Chapter 1

I run away as fast as I can. I feel the wallet getting crushed in my hands but I don't bother to re-position it. The man chasing me is not far behind. "Get back here, thief!" he yells. I hate doing this! I wince as I turn down another street. I feel like a monster! But my feelings, I can deal with later. Right now I have to do what I came here to do. I sprint into the alley, and look over my shoulders. As I expect, he pursues. I've been here many times and can navigate thought these back streets with my eyes closed. My plan for this get away is to ditch him at a dead end. It's an illusion. In the dark, all the walls shadow over each other making them seem connected when actually, there is a tiny gap between them just big enough for me to squeeze through. As I slide along the narrow walls, I can hear the man cursing out loud in confusion and a sense of regret overwhelms me. I reach the other side of the wall and I escape into the night. The sound of my feet echoing with every step.

Honestly, I won't count myself as a bad person despite the fact that I rob others. Out here in the streets, I quickly learn that it's eat or be eaten. It's tough but that's how it is. You see, I don't have any parents. They left me on my own as a child and I have to fight to survive. I actually don't remember how I did it for those 10 years. Guess I got lucky. Well, I don't think about it much anymore because there is no point. I don't get to any conclusion anyways.

I stop jogging when I reach to my make-shift shelter near a nice little park I found not so long ago. I always have to move to different locations because of gangs wandering around. It's not like I'm scared of them. It's more like, annoyed. If you prove that you are equally as good as them, they wimp out and leave you alone. Before I enter, I brush away a few leaves around my area, just too tidy things up a bit. The wallet drops out of my hand and I peel it open, looking for anything useful. Abruptly a feeling of triumph spreads across my mind when I check the bill pocket and the change pouch. It's a twenty dollar bill and a few coins. Gingerly, I take the money and place it in my pocket before I close my eyes, letting the sound of hooting owls and rustling leaves bring me to sleep.

The sound of talking children wakes me and I jolt into consciousness. It must be Monday, since the usual band of kids pass by at this early hour. I remember last night and my hands immediately come to my pockets, making sure the money is not imaginary. Touching the sandy textured paper and the clinging of metal brought me to calm as I get up to start my day.

Weekdays are my favourite days. All the citizens around here either go to work at their office or go to school, therefore making the day quiet and leisurely for me. I don't have to try and hide. My first usual choice is the Second Hand store near the outskirts of town. That's where I get my clothes, batteries, and other cheap stuff. When I push open the door, a small skinny woman comes out from behind the storage room. "Hello, my dear," she cheerfully greets me. "It's always a pleasure to see you again. How my I help you?" I come here a lot so I'm use to talking with her.

"Nothing much," I reply quietly. "Do you have anything clothes for the fall?"

"Just your luck! A large shipment arrived on Saturday. Let me bring out the box. You'll be the first to get your hands on these." She strolls back inside the storage room and I idly wait, playing with my sleeve. She returns with a large box in hand. "Pick whatever you like, my dear."

After picking out five articles of clothing that relatively fit my body, and place them on the counter. "Do you have any clocks? It'll be useful to me someday."

"Sure thing," She puts an electric clock on the counter and says, "Let me ask you a question my dear, are you planning to enroll yourself in school sooner or later?"

I wait a bit before answering. "No, school's not for me." Then, I give her the money and leave without another word.

School. It's a place where you learn and interact with other people. The learning is fine with me, I like to find out new things and I'm generally very curious. Yet, the interaction part nerves me. Talking to people isn't my strength. The only person I ever talk to is that lady in the store, but even then, we don't exchange much. In a nutshell, I keep to myself.

Someone bumps into me and my thoughts vanish. "Watch where you're going kid!" He snaps and waits, expecting something. I realize I should say something… but what? "So-s-orry," I stammer but he doesn't hear me. "Worthless," he mutters. "You don't even have manners. I hope your parents will teach you better in the future." Tears burn in my eyes and I run away. My instinct leads me back to my shelter. I don't even bother to brush off the leaves before entering. I scatter all my belongings onto the floor as silent sobs emerge from my throat. Why can't I talk to anyone normally? I try so hard to speak with people, but I can't. I should just hide here for the rest of my life… For the remainder of the day, I just fiddle with my hair and think about nothing in particular.

A cool breeze wraps around me like a blanket and I shiver. The leaves on the trees are already starting to change colour indicating that autumn's coming. I pull up my shirt a bit higher up my neck for warmth and continue re-organizing my shelter. Last night, a large wind blew the roof of so I have to fix it today. In the distance, I can hear some kids laughing as they play a game of hide and seek. I find that I'm smiling, just a bit. But that's already pretty good for my standards.

A light cough startles me and I look up. It's a man in his forties with blond hair and very green –and strangely beautiful- eyes. He is wearing a gray suit with a business case in his left hand. My intuition tells me to be careful. Ever so slightly, I move back. "Don't be afraid Miss," he says, noticing my movement. "I'm not here to hurt you." That just makes me more nervous. He glades forward, reaching for me. "Get back!" I shriek. I'm not use to talking, so my voice sounds very scratchy and dry.

"I need to tell you something important," he says.

"Go away!" I say with assertiveness I never knew I had. "You don't need to tell me anything!"

