I take down the smallest duffle bag I can find, I won’t be able to carry a huge suitcase around town. I’m not sure what led me to run instead of pleading my case, but I felt like I needed to avenge Levi’s death, and I can’t do that from a jail cell. I look around my room, wondering what I should pack. Obviously not everything can come with me. I pack as much clothes as I can fit and that I think I’ll need, and then I pull out a scrapbook from under my bed. A single tear traces it’s way down my cheek as I open it. On the first page is a picture of Levi and I’s first date, well him asking me to go out with him. He is on one knee, a goofy smile on his face as he gives me a bag of chocolate Hershey’s bars. He knew how much I loved those.
I flip to the next page and more tears soak my face. He’s spinning me after he won his football game. It was the championship game. The whole cheering section was jumping in joy, no one thought we’d win. Next is our first kiss. I’ve always loved capturing moments I want to last forever. I’ve never been so glad I took all those pictures. I close the scrapbook, overcome with emotions. Tears flow freely down my face as I push my fist to my mouth, trying to muffle my tears. I take a shaky breath and put the scrapbook in my duffle bag. I pack toiletries and the like.
“May! Come out! We need to talk to you!” I hear Mother right outside my door right before she knocks softly. My pulse speeds up and I freeze. They can’t make me go! I have to leave, now! I zip my duffle bag closed and grab my backpack full of my water and phone and other things. I slide my window open and look down. It’s a bit of a drop. I have no other choice! I throw both of my bags down before me. I watch them land safely. I take in a shaky breath of cool, morning air and close my eyes as I jump from the window.
I hear the break before I feel the pain. I muffle a scream with my hands as I wobble to my feet. There’s no doubt about it, I’ve broken my ankle. How will I be able to run now? Do I give up? After all Levi’s done for me? No! I must keep going. I sling my arms through the straps of my backpack and grab the handle of my duffle bag. I try putting the tiniest bit of pressure on it and I pull my leg back again from the pain. I must fight this!
I take a shaky breath and start to hobble away, I send a silent plea towards the heavens that my mother won’t spot me, if she does it’s game over. There’s no way I’ll be able to out-run her. I know the way to the bus stop by heart, so I choose to go that way. I collapse on the bench in relief. Relief that I got away and relief that I’m off of my foot. I bring my left leg up to rest on my right leg. I slide my shoe slowly off, grimacing in pain. I slide my sock down below my ankle and wince at what I see. This isn’t good. My ankle is super swollen and it’s a mix of purple, blue, and green colors. That is not good, not good at all.
I pull my sock back over my ankle and hold my breath as I slowly slide my shoe back over my ankle. I loosen the shoelaces of my left shoe, so my ankle won’t feel as much pressure. I set my foot gently back on the ground right as the bus pulls up. The doors swing open as I gather my stuff and rise from the bench, most of my weight on my right leg. I limp over to the bus and lean on the railing as I hobble up the steps. Once I reach the top, I see Ed the bus driver who is the sweetest old guy ever, staring at me with concern.
“What happened to your foot?” He asks sweetly.
“I stepped on a nail.” I smile at him, all innocently. He laughs
“Be careful where you step.” And he turns back to the wheel. I blow out a breath of relief. That was close. But, I feel bad. I tell Ed everything. He knew when my dad died, he also knew the moment I found Levi dead. He’s always been there for me, but I can’t risk even him knowing. I sigh and walk towards an empty seat in the back. I’m not sure where I’m going, all I know is that I’m going away from here. I lean my head against the window and stare out at the scenery passing by. I’m not sure when I’ll be back, and I’m going to miss this town.
I dig my iPhone out of my backpack and turn it to Google Maps. Hmm. Where should I go? I have to go far enough away that I can’t be found easily or my location guessed...this is Prescott, so maybe I could go a state over? My best bet would be to find a small town. But I know I need to leave Arizona. Maybe Idaho? I have absolutely no idea. I really wish I had paid more attention in geography class. Wow, never thought I’d say that. I smile weakly at myself, a poor attempt to cheer myself up.
“Where was it that you wanted to go, Maybelle?” Ed calls from the front of the bus.
“The car dealership, downtown.” I make a quick decision and yell back.
“Buying a new car?”
“Yeah.” Something like that. The bus pulls to a stop a few minutes later. The doors squeak open.
“Here’s your stop.” I grab my bags and stand up. I wince when I land too hard on my ankle.
