“So how did you guys meet?” I asked, as we walked through the forest. With every step my cut reopened so now I was perched on Noah's back. I had told him it didn't matter and that I could walk but he insisted, saying that it kept him warm.
“I punch holes in my wall.” Said Noah, stopping to blow my hair from his face. “And one day I punched right through.”
I laughed. “Really.”
“Yeah, the next room was mine and we got to talking.”
“Oh, so how did you manage to get out the room.” I asked. Noah readjusted my legs.
“I accidentally knocked out the nurse.”
I giggled. “Which one.”
“The religious one, it's fine God will mend her head.” Vespa laughed.
“Bertha.” I smiled.
“Then I got her keys and let Noah out. The nurse saw us so we stole his shoes and ran. I had heard you screaming the night before and was going to unlock the door but Noah told me to run. “ She paused seeing my face. “Sorry. But Noah got you out anyway.”
I nodded. “So that's how we got here.” Said Noah, finishing the story. I stared up at the sky the sun was coming up.
“Where are we going then?” I asked.
“You ask a lot of questions.” Said Vespa.
“I'm just curious.”
“Curiosity killed the Cat you know.” Said Noah.
I laughed. “Good thing I’m not a cat then.” Vespa scoffed, she was older than me like Noah but I reckoned only by a year. “So where are we going.”
Vespa looked up at the sky then to the right. She turned and we began walking in a different direction. “We'll shake them off if we go in different directions. We aren't going anywhere in particular just out of here. One of the nurses said we're around twenty miles from the seaside. So if we get to the sea we can get a boat to anywhere.”
“Don't we need money?”
Vespa stopped and put her hand down her hospital gown, she pulled out a wad of money. She then pulled the gown up to her underwear and pulled out two more wads. “That's plenty don't you think and Noah has some.”
“Yeah.” Noah unlocked his hands from my knees and I slipped off his back. I place my foot down cautiously. He pulled around twenty notes from each of his shoes. He then pulled up his gown and pulled around a hundred notes from his boxers. What was with this lot, did they not have any shame. Vespa must of seen my look of embarrassment.
“Oh, the perv looks through the hole he made.” Laughed Vespa. And Noah gave a cheeky smile. I smiled awkwardly and pretended to not find it weird, even though I had the shortest gown of them all. They both put the money back and after I had jumped back onto Noah's back we began walking again. I couldn't help but feel like the baby of the group, well I was. I was more innocent to problems than they were and although I was book smart I wasn't exactly smart when it came to reality. They were prepared and all I had wanted was a dog-eared dictionary and a file, which didn't even have my name on. I thought again to Noah's file.
“What's stage two of isolation?”
“Stage two after isolation?”
Noah stretched his shoulders. “You are permanently restrained for two weeks.”
“Oh, I only got to stage one.”
“If you think stage two is bad, stage three is much worse.” Said Vespa, shaking a little.
“You got to stage three.” Said Noah, raising his eyebrows.
“Yeah, like five times now. When I was in stage one, I threw the food on the walls and when assistance was called I smashed the plate on somebodies head. And then in stage two when I was being fed I bite the nurse and then stage three, you're put under for a week and drip fed. Recovery takes time, so it's the last measure.”
“Oh my god.” I said quietly. I jumped of Noah's back and tiptoed to Vespa. I wrapped my hands around her. I could feel her body tense but after a few seconds she hugged back. I don't why I did it, I just felt as though hugs made everything better, they helped ease the pain a little.
“Daddy!” I cried. “Daddy.” Tears rolled down my cheeks as I sat at the bottom of the stairs, licking the blood from my lip. “Daddy.”
“What's with the shouting, Monkey?” He asked walking through the doorway from the living room to the hallway. “Oh. What did you do?” he said, coming over to me alarmed.
“I tripped down the stairs.” I said pointing at the toy car I'd left on the stairs, the one responsible for my fall. “Oh, Monkey breath. Come here.” He pulled me into a hug. I cried into his shoulder until the pain subsided. “Come on.” He walked up the stairs together, whilst I hiccuped. We stopped by the car and crouched by it.
“Now mister car I want you apologise to Monkey breath over here.” I laughed at what my dad called me, and the silliness of the situation. The car wasn't real.
“Sorry Monkey Breath.” Said the car, well my dad pretending to be the car.
“And monkey breath apologise for stepping on mister car and tell him you'll remember to put away you're toys.”
“Sorry mister car, I’ll remember to put my toys away next time.” I said to the car, I turned to my dad and nodded.
“Okay, now let's go get my brave girl a sweetie.”
“Dad, I have to put Mister car away.” I said knowingly.
