One

Note: This takes place a month or two after "The Kids are Aiight".

I awoke on the hard ground. Although it wasn't exactly your finest down pillow and silken sheets, it suited me. Besides, I wasn't an indoor person anyhow. Outside, I could be free, and run as far and as fast as I wanted. Which, depending on my mood, could be pretty dang far and fast.

Standing up, I brushed off the seat of my blue jeans. Well, technically they weren't my jeans; I had swiped them from some drug addict in exchange for what he thought to be marijuana in a dark alley. Probably about now he was realizing that ground dandelion leaves didn't quite give the same high as the real weed. Yet, the jeans were warm and kept me clean from the dirt I slept on a good majority of the time.

I stretched, raising my arms high above my head and looked at the sky. Patches of the night were still scattered about, but the sun was slowly arriving. It would've struck most as a beautiful morning and they would've gone into some poetic prose. But, I was not the sentimental type. Big deal a new day. Yipee. Time to press your nose to the grindstone and get your rear in gear.

I yawned. I usually didn't get up so early, and allowed myself to sleep in till at least full sunrise, but today I couldn't risk the full illumination of the sun. I wasn't exactly in the safest territory and at any moment I could be spotted and captured. Not my idea of your typical spring vacation.

Straightening the hem of my thin red T-shirt I had stolen from a hippie band concert, I rotated my neck on my shoulders, cracking it slightly so that I could fully wake up. Couldn't go anywhere acting like a half-dead zombie. That would most surely cause me to go wandering off the side roads and get squished by a car. Not my type of death. I mean, if you're going to try to kill me, at least make it clean-ok?

Trying to kill me. I nearly laughed out loud at that thought. Seriously, how many people were after me, maybe not trying to kill me, but at least get their dirty little hands on me? Hmm…Good question. I'd have given it more thought, but my brief moment of observing life was over. Time to start hiking.

I hurried up the side of the ditch I had been sleeping in. There was some depressed grass where I had lain, but to any other passerby, it could've just as easily been a deer bed. Scuttling up the side of the grassy, steep ditch, I peeked cautiously over the edge, my body pressed close to the ground. The blades of grass and dead weeds poked through the thin shirt and irritated my stomach. Still, I couldn't think about that, more important issues at hand.

The paved road was a couple feet away, but I saw or heard no cars approaching. Good. It would give me just enough time. I sprang from my position, as the muscles in my thighs quickly snapped and propelled me upwards. I dashed across the road like it was the Olympic relays. Once across, I threw myself into the air, flying over another ditch. Landing in a crouched position, I quickly scanned the thick foliage for any traces of other human life. Good. None. I rose to my feet and allowed the stinging in my legs where I had put the most force on to recede by walking slowly. I picked up my casual walking pace to a jog, which would keep me ahead of the people even if they did happen to find my trail.

Thankfully, I was now in a forest where it would be harder for them to find me. Seriously, these people were worse than the paparazzi, always after me. I mean, most of the human population would love to be adored-but in reason-ok?

I really didn't know where I was heading or what I planned to do once I reached my unknown destination. Everyone was taken care of. My friends, that was. Fortunately, for the rest of my Manticore group, they all had nice homes, nice places to stay. Then why didn't I? Good question. I really didn't like homes. Personally, they brought back bad memories. Memories I tried to keep repressed as firmly and often as possible. Which isn't always an easy thing.

I didn't have any money to rent or even buy a house, apartment, or, heck, even a box. But, boxes are so cramped. I've tried it, not pleasant. Seriously, you try sleeping in a box no bigger than a refrigerator. Nasty, nasty leg cramps.

Back to original thought. What exactly was I planning to do? I was in Canada, or at least I thought I was. Couldn't tell where the U.S forests and the Canadian blended. Still, I was close enough to the rest of the members of my "group" that I could've easily visited them. I worried about them, as I always have and always will. They're family, and some of them I like in a little bit more of a "personal" way, so to say.

Still, I didn't dwell on things like that. Because like I said, I'm not a sentimental person.