‘Only the necessities,’ I mumbled to myself, shoving yet another jumper into my bag. I had an annoying habit of over-packing but I couldn’t waste more time. It was already 6am. They’d be up in an hour and if they caught me now…
I didn’t want to think what would happen. Reaching for my beloved bear that I’d had since I was six, I zipped up my bag and tiptoed down the stairs, careful not to tread on any creaky floorboards.
I stole some money from the jar on the windowsill, pulling out a handful of notes and shoved them deep into my back pocket.
‘What do you think you’re doing?!’ The last voice I wanted to hear came from the kitchen doorway. Turning round slowly, heart pounding ferociously, I found myself staring into the rage filled eyes of my step dad. He wasn’t exactly a barrel of laughs, but he was looking particularly frightening this morning. He had dark circles under his steely gray eyes from lack of sleep and his salt and pepper hair stuck out in messy tufts. His stomach hung over the waistline of his trousers, protruding from underneath a coffee stained vest top.
‘I’m just…um…’ I racked my brain for a suitable answer but came up blank. My eyes scanned the kitchen, looking for something I could defend myself with, when they fell on the open back door, leading into the garden.
Without thinking about it, I turned round and pelted it through the door, slamming it shut behind me. The ground was icy from the snow that had settled previously and I nearly face planted the fence separating the garden from the street.
‘GET BACK HERE!’ he roared from behind me.
My hands fumbled desperately with the latch and I almost cried with relief when it unhooked easily and the gate swung open. I darted through it and ran as fast as my small legs would take me down the street. Daring a look behind me, I saw him standing at the top of the drive, expression thunderous.
‘RUN AWAY THEN! JUST SEE WHERE YOU’LL END UP!!!’ he screamed after me, shaking his fist.
I didn’t allow myself to contemplate what I’d done until I arrived safely at the train station. Only then did I sag against the cold, brick wall and let the tears fall.
‘I actually did it,’ I whispered to myself in a shaky voice, relief seeping through me. My old life was officially over, I could start again. That felt so good.
A fresh start.