Chapter 1. Departure.
The hardest day of my life was easily the day I said goodbye.
Goodbye to everything and everyone that I knew and loved. At the
same time I said hello. Hello to the unknown, the unexpected, my
I could never forgive myself for ruining the lives of those who
cared about me the most. I remembered the way their salty, hot
tears stained my clothes as I hugged them for the last time. My
father, Brett. My boyfriend, Cameron. My brother, Joseph. The
three men who meant more to me than anyone else in my life. I had
turned my back on them. It had hurt me more than any other pain I
had ever felt to see my father and Cameron crying over me. Only
Joseph didn't cry. His eyes hardened as I hugged him, his body
stiff. I knew he was angry and that worried me. Not for my sake .
. . I had always known he would react this way, and I didn't
blame him for that . . . his anger worried me for him. I didn't
know how deep it would cut into him. I didn't know if I was
killing my own brother inside.
I became very good at lying in the days leading up to my
departure. I lied when I was asked why I was leaving. I told the
standard cover story of my craving independence. I lied when
asked where I planned on going. I falsely informed my loved ones
that I was going to stay with a friend in Los Angeles for a
couple of years. I had needed to use somewhere far away, across
the globe . . . so that no-one would ever come looking for me. I
told everyone not to write to me or try to call - that I wouldn't
reply or answer. Though I had heard the harsh edge to my words
and seen the desolation their eyes, I knew I couldn't tell the
truth. I couldn't tell them about my mother being alive after all
this time without having to tell them about the letter she left
me when she ran away. I was breaking their hearts by leaving, but
I would be killing them if I stayed. Literally.
After waving my father, my brother and my boyfriend goodbye from
the window of my taxi, I had consulted my map. I clutched the
money I'd stashed away for years in my fist and located
Melbourne. I had taken out the letter from my mother, explaining
her disappearance and begging for my secrecy.
My dearest Ruby,
Firstly, I am sorry. I can only pray that one day you will
understand what I am about to tell you and forgive me. Until
then, all I can do is try to explain.
Ruby, I am not human as you, your father and your brother
are. I am a witch. Perhaps like the kind in those fairytales I
used to read to you and Joseph when you were only children. I am
completely different, in lifestyle habits and . . . other ways .
. . from you.
I don't know if this will affect you in any way. Until we
find out, I am so sorry. I have to leave and join others of my
kind - the further away from you, your father and Joseph I am,
the better. It is for your own safety. In this envelope I have
included a large portion of money. Please keep this letter a
secret - you are never to tell anyone what I have just confided
in you. When and if the time comes, take the money. You will find
me in Melbourne. I have also included a map. On the map I have
marked my exact whereabouts. I do not know if you are destined to
the same fate as it appears I am, but just in case, I will be
I love you, please don't ever forget that.
The letter had gone on to plead that I look after Joseph as
though I was his own mother, and to make sure he knew that no
matter what she had done and how things seemed, she loved him.
I had indeed inherited the same fate as my mother, Lyn. Thus, the
reason I left and the reason I was sitting in that very taxi
studying a map and gripping a wad of dollar notes.