The Way to Chicago

I sprinted through the streets. The heavy backpack I carried made it difficult for me to balance myself, but I could manage it. After all, I was used to run like hell.

The night was pitch black and if it hadn’t been for the lampposts, I would have seen nothing at all. My hair was flicking into my eyes and the bag on my back was swinging to every direction. The lampposts where separated just a little to far from each other, leaving spots of darkness. I kept on running. My stamina had built up quite well over the last few years and my anger also added up to my adrenaline, ensuring to keep me going.

I had walked the first part. My home was in the center of the city, which was often still very alive at night. But as soon as I got to the suburbs of town I had started running. I had to get as quick as possible, as far away from home.

I knew that in a few hours mom and Murdon would wake and discover that I still hadn’t returned since I had slammed the door behind me and yelled at them one last time. Luckily for me I also knew that it would take some time before they would call the police to go and search for me. But they wouldn’t find me anyway. Not this time.

I felt that I was breathing heavily and that my heart was almost pounding out of my chest. I stopped running, but continued walking faster than was normal. I looked around and saw that I had come to the outermost ring of the city. I hadn’t been here before. Murdon always forbade me, not that he could stop me from doing anything at all though. We wouldn’t have gone here anyways, there was nothing to get here and everything was already demolished. Wouldn’t be any fun.

The homes started to stand further apart and became smaller. Like they were large campers or sheds.

Up ahead I saw a little camper with a shed which, by the look of it, was built by the owners themselves. I decided to go and take a look.

When I came closer I saw that there was a little light burning inside of the camper. I carefully moved my head upwards to the window to take a peak of what was going on inside. The lace curtains made it possible for me to look inside without being seen. I narrowed my eyes and listened carefully.

There was a middle-aged woman standing bend over a small table with a large man behind her. It was hard for me to see what was really going on, until I heard the woman moan and I grinned in disgust. Now that I knew they would be busy for quite some time, I figured it wouldn’t do any harm if I’d take a closer look at their shed.

Even though the dark wooden shed was to small to contain anything of real value it still had a lock on it. An old lock. Piece of cake. I opened one of the zippers in my bag that led to a secret pocket and pulled my Swiss army knife out.

It used to be in the window display of an expensive shop down the street. But with some good distraction and some swift work it had been mine for free. All I needed was a few simple turns and the sounds of a click to let myself inside.

The shed looked even smaller from the inside. In the corner stood an ancient broom, missing a lot of twigs. Next to it there was a shovel with a huge dent in it. On the back wall hung all kinds of tools, most of them looking old, even though you could see they were barely ever used. On the left there stood a bike without wheels. Too bad. I could’ve used it.

I settled myself down against the wall opposite of the bike, between an empty trashcan and a broken chair. It was a huge relief to get my heavy backpack for my back. I took the blanket I had strapped upon my back and wrapped it around me. The rest of the bag I used as a pillow.

Partly sitting and partly laying down I closed my eyes. Tomorrow I would try and find a lift to Chicago. After that, who knew? It didn’t matter anyway. Chicago was the place to be they said, and every place elsewhere was better than being home. I smiled. Yes, Chicago. Freedom.

‘What the fuck?!’ a male voice yelled. I jumped on my feet. The man who had been doing great business with his wife yesterday was now standing in front of me.

‘The fuck you think you’re doing? Breaking in in my shed?! Out! OUT!’ the man yelled at me. Hastily I muffled the sleeping bag in my bag and threw it over my shoulder. But apparently I wasn’t quick enough for the man because I saw him grab something black and rectangular out of his back pocket.

I might have had years of experience with my knife but I knew I would never be able to win it from a gun. So I ran. I ran like hell. I heard a few loud bangs and my ears immediately began to whiz. I kept on running and my ears had just enough capability left to hear a woman scream behind me. But there was no time to look around to see what had happened, so I just kept on running.

I ran until I got out of the suburbs into a row of bushes, plants and trees.  The branches got caught in my jeans and I heard something rip. Luckily the row of bushes wasn’t that broad because after a few seconds I already got to a fence that lead to a field of grass. I could see a highway in the distance. Perfect.

I figured I could get myself a little rest while I would search for my pocketknife. I threw my backpack off my shoulders and saw that my sleeping bag was still partly hanging out of it. I couldn’t believe that I could’ve been so lucky not to lose it.

After little searching, I found my pocketknife. With it, I cut the wires of the fence and made my way into the field. The ground felt wet and mushy, as if it had rained yesterday. But I knew for a fact that it hadn’t.

When I reached the end of the field I noticed that there was a ditch in-between the field and the highway. I looked around. There was no other way across. Jumping it is. It wasn’t that broad anyways and I had done this a million times when I was just a kid. That had always resulted in big punishment from Murdon when I got home, as I didn’t always reached the other side all dry. Not that it ever kept me from doing it.

I swung my backpack from my shoulder and tossed it to the other side. Easy. I took a few steps back and took a deep breath. Then, I ran and jumped.

I heard a splash and felt that my left foot to my knee had gotten soaking wet. I crawled up and looked at the damage. My shirt had gotten a little muddy and the trousers that already had been ripped anyways where now drenched with ditch water. Meh, could’ve been worse.

I took my backpack again and threw it over my shoulder. On the emergency lane I put up my thumb and waited for someone to pull over.



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