The Runaway Castaway

short story


1. The Argument

“Harper!” my mom shouted from downstairs.  “Dinnertime!”

I grudgingly put down my computer and headed downstairs.  My mom was waiting at the bottom, not looking happy.  

“Harper Wilson.  I have been waiting down here for ten minutes, screaming my head off so you could hear me through the music blasting in your headphones.  And have you washed your hands?  Show them to me.  Yuck!  They’re filthy.  Go get your sorry butt back up there and scrub your hands clean.  But hurry up.  Dinner is getting cold and your father and I are waiting.  You do know that we have to get to a party right after we eat.”

Okay mom,” I said.  “I’ll be right there.”

“You better be!” she said.

I went back upstairs like my mom told me to but I didn’t go into the bathroom to wash my hands.  Instead I veered left and headed for my room, where my computer sat waiting.  I put on my headphones, cranked up the volume, and went back to my games.  The headphones drowned out all other noise, and the music playing through them was my favorite, rock.  I never heard my mom still calling my name, or her, irritated, storming up the stairs and bursting into my room.  I only became aware of her when she tore off my headphones, furious.

“What are you doing? Your dad and I were supposed to leave already and you’re up here on your computer?!”

When I didn’t say anything, she said, “You know what?  You are on your computer too much.  I am going to take your computer away for such misbehavior.  Also, you are grounded for two months!”

“But mom!” I stuttered.  “Steven is having an end of school party next week and I don’t want to miss it!”

“Well, you brought it on yourself.  You will not go to that party!  Your dad and I are going to leave now and your dinner is on the table, cold.”

“Fine!” I said.  “Leave if you want, but when you come back, I won’t be here.  I’m going to run away!”

“Do as you wish, Harper.  I can’t stop you.” my mom said cooly.

“Fine!  I’m leaving and never coming back.”  I declared defiantly.

“Harper,” my mom said in that infuriatingly cool voice, “you’re  only eleven.  Don’t run away.  You’d get nowhere but in trouble.”

“For your information,” I blasted, “I’m almost twelve and I can go anywhere if I want to!”

Still in the annoyingly cool voice, she said, “I’m not trying to stop you from running away, I am just trying to keep you safe.  Daddy and I are going to leave now and I hope you won’t do anything stupid.”

“Running away is not stupid, especially if it’s running away from you!”

I hid under my covers and tried to stop the tears from falling, but they wouldn’t cease.

I heard a muffled, “Goodbye Harper.  I love you.”

I couldn’t help saying, “I hate you too.”

Then, there were footsteps and my mom walked out of the room, carefully closing the door behind her.  I yanked the covers off my head and looked out the window just in time to see the car pull away from the drive, its headlights bouncing across lawns filled with stuff, abandoned at the first sight of the impending night.  I got up and walked to the closet, my heart beating so hard, I swear I could feel it pounding against my ribcage.  I reached into the recesses of my closet, my hand brushing many spiderwebs, and finally seized my duffel.  I stuffed some clothes in, zipped it up, and went downstairs to raid my mom’s wallet.  I took $100, not registering that it was a crime to steal money.  Then, I zipped to my bedroom door, saying goodbye to my many knickknacks and other items in my room that so clearly showed my personality, for I didn’t believe that I would see them ever again.  I sped down the stairs, shoveled some food into my duffel, and opened the door to the icy wind that sent chills down my spine.  At the last second, I realized I’d better bring matches, because I didn’t know what I’d face during my journey.  I snagged them off the counter, and ran out the door, determined to get away from my hateful mother.

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