STACY DUCKED behind a tree. What was that noise? It sounded like a rabbit or something, no it wasn’t a rabbit. It was something…else. Stacy ran as fast and quietly as she could manage through the thick lush woods. A branch on a tree caught her right under the side of her jaw. She didn’t flinch. Stacy just kept on running and running. They wouldn’t catch her. She didn’t want to go back, she wouldn’t go back. Not EVER!!
She had been running for a day now, and she meant to keep it that way. Run until they couldn’t catch up, sleep for a couple of hours and continue stealthfully and slowly at the dead of night. She was tired of her life back in the south. It was hot, humid and a living heck for Stacy. Her family and friends didn’t help either. That was half of the reason she decided to run away.
She slowed down to look for a place to sleep. She stopped running. She could barely lift her feet, no more today. She found a clean-looking brook about a quarter of a mile away. Stacy stooped down and washed her hands and face and her wound from the branch.
She swung her pack around her shoulder. She unzipped the pocket near the front and pulled out one of the five jumbo matchboxes she had packed. Stacy then gathered twigs and leaves and made a heap of stuff to light. She then lit them and looked at her watch, 6:00 p.m.
“Then why isn’t it dark?” thought Stacy. “Am I in Florida yet? Did I miss a time change somewhere?”
So Stacy consulted her traveling map…no, she was right. According to her distance measured by her pedometer, she was still in the same time zone.
“That is weird.” whispered Stacy.
She looked at the pedometer again. Stacy had made excellent progress, for traveling on foot and all. This was the first time she realized how far away she was. GOOD! She wasn’t going to go back, ever.
She got her pack out again and removed a fold-up camping pillow and a set of headphones. She unlaced her sleeping bag and prepared to go to sleep. Her sleeping bag had a built-in heating and cooling system, but she didn’t need it. It was a perfect night.
She looked around for the first time since she looked for a water source and saw that she was in a small clearing. There was a great tree behind her, that had swaying branches with the sighing wind. Stacy sat up. The wind swarmed all around her and blew her brown hair thoughtfully. The little golden and red flowers that grew around her smelled of a fragrance so delicate, so fragile, it was soothing to every breath in her. The gentle breeze swept past her face and it felt like a kiss. Stacy felt her own tears being brushed away. A song sang inside of her mind.
“Hush, little baby, don’t say a word.
Momma’s gonna buy you a mockingbird.
And if that mockingbird don’t sing,
Momma’s gonna buy you a diamond ring…”
Stacy silently sat there on her sleeping bag, crying from a broken heart. The song was repeated over and over while she cried.
“Why? I don’t deserve it. Mom? ,” she barely even spoke, “Mother, why have you left me?…”
The wind pushed her gently, and she fell asleep crying.
Stacy woke at 4 (according to her watch) in the morning, and all was dark. She got her things packed and went to where she had found the stream. She quickly washed her face to wake up and went on her way.
She traveled until daylight and then stopped for a quick breakfast. Actually, a quick High-Protein, Fiber and Vitamin C meal solution bar.
She traveled a bit more and heard voices and the great sounds of human civilization. There was no smog in the air however, so they must be Quaker’s or something. Stacy rounded the hill she was almost on top of and looked upon a lush green country of happiness and simple delight.
Stacy gasped. It was beautiful. An untouched reality shaped by nature. She breathed in…this is what she had been looking for. This is the place she would retreat in. She slowly picked up her pack which had slightly fallen off when she saw this Fairy-tale land.
Stacy turned around fast. A cart was coming up the old dirt road. It looked like a very old man was driving it. He wore a tall pointy hat and a long gray cloak and a silver scarf. Stacy could just barely see white bushy eyebrows and a long beard.
She dodged behind a tree. His cart came closer to her. He slowed down and then stopped. He took a deep breath of the fresh morning air and tilted his head up. Before she could runaway, his grey eyes pierced through her hiding tree and strait into her dark, deep brown eyes.
She couldn’t run away now.