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First pages

prologue

Today was going to be a good day. I couldn’t predict the future, but I knew that no matter what the wind blew my way, I could face it with my head held high.

Walking into the local café in this area of Southhurst, I made an effort to wear a beaming grin. I read somewhere that simply smiling releases hormones to make you happy. You could literally fake your way to being happy. And that was what I planned to do.

I asked Heidi for my regular and I took the steaming mug over to a corner table, sitting in the chair placed neatly under it.

Flicking through the Sunday Paper, I soaked up all the happenings of Southhurst. I wanted to be involved in every aspect of the city. I was getting back on track again, it was time to be involved in my community.

I meant was I said – that today was going to be a good day. I really did. I meant it when I said that I was turning over a new leaf. That I would no longer be a hermit, isolated from society. I meant it.

But then I saw her. Sitting on the opposite side of the café, intently tapping away on her keyboard, the table she occupied covered in scraps of paper. It had been so long since I’d laid my eyes upon her. So long since I had been close enough to touch her. I couldn’t even remember the last thing that I’d said to her. That time was such a blur.

Even though the years had come and gone and we had both changed with them, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that it was her.

I really did want to be a better person. I wanted to make a difference, do something good. Move on from her.

But as I sat there, unable to take my gaze off her, all the rage came flooding back.

Chapter 1 - avery

The blood smeared across my face somewhat ruins my makeup – I was going for a more au natural look today, but man do I look good in red.

I stare at my elusive reflection in the one-way mirror of the interrogation room and I listen to the tedious tick of the clock that is undoubtedly broken as it has not been 12:32 for the full twenty-three minutes.

I wonder if they are on the other side of the glass right now. Watching me. Analysing me. Discussing how they are going to crack me.

Or maybe they’re doing rock-paper-scissors to decide who has to talk to me because none of them want to listen to another whiny, pathetic girl and her sob story.

Eventually a large, rounded man with the shadow of a forgotten beard creeping across his face approaches the chair opposite me. Those pigs really need to lay off the donuts.

I examine him and his mannerism. He definitely went with rock. I shake my head. Everyone knows that rock is too obvious, you never go with rock.

 

I cringe as the detective drags the metal chair along the floor and it shrieks in protest. He shuffles around in his seat for a good seventy-three seconds.

That’s fine, I have nowhere to be. You take your time. Get yourself comfy. I think to myself as I roll my eyes.

He clasps his hands on the table in a very let’s-get-to-business manner and stares me down for an entire forty-three seconds. I bet he thought I was going to break. He obviously doesn’t know who he’s dealing with. I don’t break.

Instead, I maintain the do-eyed gaze and quivering lower lip of a woman who has just experienced that traumatising event.

At last, the oaf actually speaks; “Miss, can you please tell me exactly what happened before we found you early this morning at half past two?”

I glance down at my hands and twiddle my thumbs. I want to drag out my pause for as long as possible. You know, to really build up the suspense.

The interrogation room is cold, standing the hairs on my arms up on end. It doesn’t unsettle me, though. In fact, I feel at home in the hostile, hollow room.

I gulp down a deep breath.

Show time.

Chapter 2 - avery

5 months, 1 week, 6 days, 5 hours and 32 minutes earlier…

I scan my eyes across the eerie, chilled streets and I glance up at the morbid sky that set the scene for tonight’s earlier event.

I click the door shut as I slide the old rucksack off my shoulder and kick off my tatty shoes – dropping them into a plastic bag. I look at my wrist – 4:15am.

“Not bad, well done me” I applaud my time efficiency and make my way into the living room.

I strip down to my delicately woven lace underwear, leaving all my clothes folded with the rubber gloves placed on the top in the hallway and I pluck up my comfy old trackies and hoody.

Newly clothed, I aim straight for the oak desk in the corner and settle myself in the chair behind it. The chair’s leather cushioning moulds to my body shape, the soft leather clinging to my perfectly sculpted legs, as I relax into it.

