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As Margaret and Brian exited silently from their imprisoned cells, they got a gulp in their knot in their throats. They swallowed hard as tears swelled up in their eyes. It hurt to leave Jessy behind, but they vowed to come back and save her. Her physical disadvantage would only slow them down.
Jessy’s leg had been broken during another one of their escape attempts. The guard wringed her like a wet dishtowel as she tried to squirm through the small opening they referred to as window. Margaret and Brian wrestled at the guards to try and release her, but it was too late. All three were returned to their small raft sized cells.
Margaret wriggled her right leg out as Brian assisted her.
“I have second thoughts about this” Margaret said in a doubtful voice.
“Maybe we should stay with Jessy”
“There’s been a breakout” The Guards scurried to capture the escapees.
“Too late, let’s go!” Brian yelled as the two ran away frantically. The only thing to point them in their direction was the glistening moonlight and the shimmering north star. They stopped in a park a couple of miles away.
“Brian” Margaret panted exhaustedly. “Brian, can we stop here?”
“Sure.” They dropped the one bag that each one had. They both contained one outfit, a pair of black boots, enough underwear to barely last a week. The food it contained was three bags of chips, five granola bars, two packs of baloney, and 50 bucks. As the night went on, Brian woke up. “Margaret, Margaret,” Brian said as he nudged Margaret awake.
“What?” Margaret replied annoyed.
“The jail it’s…it’s…”
“In flames!” Margaret was in shock
“Jessy?” Margaret gasped.
Margaret and Brian clutched one another’s hands. They had the same knot in their throat, and the same tears swelling in their eyes. Margaret hid her head in Brian’s arms as the crackling of the fire got louder. They rocked in fetal position repeating
“Jessy we love you, Jessy we love you”
“We should have stayed with her; we promised we’d get her out” Margaret with regret in her voice and sobs between every word.
“You can’t blame yourself, she would be happy that we were okay”
“But we promised!” Margaret screeched before she broke out into a full out tantrum. “Jessy, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”
“I’m so sorry” she sobbed.
Brian lulled Margaret and himself to sleep, both crying simultaneously.
They awoke only to the sound of their synchronized watches that had been given to them when they entered the prison. It was set every morning and every night.
They packed up their stuff and continued walking. Both still crying slightly from the previous event. The rain drizzled as they walked. The hard dirt turning to soft mud as the rain got stronger. The dew scented grass reminded them of how spring used to be when they lived in Marisol, Massachusetts.
Brian and Margaret were neighbors on Divines St. Every Spring morning on Divines St. they would take out the garbage and bike ride up and down Big Hollow Mountain at the end of their street.
“Remember Big Hollow?” Margaret said with excitement in her voice. For the first time since they left the prison
“There I see them.” A hefty voice whispered from behind.
“Margaret we have to run!’
They ran through the park forest and in to the hustle, bustle of Greentown City.
But the guards who they had thought died in the fire were alive, and still on their backs. They stopped in a nearby store and both purchased a black hoodie before trying to blend in with the other citizens in the town.
“If those guards are still alive , you think Jessy could be alive
“Margaret I really doubt it, but I guess there’s a chance.”
Margaret produced a smile bigger than all the tears that had been swelling inside of her.
“Maybe we could go back and see…”
“No! Can’t you see that they are right behind us? If we go back and Jessy is alive all three of us will be stuck for the rest of our lives.”
“Sorry for asking Margaret mumbled quietly so Brian wouldn’t be able to hear. They continued to walk and as the sun came out they stopped for breakfast. They sat at a local bench; they took out half a piece of granola bar and half a piece of baloney. They wrapped the baloney around the granola bar and began to eat. This was a meal that they had come accustomed to with their limited variety in food choice.
“Can we go and get some water from that store?” Margaret asked.
“Sure, but let’s take the back entrance.
They sneaked behind the door, and ducked between cars in the parking lot. Similar to the way the criminal that had framed them did.
Flash back: One day Margaret and Brian were at the local deli shop in town. Jessy, who they had not known yet, was the only other person on line. They saw him tip-toeing behind the counter the counter with a metal bat at hand. He lifted it, and proposed to swing. The shopkeeper fell on the painted glass.
Margaret, Brian, and Jessy hid under the one table in the store. The glass started cracking as the thief was putting dollars into a black duffel bag.
As the thief ran out the back door the glass broke and the shopkeeper fell into the plastic display of meats. As the police rushed in all they saw were the dead shopkeeper and three devastated kids sitting under a table. They thought that they were a bunch of psychopathic juvenile delinquents. Without even a court sentence or trial they were immediately thrown into a small cell. The three grew very close planning breakouts and escapes. Like the one that had disabled Jessy. When they had lunch they were outcasts and sat alone. The other prisoners thought they were crazy for trying to break out of the best kept juvenile prison. They chanted at them:
“Outcast, stupid, outcast stupid.”
As Margaret and Brian walked out of the thrift store they both deposited the $39.40 they had left and their two water bottles into their black backpacks. They continued walking until they walked right out of Greentown.
“Do you think they’re still behind us?” Margaret asked.
Brian replied annoyed “Margaret! Stop asking so many questions! I don’t know everything!”
“Sorry,” she stammered.
