Nevada was in the middle of a heatwave. I remember it well. I was running around with Rayn, causing havok the way a pair of twelve year old boys do. I'd always hang out with him, 'cause we both had shitty parents. We spent our days escaping them, or school, or both. His mom was dead, and his dad had blamed him for it 'cause she died giving birth to him. Despite that, he probably turned out better mentally balanced than I did.
My parents warranted escaping from because they were forever at each other's throats. I have no idea why they stayed together for so long. The angry sex must have been good, 'cause I can't think of any other reason to stay with someone you seem to hate so passionately. They were constantly threatening to leave each other, and neither of them seemed to give a second thought to me. I was never enrolled in a school by them. My gran took pity on me being caught in the shit storm that was my home life and did it for them.
I was often used as ammo, or a shield, in their arguments. If I didn't get out the trailer quick enough in the morning - yes, I'm 100% trailer trash. Problem? - I would inevitably be grabbed and used as the reason or cause or defence or something. Their fights often got physical so most of my childhood was spent being covered in bruise cream, til my gran died. After that, I was on my own.
That was one of those days; I was on my own except for Rayn, and my mom was in a really shitty mood when I got home.
"Where the fuck have you been?" she screeched when I came into view, covered in dirt and sand and sweat. I shrugged and told her I'd been at the park. My answer was totally ignored as she grabbed my arm tight enough to leave a welt on it, dragging me inside the trailer. At that, dad took exception to how mom was handling me and started yelling at her.
"Don't fucking treat the kid like that, what'd he do to you?"
"Where should I begin?" she yelled back. I tried to get away, but mom still had a tight grip on me and moving just hurt. By the time they were done, I had a fractured wrist, more bruises than I could see and I'd had enough of it.
After they'd gone to sleep, I snuck out of the trailer with dad's wire cutters. We had this rusty old piece of shit for a car that was always breaking down. When dad wasn't arguing with mom or fucking her, he was teaching me how to fix the car. I wriggled underneath it, catching my face on a loose piece of metal hanging off the chassis. Ignoring it, I shuffled along until I found the brake line. Brake fluid dribbled out onto my neck as I hacked at it with the cutters. When I was satisfied it had all drained out, I wiped it off with the bottom of my shirt and rolled out from under the car, dropping the cutters on the floor. My wrist hurt like a bitch and I nearly cried out when I rolled on top of it. I bit down on my lip to stop myself making any noise, fleeing the trailer park before I let myself cry over it.
When I woke up, it was mostly because my arm was hurting like it was being bitten or broken all over again, but slowly; it throbbed with the memory of the pain from my dream.
It took me a while to notice that Sophia had curled up, half on top of me. It took even longer for it to register that I was hugging her. I must have done that in my sleep, or something.
Oddly, I didn't mind. I think if it had been anyone else, I would have shoved them out of bed. My dream was still playing in the back of my mind and I was scowling at the wall opposite me for what felt like an age. My parents had driven off in that car the next morning. They were both dead by the end of the week. By that time I was already out of Nevada, hitchhiking my way to Idaho.
Sophia woke up, looking all groggy. "Whu...?" I glanced down at her, shifting a little so my arms were moved subtly. I didn't want her to be getting the wrong idea or anything. She rubbed at her eyes, "morning," she said with a smile. I returned it, just about. I probably looked like shit. The last few days had definitely caught up with me; I could feel them taking their toll on me. "How're you feeling?" she asked, sliding off the bed to check me over. I get the feeling there was an ulterior motive to it, but I wasn't much in the mood to care. "You look like you're healing okay."
I didn't feel like I was. "My arm hurts," I grumbled, "and I could really do with a shower, but I'll live, I guess."
She grinned at that. "Well luckily for us, the hospital has showers, and If I'm correct the back up generators for the building should be ok so they might even be hot." I had to smile at that. It was almost genuine.
"Best news I've heard in a while."
She laughed gently, picking up her backpack. "Well, if you're good to walk, we can take a look?" I nodded and swung my legs around, stretching. Fuck me was I stiff. I noticed her staring at me and looked over. A blush spread across her cheeks as she met my gaze. "It's uhh... It's this way," she stammered, turning a bit too quickly to walk off down the hallway without waiting for me.