Chapter 1: In The Women's Bathroom
Rules and I never mixed well. We were like oil and water, fire and ice—totally incompatible.
When I was seven years old, my mother told me never to slide down the stair banisters. I, of course, completely ignored her and managed to break my arm after I had slid down just a bit too fast.
At age ten I had been instructed to stay where I was until my mother got back. As soon as she was out of sight I skittered off to a nearby park to talk to some friendly ducks. When she came back and I wasn’t there, she freaked out and called our neighbors to help her look for me.
Three days after I turned sixteen, I snuck out of the house while my parents were taking an afternoon nap and streaked my hair in four different colors. Let’s just say my mom and dad weren’t especially thrilled about that.
As I got older, I got more rebellious, and my mistakes became worse. I drank while I was underage and drove past my curfew, all in addition to developing a smoking addiction. I made bad choices, and the repercussions were horrible.
The night of my seventeenth birthday I had gone out with my friends and gotten drunk. It was well past one in the morning by the time I even thought about going home. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew that my parents were worried sick about me and had probably started up the car and were driving around town looking for me—at the time they seemed like overbearing and overly protective parents, and I thought nothing of it. At half past two I decided that it was time to go home.
My eyes were practically crossed, and I couldn’t walk in a straight line. Any words that came out of my mouth were slurred and probably made no sense anyways. When I look back, I wonder what possessed me to think I was sober enough to drive home; I was quite obviously inebriated. My headlights moved unsteadily between lanes and it was hard to focus on keeping the steering-wheel from sliding from beneath my hands.
A car’s headlights appeared out of nowhere in front of me. With great difficulty, I pulled the steering wheel so that my car was in the correct lane…or at least, what I thought was the correct lane. The lights ahead got closer and closer, and at the last second, I realized my mistake. I jerked the wheel sharply, sending the car spinning away. The car opposite me, unfortunately, did the same. I swerved into my own lane, the other car, however, was not so lucky.
It drove off of the road and hit a nearby tree. At the sound of metal crunching, my foot instinctively slammed down on the brake pedal, making my car come to a screeching halt. I pulled off onto the shoulder and pulled my seatbelt off in a frenzy, heart pounding in my chest and breathing erratic. I shoved the door open and stumbled across the pavement, scared of what I would find.
No one had yet exited the car, and that worried me. As I got closer, my stomach constricted at the thought that I may have killed the car’s occupants. In the dark of the night, I couldn’t make out the car’s color, nor the license plate number. With a rapidly beating heart, I peeked in the driver’s side window.
A bloodied face that looked eerily like my father’s stared back at me.
I screamed and stumbled backwards, landing on my rear in the wet grass surrounding the accident site. The belated thought of needing to call 911 occurred to me and I pulled my cell-phone out of my pocket. I punched the number in with shaking fingers, and let the operator know what had happened. Once the call had finished, I returned to the car and hesitantly pulled the car door open.
A seatbelt held the driver in place, but all I needed to do was pull the shattered, distorting glass away to know for sure who I had injured.
My parents sat in the crushed car; my father didn’t move, my mother’s chest was still moving—but only barely.
An anguished scream rent through my lips as I collapsed onto the moist ground once more. Might sobs wracked my body and I suddenly felt cold all over.
What had I done?
Sirens pierced the dark night and red lights flashed. Paramedics rushed towards my parents’ wrecked car and started to pull my father’s dead body out. A woman medic retrieved my mother from the passenger’s side and immediately called for a gurney and an oxygen mask.
All the while, I looked on, horrified at what I had done. A paramedic tried to put a blanket around my shoulders but I scrambled away from him with a screeched, “Stay away from me!” The sobs started to tear through me again, and I wrapped my trembling arms around myself.
I was told my mother survived the ride to the hospital, but couldn’t bring myself to visit her. Knowing that I had caused my own father’s death and the severe injury of my mother was too much for me. Only after a week could I be persuaded to see her in the hospital.
She looked different, laying in a hospital bed. Whenever I pictured my mother, I imagined a bright, healthy woman in her forties. Lying in that bed was a thin, haggard woman who couldn’t be younger than fifty. Tubes traveled up her nose, and a heart-rate monitor stood by her bedside like an ever-present sentinel.
I couldn’t make myself step over the threshold into her room.
Her doctor told me she had slipped into a coma, and didn’t know when she would wake up.
I wished that I was the one who had died that night.
I wished that I was the one lying in that hospital bed.
I wished that I had never even gone out that night.
Maybe if I had just stayed home, this never would have happened.
Maybe both my parents would still be alive.
Maybe I wouldn’t loath myself.
Three days later, my mother slipped out of her coma and into eternal sleep. Four days after that, I settled everything that needed to be done legally, packed my bags and left my hometown. A subpoena had been issued for me to appear in court for my drunk driving and accidentally killing my parents, but I ignored it.
I never stayed in the same city for more than a week.
I lived out of a suitcase and used the money my parents had left me to support myself.
Over time, I developed a sort of mask to hide behind. I believed my true story to be too terrible for anyone to know, so I came up with a new identity, a new personality.
Amanda Lily Brown died three months after her parents did.
That day, Calypso Vivian Sprile was born.
That day, I started my escape.
A year later, and rules and I still didn’t mix.
I was living in New York and had been ignorant of one of their bizarre laws.
