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I wish I was handy enough to fix a leaky ceiling. Instead, I have to lie here uncomfortably trying to ignore the fact that cold rain lands on the lids of my eyes each time they close. The window looks like a shattered spider web, but I can still see out of it. Occasionally, the fog makes everything blurry, but I can still see the gray clouds, the blowing trees and leaves, the lightning flashes, and the rain pouring down like water from a showerhead. Marie doesn’t seem to mind it though, she has three quilts that grandma made for her piled on top of each other, and she uses a balled up hoody as her pillow. I saw a few flies land on her face, but I doubt she felt them, she sleeps like a rock, sometimes I swear she’s dead. Me on the other hand, I’m sleeping on a dusty couch that has hard cushions and smells like pee. It’s pretty disgusting but I have no choice. I have nowhere else to go.
“Storm. . . Storm get up, the rain stopped.” Marie shakes me repeatedly to wake me. I squint my eyes open and she’s on her knees in front of me and her hair looks like a birds nest, and she has a few particles in it too. “My goodness, what the h*ll happened to your hair?” I ask as she pats her head to try and get a feel for what I’m talking about. “I don’t know, you act like I have a mirror in front of me. Anyways, I’m hungry, and the rain stopped.” She points outside at the trees and bushes. “Maybe we can find some berries.” She suggests. I raise an eyebrow and scratch my itchy head. “Um, are you sure you don’t just want to walk to the nearest gas station store and steal some snacks? I still have my backpack so you can stuff a few things in there.” I say. She shakes her head. “Oh I don’t know about that Storm, what if we get caught? Then they’re gonna call Dad and you know he’ll come find us and . . .” “OH HUSH! You’re such a coward! He isn’t going to find us. Just stick to the plan and we’ll have no worries. Whatever snacks we get should last us a little longer than those nasty berries.” “Fine, whatever you say. Let’s start walking then.”
Marie and I start walking through the woods, leaving our cabin behind so we can go find the nearest gas station. She’s picking up leaves and feeling the texture and the moistness of them and she smiles.
“Why are you smiling at leaves?” I say with a weird look on my face
“Because it’s nature and it’s beautiful.” She replies
“You sound like one of those hippies or something.”
“Call it what you want, but I love nature.”
“Whatever, well listen here, I packed two hotel soups, two wash cloths, two pairs of underwear, and some socks for the both of us. After we start grabbing the snacks we’ll go into the bathroom, stuff them in my bag, wash up, and then leave.” I tell her
“Yeah but what if someone barges in? I don’t want anyone to see my naked body. And you didn’t pack deodorant?”
“No one’s gonna barge in, just wet the cloth and bring it in the stall with you and wash your necessary body parts. And umm no I forgot to bring deodorant, sorry.”
“Well there’s no point in washing if I’m gonna smell like onions afterwards anyway.” she says
“No no no, we’ll just steal a stick of deodorant too then, one of the travel size ones.”
“Fine, hopefully your little plan works.”
“Oh trust me it will.” I assure her.
When we get inside the gas station store there is a man who looks to be Spanish sitting on a stool behind the counter reading the newspaper. Whenever a customer enters there is a bell above the door that dings. When he hears us enter he sets the paper down and watches us. Marie gives him a faint smile and then waves. He nods his head and continues to read the paper. She looks at me and scratches her head.
“Shouldn’t one of us distract him or something?” she says in a whisper.
“Well I mean . . . sure I guess. That can work. Why don’t you take the bag and grab a couple of chips, cookies, candy bars, and a few of those mini water bottles. And get some sunflower seeds too. I love those.” I order her
“Okay, after I get all of that I’ll just go into the bathroom.” She says
“Okay and I’ll go too so I can wash up. Oh and don’t forget the deodorant.”
I walk up to the small counter after handing Marie my bag and I clear my throat to catch his attention.
“Yes? Can I help you with something?” he asks. His Spanish accent is very chopped and screwed. He must be just learning how to speak English.