Pulling the chain draped around my neck, I take hold of the small key at the end and unlock one of the drawers. There is only one item that resides in this drawer. As I slide it open, it catches on the rusted metal rollers. I pick out the little brown book, placing it in front of me.

Only the corner where I am located is lit by a small, cream side lamp to avoid suspicion because, let’s be honest, who the hell is mad enough to be up at such a stupid time?

I breathe in the rich and addictive smell of the nappa leather and run my fingertips over the intricate handstitched design, feeling every curl and twist etched into its cover, before flattening the notebook out on the first page.

I stretch out my mouth and let out a shriek as I yawn. The quicker I get this done, the quicker I can get some damn sleep.

I close my eyes, take myself deep within my mind and recall everything. Every smell, every sight, every expression, every scream…

And I begin to write.

 

Poor little mermaid. She was sound asleep, dreaming about her prince. Her prince with another woman. The woman he chose over her.

Silly little mermaid. Thinking that she would have her happy ever after. Believing her prince really did love her. Dreaming that one day they would ride off into the sunset to the echo of wedding bells and the cheers of the whole kingdom. That they would share true love’s kiss and have six children and she could tell them about their parents’ inspiring love story. That everything she sacrificed paled in comparison to what she had now.

What an idiot.

The foul stench of her fuzzy flea bag came to settle in my throat and left my tongue scarred by the taste. I scrunched up my nose in disgust at the wretched thing resting there – completely ignorant of my unwelcomed presence. It was a rather pointless creature if it hadn’t even woken up to me sliding through the window. Is that not the only reason to keep such a being?

It’s safe to say that the little mermaid hadn’t been the most fortunate of fish; looking at her…place of residence. The entire contents of the space were squished into a single area, with every room represented by a single corner. The place looked as though it hadn’t seen a hoover since it was built and the amount of insects that had taken up residence were enough to create an entire ecosystem.

Thank goodness this was all only poorly illuminated by a tacky, sea blue night light which I could only imagine the little mermaid acquired from a hobo selling junk out the back of his car. I don’t think my eyes would have survived seeing this carnage in full light. For the life of me I don’t understand how one could allow themselves to reside in such a sad location.

But, then again, who am I to judge? After all, I only had to stand the place for another forty-six minutes. Then again, I suppose the same went for her.

She lay there with her silk auburn hair sprawled across her peaceful face. I could have almost pitied the girl being so unfortunate in her life choices that she ended up where she was now. Almost.

Perhaps it was due to my lack of bloody sleep; perhaps it was due to my wooziness from all the fumes in this godawful place, but I observed her for just a moment too long and before I had the chance to prepare myself properly, her 2:15am alarm sounded and the mutt’s eyes sprang open. Directly aimed at me.

Within the next three seconds it began to snarl and this turned into a bark which quickly alerted the fish of my company.

As I had suspected, the little mermaid abruptly sat up and pressed her back against the wall behind her, hiding behind the mongrel and hoping it would protect her. Fat chance.

It didn’t take her long to go through the motions of acknowledging my presence, realising I was not on a friendly visit and for the adrenaline to start pumping through her body. This was the fun part, when the warrior gene was enacted. I always made bets; were they fight or flight? She stuttered with the beginnings of questions, only managing one or two words before freezing.

Her incessant whining pierced my ear drums, I just couldn’t listen to it anymore, so I briefly explained to her why I was there.

She acted completely oblivious. As if she was sweet and innocent. But I knew better.

 

I drew my attention back to the snarling pest. It hadn’t moved from the bed and was trembling even more than the fish. Some guard dog. I kneeled down, unzipped my bag and plucked out my pointed-tip friend. I approached the animal and swiftly injected the fluid into the scruff of the beast’s neck before it had the time to realise I was near and then it slumped back onto the bed and laid as it had just a few minutes before.

Oh it was such a disgusting specimen, I was so glad to no longer have its filthily suffocating breath on me.

