TITLE: Marta (working title) 1st chapter
By Karie Spiller
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Marta’s heart beat faster as she ran farther into the woods. She could hear the crunching of the leaves under her pursuers feet. She was sore, but she needed to run, to get away. Tears ran down her cheeks as each step made her more tired. She felt like she had been running for hours. She looked back and discovered that she had outrun her pursuers. She stopped for a minute and listened. When she didn’t hear anything she sat down on a fallen log to catch her breath. She knew she needed to put more distance between her and her pursuers. She got up and ran on. The tears that ran down her cheeks, mingled with the blood from the cuts on her face and blinded her. Still she went on. It began to rain. The sounds of thunder filled the skies. The ground became muddy and slippery. She saw a flash of lightning tear through the sky and hit a nearby tree. She tried to jump out of the way but a large branch fell, pinning her ankle to the muddy ground. As she struggled to free herself she heard a twig snap. She turned around just as a boy came out of the trees.
She tried harder to pull away from the branch, but the boy said, “Don’t move. Let me help you.”
She sat still as he removed the branch from her foot. When he looked at her his eyes were kind and gentle.
“I saw what happened and heard you scream. Let me have a look at that ankle,” he said.
He looked at her ankle and slowly pulled off her shoe. He gently held on to her foot as he examined it.
“It hurts,” Marta said as the pain seared through her leg.
“I bet it does. I think it’s just a sprain. Let me get you to my house. Mom can fix you up,” he said.
“Thank you. I’m not sure if I can walk,” Marta said.
“Just lean on me, I’ll help you,” he said.
He helped Marta to her feet and said, “My name is Keith.”
“I’m Marta,” she said.
Keith supported her as they slowly made their way out of the woods. She kept looking behind her to make sure she wasn’t being followed.
“Just a little longer,” Keith said.
Marta was grateful for the support as she limped along. Pretty soon they came to a tree house nestled amongst four trees. A woman was outside hanging up the wash. When she saw Keith with Marta, she came over to them.
“What happened?” she asked.
“A tree fell on Marta’s ankle. I think it may be sprained,” Keith said as he helped her to a chair.
Keith’s mom pulled her sock off and looked at the swollen ankle. Keith went inside and came out with the first aid kit.
“You have quite a few bruises and cuts on your face and arms,” Keith’s mom said.
She looked at Marta and then said, “How about a bath and I can dress that ankle and those cuts on your face?”
After her bath, Keith’s mom took care of her cuts and the ankle.
“How old are you Marta,” Keith asked.
“11, but I’ll be 12 in a week,” Marta said.
“I’m 14,” Keith said
“Where do you live so I can call your parents?” Keith’s mom asked.
“I don’t want to go back,” Marta said as fear appeared in her eyes.
“Did they give you those cuts and bruises?” Keith asked.
“I don’t want to go back, please don’t make me go back,” Marta pleaded.
“I can’t let you stay here,” Keith’s mom said.
“Mom, can’t we let her stay at least for tonight?” Keith asked.
“How about we have some supper and we’ll discuss it,” Keith’s mom said.
Just then a tall man who looked a lot like Keith came into the house. Keith’s mom went to the kitchen to start supper.
“Well who is this pretty young lady?” he asked.
“Dad, this is Marta. She sprained her ankle,” Keith said.
Marta smiled at Keith’s dad. His eyes were so gentle and he had a twinkle in them that made her feel safe.
When dinner was ready, Keith offered Marta his arm and helped her to the table. After a good meal Keith made up a bed on the couch and Marta quickly fell asleep. She woke up early the next morning and looked around the living room. It was just like a normal living room. There was a TV and a stereo and a big collection of DVDs in the corner. She limped over to the window and looked out. She saw a bird in a nest in one of the tree branches and smiled. She felt sore all over. Then she saw Keith sitting in one of the tree branches, reading a book. He saw her and smiled. She limped outside and looked over to the patio that separated the main living area from the bedrooms.
“This is quite the house,” she said as Keith came over to her.
“You shouldn’t be on that ankle,” Keith said as he pulled a chair over for her.
“Thank you,” Marta said.
“Did you sleep well?” he asked.
“Yes, better than I have slept in weeks. I guess all that running yesterday made me pretty tired,” she said.
“Why were you running? Keith asked.
“I ran away,” Marta said.
“Do you want to tell me why?” Keith asked.
“They are actually my foster parents. I got so tired of getting beat up. I think they took me because they needed a punching bag,” Marta said sadly.
“That’s terrible,” Keith said as he looked at her.
“Why do you live out here?” Marta asked.
“I can’t say. If anyone found out about us out here we may be in danger,” Keith said.
“That’s why we need to send you home quickly,” Keith’s dad said as he came out of the house.
“I don’t want to go home,” Marta said.
Tears welled up in her eyes as she thought of that terrible place. Keith looked at her and Marta saw the same gentle look she had seen the day before.
“How long have you been with your foster family?” Keith asked.
“About 3 months. I thought it would get better, but it didn’t. They were really nice in the beginning but then things got bad. They made me do all the chores around the farm by myself. Then after their trial time with me they took up drinking and I started to get beaten up. They threatened to kill me if I told anyone. Yesterday, I couldn’t take it anymore, so I ran away. Please don’t make me go back there,” Marta said.
“Is there a Social Worker or someone we can contact?” Keith’s dad asked.
“Miss Delavan,” Marta said.
“We’ll do a search for her on the internet and give her a call,” Keith’s dad said.
“In the meantime, how about breakfast,” Keith’s mom said as she brought out a plate of scrambled eggs.
After breakfast Keith’s dad went to find Miss Delevan’s number and Keith showed Marta around. A little while later Keith’s dad came out of the house.
“It doesn’t look like you have to go back to that foster home, but she is looking into another one for you. She said you could stay here for a while until she finds one. That is, if you want to,” He said.
That day 10 years ago was just a distant memory now for Marta. She looked at the bruises on her arm and cried softly. Her boyfriend had come home and he was angry at her for not having supper ready and he hit her. It had happened many times before. Now he had gone out and probably wouldn’t return for a couple of days. As she thought about her life she looked around the apartment. When her boyfriend had asked her to move in with him she thought things would be different for her. He had promised her that he would take care of her, but he had changed in the last few months. He spent most of his days drinking and most of his nights away from home. She thought he loved her, but she was wrong. She pulled a worn backpack out of her closet and packed a few clothes. She wrote a note to her boyfriend telling her that she did not want to see him anymore and she was moving out. She went out of town and into the woods. As she went farther into the woods she grew very tired, so she snuggled up under her blanket. The night sounds of the forest lulled her to sleep.
Marta woke to the sounds of chirping birds. She watched as a sparrow collected twigs for its nest. She looked around for some edible berries and when she didn’t find any she went farther into the woods. As she walked, she felt like something was following her. She stopped and heard a low growl. Turning around she found herself face to face with a wolf. For a minute she stood still, paralyzed by fear. The wolf started to pounce and she ran. She could hear the wolf behind her and feel his hot breath on her back. Just then she heard a shot and the wolf stopped in his tracks. She turned around, and as she did, she slipped on the mud and hit her head on a rock.
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