“Thanks, Ed.” I say, handing him a ten dollar bill to pay for the trip. I look around the car dealership. What kind of car do I need? I walk the rows of cars and spot a light grey minivan. It’s perfect. I look inside and see the keys lying on the dashboard. What luck!
“Murray, I told you to never leave the keys in the car!”
“My apologies, boss, I’ll get them right away.” I hear voices coming towards me, I need this car! I hop in the driver seat, grabbing the keys and starting the car. The whole garage echoes with the sound of the car engine. I hear the footsteps getting louder and more urgent.
“Ma’am! You can’t take that car!” I hear a male voice as I pull out of the parking garage. I step on the gas and speed out of there, pushing through the jab of pain that spikes up my ankle upon contact with the gas pedal. My heart is racing as I hear the car doors slamming on another car. I speed down a freeway, looking at every sign to see where this road leads. I hear police sirens behind me. Shoot!!! I must keep going! I push the car even faster and before I know it I’m speeding past the sign that says ‘You are now leaving Arizona”. I didn’t live too far from the border, and I’ve never been so glad about that. I look in my rear view mirror and see the police cars turning back around. I’m someone else’s problem outside of Arizona.
I allow the car to slow down to regular speed, as to not draw attention to myself. My head is spinning from the pain in my ankle. It is getting dark by the time I find any sort of city or town. I need to find a hotel to stay in for the night. I pull into the parking lot of Holiday Inn. I grab my bags, and slowly get out of the car, taking a deep breath. I can’t believe that use happbed! I guess I’m officially a criminal. I’m running from the law.
“Can I help you, Miss?” The desk clerk asks after I limp my way to the front.
“Yeah, I need a room for the night.”
“Yes, please.” The clerk nods at me, his eyes going to the computer screen in front of him. He clicks away on it for a couple minutes, and then asks for payment. I dig in my backpack and pull out the exact change. He exchanges my money for a room key.
“I can get someone to help you with your bags.”
“No, thank you. I can get them, I travel light.” I smile at him and walk towards the elevator. My room is on the second floor. I sink onto the bed as soon as I set everything down and close the door. I flick on the tv and check the news station.
‘Maybelle Adams is on the run. She was the last seen with Levi Carter. When asked to come in for questioning, she disappeared. If anyone spots her, please call us at 602-775-9806. A picture of me flashes on the screen, and my heart drops. There’s no way I can hide now.
I limp into the bathroom and open a white cabinet. Inside I find just what I’m looking for, scissors. I take a deep breath as I bring them up to my hair. I can’t believe I’m about to do this. I’ve never once in my life cut my hair. I take all my hair in my left hand and use the scissors to chop it off in my right hand. Pieces of hair fall to the bathroom floor as I work on it. When I finish I’ve probably cut off ten inches at least. I look at myself in the mirror, I mean I could work with this style. I sweep up all my hair from the floor and dump it in the trash bin. I brush it out and then get in the bed to get some rest.
it’s about five in the morning when I’m leaving the hotel. No one was at the front desk, so I left my room key with my final payment on the desk. I put my bags into the trunk of my car and slide into the driver's seat. I’m on the road a few minutes later. About an hour later I pass the sign that welcomes me to a really small town in Mexico called Puebla. There’s barely anyone out and about, it could be because the population of this town is so small, or it could also have to do with the fact that it’s about 6:30 in the morning.
This town is so far out and barely anyone knows of it, so there are no hotels. I slow my car to a crawl as I travel down the streets. I look at every house, taking it all in, when I pass a house that has a sign that advertises boarding. I back my car up and pull into a vacant parking spot to the left of the house. I get out of the car and I leave my bags in the car, I need information on the boarding prices and all that before I decide to live here. I knock on the door and it opens a minute later. By now my ankle is screaming at me with pain. There’s a sweet-looking old guy at the door.
“Hello, there! What can I do for you?” He asks kindly. I smile as best as I ca through all the pain at him.
“I saw a sign for boarding?”
“Yes! A room is open for rent if you’d like to come in and see it?”
“I’d like that.” He opens the door even wider and motions for me to follow him into the house.
“Justin! Someone’s touring the house!” He yells as we walk into the hallway. I look at him, confused. “Justin is also boarding here. I figured I’d give him a warning so he doesn’t come out of his room underdressed.” He smiles at me. I nod in understanding. So I’ll be boarding with whoever this Justin is. We walk down the hall to the very last room and he opens the door for me to go in. It’s not a huge room, but it is a decent size. The walls are painted a light-grey and the sheets on the bed are a neutral white. My guess is that they wanted the room to appeal to both boys and girls. There’s a dresser on the wall across from the bed. And a closet to the left of that. This is more than I could’ve asked for.
