The Pilot

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Left, right. Left, right. Keep running. Keep moving forward. I really wish I had brought a coat. I’m trying not to think about what just happened. I have to keep going. I don't know exactly where I am going but I know I have to get there fast as I can. The reason for my running? My mother, my sweet mother with her smile that could melt the newly fallen snow, her long blonde hair so soft and fine, her perfect body that I did not get the luck to inherit, her eyes, the ocean on a calm day. The mother that comforts me when I am sad, takes care of me when I’m sick, and lets me into her bed when I am scared. How am I to survive without her?
I was just going for an afternoon walk with my mother when it happened. The water was so calm. I didn’t think someone who could swim as well as my mom could ever drown. There had been a storm. It wasn’t bad, but it was the first rain since winter ended so we thought we would go for a walk to see all of the green around us. We went for a swim in the lake and mom went diving to see if there were any oysters ready to harvest. I cannot go down as far as she can, but I love to count the number of seconds she can stay down. She usually stays down about a minute before she comes up. This time I counted and I reached a hundred seconds when I started to feel a pit in the bottom of my stomach. When I reached a hundred thirty seconds, I dove down to see if she was okay.
It was then that I saw her body entangled in the reeds, lifeless. I guess she dove right into them. Looking back on it now, I almost did. I tried desperately to free her from her trap but by the time I succeeded was already too late. I had no idea what to do. I tried CPR and everything I could think of but she was already gone. This could not be happening, not my mother, the only person in this world I've met that hasn't disappointed me. I don't know what I was thinking I was probably just so gripped fear I wasn't thinking about anything but I just started to run. I just couldn't deal with my mother's death alone so I started to run. We live fifteen miles away from our closest neighbor as well and we have no way to contact anyone. We moved here from New York City five years ago because Dad... Dad, my unruly father was mistreating Mom and me. She wanted a divorce but Dad told her that if she ever tried to obtain one then he would find her and kill her and me both. She finally couldn't take it anymore and left him while he was at the bar drinking the night away, taking me with her.
The very next day we hired a private pilot to fly us out of the country to Canada. Mom paid him extra so he wouldn't tell a soul where we had disappeared to. We both still live in fear that he will somehow find us one day. When we landed in the plot of land that was to be our home, mother and the pilot, Dan, came to an agreement that he would come back every six months to deliver needed supplies. In return we would give him a place to stay for a couple of days to give him a break from his uncomfortable plane seat and a bit of money of course. Over the years we have grown very close. Last time he was here he told me that he was going to propose to Mother the next time he came. I guess that won't be happening now. Strangely enough Dan sort of looks like me, he has the same brown eyes, jet black hair and olive colored skin. But the similarities end there. Our personalities are as different as night and day. He is very loud and outgoing like a lion. I am quiet and shy like a lamb from all of the years that I have been cooped up in a house with just my mother and me.
I'm running steady now. I ran as hard as I could for a few minutes then as I came to the path that led to our neighbor’s house, twenty miles away I decided I had to tell someone. I don't think I can bear this burden by myself. So I'm going to run to our neighbor’s house. My mom has taken me to see her a couple times since we've moved here. She was a childhood friend of my mother's who knows the secret. She was the one who suggested we move down here. We are actually living on her land. So now I am running and running just trying not to give up on the hope that this lady is still here and not at her winter home still in Vancouver. I don't think that I could survive without telling somebody about my mother. If I have to live alone in this world without anyone to share the hurt of Mom's passing then I'm afraid I may either die of madness or kill myself so I won't have to.
I don’t know what I’m going to say. Now that I am finally here I have come to the door of her house and I have no idea what to say. I think I will just knock on the door and see what comes pouring out of me. But what if she isn’t here? I guess since I just ran twenty miles to get here I have to at least knock on the door. So I knocked on the door and the worst thing imaginable happened. The door creaked open and nobody had opened it from within.
As I walk into the vacant house I cannot believe it, then I can’t quite recall what happened. The next thing I remembered was that I was on the floor hysterically sobbing. I cried and sobbed off and on for most of the night until I finally fell asleep. The next day I had no idea what to do. I just wandered around her property very slowly because I was so sore from my run yesterday. I found an ATV in her garage. I guess she thought it was old anyway and she would just leave it there. Maybe she didn't need it where she was going, who knows.
I think I should go back home. At least when I am there I will know how to take care of myself. Here I can't find much of anything to eat the only thing I have been able to scrounge up is some water from a nearby stream and a forgotten can of chicken noodle soup and canned yams. You would think she wouldn't need her canned goods at her summer home its only for summer I also made a old fishing pole from wood and a bit of line I found in her garage in a scrap wood pile, so I'm going to try to catch some fish for breakfast out of the stream tomorrow.
