After a few minutes, Rayl pulled the pillow out from under her head and threw it against the plastered wall in front of her. She sat up, a scowl on her face, and cursed.

"So, you done now?" Ender raised an eyebrow at her.

Rayl rubbed her black eyes and nodded. "Yeah, I think so."

"Good." Ender stood up and sat next to her. He clapped a strong hand on her shoulder and grinned. "Wouldn't want you crying forever. Might screw up my pillow, you know."

Rayl gave a small smile. "Heh."

Score one for Ender.

"So, what happened?" Ender asked.

"Uh, nothing." Rayl lied. She shook her head. She didn't want to talk about it.

"Eh, whatever." Ender shrugged. "You can keep it to yourself." Ender knew when Rayl was lying. He always did. He just never let her know that. He figured that, if she lied, then she had a good reason for not telling him the truth. So, he pretended that he believed all her lies.

There was a loud knock on Ender's bedroom door.

"Ender? Sweetie?" Ender's mom called from the other side. "Are you in there with her?"
"Yeah." Ender rolled his eyes, he knew what his mom was getting at.
"Um.. Honey can you--"

The phone started to ring.

"Ender, baby, I'll be right back!" She scurried away.

"Pft, damn mom." Ender muttered, running a gloved hand through his black hair. "She always thinks that we're doing something bad."

Rayl smiled, glad that the spotlight was finally off of her. They both listened in to Ender's mother's conversation.

"Yes, she's here, David…"

Rayl felt her heart stop beating. Her father called?

"Um… No… She's in Ender's room… Yes… Alone…"

Ender looked at Rayl. She was fiddling with the black belt that held her skirt.

Ender knew what she was feeling;


"Um… Do you want her now? Will you pick her up? … Okay… I'll see you in ten minutes then."

Ten minutes? Rayl's father was coming to pick her up?

Rayl felt her heart come back, it was beating frantically. What should she do? What could she do? All she could feel was….




"Rayl…" Ender's smooth voice broke through Rayl's thick thoughts. "We should get outta here."

"And where are we supposed to go?" Rayl asked skeptically. She felt like crying out of desperation.

"Somewhere else. A different neighborhood, a different city, a different country. Anywhere."


The word kept floating around Rayl's mind. To leave would mean to be free of everything that bound her. She could shake off her chains, and…

"But…" Rayl was silenced by Ender's bright blue eyes.

"I'll be right there with you Rayl. I'm here. We can go now and never look back."

"Why..? You could… Get in trouble.. Why do this?" Rayl shook her head feebly. "You don't bear my chains."

"Your chains connect with mine, Rayl. The more you get, the more strain it puts on me. And frankly, I'm damn sick of it. Let's leave. Let's feel the breeze." Ender smiled. "Just like, when we first met."

"When we met..?" Rayl shook her head. She couldn't remember anything but her father's beatings. "I… I don't remember that."

"Then, let's make more memories. Ones you'll want to remember."

"Eh.." Rayl felt trapped.

On the one hand, she could go with Ender. She could either lose herself in the adventure, or find a new beginning.

And… On the other hand, she could stay there. Stay with her father. It could work. Maybe her mother would stop cheating, and she wouldn't just sit back and watch Rayl get beaten. Maybe she would try and stop it. Maybe, for once, she'll be a true mom.

Maybe they could even learn to love her.

Rayl shook the impossible thoughts away. Her mother wouldn't stop, her father wouldn't stop, and Ender wouldn't stop looking at her with those eyes. She just wanted everything to stop.

Just wanted to fade away.

Headlights shined brightly in the window behind Ender and Rayl.

Rayl watched her father step out of the car.

Ender grabbed Rayl's face and made her look at him. "Rayl choose. Me, or your dad." His expression was so serious.

Rayl averted her black eyes.

She didn't want to choose.

"Now Rayl." Ender demanded.

She didn't know what to choose.

