There was never an official plan. More of a dream that accidentally came to fruition. But when Geri saw a chance at freedom she didn’t think twice. Now, she and Ada pad quietly across the damp grass, breaking into a run once they reach the edge of the property. Geri pulls her pack up higher on her shoulder and reaches for Ada’s hand. In the darkness she sees Ada smile, but it could also be a grimace of tears. She bites back the urge to talk about what happened, but it’s still too soon. They haven’t made it out yet.
The farther they get from that ugly farm house and the memories it holds, the better. Ada’s hands are cold and Geri is glad they managed to stuff a few extra garments into their bags.
The girls pause by the gravel road and peer into the darkness, shivering along with the trees. The leaves make soft animal shapes in the moonlight.
Away in the distance the rumble of a pickup truck approaches, just as they had arranged. It worries her. They had wanted to be farther away from the homestead to meet it. Old Man Thomas could wake up at any moment, if he wakes at all. She doesn’t feel regret, just apprehension that they might be caught.
“Do you think anyone will follow us?” Geri asks, panting as they approach the gravel road. She glances behind her, and sweeps a few strands of hair off her face as if fleeing from the tight plaits they’ve lived in these past fifteen years. She pulls the braids loose and shakes her hair free. The farmhouse is cloaked in darkness, only the white clapboard siding is luminescent under the night sky.
Ada rubs her hands briskly over her arms. Her breath warms Geri’s face, they stand so close. “No, I don’t see how they could.”
The girls hasten down the rough road on skinny legs, long hair blowing in the breeze, while a secret lies hidden in Geri’s backpack.