WIP: Chapter One


I stabbed my uncle and left him in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor with his pants down around his ankles. Then I stole his car and drove it off a steep embankment. I hadn't planned on running away with all the fanfare, but he left me no choice. I figured faking my death might keep him from coming after me right away.

Obviously, I wasn't behind the wheel of the car when it took a nosedive into the frigid January waters. My best friend Dimitri helped me coax it over the edge. We stood on the bank and watched as the black sedan crashed into the swift current below. A self-satisfied smile played at the corners of my mouth while the roof of Uncle Matthew's car bobbed up and down before finally disappearing downstream.

I buried my face in Dimitri's chest, feeling almost at peace for the first time since I couldn't remember when. I wanted to believe I was finally free from that abusive bastard but was afraid to get my hopes up.

"You have your bus ticket, right?" Dimitri asked as I threw my bag into the backseat of his car and climbed inside.

"Yes," I said. I cupped my hands in front of my face and blew into them to warm my fingers from the chilly night air.

"Do you think he's dead?" Dimitri took his eyes off the narrow country road long enough to glance sideways at me.

"Nah." I shrugged. "But if he is, then he got what he deserved. Good Lord willing and all that."

"Sophie." Dimitri exhaled noisily and shook his head. "Are you sure you want to do this?"

I stared out the window at the passing snow-covered fields. "We've been over this a hundred times. Yes, Dimitri, I've never been more certain about anything in my entire life."

Few words were exchanged as he drove me to the Greyhound station. I wouldn't let him wait for the bus with me. He wanted to, but I made him go home. I knew he thought it was because I didn't care about him. But the truth was, I cared too much. Plus, I hated goodbyes. I didn't plan on coming anywhere near Sioux City, Iowa again, and he couldn't see himself anywhere else, a still small voice inside of me whispered that it was the last time I'd see Dimitri.

I watched as the taillights from his car faded out of sight, before locking myself inside the women's restroom. I took out the box of hair coloring I'd purchased a week ago along with a pair of scissors. As I hacked away at my thick, honey-colored curls, a lump formed in my throat when they blanketed the filthy floor around my feet.

It didn't take long to go from a shoulder-length blonde to the choppy, jet-black haired stranger staring back at me from the scarred mirror over the sink. I gathered up the remains from my former crowning glory and shoved them into the overflowing trash can. I buried the hair beneath several layers of wadded up paper towels. After the allotted time, I rinsed out the coloring and dried my hair with the hand dryer on the wall before pulling up the hood of my sweatshirt.
It wasn't long before the bus roared noisily into the station. I slung my bag over my shoulder and headed out to the parking lot. The diesel fumes made my eyes water, giving me a legitimate excuse for the tears that trickled down my cheeks.

I reached into the side pocket of my carry on and retrieved the one-way ticket to Sikeston, Missouri. Sikeston wasn't my final destination, but it would take me close. When I pulled out the boarding pass, an envelope came along with it and fluttered to the ground. I bent to pick it up and scowled when I recognized Dimitri's sloppy scrawl across the front. 

Once I settled into my seat, I slid a fingernail beneath the flap of the envelope. There were two one-hundred dollar bills inside. I had no idea where he got the money or how he managed to sneak it into my bag without my knowing it. I would never have taken the cash from him. He'd offered, and I'd refused. With him halfway back to his parent's house by now, there wasn't much I could do but swallow my stubborn pride and try to figure out a way to pay him back someday, somehow.


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Lori L. Clark

Lori L. Clark currently resides in Hazelwood, MO with three rescue dogs. When Lori isn't listening to the voices in her head, waiting for the next creative inspiration to strike, she also loves to read, run, paint pet portraits and save dogs. Email Lori at

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