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Running away from her abusive parents might have been both the best and worst thing she's ever done. 17 year old Anastasia Willows is tired of her parents physical and mental abuse. Tired of them telling her she's worthless. Tired of their drug and alcohol binges that can sometimes go on for days at a time. So she runs away. Soon she meets Mason, a hunter spending his vacation in the woods alone. She then wishes she stayed with her family when she meets his brother Calvin, a person she thought might be able to help her, but winds up making her life more of a living hell than it already was.

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Anastasia’s Point of View

Running. I can’t stop running. Mostly in fear of what will happen if they find me. They can’t find me. So that’s why I’m here. Running through the forest near the highway. It’s almost dark, the soles of my shoes are torn, and I don’t have anything. No clothes, no food, No money. Just my journal. Well, what’s left of it. I just need to get away. I can’t let them beat me again. Not after what happened last night. All this fuss just because I wrote about them. They tore my journal, splitting it completely in half down the middle. I sat on the floor, with bruises everywhere, and blood on my face, begging them to stop destroying the only thing that kept me sane in that house. The only thing that allowed me to escape. The one thing I enjoyed.

I was on my hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor so hard it felt as if my arm was going to fall off. My mom and dad were laid up in the living room, drunk, too exhausted to get up, while my brother was in his room playing video games. Once I had finished scrubbing the floor, I walked into the living room slowly, making sure my parents were asleep. I walked closer to my dad, towering over his unconscious body while I checked him out, making sure he was still alive.

He lay there on the couch, his head on the banister and his left arm stretched out over the side of the couch. It was then that I noticed the sleek black rubber band that was tied tightly around his upper arm causing his vein to bulge out. Despite the lack of light in the living room, I was still able to make out the reddish needle marks in the crease of his upper arm. I walked closer, my foot grazing something that was on the ground. I looked down to see what it was, and as the realization hit me, I quickly but quietly jumped back, completely shocked. A heroin needle sat on the floor just a few inches away from my feet. They never left them laying around like that. They were always too scared I’d get a hold of them and “steal their drugs” as they’ve accused me of doing before.

I sighed as I quickly picked up the needle and set it on the banister next to my dad’s head before kneeling down and untying the rubber band that was tied tightly around his upper arm. When I was done, I walked out of the living room and towards my room door as I gathered my thoughts so that I could jot them all down into my notebook. When I reached my room door I walked inside and switched on the light before walking over to my closet to fetch my journal. I opened the closet door and pushed the few outfits that I had to the side in order to see the familiar crooked piece of wood I hid my journal behind. This had been its hiding spot ever since my aunt got the journal for me. Before she died. I quickly moved the piece of wood, grabbed my journal, and walked over to my desk, turning on my lamp. I grabbed a pencil, opened my journal to a clean page and started to write. I wrote about everything that happened that day at school and at home, all leading up to what had just happened with my dad and the heroin needle. Just as I was finishing, I heard rustling in the living room, indicating that my parents were up. Afterward, I heard a few curse words and then they both screamed my name.

“ANASTASIA GET YOUR ASS OUT HERE RIGHT NOW!” they yelled, almost in unison.

“Crap,” I thought to myself. My journal was still out and I knew I had to put it away before I left my room, but they never liked it when I took too long. I hurriedly put my pen away, closed my journal, and got out of my chair before I began to walk to my closet. But I was too late. My parent’s angry footsteps could be heard coming down the hall. I don’t know what happened, but, I froze. I was standing in the middle of my bedroom scared out of my mind.

’This is it” I thought. ’They’re going to find my journal, read it, and kill me.” It wasn’t long before they were both standing in my doorway, glaring at my trembling body, my journal in my hand. Their eyes both traveled from my face, down to my journal, back to my face again, and then at each other, as they both grinned, evilly.

I quickly moved my journal from in front of my body, to behind my back as I walked backward, shaking, making things all the more suspicious.

“Whad’you got there Stasia? Huh, since you like to steal things, why don’t you hand us your little notebook?” My dad said as he walked closer to me with his hand out.
“Steal? I didn’t steal anything, what are you talking about?” I asked. Bad idea.

