Chapter 2

I'm Going To Go Away, Michelle.

I was hiding in the Cafeteria. Well, not really hiding, just avoiding. I wasn't looking forward to Science class, in fact... I wasn't looking forward to any class. My grades had slid a considerable amount since I found out I couldn't attend Flight School. It quite a blow, one I hadn't gotten' over, and doubted to ever get over. My parents were disappointed (Dad more than Mom). He claimed that I was "wasting my future" and "losers only give up." I didn't listen. They didn't know what it was like to have a dream, they just flitted through life, complaining about trivial things. I hoped Olive wouldn't turn out the same but I knew that it was already too late. Brainwashing was effective and long lasting.

I finally managed to walk out of the Cafeteria. I was several minutes late to class and stood in the empty hallway contemplating skipping class. I had never skipped before, even though I had been tempted to on many occasions. I shrugged. There's a first for everything. With a smile (which was rare) on my face, I slung my backpack over my shoulder and headed out the back door of the school, feeling confident and happy. When I stood on the steps and observed the city in front of me, I suddenly felt the urge to run, run far away from this place, away from my family, away from everything. I knew it wasn't safe, I knew they would send the Police after me, but if I could get away? What if I could be happy somewhere? As bad as it sounded, if I failed... Mom and Dad would bail me out and come and get me. I knew they would.

So, I pointed myself in a random direction and went to walk across the street to the sidewalk when I heard a familiar voice behind me.

"Hoover? Where are you going?"

I turned around and looked into the ice gray eyes of Michelle Lanston. She was in my Science and English class. She was an opnionated girl who was often paired with me in class. She was smart, and the only good grades I got in class I managed to acquire when paired with her.

"Home. Um... I'm going home. I don't feel so great." I looked at my shoes which were unlaced. The heat was rising to my cheeks. I didn't know how to talk to girls, especially popular girls (yeah yeah, I know. I hate popular, right?).

She smiled, putting her hands behind her back, standing there looking very much like a little girl instead of a teenager. "So you're going to walk all the way there?" There was a suspicious glint in her eye. "Can I accompany you?"

I immediately began to feel annoyed. I didn't want her to come with me, I wanted to leave. I stammered for a moment, trying to get a grasp on my words. "I-I... no Michelle, sorry... I just want some time alone, is that cool?"

"Yeah totally." She sounded perky but I knew she was disappointed. "I'll see you later?"

"Uh, yeah." I smiled, waving my hand. "Later."

"Later Hoover."

I watched her walk away with some resentment. Michelle had never taken interest in my existance before and the one time I couldn't be with her is the one time she wanted to be with me. God, does being a teenager ever get easier? Damnit.

With a frown on my face I pointed myself in my designated direction. I had money on my credit card and it was on me so I could get food and maybe a small tent and sleeping bag. I didn't know what I was planning, but I would figure the rest out when I left. I didn't want anyone to catch me so soon after I had set out.

Six Hours Later

"God, I'm... damn exhausted." I said, collapsing on a rock down a small trail I had found just off the highway. "And I've only been walking six hours, damnit." I kicked a stone on the ground in front of me in frustration. I knew I would have to spend the night out here with nothing until the stores opened in the morning. I had made it three towns away, and I figured I was close enough away to at least enter town tomorrow for a limited time.

I walked over to a small tree I could see in the moonlight. It looked like it had fallen just recently and it looked like it would provide some coverage. I had my jacket, so I used that as a pillow as I put my backpack on my stomach. It was uncomfortable, but at least I had chose a spot in which the roof of tree tops receeded and I could see the stars. I gazed at them for a bit, feeling a bit afraid of what I had done but a bit excited. I felt like I was free for the first time in life, with nothing to hold me down and nothing to keep me from finding something new to dream about. It was awesome.

Nine Hours Later

I woke up to the feeling of rain splashing on my face as I groaned and then bolted up, for a second forgetting the fact that I was sleeping in the forest instead of in my parent's place. I stretched for a moment and pulled my jacket on (which was semi-waterproof) and pulled the hood over my head, looking mournfully at the stormy sky. I had hoped it was going to be good weather for me to set out on but apparently not. I grabbed my backpack which I had thrown off me in the night and slung it over my shoulder. It would only take me about an hour to get to town and it would take another two to get my supplies, food, etc, etc.

I walked up the four-wheeler trail I had walked down the previous night and came to the highway. It wasn't a busy highway but there were a few cars (including cops). I was reluctant to walk the highway but I definitely didn't want to walk through the brush to get there, it would make more time on my trip. So highway I went. I had only started down the highway for five minutes when my pocket began vibrating. I sighed. I had forgotten to turn off my phone. I took it out of my pocket and flipped it open, staring at the screen.

Olive Hoover - where r u?

I looked down at her text message, wondering whether or not I should respond. She was allied (more or less) with Mom and Dad. Anything I told her now would go to them. I flipped closed and was about to put it back into my pocket when it vibrated again. I stared down at it loathfully and then flipped it open once again, looking at the screen, my brows furrowed.

Olive Hoover - mom & dad worried sick. plz come home.

I groaned and snapped it closed, shoving it into my pocket as I stared at the road ahead. I loved my sister, she was the only one who wasn't completely doomed, but I couldn't go back now. I had freedom, I could do anything, see anyone, be anyone I wanted. I was going to seize this chance and I wasn't going to look back.

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