Brian had finally been fed up with Margaret’s doubt and worry. He walked five steps ahead of Margaret until they came to a stop at a grassy green hill. They sat at the bottom and shared one bag of chips.
“I’m sorry I blew up back there,’ Brian said finally realizing the feelings building up inside of him.
“I just want you to know that I’m standing right next to you and I can only predict as much as you can,” Brian said explaining.
“Yea I know but sometimes a little moral support helps”
Bike riders were racing down the near street with bright stars and numbers on their backs. As Brian deposited the empty Doritos bag Margaret walked into a bright garden. It was filled with yellow sunflowers, red roses, and lavender lilies.
“Isn’t it beautiful?”
“Yeah, it reminds me of Ms. Dollop’s garden across the street from the park. Margaret broke out into tears.
“What’s wrong” Brian asked with the upmost compassion in his voice.
“Of all people” Margaret struggled to continue as she remember her life before, “Why us? I mean we were outcast at school but we were good kids. We got good grades. We were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.” Margaret fell to her knees sobbing in the field of flowers, her head in her hands. When she revealed her head Brian was kneeling in front of her with a single red rose. She took it as Brian wiped the tears from her eyes.
They embraced warmly as they heard a creaky door open. An old, frail man exited from the house with a broom and he shouted “Shoo, Shoo you stupid kids”
Holding hands, Margaret and Brian ran through the field as lightly as possible. Trying to leave the field unharmed, except for single rose that symbolized a growing love.
“Margaret we should clean our clothes, and rest,” Brian said.
Margaret hid behind tall cattails and changed into the outfit and underwear in her bag. Margaret washed her clothes in the river while Brian changed. While their clothes were drying, they laid down on their backs as they watched the sunset. The bright yellow of the sun melted in to the red, orange of the sky. They sat up. Brian reached his arm around Margaret and said
“We’ll go back and find Jessy.”
Margaret turned and pecked Brian on the lips.
“Okay. In the morning”
They turned back-to-back and rested their hands on their backpacks.
“Look I found their watches.”
Brian and Margaret awoke and their eyes bulged saw they looked at each other. Then they looked at their wrists.
“They must’ve fallen off while we were changing” Brain said frantically.
“That means there’re close”
“Margaret” Margaret passed out as the guards rushed towards love.
Brian saw the tranquilizer dart sticking out of her neck. He pulled it out, lifted Margaret in his arms, and threw her on his back. He ran faster than Roy McCarthy, the school track star, had ever ran. As the sun rose, Brain revealed the rose from his duffel bag and sat it on her chest. He clutched some grass and dabbed the scar where the tranquilizer dart had entered her flesh.
“Margaret” Brian repeated trying to wake her
“Brian Aughaugh” Margaret replied groggily coughing as she did. Brian pulled a water bottle from his bag and splashed it lightly on Margaret’s face and then, as she slowly regained consciousness, he told her to drink.
“We have to keep moving”
“Okay” They stood up and starting walking with only the glistening moonlight and shimmering north star to guide them
“Brian you said we could go back to see if Jessy was still there.”
“But they are”
“Fine” They turned toward the opposite direction. They walked until the sunset only stopping to water the single rose they carried. They saw the big hill as they passed through Greentown. When they arrived at the fallen prison they found themselves sad and crying. For this had once been their home, and they met their best friend there.
“Jessy, Jessy are you in there?” Margaret ran all around the collapsed structure.
“Margaret, Brian” a faint voice said from under a pile of wood.
“Jessy?!” Brian and Margaret said happily. They ran toward the voice and started digging and throwing bricks and wood off of her.
“Are you okay?”
“I’m surprised I lasted this long, but I can’t…”
“Meeting you two was the best thing that ever happened to me”
Jessy’s eyes and turned and her eyes closed softly. Margaret took the single red rose from Brian’s hand. Brian lifted Jessy and moved and moved her away from the debrief. Margaret laid the rose on Jessy’s chest just as Brian had done to her. They began walking again with only the glistening moonlight and shimmering north star guiding them Every five seconds they would turn and look back at Jessy’s corpse until they were so far that she became merely a single dot in the sunset.
“You think we’ll make it?”
“Margaret!” Brian shouted clutching her face in his hands.
“We are going to make it out of here,
And alive, and just in case we don’t” Brian kissed Margaret. It only lasted thirty seconds but to both of them it felt like they had been embracing since Brian and Margaret had first met. They sat on the ground now dry from the earlier rain. Margaret had dozed off and when she woke up Brian was gone.
“Brian, Brian.” Margaret cried into broad daylight.
“Margaret I’m right here.” Brian appeared from behind a tree with a single rose, a granola bar wrapped in baloney on a tray that had obviously been made by a piece of fallen bark.
“You went back to the garden?”
“For you .”
“Just eat. We have to start moving as soon as possible.” They both ate quickly, when they finished Brian stuck the single rose in Margaret’s long black. Brown highlights showed in the sun’s reflection.
“Margaret, I love you”
Margaret and Brian made it out and back home. The guards were put into jail, and the old jail was used to make gardenwith yellow sunflowers, lavender lilies, and a single red rose in the middle. Jessy was given a proper obitchuary. The garden was dedicated to her and a single rose lay on her coffin.