"I have to Miss, it's important. It's ab-" He never finishes. I see a fist sized rock at the bottom of my feet. With as much energy I can summon, I sweep down and blindly throw it at him. I hope it hits his nose...The next second, he's on the ground, covering his face until I find that it's his nose. How did I do that? I wonder.He gets up as quick as a bolt and adjusts his suit like nothing hurt him. Surprisingly, he chuckles. "Fine. I see it isn't the time yet. Till then, Miss."

I watch him leave. It's inquiring the way he has acted with me. He makes me get a feeling like I know him already, in a bad way. No, I smirk, shaking my head. That's ridiculous. No one knows me and I know no one. Without delay, I get back to work.

I've been thinking about my encounter with that mysterious man for some time. While I walk, eat and even in my sleep, thinking about what he meant. "I need to tell you something important," his voice rings out in my mind. What did he need to tell me that's so important? And what about that rock I threw. I've never really practiced throwing items around and I'm wary of how I managed to do it. I sigh, too many questions, so little answers.

Weeks pass by and I find myself getting more active than I normally would. In the morning, I run along the trails very far away from town, observing the different landscapes there are. There is one spot, I'm particularly mystified by. I had found it merely by accident.

I stop for a rest after I notice it's almost noon. I should go back, I think. Suddenly, I hear the branches close by moving. I glance at that spot and wait to see what comes out. My eyes widen as I discover it is a White-tailed deer. The way the antlers are shaped and the almost reddish-brown colour of their coats brings me in awe. I go to the library sometimes, pull out an encyclopedia and flip through random pages, seeing what I can learn or find. I've seen the picture of one but not in real life. I take a timid step forward, trying to get a better look. It senses a sort of danger and slowly trots away.

By the time I look up at the sky, sunset is coming. I must have lost track of time. I bump into something all of a sudden and fall onto the earthy ground. Rubbing my head, I see what I hit. I'm not sure if I'm hallucinating, because a giant metal wall is in front of me. I look from side to side, taking in the scene. Forgetting about the deer, I concentrate on this. It seems like lots of time was spent into building this wall. I can tell that the metal wall was placed deep underground, keeping whatever was inside not to get out. Could this be a prison? I wonder. It's likely. Hardly anyone ever walks these trails anymore and this part of the area is pure forest, so the tall trees can hide it. I observe it one more time before I depart, more confused than ever.

As I get back to my shelter, I pass by a bunch of teenagers. I wince when I witness them getting closer. Come on, I chide. All there doing is passing by. Just deal and relax! That helps me a bit and I'm not completely shaking when I we intersect. But I hear a bit of their conversation.

"Hey Nancy, you know that pathetic park we just passed by?" says one of the teens.

"Yeah…" she replies. "What about it?"

Another one of them jumps into their conversation. "Me and Mark here found out a hobo was living there." I stop in my tracks. That catches my attention.

"So? A lot of homeless people live around here."

"We got dared to trash the place. We even broke it apart. But whoever lived there, that dude had a pretty good living. We found clothes, a flashlight and a wallet -but not much cash in there."

Nancy's eyes are in disbelief but she slowly smiles and laughs. "That's not very nice! Well, let's go before that hobo attacks us." I don't bother listen anymore.

I yell in fury as I see the remainder of my shelter. The branches I use to tie the structure together are split into multiple pieces. The cardboard boxes are nowhere to be found. My stuff. I whack all my now useless construction bits aside, hoping for anything I have to still be there. I drop to the floor in exhaustion. Nothing. I'm left with nothing. Didn't I already have nothing to begin with? No family, no parents, no house, not even a name…

It's true. I don't think I was ever given a name by my parents. I know for a fact that if I were given a name, I would surely have remembered it until my death. And do I remember anything? Nope. That's why the Second Hand lady always calls me "my dear". Because there is nothing else for me to be called.

I'm about to walk away when I see metal shine from the ground. I walk over and pick it up. It's the clock I bought. My head is to tired and dizzy to think straight. Before I can stop myself, I launch the clock into the shadows. "Useless piece of junk," I murmur to myself.

"Then why did you buy it?" a familiar voice responds. Someone comes out from masquerading in the shadows. He holds the clock I just threw. I see his blond hair and green eyes and I'm frightened. "Didn't I say I'll see you again, Miss?" Right then, I don't care about the clock or my shelter or anything else. All I want to do is get away from this man. This stalker.

I decide to take the route in which I stole the wallet from that other man a few weeks ago. I'll escape from the stalker easily this way. I dash out of the park, my heart is bumping so fast that I might as well call it adrenaline. The plan is going fine until I discover he wasn't following me anymore. I slow down to a brisk walk. Did I lose him? Anyways, I turn to the corner of were the dead end is supposed to be and exit threw the narrow tunnel. I slip out just fine until a strong grip pins me down.

The stalker takes me by surprise and I squirm around, trying to get out from his grip but he holds on to me even tighter, I wince. "Oh my," he says sincerely. "You've been a very naughty girl haven't you?"

With nothing to defend myself with, I spit on his face. "What the hell did I ever do to you?"

"All in good time, young lady. I'm not going to hurt you. Please be reasonable."

"It'll be reasonable for you to let me go!"

He considers this. "If I let you go, will you obey me?"

"Yes."

He lets go and I push him down and run. But he expects this and grabs on to my legs, making me trip and fall down. My head hits the ground hard and I feel like I'm going to vomit.

"You are one stubborn girl." That's the last thing I hear before I go under.

5