"Mum, mum do we have any food?" My stomach rumbles so powerfully that it makes me feel like I'm having my own personal earthquake. I pray my silent prayer, the one I pray every day when I ask her this question, as I hope that she hasn't spent the money for food on crystal meth or whatever else makes her act so foul.

"What the hell do you think? You never keep a job for more than a month because you insist on going to that pointless school of yours!" I can tell that she is using just by the way that she slurs her words, and how she can't focus her eyes on one thing. I feel as helpless as a baby without its mother, which in this case is exactly what I am. "You got your paycheck from the cafe last bloody night! Give it here!" I took the crumpled piece of paper out of my thin jacket pocket and held it out to my mum. She stared at it for a second like it was holy. Then she swiftly grabbed the paper out of my hands and un-crumpled it. I felt a stinging on my cheek, moments after I saw my mother's hand. "One Hundred and ninety dollars, you must be bloody kidding me!" She was rushing back and forth tossing random items into a tattered backpack. "I'll be back in a week, maybe. Oh and if I don't come back, don't bother coming to look for me." With that she slammed the door of our one room apartment. I was alone.

She had done this many times before, but she never said that she wasn't coming back. She had taken all of my money, all of the food, and most of the things I could have sold to survive. I was alone, I had nothing, and I was starving. I slowly stood up, and walked over to the worn, old, blue blanket I used as a bed and folded it into a perfect square. I walked back over to the only table we had and I picked up my tattered backpack, and stuffed the blanket into it, the blanket was the only thing that my dad gave me before he left. I placed the backpack onto my shoulders, and walked out the door. My best friend Harry told me that there was a gang that he joined two years ago when his dad went to prison for dealing and his mum couldn't support him and his sisters. He said that they supported him when he couldn't support himself, and that's what I need. I walked over to the sheltered bus stop and took out the blue blanket and placed it on the bench, I lie down and think about how I would find this gang and what I would say if I did find them. Then I figure out that if I wanted to find the gang I would have to do something to make then notice me. That is when I slowly drifted off into a dreamless sleep.

The next morning I woke up to a bus horn, I had to take a minute to realize where I was and what I was doing there. Then I remembered my mum, and the bus stop, and the gang, and how I had to get their attention. Then it came to me. To get their attention, I had to do something for them, like get them money, respect, drugs, or guns! That was it! I would steal guns for them so I could prove that I was going to be a reliable addition to the gang! Now I had to make a plan, I was good at those sorts of things, I was an honor roll student, and I loved to solve problems. I started to make a map in my mind, random thoughts and ideas rushed through my now cluttered brain as I used some and discarded others. In the end I had a perfect plan laid out in my mind, a very complicated, advanced, risky plan, but a plan none the less.

I re-folded the blanket and placed it very carefully into my backpack. As I waited for the next bus to come my 11th grade AP history teacher walked by, "Allisa? Why aren't you in school?" She looked sincerely surprised at my absence of school. I was always on time or early for classes and by the looks of the sun and the traffic it looked like it was about halfway through third period. I honestly didn't know what to say. So I said the first, also the most stupid, thing that came to mind.

"Why do you care? Mind your own business." And with that the bus crawled up to the curb and I walked on and didn't look back until I knew that I was out of sight. My teacher hadn't moved and inch and her mouth made a perfect O like she had stopped talking mid-sentence. The bus lurched forward and I stared at my teacher until she was just a little speck in the horizon. I stared into thin air for what felt like hours until I saw my stop. I pulled the wire so gently that I didn't know if the system would even pick it up, but it did. As I walked of the bus and down 9th avenue I tried to push what I said to my teacher to the back of mind and focus on the bigger problem, the stealing of the guns.

I sauntered over to the gun store, and looked up at the lite up sign that said "9th's guns and ammunition." Half the lettering was burnt out so it looked more like "9 gun n ammun on" I peered through the window and saw a short, stocky man with a bald head, shining what looked like some sort of rifle. I went over my plan again and mentally checked off the things I had already done. I was up to my second step; get the clerk to leave the store. I crouched down to the ground and picked up the biggest stone I could find. Then I pressed into the little spot between the wall and the back of the door. I waited until the bald man had his back to the door then I smashed the window in. He shot up into the air and spun on his fat little heels. The man screeched "BLOODY HELL!" as he rushed over to the door I got ready to make my move. As he flung open the door I rushed into the store and slammed the door in the man's face. I didn't falter as I clicked the dead bolt shut, I heard him yelling at me but all I was thinking about was that the police where going to be here in less than five minutes.

