I couldn't believe it. I had slipped out of the motel room without Dean noticing. I'd stuffed my backpack with some of my clothes, snacks, and money to buy myself my meals and I was out the door.
I wasn't sure where I was going, all I knew was that I wanted out. I was tired of the life my father had raised Dean and me into. I needed a break from Dad and his expectations. So I was running away.
As I took a deep breath of fresh country air I glanced around to check to make sure no one saw me. I didn't want Dad to find me too quickly. I knew he would, but the longer I had to myself the better.
I made my way on foot to the nearest bus station and waited on a bench for one to appear. When it did I climbed aboard and sat down a few rows back. I looked out the window towards the direction of the motel Dean was in and sighed as the bus began moving. This was it. I was on my own now.
When the bus stopped in the next town I got off to buy some water at a gas station. As I paid for the bottle of water I'd chosen from the freezer I noticed a calendar behind the clerk. The month of August photo was of Flagstaff, Arizona. I decided I wanted to go there. Dad would never expect me to run there and I had no place I wanted to go. So why not Flagstaff?
The clerk passed my change back to me and I shoved it into my pockets before grabbing my water bottle and heading out.
I found a bus headed south, in the direction of Arizona, and hopped on. I spent the rest of the night jumping on and off buses until I reached my destination.
It was three days after I'd settled into a cheap Flagstaff motel room when I found him. I'd just picked up pizza when I noticed something cowering behind a dumpster out of the corner of my eye.
When I turned to get a better look I realized that something was a dog. He was filthy, skinny, and his long fur was in huge knots. I recognized him as a Golden Retriever, a dog many people I'd met had kept as pets. One of my friends in Colorado had one. I hadn't seen his dog though because Dad didn't want Dean or me going to anyone's house. School then back to the motel. That was the schedule we'd had to follow. And we hadn't stayed there long.
The dog before me looked sorrowful. It sniffed the air and whined at the smell of my food.
My heart sunk with sympathy.
"You're hungry; aren't you?"
I squatted and whistled to the dog. "Come here, boy. Come on."
The Golden stared at me then at the box of pizza then me again. He wasn't sure what to do. He wasn't sure if he could trust me.
"It's okay boy."
I lifted the box's lid and the dog took a few steps forward, stopping when I looked back at him.
How could people be so cruel as to leave a dog on the streets like this? I thought.
I sat down on the asphalt and placed the pizza box on my lap. I took out one of the four slices inside and took a bite off of it.
"You know you want some."
The dog licked his lips and took more steps forward, stopping just out of reach. I took another bite off of my slice and looked up at the sky for a moment.
Suddenly I felt slime on my hands. It was dog drool. The Golden had stolen the rest of my slice of pizza and now had his head in the box.
"Hey!" I protested.
The dog looked up at me and whined. Next thing I knew I was on my back getting a thorough face licking.
"Ew, gross! Hey cut it out!"
I was laughing as I shoved the dog off me. He didn't run away as I'd expected. Instead, the Golden let me rub his head and I smiled. I'd found myself a dog.
It was surprisingly easy to lead the Golden back to my motel room. He followed me like he'd been my dog all of his life, which must have been at least six years long. I liked to think that it was because he liked me but now I'm sure it was more because he was hoping to get more food.
The first thing I did was lock the dog in the motel room and go out to buy some treats for him at the nearest store. When I returned the Golden was lying on the floor by the couch looking mournful but jumped up at the sight of me. His tail swayed side to side happily and he barked.
"Shhh!" I put my finger to my lips as if the dog would understand. "The other people in the nearby rooms are going to hear you. Dogs aren't allowed here."
The dog whined.
"We're going to have to give you a bath," I told the Golden as his wet dog smell reached my nose again. "Then we can watch TV."
It took a lot of coaxing and pulling to get him into the bathtub, but I did manage to get the dog in after ten minutes. Once he was in he stayed pretty still as I washed his coat with my shampoo.
After I rinsed him though he shook and water flew all over the room and on me.
The Golden gave me a doggie smile and hopped out of the tub before I could stop him but I was quick enough to beat him to the bathroom door to prevent him from getting the rest of the motel room soaked.
When I'd towel dried the dog thoroughly I let him go and he ran straight for the couch to lie down.
I grinned and then realized I hadn't named my dog yet. My dog. I sat on the couch next to him and stroked his back as I thought.
"I think I'll call you Bones," I finally decided. "'Cause you're skinny and because it's a cool name."
The Golden licked my fingers and I knew he agreed.
"Bones it is."
For the next week and a half Bones was my constant companion. He kept me company like no other person, not even my brother, could. He was so loving. Bones didn't complain, he didn't judge me, and he didn't make me do anything I didn't want to do. Bones just listened and kept my loneliness at bay.
I had to admit I was missing my family at some level. I missed Dean the most. I wondered how he was doing. I wondered what he'd done when he saw I wasn't in my bed. I knew Dad had to be furious with me.
It was a cost I felt was worth paying. I was living my life as normally as I could. I felt safe again with Bones at my side at night. Like the supernatural world had all been a dream. A bad dream.
Sadly though, I sensed my time in Flagstaff was coming to an end. Unfortunately, I was right.
It was nine in the morning and I was still lying in bed with Bones curled up next to me asleep when the door to my motel room busted open.
I startled into a sitting position and Bones' head lifted. He growled. I'd never heard him growl before but he was doing it. It surprised me.
Then I saw my dad.
I grimaced. Time to face the music.
"Sammy? Sammy, thank God it's you," Dad said.
I held onto the scruff of Bones' neck as my father approached.
He narrowed his eyes. "What the HELL were you thinking boy, running off like that? Dean and I were worried sick about you!"
"I'm sorry," I murmured, avoiding eye contact with him.
"You'd better be," Dad scolded. "Now get your things together and we're leaving. You've got a lot of explaining to do!"
I bowed my head then stood to throw my dirty clothes that were on the floor back into my backpack.
"Let's go Sam; Dean's waiting in the car."
Bones followed me to the door where my dad was standing with his arms crossed. As I was about to lead Bones out Dad stopped me.
"Where'd you get the dog?" he asked.
"I found him," I answered.
"He's not coming with us."
"But Dad! He has to!" I argued.
Dad shook his head. "We can't bring a dog with us on the road. I have enough to pay for without a mutt to feed."
"He's not a mutt!"
"Doesn't matter. I'll let the owner of this place know about the dog and he can take care of it."
Dad raised his hand. "I don't want to hear it Sam. In the car, now."
I felt close to tears as I glanced down at Bones. He whined like he knew something was wrong. He probably did. I kneeled in front of him and hugged his neck.
"I'm sorry Bones," I whispered sadly.
Bones whined again as I stood. He tried to get through the doorway but couldn't.
"Stay," I commanded.
Bones sat looking at me with what I thought of as his troubled eyes. There was another whine as I stepped outside, like Bones was begging me not to leave, but he stayed put as Dad shut the door in front of him.
That was the last I saw of my dog Bones.