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  • by Katrina Mitchell

Short Story: Getting Free (Part 1)

Courtney had to move fast. She had to work in the dark, and she didn’t want to forget anything. She grabbed the bag she left strategically by the front door. She runs to the bathroom and grabs her soap, toothbrush, and deodorant. She crept past the window, because she wasn’t sure who was watching the apartment. She walked into the bedroom and grabbed a few t-shirts and jackets from the closet. She tossed them into the bag and zips it up. She walked over to the dresser and grabbed a pair of her earrings and a gold bracelet. She dug through the drawers and found her birth certificate, passport, and other important documents. She grabbed an envelope with all the cash she had been able to hide away since she decided she was going. It wasn’t much, but it would feed her on the bus until she got to her sister’s house in Colorado.

She headed for the door, but she heard a key jiggle in the door lock. Courtney quickly tossed her bag in the closet and hopped, still wearing her street clothes and shoes, into bed. She pulled the blanket over her head and waited.

“Courtney!” Michael yelled. Courtney’s breathing was shallow. The door swung open to the bedroom, and the light flashed on. “I know you heard me,” he said, yanking back the blanket. “Get up. I’m hungry.”

Courtney feigned tiredness as she rose from bed and headed to the kitchen. She glanced briefly at the bag near the closet door.

“Hurry up!” Michael barked. Courtney sped to the kitchen.

In the freezer was a box of beef patties and a bag of frozen fries. Courtney grabbed both, and a cast iron pan from the cabinet. Her mind raced. Why is he here? Did someone tell him something? She needed to go, her bus was leaving in less than an hour. How could she get out the house?

She opened the box of beef patties and saw only one left. She turned the heat up in the pan, and dropped the burger in the hot oil. After a few minutes, the kitchen filled with smoke. The smoke alarm starts to beep.

“What are you doing in there?” Michael asked. Courtney started to cough, and ran out of the kitchen to the back. Michael went into the kitchen and poured a big glass of water, then tossed it in the pan, which caused oil to pop and a fire to spark.

“Courtney! Courtney!”

Michael ran out the kitchen, and saw that the front door was open.

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