“Nice one Monkey breath, go put Mister Car away and then you can have a sweetie and an extra portion of ice cream after dinner.” I smiled, as much as could without it hurting, and picked up Mister Car. I put him in my room, patted his head and went downstairs for my sweetie.
We stopped in front of a large knotted tree. “We'll rest for an hour.” Said Vespa, almost as if she was telling her self that, not us. I slipped of Noah's back and we watched Vespa climb up skilfully.
“After you.” Said Noah. I'd never climbed a tree before or if I had I couldn't remember doing so. I put my hands where Vespa had and tried to climb. I slipped to the forest floor. I could here Vespa giggle a little. I laughed too, just to get over the embarrassment, I was pathetic and I knew it. I tried again and again. “By the time you've gotten up here we'll have to go.” Vespa said, shaking her head with laughter. I muttered an apology and tried again. My hand fell from the knot and I was falling again. Noah was at my waist, holding me to tree. One hand on my hip the other the bottom of my leg. His touch was comforting. I pushed against him and climbed. When I was within distant Vespa extended her hand to me. With Vespa's and Noah's help I found myself sat quite nicely in the oddly shaped tree, my back leaning against a thick branch. It was comfortable and although I hadn't really been walking it was nice just to rest. Noah climbed up quickly and sat in the middle, rested against on of the forking branches. I put a leg on either side of the branch to steady myself and closed my eyes ready for sleep to hit me. Surprisingly it didn't, but then again I hadn't exactly worked as much as Vespa and Noah, I had a feeling I had walked more in my room in one day than I had since we got out of the hospital. And I kept blanking out, remembering weird things that I hadn't before. I had seen my parents, there faces had been somewhat blurry but it was a start.
The soft sound of Vespa's snoring filled the air. I opened my eyes and stared at her. I longed to sleep like she was, if so my mind would stop racing with ideas, about Spencer, about my parents, about the hospital, about everything.
“What are you thinking about?” The voice has startled me so much I had nearly fallen from the tree.
Noah laughed and rubbed his structured jaw. Noah reminded me of a character in a book I had red many weeks(?) ago. Tall and fairly skinny, with unruly brown curly hair and round eyes the colour of a lagoon. The only difference between Noah and the boy was that the boy was fictional and a bit of an idiot personality wise. “What are you thinking about, you looked like.. spaced.” Said Noah.
“Nothing... just the hospital.”
Noah groaned as if he was annoyed I bought up the subject, well he had asked, but then his face changed. “Why did the nurse come in when you screamed?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well it was like you knew he was going to come in and what were you going to get... from under your mattress.”
“Spencer... “ I shook my head, I didn't want to talk about him. “I was going to show him the pills I hadn't been taking, I figured they would be a good distraction.”
“You haven't been taking your pills... Wow”
I narrowed my eyes, “What. Why are you saying wow.”
Noah laughed, he laughed so much he was like a bubbly champagne. “I never had you pegged as such a bad ass.”
I laughed too, he said I was a bad-ass and I reckoned that was a compliment considering he was friends with Vespa who was the Queen of a bad-assery. “Yeah I sometimes snuck food from my plate as well.” I giggled.
“And the nurse?” Noah raised his eyebrow.
“He was the nicest of the nurses, ok.” Why was I defending him?
“Like hell he was an idiot.” Noah was right he was.
“Yeah well I suppose you though Bertha was nice.” I said jokingly widening my eyes.
Noah smiled as if confused. “Bertha was lovely.”
My brow furrowed, was there more than one Bertha. “Well the Bertha said that I was possessed by Saturn and that I should be exorcised.”
“Yes... I suppose being a socio-path who killed her parents is worse than a person who feels the need to eat his body parts.” I had taken it to far, now he knew that I had (or maybe hadn't as the case was) killed my parents. There was a moments silence.
“I told you I don't bite myself.” He said smugly. “And for the record, I don't think you killed your parents and I certainly don't think you're a socio-path.” It was sweet of him to say. “You're too emotional.” He added throwing a piece of the tree at me. I opened my mouth in surprise and laughed loudly.
“Ssh.” Noah chuckled, pointing to the sleeping Vespa.
And in that moment I knew I was in love with Noah. I mean I think I was in love, I had never experienced this feeling before and it was exactly as the books had described it. My heart fluttered when we talked and I knew I could trust him. He had saved me from hell, he was my very own prince charming and I relished in this fact. It almost felt like the past ten years had been necessary just so I could meet him. I longed to feel him beside me and with the smile he gave me I couldn't but feel he felt the same way.
