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I was running; my heart was beating quicker then it ever had before. I could smell the ocean, my key to freedom. The night was dark, and the clouds above were blocking the moon. I had no light; I couldn’t see at all. Only my sense of direction was guiding me. I had run down these alleys many times before on stormy nights and on clear nights. I never understood how some people could stand to listen to their parents fight. Every night my father would drink too much and hit my mother, she would get mad and scream at him, telling him he needs to get a job. Nobody would notice that I had snuck out my window and gone down to the beach. Tonight though wasn’t one of those nights. Dad drank too much, and mom had yelled at him, that stayed the same, but something else changed the way I felt of people.
I had felt something was wrong the second I walked through the door that evening after school, dad didn’t have a beer in his hand and mom wasn’t in her room. My dad never cried, but he had tears streaming down his face. I knew that he wouldn’t tell me, in his words I was the worst mistake that he had ever made, he didn’t love me or my mom. E was only here because he had to be, but the truth was I felt the same way about him that he felt about me. I hated him with a true and passionate hate. I didn’t bother going to him, I just walked straight to my room. I turned on the TV as loud as it could go, just like it always was. I didn’t hear the knock at the front door, but I heard the screaming. I was my mother. There was another man here too who wasn’t my father. I tried turning up my TV louder, but it was already as loud as it would go.
A glass broke against my door. I assumed that it was a beer bottle; mom throws them all the time, but they’re never at my door. I walked quietly to my window and opened it, praying that it wouldn’t squeak like it normally does when it is opened.
“You can’t take her! She’s my daughter!” My mom was screaming. There was a thud against my wall. I gasped in horror as I realized what was happening. My father was finally doing what he had always threatened to do.; he was giving me away. I stuck my head out the window, using my arms to pull myself onto the ledge. I jumped. The house was only one story, so I didn’t have to fall that far, but still it was a rush. My feet hit the ground and I was off, I sprinted into the forest at the back of t he house. I had run to the beach so many times I had made a path through the grass and forest.
“Where’d she go?” A man I didn’t recognize, probably the man who was here to take me away was yelling. I turned around once I was safely hidden inside the forest. He was an old ugly man; his teeth weren’t straight and he was going bald.
“That little rotten…” my father was yelling, but as soon as I heard his voice I started running again and I couldn’t hear him anymore. I knew what he was going to say; he was saying things about me that I had promised myself years ago I would never say. I could imagine what was happening in my room right now. My father was standing at the window yelling at my mother saying it was her fault, she had let me go. Then he would slap her across the face, she’d cry and sink down into a corner. My eyes stung. I hated thinking of my mother being punished for something I did, but I knew that my mother being the kind person she was would want me to got rather then stay and be given to strangers.
If my mother had had her choice, I wouldn’t be here today, but when she was younger she did stupid things with a stupid boy and they had me. My parents were only eighteen, that was fourteen years ago. When my father was passed out drunk on the couch or spending time with other women, my mother would come into my room and play with my silk red hair and tell me stories moms tell their daughters. She had always said she loved me and wouldn’t do anything to change me, but I knew if she really could redo things, I wouldn’t be here.
Tears were rolling down my face, thinking of this. My mother, a stupid teenager, having me, and my father wanting to give me away; it made me cry. I was never meant to be. My parents didn’t love, and they didn’t love each other. The girls at school all talked of love; their parents in love, themselves in love. It made me furious, thinking how can I end up with this horrible life? How can anyone be so cruel? When ever I feel this way I go the beach, but I wouldn’t stay at the beach very long tonight. I would have to find a new place to stay.
As I was running, I was thinking of the boats that docked at the ports along the coast, and how I’d hang my feet off the dock and pretend to be a dolphin. I wasn’t paying attention to the path. Most of the path was flat, but some parts were rough and rigid from the large tree roots. The first time I had ever snuck out, I ran and didn’t notice the roots. I tripped and cut my face, I had a bruise. Kids at school had said my father beat me for being so disobedient like my mother, I didn’t care though. I was at the same part now; I had always slowed down running through this area, but tonight I had no time to waste. I managed to jump over the first three, but just as I was lifting my feet to jump over the biggest root yet, a leaf fell from a tree above and landed on my nose. The leaf blocked my view and distracted me, I fell. My face met the root with a thud, blood immediately filled my mouth. My head bounced up from the root and back down. My head felt like someone had hit it with an ax. I wanted to scream, but I knew that my father would come looking for the scream if I did. Instead I let slow and furious tears slide down my face. I got up. I almost fell, I leaned against a tree. A girl at school had hit her head one day and had a concussion, she couldn’t walk. I hoped that I didn’t have one.
I leaned against the tree for only a moment more, and then I staggered from tree to tree, breathing in slow and steady patterns. Every time I moved a sharp pain soared through my body, and I wanted to scream out with my rage. I wanted to hurt my father, and tell him that I wanted him gone. Instead I just kept walking forward using each tree to support me. I could smell the ocean now. The smell of the ocean had always been my favorite smell in the world; I like the ocean more than lavenders or roses like most girls. I kept walking; I could see the waves crashing on the shore through the tress. A smile broke across my face despite the pain it caused me. I moved faster now, I wanted to wash the blood from my face.
