|Submitted by G.S. Williams on Sat, 05/26/2012 - 05:54|
I woke up in sunlight and saw that my sister was standing by the window. She turned and smiled when she saw that I was awake.
“Good morning,” I replied. I sat up on the bed. “You're still here.”
“I told you I would be.”
I noticed she was wearing different clothes than the night before. I then realized they were mine, she had apparently raided my closet.
“Where are your wet things?” I asked.
“I hung them up in the bathroom to dry, hope that's okay?”
“Of course. Want some breakfast?”
We walked downstairs to the kitchen and I went about turning stale bread into toast and peanut butter.
“Sorry, I was away. Have to get groceries later,” I said around food.
Dahlia shrugged and munched. “No worries.”
“So where have you been?” I asked as we finished.
“That's a long story,” Dahlia said. I waited expectantly. “Well, I ran away from the house during the storm, and took a tumble in the woods down past the creek. I think I fell down a hill and bumped my head, I didn't wake up until late the next day. I wandered around and read about the house getting wrecked in the newspaper. It wasn't clear about casualties, so I thought everyone died.”
“So what did you do next?” I asked. I felt anxious for her, all alone after something like that. At least the authorities had taken me somewhere safe and then found a way to get in touch with family.
“I was really scared, and hungry. I ended up getting something out of a restaurant dumpster in town.”
“You walked all the way there?”
“Yeah. I probably should have gone to the police or something but I guess I had it in my head that they'd blame me for the house burning down, since I was the only one who made it out. I hitchhiked down the highway, lied and told a driver that I had to go to my grandparents' house because my parents and I got separated during a trip. They bought me a burger. I kind of lived on the street for a while.”
My eyes went wide. “Seriously?”
Dahlia nodded. “I was really mixed up, scared about what had happened and confused about what I should do about it. I learned to pickpocket and shoplift, which I'm not proud of. Eventually I got noticed, I think by then I was in Chicago. I became a sort of courier for a street gang, nobody suspected the teen girl of being a runner.”
“Yeah, I delivered messages and payments and stuff,” Dahlia shrugged.
“It sounds awful,” I sighed. My twin sister had resorted to criminal behaviour to survive. I couldn't blame her, and in fact I just felt sorry for her.
“You do what you have to,” Dahlia shrugged again. She looked tired but tough. “I made sort of a life for myself, running scams to make money. I didn't have a birth certificate or anything so it wasn't like I could do it legitimately. Eventually I got in with people who gave me a new identity, helped me out.”
I felt a bit of a chill, assuming that these “people” were likely the mob or something.