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Runaways: Chapter Five
Taylor's first stop from the time he left home was an out-of-the-way rest stop in Valston. Valston was a small town about eighty miles from Taylor's hometown of Wickle. Valston consisted mostly of fast-food restaurants, gas stations, and motels. It only consisted of about one hundred people. That is, people that actually lived there; Valston was mostly just a site where people stayed for a night on their way to an important work conference. Or, in Taylor's case, a new life.
Taylor went to the bathroom, and when he got out, he almost ran into a teary-eyed little girl.
"Oh, uh, sorry," Taylor said. The little girl just stood there, looking like she was about to have an emotional breakdown. "Are you okay?" The little girl shook her head slowly. Maybe she's mute, Taylor thought. "Can you talk?" The girl bent down and started to draw in the dirt. I don't have time for this, Taylor thought, walking away. Taylor had walked two feet when he felt a tug on his hoodie. The little girl looked so scared that Taylor abandoned all thought of walking away. The little girl pointed to her scribbles in the dirt and pulled him over to them.
Taylor rolled his eyes and said, "Look, little girl, I'm sorry, but I don't have time. . ." Taylor let his sentence trail off as he read what the girl had written in the dirt.
My mommy told me not to talk to anyone.
"Oh, no. Really?" Taylor asked. The girl nodded, seeing how mad he was. "This dumb law! It - geez! Okay, where's your mom? Just point or shrug, or. . . something." The girl shrugged. "Okay, where did you see her last?" She looked around, then pointed to the girls' restroom. "Go in there and see if she's there. Don't worry, I won't leave."
The girl walked into the restroom and Taylor sat down on the nearest bench. "This law is preventing kids from doing what they need to do to stay safe! It's so stupid!" Taylor muttered to himself. An old man that was walking by looked at him like he was crazy. Taylor didn't care; he had more important things to worry about.
A few minutes later, Taylor heard something, and looked up. The little girl was walking out of the restroom with a woman that looked remarkably like her. Taylor walked up to them. "Are you her mom?"
The lady nodded. "Maylisa just told me everything. Who are you?"
"Uh, my name's Taylor. You know, you shouldn't have left her out here by herself. Someone could've taken her. She was so scared!"
"Yeah. I told her I was going to be right back," the mom said.
"What else did you tell her? Stay right here, don't talk to anyone." Taylor didn't know why he was getting so mad. Ugh! Why can't I just leave things alone?
"Look, I don't like this law any more than you apparently do. I wasn't thinking. I should've told her to stay where I'd be able to see her when I was out of the bathroom. I should've told her not to talk to anyone unless she was really worried or it was an emergency. There are a lot of things I should have done. I know. Before I . . . graduated, I was reminded about that almost every day of my life. So if you could please back off, I'd be very happy," the mom said.
"Okay. Yeah. I'm sorry. I - I know how you feel. Sorry. Bye," Taylor said. He hadn't had much experience with the world outside of Wickle.
"Don't be. I've had an off day, too. Do you want to go get something to eat, or. . ." the mom said, looking around.
"Look, you seem very nice, but I need to get going. Good luck with Maylisa."
"Okay. Well, I'll see you - " she broke off, laughing. "No, I won't see you. I don't know you, but you seem really nice. Say bye, Lisa."
"Bye-bye! Thank you," Maylisa said, tugging away from her mom and hugging Taylor.
Taylor hugged her back awkwardly; he hadn't had much experience with hugs. "Bye, Lisa."
© Sabrina Waddell 2009