Chapter 1

When Louise's mum is brutally murdered, strange things start to happen. She gets bullied and teased, but finds refuge in a new friend who seems to understand her better then anyone else. Things start to look up, but then secrets start to unravel.

Life hadn't been the same since mum had died, or been murdered. Her funeral had started that morning at ten o'clock in the local church. 

My mum had been a very religious person with a strong belief in innocence. Every murder that came on the news had a valid reason, every murderer was innocent. But she wouldn't be thinking that now. 

My dad had always argued with her about how a murderer was never innocent, and I think that's what made the whole thing worse, for him anyway. I think he felt guilty somehow, blamed himself. 

I thought differently though. The only person I blamed was the murderer who had chosen my mum out of all the people in the world to kill. My mum. He had chosen to ruin my family's life. He had chosen to take away my mum's dignity. To strip the clothes off her then beat her black and blue. To slit her throat then to give her his signature. He shaved her head.

 That had been the murderer's signature all along. He had been targeting mums. Mums, of all people. He had stripped them of their clothes, their dignity. Then killed them and signed the murder by shaving off their hair. 

None of the victim's hair was ever found at the crime scene. No, the murderer was good. He cleaned the scene up well. Taking all of the hair and doing who knows what with it. But this didn't make it any better, for anyone. 

No, the only person I blamed was the murderer. He always seemed to find his victims alone. I mean, what did he do? Watch them all day for months to find a regular pattern in their daily routine? Or was it pure luck? Pure chance that his victims had been alone. That nobody had been around to hear them scream in pain as he beat them. 

It was okay for him though. He didn't have to come home just a few hours after his mum had been murdered. He didn't have to find his mum naked in her bedroom, her skin covered In bruises yet turning brown and rotting away before his eyes. No. That was just for me. Me and all the other daughters of the victims. 

That was another thing that got to me. It was always daughters, daughters that the victim had and, worse of all, daughters that found the victims lying dead in their beds. 

This man was good, in that sense. It must take a lot of planning. Did he not have anything better to do with his life than plan to ruin other's? Did he not a family of his own? Or had he killed them all too?

The funeral had been hard. Everyone was crying and hugging each other and I felt lost as I stood alone, watching my dad and brother carry my mum's coffin down the aisle along with my uncle James and some people I didn't recognise. I would probably recognise them on any other day but, just then, my vision had been so clouded with pictures of my mum lying dead and I could barely see anything else. 

The priest, a kindly man and good friend of my mums, had stood and made a speech about how much faith my mum had and much she deserved better.

By the end of the service everyone, even the teachers and students from my school that had come to pay their respects, were crying. 

The tears seemed to clear my vision as I walked out if the church. Everyone nodded to me and I nodded back, my brain subconsciously taking a note of the people's names so that I could thank them later. 

As the last face in a long row of mourners that led to the hearse nodded to me I nodded back automatically before realising that I didn't know the girl. She looked about my age with long brown hair and deep green eyes. Maybe she was my mum's friend's daughter or somebody from school. I would have to find out and thank her later for coming to say goodbye. 

After that we had went to bury her. Just the lose family and friends were there. We had a nice plot in a cemetery near to the small village that we lived in. The plot was next to a large tree with beautiful yellow flowers blooming on the branches. Yellow was my mums favourite colour, which is why everyone placed a yellow lily on top of her coffin. 

That was my mum's name, Lily. Lily Hartfreir. She had been so gentle, so kind. Everything, even her name, suggested that about her. She was such a bright and cheery person. She always saw the good in people. So had she seen the good in her killer as he had slit her throat, shaved her head, and left her for dead.

After that we all headed down to the local pub for a meal. No matter how divine the steak pie in front of me smelt, I couldn't eat and my dad couldn't either. He kept getting up from the table and asking others how they were doing. Yet nobody seemed to ask him. They all just replied with "Not bad, I guess." or "As good as I can be at this time." I couldn't help but notice this and as he came over to ask me how I was, I jumped in first. 

"How're you doin' dad?"

He seemed shocked that I had said this but then replied with a simple "Okay, you?"

He sounded hollow inside. His voice mimicked how I felt and instead of answering him I got up and gave him a hug. We both just stood there, hugging, tears streaming down our faces. We didnt separate until my brother came over, gave us a gentle squeeze, then alerted us to the fact that everyone was getting ready to go.

We thanked everyone for coming and they all wished us the best, but I noticed that not everyone was there. The girl I hadn't recognised from the church was nowhere to be found. Had she not come? Had she already left?

I would have to ask around and find out who she was. But that wasnt important now. I would do that later. I would need to keep myself busy, keep my mind off things.

My dad, my brother, and I thanked everyone for coming and hugged and kissed them goodbye. Then my brother went to pay for the meals.

Out of all of us he seemed to be dealing with my mum's death the best, not that any of us were dealing with it. but my brother dealt with it differently.

For the first day after we had got the news he was, there was no other way to describe it, vacant. He talked to nobody, following my dad about as he made arrangements, talked to police officers and sorted out insurance etc.

Well, I suppose we were all like that at the start. But by the next morning Tom had changed. He didnt seem like my big brother anymore. He seemed too...vulnerable.

He wouldn't leave his room, we could here him crying through the door. It pained my dad so much that he reached breaking point and I could here both of them crying at night.

It scared me so much and I was trying so hard to be strong for everyone, but I justc ouldn't handle it and after that night everything changed.

My brother came back to us, became the strong big brother that I knew him to be. My dad occupied himself by worrying about others and not even bothering to think about how he was feeling.

And me. I had turned into a shell. Hollow, dwelling on memories of my mum. I felt like my insides had been scooped out and buried along with my mum. I felt like the rest of my brain that wasn't still active, replaying images of my mum over and over again, had been fried by the images of my mum. I felt lost.

The End

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