"I… I choose… I…" She shut her eyelids tightly and bit her bottom lip to make it stop quivering. "I choose you." She suddenly wrapped her arms around Ender's neck and whispered. "Let's go."

"All right." Ender quickly stood up and ran out the window; just when his mother turned the faded doorknob.

Rayl opened her eyes just one last time. She saw Ender's mother walk in the room, and her father right behind her.

Rayl's eyes widened as her father's cold eyes met her own. He moved his lips, and Rayl read them perfectly.

"I will find you."


It was all one big blur to Rayl. A blur with unusual laughing and giggling. They had finally escaped everything! Escaped everything that made their lives suck horribly. Everything that brought their happy moods down…

And if felt so wonderful.

Rayl looked up at the twilight stars and smiled. She mouthed a "thank you" to them and looked at Ender.

He was grinning like a child. A chilling breeze swept past them and blew his black, disheveled hair out of his face.

Basically, what it all came down to was that everything was going to be fine.

Rayl felt tired, but she didn't want to stop running. She didn't want to stop until she passed out from exhaustion.

And that didn't last long.

"Whoa!" Ender quickly caught Rayl's falling body by the back of her shirt. He pulled her back roughly, back into his arms.

He looked into his best friend's face. She appeared to be sleeping. Her face finally looked to be at peace, yet something was wrong with it.

Ender looked at the starry sky and sighed. "Shit."

Rayl felt like a complete dead weight, and Ender was getting tired of always carrying her.

His arms strained, but he carried her with a smile on his face. He whistled a peaceful tune that floated above the wind's currents happily.


In a swirl of colors, Rayl heard screams. She looked around, but saw no one. "Hey!" She called. "Anyone out there?"
"Rayl…" She heard Ender's voice call. She saw him just a few feet away.
She ran over to him. He was covered in black chains.

Black chains covered in blood.

"Ender!" Rayl cried.

"Rayl…" Ender lifted his arms. "Why did… Why did you do this... To me?"

"Ender…" Rayl touched his chained wrist, but he jerked it away.

"Rayl, if you hadn't been… If you weren't…" Ender's body slumped and he fell to the ground stiffly.

"Ender? Ender?" Rayl's voice was cut down to a hoarse whisper.

The chains that Ender bore cut deep into his skin, causing him to bleed.

A fountain of his blood poured from his skin, that was damped with sweat. His blood flowed over him and towards Rayl. The color drained from his face and he lay still.

All because of Rayl.


Rayl jolted upright. Sweat bedded her forehead. She looked around.

Where was she?

She looked at her hands. Black wristbands were on both of her wrists. She wore a white, tied up shirt, that revealed her belly button, covering half her arms, and a black tank-top underneath.

She clutched her neck, it felt stiff.

Did she sleep on the ground?

Ender's snoring brought her back to reality. She looked over her shoulder and rolled her black eyes.

Although she was smiling.

Ender lay on his back, mouth agate, stomach showing, and a puddle of drowsy drool beside him. He scratched his belly, lazily, and snored louder.

Rayl couldn't help but giggle at the funny sight. But she stopped abruptly.

Her stomach burned.

She finally realized the ugly, green-and-brown, bruise that covered it.

Her happy mood quickly disappeared. The memories of her abusive father came back. She grabbed a clump of damp grass and shut her eyes forcefully.

She felt like screaming.

She felt like crying.

She felt like ripping herself open.

She felt like--

Ender coughed, choking on his own drool, and opened his eyes lazily.

"Ugh…" He sat up, dazed, and scratched his head. "Rayl…?" He gave her a half-drunken smile.

It would make any girl smile. So why not Rayl?

"We actually did it…?" He asked groggily.

"Huh?" Rayl looked at Ender and smiled. She couldn't let Ender know she felt like running back. "… Yeah…"

Her father's unspoken words fell into her heart. They scratched, unrelentingly, until they were etched into her heart and soul.

He'll find me… She thought feverishly He'll find me Rayl shook her head lightly, her blonde bangs hitting the empty air, like an invisible opponent.

He wont find me.