters, so she turned and walked away.

        'Shut up and get your stuff together.' Her mother snapped. 'We're going to find them...'

        Karley spun around and walked out of the kitchen and upstairs to her grotty bedroom. There, she started packing several bags of hers and Louis clothes and toiletries.

        'What are you doing?' Louis asked.

        'Getting some things together. We're going into New York. That's where they went. The tickets, I remember, Grand Central...' Karley couldn't speak in full sentences.

        'Calm down. We'll go but there's no need to rush. I mean, where else are they gonna run to? They have no more money and no more train tickets.' Louis explained, trying to make Karley realize there was no need to hyperventilate.

         'Shut up and help me!' Karley snapped. Louis obviously didn't want to help, as he turned around and went back downstairs to get a beer.

         He slumped down on the sofa and turned on the TV. Upstairs he could hear the muffled grumbles from Karley and banging and dragging.

        She's obviously filled that suitcase. Louis thought to himself. She ain't kidding about finding those brats is she?!

        He pulled the tab on the can and froth splattered onto his stretched, worn shirt, which was meant to be white but was no a grey-ish colour. He gulped down the beer and burped...

         Very attractive... Vicky thought, disgusted as she walked by the front room, What the hell does my mama see in him?! 

        Vicky wasn't sure whether she was jealous that Luke and Haylee had escaped this, or whether she just didn't care.

        A few minutes later, after an awkward silence from everyone, Karley came almost tumbling down the stairs with bags and a suitcase.

        'You're really serious aren't you?' Louis was astounded at her stubborness.

        'Well yeah! My kids are gone!'

        'You never gave a shit before!' Louis was shouting at her but was cut off sharply by a swift hard slap across his left cheek.

        He gasped at the stinging pain consuming the left side of his face, and stormed out of the room. Not even saying another word to his girlfriend.

        'Bitch.' He muttered as he got into the kitchen and got himself another can of beer from the dirty fridge.

        'What did you just say?' Karley must have heard him, she was now storming up to him but he had no idea until he turned round and the eer was ripped straight from his grasp.

        He was then slapped across the other cheek.

        Seeing red, Louis just flipped. He raised his hand with a clenched fist and swung towards Karley's face, his fist landing painfully on the bridge of her nose.

        'Find them yourself... Bitch.' He growled at her as he walked by, not caring she was on her knees, bleeding and now crying.

        That woman has emotions?! Vicky thought.

        As much as it may seem that Vicky is on her Mama's side, she isn't. She just keeps on her mama's good side so she doesn't get the beatings herself. It was hard enough seeing her siblings get it.

        I wonder where they went? Mama never told me where the tickets said they were going... Maybe I could find them myself...


        Part Three.


          Where is Luke? He said he would only be ten minutes... It's been ages now... Haylee thought to herself, worrying slightly.

         Luke had gone into the police station to say he and his sister wanted to make a statement about something...

        He had no idea what to do, or say once inside, so he'd hesitated before speaking.

        That hesitation seemed to last about 15 minutes...

        He came back outside looking scared, and Haylee wasn't used to seeing him scared.

        'So?' She asked impatiently.

        'Come back to the room with me. I'll explain at reception the police are coming to talk to us this evening at half 7. Nothing bad, don't worry. Just... They may want to check you over.' Luke hesitated again, '...for the marks mama left.'

        'Oh.' Haylee looked down.

        'But don't worry, I'll be there with you.' Luke smiled and took his little sister's hand and guided her across the busy main road, back towards Steptons B&B...


        As the big wooden door slammed shut behind them, Luke and Haylee dreaded what was going to happen once they'd spoken to the police.

        Would their Mama and Louis come looking for them after being questioned?

        Were mama and Louis already on their way?...

        That's what scared Haylee. Luke, on the other hand, wasn't bothered. he'd already proven he could take care of Louis if needed to.

        But his Mama... Who'd protect them from her?... Luke knew he'd be able to over power her, but he couldn't hurt her!

        No matter how much she'd hurt them, he could never hit a woman.

        As if she's a woman!

        Haylee sighed as she sat down on the old battered sofa in the living space in their room.

        Luke never made coffee for Haylee, but this time he treated her to a nice frothy cup.

        'Since when do I drink coffee?' Haylee said.

        'Thought I'd treat you.' Luke smiled.


        Although Haylee was wrapped in a spare blanket on the sofa, she was still shivering, but didn't feel cold. Luke on the other hand was sweating tremendously.

        'Are you all right Luke? You're sweating a lot.' Haylee asked. She sat upright on the sofa, allowing room for Luke to sit down... After he'd done pacing about the room.