“You like it?” He asks.
“Yes, very much!” I say, a smile breaking out over my face, I just hope the price is bearable. My smile grows even bigger when he names a more than manageable price.
“So, what do you say?”
“I’ll take it!”
“Will you be moving in today?”
“If that works for you, I’d like to.” He nods and I hand him the first payment as soon as I return from my car with my backpack and duffle bag. I see a guy standing in the doorway of my room. When I come out of the bathroom that connects to my room, from putting all my stuff away, I jump. I hear another crack from my ankle. I scream from pain and collapse on the floor, cradling my ankle.
“Sorry.” He says in a deep voice, concerned. I don’t answer, I can barely see through all the pain that’s clouding my vision. I hear him get closer and I feel a hand placed gently on top of mine that’s on my ankle.
“Are you okay? Were you hurt?” I only nod at him, in too much pain to figure out a lie. “Here, let me help you up.” He reaches up and lifts me into his arms. I assume he’s about to place me on the bed, but he walks out of the room. He walks downstairs and the old man looks at us in confusion.
“She’s hurt.” The man explains as he puts me gently onto the couch. The old man nods and walks out of the room. I watch as the man, my guess is this is Justin, rifles through a cabinet, pulling out medical supplies. He comes back over to me and gently wraps my ankle in gauze. He also adds one more strip of gauze to hold an ice pack to my ankle. I look up at him thankfully.
“That should help a little bit, but you need to get that looked at.” fear rises in my chest at the mention of seeing a doctor. He mistakes my look for fear of doctors.
“I also know someone who would do just as good of a job as a doctor.” I nod, liking the idea better.
“I never got your name.”
“Samantha, Sam.” I lie. I can’t risk people recognizing my name.
“Nice to meet you Sam!” He thrusts out his hand and I shake it. I watch in confusion as a weird look crosses his face, it’s almost a look of fear. As soon as it came it is gone. I pray that he hasn’t recognized me. Maybe I should look into coloring my hair. He lifts me back into his strong arms and brings me up to my room, setting me carefully on the bed.
“I’ll go call him.” Is all he says and then leaves. I lie down on my back, I try to think about all that’s happened today, but I’m in too much pain to even do that. He comes back about fifteen minutes later.
“He’ll be here in about five minutes.” I nod and close my eyes, trying to block out the pain.
I must’ve fallen asleep because when I open my eyes I feel the presence of someone beside me. I glance down at my ankle and see an actual cast on it.
“Hello.” I look up to see Justin staring at me from his spot beside me. He must see the questions in my eyes. “He was here already, it kind of helped him that you were out cold. You were out for almost thirty minutes. He smiles at me.
“You’ll be okay?” He asks. And I nod. He leaves a few minutes later, right when I notice the crutches leaning against the bed.
The next morning when I wake up, I feel my heart pounding in my chest. Nothing is happening and I didn’t even dream anything bad. It’s like I can tell something bad is going to happen today. I use the crutches to move into the kitchen and find Justin sitting at the table, drinking coffee.
“ ‘Morning.” He replies. “Oh! George told me to tell you he’ll be out all day today.” I frown. George? Oh! The landlord! I nod and crutch over to pour myself a cup of coffee. I pick up a piece of the paper that’s in the middle of the table as I sit down and start reading it, looking for any clue that the people here know who I am.
“Looking for news about you or Levi? Maybelle?” Justin surprises me by saying. My heart speeds up even more. How?
“W-what?” I stutter.
“Yeah, I know who you are.” He replies. I set both the paper and my coffee down and stand up. I need to get out of here. What I don’t expect is for him to stand up with me, blocking my way out.
“You aren’t leaving. You know why? I bet you don’t.” He smirks and I feel uneasy as he walks even closer to me.
“It’s been hard for you hasn’t it? Levi’s death and then wanted for murder even though you never did it.” I’m confused now. He knows I didn’t do it? Then what exactly is happening here?
“He was a brave, yet stubborn kid. I remember his last words. ‘You’ll pay for what you’ve done’ what a pity, he was so very wrong.” I stumble backwards into the table at his words. My head is spinning and I can barely breathe. It was Justin? Justin murdered Levi?