Anna Booker silently closed her suitcase, securely zipping it shut. It was late morning and she was finally running away. Her parents were going to run errands and she was going to take the opportunity to leave.
Knocking was heard from her room's door before she could respond, the door was pushed open to reveal her costantley anxious mother. Anna, using her foot, pushed the bag underneath her bed to hide it from her parents' view.
"Hey Mom," she said casually, folding her hands behind her back. "What's up?"
"Anna, your father and I will be gone for a few hours and we figured we'd go over the ground rules."
For the millionth time... Anna mentally added, rolling her eyes.
"Alright, get it out," she sighed, crossing her arms and leaning against the door frame. You'd think after seventeen years of hearing the same speech every time her parents went out, they'd get the clue that she had memorized every word.
"One: You do not leave this house while we're gone," her mother held up an index finger. Anna dully nodded in response, already intending to break that rule. "Nobody is allowed in this home."
"In case anyone is to break into the house-"
"Mom, it's daylight."
"Pepper spray." Her mother slapped the small can into her hand, and Anna groaned audibly.
"Don't whine, Anna," she instructed, crossing her arms, "and you know where to go in case you lose the pepper spray."
"The basement, but is this all really necessary?"
"Of course!" The woman's eyes widened until she looked like a deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming car. "You have no idea what could happen when we're not around to protect you!"
"But I think I can take care of myself!" she argued, "Mom, I'm seventeen years old now. You can't be babying me all the time!"
"Bad things happen all the time!" Anna's mother pouted and tears rose into her eyes.
"Nope, not doing this." Anna slapped her hands over her eyes. "You aren't guilting me today."
"W-We..." she sniffed, "We just want what's best for you..."
"But maybe what's best for me is to do what I want." Anna made an attempt to shut the door, but was stopped by her father who remained strangely silent during the conversation. Anna blinked. "Whoa, you were here this whole time?"
"Right behind your mother," he replied with a tired sigh, "Anna, you need to apologize. We're trying hard to protect you and you're not making it easy."
"Why should I apologize?" Anna questioned, frowning. Her eyes darted to her bedroom clock. She needed to be at the bus stop soon. Well, better swallow her pride now and get it over with. "Fine. I'm sorry. I won't question your parenting methods again." She said the words mechanically, having gotten used to saying them over time. She found it was the most effective method of getting her parents to shut up and leave.
Her mother dabbed a kleenex at her eyes, "Th-that's good, sweetie. We will be back this afternoon." She pecked a kiss on Anna's cheek, "Stay safe."
"Yeah," Anna forced a weak smile.
Her father gave her a nod of approval and finally, finally shut the door to her room. Anna held her breath until she was able to hear the garage door close shut. The teen jumped to action, tucking the pepper spray can into her sweater pockets then pulled her luggage from under her bed. She dragged the bag behind her to the kitchen where she would leave a note to her parents.
Who knew what would happen if they came home and just found her missing? A note would placate them for a few minutes, at least. And by the time they did get home, Anna would be long gone. She definitely wasn't telling them where she was headed, unless she wanted to be tracked down. Which she didn't.
She wrote note within minutes then folded it and placed it where they would find it- the kitchen counter. She did one last check of her items before taking a deep breath and stepping out the door.
Anna headed out the front door, taking care to lock it behind her. Couldn't have anyone robbing her childhood home-
She groaned out loud. She really needed to get out of this place, even more now that her parents were taking over her very mind!
She shook her head and started her way to the nearest bus stop, thankfully only a few blocks down. Along the way, nobody had stopped and asked the teenager with a rolling suitcase where she was going, instead they watched her as if it was an ordinary sight. Besides, in a few months, Anna would officially be an adult. There was nothing wrong with what she was doing.
Any sane person could understand why she was running away. Plus, she couldn't stand living under the same roof with such controlling people.
Anna approached the station and took her seat next to an elderly man who was reading the newspaper. She shrugged and pulled out her change purse to count how much money she had to use for bus fare.
Hm, she didn't have as much as she thought. It would probably only last her for one bus ride and a meal at McDonald's.
She let out a long sigh and slumped down on the bench. She'd have to hitchhike to get far enough from her parents. Anna scratched the back of her neck before her attention caught the word 'murder' in the headlines of the newspaper the man was reading.
Intrigued, she leaned forward and read the smaller text. From what it said, somebody had been overcome with some kind of grudge and killed his own father. No, wait. Anna squinted to read properly, it was his stepfather.
She frowned, unsure what to make of it all.
"Some headline, huh?" she heard the man speak.
Anna nodded absently. "Yeah. Crazy stuff."
"They say the killer got away." the man continued, flipping the newspaper to the front to skim it, "You look like you're traveling alone, be on the lookout for a man that looks like this." He passed the paper over to her. The picture was blurry, but Anna could make out the basic features of a young man. Strange, he didn't look like a killer.
She gave a nod, "Huh."
"Keep the front page." he replied, tearing the page out.
"Um, thanks, I guess." She took it and folded it down to fit her pocket. "It looks like my bus is here."
"Have a good trip."
She rolled her suitcase up to the bus and pulled it up the three steps.
"Hello!" the bus driver greeted, sounding oddly cheery.
"Hello...?" she sounded hesitant. After all, after getting on this bus there was no heading back. Well, she had made it this far. There was no turning back now. Anna took deep breath and hauled her things on board. She took her seat at the first bus seat up front. She adjusted her bag so that it wasn't in the way of other people and leaned back.
One bus stop before she had to hitch rides off of people. She might as well ride as far as she possibly could. If she didn't get off the bus, then she could stay on longer. She settled on this plan and leaned back, deciding to just relax until her bus ride was over.
"Miss, you need to pay."
"Oh, um." she truthfully hadn't been on a public bus before. She fished her money out of her pocket and handed it over, breathing a sigh of relief when it became apparent she did it correctly. The driver's attention returned to a few other passengers boarding. Anna quickly shuffled back to her seat, her face red from embarrassment. She slumped down in her seat with the intention of remaining invisible for the duration of the ride. It would be better that way; her parents would definitely flip some tables when they found her missing, and the less people that knew her face, the better.
The bus ride was rather uneventful for the teen. She had busied herself with a novel until she heard the bus driver sharply say, "Hey, miss, you've used up all your money."
She glanced up, "A-already?" her eyes darted to the window. She recognized the area immediately. It was just at the outskirts of her hometown. Well. That was quick. Anna sighed.
I guess it's time to hoof it...
She unwillingly dragged her things off of the bus, mumbling a 'thank you' to the bus driver. She watched the large vehicle drive down the road, leaving the young woman to take care of herself for the rest of the trip.
Anna turned to direction facing away from the town, with a look of determination, began her journey down.