        'Yeah...' He slumped down on the sofa next to Haylee, 'Just a bit worried about what the police are going to do.' He admitted. 'But at least we're away from those lunatics now.' 

        'yeah, that's the best thing about all this. Just me and you, like you promised.' Haylee smiled and leaned over to Luke, until her head was comfortably resting on his shoulder. 'I knew you wouldn't let me down.'

        'Course I wouldn't. I'd never let you down.' Luke patted her head and glanced at the clock, ticking loudly on the wall. 'It's nearly time.'


        'For the police to arrive. They should be here any minute now.' Luke said it softly, as not to worry the younger child even more. 

        What she's going through has to be upsetting, even confusing.  Luke thought to himself as he let Haylee become more comfortable on his shoulder. 'You OK?' He asked.

        'yeah, I'll be fine.' Haylee smiled, just as there was a knock at the door of their room. 

        Luke knew it would be a detective ready to jot down all the  information they could give him, or her. 

        As much as it felt like they would be imposing, it was their job. And Luke was prepared to let them do it, if it meant keeping his younger sister safe. He slowly opened the door.

        'Luke Parker?' Haylee heard a man ask.

        'Yes, that's me, sir. Come in.' Luke stood aside and let the older man into the room. He was around 40 years old, and balding on the crown of his head, his hair thinning and turning grey.

        He wore a grey suit with a black tie and white pin-striped shirt, tucked into his grey trousers. Black shiny shoes, which had obviously been recently polished, squeaked as he walked. 

        'I take it you must be Haylee?' He said, smiling as he approached the sofa. 'I'm only going to ask a few questions as of today, and after going through your statements at the police station, we'll be back in touch.' He smiled again as Luke gestured towards a chair for the man to sit down.

        'Your name?' Luke asked. 'Aren't you supposed to tell us that?'

        'Oh, sorry. I'm Detective Mark Clare.' He held his hand out to Luke to shake, then glanced at Haylee and saw she was most likely in no mood to shake some strangers hand. Especially seeing as she can't trust her own Mama not to hurt her...

        After about half an hour of Luke and Haylee telling the detective what they have to go through at home, Haylee eventually stood and lifted her shirt.

        At first she thought the detective thought they were exaggerating, just being kids, but when she showed him the marks, he definietly believed her.

        Long purple lines, framed her ribs, black-ish blue fist marks seemed to bounce from her flesh they were so raw still. Haylee winced as she pulled her shirt back down, as she caught one of the bruises on her ribs.

        'Maybe it would be a good idea to go get checked over at the hospital...' The detective suggested.

        'We don't have a clue where to go around here... We ran away from home, tonight is the last night we have to stay here till we're out on the streets, we have no money, no food and barely any spare clothes... We need more help than just arresting my parents.' Luke put it bluntly to the man.

         Detective Clare stuttered. 'OK, I believe I can get something sorted out for you from the police station. Hostels, care homes and things like that. Obviously we will have to call Social Services as there is still another child in the house... This sister, Victoria?...' Mark Clare asked, Luke nodded. 'She will need removing from that environment immediately.'


        After the detective had left, Luke turned to Haylee, who had barely said a word all night and sunk back down onto the sofa next to her and sighed.

        'I told you it wouldn't be that bad. At least we're gonna get help by tomorrow, we won't be stuck for somewhere to sleep, you heard him.' Luke was clearly happy, but Haylee was not.

        'What's wrong, hun?' Luke asked.

        'He mentioned Social Services, Luke. What if they send us to different families?' Haylee sounded worried.

        'They won't be sending me anywhere, Im nearly 17, Haylee. I can get us both a place in a hostel or something like that until we have enough money to get out and have our own place. There'll be no care homes or foster families... I swear to you.'

        'You never let me down before...' Haylee said, as if she was trying to convince herself to rtust him.

        'Exactly!' Luke smiled.

        'And you're not gonna start letting me down now are you?' She asked.

        'Of course not, Haylee.' Luke replied.

        'Then, OK. I trust you. You're not leaving me?' She asked.

        'Nope! Never!' Luke grinned at Haylee, who sweetly smiled back. As soon as everything was sorted, they could focus on being happy, and having a more interesting and better life.

               Chapter 4:

                Part One:

        Having To run Again.

                Karley was drunkenly speeding down the narrow backstreets of their neighbourhood, frantically shouting out the windows for Luke and Haylee.

        She knew they had train tickets... 

        But would they dare use them? She thought to herself, as she sped down the streets.

        She cursed as she turned wrecklessly toward the next towns' train station. 

        How she even managed to stay on the road was beyond most other road users. She was like a maniac...

        Many had had to swerve and almost crash to avoid hitting her truck, some had families in their cars that were terrified, thinking some drunken maniac had a severe case of road rage...

