16 and on the run, p.1
16 and On the Run, p.1Opal Jones / Actions & Adventure
16 and on the run
By Opal Jones
16 and on the run
Copyright Opal Jones 2012
Normal life has been turned upside-down for 12-year-old Chris Powell when he finds is house in ruins, and his family, gone forever. Unable to go to the police, he starts life anew, armed only with a pistol. During his journey, he grows unable to trust any person. His faith is put to the test when he stumbles across another victim. Together, they must learn to trust each other and track down the killer of their families. Will they pull through? Or will they end up like their parents?
Each page is a heart gripping, edge-of-your-chair piece of work. Believe in the impossible and follow these two teens for adventure, tragedy, action, and an ending that will leave you on your knees begging for more.
It all started four years ago, when a coward of a man known only as “X” massacred my family and burned my suburban home. I discovered the wreckage after school, 5:30 to be exact.
The day had been going just fine until then; I got a decent report card, threw mud balls at girls, the usual 12 year-old kid stuff. I had detention for pulling the fire alarm. Maybe I meant to, maybe I didn't. It doesn't matter now. Afterwords, I headed home.
When I got home off the bus, I tried to to get away from the cold reality that stared me in the face. My family had never done anything to deserve this. Had they? I only remember crying for hours on end, until nightfall. No one had come looking for me; I hid in the ruble.
The cops came, though. I kept quiet as they examined the remains. I overheard someone say something about a kitchen fire. I held my tongue to stop from laughing in bitterness. After that another voice opposed that they could be “looking at something bigger than that.” But they talked for a minute more, and he decided the fire was an accident. They left an hour later.
Around midnight, I noticed something strange: one of the house phones was still intact. The only reason I even noticed it was because it rang. Not knowing what to do, I let ring. It went to a message, and I heard this:
“I know who you are, kid. It was me who did this to 'ya. Frankly I don't care at all. You won't find me, but if you should have the guts to try, I left you a gift. It should help. The basement's intact: it's there. Later.”
Looking back, I remember thinking it was a bomb or some evil super weapon. But my parents could be there, they had to be there!
Quickly, I brushed away some debris. I held my breath as a looked in. I choked back a sob. Laying against the wall, lay the bloodied bodies of my family. Crying, I ran over. My mother: two bullet shots in the chest. Dad, too many to count in too many places. Now weeping, I saw my older sister. She had one shot, one priceless shot through her heart. The next body made me sob uncontrollably. My four year old sister Jade. I closed her eyes in remorse.
I realized I couldn't stay at home; they would come back and finish me off. Then, I noticed, my little sister was holding a small box, hardly noticeable. I opened it. There was a letter that read;
This is showing you where to go. Read carefully......” It went on to lead me to a hunting store. Just like it said, the clerk gave me a decent sized box.
“No charge, boy. On the house.” he said. I hesitated, then thanked him and went on my way. I stopped in some woods near my home. As I opened the box, I wondered what could be in it.
It turns out, the mysterious package was actually a pistol. On top, there was a receipt, but I ignored it. I ripped the box open with my pocket knife. It looked great; each bullet seemed to be made of pure gold. Each end so sharp, so crisp, so cold. The gun was like silver and glistened in the moonlight.
So this is how I’m going to live, I thought, a thief and a possibly a murderer. But I had no other choice. The authorities never really helped. As far as they knew, I was nothing but ashes now. I grasped the bullets and looked in deeper. Inside the box: 1,000 dollars in cash. I stared at it all. This guy was playing with me. He wanted me to take it easy so he could catch me. I vowed then and there two things: 1- I would spend money only when necessary. 2- I would hunt down this coward.
I picked up my bag, held back a tear, and walked away into the frightening unknown.
“Don't worry guys,” I looked to the moon. “I'll be okay.”
That was four years ago. Good news, and bad news. Bad news is I haven't killed X yet and the authorities are now after a “White, 5''6 juvenile. Green eyes and blonde hair. Wanted for breaking and entering, and robbery. Last seen in the Knoxville area.
