Don't Talk to Shady Men on Subways
All she could do was run. Run into the forest, into the unknown, just as long as it was a place to be free. Her long skirt got caught on several branches, but it did not matter. Her hair was falling out of her neat bun, but it didn’t matter. The hemline grew frayed and torn, but she never looked back. The darkness of night seemed to shield her from the impending doom along with the dense hanging trees.
Behind her were hoards of villagers with their torches and pitchforks. It felt too cliché, but it was who they were. If they were not going to embrace their evitable future, then what else is left for them to do. No one enjoys change, and ironically, that will never change.
A tower was approaching. She could make it. She could make it. She could-
her reckless speed sent her sprawling onto the ground. With the taste of grass distracting her, she looked up. The bright glow of flames was starting to be seen in the distance. This was it, this may be then end. “No,” she said to herself. Not after all of the fighting she had already done for her family and friends. She was not going to let this be the end of her story. She was finally able to stand onto her feet. Pain surged through every motion. When he faceplant onto such a rocky surface, it will do that to you.
She still fought toward the tower door. If they were going to kill her, then maybe they would just be satisfied with a banishment. A way for her to live and still communicate with her children. They were a part of the future. She needed them to know that.
Her foot touched the first step when she felt the cold sharp edges of her neighbor’s pitchfork. She knew Petunia well, she was usually so quiet and passive. Baked her pies and lived in denial of her neighbor’s gifts. But there Petunia was, leading the pack in fear of her own friend’s capabilities.
Their mayor stood before all of them, Edmund Peterson. He was pompous and held false claims to being the rightful leader of our town. However, the people will believe they want to see. If they want to see him as the hero who took care of the with, then they can. If they want to see him for the drinker he was ten years ago, or the man who ripped a mother away from her family, then they will see that.
Luckily no one had to witness a murder that day. That day, Merri Stephens, in one graceful sleep, lulled the angry crowd into a sleeping maze of people. If people wanted to view Merri as a hideous witch who was going to destroy the town of Honor’s Grove, they could. If people wanted to view her as the first page in a larger story, they can.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Today day is the day. I continue to shove what few items I own into my school bag. Well, once the preparation is over it will me life-bag. Those days full of waiting and waiting are through. The foster care system doesn’t actually “care” about me, and I know it has worked for other young ones in the system, but not me. I look back at the pitiful backpack, the clothes are crumpled together, three water bottles are hanging on the outside, and my 2007 iPod has my Steven Universe soundtrack on repeat. With that I leave this crummy apartment of crumminess for the last time.
The window creaks open but doesn’t wake a single soul. Figures, these people live on coffee because in their sleep, someone could easily start a fireworks show that would make July 4th proud and they would still be drooling away to dream-land. With a final close of the thick glass, I rush down the fire escape, or a more convenient name, My Escape. This escape was difficult to maneuver around, due to decades of mistreatment, but it would have to do. This night was not one to be picky about how one should run away.
I rush down the streets of Washington DC, hiding beneath my hood. These small alleyways and metro stations are where I have spent most of my life. The people passing by don’t care, they are on their way home, or to a late night shift at work, or doing something stupid with their adult friends. The album continues, “Let Me Drive My Van Into Your Heart.” I cannot help but softly hum along. My feet walk in step and I am transported out of this strange city into a somewhere.
Even for the political city DC is, it still finds a way to showcase how scary people are when the lights go out. Drug dealers tucked away in alleys, the druggies standing about spitting nonsense about how the president is full of words I should not repeat. This crazy jumble raised me; I won’t miss it. I will not miss the crummy apartment of crummy people who do not actually want to be fostering a 16-year-old, basically an independent young woman. Any person would not do that without having a few Benjamin’s dangled in their face.
They would not care if one teenage girl just so happened to be running away from her monsters. Everyone says monsters are mythical beings, and sure they are, but they also do not realize what terrifying monsters people are. They would do anything to get what they want, whether it be money, fame, or power. It is truly disgusting how people idolize that junk. Honestly, if you are searching for happiness, just turn on the Hallmark channel and fall into the world of cliché romantic comedies. At least that is a better pastime than one of Hitler.
I join the masses of people underground to the metro train. This is the first time I ever wondered where I would go next. I didn’t care for the country, too much grass. Then the city was too full of people who didn’t care about you, so I’ll pass. Finally, suburbia, full of middle class families living a commercial life. Well for me that is impossible, that dream life died a long time ago. So suddenly I found I found myself going somewhere and everywhere at the same time.
I just sit by the nearest station, letting the songs of animated struggles carry me away. Surprisingly, no one seemed to be coming my way. They just immediately turned the corner, on their way to a different train. I look up at the schedule, the next train would be the Red, so I guess I was going somewhere along that track. The dark underground with its strange moisture to the air seemed unnatural. A train at high speeds underneath the earth sounds unnatural too, but here we are. Just there seems to be an uneasy notion floating around, something will happen.
“Hello there,” a deep voice said. I look around, but nobody was there. It was fine, creepers and homeless men wandered the streets from time to time, it was just a fact of city life. I continue focusing on the music playing on my vintage iPod instead of the stalkers that would want a young girl alone like me.
“I know you hear me, Meredith.”
With that I bolt up from my seat. I hate my name. So outdated and unused, it sounds like this man is talking to his grandmother, but it is jut me. A train comes rolling in. It is one of those empty trains. The ones where all of the lights are off, never stopping, but for some reason made a special stop for me. A future me would’ve had the sense to say, wait, what is this. Mery, you may not have a 4.0 GPA, but you have tons of commons sense. Do not go on there. So I did the most logical thing and ran straight onto the train, hoping to escape from this world I was trapped in.
For a moment, the lights flicker. The man has joined me, he is wearing a worn yellow rain coat and heavily muddied matching boots. His weary eyes conveyed him to be much older than he was, for a moment I could see all that he had lost and could have pitied him. He took a small step forward. With that I ran to the other side of the train. Barely a day outside, and the earth has destined that I am going to die alone in an abandoned subway car. Nice.
His limp keeps him from completely catching up to me, giving myself enough time to think of some sort of plan, any sort of plan. But all I can think is how did my music stop playing if I never turned it off. Another creak of the rubber boots, another moment I lose thinking about whether or not my ancient iPod has officially died. Then something strikes me. This underlying hum of energy fills me, this strange man looks me in the eye and mutters, “Help him, for me.” Then he collapses onto the ground. Suddenly the train makes a hard stop, I stumble forward, unable to stand. For some reason I felt my energy wither away. I hear the doors open, there might’ve been another man at the doors, but the world cuts into darkness.