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The Runaways Chapter One
Raven: Karma sucks, that’s all I’m gonna say.
Oh God, no! NO! This wasn't supposed to happen! How could I? Stupid, stupid, STUPID! I was supposed to be helping my family, not ruining it!
"GET OUT!" My father screamed from his room. I heard my mom cry.
"No, no, no! Not Raven!" My mother cried. My heart almost exploded with pain.
My father wanted me out of his house. My father appeared down the hall and I felt my stiff feet shuffle backward, toward the door.
"Not Raven!" My mother cried again. My father stormed after me. I started to run. I saw his FNP- 45 pistol in the hall and took it, throwing it in my bag.
"Give that BACK!" He yelled at me. I kept scooting toward the door.
Then I didn't hear my father's feet. I froze and turned around slowly. My mother was right behind me, about a yard away. Tears were running down her cheeks. Oh no, how could I! I felt my chest hammer out another harsh blow to my chest, making me gasp.
Tears were streaming down my face now as I gathered up the last bit of courage I had left.
"Don't leave." Mom whispered. She shook her head back and forth forcefully. "Don't leave me." Her blond hair was damp because she just got out of the shower. Tears poured out of my eyes as I shook my head. It was a small, feeble motion.
I remembered what I’d been taught in school, body language is everything; you have to mean what you say in your posture.
I straightened my back and held my head up, but the tears didn’t stop.
"I can't live like this, mom." I looked around nervously. "W-Where's dad?" I asked. My mother looked at me.
"You hurt him pretty bad, Raven." More tears fell onto the floor. I turned, not being able to see my mom cry.
Yeah, well, he'd hurt me pretty bad. Tearing my respect for him to shreds, was more like it. Of course, today had been the last straw; it was September eleventh, twenty-ten, the anniversary of 9-11. And he had used it as an excuse to get drunk. Typical.
I took a deep breath, then, "I'll miss you, mom. I love you." I pushed through the screen door, not bothering to use the broken handle.
That was when everything slowed down. I stared at the wood floor as my tears fell and hit it, even though they made no noise, it was as if those tears were the Niagara Falls.
There was a crashing, hurting, pounding pain in my head and chest.
From somewhere seemingly far off, I heard my mother scream. "No, Raven! Not my baby!" I heard her drop to her knees on the broken wooden porch.
Even more pain was added to the crushing weight I was already carrying.
But I kept running. Mother still called out to me, but the pounding rain and rustle of leaves was enough to block her.
I turned on a corner and a car drove past, too close to the sidewalk. Water and rotten leaves washed over me. I cursed them, the idiots!
Police cars rode around slowly, looking for someone. The officer in the first car looked at me. His eyes widened slightly and he rolled down the window, sticking his hand out, he pointed at me. Crap!
I turned and ran. Soon the cop cars surrounded me. I turned, trying to figure out my escape plan. The cops were getting out of their cars. Oh, God, it was the sheriff? What the heck did I do to deserve the sheriff?
I rolled my eyes. This was not a great day for me. Okay, I can figure this out.
Four cars…two cops in between each car…Okay, I can't figure this out!
I walked quickly toward two of the cops then broke into a run when I was only a yard away from them.
They blocked me, grabbing my arms. A plan began to form inside my head. I put all my weight into my feet. That took the cops off guard and, taking me with them, I fell to the ground.
I could “sense” the other cops walking towards me. One cop let go of my arm from his pain. With my free hand, I elbowed the cop in the head. I was surprised that he was now out cold, on the pavement. I guess I knocked him out. Well, this just gives them another reason to chase me.
I punched the other cop in the mouth. He let go of me and I tried standing up. I got on my feet and started to run. That didn't last long. I slipped on a pile of rotting leaves, falling forward. I gasped for breath, pain spread through my stomach. "That hurt." I mumbled. Then I tasted blood. I looked on the ground; splatters of blood were seeping into the leaves, rain washing it away in dribbles.
I stood up slowly, putting my hand to my lip. I had a small cut. Pain violently stabbed inside me again. I knew I was on the ground once more, cops on top of me. I let them begin to handcuff me.
They were just about to get one snapped, when he let go of me for a moment to work it into place. That was when I took my chance.
I swung my hand upward. I heard a moan and felt a body slip off my back. I got up, running again. I ignored the pain. I turned sharp corners, ran into dark allies, and pushed people out of my way.
My father couldn't have reached the cops that fast...Unless that was what he was doing when he disappeared, when I was at his house.
It was only then that I realized I’d lost them…Well…They lost me. Then a thought occurred to me…My truck! I turned a corner. I had to get home, without my dad knowing.
