* * *
By three in the morning I’ve decided I can either stay here or ditch this place. I’ve found that I can take a bus from Carson City to D.C. for $230. It leaves at seven-thirty A.M., so I only have a couple of hours to figure things out.
If I leave here by six, I should be fine in terms of time. I’ll use the rest of my cash from the contest. There’s nothing left for me here, anyway. In three weeks, I’ll turn eighteen, and even if they’re not alive anymore, I can probably start fresh. Maybe get a job. Probably get some photography gigs.
Leaving will spare me the embarrassment of going back to school and having my friends ask me about the bruises. After Jet gave me that last swollen lip, I told Randy, the closest thing to a friend I had at school, that Mel had accidentally hit me with my camera. But since I suck at lying, I was probably as believable as that girl, Cynthia, in our class who constantly shows up with hickies on her neck but keeps swearing she’s still a virgin.
Randy said, “O-kay, dude,” but I know he didn’t believe me because he saw my eyes twitching. They always do that whenever I tell a lie. I can’t help it.
I grab my orange duffle bag from my closet and toss just the essentials into it. Underwear, socks, t-shirts, jeans, toothbrush, deo, some of my favorite photography prints, all of my memory cards. I shove my camera and laptop into my camera bag and set it next to the door.
There’s something about leaving that calms my anxiety. I’ve always dreamed of escaping this place, and the idea brings me relief. It’s now five in the morning and I know there’s no hope for sleep. Which is fine, because in just a couple of hours I’ll be boarding the Grandwood bus to D.C., and maybe my life will finally change for the better.
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Genre – Young Adult Science Fiction
Rating – PG
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