        In her heart, she knew she was over-reacting. Louis and vicky were right.

         "It's not like you ever cared before..." She remembered Vicky saying. 

        Karley stumbled out of the car and tried to run into the train station. 

        Once inside, two security guards stopped her at the gates. 'Do you have a ticket, ma'am?' One of the men asked.

        'No, but my kids...'

        'Are they in the station?' He asked Karley.

        'No... I don't know. They've run away, I know they had tickets to Connecticut and...' She was cut off by the second security guard.

        'I'm sorry there's nothing we can do, you'll have to call the police if your children are missing. chances are, they already got on a train. There's been 4 just today to Connecticut, they could have been on either one of them.'

        'No I'm not asking to have a look on the trains, I'm getting on one to Connecticut...'

        'Not without a ticket.' The security guard said firmly.

        'Don't tell me what I can and can't do!' Karley snapped like a stroppy teenager. 'Im getting on a train...' 

        Karley was then lifted by both men and escorted from the building, screaming and kicking.

        She was dumped on the sidewalk outside, one of the guards said, 'She was just drunk... Disgusting... No wonder her kids ran off.'

        Hearing that woke Karley up... 

        They were right, who'd want a mother like her?...

        He wasn't expecting her back so soon.

         'What are you doing back? I thought you was fetching the bratsand giving them a seeing to?' Louis had spotted Karley stumbling through the front door.

        'I am!' She snapped at him. 'When you give me some money for train tickets... I can't drive all the way to New York...' She said.

        'I'm not giving you money. For a start I don't have any. I brought beer and then that bastard stole the change left in the house.' Louis stumbled over his own words.

        He'd obviusly already drank a few of those beers..

        'What do I do then? We're finding them, and teaching them a lesson... You don't run away from your mama. It's naughty.' Karley was clearly drunk... What was in that bottle she was holding?

        'So with the last bit of money you had, your brought...' Louis sniffed at the bottle. 'Vodka?!'

        'I will drive us to New York. Vicky can stay at her friends.' Louis said. 'Get some things together, you don't know how long it will take to find them.'

        After half an hour of Louis grabbing some things, they headed out the door, and got in Karley's truck. 

        'Where are you going?' Vicky asked, running outside. 

        They hadn't even explained to her what was happening.

        'New York!' Karley shouted out the window. 'Be back in a few days!' 

        Her voice faded away as the sound of the revving engine got louder, and Louis drove them away, leaving Vicky on the doorstep confused.


        Luke paced the bedroom at the B&B, wondering what to do. 

        'This is our last day here and from now. We have no money... Where are we gonna stay?' He said to himself

        He was not waiting for an answer from anyone, but he got one.

        'You'd think the police would have done something by now. Got social services and found us somewhere to go. We're gonna be on the streets by tonight Luke.' Haylee said.

        'No we won't. I will find something, somewhere. Somehow.' Luke looked up and out of the window.         

        'I wonder what mama and Louis are doing right now.' He turned to his little sister and smirked.

        'Bet they didn't think we'd actually go through with it.' Luke added.

        'They must have thought we'd go through with it. They wouldn't have taken the tickets in the first place if they didn't. By the way, when you took the tickets back... You hit Louis didn't you?' Haylee asked.

        Luke sighed and nodded, turning to look at Haylee once more.   

       'Yeah. I did. But I did it for us. To save us, Haylee.' 

        'I know. That's why I don't care.' Haylee laughed, along with her brother.

        Luke stopped giggling and looked at Haylee and sighed,

         'I know this is gonna be hard. But, I'm here and I'm gonna save us. That's all you need to remember, kid. I'm here, I love ya, and I'm gonna get us the hell outta here.'


        Part 2:


                Wandering the house alone, Vicky quickly got bored. She'd tried watching the TV, she'd tried chilling to some music. But she had a restless feeling. 

        She needed to get out and do something, she just didn't know what.

       There was something that needed to be done, she could feel it.

        That feeling you get when you know there's something you should do... But can't quite put your finger on it.

        Before her mama and Louis had left, even before Louis had gone to buy beer, she'd stolen some money from his wallet.

        Unsure of how he got hold of that money, unsure as to whether she wanted to know or not, she just took it.

        A few days... That's what mama said. 

        But how many days is a few?

        Vicky started to worry a little.

        The state they were in when they'd left, the drunkeness... 

        How on earth they'll get away with driving in that state Vicky would never know.

        She stared at the money in her hand and finally made a decision of what to do.

        She sighed and put it in her back pocket of her skin tight jeans...

        Along with a train ticket...


        With the little change Luke had left, he brought some dinner for himself and Haylee. 

        While he ate, he thought of ways for them to survive out here alone.