How was I supposed to do that? Oh, well. I'd come up with something... right?
I arrived at my house within ten minutes. I opened the front door. No one was home. Thank God! I ran over to the shelf where we always kept the keys. Both my mother's and my father's keys were gone…They only did that when they were mad at each other. I bit my bottom lip. I didn't want this to happen. The only thing I could do was to take my truck.
But, I decided to stay for a little longer. I walked one of the two halls in our house. I ran my hand on the wall, walking absently.
I walked into my room. I sat down on the bed, looking at the family picture.
My mom was holding Lily, my younger sister.
We don't know where she went. She disappeared when she was only six. I was nine. I looked at the photo again. My Dad was standing next to me. We were a happy family then. If only Lily was still here…if only.
I stood up and walked outside. I got into my truck and started it. I pulled out of the driveway, hitting the curb—as usual. I drove my truck around the corner then down a highway. I stopped at the red light.
When I looked in my rear view mirror I saw my mother in her car two cars away from me. I pressed on the gas, right when the light turned green. I made a sharp turn, driving onto a forest trail. I rode the twisted path up a hill and then I saw her house.
My friend Livvi would understand. I parked behind her house. Don't ask me why she picked the only house in the middle of the woods.
I got out of the truck and knocked loudly on the back door. Livvi opened the door quickly. Within a second I was in her house, and Livvi was in my face.
"What the heck are you doing, Raven? What happened," She asked. How the heck did she know that something had happened?
"H-How do you kn-" She cut me off.
"Raven, your dad called the cops on you! It's all over the radio!
She laughed dully, as if it were just a programmed reflex. “You’ve got to remember; this is a small town, news travels fast here!" Livvi's bleach blonde hair was messy as if she had just woken up.
I was in crisis mode, and in crisis mode, I tended to realize (and say) stupid things. I looked at the clock above her head. (Crisis mode, remember. Yes, I was just chased by cops my addict father set loose on me, and I want to know the time.) Seven twenty, it read.
Wow, earlier than I thought. Livvi's hand grabbed my arm tightly, bringing me into focus. "Raven, back to Earth!”
“I—” I started, but then the phone rang.
Livvi rushed over to the phone, grabbing it and putting it to her ear.
"This is Livvi Jackson…Hello, Macey." My eyes widened at my mother's name."Looking for Raven?" Livvi looked at me. "No, she's not here...No I don't know where she is...Okay, yep, bye." Livvi hung up and turned to me.
"There's no time to tell stories. Your mother is on her way right now! She's just entering the woods. You need to go." Livvi was already pushing me out the door. I was on the steps when I threw her my keys.
"Take care of my truck. I'll come pick it up." I said, turning.
"Okay…and Raven?" I turned. "Yeah Livvi," I asked.
"Take care and stay safe." I nodded my head and turned back to the forest.
The cold air rushed down my throat, squeezing it half way closed. I ran past a tiny apartment building and saw someone…a girl, across the street running almost parallel to me.
Lucky; she had only one cop following her; I had five. I surged forward, and then raced into a small store. At the entrance I slipped on rotting leaves, but a guy who was just walking out—he looked about my age, but I didn’t catch anymore than that he was giant and had black hair—caught my shoulders as I fell. I muttered thanks and dashed inside. I almost slammed into the automatic doors, going too fast.
From inside the store, I saw the lights of the police cars. I tightened the handle of my bag which was slung over my left shoulder.
I dove into the racks of clothes as I heard the jingle of the door bell and the buzzing of walkie talkies. I cursed myself.
I’d run away from my drug addict father, was walking on the streets, and a cop started chasing after me…again.
I rubbed my head. This was not what I wanted to do today. I got up and swiftly walked down the aisles ending up in the garden section. I grabbed random stuff on the wall. I didn't know what to expect now.
I looked back and saw a shadow growing larger as its owner came closer. I dove into the next aisle. I didn't know this part of the store.
Then I saw all the boxes, and noted that this was the warehouse of the store. I saw a Swiss Army Knife and grabbed it, shoving it in my pocket. I saw the exit, but a cop was right in front of me, looking the other way. I turned and ran down the aisle. I made a sharp corner, almost hitting my head on the shelf. I bumped into an officer and pulled my hood up, as far as it would go over my face.
"Um…Miss, have you seen a girl run around in the store, or on the streets?" He asked. I smiled under my hood, wow they were stupid.
"I want to say no," I said, looking up to show my face. "But that would be lying, and that would be rude." I pushed past the officer, stealing his pepper spray without him noticing. I shook the bottle, smile still glued to my face.
