The Exile: Episode One

I stood frozen in place, my slacks and shirt covered in soot, and watched in horror as the house burned. I felt like my life had been torn away from me. Was this what I deserved? Had everything I’d done been wrong? Maybe that was my crime, and now I was sentenced to serve my time in exile.
As the flames leapt skyward that night, the burning house popped and hissed. I thought about my brother, sister-in-law and niece, who had been staying with us, and my mother and father asleep in the upstairs bedroom. Now they were dead. All had died in there.
“Okay, Father,” I said, “if this is what I deserve, then I want to do it right. Lead me to whoever needs help.”
Just then a car turned the corner and raced up the road. I was amazed that someone had come already and afraid I wouldn’t say the right things. When the car’s headlights hit me, the driver sped up suddenly barreling towards me. I was scared and confused. I waited hoping the driver would swerve. “Probably just rowdy kids,” I told myself. But when the car kept coming, I dove out of the way leaving the driver to tear into the neighbor’s yard.
“You missed him! Turn around!” someone in the car yelled.
I wasn’t going just to stand still and give the driver another pass, so I turned and ran. Across the yard and through the gate, I exploded into the backyard and leapt the fence heading for the woods. I could hear the engine rumbling as the driver slowly moved up and down the road flashing a light along the tree line searching for me. I stayed low, out of sight, and tried to catch my breath.
I asked myself, “What do they want? “What’s going on?”
As I waited in the trees, I listened. I knew I needed to get out of the area and into the city where I could call the police. But I would have to slip through six miles of country in the dark before I reached town. With no weapon, no transportation and at least two people trying to run me down, this wasn’t going to be easy.
After awhile, I stood up and cautiously slipped out of the woods. I kept asking myself over and over why anyone would try to run me over. I didn’t understand. The forest that lay between the city and me was thick with underbrush and briars. Walking through it was going to be tough, especially since I would have to feel my way with only the moon for light. I stopped every few minutes to rest and listen to hear if anyone was following me. At one point, a branch caught my pants and tore my leg.
When I finally reached the edge of the woods, I peered out. The mall was just up ahead. A good amount of traffic still moved through the streets. I quickly looked left then right, checking both sides of the street for the car that had been pursuing me. I had caught only a glimpse of it before I dove out of its path and ran for the woods. There was no sign of it, just a van and some trucks. Cutting across the street into the parking lot, I saw that the mall had closed for the night. I paused as I tried to remember directions to the retail store on the other side. Even though it was about 11:00 at night, it might still be open.
I wanted to check my leg and get some different clothes. These were covered in soot and smelled of smoke. Then I could start working on finding out why someone had tried to run me down. When I started crossing the parking lot, I saw a mall security truck approaching.
Just then I heard gunfire erupt behind me. I turned to see the same car slide into the parking lot and head straight for me again. I started running as fast as I could, trying to reach the security truck. Frantically waving my arms, I flagged down security and ran around to the driver’s side.
“Is something wrong, son?” the guard asked.
“Yes!” I gasped, trying to catch my breath. “That car almost ran me over earlier, and now the driver’s after me again! I don’t even know who they are!”
The security guard looked out his window and saw the car still approaching.
Then he turned back to me as he said, “If you’d stop resisting, this would be over so much quicker.”

Published in: on January 2, 2010 at 12:59 am  Leave a Comment  

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