A Crack In Time

This is the story of Anna George, of how, driven to the edge, she decides to take her life in her own hands and run away. But, in the darkness of the forest, a change happens and time turns Anna's world upside down...

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1. The Escape

 

The bag was already waiting. It laid there, so unobtrusive, yet it was the very thing without which, this story would never have happened. Anna George was 13 years old. She had lived with her parents, Marie and George George all her life. Despite their plain names, they were the two people who influenced Anna's final decisions. George was a businessman, he viewed Anna as an inconvenience, and, had the opportunity have arisen, he would happily exchange her for a promotion. It was Max, the younger, better looking and more high spirited brother that got all the love in the family. And Anna could do nothing but sit and wait for the day she could leave home. She had run away before, of course, but only for very short periods of time (the most being four hours) and nobody ever noticed her absence. She led a very solitary life, her school was full of all the wrong kinds of children, they swore, were brought up on council estates and probably didn't know the meaning of conversation, so Anna, the confident, book reading, 'teacher's pet' , with her knowledge of history and a thirst to discover, stuck out like a diamond in a coal mine. She never minded really, her own company was far better than that of Steven 'Stevo' Johnson and his cronies. Lunchtimes were spent on her own, reading whatever she could and enjoying the quiet. Anna walked home alone, she ate alone and lay awake every night, waiting to see if when her parents came to bed, they would kiss her goodnight and not just her younger brother Max. But they never did.

 

The night Anna's story starts, (a chilly, mid-April afternoon) Anna had spent possibly the worst day imaginable. She had been tormented, teased, and laughed at, because she had got 100% in all her end of term tests and had been awarded the 'best pupil' award. Struggling to pull the chewing gum from her hair, Anna had decided enough was enough and run away from school. She was never one to ignore her problems, but this was causing her to much pain. Although she put on a charade of not caring what other people thought of her, their words stuck to her, burying inside her like maggots, planting their bad feelings into Anna's every muscle. So, she sat and cried by her tree, where she had played alone as a child, and wished herself somewhere, anywhere else. When she arrived home, she was greeted with cold disdain, as her parents looked at her test results sheet, and instead of falling onto her with cries of delight, they slapped her and told her she was a mighty show off who was too big for her boots. “Nothing is gained by being a show-off, Anna, now go to your room, and stay there for the rest of the night. You make me sick.” Anna was used to this kind of treatment. When she had been very small, she would imagine there really was a God up there, looking after her, loving her. She loved that thought, the idea of having someone or something else's love to warm you at night. But then her father had locked her in her room for two days because she was sick everywhere, and the little girl who believed in a protector, lost all faith. She had felt alone ever since.

 

In her room, Anna found her eyes drifting to the battered old rucksack tucked neatly under her bed. Was it time? Was this the moment she had been waiting for? Could this be the time...the last time she would ever think about it? Running away. It had been her obsession since she had given up on God. Her motto was, 'Live by yourself, nobody else knows what you want'. She had to do it. Today was it. She could stand no more. So, with the courage of all her years suffering burning bright inside her, Anna got out her bag and checked it's contents, just to be sure. Yes, she had everything she could possibly need. Clothes, sleeping bag, heat patches, tinned food, vitamins, minerals, medicine, one small soft toy she had been given as a baby, hat, gloves, scarf, survival book, her battered 'Just William' book, a faded paperback cop of 'Little Women', first aid kit and, finally, a box full of firelighters, matches, wood and newspaper collected over the years. The rucksack was bulging as she zipped it up. She put on her one pair of shoes, sturdy, black boots several sizes too big for her and her raincoat, stuffing her pockets with extra necessities, energy bars, more matches and tissues, before pulling the bag on her back opening her window and, without even looking back, clambering up onto the fence and leaving her home, the place of so many tears and bad memories, behind her. Jumping from the fence, Anna's heart stopped and she gasped. This was it. She knew there was no going back. This was the final time she was running away. This was forever.

 

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