Another officer came around the corner. I uncapped the spray and shot it in his eyes. The officer yelled in pain. "Sorry," I muttered.
That was stupid, I thought. Yeah, say sorry to the guy who’s trying to put you in a jail cell…that’s not ironic. I snorted at myself.
I ran out of the aisle I was in, and into another one. Once again I was grabbing random things, stuffing them in my bag. I came to the exit, and looked back, seeing an officer helping the other one up.
I pushed out of the exit, late in realizing it was the fire exit. The alarm sounded as I ran out.
My feet went numb as cold rain from earlier leaked through my shoes. I let all the thoughts I held back from my past life loose.
Then a new thought came to me. There were way too many cops for just one person…just me…they must have been out there for another person as well…
As I ran along the alleys behind the assorted shops and apartment buildings, I heard something following me. I listened harder, and realized that...well, God dang it, my luck really was that bad, wasn't it?
It was a dog--and, after I'd stopped, turned and looked at it I knew it was one of the crazy, ferocious, monster-sized, Great Danes that the police department used.
The dog slowed his run and began to stalk toward me. I put my hands up and backed away slowly, my eyes darting around as I whispered to the dog. (It was a him...his business was all-hanging down. I suppose the police department couldn't afford to neuter their Gosh. Darned. Gigantic. Dogs.)
"Hello, aren't you a good doggie," I said in a sweet, cooing voice. "Yes you are, yes you are! You don't like to eat helpless little girls, do you? No you don't, no you don't!"
The dog stared at me, and I thought for a moment that he might leave me alone...and then he growled, low and menacingly at me.
I gulped, but continued my stream of comments, "does the good-non-girl-eating-doggie want a snack? I bet he does, I bet he does!" I kept on speaking as the dog drew ever nearer--and then I hit the dead end of the alley wall. I stomped my foot in desperate, near-to-tears anger, and screamed, "WHO PUTS A FRICKING WALL HERE?"
I looked up to the sky and said, in a pleading voice, "Hey God, I am honestly sorry that I waited up until now to say this, but I really wanna get sent to heaven, and if you could just please do me just a little-itty-bitty favor, I-" I was cut off by the dog jumping at me and landing only a yard away.
Completely panicking now, I rummaged through my bag, desperately searching for anything that I could feed him.
Then, my fingers brushed against some mayonnaise-turkey-jerky. I took the jerky--the week old, dusty, moldy, at-the-bottom-of-my-filthy-bag jerky--out and waved it at the dog.
"Hello! Do you want this jerky? It has a piece of lint on it!"
The dog's ears perked up and I relaxed. I threw it to him and while he gobbled it down, I drew out more pieces of the disgusting, un-eaten jerky and fed them to him.
I patted him after he had finished the last piece. His tail was wagging and he was panting--thank God he was a happy dog. He licked my hands as I tried to get a better look at him.
However, my thoughts were interrupted when an officer's silhouette appeared.
"What'd you find, Pippy?" The officer's husky voice called, walking down the dead-end alley.
Then, I honestly got a little upset, feeling sorry for the black monster that was about to eat me.
"Pippy? You named the beast 'Pippy'?" I asked. "He doesn't even look like a God dang Pippy!"
"Hey! You're Eric's daughter, Raven! Get over here." The officer shouted.
I placed my hands on my hips. "No. And seriously, why 'Pippy'? I mean his name should be..." I looked the dog over and saw the kink in his short tail. "Kinko! You should name the dog, Kinko!"
"We don't care about names, Miss, we care about getting you back home safely."
"Home isn't safe for me!" I shouted, losing my temper completely. "My...Eric gets drunk and beats my mom and I everyday! I don't want to go back!" I took out the Swiss Army knife and pointed it at him.
"I'm sure that's hightly doubtful, Ma'am." The officer said.
"Oh my God!" I screamed. "What kind of officers are you?"
The dog looked from the officer to me. And for a split moment I thought he was going to attack me, but he didn't. He tackled the officer to the ground, barking loudly. I gave a sigh of relief and bolted out of the alley way.
I ran down the sidewalk and through other allies (making sure they weren't dead-ends of course) until I stopped on the border of the forest.
I saw two silhouettes against the trees. They were rushing into the forest, several yards away. It was the girl I’d seen on the street earlier, and the guy that had walked out of the store as I’d been going in…I was no Nancy Drew, but I figured that meant something.