Noun: a look shared by two people, each wishing that the other would initiate something that they both desire but which neither wants to begin.
Was that what it was this was, his smile, was it that look. I blinked going back to reality, I had been staring, Noah laughed and I blushed furiously.
I heard them first, approaching quickly. Trying to be quiet but the leaves were dry and every step was met with a soft crunch. My eyes widened and I looked in the direction they were coming from. I nudged Noah.
“Listen.” Noah went quiet and soon enough he heard them too. The tree was too low for us to hide and the light bearing through the forest didn't exactly help. Noah nudged Vespa and she woke without a start. Pointing we indicated the oncoming danger. Vespa swore under her breath and slid effortlessly from the tree to the floor. Noah went next and me last. My legs trembled as I scrambled down the tree, careful not to reopen my foot. We darted to the right, there was less of us and we were lighter on our feet. We jogged quickly, trying to put as much distance between us as possible. It wasn't just getting away but getting out of sight, the trees may of juxtaposed the eyesight of the hunters but it didn't stop them from seeing us. Our white outfits stood out amongst the brown and green.
That was when I saw it. I nudged Vespa and pointed. Just beyond ten or so trees there lay a derelict cabin. Spencer had told me about horror films set in haunted cabins in the woods. He told of evil demons lurking in books, of mutated people left to fester or psychotic killers wielding chainsaws.
I put to the back of my mind, we knew the monsters were on the outside not lurking within.
Carefully we tiptoed over to the wooden shack. The change of direction had bought us a little time but the leaves would give us away as they had the guards. I wondered if Spencer was still there. I wondered whether he remembered me from all those years ago, after all we had met in a forest just like this. A shiver went down my spine as I realised I had reopened the cut on my foot. Vespa and Noah didn't seem to notice and, feeling like I was becoming the moaner of the group, I continued behind them.
The cabin was small and one storied, had a veranda and a rocking chair placed by the door. The roof had somewhat sank but it would do for a hiding place. We were lucky it was there. We moved up the stairs, me leaving a trail of dotted blood along the wood. We knocked as quietly as possible and no one answered, we knew no one could actually live in those conditions but we had to check. Noah opened the door quietly and we slipped in. The room, the house was all one room, was scarcely decorated, there was a mouth eaten sofa and an old fashioned radio. The song that played in all my dreams once again flittered through my mind, it had been popular during World War Two, when the likes of those radios were about. The three of us crouched behind the door and looked eagerly through the blinds that covered the slightly dirty glass.
Our view was fragmented and blurry at best but we could see them approaching. Spencer led the hunt, I noticed, wearing new shoes. The group of guards walked carefully behind him, all holding rifles. Spencer looked odd with his shot gun. It seemed to not belong in his hand and he held it away from his body as though it was a bomb that might have gone off at any second. I couldn't help but smirk. I'd probably be better with a gun than he was. All the while they grew closer, often going off in other directions only to come back to us. The approached the stairs and I swore my eyes caught Spencer's. Three more steps and they'd be at the door. Two more. One more. Spencer's hand grasped the handle of the door.
"Wait!" We all stared as a guard right at the pack spoke up. "Those kids wouldn't be here. Tiger wouldn't let them anywhere near. The last time we were here Daley got shot by the pensioner."
Spencer turned his fingers still on the brass handle. "You sure?"
The guards turned away and began traipsing down the steps. We all breathed a quiet sigh of relief. They were backing away they were leaving we were going to be ok.
"Hey what's this." In our relief we hadn't seen Spencer bend down to look at the veranda wood. He slid his finger on it and pulled it up to his face. It was blood, more importantly it was my blood. I stared down at my incriminating foot and had to blink hard not to burst into tears. That was it, we were done for and it was all my fault. I was expecting them to turn around and storm in but another guard approached Spencer.
"No it's the old man's varnish, he used to make and sell that stuff, stinks anyway and the colours wrong, too brown to be blood." Spencer shrugged and got up again, wiping my blood on his trousers. The group of them headed of to the right and I let out a sigh of relief. My heart was beating at a hundred miles a minute and I felt like I wanted to faint. I fell into Vespa and Noah and began to cry with happiness. Now we could rest. I don't know what set us off but we couldn't stop laughing. The whole situation was so surreal. I suppose we weren't used to things going our way. Noah was laughed hard, his mouth open and it set me into little girls. Vespa giggled behind her hand but the sound was unmistakable. Pure happiness for once in our lives. I slung my arms around them and buried my head between them. I no longer had the need for some fictional family in my head. Vespa and Noah were my family now.
“You have five seconds to get off my property before I blow your brains out.”