The little mermaid looked horrified and immediately leant forward to cradle the animal, staring at me and fearing the worst. I have to say, I was taken back by her calm and composed reactions, I had her pegged for a more skittish fish.

I put her mind at ease by assuring her that I had merely injected a sedative so that the rodent (a dog is a rodent right?) would not cause an obstruction.

Immediately after this, I slid the needle of the other syringe I had been concealing into her neck, the fluid coursed through her veins and her eyes rolled back into her head.

 

I leant forward, trying to adjust my position on the knock-off coffee table so that I didn’t get a numb arse. I played with the sharp metal in my hand and dragged the shrieking edge along the surface – impressing a figure as it went.

Amidst my moaning and shuffling, the little mermaid came to. It took her four seconds, though still nauseous, to gather her memories from before she entered the dark.

When she had, she began pulling at her limbs, willing them to come together and obey her commands – but they were no longer under her control. She eventually stopped when her right wrist began to bleed from the cutting edge of the hard plastic restraints.

Heavily breathing and heart racing, she stared at me. She started to become progressively more demanding, asking me questions like she was in control. Clearly she hadn’t properly gaged the situation.

She wasn’t the shiniest pearl of the oyster, so I decided I would cut her a bit of slack. After all, this must have been a pretty stressful time for her.

 

I decide to take a quick sabbatical from my entry. I sit there for a moment trying to put my finger on what I am feeling whilst writing all this down. Then it comes to me -

I am so frikkin’ hungry. I haven’t eaten since ten past eight last night, how did I completely forget to eat? That wasn’t like me at all. I shuffle over to my kitchen and swing the fridge door open. I grab the milk, boil the kettle and make myself a good old English cuppa tea – white no sugar, of course. I then select an apple and walk back to the desk.

Before reaching the desk, I dart right and crouch down in front of the fire with lighter in hand. After poking at the pulsing golden coals for two minutes, the flames hurl towards my face and I make an escape back to the safety of my chair.

I take my first sip and the steaming liquid warms my throat as it flows passed my trachea. My first bite counteracts the heat and returns my mouth to its core temperature. I hum in pleasure before getting back to business.

 

I laid it out for her. I told her that I was there because I was going to make her understand the pain she had caused herself. The stupid fish had everything. Her father ruled the ocean and she was heir to his empire. She had friends, she had fame, she had a family. And now? Now, she had nothing. All because she wanted to be human. All because she loved her silly little Prince Eric.

As I approached her, I saw the water beads trail down her cheek and her beautiful fiery locks fell flat from the moisture radiating from her pores.

I played with my shining companion, dancing the tip across my fingers. A waltz we’d danced so many times before. I stroked away the stray hairs from her face with the chilling touch of the metal.

I grinned inside at the fear that was blazing in her eyes. The fear of the unknown, the fear of the pain, the fear of me.

The little mermaid sacrificed so much when she left the sea. She made a deal with the witch and was made to walk on knives with every step. She did this to herself. I only made her feel it.

Now this is the part when she really irritated me. I clarified with the little fish beforehand that she was not to scream and she told me she understood. But what did she do? Scream.

I can’t tolerate foolish people. I just don’t have the patience.

But anyway, she evidently didn’t have a clear mind, so I gave up on expecting her to withhold her scream and shoved a pair of moist, mud-soaked socks in her mouth instead.

 

As I continued, the beautifully sweet and metallic fragrance reached my nostrils and I revelled in the reminder of all my past endeavours, but the stale malodour of the little mermaid’s flat returned me to the task at hand. I had been in her jail cell for thirty-two minutes; surely I should have been used to the smell by then?

No matter, the little mermaid grew frail so very quickly, I didn’t have to bare my surroundings for too much longer. I was unimpressed by her lack of strength; I thought she was a more determined little fish.

Once I felt that she better understood the pain she had put herself through, I used the gag from her mouth to wipe the tears and sweat from her face, preparing her for the pain I was about to put her through.

