Parker’s Escape

Parker had a fantasy of escaping ever since she was eleven. She hated the Waltzers and Crawley- and she resented her parents for supporting someone so destructive and evil. She and her parents lived in a makeshift house in a Crawley compound in Madison, and all Parker wanted was to leave. She was sick of having to salute Crawley’s face every time she saw its smug grin. She was sick of giving up things she treasured to support the “cause”, and she hated that her parents were so blind to how horrible Crawley really was. She needed to get away, but she was too terrified of the consequences of running away.

Parker had a friend named Michael who was two years older than her. He was a slightly chubby black-haired boy with bright blue eyes. Parker always marveled at his imagination-he was always the one to come up with the games they’d play. He hated the Waltzers just as much as she did, and he swore to her that he was going to escape. He had an entire escape route plotted out and he would show his map to Parker to prove that he was actually going to run away. Parker never believed that he would truly do it. One night, Parker woke up to a gentle tapping on her window- it was Michael. She pulled the pane from the frame as gently as she could.

“Parker, I’m leaving. Tonight’s the night. I just wanted to say good bye.”

“You can’t leave me! I don’t want to be stuck with these people.”

“It’s okay. When I get away, I’ll figure out a way to come back and rescue you. It may not be right away, but I’ll help you as soon as I can.”

Tears ran down Parker’s face as they embraced awkwardly through the metal window frame. Michael jogged quietly towards the dark street. He glanced around once and waved. Parker gave a weak wave back and replaced the window pane. She lay awake the whole night regretting not just jumping out and going with him.

From that night on, Parker knew she needed to leave. Right after his leaving, she believed that Michael actually escaped and was going to come back and rescue her. As she got into her teenage years, she understood the punishments for desertion, which was either life imprisonment or death. She was sure there was no way a 13 year old boy would have been able to escape the compound. She doubted that they would have gone easy on him, even though he was just a child.

All Parker could think about was leaving. She went through the motions of being a Crawley devotee so that nobody would be suspicious. It had to be done suddenly and without warning, otherwise Parker would never get out.

One night after an all-compound rally, Parker found her chance. She kept a pack ready to go hidden under some brush outside of her bedroom window. After the rally, the adults stood outside the massive wooden rally building drinking home brewed ale. While the adults weren’t paying attention, the teenagers usually snagged a bottle to go share down by the river behind the rally building. Parker walked down with her friends halfway to the river when she made the excuse that she had forgotten something. She jogged back towards the building. When her friends were out of sight, she changed direction and jogged the couple hundred yards home.

Her house was black and silent-her parents were not home yet. Parker went to the back where her pack was stashed. Just as she reached the back of the house, she heard talking from the front. It was her parents with a couple other Waltzers whose voices she could not identify. She crouched under her window holding her pack, hoping that her parents would just go inside and go to bed so she could run. She heard the front door open and close. Her parents’ voices continued into the house, and the other Waltzers’ voices carried down the street. She saw an oil lamp carried by her father bounce of the walls in her bedroom. They were checking to see if she was home yet. They wouldn’t think anything of Parker not being home since rally night was the one acceptable night for kids to break curfew. The light disappeared, and Parker decided to go.

She strapped her pack tightly on her back and went towards the river. It ran all along the back of the compound. On the other side of the river was the 12 foot high barbed wire fence. Before the End, this place had been some sort of military compound. Now, it served as a commune for the Waltzers of Madison. Parker walked quickly along the river bank, careful not to step on any branches or in any animal dugouts. It was approximately twenty minutes to the entrance of the compound. She got to the front and saw the guard lolling around the gate. There were just a couple, and they had clearly taken part in the after rally festivities, even though they probably weren’t supposed to.

She crept up from the river towards the gate. She was pleased to see that they didn’t even have the gate locked. It was a gate made out of the same material as the fence, and the two sides barely touched. Parker was a good twenty yards away from the opening of the fence; the guards were ten yards in front of it. They had their backs turned, and she went for it. She sprinted as hard as she could towards the gate. Just as they noticed someone was coming, Parker had gone through the gate. She heard yells and shouts as she continued toward her freedom. Parker smiled.