Landing with a thud that shook her bones, she did a quick assessment of herself and found no new injuries.
“Thank you, mom.” She looked up to the sky and smiled, confident that her mom was watching her.
Tonight was the night Victoria had been waiting for – the night her life could truly begin. Billy was going to pick her up and they were leaving. Finally.
They knew they had to make their break when Victoria’s mother went into hospice leaving Victoria at home to deal with her drunk father. Her brothers had all moved out and her father kept a tight schedule for her, insisting that she take care of everything. Despite the broken arm she suffered during one of his rages, he insisted she clean, cook and do everything for him. She believed that it was her mother’s doing when the doctors removed the cast the day before her funeral. Her mom knew she needed to escape, but Victoria was stuck until her arm healed. Now was her chance.
She stretched herself out ‘like a wildcat reaching up a tree,’ as her mom used to say, adjusted her clothes and retrieved the backpack she had stashed earlier that day. Her confidence grew as she shrugged the backpack over her shoulders, looked back at her home for the last time, then turned to head down the street to meet Billy.
“He can never hurt me again. He can never yell at me again,” she repeated to herself as she walked. “Mom, I would never have left you. Thank you for giving me this gift. I love you, mom. I miss you.” A warm breeze brushed her cheek and played with her hair, just like her mom had done. She knew it was a sign that she had her mom’s blessing.
The half mile walk to the bottom of the street went quickly. Only a slight worry of how Billy and she would support themselves nagged at her mind, but, the freedom she already felt eclipsed any fear. They had planned to reach their new home by mid-afternoon the next day, pick up the keys to their apartment and begin their new life together.
As she reached the street corner where Billy was planning to pick her up, she let her backpack drop to the ground, then leaned down to check the contents. All she had wanted from this life was the stuffed panther her mom had given to her, a few photographs and her favorite clothing. Her father could do whatever he wanted with everything she left behind. Pulling the panther from her pack, she sat down on the grass to wait for Billy.
She heard a car driving down her street, breaks screeching every few seconds and her father’s voice bellowing her name with a drunken slur. She jumped up, every muscle in her body tensed as she looked around to find a place to hide. Grabbing her bag, she scurried under a shrub and hid her feet just as her dad’s car stopped at the stop sign.
“Victoria! Get your ass home!”
Her entire body shook. She knew she’d end up with another broken bone, or worse, if he found her.
The car slowly started moving again, but stopped on the other side of the intersection. “Vicky! You are in a heap of trouble, girl!”
She peaked out from under the shrub and watched the breaklights on his car. Bright red. She prayed for them to dim and for him to drive away. Each second felt like an eternity.
She looked in the direction Billy would come from and saw headlights quickly approaching.
“Mom, PLEASE. Make him go away. Please.”
The breaklights dimmed, but the car only idled, not moving. Billy’s lights were almost at the intersection. All she had to do was wait from him to cross the intersection, she would jump in his car and they were free.
Her dad’s taillights turned to white just as Billy entered the intersection.
Then the sound of tires spinning on the road.
Before she could breathe, her dad’s car slammed into the driver’s side of Billy’s car and pushed his car up the road. She saw Billy’s body slam against the passenger side of the car and slump over.
She couldn’t stop herself from running out of her hiding place to try to save him.
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Written in response to the Speakeasy #155
This week’s prompts: