Sarah was sat at her desk when the thought first occurred to her. She was doing what she usually did when she wasn't trying to avoid her father. She was writing. Every day, she wrote poems, short stories and, occasionally, longer novels and novellas. She'd just finished another sonnet when she looked up from where she was sitting, and her eyes fell on the cord for her phone charger. She stared at it, imagining wrapping it around her neck and pulling it tight. Imagined the release from her living hell. The relief that would come with death. She shook her head, pushing the thought to the back of her mind where it would stay, never quite disappearing, always waiting, for the opportune moment.

The second time the idea popped into her head, she was struggling to run away from her house. Her right eye was already starting to swell up, blood was dripping down her left shoulder, and she was dragging one of her legs behind her. There was something on her upper thigh that was suspiciously like a stab wound, where blood was also leaking from. She had a small bag on her back, swinging loosely from her good shoulder. Her father had come home earlier than she had expected. She halted her limping run for a moment, and stood on a bridge that crossed the A38. Her eyes filled with tears as she remembered what he had said to her, before he actually hurt her.

"You sicken me, you worthless dyke. You spend every night under my roof, contaminating my air...I'm sick of it. I've told you before I don't want animals living inside my house. Nothing less than humans deserve such luxuries." When he saw her tears, he grinned. "Of course, go and cry. Being a disgrace wasn't enough for you, was it? You have to be pathetic, weak and useless too." That's when he landed the first blow, a kick to her stomach. She fell to the floor, and he leaned over her. "Pathetic." He hissed again.

She leaned further over the bridge, her tears falling onto the cars below. Why shouldn't she jump? One quick, simple fall, and nobody would miss her. All the pain she felt...self0harming, something which had lasted for several years, just wasn't enough anymore. It wasn't enough release from the pain. She leaned out further still, so that her upper body was perpendicular to her legs but, once again, something held her back. She limped her was back home (if you could call that place home) and climbed up to her bedroom window, grateful that her leg had held up just long enough. She collapsed on her bedroom floor. Her father hadn't even noticed.

The third time the desire hit, she was at school. She usually walked into school to find notes taped to her locker, the contents of which would be hidden around the school. These notes would say things like 'Dyke', 'Animal', 'You don't belong with normal people' and on one occasion 'Take a knife to your throat'. She'd grown...not used to, but almost immune to these attacks. But she was not prepared for what happened that day. Spray painted on her locker was two words. Hang yourself. She probably could have ignored that, with a minimal amount of pain, if she hadn't opened her locker. Inside was a noose, attached to the ceiling, and a gun with a note. The irrational side of her brain wondered how a student had got hold of a gun. She picked it up with a trembling hand, and read the note. It said:

Consider this a gift.

There's one bullet. DO us all a favour and play Russian roulette alone.

The urge was so great at that point to pick up the gun and end it all...but just at that moment, someone walked through the door, someone who spent every day keeping Sarah alive. Her best friend (And secret girlfriend) Charlotte. Sarah threw the gun back into her locker, and tried to ignore it for the rest of the day. Charlotte didn't say anything either, but Sarah knew she was worried. Charlotte hovered nearer to her than usual, never giving her more space than the situation required. And so, although the idea wasn't forgotten about, Sarah managed to find another reason to keep living.

The next time the urge struck, she had just woken up from a dream. Well, more of a nightmare really. People had kept circling around her. Her father, classmates, people she barely knew. They were all whispering things. They called her names, told her she was worthless. Then they disappeared and one person was stood in their place. Charlotte. Sarah was going to run into her arms, the one place she felt safe, but Charlotte stopped her. She spoke.

"They're all right. You are worthless. You don't deserve love, and I can't believe I spent half a year pretending to love you. You really are stupid, pathetic, and ugly." Charlotte walked off. That's when Sarah woke up. She was shaking and sobbing uncontrollably. She told herself it was only a dream. She could deal with the other's hatred, she was used to it. But as long as Charlotte loved her, nothing else really mattered.

