On The Run

Some people have powers. They are known as mutant freaks and are hunted by the government. Clara, Nathan and Melonie will have to start a revolution of people on the run. How will it end? Read to find out.

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2. Chapter Two

    “We need food,” I commented as me and Nathan were trudging through the forest.

    “Well to find a shop we will need to get out of this sea of endless trees,” He said pointing out the obvious, “Unless you know how to hunt.”

    “Of course I know how to hunt! But remember we have no weapons unless you want me to catch a rabbit with a hairbrush!” I huffed exasperated at his lack of knowledge. He seemed to think I could do anything just because I had been on the run before! I looked ahead and thought I saw some colour.

    “I think there’s something over there,” I said pointing, “Maybe we should check it out.”

    “You’re the boss,” He said, a hint of a smile playing on his lips.

    “Forwards it is then,” I said, already walking off.

    We soon got there. We peered through a thin layer of trees onto one of the long abandoned highways. The sky was empty of Riders. Across the highway was a small shop with a dully flashing open sign in one the dark windows.

    “How far away are They?” I asked.

    “We’re a day ahead of them,” He replied, smelling the air.

    “We have time for a short break then I suppose,” I said to Nathan’s back as he was already walking towards the shop with his rucksack off his shoulders, rummaging for his money. I followed him as quickly as I could whilst getting my own money out of my backpack. We entered the shop. There was a old man with long black greasy hair sitting behind a counter reading a newspaper off his electronic Spiro. Not many people used paper any more. It was too much effort. Only people on the run used things from times long gone so we couldn’t get tracked and hunted down as easily. The man didn’t seem to notice us so we moved deeper into the shop. It wasn’t very big, but it had food and drink. We chose some Beef Jerky (it would last long), some mints, ten Tri-bars and a two-litre bottle of water. We paid and left the shop as quickly as we could. We set off along the highway under the cover of the trees in case any Riders decided to go for a wander over the country-side. Riders are robots that you climb into and say your destination to. They then ‘drive’ you to where you wanted to go.

    Me and Nathan carried on walking all afternoon. We stopped around six o’clock as we were still plenty of time ahead of Them. They were at least a day away. I pulled my hairbrush out of my bag and attempted to brush my tangled hair, I didn’t want to run into someone and they know immediately that I was on the run. Once my hair was neatly tied into a ponytail I got the bottle of water, two Tri-bars and my book out, we were already sitting on our blankets. I handed Nathan one of the bars and we sat in silence for a few minutes while we ate before Nathan said the question I had been avoiding answering for the last couple of hours,

    “So where are we going to go now?”

    “I don’t know,” I answered truthfully, “I guess we try to find a city or a town so at least we will know where we are and They will find it harder to find us if we are in a big group of people.”

    “Oh, ok,” Nathan said opening his book, “We find a town or city.” I followed his example and started reading, but I didn’t get very far before my eyes started drooping and I crawled into the relative warmth of my blanket. Within minutes I was asleep.

    The next morning I woke up before Nathan. I decided to get my own back on him and let him sleep in. He also looked so vulnerable and peaceful lying there asleep with no way of defending himself. I walked over to the pack and got out two Tri-bars. Then walked over to Nathan and I leaned over him silently and then shook him as hard as I could before jumping out of the way as he sat up quickly with a scared expression on his face. He looked over to me and saw me trying hard not to laugh.

    “That is completely NOT how you wake someone up!” He said rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.

    “Sorry... I couldn’t help it...” I replied before bursting out laughing, “You should have seen your face though...” I tossed him a Tri-bar whilst unwrapping mine. Just incase you don’t know what a Tri-bar is, I will tell you. A Tri-bar is a sort of energy bar which consists of oats, nuts and honey. But the most important thing you should know about them is that they are cheapest food and taste absolutely delicious! I looked over to Nathan and saw he had finished his Tri-bar and was starting to pack his things away in his rucksack. I did the same although all I had to pack was my blanket and book, whereas it looked like Nathan had been up all night getting just about everything out of his rucksack.

    Once we were finished packing we set off. About two o’clock we started hearing sounds of life and living our pace quickened and sure enough, the noise became louder and louder until there was no mistaking that there was a large city nearby. We started running in our haste to get nearer to civilization but I stopped Nathan just as we were about to burst though the cover of trees and into the buzzing metropolitan.

