Five Years ago:
My mom says that life is like bread. It’s all about simple ingredients, care, treatment and love that makes it rises and bake into something wonderful. You can add spices and design it anyway you want that makes it your own. But with bread, it can take one thing to make it all fall apart. Just. One. Thing. Over proofing, too much yeast, water, over kneading or burning in the oven.
Bread is delicate and life is cruel.
The bread of my life has went from a nice lavender loaf to a burnt hell in just one night.
I sat in the back of the diner with my hat pulled all the way down looking up seeing the waitress giving me a look since they will be closing soon and I had only ordered a coffee. Esposito hadn’t let me leave the bunker in over a month not even letting go to the funeral, not even saying goodbye to mom when she was relocated. Even when I testified it was done through webcam not taking the risk that I would be publicly shown. Now I was sitting out in public for the first time, terrified of every shadow, even with it being 11 at night and I was covered.
Flinching from the look he was giving me I moved my eyes back to the table as I took deep breaths trying to keep myself from the anxiety and panic rising from still being here in their terrority. I should have been gone hours ago but I was waiting for the final paperwork. My head moved up when I heard the door open, the sounds of boots hitting the floor. Expecting the worst my breathing stopped as I panicked but I was able to breathe easy when I recognized the face as they slid into the chair across from me.
“Sorry I am late but I got everything you will need.” Marcus said to me as he got comfortable in the booth waiting for me to nod as I just wanted to bolt. He did a quick glance around the room seeing it empty and the person working had disappeared into the kitchen. Looking satisfied Marcus turned back to me passing me a black duffle bag and a folder. “The bag will have enough cash and clothing for you to get somewhere far enough along with a train ticket. It will be better to be on public transport than private at least in the beginning, leaves less of a paper trail. I also have a new license, passport and other important paperwork when you apply for a job.”
Usually in protective service they choose a new place for me but Esposito couldn’t trust the department to not leak it. So he had me go one way and him another so they wouldn’t find me while he sent Marcus to bring me the new identity. It made sense but it terrified me knowing that if they found me I would be on my own. Why couldn’t they take the risk and let mom and I relocate together. I am too young for this. While my friends are planning their sweet sixteen party I am moving to other states in hopes of finding a safe place to hide for just a short time.
I reached to take the bag placing it on the floor by my feet as I opened the folder seeing my new identity that I was to take on. “Drya?” Looking back to Marcus I saw him getting out a couple phones for me to take as he nodded.
“Mhm, close enough to your real name that it will make it easier for you to remember.”
He had a point I could see how close it was to my real or old name I suppose I should call it. I am Drya now and if I was going to survive the next coming days, months, years, I needed to already think of myself as being Drya. Tricky part will be sticking to it and following a story that I will have to make up, particularly since I am not a good liar.
“How should I make her real?”
“I suggest stick to the truth as much as you can, it will make you feel better about changing yourself and it will protect you from messing up. Be yourself, well part of yourself so you seem natural and not forced as you hideout.” Marcus said making me get out of my head and focus on the task. “Now there is only one number on that burner phone for contact, that is the only number you will ever use and never say where you are to anyone. When you get to a new place called the number and only call for emergencies. Use the second one for people’s numbers such as landlord and bosses but don’t get close to anyone and never tell anyone the truth. You are Drya Blass now, who you were ten minutes ago never existed in relation to them.”
“Got it, I can do this... Should I just go anywhere, like are there place to avoid?” I have never left the north of Portland where I am from, never left the state and now I was going to be running to any state in the US. Sure I have seen pictures on Pinterest and have boards for all the places but I never had the time. I was too busy with my family and highschool to go on a trip anywhere.
He sighed deeply looking at me like I didn’t just hear him say not to tell anyone where I am yet I just asked him where I should go…. “South go south as far you think you need to go to be away from here or East, anywhere from here and a good distance to. Trust your gut, if you like the feel of a place to stay and if you don’t leave. I also left a paper with different MCs to stay away from or being okay to hide within their territories; it’s all across the states from the west to east coast. Be sure to bounce around before fully settling to hide any tracks but once you leave here I will be scrubbing you.”
Nodding I took out the paper listing different MCs, I planned on staying far away from any even if they got a seal of approval from Marcus, particularly if they have guns. I would never fully trust someone who carries a gun knowing what they can use them for.
“You want me near MCs?” My voice wavered asking that thinking back to the gang I know from here.
“Not entirely, just if you pass them in your travels be aware of which side of the law they work on or how illegal their operations and views are. If you like the feel of them and they are on the legit side it may be good to hide in their territory since they won’t cross paths with them.”
Shaking my head I looked at the names of MCs again, I didn’t care what Marcus said if I found a town I liked then I was staying. But if there was an MC I’ll do everything to be far away from them as possible. Protective hiding or not.
“Bounce around, check the list if I am near MC and be far from here only settling down if my gut approves.” I whispered back fidgeting as I put the documents in my pocket as if they are my real one.
“I know this can’t be easy but we have your back. If you need something try to work it out yourself since it’s safer in case we begin to be watched. But if you need us, don’t hesitate to call.”
“Thank you Marcus, I am sorry for all the trouble I dragged you into.” I whispered pulling my hat down more trying to not let the anxiety rise thinking about everything.
He reached over taking one of my hands giving it a small squeez, “You have nothing to be sorry for, its us who should apologize for not doing enough.” Standing up Marcus looked me over one last time giving me a nod “Good luck Drya, I mean this well but I hope I never see you here again.” With that he turned and left the building leaving me to decide where I am supposed to go to now.
After having waited a while for Marcus to be fully gone from the area I got ready to go. Grabbing the bag I stood up and placed a bill on the table before heading out of the dinner. Walking down the street I went into the train station seeing the four trains that are about to leave. Taking out my paperwork I saw that I had a ticket for each one of those so now I needed to make the first decision.
East: New York
Looking up at the states hearing the final warning for docking the trains I felt the panic rising once again in me. I had no idea how I was supposed to make this kind of decision what if I choose the wrong train, what if they are watching, what if I walk onto a train and give myself away after just twenty minutes of being Drya?
Hearing a bark I turn to a black speckled Catahoula Leopard dog boarding one of the trains at the far end. My feet started moving to where the dog was and the carriage it had boarded on. If I wasn’t going to be able to choose a train then I’ll let the fact that there is a dog on a train decide for me.
Sitting down at the far end I wondered where this train will be going; south or east. But for the first time in months I could sit calmly as I watched the dog play with a ball in its mouth. I have always wanted a dog, maybe Drya will be someone who can finally get a dog. Hearing the train’s horn blast a couple times my knees started bouncing in anticipation ready to be leaving the city and away from the pain.
I wish I had spent more time reading spy novels or something of the kind that would tell me what it means to pick up a new identity and a new life. Alas I haven’t and now I am sitting on a train staring at a dog with fake identity documents. This isn’t me. I get up at four am, bake pastries and then am in bed by nine. The craziest thing I have ever done was… I don’t even know if I have done anything crazy. I have never snuck out, never really drank and did anything stupid. And now I am Drya Blass. Should Drya dye her hair? Drink more? No that would probably be a very bad idea going out in public while intoxicated. Wow I say intoxicated instead drunk or wasted… Do I keep my personality or should I try something else.
“Welcome aboard, this is a direct train and we hope you enjoy your ride. We shall be in California in oh around seven hours.” The conductor said over the intercom and with that said the train lurched forward taking me away from the only home I have ever known, away from the horrible fate that would await me here if I stayed and got caught.