Runaways: Chapter One

November 8, 2009
Taylor had known what he was going to do since he was thirteen, but it wasn't until he was sixteen that he decided to act.

It's 2025, and a fairly new law has been passed stating that every child under eighteen, underages, must follow every house law that their parents give them unless they are asked to do anything illegal or their parents are abusing them. Every parent that sees their underage break the house laws can report them to the police and the underage will go to court and plead their case. The law was passed because underages were rebelling and parents couldn't keep their children under control. Now police have to deal with the occasional runaway instead of rebellious teens.

Most runaways acted on a sudden spurt of energy or anger, so they wouldn't think their plans through very well. As a result, most would get caught within the first thirty minutes of the great escape. Worried parents would call the police and give a description of the underage along with a list of places he or she might go.

Usually, house laws were short and sweet, with some like these: Always tell the truth, don't stay out past curfew, do all your homework before getting on the interactive video screen. Some of Taylor's rules were: Do your chores every day unless you are too sick to even get up, no getting on the I.V.S. (A device that was like a combined television and computer. You could also contact your friends and family and be able to see and hear them.), listening to music, or eating before chores and homework are done, if you're home after curfew all privileges are suspended, and Taylor's parents' favorite, don't bug me if I look like I don't want to be bothered.

Taylor knew from the time he could understand that these laws were unfair that he wanted to run away. It wasn't until he was eleven that he actually thought past, I want to leave here. Or, I hate it here! When he was thirteen, he started planning what he was going to do and when he was going to do it.

One day after school, Taylor met up with his girlfriend, Dakaita.

"Hey, Kaits," Taylor said, leaning in to kiss her.

"Hi, Taylor. Is everything okay?" Dakaita asked, her face full of concern.

"Yeah. . . Listen, Kait. . . Can I trust you with a secret?" Taylor asked, hoping that everything would go as planned. He strongly doubted it would.

"Of course you can. Unless it's some illegal activity," Dakaita said, her artificially colored blue-violet eyes smiling.

Taylor tried to laugh, but he sounded like he was choking on something. "Before I tell you, I wanted to ask you something."

"Anything."

"I've been wondering about this for a while - "

"Yeah?"

"What do you think about runaways?"

Dakaita looked like she had just been told that she couldn't do anything for her birthday.

What did she think I was going to do, ask her to marry me? Taylor thought.

"Oh. Well, I guess I understand why they run away, but I don't think I would ever do it. Unless, of course, my laws were just ridiculous. Why?"

"Well, I was actually thinking about running away. . .with you."

"With me? Look, I know you and your parents have never exactly gotten along, but to run away?"

"Every time I asked if they were coming to a soccer game, or class day, or whatever else, they would either say they were coming and back out, or just say no, flat." I knew she wasn't going to understand, Taylor thought. Then again, she never had to live with them. "The laws they make are so stupid! Like, 'You can't wear blue today,' and they never tell me when they cancel a law! I hate it!"

Dakaita looked so sympathetic, Taylor almost believed that she understood. "But you don't hate your parents?"

"Well, I don't love them. But I wouldn't, like, murder them or anything."

"Have you tried talking to them about it?"

"Only a million and one times! They never listen!"

"Have you thought about what might happen if you get caught?"

"Yeah. Before you say anything else, I just want you to know that I've thought about this for years, and I don't want to be your counseling guinea pig." Talyor knew that Dakaita wanted to go into counseling runaways.

"I'm not trying to make you into a guinea pig, I just don't want you to get hurt," aita said softly.

Taylor rolled his eyes and laughed bitterly. "Do you know how much it hurt when I realized that they don't even love me? I was eight, and I cried for hours before my dad came into my room and asked me what was wrong. I told him, and he said that of course he loved me. I asked about mom, and he said that she loved me too, she just didn't always show it. I could tell he didn't mean it."

"See? They love you. And even if they don't, I do." Kaita leaned in to kiss Taylor, but he moved back. He was not going to kiss her after she said that he shouldn't run away just beause his dad said that he loved him about once in his whole life.

"Yeah? Well, I loved you up until you started trying to counsel me like this. Look, I am going to leave. If you want to come, you can, but I'm not waiting around for an answer." Taylor was not the kind of person that kept his thoughts to himself, and he was definetly not going to wait around for a girl that wasn't willing to back him up on anything. "Well?"

"I-I'm sorry. I can't just leave. My parents - "

"It's fine. I. . . I guess I'll see you around. Bye." Taylor was surprised that it didn't hurt as much as he had thought it would. In fact, he felt lighter. Happier, even. He never considered that he didn't want Dakaita to come. It was only now, as he walked home to pack, that Taylor realized how annoying she had been. But, in the next moment, he also realized that he might never fit in anywhere, much less find another friend. After all, it would be unspeakable shame to befriend a runaway. Taylor accepted that almost immediately; he didn't want to think about anything that might drag him down once he left.

© Sabrina Waddell 2009





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