Sometimes I find myself starting to ask Mom a question, and then I realize that she is not here with me. It's so weird because we had spent almost every minute of our lives together. I keep thinking that when I get home she will be waiting there for me with open arms, asking me, "Where have you been?!" It makes me not want to go home, and have to face the fact that she is dead. I could stay here in this fantasy world where she is just "away" forever. I must go home though. If I don't, then I may die of starvation here, even with the fish. It might be better to die... to leave the world behind and be with my mother in heaven. Maybe someday I will, but not today. I want to at least live to be a teenager before I die. It won't be very long, only three short days.
I have decided that I will stay here for the rest of the day and fix up the four wheeler if it needs it and find any food that I can for the journey home. It should only take about a half hour on a four wheeler but I just want to be prepared in case it runs out of gas. I won't be running anytime soon because I'm so sore still, so it's best to expect the worst. I don't even think I could run if a bear was chasing me. I kind of have to waddle like a duck so it doesn't hurt so much.
Yesterday the four wheeler cranked up just fine with a few minor adjustments, so I cut it off as quickly as I could so it wouldn't run out of gas on the trail. I managed to catch four, featherfin fish, clean all of them with my pocket knife. I cooked and ate every single one of them over the fire I coaxed out of my magnifying glass. I always carry it just in case I was to get lost in the woods up here so I can start a fire if necessary.
I had no idea four wheelers could be so uncomfortable! After the first fifteen minutes of riding I had to take a break because my legs couldn't press the accelerator any longer. Now I know why she didn't take that stupid thing with her. It vibrates the life out of you! I just kind of just fell off of the thing when I stopped it, and I couldn't really stand up because it felt like I was still vibrating. When I could finally stand again I got back on the four wheeler and drove off. I had only been going for five minutes when it began to rain. At first it was just a slight drizzle but it quickly turned into a downpour.
When I finally reached our house I was soaked to the skin and the four wheeler was making a groaning sound warning that it was about to run out of gas. I jumped off of the four wheeler with the last ounce of my strength and walked slowly to the house. I could barely bring myself to open the door. To my horror when I walked through the door I saw my father!
"AAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" I let out the worst noise I've ever made in my life. It was the sound of pure terror and sadness put together. As Dad slowly came towards me I found myself backing up against the wall. As the gap between us closed he said, "I'm glad at least one of you is alive. I would have hated to have traveled all the way out here for nothing." I quickly looked around me for any sort of thing to grab to throw at him or fend him off with. I didn't see anything until my eyes rested upon a small lamp that had been in Mother's family for five generations and I was to inherit it next. I picked it up and hurled it with all my might at my unsuspecting father. I heard him cry out in pain as I fled out the door.
Once outside, I spied the four wheeler and hopped on but my hope of escape quickly went out as I cranked it once, twice, three times. I guess I used up all the gas it had on the way home. By this time, Dad had already made it out the door carrying a strange object in his right hand. He spotted me on the four wheeler and pointed the thing at me, and it was then that I realized what the thing was. I quickly got off and ducked down behind it the first gunshot hit the ATV and I wasn't harmed then I heard footsteps slowly coming towards me and I heard my own father saying, "Any last words my darling daughter?"
"Please" I managed to stammer out.
Then I heard the crack of a gun. I felt no pain though but there was blood dripping onto me. I couldn't out what was happening until I saw Dad slump to the ground, stone dead. I whirled around to see who had shot him and I saw Dan. I was so stunned I raced to him and hugged him. I guess he thought I was hurt too because he kept yelling, "Where does it hurt?" When I told him I was okay he asked where my mother was and I burst into tears. He held me and let me cry when I could finally manage to reply all I could say was, "At the lake."
I can remember all this even after two years have passed. I am glad I have someone to share the hurt of my mother's death with. Dan misses her too. He would come and see us ten or twelve times a year just for social visits as well as the two times he would come to bring supplies. He didn't know her as well as I did living with her, but he loved her. I could see it in his eyes every time he looked at her.
Now that Dan has adopted me, he doesn't fly for a living anymore only for pleasure. He got a job as a manager at a factory which means I have to go to school. One thing I don't like about living with Dan is having to go to school. My mom always taught me at home, even when we lived in New York with Dad. I am not a very sociable person. I have made a few friends in the past couple years, but I don't like to get close to people anymore. I am too afraid I will lose them. My mother was the person I cared about most in the world and now she is gone. I can't help but think that if I am as close to someone else as I was to her then I might lose them too. Maybe in the years to come it will be easier. I sure hope so, but I know that I will have the strength to survive.

CONTEST SUBMISSION





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