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I slammed onto the breaks just as I approached the side of the road. The scrreching of the brakes along with the sirens sounding behind me drove me near past insane. I quickly opened the door, got out of the newly wrecked car, and, without shutting my door, jumped ten feet down into the dirt and brush below. I looked around, my eyes searching frantically for a familiar face. With the shouts coming from the poliecemen up above, I knew that it was only a matter of minutes before they released the dogs who would find me because of my scent. I tried to block out the screaming coming from a megaphone, but I couldn't.
"Jerrie Barillas, you're under arrest. Put your hands where we can see them and slowly walk as close as you can toward us."
Technically speaking, I didn't have to listen because my name isn't Jerrie Barillas, like people all over the country think. So instead of obeying the police's rules, I run farther out. I still search for one particular person, who I can't seem to spot. I start to worry and, thankfully, Devon Kanner walks up to me.
"I thought you wouldn't show," I say as he grabs my wrist and starts running quicker.
"Anabell Rosen," he said, "who would know that you'd be on America's Most Wanted list?"
I smile and sprint along with him. How did I become like this? I wasn't always the person I am today; in fact,this isn't me at all. I'm simply helping a friend, namely Devon. Three years ago, when we were thirteen years old, Devon was framed for a sin so great that he's been chased ever since. Me being his only companion- and basically family member at the time- I had to stick up for him. I've ran with him everywhere for the past three years. We've been across every state in the US and now we're trying to escape to Puerto Rico to find some kind of relief. A few minutes after running, and after the large dogs started barking, I needed to rest.
"Devon, wait," I call and double over, trying to catch my breath.
"Come on, Anabell. We have to get moving."
I sigh and copy his running technique: breathe in your nose, out your mouth. I struggle to keep up with him, but I manage. Practically a professional at escaping, I know that the police have left and are now trying to forget that they failed in capturing two, sixteen year olds who are supposidly the most dangerous humans in America. Slowly, Devon comes to a hault and rests against a small, bare tree.
"What are we even running from?" I ask once he's calmed down a bit.
"You know what I did..."
"But you didn't do anything," I argue.
"You know what everybody thinks I did," he restates, starring at the floor.
"But you didn't!" I don't mean for all this to come out so abruptly, but I'm sick of holding it all in. I had to run away from my father, who probably thinks I'm dead, had to black out any social life I had, and had to run everywhere we went. I'm just so tired of running from things that we didn't do.
"I know that I didn't. But everyone else doesn't."
"You didn't set anything on fire like they think," I vent.
"I know. I know." Devon interrupted and looked down, up at the clouds, and then back at me. He had a look in his eye that I hadn't seen in a while. "Anabell, you don't have to do this anymore. You could go back and live a normal life with your dad."
"I wouldn't just abandon you, Devon."
"It's fine if you do, though."
"But I'm not going to."
Just then, I heard the whoosh of the helicopters circiling us. I start to panick. There was no way of us hiding here, with no large trees or bushes to dress ourselves in. Devon looks up in the sky and sees the aircraft before the yelling starts. At first, it's hard to make out what they're saying. But, listening closely, you could hear certain phrases.
"Owen Windsy and Jerrie Barillas. We know you're down there. Put your hands up."
I glance over to my friend, who's trying to decide what to do. If we run, they could easily chase us and overcome us. If we stay put, we're doomed. Slowly, Devon puts his hands behind his head, indicating that we surrender. I do the same and the helicopter lands yards away from us.
"Keep your hands where they are," the voice rand again.
I obey as was told and Devon's shoulders slumped slightly. After everything people thought he's done- not just setting fire, but murder as well- he was sure to get a life sentence at the very least. Me, being his partner, would probably face the same consequences. Two men in uniform came out, handcuffs ready and open, awaiting to lock my wrists together.
"Hands behind your back," one of thm said and Devon dropped his arms. He quickly glanced over at me, saying something with his eyes. I shake my head, showing that I have no clue what he wants. His head, almost invisibly, jerks to the right.
He wants me to run.
I shake my head and start to lower my arms too, but he jerks his head again, with more demand this time, and I'm nervous. What will they do to him? What will they do to me if I try to escape? Sure, we've done nothing wrong, but all the evidence claims that we're guilty. "Go," he mouths just as the click of the handcuffs sounded.I hesistate for only a moment before obeying him. But it's too late. Maybe if I'd listened to him a few seconds ago, I'd have gotten away alright. But, with my delayed response, they caught me, cuffed me, and shoved me into the craft.
A small towel with a strange smell was placed over my nose and mouth. After a few seconds of breathing in whatever was in the napkin, I was out.
I awoke sprawled on the floor with Devon to my right. He's just beginning to regain conciousness as well. I blink constantly, trying to adjust to the lighting, when a man grabs my hand and ushers me to a chair. He does the same with Devon.
"You're free," he said and pointed to a door labled "Exit".
Free? Never in the last three years had I used the word free. I never thought that I'd ever get freedom back.
"You kids aren't guilty and you're free to go."
Free. At age sixteen, this is when my life finally begins.