The rough forest floor of mud slowly became sandier with each step I took. The sand was a blessing to my feet. I fell onto my hands and knees, pain making my smile turn into another painful frown. It hurt, but I loved the feel of the sand. I crawled from the edge of the forest into the water. I stayed lying in the water for what felt like days but had really only been minutes. I closed my eyes letting the water wash over me and clean my wounds. When opened my eyes, a young man was standing above me. His face was scarred; he couldn’t be much older than seventeen. He looked surprised to find that I was alive. I sat up; I hoped he wasn’t related to the man that was in my house earlier because my silk red hair would be alerting. I couldn’t see who he was or what he looked like other than his scar and his height. He wasn’t very tall, but he was taller than me. I looked at the sky for a while. The clouds were still covering the moon.
“I’m Isaac.” The boy introduced himself timidly.
“Hello,” I whispered in a barely audible voice still looking at the sky.
He laughed, “You know, it’s normally considered rude when you don’t tell me your name.”
This boy wanted something, but I did too. “Do you own a boat?” I looked at him, waiting for his response.
He looked at me, one eyebrow raised and that was all I could see. He bent down, his face next to mine; he was less than an inch away from me. I could feel his breath on my cheek. I had never been this close to another person. I had always been afraid of being close to people and of trusting people, but I felt like I could trust this strange boy.
“Why? Why do you need a boat?”
I took a deep breath; nobody knew about my parents except for me. I was about to tell this complete stranger everything about me. I don’t know what came over me.
“My parents had me when they were eighteen, they hate each other, and my dad drinks a lot and hates me. He brought a man by the house tonight to take me away and I came here. I come here most nights when my parents fight. I need to leave. Please, do you have a boat?” I didn’t look at him; I looked straight forward into the ocean, looking into the waves. How can I be so open with someone that I just met? I was scared, I had never in my life been so open with anyone, but it felt good to share with someone how horrible my parents were even if I didn’t tell the whole story.
He took his time replying, thinking of what to say. “Yes, I have a boat. I’ll take you wherever you want. I know what you mean; I came from a family like yours. I live on my boat traveling all over the world. My dad loved me and wanted me to stay, but my mom she called the state and some men came for me three years ago.”
Nobody had ever told me that much about them, I looked at him. The moon was shinning now; the clouds seemed to be just like my personality. I was closed to the world, but Isaac opened me up. I laughed at that. “Oh, I’m sorry, I wasn’t laughing at you.”
I was going to tell him that I would be very thankful if he could take me to somewhere far away from here, but I heard my father.
“Eliza! Where’d you go? Get back here. I didn’t give you my permission to leave, did I? I looked at Isaac; he knew that it was my father who was furious and coming for me. He stood up pulling me with him. He placed himself between the forest and me, just like a gentleman. I looked around, if my father got passed Isaac, I’d have nowhere to go. I held onto the back of his shirt burying my face into his shirt afraid of what would happen when my father came.
“I killed your mother! Are you happy? This is what you’ve done to me! Eliza Jane! You rotten little child!”
Isaac was pushing me back; no he wasn’t pushing me back he was pushing me along the beach towards something. I peered around his back. My father was standing there, covered in blood. I gasped in horror, he had killed my mother. The only mother I had ever known. She wasn’t a good mother, but still she was a mother and I would never see her face and her beautiful long blond hair again. I pushed my face back into his shirt hiding my tears.
“Don’t make me kill you and your little friend too! Come here Eliza, now.” My father wasn’t just drunk he was furious. My own father would kill me, I didn’t understand that. I understood that I was a mistake, but I was his own blood. How could he want to kill me? Isaac was moving faster, pushing me. He turned and whispered in my ear to keep running until I see the boats. I did what he told me. I ran.
“Don’t you dare!” My father yelled.
I hesitated. What was going on back there? I turned back, once again running for my life. The water coming towards me making it harder to run, but I only ran faster; knowing that soon devastation would occur. I would not allow Isaac to die for my stupid mistakes of running away from home. I knew what I would do, I would run to my father begging him to take me home and forgive me sparing Isaac’s life.
Isaac was coming into vie now; I would run straight across him and fall on my knees before my father begging for his forgiveness and mercy. I knew that going to my father would only ruin my life farther, but I couldn’t let Isaac who had never even met my father to die for my running away. My father would hit me and slap me; he would beat me until I was bruised and wishing for death to find me, but I would know that in this world if I had not yet done one good thing, then saving Isaac from my father would be good enough for me.
Isaac had something in his hand, it was black and pointed at my father, I couldn’t tell anything else from this distance. I ran faster praying that the object in Isaac’s hand wasn’t a squirt gun. When I was little, during the summer my father beat my mother, so I tried to shot him with a squirt gun. Unfortunately for me, I was given a bruise that lasted weeks.
The closer I came to Isaac and my father; I slowly realized what they each were holding. In each of their hands was a pistol. I knew Isaac wouldn’t stand a chance against my father shooting at him. In and instance I decided I would run knocking over Isaac, and at that instance my father would try to shoot at me, and hopefully I would save both Isaac and myself. I inhaled deeply. MY legs were moving so fast, but it felt like I wasn’t moving at all. I wasn’t fast enough, I wouldn’t make it. My father would kill Isaac and then he would kill me.
I could see my father’s finger on the rigger, but I wasn’t close enough to get in the way. I screamed. Isaac looked at me, pure shock was clearly written on his face. My father looked at me too, but his weapon was now pointed at me.
“Run!” Isaac screamed at me, I did what he said. I ran towards him.
The sound of guns firing rung in my ears, arms wrapped around me. I looked up; Isaac was standing in front of me, blocking my view of my father. I didn’t care. I didn’t want to see him anyways; I just shrunk into Isaacs’s chest. I didn’t care where he got his gun, or who he was. He had killed the man I hated most, and now he was my hero.