“Umm yeah you can. How much are your cigarettes?” I ask with my arms folded
“Cigarettes? Aren’t you too young?”
“So, I just want something to calm my nerves a bit.” I say with a smirk.
“Do you have I.D.?”
“Nope, I just want my cigarettes please.”
“How old are you?”
“I’m 16 and why do you ask?”
“Because I can’t give you that, I’ll get into trouble for selling that to a little girl.” He warns
“What if I say . . . I’ll sleep with you in exchange for those cigarettes?” I offer.
“Umm . . . little girl I really don’t want trouble.”
I glance to my left and see that Marie is heading for the bathroom. I start laughing at the man behind the counter because he looks very afraid.
“Okay, it’s alright I don’t need the cigarettes. I’m just gonna go to the bathroom.”
“Okay” he says while shaking his head and picking his newspaper back up.
When I get into the bathroom Marie is unloading all of the stuff that she took off the shelf. She has a pretty good amount of stuff, so much that I’m scared we’ll get caught. She puts on the sink counter 3 bags of chips, 4 packs of oatmeal and sugar cookies, 4 juice boxes and 3 mini water bottles, 2 Snickers bars and 1 Twix, a big bag of sunflower seeds, and two sticks of Degree deodorant.
“OH MY GOSH! All that fit in the bag?” I asked in excitement as well as shock and fear.
“I’m surprised, I know you told me that this bag could hold a lot but I didn’t know it could hold this much. We better start washing up so we can get out of here before we get caught.” She warned. I shook my head in agreement.
When we step outside it is drizzling. I don’t wanna get my hair wet because it frizzes but my best bet is to power walk back to the cabin. Marie struggles to keep the backpack on her back because she is bony, so I take the load off of her shoulders and carry it myself. She releases a lot of air and runs across the busy street.
“C’mon Storm, we better hurry back to the cabin before the rain gets heavier!” she calls.
“Okay but I won’t be that fast, this bag is kind of heavy ya know!”
When we get back into the woods, we recognize the pathway that we took to get onto the road. We follow that same path back to the cabin. It’s darker in the woods because the trees cover all the sunlight. There isn’t much sunlight though because it’s still the early morning. We don’t have a watch but we’re guessing it’s probably 7:00am.
The door of the cabin squeaks open even when we push it just a little. We always look around when we step in because since there is no lock, anybody or anything can be in here and take us by surprise. Marie runs to the dark corner of the room and she almost looks invisible until she clicks the flashlight on that we have facing upward.
“Okay Storm, I call dibs on the sugar cookies.” Marie tells me ahead of time.
“That’s okay, I don’t like them anyway. I’ll just have those two snickers bars.” I say while smiling from ear to ear showing all of my un-brushed teeth. We both sit on the cold wooden floor and cross our legs like two preschoolers during circle time. We often feel a breeze through the broken window and since it is early March, there still might be a chance of snow tonight.
“Where’s the extra blankets? I’m getting kind of cold.” I ask
“Umm, I put them in the corner over there near the pile of logs.” Marie points.
“Eww, you put them near the spider webs? What if there’s a big spider crawling on them somewhere? I don’t wanna wrap myself in that.”
“Well it’s either the spider web blanket or that ripped sweater that you have on the floor.”
“Ugh . . . fine. But if I see a spider I’m throwing it on you.” I warn
“Whatever you say Storm.”
As I walk to the corner of the cabin, I hear footsteps outside crunching the leaves. I think maybe it’s a squirrel or some other animal, but the footsteps are steady and careful. I look out the window and it’s hard to see because trees and bushes are everywhere and it’s still early so the sky isn’t fully lit yet.
“Storm . . . do you hear that?” Marie whispers from across the room
“Shh! The noise is getting closer.” I tell her. We both are still while we wait for something to happen. The door bursts open and the last person that we want to see walks in . . . .