“My needle you little shit, where is it?!” He replied. His needle? I put it right next to him, how come he hadn’t seen it? But if I told him I touched it, he’d get mad. And if I told him I didn’t and he found out I did, he’d beat me so bad my face would be unrecognizable.

“I-I d-don’t know what you’re talking about” I fibbed.

“So you’re gonna stand here and lie to my face?” He said before lunging towards me.

“No, please, I didn’t do anything,” I said to him as a tear ran down my cheek.

“Then what do you have behind you’re back? Give it to me, now!” He said. He tried to grab it from me but I quickly blocked his arm from reaching the journal that was behind my back. Another bad move. He then raised his hand up and brought it back down, his cold palm colliding with my still bruised cheek making me fall to the floor. When my body hit the floor, my journal flew out of my hands and towards the front of the room where my mom grabbed it and tossed it to my dad. My dad then opened up my journal to the first page and began reading out loud.

“Dear diary, today was such a good day....” he said, putting a sarcastic emphasis on the word “good”.

“Please just stop, I didn’t do anything wrong!” I said to him, but he kept going.

At first, he was enjoying it, laughing at the parts of me talking about Chris, this guy I’d had a crush on since elementary school. But soon his grin turned into a frown as he got further down into the pages where I talked about him and mom. Then the absolute worse thing happened. He flipped to the very last page that I had just written and read it all the way through to the end where I talked about the heroin needle. He stopped reading, slammed the notebook closed and looked at me with pure malice.


“You read what it said, I-I put it right next to you!” I stuttered trying to back away from him as he got closer and closer and more tears fell down my face.

“So you’re lying to me again? Fine!” He said to me. I looked at him, my confusion and anger as obvious as can be
as he took my journal in both of his hands and began to rip it. He tore dozens of pages out of it, throwing them on the floor and stepping on them afterward as if ripping them out wasn’t enough. I watched the scene in agony and tried to get him to stop, but he wouldn't.

“Daddy please stop it! Please, I’m sorry for whatever I did just please s-stop, I’m begging you!” I stuttered.

“This is what happens when you lie to your parents!” He yelled as he continued to destroy my journal right in front of me. That’s when I lost my temper, doing something I really shouldn’t have done.

“STOP RIPPING MY JOURNAL!” I yelled at him as I continuously hit the back of his legs and scratched him in different places, hoping he would drop my journal and leave, but it only made him more furious.

“DON’T EVER TOUCH ME YOU BRAT!” He yelled as he kicked me in my stomach multiple times. I begged him to stop, but, he only kicked me harder. After about five minutes I thought the kicks would stop, but they didn’t. I must’ve been kicked 15 times before he finally got tired and stopped.

He looked down at me, breathing heavily, almost completely out of breath.

“Lie to me again, and I’ll kill you, you worthless piece of shit.” He said. After that, I felt a warm, wet, and snot-like substance land in my hair, and it didn’t take me long to realize that he’d just spat on me.
And with that, he dropped what was left of my journal onto the floor next to me and him and my mom walked out of the room and back down the hall where they came from. At that moment, as I lay there on my bedroom floor, beaten and sore all over, I knew that was the last straw. I had to leave. Whether it be that night or the next, I was leaving and not coming back, ever. After thinking it over, I figured I was too weak to run anywhere that night, so I decided to leave the next night when everyone was fast asleep. I was really going to do it. I was finally going to be free.

I don’t know how long I’ve been running, but it seems like forever when I finally reach the end of the forest and another highway is visible. I look both ways before walking slowly across it. It was about two in the morning and there weren’t many cars out. When I got to the other side of the highway, I saw an abundance of the same trees I'd been walking through for hours, causing me to sigh knowing that I had to walk through more of them.

I walked past trees and more trees until I reached a clearing in the middle of the forest. I could barely walk anymore, so I found a large tree to lean up against and I curled myself up into a ball to keep warm. A few tears escaped my eyes as I realized I was on my own now. There was no turning back now. Those thoughts invaded my mind as I drifted off to sleep, dreaming of a life with no one there to tell me what to do, or scream at me, or hit me for no reason.

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