The black great dane came up to me, standing by my side. For a moment I though he would bark, bringing the officers here. But instead the dog nudged my hand, forcing me to pet him. I smiled and squated down in front of him. Being as tall as I was, coming to nearly six foot, I was eye level with the dog. I took my knife and cut off the K-9 collar he wore. He licked my face as I patted his.
I dug through my bag, trying to find anything to put around his neck that would offically make him mine. I pulled out a blue bandanna and a sharpie. I folded the large bandanna to make a triangle. I uncapped the sharpie and wrote in big letters in the middle 'Kinko'. I tied it around his neck then hugged him tightly.
"You didn't like your name Pippy, did you?" I asked him.
The dog, my dog, whimpered.
I grinned then patted his head, standing up. "Well, you're Kinko now. And you're staying with me."
Kinko wagged his bent tail and licked my hand twice.
There was an officer's shout and I ran into the forest, Kinko by my side. And well, I followed the two I had seen earlier. I ran after their careless tracks in the woods (they’d skidded in the leaves every few feet, leaving a very easy trail to follow) until just after the sun had completely set. Then Kinko and I came to their destination.
It was a two story fixer-upper, like a shack, kind of a house and was all lit up from the inside. A small garage stood next to the house. Then it hit me: I needed somewhere to sleep.
I couldn’t go walking into the house or anything. I mean, what would I say, "Sorry to intrude, but I just followed you all the way through the forest, and can you let me sleep here?" No, so I’d sleep…in the garage. I went in quietly and found some dusty but clean enough army blankets, made myself a bed on the floor and fell asleep immediately.
It was like that for a couple weeks. Kinko and I went into the city in the day, I slept in that garage at night, and Kinko would sleep outside in between the house and garage. I would take showers at the local indoor pool (I paid to get in) and I used the money I had in my bag for food. After two weeks, though, my money was running low and so were my spirits.
Then, it happened.
One day, after a particularly hard time finding something I could afford to eat (I was now officially broke) I went back to the garage but found I couldn't sleep. I finally lulled into a half-awake, half-asleep kind of state and waited for full sleep to come. Just as I was dropping off, I heard a creaking door slam—it was the door to the garage. Crap.
I lay dead still and barely breathed. I heard swearing and then the clatter of a tool box only a yard from my face. Screws bumped into my hand and face. A huge hand searched blindly in the dark, then a foot caught on my stomach and tripped over me.
"HEY!" A male voice boomed.
I was dead meat; BIG time. I threw off my blankets, mad at him for ruining my almost-sleep and my set-up, no matter how starved it might be.
"WHAT!" I screamed and realized this was the first time in weeks that I’d actually really talked to anyone.
I think me being rude back had an impact on this guy. He faltered, but just for a moment.
Kinko bounded into the room, stalking closer to the guy who woke me up.
"Kinko, come here." I ordered. He bounded over, and I gripped the bandanna tightly.
"WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING IN MY GARAGE?" He yelled.
I fumed back…loudly. "I’M SLEEPING, YOU CRACK-HEAD!"
In my head, I could see myself just then; disheveled-looking; wild hair, blood-shot eyes, sprouting talons as I prepared to rip this dude’s heart out, fire erupting around me, lava spilling around the garage, engulfing this kid, and I would stand on a lone piece of rock, laughing madly, the charred remains of the guy’s body seen in my eyes.
"KARLIE!" he shouted.
I heard a loud noise, like something being dropped and then a door opening and slamming closed, and then shuffling footsteps.
"What?" A new girl stood in the doorway. She looked to be around fifteen, but she was almost as tall as me... almost. Her straight, long brown hair was messy and her brown eyes took in the scene in seconds.
"Oh, I see. Bring you're little girlfriend in here to kick me out, huh?" I spat. Kinko growled.
She cussed under her breath and then looked at me again. She studied me and then glared. "He's not my boyfriend. What’s your name?" She asked.
"Raven," I said. She nodded. “Why are you in our garage?”
I rolled my eyes. “Well…what does it look like I’m doing? I’m sleeping.”
I wanted to scream at her, no, I really actually wanted to sob, but there was NO WAY that was going to happen. Instead, I just said, “Because I’ve got nowhere else.” The girl’s expression softened a bit, but the boy was still furious.
“No.” He said, turning to her. “No.”
“Drake, we have to—” He cut her off. “No.”
The girl got a fiery look her eye then. If it had been a comic, let’s just say that her eyes would have been reflecting fire, a trench of bones would have opened up behind her and her hair would have flared up around her as steam came out of her nostrils.
Drake took one look at her, and then surrendered. “Fine”
And so I took up residence with Karlie (which I later found out was the girl’s name) and Drake.