Green chipping paint. The flakes scattered across the worn quilted bedspread I had draped over me. The paint had always chipped, since the day i moved to this god forsaken hell hole. The white iron bedstead squeaked as I rolled over
. The room smelled of musky newspapers, my fingers still stained black from my writing sessions of the night before. Evidence of my “work” if you could call it that, lay scrawled in between the lines of newsprint crumpled on the floor next to the bed. The sun was just beginning to slip through the slits in the broken blinds, if there was any chance of me getting out of here I had to leave now. The room was just as dilapidated as the paint and blinds. My bed was opposite the door, duck tape covering the holes where Pete had placed his fists several weeks earlier. A small dresser with a cracked mirror sat along one wall, holding the few possessions worth placing in a piece of furniture. Mommas toothbrush, Bess’ pacifier, my fake journal that I faithfully wrote in so Pete thought I was happy. He was never happy. A backpack under the bed held my diner uniform and the rest of my newspapers, my young life’s work in ball point ink jotted almost as small as the text type it was written between. Clothes lay in a stack on the windowsill. There wasn’t much, it held it well. I packed quickly. Plans that had been in place for weeks were starting today. I prayed I would survive it. My most recent addition to the newspaper “chronicles” was lovingly placed in my backpack, then covered with my diner uniform. I pulled off my ripped nightgown and replaced it with my tracksuit. It was the nicest thing I had at this point, with only small paint stain on the butt. My long dishwater hair I quickly braided back and tied in a bun. Buns were harder to grab than ponytails. Mama’s toothbrush and Bess’ pacifier I zipped into the front pocket of my bag. Carrying a pair of worn tennis shoes and my backpack I slipped through the bedroom window. Out In the side yard I knew I had about thirty seconds before Pete’s bulldog Betsy would sound the alarm from her cage on the porch. I slipped on my shoes, pulled on the back pack and ran as fast as I could toward the backyard fence. The south Georgia summers could be brutal, and even though it was barely sunrise you could already feel the humidity rising.
As I ran, I felt the hair on my neck stand up as I heard Betsy’s first bark. I had made it farther then I thought I would. The back gate swung shut behind me before the second bark came. As the dilapidated old house fell out of sight, I heard the engine running over my labored breathing before I saw the truck. It sat on the farm lane as promised and I could just make out the Ford logo in the early morning light. For a moment I thought I was safe. The gunshot from behind told me otherwise.
The first shot hit about three feet to my right, blasting a pile of monkey grass by the road and sending it into oblivion. The second shot told me it was buckshot, as a piece of shrapnel caught me in the calf. I faltered, catching the tail gate of the truck as I fell. I met the edge with my eye as I screamed for the driver to go, throwing my good leg over the tailgate. The third shot blew out a taillight as the truck began moving. I used my last bit of strength to fall into the truck bed, my eye already swelling shut. I tried to listen over the ringing in my ears only to have my head slammed against the truck bed.