    “Remember,” I told him, “There are a lot of people out there who would turn us in straight away if they knew we were running from Them. Got it?” He nodded but was already staring longingly at the city beyond the trees, “We will rent out a small room tonight if we can and have a good wash and a good nights sleep,” I promised before signing for him to follow me and we both crept through our last piece of cover.

 

    It was amazing! It’s odd how people’s lives can be so different! I overheard someone complaining that their shower wasn’t working so they had to have a bath! How trivial their lives are... They don’t have to live their lives running and living in the wilderness. They live in the lap of luxury enjoying everything it has to offer.

    Me and Nathan stayed in the shadows until we found a shabby looking hotel in a rundown alleyway. It had mould and dying ivy climbing up its walls. It was three stories high and had many bits and pieces jutting out of it. In a grimy window in front of us was a tatty faded piece of paper saying ‘Vacancies’ on it. Out of the corner of my eye I saw Nathan grimace, but when I set my full attention on him he smiled at me and said,

    “Ladies first,” I smiled back at him and replied,

    “Here goes,” Before opening the door and walking in. A bell rang above my head and a middle aged woman with frizzy auburn hair and a kind sparkle in her eyes looked up from a Spiro which she set down on a rickety stool. She was wearing a flowery dress with a dirty yellow apron on top. She walked to a desk piled with papers and picked some spectacles up from behind a pot overflowing with old fashioned pens. She looked up at us and studied us for a couple of minutes whilst me and Nathan stood there awkwardly.

    “I’m Liz Smith. I run this poor excuse for a hotel. I won’t ask why you are here as it is not my business to know but if you stay here you provide your own food and don’t disturb the other guests. Now what can I do for you?”

    “We would like a room please, miss,” Nathan said looking at the floor.

    “Of course,” She said smiling broadly. “It’s just £1.00 a night each. I don’t do anything in my old age and I have enough money saved up to last me until I die. I am sorry but I will have to put you in with another tenant as there are no rooms available. She is only around 6 years old so she shouldn’t mind. Follow me.” She led us up a rickety old winding staircase in the corner of the room and down the hall until she abruptly stopped and knocked on a door. A few seconds later the door opened and the head of a small child with long brown hair appeared round it.

     “Ah Melonie, these young people need a place to stay and the rest of the hotel is full. Do you mind sharing with them?” The girl looked up at Liz with beautiful wide green eyes. She stepped aside and held the door open.

    “Thank you sweetie,” Liz said, affectionately patting the girl on the head. Then she turned on her heel and left. Melonie looked up at Clara and Nathan.

    “I knew you would come,” She whispered. “I saw it and it happened just like the other things I saw.”

*

    I lay staring at the ceiling of the little room needing to pee. Nathan was snoring softly on the sofa to my left and Melonie was in the bedroom. I got up quietly and tiptoed to the bathroom. Once I was in the bathroom and the door was safely shut behind me I turned on the light. I looked into the mirror and saw a dishevelled face looking back. My hair was a mess and I was so dirty I looked like I had been pulled though a bush backwards then pushed into a landfill. I decided to have a shower and opened the door quietly and snuck over to my bag to get my hairbrush. Once I had got it I creeped back to the bathroom to find Melonie sitting cross-legged in the middle of the floor with her big wide eyes looking up at me. I looked down at her and saw that she was clutching a teddy that looked a lot worse than me, and that was saying something.

    “Can I help you?” I asked, feeling I should at least say something, “It’s just I was hoping to have a shower.” She kept looking up at me with those big wide eyes. Just at the moment when I was about to give up and go back to sleep she spoke up,

    “You trust him don’t you?” she said but she didn’t ask it, it was a statement.

    “I guess I do,” I replied slightly taken aback, “Why shouldn’t I?”

    “Because you’ve never trusted anyone this much before. And you barely know him,” Was her reply, “You didn’t even trust your Grandmother this much and she is one of the reasons you are still alive today.” It was true. I had trusted her but had always been a little wary, she had a glass eye which used to scare me as it didn’t look anywhere in particular and never focused on anything. For some reason Nathan was just someone who I could be myself with. Someone I could laugh with and joke with when tension was in the air. I felt safe around him and he was the only person who had ever made me feel like that.

