"In here, kid!" Someone grabbed my arm as I ran past an alleyway that I hadn't ever noticed before until now and dragged me into it.
"What are you doing?" I asked in shock as they shoved me as far down it as they could (it got more narrow the further you went) and then looked around the corner.
"Saving your life," they hissed. "They've gone. Go straight back home. Now. You can fit through there, you're small enough."
I started to go, and then stopped. "Thanks," I said.
They turned to face me. It was a guy. He looked quite young, but I couldn't really tell 'cause of the dirt on his face and the grazes. He shrugged. "No problem. Stay safe, kid."
I smiled and nodded, then proceeded to ease myself through the tiny gap at the end. When I got out my arms were bleeding slightly, and because the wall was rough it had pulled out a few strands of my hair. But at least now I had more of a chance. My tights were laddered and had a hole on one of the thighs which was gradually getting bigger. The zip on my skirt was at the verge of breaking, and my David Bowie shirt was dirty and frayed. One of my shoes was missing, and the one I still had was falling apart. My hair was also dirty and tangled.
This was all a result of spending the last two hours trying to make it difficult for the Mercinaries to catch me. They thought I as a witch. No, they were adamant I was a witch, and witches were burnt at the stake. I had crawled through bushes, climbed onto small buildings, scaled walls, and at the beginning I even hid underwater in the pond at the local park until my breath ran out in an attempt to throw them off the trail. Which meant I was still slightly damp at this point.
This was all bad enough, and then there was this one simple fact. I WASN'T A WITCH. I never will be a witch. I'm not related to a witch. I don't know a witch. But they just accuse anyone because even if they're wrong it's normally too late anyway. Everyone knows that once you get put in the cells, you never come out.
My stupid clumsiness made me trip over as my other shoe came off, and in the few seconds it took me to get over the pain in my knees and palms and begin to push myself up, they found me. Something jabbed into my back, forcing me to the ground, causing me to graze my chin and make my tongue bleed as my teeth clamped down on it. My hands were roughly bound behind my back and then yanked above my head as I was dragged backwards through the streets, my heels bleeding. And then it started to rain, and dirt started streaking across my skin where the droplets washed it and made it wet again.
All in all, when the Mercinaries finally got me to the white marble prisons, I could tell I looked like a bomb had exploded next to me, and I almost didn't want to ruin the floor. They uncuffed me and shoved me into a cell, where just to top it off I banged my head on the wall when I fell.
When they left, I looked to see who was in the cells around me. The one on my left was empty, and the one on my right housed a young boy, who only looked about nine, and he was sleeping. Opposite me was a girl with long blonde hair, who was quite small but looked like she might be about my age.
Because none of them were older boys, and because the only boy was asleep, I decided it OK to sort out what I was wearing. First, I - painfully - took off my sopping shirts, then separated the tank top from the David Bowie one, wrung them out, and then put the David Bowie one back on. Then I took off my tights to inspect the injuries to my legs. Bruising. Lots and lots of bruising. Grazes and cuts. Blood and dirt. The tights were done for, so I threw them into the corner of the cell. My skirt had three layers. The top one was white netting. The middle one was grey silk. The bottom one was black cotton. I ripped off the first two. Now I felt lighter, and not as warm.
Then I noticed one of the messages written on the back wall. It stood out because it was written in thick, bright purple ink, and it was close to the floor, apart from the others which started about half a meter up.
I dont no Y Iym heer.
The prittE layD put mE in.
The handwriting and logic behind the spelling made me think that whoever had written it couldn't have been older than six. It saddened me that they would catch people that young. So innocent.
I sighed and took my iPod from the pocket in my skirt, then promptly realised it was full of water from when I'd jumped into the pond.
Groaning, I laid back with my hands behind my head. There was a message on the ceiling, and what it said in shaky large handwriting made me dread even more what my future would be.
I couldn't escape.
They killed me. I was innocent.
You'll never get out.