A small shimmer of relief hid inside her eyes. Poor little mermaid, she thought I was finished?

I’d barely begun.

Chapter 3 - harry

Half four. Have to be up in three hours. Fucking great. Harry lies staring into the cracks of his ceiling, counting them as if they are sheep to no avail.

His body is not willing to sleep. He groans lightly, sits up and plants his feet on the cold wooden floor. Cupping his face in his hands, he strokes the bristles on his cheeks and neck before throwing himself up and stumbling down to the kitchen.

He tries to stop his body from shivering by throwing his arms around himself in a pathetic attempt of comfort.

We’ve got to fix the bloody heating in this hell-hole. He complains to the draught brushing through his leg hairs, knowing that the chances of this being accomplished are slim.

“Lighter…lighter…” he mumbles to himself as he snatches the pack from the counter. Harry rustles through all the drawers and pats down the kitchen sides in an urgent attempt.

Why is there no fucking lighter anywhere? He grumbles, but he quickly gives up his search and bends down over the cooker with the fag in his mouth as the gas fills his nostrils and the ambers blaze.

Stepping outside into their overgrown garden, Harry breathes in the musky chemicals that his lungs want to resist, but eventually give in to and he closes his eyes as he enjoys the gratifying feeling. Although his hands will not remain steady, he sighs in satisfaction. A small part of his emptiness has been filled.

Harry wants to think. He wants to feel. He wants a sense of pleasure that lasts longer than the life of a cigarette. He stares at the vacant, black sky. If you were to see him, you’d assume he is deep in thought, worlds away. But his mind is blank and all he feels is the crisp winter air of March hitting his unprepared skin.

When the wind slams the door shut behind him making his way back inside, he winces and hesitates, listening to see if the echoing has woken Martha. Thinking the coast is clear, he begins making his way across the kitchen and through the hall.

Harry’s toe suddenly catches behind him, taking him off balance. His head plummets and suddenly his vision is at an angle and his cheek is flattened by the stone cold tiles. Everything fades into black.

 

A ringing thrashing through his head brings him back to consciousness and he sways, uneasy, as he tries to hoist himself into a seated position.

His vision will not focus and the furniture is dancing around the room. With the urgent need to vomit, Harry determines that he perhaps isn’t as sober as he thought.

Cradling his head, Harry scans for what caught him and there on the floor, the corner of the rug curls upwards, proud of its trickery. Some of Martha’s ornaments have fallen off the mantelpiece. Not broken thank God. And a picture frame lies cracked in front of him.

Harry stares, emotionless, at the beaming couple clinging onto each other with the sun burning their cheeks and their golden beagle pulling them along the pier.

At first, it is as if he hardly recognised his parents, but gradually the corners of his mouth twitched as he becomes a child again and is taken back to that afternoon.

 

Dad had just got a promotion at work, so we went to Brighton for a day by the sea. I was only nine and had only been to the beach a couple times that I could remember. I was so excited to splash across the seashore and make sandcastles and play fetch with Lucy.

The sun was shedding golden dust, the sky was as clear as the sea. Both Mum and Dad’s faces were lit up with elation; they spoilt me all day. They bought me ice creams and toys and an “I Heart Brighton” fridge magnet. We went on the Ferris wheel, to the museum, to the park…

We bought a disposable camera and Mum let me take photos of everything. We were so happy.

Little Lucy was going crazy. It was the first time she’d ever seen the sea and she wouldn’t stop jumping around in it, splashing her paws into the waves and lapping up the white horses as they came charging into shore. Every time she came out, she ran up to us and jumped on me because I was small and covered me in sand, water and smelly bits of seaweed.

As the sun began to lower in the sky, we walked back along the pier and headed home. Lucy and I were so tired that we slept the entire journey home.

Poor Lucy. At least she had a fun last day.

 

Harry is jolted back into the present by Martha bellowing down to him. Once he regains his bearings, he dabs the tear from his eye with the knuckle of his thumb.