*

    I woke to the smell of eggs cooking. For a moment I felt like I was five again and I was in my room in my Grandmother’s house and she was making my favourite breakfast as a treat. Then everything came flooding back to me and I remembered that I was in the little hotel in the City and it must have been Nathan or the little girl cooking. Indeed when I opened my eyes I could see Nathan at the little stove in the corner with a kettle on the hob and frying some delicious smelling eggs. He looked up and saw I was awake.

    “Well good morning sleepyhead,” He said beaming, “Breakfast is nearly ready only a few more minutes now.” I sat up, picked up my hairbrush and started vigorously brushing my hair whilst Nathan scooped an egg onto three relatively clean plates. He brought one over and placed it one my lap with a flourish,

    “Breakfast is served,” He announced a twinkle in his eye.

    “Why thank you, sir,” I said putting my hairbrush down and gratefully accepting the plate of steaming egg. As soon as it was in my grasp I tucked in and Nathan walked off to give Melonie her egg. To be honest Melonie freaked me out a bit. At least she wasn’t a spoilt child and had let us stay in her room without putting up a fuss. Once I had finished my egg I got me and Nathan’s backpacks and made sure we had everything. Nathan walked over and sat down on the settee with his egg and only looked up when he had finished. Once he saw me with the backpacks he looked puzzled for a few minutes then said,

    “We’re not staying then?”

    “How can we?” I asked, “We’re on the run. We’d only be putting Liz and Melonie in danger.”

    “Are you seriously that dumb?” He asked an incredulous look on his face. When he saw I had no idea what he was talking about he said, “Can’t you see? She’s one of us! I was curious and so I asked her and she said she just knows things. Sometimes she sees things and then they happen or a voice in her head tells her something and it’s true. Don’t you remember when we came here and she said she knew we would come? She’d seen it. That’s why she let us in, because she knew we weren’t a threat. She’s on the run as well and has found a brief rest bite here but knows she can’t stay forever.” Now he said it, it made sense. I thought back to my brief conversation with her last night and realised I hadn’t thought about how she knew I trusted Nathan or how she knew anything about my Grandmother.

    “We’re still leaving,” I said, “We need to save our money for food and things like that. We can survive without sleeping inside and we can always start a small fire in the morning so that we can cook a rabbit or something, if we ever get a knife, so that the smoke won’t be noticeable.”

    “Fine,” Nathan replied, “But she’s coming with us.” I looked at him flabbergasted.

    “She’ll just slow us down,” I reasoned.

    “She’s coming with us or we’re not leaving,” Was his reply.

    “Who said it’s an us?” He looked taken aback. Immediately I felt bad but my pride was too strong for me to back down and say sorry.

    “I just assumed that we were a team now. Friends,” That shook me. I hadn’t seen anyone more than once really, except my Grandmother, and I had definitely never known anyone long enough or well enough to be friends. But I guessed that’s what me and Nathan were. Friends.

     “Fine,” I said finally, “She can come.” Nathan’s face broke into a beam, “But don’t let this make you think I am going soft,” I warned him. He nodded and raced to Melonie’s room and appeared a couple of minutes later holding her hand with a smallish black rucksack slung over his shoulder. Melonie looked up at me with her big eyes and said,

    “You don’t have to worry about food anymore. I have a knife and two packs of matches so we can catch animals and cook them,” I looked at her standing there next to the only person in the world I trusted with her big intelligent too wise for her age eyes and decided it was probably good that she was coming with us. She seemed to make Nathan more relaxed and happy and I realised that she must remind him of his younger siblings and he felt he needed to look after her. I got to my feet and picked up me and Nathan’s backpacks which were bigger than Melonie’s and looked over at her,

    “Have you got a sleeping bag or a thick blanket?” I asked her.

    “Yes I have a sleeping bag and a few other things,” She replied, “But we had better be going as I want to say goodbye to Liz before she goes on her daily grocery shop. Oh and I have something for you,” She lifted up her shirt over her belt and pulled out a beautiful scabbard with knife in and handed it to me. I unsheathed it and for a couple of minutes marvelled at the knife that was even more beautiful than the scabbard. It’s hilt was green and looked as if it actually had vines climbing up it. The blade glistened in the sunlight coming through the window. I looked up at Melonie,

    “Thank you,” I managed to utter.

    “It’s ok,” She replied, “But the knife has a dark history. Its name is Luna.”

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