Now for step three; I walked over the rifle the man was polishing and clicked a bullet into place, I turned to the glass gun case and pulled the trigger. There was a loud band, and then I was stumbling backwards, I waited for my ears to stop ringing then I dashed over to the case and through my backpack onto the table. With shaking hands I started stuffing hand guns, and ammunition into my back pack. When I knew there was no more room I zipped up my back pack and slung it and the big rifle onto opposite shoulders. I clicked another bullet into place and ran into the back room praying that there would be a back exit. In front of me was a normal door, I kept thinking it couldn't be this easy, but then I remembered that I didn't have time to think.

As if a reminder of this I heard sirens in the distance, without another thought I burst through the door and out into a full sprit. It took seconds to build my speed into my highest gear. I loved to run, I could feel every muscle in my body moving perfectly in sync with all of the other ones, my legs were perfectly oiled machine. I felt the air rushing through my lungs in rugged breaths but I felt powerful. I feel eternal like I could never be caught. I was almost positive that I had got away when I heard something in the background once, twice, three times, then everything went black.

I woke up in a hospital bed in Southside. A strange man was asleep beside my hospital bed, and I screamed. I yanked my whole body trying to get out of the bed but my hand was handcuffed to the side of the bed. My scream woke up the strange man beside me and he started trying to grab me to calm me down. I stared at him like an alien wondering who this man was! He finally got out me pinned down on the bed and hovering inches over my face whispered "Ali baby, it's me. Daddy." I stared in horror at him the last time I had saw him I was seven and didn't know what the word "leaving" meant. Now I look at the man who left me with my abusive mother, who never came back to check on me or see if I was ok, and I know I should feel hatred. But all I can feel is love, love for this man who finally came when I needed him, who would now protect me from this cruel world.

"Dad… is that really you?" I asked preying that I didn't just hear him wrong or he wasn't just messing with me. As if a response he took the last space between us and gave me the biggest hug you could image, calling it a bear hug wouldn't suffice. Then I remembered what I had just done and why I was handcuffed to a hospital bed. In a small voice I asked my dad "Was I shot?"

"Yes baby, in the leg. They didn't know who you were they just knew that you were stealing those guns… baby why were you stealing them?" I thought of my now broken plan, and it just looked stupid. I was most likely going to be charged and go to go to jail for stealing those meaningless guns! I just messed up the best thing that had ever happened to me.

"Dad, I had to do it! Mum left me because I didn't have enough bloody money to support her meth addiction! I was going to starve and I heard about this gang that could help me…" By this point my face was wet with tears, and my dad had me back in a hug.

"We will figure this out." I actually believed him, if he had come back than anything was possible. I feel asleep to my father stroking my hair repeating that one sentence over and over again. I dreamed about what my life would be like with me and my father. By the way he was dressed he looked successful like a lawyer, or a business man. I probably could have my own room, with a bed, and a closet and everything! I would be a high school graduate and go to a great university and get a degree in law, or teaching, or anything I wanted. I would be okay, and now that I knew that I could keep on dreaming.

It had been six weeks since that night in the hospital, and I had almost finished all of my community service, this was my sentence for stealing the guns. My name was never released in the news, because I was under eighteen, so I didn't get a criminal record. I was a regular girl; I had died my old dirt brown hair, a dark auburn to remind me of my mother. I still missed her a lot and I always wondered if she was ok, and if she might be looking for me, but all I had to do to forget about her was look at my loving father who had been searching for me for the past nine years. We now lived in actual house, and I had my own room, with a bed and a closet. My father decided to get me a pet to help me settle in and surprised me with a Labrador puppy called Smoke. I had everything I had ever dreamed of, and I was so grateful! I decided after high school I would go to law school so I could help other teenagers like me. I finally got my chance at life and I was not going to mess it up.