Again this is NaNoWriMo writing so it hasn’t gone through any editing.
We make it to the Amtrak station in the middle of town just an hour before I know the bus is going to be there. For the first 10 years we ended up travelling West before coming back to a different part of Galesburg and now I’m thinking we start moving East until my father decides he’s really had enough of this cat and mouse game. Maybe we’ll make it all the way to New York. We reach the window and the man behind it gives us a slow once over before speaking.
“How may I help you?” He asks. I pull out some money for two tickets and hand it through the slot to him.
“Two tickets for the Bloomington bus, please.” I tell him and he nods before tapping his screen a few times and the money drawer pops open. He separates the money and closes the drawer, then the machine starts printing the receipt and the two tickets. He rips them off and separates the three sheets of paper before handing them to me. I go to take them but he pulls them back a bit. I look up at him to see a worried frown on his face. I feel the urge to roll my eyes at the look he’s giving me.
“Do your parents know you’re leaving, kid?” He asks.I smile and shake my head.
“No, but at twenty years old I think I am perfectly capable of making my own choices. Plus I’m actually heading home right now to drop off my sister who has been visiting me for the past week.” I tell him. He nods and hands me the tickets. I smile and grab Lizzy’s hand before walking away from the window. The bus will be here in 45 minutes now.
“David?” Lizzy asks quietly. She presses herself into my side as we walk into the crowded station. I wrap my arm around her shoulder and guide her through the crowd.
“You’re okay.” I comfort her. I look down to see her watery eyes and I pull her closer to me. We finally make it to the other side of all of the people to find a quiet corner away from all of the noise. I walk Lizzy over and sit her in a chair before kneeling in front of her. Her body is shaking almost uncontrollably and I rub my hands up and down her arms.
“David, I can’t breathe.” She whines quietly. I nod trying to make my face as understanding as possible. She’s having a panic attack and I know what that’s like.
“Just look at me and take a deep breath. Focus only on me.” I tell her. She looks me right in the eyes and starts taking deep breaths. Her body slowly stops shaking and her eyes start turning white again. I take my hands away from her arms and check the time on my phone. 4:45 p.m., 20 more minutes until the bus gets here.
“You lied to that man in the window.” Lizzy says once she is fully calmed. I feel my shoulders tense and I turn back around to her with a false smile on my face.
“It doesn’t matter. He won’t ever be seeing us again anyway so as long as he thinks that’s our story, that’s all the matters.” I explain. She frowns at me.
“What would mommy think?” She asks. I feel anger build up in me and I stand up over her.
“Who cares what she thinks? She’s dead.” I growl at her. Her eyes widen and she shrinks back in her chair. I sigh and run my hand over my hair. “I’m sorry. You know I don’t like talking about her.” I tell her. She nods and sniffles. I pull her into a hug and she hugs me back.
“I’m sorry.” She apologizes. I shake my head and pat the back of her head.
“I shouldn’t have reacted like that. Let’s go, the bus will be here soon.” I tell her as I pick my bag up off the floor and guide her out of her chair. We walk beside each other silently up to the curb outside the station. The bus pulls up and the driver asks for our tickets and we show them before climbing on and walking all the way to the back. This ride is going to be two hours long, we need to get as comfortable as possible. The bus pulls away from the curb and Lizzy jumps out of her seat, startled by the sudden motion. I put my hand on her shoulder and sit her back down before leaning back into my seat.
“David?” She asks. I raise my eyebrow and look at her.
“What?” I ask. She sighs and wrings her hands a bit before responding.
“I want to know more about her. I know you don’t like talking about her but I want to know more.” She says. I sigh and sit up with a little nod. It makes sense that she would want to know more about our mom. She never really got to meet her and doesn’t even remember what she looked like since she was only two when our mom was murdered.
“Okay. What do you want to know about her?” I ask. She looks up at me with excitement in her eyes and smiles wide.
“Was she pretty?” She asks. I smile and give her a little startled laugh before pulling out my wallet and taking a picture of my mom out of it and giving it to her.
“Yes. She was. And she loved both of us, a lot.” I tell her. She smiles and looks over the picture for a few seconds before handing it back.
“You do care what she thinks, don’t you?” She asks. I feel my eyes widen and my rage building up again but this time I take a deep breath and control it. I shake my head with a small smile on my face.
“No. I don’t care at all. She’s gone and while I do love her, she doesn’t know what we are going through and if she does then she understands perfectly well why I have to lie and break into houses and occasionally steal. It is my job to focus on keeping both of us alive and out of danger and right now that is the only thing that matters to me.” I explain. She nods and looks out the window at the slowly darkening sky.
“Do you think she watches over us?” She asks. I look out the window for a second and then laugh.
“Don’t you think we would be in a better situation if we had an angel watching over us? Mom isn’t here anymore and dad made sure of that. Now we just have to make sure that he doesn’t get us next.” I grumble at her. She looks down from the window at her lap and then turns away from the window and curls sideway in her seat facing me.
“I’m going to sleep. Wake me up when we get there.” She tells me. I just nod and watch as she closes her eyes and her breathing evens out. I sigh and lean back in my seat once again. I hate talking about my past, especially with people who would never understand it. Lizzy was way too young to even know mom and even now there’s no way that she could ever come to know mom like I did, even with all of my stories and memories of which I only have a few since I lost most of them on the night she was murdered. There was nothing happy left after that day and it’s all thanks to the man that I am forced to call my father. I will make sure that he gets the justice he deserves for making my family have to live like this for ten years.