“I’ll be up in a couple of minutes, babe.” Harry replies as he grabs the picture frame, placing it on the mantelpiece and shoving the memory to the back of his mind again.

He hastens into the kitchen and fills up a glass half-empty. Tiptoeing back upstairs, Harry punches the landing light switch and crawls back into bed.

“What were you doing?” Martha slurs her words, half-asleep.

He plants a soft kiss on her forehead and replies, “was just getting some water, go back to sleep.” Martha has already settled back to sleep, a wave of calm washing over her face.

Harry strokes the hair from Martha’s face and looked down upon her. He wills himself to feel. He wills himself to see her and get a sparkle in his eye. To see her as his whole world and all he needs and will ever need.

No such luck. Harry’s stomach sinks and he sighs with the discovery. Perhaps he has felt too much too soon. Perhaps he has become numb to love.

He pictures her. He fixates on her. He examines every curve of her body, every crease in her smile, every line on her hands. With her image in his mind, Harry finally finds peace in his subconscious.

Chapter 4 - avery

She stopped screaming once she had taken her vow of silence.

I think she understood then why I was there. She no longer denied her transgressions, instead she accepted her fate.

I could see it in her eyes as the memories of her mistakes flashed passed. She should have never left the ocean. She should have never sacrificed her tail. She should have never fallen in love. There were always consequences of decisions made in love.

 

I grew tired and she grew faint. The little fish had already put herself through enough; there was no need to drag this out. She’d felt the pain and I’d had my fun. It was time for our discussion to come to an end.

She was barely conscious and her little fish heart was beating so dimly that she was unaware of what was happening.

I went into my bag and hoisted out the tub of clear liquid.

I prodded her pet with the tips of my toes so that it was further away from the bed on which the little mermaid lay so lightly. Regardless of my disgust of the slobbering animal, it was nothing to do with this tale, so I saw no reason that it should suffer because of its owner’s poor decisions.

I then stood 0.85 metres from the bed myself and pulled the plastic goggles down, covering the middle of my face. I gave my eyes over to her with one last glance.

Her once radiant auburn hair was now dampened by sweat and dulled by a darker shade of red. Her face, as soft as silk, was now sticky from the salted water that ran down from her eyes and nose. Her mouth that just a moment ago smiled with hopeful dreams of love and happiness, now hung low and only showed the slightest expression through its turned down corners. What was once such a beautiful creature was now a worn out ragdoll.

I sighed and shook my head as I brought my gaze away from her and unscrewed the cap before watching the liquid fall out.

 

I shook the last few drops from the container and then I shoved it back in my bag. Before sliding back out of the window through which I had entered, I finished off my routines and had one final scan around the flat to make certain I had not left anything unattended to.

As I pulled the glass shut behind me, I blew a kiss to the little mermaid and grinned at my work.

 

I exhale heavily, calming my heart rate after reliving tonight’s events. As much as I enjoy the rush of recalling them, I always forget that this part takes a fair amount of time and that I can’t just come home and curl up in my warm, cosy duvet and satin sheets. I guess everything has its drawbacks.

I skim read my words a few times over as to imprint them on my brain and so that I will never forget a single detail. Then I grab the lot in one hand and rip them out at the seam.

I tear them in half and pace over to the fireplace, sitting crossed legged in front of the burning heat.

One by one, I drop the sheets into the flames and watch as they turn black and disappear into nothing. Just like the little fish.

Once I have seen the last of my words dissolve, I rearrange the logs on the fire so that the blaze would begin to die out.

Chapter 5 - avery

There is something different about waking up this morning. I wake up with a swirl of adrenaline coursing through me that makes my stomach tickle. I wake up with a beaming smile on my face.

For a moment, I forget why. Then I remember the happenings of last night (or this morning rather) and my smile extends to my ears. It had been so long, I had forgotten the thrill of it all.

I leap out of bed in a manner that most people would deem inappropriate for 6.27AM on a Monday morning.