I'll give you a hint; that's me. That thousand only lasted me 2 years. Tops. I needed money, and that was the only way to get some. If I had gotten a job, he would've easily gotten me by now.
By now, I live around Tennessee, not Kansas. There's a lot more wooded area, hence more hiding places. The good news? I'm not dead. Today though, that good news almost vanished. I had made the mistake of trusting a man with my things. What a dirty traitor.
I was walking through the woods to his house when, out of nowhere, an officer jumped on me and knocked me down. I don't think I’d ever fought anyone, even with being out here so long. I punched him in the mouth, and he punched me right back. But in the gut. Hard.
For a second, I was paralyzed. Then I somehow got up. Then I noticed he wasn't even close to a cop figure. He had messy hair and couldn't have been more than twenty. His eyes had something in them. Was it fear? It seemed to be rebelling against pride.
Then he launched himself at me. I skillfully dodged him, but he grabbed my shirt and threw me to the ground. The man threw several punches to my face. Then he pulled out a revolver. But “killer” wasn't something I saw in him. He trembled violently. This guy clearly didn't want to do this, so I decided to try and reason with him.
“You don't want to do this, do you?” I whispered. I noticed the fear in his eyes made tears. He looked down, and shook his head in despair.
“B-but I have to, or its me.” he whimpered. He looked up and stared at me, the pride taking his eyes again.
POW! He fired, but he shook so badly he missed me entirely. I carefully stood up and started to edge away.
POW! POW! Two more missed shots. Now I was in a full-fledged run. I slid, grabbed my pistol, and launched myself behind a tree. Trust me, killing this kid was as alien to me as it was to him. I just had to stall him.
I held the gun against my chest. Listening carefully, I heard him approaching from the left. Now the right. Left. Right. Left. Right. Then nothing. My heart pounded against my chest. Then realized something; he was climbing the tree!
I whirled around and fired a blank into the air. Luckily my intuition proved correct: he fell right out of the tree and flat on his back. I grabbed his wallet from his denim pocket and ran off.
Ten minutes and a few miles north, nothing looked familiar. I realized with dismay that I was defiantly lost. I looked at my compass. I had been heading north, so I hoped by tomorrow I'd be out of the state.
I looked around. There was a tiny trickle of a stream and a few dead trees. The other trees shimmered in the light. For the first time in years, I felt peaceful.
I closed my eyes. I imagined my family surrounding me. My mom and dad spreading a tarp for a picnic. Jade was trying to climb a tree. And no doubt my other sister would be on her phone.
That last thought made me smile. I realized that was the first smile I'd made in a while. Opening my eyes, they faded with my smile. Reality bumped them away from me again.
I pulled out my pocket knife and cut several branches of a dead tree. I made a temporary lean-to out of them along with leaves I found on the ground. Not bad for taking only a few minutes. Right now I had to work on the fire. The lean-to could wait.
I knew people were out of the question entirely. After what just happened, they were a big fat “X”. I shook my head. That letter was a damned letter. Thinking about it made my life worse.
There, a good fire. My hands felt the tenderness it gave off. I felt something. It was my stomach. Then I realized my food was left at the man's house. I groaned. I hated having to use my gun. It made me feel so inhuman.
I want to lay this on the line: I was not a mean dude. But when it comes to my family, then it gets personal.
I stood up and walked around. I crouched down when I saw a mighty buck. As I raised my gun, something stopped me. A young doe and fawn walked behind him. Tears welled up in my eyes. They all looked so happy together. I dropped my gun.
They looked at me in fright. Tears now streamed down my face.
“I'm not going to hurt you.” I whispered. Then louder. Then I screamed it; “I'm not going to hurt you!”
I fell to my knees and wept, louder than ever. For the oddest of reasons, the fawn approached me. I looked up. He nuzzled me on the cheek. I smiled at petted him in return. His father called and he trotted back. The doe and buck turned and walked away.
