Barely five minutes away from school Ava asks, “Why don’t you and Daddy love each other anymore?”

The steering wheel is damp under my sweaty hands, “Sometimes people stop seeing things eye to eye, sweetie.”

“But you said people still love each other even if they don’t see eye to eye.”

“That’s true, but Daddy doesn’t think that way.”

I turn onto the road that will take us far from home, though it hasn’t been my home for a while. From now on, it won’t be Ava’s either.

“The car behind us looks like Daddy’s car.”

My heart pounds and I glance into the rear-view mirror. It’s him. He’s coming. He won’t stop until he has her. I step on the accelerator, cutting in front of another car, and another, watching him shrink further behind.

“Are you scared of Daddy?”

“I am very scared of Daddy.”

“Why?”

“Because Daddy is going to be very angry when he finds out I picked you up today.”

“Does that mean you’re naughty? Is Daddy going to punish you?”

He can try. He tried before, when he tried to take Ava away from me. He was a fool to think he could keep a mother from her daughter. As long as he doesn’t have her, nothing else matters.

“Where are we going?”

“To a safe place.” I smile shakily, “It won’t be long now.”

She frowns. “Home not safe?”

“Home not safe.”

I stop the car outside of the rented house and usher Ava into the kitchen. I take a knife from the drawer as my ex-husband’s car screeches to a halt outside. He steps out, face red with fury, cursing, calling me crazy, and I cover Ava’s ears on instinct. What am I doing? I have to hurry!

I bought Ava’s favourite juice to take with her pills, but there’s no time now. I can hear sirens. I’ll have to use the knife.

“It’s okay.” I hug Ava close, “We’ll be together again soon and this time he won’t be able to separate us.”

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