I’m ready and downstairs in just thirty-two minutes. I think that’s a record.

Today I feel daring, so I put on my silk white blouse with a slight plunging neckline, which clings to my carefully crafted body and a tight black leather skirt, cutting off right on my knees.

My Louboutin heels click and clack on the kitchen tiles as I hasten around the room making my morning coffee and fixing myself something to eat.

As I swallow my last mouthful of granola, my alarm clock sounds telling me it’s time to get the hell to work.

I snatch up my bag and jacket before heading out to face the day.

The sky is as clear as the Caribbean Sea, with only a few swollen clouds splashing the ground with spots of shade. Before you step outside, you can almost believe that you are in the height of summer. Yet, the cold winter breeze hits me, exploding over my entire body, covering me in goose bumps and the sharp air suffocating me with every breath.

 

Oh I completely forgot to introduce myself.

My name is Avery Blake. I will be the hero for the next 300 pages. Well, in my opinion I will be anyway. After all, this is my story.

Let me tell you a little bit about myself. Let’s see… I’m thirty-one years old, I haven’t found any grey hairs…yet. I’m starting to get wrinkles but they are only faint and I am using every anti-wrinkle product I can get my hands on so they won’t be there for very long.

I have thick, luscious, deep chocolate brown hair that every woman would kill for. All natural of course - I would never murder my gorgeous locks by using those chemicals.

I’m a Sagittarius, but I most certainly don’t believe in any of that horoscope crap.

High school was a waste of time; I was far more intelligent than any of those state teachers. I got straight A’s of course and a first in my master’s degree.

My primary occupation is as a pharmaceutical rep. I have to say I do love the sales and I definitely love the cash… but it doesn’t send adrenaline shooting through my body and make me bounce up and down like a kid in a sweet shop whose parents fed them way too much sugar.

No, the things that really get me going include painting, volunteer work, killing, tap dancing and golfing.

 

Yes you read that correctly. Like how I slipped that in there? Okay, if I’m being completely honest, I hate painting…and golfing…and tap dancing… and I mean I wouldn’t say my volunteering record is of an extremely impressive length…so I guess it’s just the one then.

Before you go and get all judgemental and shut off your tiny little minds to anything I have to say because killing is so awful and killing is so wrong, just turn your noses back down for a minute.

I’m sure you’re thinking right now that I can redeem myself in your eyes by selling you with a sob story about how daddy was mean to mummy and I was raised by wolves so I don’t know any better. Blah, blah, blah.

Well, I’m sorry to disappoint, but that is not what happened in my case. Between you and me, I think anyone who tells you that little tale to ‘justify’ what they do is simply spinning you lies.

I was raised by two, happily married parents and we had a wonderful little, perfectly picturesque life. It was all rainbows and butterflies and we even baked flippin’ cupcakes.

I hate to burst your naïve, ignorant bubble but I can say nothing in ‘defence’ of my passion except for it feels good. I enjoy doing it. And why should I feel bad for something I get pleasure out of? Just because you can’t understand it doesn’t mean your right is right and my right is wrong. Who gets to decide these social norms, anyway?

Now that you know my little secret, I suppose what happened last night with the little mermaid makes more sense to you. Once again, before you get all judgey, if you ever took the time to read the original little mermaid, the poor fish is supposed to turn back into sea foam because her Prince married another. So, I was merely finishing off her tale. Is that so wrong?

Please don’t try to psycho-analyse me. I am actually a functioning member of society (I know I can hardly believe it either). I have friends, I have a stable – and very well-paying – job, and as difficult as it may be to comprehend, I do, in fact, have the capability to feel.

But anyway, I’m bored of talking about this so I’m going to get back to telling you wonderful strangers my story.

Chapter 6 - harry

There isn’t a fibre in Harry’s body that wants to get out of bed today. He would love nothing more than to stay in bed cuddling a bottle of whiskey in one hand and a pack of fags in the other, watching mind-numbing TV and laughing at reality shows where he feels like their lives might actually be more pathetic than his.

