The Price Of Freedom

Chapter 2:

What Now?

Eventually my legs got tired, and I caught a bus. I didn't care where it was heading, so long as it wasn't heading near any of the regular bars that Father hit. After paying, I sat down in an empty seat at the back, and started to think.

I'm finally free! I thought to myself, I can finally live without the fear of coming home to find Him waiting, with beer cans littering the floor. I can finally live my own life, without Him to dictate what I should do, or else. I'm finally won't have to feel the pain of his belt across my back! But was it the right thing to do? I surprised myself with that thought. How will Mother survive, without you there to take the blunt of the worst beatings, she's more delicate after He nearly killed her, a rib punctured the lung, she was in the hospital for weeks.

She can take care of herself! I justified, if she needs to, she can just run again, go to another city whenever it gets too bad. She can take care of herself she doesn't need me…. Maybe I'll check up on her after I get to where I'm going. But where is that? I was almost broke on money, so couldn't stay anywhere, so where should I head to?

I happened to look up at the moment, and caught the bus driver looking at me, she quickly averted her eyes, but I had already seen, I quickly looked around the bus, nobody else was there. I quickly pulled the cord overhead to get off at the next stop. As I exited the bus, I saw the driver raise her radio to her mouth and say something into it; I could tell what it was about. A teenager, riding the bus alone late at night, with a backpack that looked ready for a long trip, I had no doubt that she was calling me in as a runaway. I wasn't too sure if they did that, but my paranoia got the best of me.

I walked a few blocks away, seeing if she would follow me, she didn't. So I decided to sit on the curb to get my bearings. Looking around, I spotted some familiar landmarks, and a few familiar houses; I suddenly realized where I was. I was near Ritchie's house.

Ritchie was a good friend of mine, we went back to 5th grade, where we had the same teacher, who assigned us to sit next to each other; we immediately were friends. We had done everything together from then on, from skipping school, to joining the middle school baseball team a couple of years later.

I smiled to myself as an idea started to form in my head. I'm sure that Ritchie could let me crash at his place for a few days at least, and I know that he wouldn't tell my parents where I was.

A few years after becoming friends, Ritchie had begged his way over to my house, complaining that while I had gone to his house plenty of times, he had never even seen my house. I had been carefully avoiding this, seeing as how my parents weren't what anybody could exactly call 'socially acceptable'. While Ritchie's parents were well off lawyers, and were very happy and proud of their son, no matter what he had done.

But soon enough, after constant begging and prodding, I had finally given in, and the next day, after school, we walked from the school to my house. Immediately when we arrived outside my house, I knew this had been a very grave mistake, I could hear the beer bottles smashing on the walls. He was home, and drunk again.

But at this point, I didn't exactly know what to say to get Ritchie to not go inside. But one look towards him said it all, he knew.