This is still unedited and there is not very much detail because I’m just trying to get the bones of the story right now.
The driver announces that our stop is close and I shake Lizzy awake.
“Huh? What? Are we here?” She asks quietly. I shake my head.
“No, but we’re close. Get ready to go.” I tell her and she puts her backpack on and gets ready to bolt as soon as the bus stops. This is what we do, get a ride to a different city and then disappear before anyone even knows we are here. Of course we don’t need to make different names because I’m the only one any of the townspeople ever see when we do stay for longer than a few days. The bus starts slowing and Lizzy and I stand up and start walking toward the front door so that we can be some of the first people off. The bus finally stops at the station and the doors open and we jump through before running as fast as we can behind the bus and into the night before anyone sees us. We run for a good ten minutes before stopping to breathe and rest. Lizzy sits on the ground with a heavy thud and I sit down next to her. She smiles at me and then laughs a bit which causes me to start laughing as well.
“How did our lives end up like this? We were supposed to be normal kids, going to school, growing up and getting jobs but instead we run from a bus full of people even though we haven’t done anything that we would need to run for.” I say as I lean back and look up at the stars. Lizzy leans back also and gasps quietly.
“Pretty.” She says. I smile and nod.
“Yes it is. I never thought I would be able to see a sky so clear. I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen the stars.” I tell her. I close my eyes as a sudden headache comes on.
“Look, David. The stars are so beautiful tonight, aren’t they?” My mother asks as we sit on the front lawn of our house looking up at the sky.
“Yes, mom. They are very pretty.” I reply dryly. My mother just laughs at my response.
“Why do you always respond to me like that? You’re 8 years old, you should be happier.” She tells me. I stand up from the ground and look down at her as she stays sitting.
“Why should I be happier? I feel like I’m trapped at the house and I have no friends because you and dad only let me go to school and then come home.” I complain to her. She sighs and stands up as well. She places her hand on my shoulder and wears a sad look on her face. I laugh and shove her hand off. Even at 8 years old I could understand why they were worried about me having any friends.
“I’m sorry, David. I know you know why we keep you away from the other kids. It’s for your own safety. We don’t want you to do anything dangerous that could get us in trouble.” She tells my back. I feel tears welling up in my eyes, an emotion that I’ve never felt before, sadness at being isolated.
“I don’t want to be protected. I want to be able to talk to people and be normal and ride the bus with the other kids from school. Does my condition really make me that harmful to the people around me?” I ask. I hear another sigh from behind me and I turn around to face my mother. She has tears in her eyes and a wavery smile on her face.
“No, sweetheart. If you can show us that you can control your urges then we can let you start making friends at school and maybe even riding the bus with them. Is that okay with you?” She asks. I feel something else new well up inside my heart and a real smile spreads across my face as I run and hug her.
“Yes mom. I’ll try very hard to control myself. I really want to be able to play with the other kids.” I tell her. She nods and holds my shoulders at arms length.
“I will help you get your urges under control and if it works we can show your father and then you can start playing with the other kids at school.” She tells me before taking me under her arm and walking me back inside the house.
“David?” I hear Lizzy’s voice and I open my eyes. She’s sitting in front of me with a worried look on her face. “What’s wrong? You looked like you were in pain?” She asks. I just shake my head and give her another false smile.
“I’m fine, just a little headache.” I tell her. She nods and then looks around the alley.
“I don’t like it here and I’m hungry.” She tells me. I nod and stand up. I hold my hand out to her and she takes it as I pull her to her feet.
“Do you want some pizza? I think there’s a place just around the corner and we have enough money to eat at a restaurant tonight.” I tell her. She nods excitedly and I take her hand as I lead her out of the alley and onto the busy sidewalk. She pushes herself into my side but remains calm as we walk through the people. It’s a college town so it should be harder for my father to track us here and I’ve turned my phone off now that we’ve entered the city so he can’t track us that way. We walk to the little pizza place on the corner and go inside. The waiter seats us almost immediately despite how crowded the place is. Most of the people around us are college students but there are some families, there’s probably some event going on this weekend which makes the city twice as crowded as it usually would be.
“Can I start you guys off with anything to drink?” The waitress says as she walks up to the table. I smile at her.
“Just waters, please.” I tell her and she nods with a smile before walking away. I look at Lizzy who is looking over the menu. I pull it down so that she has to look up at me. Her eyes are watery as she looks back down at all of the words.