But Harry can’t do that. He has to go to work. He has to stand his simple colleagues for a further eight agonizing hours, because today might actually be the day that he takes them down. Today might be the day he has been waiting for, for fifteen years.

After all, that’s the reason Harry went into the police force in the first place.

Harry hears Martha switch the shower off. He waits until he thinks she has finished drying herself down and is about to come out of the bathroom before he shoots up from the bed and opens the door for her.

Martha, startled by his abrupt appearance in the doorway, jumps back slightly and lets out a soft gasp.

“Good morning, darling” she greets him with a warm smile and a peach glow in her cheeks from the humidity of the small room.

Harry pecks her on the cheek and hurries a response, “morning, babe. I’ve just got to jump in the shower quick otherwise I’ll be late to the station.”

“Okay, well I’ll be gone by the time you’re out then so…I suppose I’ll see you when you get back tonight?” Martha asks with a hopeful sparkle in her eye, although the delight in her tone has dulled as she was hoping to spend time with Harry this morning. At least for a short while.

But that’s exactly what Harry wanted to avoid. He wanted to avoid having to play the part of the perfect husband for any longer than he had to.

It isn’t like Harry is a monster. Of course he cares for Martha and wants to spend time with his wife, but he wants to avoid Martha’s prying questions. Martha always believes she is helping and being supportive by talking to him about what happened. She is so empathetic, it’s as if she experienced it with him.

She didn’t, though. She can never fully understand what happened.

“Of course,” Harry reassured her, “but I’ll be a bit late tonight. I’ve got some things to take care of at the station.” When he saw her expression drop again, he added, “I won’t be that much later. And I promise, this will be the last time I am late this week.”

Pushing her shoulder against his as she paces passed him, she sighs, “That’s what you said yesterday and last week.”

Harry knows he should go after her and make a few more false promises to reassure her that he’s trying and yet he shrugs it off and slides across the floor tiles into the shower.

 

The station’s appearance would make you think it was designed in the 1800’s, without a single modification. The only feature that seems as though it is from the 21st century is the one glass window in the top right-hand corner that allows just the smallest amount of natural light to shine through it. All the other windows are made of thick, clouded glass which have become completely immersed in mould, ensuring no sunlight would even attempt to pass through. The frames are broad and painted a common white which is peeling off on every edge.

The dulled red bricks can barely hold the place up, every corner is chipped and the cement would surely crumble if there was the slightest change to the pressure it frailly supports.

Walking towards it, the building looks like some kind of slaughter house or some old, broken down hotel that is undoubtedly haunted and that no one in their right mind would ever want to enter. Despite this, the building is supposed to be a place of refuge and safety.

Harry stops and stares at the station for a moment to gather enough energy to go in and start the day with his…lovely colleagues.

Grant is the first to catch sight of him.


AUTHOR Q&A

About me

Hi, I'm 18 years old, a singer/songwriter and aspiring author. I wrote this book for my extended project qualification, exploring the different influences on one's perspective of morality - specifically when it comes to killing. This subject is one that truly fascinates me & I find the motivations of serial killers especially intriguing - which is why I wanted to focus on this aspect through my protagonist.

Q. Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?
A.
My main message through this book is "who are you to judge?". I want people to come away more open-minded more more willing to try to understand someone's motivations and actions before dismissing them simply because it's something they wouldn't do themselves.
Q. Tell us about the cover and the inspiration for it.
A.
The cover for this book focuses on the message of perspective - this is the reason I chose the title "Insane". On the cover, the title has the shadow "I'm Sane" and I feel is perfectly encompasses the message that everyone's perspectives and opinions and experiences are different.
Q. Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from this book?
A.
When I was writing this book, I had the actors all picked out from day 1 - it made the characters real to me & I knew exactly who they were. For Avery, the main character, I would want Megan Fox to play her. I think she has the perfect expression or darkness and allure that Avery has.

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