His Pain

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Her Story

The girl winced as Jacklin cleaned her wound, and put anti-septic, "Do you have to put that?"

Jacklin doesn't say anything, just raises an eyebrow at her, "Would you rather leave it alone for germs to infect?"

The girl bites her lip as Jacklin finishes putting on the medicine and bandages.

She gets up from the floor and bows in gratitude before walking over to the door, "I better leave now. Thank you."

"You're going already?"

The girl turned back and glared at Jacklin, "What? Do you want me to stay?"

"You don't need to be so aggressive!" Jacklin said, putting his hands in front of him in defense, "Since I helped you, I just wanted to know what in the world was actually happening to you. My life is boring, and I need something to make my day interesting."

"You want to know what happened..? That's it?" The girl raised her eyebrows skeptically.

"Why, don't you believe me?"

"No, it's just that everything someone does something for me, they expect much more back than what they offered."

The girl walked away from the door and sat down beside Jacklin once more. She sighed and buried her hand in her hair, brushing it back before talking again, "So, in order to understand why I was being dragged around, you need to understand one thing... I'm not really a likable person. And the reason why might be because of my appearance, but I don't really know. And since the world is under a terrible rule, people can do whatever the hell they want without killing anyone or disturbing public spaces."

"So..?-"

"Shush, I'm getting there." The girl shot Jacklin a glare. "So over the past few years, I've gotten bullied. But I didn't really care. I mean, I do probably have to endure it for the rest of my life, but there are just some people out there. Just some, who would go the extremes. And so when I was going to go to work, they ambushed me and dumped my things in a fire before dragging me up the stairs. Apparently, they live here. At least one of them."

The girl looked at Jacklin worriedly, "Do you think they'll come and kill me? The government, I mean?"

"Why would they?"

"I drew a crowd. Whenever a crowd forms, the authorities would come a few minutes later to take them away."

Jacklin leaned back against his arms and shrugged, "Probably not."

He grinned at her, "if you run away."

It was true. Jacklin knew it. He had done the same thing. But after running away for more than eight years, the government, at this point have given up on him. They don't even remember his case anymore.

"I ran away from them for a while. They gave up, and I doubt they even care about my case now," Jacklin said, turning to look at the girl, "Just leave. Run to somewhere where no one will find you."

"I can't. My mother's a drunk and my father gets beaten every day because of her. If I go, there'll be no one left to care for the two of them. My mother doesn't work, and my father... he can't leave."

"Just take your father with you then."

"But if I get caught, he'll probably die too-"

Jacklin took an exasperated sigh and stood up.

"I'll come with you. I can help you and your father leave. I've done it before, and I can do it again. But why are you worrying so much? If you're so worried then just don't get caught!"

She looked up at him and got up as well. She stared at him for a second before whacking him on the side of the head with her hand.

"OW! What the hell!?"

"Sorry. Just had to make sure you're sane and not some crazy maniac. No one. No one gives up their life for some random stranger they just met."

"Well, I do. So, when are we going?" Jacklin asked. He walked around the room and looked for his backpack.

"Um... tomorrow? I'm not sure. My father only leaves the house to take out the trash. And once my mother sees that he's gone, she'll go after him herself..."

"I think your mom is crazy," Jacklin said quietly. And with a look from the girl, he tried to cover it up. "I mean everyone else in the society is crazy. I didn't-"

"No, it's okay. It's not like I love her or anything."

"Oh... okay."

The two of them stood in silence, awkwardly, before Jacklin broke the silence again.

"Why can't your father leave the house? Is it also because of your mother..?"

"Mmhmm."

For the next ten minutes, the girl Jacklin met continued to talk about her story while Jacklin packed everything he needed in his bag. He packed a few pieces of clothes, some water and some food.

Her dad was mistaken or was actually trying to cheat on her father. And the mother was always a drunk, and when that happened between her mother and father, everything got worse than it had been before. Her mother's drinking habits got worse, her attitude and mood swings were more aggressive. And her father... he was stuck in the house most of the time, under the watchful gaze of his wife. And the girl herself told Jacklin her name, which was Katelyn, and how she had to work every day to support her father and mother. And if she didn't, well, her mother would beat her too, and leave her and her father to starve while she spends all their savings on wine and beer.
"We really have to get going now," Jacklin told Katelyn hurriedly once he finished packing his bag. He didn't need much. Besides, he didn't have a whole lot of belongings in the first place, "They might break down the door at any moment now."
"What about my dad?"
"We'll drop by there once we get out of this district" Jacklin responded, opening the door.
"Alright."
The two stepped outside, both able to hear sirens blaring and footsteps thudding up the stars.
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