A girl singing her heart out about a miracle boomed inside my ear. A miracle would get me what I needed: a chance at a semi-normal life.
The bedroom door hitting the wall expelled the thought from my mind. With his hand tangled up in his copper hair and with huge brown eyes, Dad's figure filled the entire doorway. “Pack your bags.” He had that set to his jaw, the one that meant there was no way out of this. He bolted out of the room just as suddenly as he had appeared.
My teeth ground hard against each other, and the sharp pain behind my eyes, I guessed from the lack of sleep, grew stronger. Every fibre of my being wanted to explode.
Ever since I could remember my name, Dad and I had been on the run. From what? Beats me.
For the last two weeks, I'd been pacing up and down through the house, struggling to fall asleep at night, waiting for this day.
For the love of blueberries, no sixteen-year old should live this way!
I climbed off my bed, and the first step I took left my toe tangled in the wide leg of my jeans. I tried to regain my balance as the closet inched closer, but with wildly flailing arms, I came crashing down. The thud reverberated across the wooden floor, and it sounded as if I'd broken something.
Dad darted back into my room. “Are you okay?” He lifted me back onto my feet as if I weighed nothing.
Tears lurked in the corners of my eyes, threatening to burst, as I stared up at him.
“Don't give me that look, Elena. Please, we need to hurry.” He pulled my suitcase from the top shelf and chucked it haphazardly onto my bed. “We need to go. Now.”
He started to grab my clothes from the shelf and tossed them messily inside my small suitcase. Then he paused, sighed, and looked up with soft eyes. He stroked the side of my cheek with his hand gently. “This wasn't the right place, Bear. Please, you’ve got to trust me.”
His hand reached back to pull everything off my shelf, while my hands curled up into balls of fury. My heart pounded fast as those two words bounced inside my skull. “Trust you, Dad?”
“Elena, we don't have much time,” he yelled. “Pack your bags! You can ask questions later.” He left, and the hollow “doof” sound from his footsteps stomped loudly as he made his way into the hall.
Ask questions? Yeah right! I’ll only get answers that don’t reveal why we are on the run for the gazillionth time. “Trust me” and “I'll tell you when the time is right” were the only two answers Dad gave. Guess the time with him will never be right.
It was no use arguing with him anyway. Once, he threw me over his shoulder and carried me out without any of my things.
So I grabbed the stuff I needed: my mp3 player, a photo of Mom that Dad didn't know I had, and my journal from underneath my bed. I tossed them into my backpack. It wasn't much, but it was the stuff that made my miserable life felt less pathetic. I zipped up my suitcase and took a deep breath. Looking around my bedroom for the last time, I said goodbye to my sixtieth-something room.
Dad almost ran me over in the hall with his army bag slung over his shoulder. He grumbled, which I assumed was an apology, took my suitcase, and ran down the stairs. He always rented these huge old houses, pre-furnished and near the countryside, and we always left after three months.
The pickup's horn honked as I shut the front door. I closed my eyes and took another deep breath. Just two more years, then I'll be eighteen and free from this freak show. Huge raindrops fell hard onto the ground. The smell of wet dirt filled the air. It was my favorite smell.
The water that pooled on the ground covered all the gaps in the driveway, forcing me to hopscotch around all of them. My shoe got caught in one of the gaps and I smacked down hard in a huge puddle. By the time I reached the truck, my jeans and shoes dripped with water.
Warm heat from the vents inside the truck hit me full blast as I jumped in; a million goose pimples erupted across my skin. As soon as I shut the rusty door, Dad floored the gas pedal. Tires screeched and the truck spun away as if the Devil was chasing us. My lower lip quivered softly as he swerved onto the road. The streetlights flew by in a blur, and I plugged in my earphones. The same stupid song about a miracle boomed from my mp3, drowning the sound of the engine and the hard dribbles on the roof, a percussion that became the perpetual soundtrack to my misery.
A feeling of utter loneliness consumed my heart while I stared out the window. Homes with white picket fences and a convenient store whizzed by in a flash. A tear rolled down my cheek. Saying a silent goodbye, releasing my breath created a foggy condensation on the glass. Reaching out my index finger, I drew a small heart. These were the reasons why Mom had left. She couldn't handle his paranoia, but why she’d left her two-year-old daughter to deal with it was a mystery. Dad constantly reminded me of the latter, and that was the only time he ever spoke of her. If he ever discovered I had that picture, he would kill me. That was how much he hated her for leaving us.