It was probably about three months after her discharge from hospital, that Evie came into Charlotte’s life.
At first Evie was kind, encouraging and said all the right things. She reassured Charlotte that the scars from the terrible burns she had suffered in the fire were diminishing, and Charlotte’s confidence began to shine once again.
Naturally, Charlotte never mentioned Evie to anyone, that wouldn’t be right. With Evie, Charlotte felt blessed, even cherished.
But everything changed immediately after Charlotte’s sixteenth birthday. Charlotte had celebrated the day in the company of a few friends, a mixture of young men and women. It was when the party started to disperse, it suddenly occurred to Charlotte, that Evie had been uncharacteristically absent throughout the conviviality’s.
As Charlotte cleared away the glasses and plates, Evie returned. Her voice was hard and menacing. She told Charlotte that those boys ‘were only after one thing’, and that the girls had ‘sniped about Charlotte’s clothes and makeup behind her back’.
Evie’s torments became relentless. Her previous gentle and supportive chatter had been replaced by cruel threats, insults and vile abuse.
Things got so desperate that one evening after a torrent of unsubstantiated vilifications from Evie, Charlotte found herself locked in the bathroom clutching a full bottle of her mother’s sleeping pills.
Charlotte held her breath as she unscrewed the cap. Evie stilled. Then she spoke in a low menacing whisper.
“Don’t do something I’ll regret.”
Sweating and confused Charlotte put the bottle back and ran to her bedroom.
Charlotte’s lifeless body was found by two rail workmen early on Monday morning. The train driver of the 6.45 Newcastle to London had heard a bang at about 6.55, just as the train gathered speed outside of the station. He immediately reported the incident to central control.
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