        The police had obviusly been no help, they were still two children stranded in a strange city. 

Anything could happen to them.

        'We need to get out of here.' Luke said suddenly as he stopped wolfing down some chips in the cafe, staring at his mobile phone.

        'Why? What's wrong?' Haylee asked, putting her chip back on the plate, and feeling her stomach drop with fear.

        Luke looked up at Haylee and said, 'Mama and Louis are coming...'

        They rushed around for half an hour, putting their things back in their bags, ready to get the hell out of there.

         They could maybe stay in New York, just stay hidden.

        'Luke, we don't even know if they know where we are exactly. All they know is we're in New York.' Haylee said.

        'Yeah, but they'll expect us to still be nearby the train station... If we leave and go somewhere else. It'll be harder for them to find us...'

        'Or just call the police.' Haylee said bluntly.

         Luke just stared at her, his phone already in his hand. He breathed deeply as if he'd been running. 

        'OK... Maybe I should. But we still have to leave.' 

        He took Haylee's hand and got their bags as he talked the police... Again. 

        His voice shook uncontrollably as he spoke to the lady on the phone, who was taking their details as they rushed to check out of Stepton's B&B.

        'Bye kids!' 

        The owner had popped his head round the corner of the door. 'Hope you enjoyed your stay!'

        He turned to the receptionist who'd just checked them out. 'They didn't look so good...'



                Once out the doors, Luke and Haylee ran to the police station as fast as they could. 

        They didn't know how far away mama and Louis were, so they thought it better to run now.

        Narrowly dodging padestrians and nearly getting hit by cyclists, and cars, the pair ran over busy roads, and through small shops as shortcuts.

        Luke, who was now panting, huddled himself and Haylee inside the disable toilets in a parking lot. 

        'We're not far away...' He panted. 'I just need time to breathe.'

        'Hey, me too. You're forgetting my legs are shorter than yours! I have to do more work!' Haylee laughed, panting too.

        They both took a sip of water from the water cooler inside the shopping center, and continued, walking this time, to the police station.


                Vicky was nearing the train station, her hand on the pocket of her black skinny jeans where the tickets were, making sure they were safe, still there.

        She knew how to find them, just whether they'd believe she was trying to help them or not was a different matter. 

        She knew what would happen to them if they were caught by Mama and Louis... Last time she'd ran away she got the same.

        Vicky was in hospital for four and a half days after her mother had savagely beat her, then told police she was attacked by a group of girls on the local park.

        But surprisingly, there were no witnesses, and Vicky didn't know them.

        She was black and blue all over; cuts and bruises on almost every part of her, lumps where she'd been hit with something... A rolling pin, the heel of Karley's shoes...

        As much as she made out she hated Luke and Haylee, and enjoyed seeing them get hurt, she didn't want to see them almost be killed. 

        Haylee was only a child... So was Vicky when she was in hospital for those four and a half days, she was only 9.

        Just one year older than Haylee.

                She looked around the station for the platform she needed. The train wasn't for another half an hour, so she'd have to wait. Just as well, she couldn't figure out which platform to go to...

        When she eventually found it, she sat down on the metal bench, which was quite warm due to the heat of the evening. She waited for the train, which as usual, was late.

        She'd waited 45 minutes for the train and was glad to board it. She'd text Luke when she was in New York, arrange to meet him. 

        If he trusted her enough.



                Part 3

                        Haylee Parker, now 23, was sitting on her bed in her small apartment bedroom, remembering the day Vicky got in touch with Luke.

        He hadn't t told Haylee at first who told him their Mama and Louis were coming to find them.

        When Haylee asked though, later that night when they ran from Steptons B&B, his answer had shocked her.


        And she was skeptical at first.

        She remembers telling Luke not to meet her, not to trust her, but being the big brother he was, he insisted he knew what he was doing and that everything would be fine.

        He'd always said that.

        But Luke was wrong about one thing that day, and that was that he'd never leave Haylee...

                'Luke?' Haylee almost whispered as they say in the police station after being interviewed. They were waiting for someone to pick them up and take them to a Children's home. 'Are they going to split us up?'

        'No course not! I don't think they're even allowed to do that...' Luke said, unsure as to whether he was right or not.

        Once again Luke promised Haylee he'd be fine, everything will be OK, until a lady in a grey skirt and grey blazer appeared in front of them. 

        Slowly she bent down to their height and said, 'Hi, I'm Peggie White. I'll be taking you to the Elm House Children's home. There's no need to be scared, guys. They'll look after you there.'

        Haylee glanced over at Luke, who turned and gave her a weak smile. She could tell he was scared too.

         They were both bundled into the back of a 7 seater car. The lady in the grey suit got into the drivers seat and turned on the engine.



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