This s the beginning of a short story that literally popped into my head... I formed the start from an idea and simply kept writing.

This is not my best work... for sure.

I remember that night clearly. I was eight, living in our cottage by the beach. My foster parents had always wanted a perfect life for me, since they’d fostered me at that young age. My real parents had given me up soon after birth. My foster parents were kind, caring. They loved me as their own. I remember that night so clearly.

We’d finished our tea and the sun was beginning to set. We watched it disappear below the horizon ahead, sinking into the ocean, from the safety of our own balcony. It’d grown to deep dusk when a knock at the door could be heard. I remember my foster parents exchanging cold looks. Gillian rushed me to my bedroom as Charles went to answer the door. She hurried me into my favourite pyjamas and straight into bed. Her hands shook gently as she tucked me in. I watched as her expression changed from worry to sadness, as a gruff voice sounded from downstairs. The voice grew louder and louder. I could just make out what the voice was saying… but Gillian covered my ears with her soft hands. She lay me down on my bed and sang to me, her sweet voice low, shaken. I remember I clung to the sleeves of my pyjamas - a habit of nerves I still possess now. Then the singing stopped. She took her hands away from my ears. Silence fell, for a brief moment. Then I heard the gunshot. Both Gillian and I jumped. She grabbed the bedsheets and pulled them up over my head. I could just see through a small gap. I saw her dark figure, standing close to the door. I heard the thuds of heavy boots climbing our wooden staircase, growing louder as they approached my door on the landing. The handle shook and the door creaked open. I caught a brief glance of the man’s features from the dim light in the hallway: His hair was dark. His build was solid, sturdy. His expression was ruthless, eyes hard. He held a pistol in his left hand. I watched as his eyes fell on Gillian, stood squarely in front of him. His gaze darted to my bed… me, then back to Gillian. He gestured with one raised finger to her. Gillian nodded solemnly. She didn’t look back. She walked forwards. He moved to let her pass. The door swung closed after them.

I didn’t dare move. I stayed hidden under my sheets until I heard the front door slam shut. I tentatively rose, making my way downstairs barefoot. I remember I was wearing my favourite pyjamas that night, my cotton ones that my foster parents had given me for Christmas. I searched the house but found no one. Nothing. No note or sign of what was going on. So, I did what any eight year old girl would do. I followed my instincts, I followed what I’d been told. I called the police.

They took me back to the station for the rest of the night. They gave me blankets to sleep with in the waiting room, leaving me alone after they’d asked me some questions. The head police officer who had looked at me with a sympathetic eye, explained to me about my foster father’s work: he’d been in a high-up business, and the man who’d taken my foster mother wanted something Charles had had. The officer didn’t explain anymore to me. He left me alone in the waiting room, waiting for the social services to come the next day. I curled up, lonely and confused, only my thoughts for company. I remember I couldn’t sleep.

The End

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