Katsie Thomas refuses to let her little sister, Ellie, fall prey to the same cruelties she herself has been submitted to. The only answer? Become fugitives.
Katsie will stop at nothing to protect little Ellie...even if it means throwing her pursuers off her trail by marrying someone she hardly knows.
Run, Katsie, Run
I woke up to the sound of gunshots.
My first instinct was to bury my head back under the covers and try to block out the horror around me. It wasn't the first time I'd heard gunshots in the streets.
But as I lay there, I realized that the gunshots weren't in the streets. They sounded like they were coming from downstairs.
Leaping from my bed, I dashed into the adjoining room, where my innocent little sister lay. I didn't hesitate a moment, even though she looked so angelic and peaceful. "Ellie!" I exclaimed, shaking her awake. "Ellie! Get up!" I could hear my older sister, Geena, screaming downstairs. I shook Ellie with more vigor. "Come on! Wake up! You have to wake up!"
Ellie's sweet little eyes opened, still groggy from sleep. "Whass goin' on?" she asked, slurring from being half-asleep.
Eight years old was far too little to be subjected to such a terrible reality. "Come on," I said, practically dragging my baby sister out of bed and into the closet. "Stay there. I'll be right back."
"Katsie!" Ellie screamed, eyes wide. "Katsie! They's in our house!"
Not bothering to correct Ellie's grammar, as I usually would have done, I slammed the closet door shut. I had to go downstairs. Just because Geena was a jerk didn't mean she deserved to face it all alone.
Feet barely skimming the stairs as I flew down them, I landed at the bottom with an oof! and turned to see my sister holding her hands up in the air. Her whole body was trembling. I could tell she was as scared as "all get out." A man whom I didn't recognize was holding a gun in the direction of her head.
"Geena, what's going on?" I demanded, but my words were cut short by the gunholder.
"One move, and I swear, I'll kill her!"
Geena shook her head. "It's not her fault," she cried out. "She doesn't have anything to do with this!"
I might have been only eighteen, but I was far more mature than my sister thought I was. "Do you want the drugs?" I asked slowly.
The man visibly relaxed a little, though his gun was still trained on Geena. "You took my money, and I don't have anything to show for it," he growled.
My sister's secrets hadn't been hidden from me. I stepped carefully over to the desk, retrieved a briefcase, and entered the four-digit code on the side. The lid popped open. Inside was a small leather bag that held what the man was searching for.
"Here," I said. Without any consent from Geena, I tossed the bag in the man's direction.
Geena gave a small cry as the bag sailed through the air, but I didn't care what she thought. I had little pity for her anymore. Her dealing drugs kind of made me lose all my respect for her.
"I'll be back. I swear, I'll be back," the man said. Slowly, he lowered his gun. And then, before I could say a word, he left.
The whole scene had happened so quickly that my mind was whirling. I'd overheard Geena selling before, but it had never happened like this. Almost hyperventilating, I stood there, dazed.
Geena ran a hand through her greasy white-blonde hair. Chin quivering, she turned to me. "How'd you know?" she whispered.
"I'm not stupid," I replied, breaking out of my dazement. Taking the steps two at a time, I returned to Ellie's room, not caring that Geena was trying to talk to me.
I opened the closet door. Ellie fell crying into my arms.