“I don’t understand what any of this says.” She tells me and I just nod with a smile. My usual way of comforting her when she’s confused by something new.
“That’s okay. You don’t need to be able to read it. I can order a pizza for us. You just sit there quietly.” I tell her and she nods before placing the menu down and slumping back against the booth bench. I lean back also and wait for the waitress to come back and she does very quickly with two waters in hand. She sets them down in front of Lizzy and I and then pulls out her pad of paper to take our order.
“What will you have to eat?” She asks looking at Lizzy first. Lizzy’s eyes widen and she looks at me. I just nod again before clearing my throat and causing the waitress to look at me.
“We will have a large cheese pizza and some cheesy bread please.” I tell her. She frowns and looks at Lizzy one more time before writing down our order and walking away from the table. Lizzy breathes a sigh of relief and sits up, leaning on the table with her elbows before moving to unwrap her straw and put it in the water. She takes a quick sip before sitting back once again and just looking at me.
“Is something wrong?” I ask her. She looks away from me with a questioning look on her face. I tilt my head at her with yet another smile on my face.
“Have you changed from when you were younger?” She asks quietly. My breathing stutters for a second before I let out a startled laugh.
“What do you mean by that?” I ask her. She shrugs her shoulders as she sits forward and takes another drink.
“I don’t know. I just feel like you’re hiding something from me.” She says. I feel my face fall expressionless as I look at her carefully before responding.
“Why would I hide anything from you? I’m your big brother and my only job is to protect you, especially now that we have a crazy murderer after us.” I tell her in a grave voice. She frowns and shrinks back against the bench. I sigh and lean back against my bench before turning my attention to a TV in the corner of the room that’s playing Investigation Discovery again. Of course it just happens to be playing our episode of Blood Relatives. I grit my teeth and turn my attention to a different TV in the opposite corner that’s playing a basketball game. I smile and let myself get distracted by the yelling of the fans who are watching the game. A few minutes later footsteps walk up to our table and I sit up as the waitress approaches our table with a red basket.
“Here is your cheesy bread and your pizza will be up in just a few more minutes.” She tells us. I just nod and she leaves the table. Lizzy immediately tears into the bread and I take a moment to watch her eat before digging in myself. The bread is easily finished in about two minutes and the pizza comes five minutes later.
“Here is your cheese pizza. Fresh out of the oven.” She warns us. I smile at her and she leaves once again. Lizzy goes to grab a piece and I touch her hand.
“Careful. It’s going to be very hot. You might want to wait a few minutes before touching it. I don’t want you to burn your mouth.” I tell her. She pouts and sits back on her bench. After a few minutes she sits up and carefully takes one of the pieces and blows on it before taking a small bite off the end. After she figures out that it’s not hot she quickly finishes the rest of the pieces and manages to eat four more before I get any. I eat two pieces and she eats the rest of it. The waitress comes up with the check and I pay it right away with a 20 before quickly leaving the restaurant.
“Did you pay the right amount?” Lizzy asks me. I scoff and smile back at her.
“No, but that’s okay. I’m sure other people will see that she got jipped and will give her some nice tips.” I explain. She just nods and continues to walk quickly behind me as we make our way into a different alley.
“David? Are we going to find a house to stay in while we’re here?” She asks. I stop and lean against the wall to catch my breath. I look down at her and see her waiting for my answer.
“I don’t know yet. It all depends on whether or not I can get a job where the boss is willing to pay me in cash. But they probably won’t hire me because it’s a college town so they are expecting someone who has at least made it to college as an employee.” I explain and she just nods.
“Well, how far did you get in school?” She asks. A smirk crosses my face for a second.
“I got kicked out once I got into fifth grade.” I reply. She frowns but doesn’t ask anymore questions which I am happy about. She sits down on the floor of the alley with a sigh. I kneel down in front of her.
“Is something wrong?” I ask her. She shakes her head.
“No. I’m just tired and I want to sleep. Is this where we’re stopping?” She asks. I laugh and sit down next to her. I pull her so she’s laying down with her head on my lap.
“Sure. You get some sleep and I’ll keep watch over you.” I tell her. She smiles and closes her eyes. Her breathing quickly evens out and I look down at her sleeping face. I brush the hair out of her eyes and watch as she takes in very slow breaths through her mouth. A strange feeling comes over me but I quickly force it down and carefully move Lizzy off my lap and stand up. I take off my backpack and place it beside her before leaving the alley and walking back onto the street of crowded people. I guess it’s time to try to get employed again.