I’m in McDonalds. It has been two weeks since I left, and I’m doing fairly okay. I had a dollar’s worth of rootbeer in my hand and I was scrolling through the news on my computer with the other.
My hair was piled on top of my head, in a snapback, so no one could see it. I was terrified of being recognized, so I tried to hide my looks. I was considered a missing person now. It was all over the news; the accident. Quarra made it out of the hospital, a little worse for wear but she was okay. When she realized I was gone, she went into full-on panic mode.
Harry gave himself up, so there is huge buzz over what happened. He isn’t saying much; he wants to try to keep it as private as possible.
I scrolled down on my computer. Another picture of me was posted with Missing written across the top.
I sighed, and closed my computer. Taking another drink of my rootbeer, I packed my computer back into my guitar case and stood, taking my drink with me as I made my way out of the restaurant.
I was in Florence, Oregon, a small town on the southern coast of Oregon. I was making my way south, hopefully to end up in L.A.
I stuck my thumb out as I started walking down the highway. Yes, I resorted to hitch-hiking. I was afraid if I hopped onto a bus, they would have security cameras and they would see me. I was paranoid, but it kept me alive for a long time on the streets.
I heard a car coming, and it slowed down next to me. I looked up and found a black Chevy impala with an older man driving.
“You need a ride?”
“Where you heading?”
“I’m headed to Pasadena. Close enough, right?”
“Yeah. That’s perfect.”
“Well hop in.” he said. “It’s quite a long drive so I guess get cozy.”
I put my stuff in the backseat and climbed in the front.
“What’s your name?” the man asked. He was probably in his late forties, he hair salt-and-pepper gray and gelled back on his head. His eyes were blue under big, bushy eyebrows that matched his hair. A scar ran down his left cheek.
“Uh, Rose.” I answered.
He nodded thoughtfully as he pulled out onto the road. “So, Rose, why are you trying to get to L.A.?”
“Uh, I’m just trying to get back home.”
“And home is in L.A.?”
“Secretive, aren’t we?”
“You learn that you have to be.”
I saw him glance at me, a puzzled expression on his face. “Well alright then, Buddha.”
I laughed. “Sorry.”
“No, that’s okay. It’s going to take about thirteen hours to get there so if you want to sleep, that would be fine.”
He smiled and leaned down to turn on the radio.
One of our songs happened to be playing and the guy smiled. “Do you like this band?”
I shrugged. “I listen to them.”
“Did you hear what happened?”
I shook my head, not sure if I liked where this was headed.
“There was an accident and both their manager and their bass guitarist were hospitalized. The same day the lead singer vanished without a trace. Just took off in the middle of the night and didn’t leave a trace of where she was going.”
“Oh. That sucks.” I said, trying to sound surprised.
“Yeah. My daughter loved that band. Apperantly the lead singer had only been there for three months. She just appeared out of the blue. My daughter has tried to figure out where she came from, but the girl’s last name is never listed on anything. Not CDs not T-shirts, nothing. Its almost like she doesn’t have one.”
“My daughter is this little detective, you know? So she loves solving mysteries and cant stand when she cant figure something out. Like this girl. Sometimes she goes without sleep because she was on the computer all night trying to figure out who the girl really is.”
“She’s probably a terrible person. Or she did something wrong. She might be trying to hide who she really is.”
He glanced at me again, returning his eyes to the road quickly. “Maybe. But I don’t think so. I think something bad happened. Not criminal bad, but bad. And she ran.”
“Maybe.” I said quietly, gazing out the window as trees rushed by.
I felt myself start to get drowsy, and before I could stop it, sleep descended.
I woke up when the man shook my shoulder. “Rose. Rosie. Wanna wake up? We’re just pulling into Pasadena.”
I looked up and rubbed away the sleep from my eyes. We were just coming into a brightly lit city. I glanced at the clock: 4:00 am.
I groaned and fell back into the seat.
“I would offer to let you stay at my place until the sun rises but I have a girlfriend who wouldn’t appreciate a girl staying with us.”
“That’s okay.” I yawned. “Thanks for the ride.”
“Where should I let you out?”
“Anywhere is fine. I’ll be fine.”
“Okay. I’ll drop you here then. I hope you find your way home.”
I hooped out of the car with my stuff, but before closing the door, I leaned down. “Trace.”
He got a confused look on his face. “What was that?”
“The girl from the band. Her last name is Trace.”
He smiled. “Thank you, Lyrica. I hope you find where you belong.”
Shocked that he knew who I was, I let the door close, and he drove off. I watched him disappear, then pulled up the hood of my sweatshirt. I turned, and walked down the nearest street, into the predawn light.