That moment brought back memories; good and bad. The poor kid never knew anything about suffering. In my mind, it should be the other way around.
I spotted a rabbit. I killed it without even blinking. It was small, but it'd get me through the night. I picked it up and went back to my camp.
The rabbit wasn't half bad, once I got it cooked medium-rare. Afterwards, I snuffed out the fire. I scattered the ashes around my bed (just a little habit). I huddled near a glowing coal. I fell asleep dreaming of death and chaos. Weird thing was it wasn't me I was dreaming of. It was a girl.
She looked about my age. She twirled around with a rusty dagger. She stabbed all who came near her. I noticed she had a bow on her back.
The scene faded and I was standing in front of a house. It was a small country home. In the distance was a stable, where a young man was feeding a horse, and a stone well. It was terribly peaceful. If I could cry in dreams, check that off my bucket list.
A little girl, no older than nine, ran outside. It looked like she was running right towards me. But she ran right through me. See? I never understand dreams.
She stopped dead in her tracks. I was pretty sure she couldn't see me, so I turned around. A man, six foot four I guessed, was walking towards the house stopped in front of her. He had a small posse of four men.
“Hello there sweetheart,” he cooed. “Tell me, is your mother and father home?”
“Yes.” the girl said sweetly.
“Here.” he handed her a twenty dollar bill. “Why don't you go buy a nice pretty dress for yourself?”
She smiled to herself and skipped out and walked off.
I turned back towards the house. A tired middle-aged woman looked out the window. She opened the door, followed by her gun-bearing husband.
“We told you to stay away from us! Now what did you do with my daughter?” demanded the father.
A young man jogged over from the stable. He stopped when he saw the man and took a step back.
“What's going on, Pa?” asked the young man.
“Nothin', just feed the horses like I asked.” he replied stubbornly.
The man in the suit smiled. “I got her out of the way. Now let’s all go inside, and have ourselves a little chat.”
They walked inside and soon I heard a shriek behind me. I turned and I saw the little girl in tears. She dropped a violet dress and ran through me again.
Now I saw what she saw: a still burning house was surrounded by the white ashes. It mystified me, mostly because it looked so much like my own house.
An ash flew onto my shoulder. Out of nowhere my right hand caught fire. I freaked out. I tried waving it off, stomping on it (okay, not my smartest idea), and a few other things. Then it engulfed me.
She whirled around. An evil smile spread across her face. She started to laugh demonically. Her laugh morphed with what I assumed to be X's laugh.
I bolted up, my heart about to fall out of my chest. My hand was still burning. I realized I had been holding the coal all night, which explained a lot. I felt myself; everything seemed to be intact and not charred from a dream fire. That last part of the dream was my own creepy, twisted imagination. But the rest was real. I was positive.
Who was that girl? I put two and two together and knew the two girls were the same person. But what was her name? And what had happened? I tried to shake it off. It was all a crazy dream. Period.
I scattered my newly demolished lean-to all over the place. My heart felt heavy. Between the fawn and that dream, nothing was making sense. She wasn't real. I had to get that through my head. A figment of my lonely heart and brain.
I headed north again as the sun started to rise. By noon-ish, my stomach growled. Oh yeah, I didn't have time to finish off the rabbit. I peeked around without the slightest bit of luck.
I heard a branch crack. That sound always puts me in high gear. I scrambled my way behind a tree.
“Whoosh!” an arrow went through the tree and almost hit me in the neck. I stared at it in horror and awe. Then I nervously gulped. I heard footsteps coming from the distance. It was time to turn the tables.
I shimmied up the tree and perched on the thick branches. From what I could tell, the person was tall and was holding a slim bow with a quiver full of golden arrows. As he/she walked up to the tree, I was able to see that he/she had a jagged dagger on his side.(Now I'm assuming it’s a “he”)
I raised my gun and got ready to fire from behind a thick branch. He looked up. My mouth hung open in shock. “He” was a “she”! Before she could notice me, I went back behind the branch.
