Chapter 1 - Katherine
“It’s my life and I can do whatever I want!” My mother screams at me, delivering another slap to my face. The sting that follows the hit is nothing compared to the hurt that pierces my heart.
“But he-” I try to argue, but I’m cut off by a harsh shove as my mother reaches to the cabinet for another bottle.
“Don’t even try, you little slut! I won’t listen to this bullshit anymore.” She doesn’t even bother getting a glass, drinking straight from the bottle.
“Then I’m not staying here!” I shout through tears, clenching my fists at my sides to stop myself from doing something I’d regret.
“Fine, then. Leave. If you can’t be happy for me, then I don’t need you.” She slurs, falling onto our couch that’s seen better days.
“I mean it. – I tell her seriously – If he doesn’t leave, I will. And you’ll never see me again.” I manage to say as my throat tightens.
My mother doesn’t say anything, just downing her drink. “You’re still here?” She gives me a bored look and that’s when I finally break.
I can’t take it anymore. I run out of the house, not even caring about taking anything with me and head straight to my car, hastily starting it and driving away.
I step on the gas, speeding away from the house I used to call home. I feel that if I stayed there any longer, I would die. I’d rather kill myself than stay with them.
How could she do that?!
How could she just bring him with her?! How could she just disregard me like that?!
I am her daughter! Her own blood and flesh and she just brings that man back after what he’s done to us then doesn’t even try to stop me!
I drive for hours, only stopping to get gas and some food. Thank god I have enough money with me to survive for a while. Maybe that way I can get some rest after everything that happened.
The tears that fall down my face blur my sight, but I ignore it, concentrating on increasing the distance between me and those horrible people. I’ll never forgive them.
They acted as if I was the one that did something wrong. As if I was the one that hurt them. As if I was the one that destroyed their lives!
I am the victim here, for Christ’s sake!
I harshly wipe my eyes to get rid of the tears disrupting my view of the road, sobbing loudly. I can finally let it all out. After months of bottling it in, I can finally let go of all my sorrow and pain.
The farther I am from that house, the more tears I shed and the more free I feel. No one will hurt me again. I won’t let that happen.
When I start feeling tired, mostly due to my recent night shifts at work and lack of sleep due to the situation at home, I decide to stop at a motel to get some much needed rest.
Thankfully, there is one just down the road. It doesn’t look that good and I’m concerned about its cleanliness, but I’m desperate. Anything will do right now. I’m too tired to care.
I park my car in front of the small shaggy building, locking it quickly and glancing around to see if there’s anyone around. I take my wallet and car keys with me and go to the front desk, where I’m greeted by a bored-looking middle-aged woman, who’s polishing her nails as she chews gum and watches something on the small TV in the corner.
“Hello.” I greet her quietly, unintentionally startling her.
“What can I help you with, sweets?” She drawls, popping her gum loudly.
“I need a room for one night.”
“Course you do. – She mumbles, taking a key from the pigeon box – Single, right?”
“Yeah.” I nod.
“You alright there sweets?” The woman suddenly seems worried. It’s probably because of my smudged make-up barely hiding my bruises and flushed face from all the crying.
“I’m alright. I just need a room.” I give her a small smile.
“Okay, then. Second floor, last door on the right. Breakfast’s from 8 to 10.” She gives me the keys.
“How much is it?” I take my wallet, getting ready to pay.
“Hundred.” I only nod and give her the money before thanking her and going upstairs.
When I reach the room, I’m pleasantly surprised to see it’s much cleaner than I anticipated. The walls seem freshly painted, the bed is made and the bathroom looks almost sterile. Not a bit of dirt or dust anywhere.
I decide to take a shower, so I search through the cabinets for a towel. Imagine my surprise when I find a set of pajamas with the motel’s logo on it. I won’t have to sleep in my clothes then. Maybe I could even wash them. I hope they’ll dry before tomorrow.
“You can do it, Kathy.” I psych myself up before I step into the shower. I’m still not confident about staying here, but so far I’m not disgusted and that’s a good sign.
The water cleanses both my body and my mind and I use this chance to think about what I’m going to do now. I should stop somewhere for a while, find a job and settle down. I can’t stay on the road forever.
I can’t run forever.
I’m not a child anymore to let people dictate my choices. I’m an adult and I can only count on myself. I’ve done enough to help my ungrateful mother, I helped her as much as I could, no matter how little I had and how hard it was for me.
She chooses that son of a bitch over me? Fine, then she’s on her own. I’m not going to take care of her when she clearly doesn’t want me to.
At the thought of my mother, fresh tears well up in my eyes, rolling freely down my cheeks as I cry, sliding down the wall to sit on the floor. When the water finally turns cold, I leave the cabin and dry myself off with the big towel I found earlier, walking to the room. With a heavy sigh, I put on the pajamas and lie down in bed, still slightly apprehensive but much too tired to care.
When I wake up, the first thing I hear is the rain pouring outside. I pick up my phone to check the time, not surprised when I see the battery’s about to die. I should’ve charged it when I had the chance.
It’s a bit past 9 when I finally leave the room, wearing clothes from yesterday and with my hair roughly detangled with my fingers. I don’t even have a brush with me. I know I must look like a homeless person, but I’m beyond caring right now. I just want to go away.
“Morning sweets. Slept well?” I hear the woman from yesterday greet me when I’m near.
“Morning. Thank you, I slept really well.” I give her a barely noticeable smile, knowing she’s probably talking to me out of courtesy rather than genuine interest.
“Breakfast’s served at the bar. You can get anything from the menu, it’s already paid for along with the room.” She curtly tells me, gesturing with her head at the bar.
“Thank you.” I retort, going for breakfast.
I take some toast, scrambled eggs and coffee for my meal, ignoring the looks I get from the waitress. I know I look like shit, woman, no need to rub it in.
It doesn’t take me long to finish my food and once I’m done, I quickly leave the room key at the front desk, saying goodbye, then go to my car. Without a second glance, I drive away, heading god knows where. I still don’t have a plan where to go and what to do. I guess I’ll just stop where I feel is right.
It doesn’t look like the rain is going to stop anytime soon, which makes driving quite difficult. But I’m not that helpless behind the wheel. I can drive just fine in various conditions. Having to work three shifts and going to school at the same time I couldn’t afford to be late anywhere, which is why I’m a fast driver.
After almost two weeks on the road, having stayed at some shady motels to get clean and sleep, I finally reach some small town, name of which I don’t know. It looks nice and quite peaceful. Maybe I could… No. I should go somewhere else. You've been saying that everywhere, Kat.
A loud crashing sound pulls me from my thoughts, followed by my head hitting the steering wheel with force. Black dots block my vision and I blink rapidly to get rid of them. Then it all clicks in my head.
Oh shit, I hit something!
I hurriedly leave the car, rushing to see what it is, limping slightly, only to gasp loudly when I see a man on the ground, with a bike right next to him. I’m frozen in fear, staring at the unconscious man with wide eyes.
Holy crap, did I kill him?!