Chapter 14: Decision
Some decisions are hard to make. They come with bonuses and they come with consequences. They come with risks and losses, gains and pluses.
Now there’s this decision that The Boy That Hates Books has to make, stay...or leave. And either one could cost him. But there’s something in the mix that changes everything.
Because even though they’d only met once, The Boy That Hates Books has seen something in her that he hasn’t seen in anyone else. She was everything he’d imagined, everything and more.
She could be his partner in running away. Because there is only so much you can take, being alone. There’s a point that you give up, when you have no one.
“Run away with me.” He wished he could say. But it wasn’t as simple as that. She had so much to learn.
So he has to make his decision and this is a place,
In which we watch him make it.
And with that she was gone.
The boy was left stood, smiling that lopsided smile of his.
The librarian was still sprawled out over her desk, in the abyss of sleep. The village was quiet, so quiet that everyone might as well be dead. But the boy had never felt so alive.
He clutched onto the journal in his hand, his journal, and made his way over to a table. He sat down, running his frail fingers over the tattered cover. Kirsten had done the same once, he’d seen her do it, when she was reading his journal. He was going to give it back to her tonight, when they’d met for the very first time, but she didn’t seem to notice. She didn’t seem to notice anything except him. In a way he was glad she didn’t ask for it, because he didn’t want to give it back to her either way. It was merely a way to approach her without seeming strange or sudden.
He shook away the memories of her, and pulled his pen out from his pocket. Brushing his dirty blonde hair away from his eye, he stopped thinking, and began to voice his thoughts on paper.
I can’t help but wonder if the reason for everyone’s disappearance is because of me. Because I am roaming somewhere, a fugitive on the loose, and they don’t know where I’m hiding.
I had been careful about keeping myself on the low, but that didn’t stop me from being spotted. Yet no one had gotten a picture, so no one could put a face to my story. The story they thought they knew so well, the one they thought was true.
That I had murdered my father with my very own hands, then fled the scene as soon as I had the chance. That I was a psycho and now I was on the loose, blood on my hands and ready to pounce on my next victim because I was sick and evil. I was a cold-blooded criminal.
If only they knew the twisted truth.
If only they knew they were chasing the wrong person.
I could turn myself in, I could tell the police what really happened. But do you think they’d listen to me? Nobody listens to me. I don’t deserve to have a voice because of what I have supposedly done. There was no evidence to back me up, everything pointed to me. Because the real culprits had set it up so well, that nobody would be able to see the lies they have built up. No one can tear away the pages of their story.
So that’s why I write in this journal. Because I can have a voice here, unlike in the real world.
I had learnt one thing in my life of running away, and it’s that people don’t usually see what’s standing right in front of them. They always miss what’s staring them in the face. Which is why I’m hiding in the most obvious place, out in the open where everyone can see. The Villages public library.
There were only two people that knew about me. And that was Alice and Austin, but they had their reasons. They were only running away because of me, because most people in my life run away before they get the chance to learn the truth. I was a criminal and I always would be. If only they knew...
Another couple of things I’ve learnt today, is that as long as I don’t give my name away, I shouldn’t be found out. I was no longer Trent. I was The Boy That Hates Books. That was my cover name now, and I would tell it to anyone who asked. Because if they heard the name Trent, my story would come to an end. And prison would be the final chapter.
But there is something dawning on me. The fact that I can’t stay for much longer. I can’t hide behind a fake identity forever, because soon someone would put two and two together.
I was never that good at pretending.
I’d only just met Kirsten, the girl I’ve been watching for weeks, and now I will have to say goodbye. I should’ve left when I first saw her, because now I’ve allowed myself to want to stay. Now I’ve let someone in and I’m going to find it difficult to undo the ties and forget her face.
Feelings. I hated them.
If she found out the truth, she would run away like the rest of them. She wouldn’t have a chance to get to know me. And not the me everyone else thinks I am.
The one thing that captures my attention, is the fact that Kirsten seemed so detached from reality. She didn’t ask for my name, she didn’t want to know my story, she just understood that I was there in that moment, and cared of nothing else. She wasn’t afraid either, wasn’t locking herself away like everyone else in the village. She wasn’t running.
So this fact, it’s the definition of hope to me. Just a glimmer of wishful thinking. The fact that maybe, just maybe, Kirsten would run away with me. It goes against everything I am living for. It puts me at greater risk than anything. Because I was considering telling my story, to a girl I had only just met.
But I didn’t only risk my life. I risked hers. Because if we got caught, if our adventure came to an end then she would get put in prison just like I would. She would become a fugitive like me. That is one thing I am sure of. I am a fugitive, and I am not a criminal.
So that’s the conclusion of it all. I might tell my story to her.
To the girl who gave me my name.
‘The Boy That Hates Books.’
I kinda like it.
The runaway. The fugitive. Fantasy itself. The boy who was going to risk everything for a girl. A girl who didn’t even know his name.