~Prologue~

It's funny how a couple of words can change your life. For Gabe Duncan, it only took two to send him far away from without a name to call his own, nowhere to sleep at night, thirty-five dollars, and the clothes on his back. This is his story: the story of Gabe.

Chapter 1 – The Escape

He could hear the footsteps chasing him down the street. Streams of perspiration ran down his face and his brown hair was damp with sweat. He knew he would not be able to run much longer. Still, he could not stop now. He had come too far. He couldn't go back home, not now, not ever. The looks on his parents' faces alone would be enough to send him bolting out the door. Maybe his pursuer was as tired as he was and would slow down. "Gabe!" the voice screamed, "Stop running! Gabe ignored her yelling. He couldn't give up now. It was too late to turn back. Gabe glanced over his shoulder. Teddy's cheeks were flushed red and her pace was gradually becoming slower. If he was lucky maybe he could get away. All he needed was a taxi. "Taxi! Taxi!" he yelled, slowing down and finally coming to a complete stop. Teddy reached out her hand grabbed his wrist in an iron grip. "Let me go," he hissed through clenched teeth. "Gabe," Teddy pleaded, "Don't go."

The sad look in her eyes made him want to hug her tight, never let her go, and let her guide him back home , where he belonged. At least that's where I used to belong, Gabe thought, but now I'm not so sure. Plus that's the sappiest thing I've ever heard. Gabe looked at her with pain in eyes and did what he knew he had to do. As much as it hurt him to do it, Gabe performed the Flying Scissor Inflictor kick, a move he had invented in karate class that never seemed to work. However, this time it did .His hand immediately slipped from her grasp and he tumbled into the taxi that had pulled up beside them.

Gabe looked into the taxi driver's grubby face and said calmly, "I'd like to go to Marv's Grill, please." The driver nodded and started to drive away.

The last thing Gabe saw of Teddy as they drove away was her face twisted in pain with tears rolling down them, mouthing the words, I still love you.


"Here we are. This is the nicest place in town." the taxi driver exclaimed while chuckling huskily.

Gabe pondered whether he should laugh or not to be polite, even though he got the joke but didn't find it very funny.

The alleys that surrounded Marv's Grill were swarmed with seedy men who seemed to spend all their lives smoking in the dirty alley. Squashed cigarettes and crushed beer bottles littered the floor. Gabe was cautious around those men, ignoring their slurred invitations to join them. Despite the slum-like conditions around the restaurant, Gabe knew Marv's Grill would provide a quiet place to think about why he had left home. Suddenly, a voice interrupted his thoughts. Gabe soon realized it was the guy who was driving the cab. Gabe had been too lost in thought to notice that the man had been talking to him.

"Hey, kid, are ya gonna pay up or what?" the taxi driver questioned angrily.

"Huh? Sorry. I'll get you the money." Gabe replied

He rifled through his wallet to find he had thirty-five dollars. Gabe couldn't afford to lose too much of the small amount of savings he had in his wallet, so he slapped one dollar into the taxi driver's hairy hand and bounded out of the cab.

"Hey , that ain't near what it costs to get here! You should be glad I ain't gonna go after a little kid or else I woulda-" Gabe could hear nothing else of the cab driver's rant as the man sped away. This is it, Gabe thought, I'm on my own now. And with that Gabe opened the doors to Marv's Grill, waving goodbye to life as he knew it.