A man had looked down my shirt lewdly while I was browsing through the store’s selection of baseball equipment, so I picked up a nearby softball and lobbed it at his head. Unfortunately for him, I had a good arm and was standing only a few feet away from him. He dropped to the ground almost immediately, unconscious. Unfortunately for me, a cop was shopping nearby and saw the whole thing. When I realized my violent act had been witnessed, I bolted.
The cop followed me out of the supermarket so I ran harder, my sneakers pounding against the cooling New York City pavement. It was September and the leaves on the trees in Times Square were beginning to change from green to vibrant hues of orange, red, and brown. Usually I would be walking slowly through the streets, marveling at the wonderful colors all around me but with a man who possibly wanted to arrest me on my tail, I really didn’t have time for that.
A quick glance over my shoulder let me know that the cop wasn’t far behind me and I needed to do something fast if I wanted to get out of this scotch-free. Spotting a nearby trash-can, I summoned more energy and bolted over to it, grasped its edges, and tipped it over behind me into the police man’s path. I did the same thing with every other trashcan along the way. People all around me stared like I was a mad-woman.
The trashcans on either side of me began to get more and more sparse and the cop behind me was catching up to me again. In a desperate attempt to get away from him once and for all, I turned to my left sharply and ducked into a building.
Marble floors and crowds of people greeted me. Grateful for the camouflage, I pushed my way into the crowd of people and tried to get my heart-rate back to normal. A few people in the group looked at me funny, like What the crap are you doing? but I ignored them and just kept walking with them, throwing panicked glances over my shoulder as I searched for any sign that the man pursuing me had found my hiding place.
He was standing in the lobby of the building peering around the room, probably looking for me. As I stared at him from over my shoulder, I didn’t notice the people around me disappearing into a large room filled with chairs until it was too late. Instead of trying to run in with them, I ducked behind a trashcan near the bathrooms.
A few moments later, something hit me in the back and there was a startled gasp. I turned and saw a young man standing behind me with a horrified expression plastered across his face.
“Oh my gosh, miss, I am so, so sorry! Are you okay, are you…” To my horror, the young man’s outburst had attracted the attention of my cop-friend and he was looking in our direction.
“Shut up. Now.” I jumped to my feet, clapped my hand over the chatter box’s mouth, and dragged him into the women’s bathroom to hide.
I backed slowly into the restroom, until I was facing the mirror. Looking the young man in his glasses-covered eyes, I put on my best reassuring face. “I’m going to let go of you… and you’re not going to say a word. Do you understand?” He nodded at me in the mirror and I quickly released him to find something to bar the door.
Thankfully, this lavatory had a door that swung inwards, so slowing down the police-man outside would be less of a problem. A large, cushion-y looking chair stood nearby, so I grabbed it and pulled it over to the door. I also added a large potted plant and a coffee table to my barricade. Honestly, who has a coffee table in a bathroom?
Once I had finished my little slowing device, I stepped back and dusted imaginary dirt off of my hands. When I turned, I noticed the glasses-guy was staring at me.
“What the heck do you think you’re doing?” He hissed, stalking over towards my amazing barricade, arms outstretched.
“Keeping us out of trouble, duh.” I rolled my eyes and grabbed him by his forearm, yanking him away from the door with enough force to make him stumble backwards.
“Why did you drag me into the women’s bathroom?”
“Why did you hit me with a door?” I countered, standing on my tip-toes to appear larger than I really was.
The boy shrank back and in that one action I gathered that he was the quiet, shy type, the type that got picked on in elementary school. “I didn’t mean to, I’m sorry.”
“Chill, dude, I’m not going to hurt you.” I snorted and walked over to a window on the other side of the bathroom. “Now help me get this window open.”
“So that I can get away from the guy chasing me.” I rolled my eyes at his stupidity and started to yank on the window’s frame.
There was a heavy bang against the door and my barricade moved slightly.
The young man’s eyes widened, “Who’s coming after you?”
“The mob,” I lied. “Now help me get this dang window open.”
Glasses-guy hustled over to me and grunted with his exertion to force the window open. “It’s no use, it wasn’t made to open.”
“What do you mean it wasn’t made to open?! Who designed this place?” I started pushing against the window frame again, but nothing happened.
The man beside me pushed his glasses up, “My uncle did, actually.”
I groaned, evidently I had hit a soft spot. “Look, dude, just help me get the window open.”
Something heavy banged against the door again, and my barricade was once more pushed away from the door.
I ran forward and pushed the barricade back into place but not before the cop hit the door with his battering ram again. With a frown, I pushed back, and the door slid shut. Seeing no other option, I grabbed the potted plant ran back over to the window, and used it to shatter the glass.
“What are you doing?” Glasses-guy shrieked, looking at the broken window in horror.
“Escaping. What are you doing?” I started to break out the smaller pieces of glass that remained stuck to the frame.
“You mean you’re just going to leave me here to be discovered by the mob in a women’s bathroom?”
“You’re still not letting that bathroom thing go, are you?” I grunted, with a final whack at the window. The last pieces of glass fell out and poked my head out of the window. From here it would be an easy escape.
“You would just abandon an innocent civilian here?”
“Look, kid, you’ve got two choices.” The door was rammed again. “Stay here to be found in the women’s bathroom.” He opened his mouth to say something, but I cut him off. “Or fly with me. Totally your choice.”
He looked over his shoulder doubtfully than back at me. I offered my hand towards him and he stared at it uneasily. Another bang and the barricade moved another centimeter. “It’s now or never, guy. Decide.”
With a grim look on his face, he took my hand. “I am so going to regret this.”
“You and me both, kid.” I jumped out of the window and dragged him after me into the streets of New York.