She had caramel brown hair that was in serious need of a hairbrush. Her hard blue eyes scanned the trees. She turned to leave. But not before extracting her arrow from the tree. It left a decent hole in the middle of the tree.
Now was my chance; I steadied myself and landed perfectly on my feet. I kicked on the back, knocking her down. We froze as we met eyes. I looked down: one more step and the dagger would have pierced my abdomen. My gun was pointed at her head. A move from either of us would kill the other.
She rolled her eyes and stood up. Calmly, she brushed herself off and frowned when she saw an arrow had been broken. She muttered something about typical rookie behavior. Then she turned and started walking east.
She looked back and saw that I was still pointing my gun where her head had been.
“Are you coming or what?” she asked.
“What?” I questioned back. I had zero idea what was going on here.
“If you want help, follow me.” she explained. “Honestly, I can see it in your technique that you haven't been out here nearly as long as I have.”
Okay, forget what I said earlier about the dream being the weirdest thing this week; this right here defiantly topped the list. A little hesitant, I followed.
Five minutes later, she led me into a clearing not much different than the one I just left. She had a raggedy tent in one side, and a huge hole for the fire. The trees formed some sort of natural barrier against intruders.
Randomly, she spun and threw her knife that hit a tree in next of me. A rope snapped and a net sprung up.
“Um, thanks?” I gaped.
“Don't mention it.” she said in return.
She glared at me. I clamped up and looked around more.
By the looks of it, she had been here for at least a couple of months. One thing caught my eye: there was a hollow tree opposite of me. She seemed obsessed with it.
I tried to strike up a conversation, because the silence was so awkward;
“You talk too much, you know that right?” she interrupted. She turned to face me. “Bear trap on your right and never touch the red oak over there unless you want poisoning.”
After that little lecture, I just stepped around the bear trap and sat in front of the fire pit on a tree stump. When you get stood up by a girl, it defiantly gets you down in the dumps.
Every once in a while, she'd turn around to look at me and then go back to focusing on, well, whatever was in the tree. As midday past and evening came, she plopped a dead buck in front of me.
“If you want dinner, start skinnin' now.” she said. Well, that took me off-guard.
“Hey, I’ll need a tree branch or something.” I called. She threw one at me, and it hit me. Hey, no laughing.
“Thank you.” I said sarcastically.
“Don't mention it.” she smiled.
“Trust me, I won't.” I grumbled.
Anyway, I started to skin the deer. My knife was a little dull, so it wasn't as easy as it should be. After twenty to forty so minutes, we had a naked dead deer and a beautiful coat left over.
I held it up. She noticed it and smiled.
“Not half bad. That'll be your blanket for now. Unless you want rabbit skin.”
“I think I'll take the deer.” I laughed.
So two legs and a quarter of a chest later, we both crashed down. Even though it took an hour, it was worth the wait.
“Lights out.” she got up and went into the tent. I stayed were I was. I pulled the deer skin over me, and tried to sleep. Even with everything going through my mind, I still managed to fall asleep.
“Crack” My eyes popped open. I sat up. In the dark night, there was only a shadow. It turned and I saw a pair of beady, yellow eyes. I instinctively put my hand on my gun. It turned fully towards me, and I heard a deep, rumbling growl.
I hadn't ever fought an animal out here; I always avoided them unless they were food. Out of the blue, it leaped up and knocked me down, knocking my gun out of reach, too. I could see its outline a lot better now. It was some kind of dog. It growled at every move I made.
“Help,” I whispered as loud as possible. “Wake up!”
She'd probably be to waking up to a dead body if something didn't happen. Fast.
I heard the tent rustle. Either she was still out cold rolling over, or she was waking up.
16 and On the Run by Opal Jones / Actions & Adventure have rating 4.8 out of 5 / Based on19 votes