But she doesn't love you, does she? A small voice nagged at the back of her head. She just felt sorry for you.

"Shut up. She does love me. I know she does."

Then how come your relationship is a secret? How come she doesn't want people to know about you?

I do it because I am you. I make you see things you'd otherwise never notice.

"Go away! I know she loves me. You can't convince me otherwise."

But you don't know that, do you? If you did, I wouldn't be here. Once again, Sarah had no answer.

End this hell. You have nothing to live for anymore. Sarah got out of bed, almost like she was in a trance. She bent down, and removed the box hidden underneath her bed. It contained supplies she'd collected together ever since the second time she thought about killing herself, about a month ago. There was two different knives, the rope and gun from her locker, a jar of pills and a note that she'd spent hours perfecting. She was just reaching inside the box, unsure what she was going to take out, when she froze. "No. I will not give up on life. Not yet." But the voice began nagging again.

The pain is unbearable. You feel betrayed, and you've lost all hope. Just end it. She pondered over it for a moment, then decided to re-read the note one last time. Satisfied that it was as good as she could get it, that it blamed the right people for making her feel this way, that she begged forgiveness from the one person who may (unlikely but possible) miss her, she pinned it to her wall, right above her bed, and returned to the box. She took out the noose, and pinned it to her ceiling. She was just about to stand on a chair, and end her life, when she thought of something she absolutely had to do first. She reached for her phone, and sent one long text. She was crying as she wrote it.

Charlie

I know you don't really love me. I understand that now. You merely pitied me. But you lied to me, and that hurt even more than knowing my love was not returned. I just can't take knowing you've been lying to me for the last six months. Just know that I will always love you, even in hell, and I'll never forget you.

Goodbye

Sarah Xxx

She went back over to the chair, and the rope hanging from the ceiling. She stood on the chair, but the rope around her neck, and knocked the chair over. She fell. The fall wasn't long enough to break her neck and provide her with a quick end, so she was left hanging, unable to touch the floor. Every time she struggled against the rope, it got tighter. Before she did this, she didn't think it would hurt this much. She should have used the gun. Suddenly, with no warning whatsoever, her shrinking airway was completely cut off. After three minutes of gasping for air and fighting against the rope, she passed out.

Charlotte had a morning routine. It had begun a month ago, after she worked out that Sarah wanted to die. Every morning she's wake up, and there'd be a good morning text waiting from her girlfriend, a promise she'd made to put Charlotte's mind at ease. She checked her phone again this morning, expecting the usual text. However, the text she had received had been sent last night. As if this wasn't worrying enough, it was also an extremely long text. She read it, and once she's finished, she stood in the middle of the room, paralysed. The phone slipped out of her hand, and clattered on the floor.

"No." She whispered. "No. No. No. No. No." She repeated the word what must have been hundreds of times, as if repeating it would change the events that had taken place. She rang Sarah's mobile, praying it hadn't worked. There was no answer. She dressed as quickly as possible, scribbled down a note for her parents to read, and sprinted out of her house to Sarah's. She flung the door open, not caring if Sarah's abusive father was at home or not, and rushed to her bedroom. The sight inside made Charlotte scream. She raced over to the body hanging from the ceiling and, with fumbling, trembling fingers, untied the rope around her neck. She laid Sarah's corpse on the bed, and then she saw the note. The note Sarah had left pinned above the bed. She read it. Then she broke down completely and utterly. She was crying, and choking, and she threw herself onto the bed beside Sarah. She stroked the girl's face, still sobbing.

"Oh, you poor, foolish girl. Why? What could convince you that I don't love you?" She whispered, running her fingers lightly over the ugly rope burns on her neck. Charlotte desperately wanted to follow the only person she ever loved into the abyss, and she would have, if not for the last lines of her suicide note. The note that must have been written before Sarah began believing that Charlotte didn't love her.

I know you will want to follow, but hold out as long as you can. For me. As my last request.