As Annie ran and ran out of the house and into the grass field, running strenuously and becoming tired after just a couple of minutes, her grandmother lay half-conscious on the floor of her bedroom. She was swimming in a pool of alcohol as her soap opera ended, but she didn’t have the faintest idea of what Annie was doing. Annie probably thought that her grandmother wouldn’t know anything about what she was doing or where she was going and what she was hoping to accomplish, because she was intoxicated half of the time, anyways. That’s why Annie would and could never depend on her. Annie ran through the fields, ignored the animals and tractors, and instead headed towards the flowing river nearby. The river water was a pearl black color as you could see the river build up to a storming waterfall.
Annie walked around the river’s perimeter, still on the grassy field that surrounded it, and kept walking in the cold, dark night until she saw the drop where the waterfall was located. It was a steep decline in the field, as well as the water which made the horrifying sound of water plummeting from the edge, and what Annie decided to do was take her little sack of necessities of food, water, stationary, a compass, and flashlight, all of the necessities that she needed, and chucked them down toward the land surrounding the lake. Thankfully, the sack hit the grass with ease and none of her items broke or got damaged. Annie ran back, constantly looking to the side and behind her to see if her grandmother was coming for her, even though she was very far away from the house.
She then jumped into the river, fully aware that she was still in her clothes, but soon regretted the decision she had made. As she cursed under her breath, she tried to find a way to swim to the side, but water coming the opposite way stopped her from doing that. She wasn’t prepared.
The water felt cool on her skin and instantly wet her hair but her heart starting pumping as she felt herself moving along with the water, gliding gently experiencing a pure even though it would be a good one or two minutes or so until she actually reached the waterfall.
During this time, Annie tried to look towards the side to see if she could spot her belongings to make sure no one had stolen them, but she came to the almost immediate conclusion that she wasn’t going to see from how high she was up. As she let time pass, she heard the sound of heavy water seep into her ears. She looked over and saw the exhilarating drop that was to come. All she could see was the lake below her where water was thundering into, and the loud sound of water falling the horrifying height. Slowly she closed her eyes, even though they rapidly shook over her eyelids.
And when the drop came, her body screamed with fright, wanting to swim back to the land and run back to the house, but it was too late. Her stomach dropped as if she was on a rollercoaster, and she went dizzy as she twisted around and dropped down. Her body instantly heated up over one hundred degrees. Even though the drop lasted a couple of seconds, it still felt like torture to her. Her arms went up and her body had possessed her. The forces of gravity seemed to rebel on her. She screamed for a faint second and couldn’t breathe as she was sucked into the heavy stream of water that was falling with her. The feeling felt like death, and she couldn’t bare the intensity. Until she splashed with a loud, painful, discombobulated hit, and everything went dark.
About thirty seconds later, Annie woke up two or three feet deep into a lake and quickly moved her legs to resurface. She swam, cold and tired, yet very worried, to the surface to retrieve the sack.
When she looked inside she discovered that the bottle of water was colder and the granola bars she had packed were scattered throughout the contents of the sack, but it was still edible. Even though she was cold and her clothes were sopping wet, and she could not believe the intensity of the previous events, she threw her sack on her back and continued throughout the night into a gloomy woods, where she found a tall tree to sleep on that wasn’t home to any creatures. She climbed up branches of the tree, which were hard and grippy, and found a tall, thick branch a couple feet up that she was able to spread herself on. She used a soft spot of the sack as a pillow to lay her head on as she slowly drifted into sleep…
Annie experienced herself falling throughout her dream. The feeling of her stomach dropping, her heart pumping, and her body landing on a hard surface. While the feeling was not as intense of the plummet from the waterfall, Annie woke up shocked and screamed in fright, as a chipmunk had pushed her off of her spot on the tree and her sack, too, which fell on top of her with a bang just a couple seconds later, causing an invisible bruise on her left cheek. Annie cried and cried in fear and sadness, that in all reality, it was not possible for her to escape this little farm town and her evil grandmother. She was not able to find anybody that could take care of her. She was not able to find freedom for herself where she lived. She gave up. Maybe the girls will be nicer this year. They’ll probably be nicer or else she’ll be telling the principal and her grandmother, but in reality, she wouldn’t do much help for her.
She ran back through the forest, up through the incline where the waterfall was, her crying tremendously with her sack bouncing up and down on her back. She was so out of control she fell into the grass, getting some grass-stains and not knowing what to do with herself. She couldn’t believe it. She wanted to go to where she was home. Then, she heard a voice.
“Hey!” the voice screamed, sounding like a woman. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!” Annie wailed, still in tears, her face laying flat in the grass. “Please don’t get me in trouble!” She lifted her head up and saw the woman come towards her with a flashlight.
“Oh my dear God,” the voice stated. “Aren’t you little miss Annie Walker?”
“Yes, yes, that’s me.”
“What are you doing in this part of town, huh?” the voice yelled again. “This is about twenty minutes from where you live.”
“How do you know where I live?” Annie demanded.
“I attended your family’s funeral,” the voice said. “I was good friends with your parents. They shipped a lot of chopped trees to me. Helped me out for making wood to throw in the fire.”
“What’s your name?” she asked.
“Can’t tell you that,” the voice said again. “Come inside and dry off. I’ll give you some hot tea to drink.”
“That would be very nice of you,” Annie said.
And then she entered the house. It was nice, cozy and warm. Everything seemed to be made of logs. The walls were made out of logs, the surface holding the picture frames were made out of logs. Hell, even the shower and bed were made out of logs, but the bed had a mattress with pillows on it. The house was very small, which made it feel very quaint. A man, Annie assumed it was the woman’s husband, was sitting on a couch was reading a newspaper article and complaining that none of his stocks were sold and he wasn’t able to make any profit. Things about those “damn investors” and “stockholders” although Annie didn’t know a single thing he was talking about, but she assumed it was about the Great Depression.
The woman talking to her led her to a bathroom so she could shower and she laid out some pajamas for her to change into after. The hot water felt good against her and putting the shampoo in her hair made her feel better again, even though she was tired and lazy. The pajamas were nice and soft and she instantly went back into the living room where she sat by the fireplace, and a beverage of some sorts was waiting for her.
“Turns out, I didn’t have hot tea, after all,” she said. “But instead I made you a cup of hot cocoa and marshmallows because it’s so cold outside.”
She looked inside and saw steam rising up from a brown, chocolate-smelling beverages with white balls of sugar thrown in for an extra taste. Even though it was hot, she appreciated the refreshing taste while the mallows made it extra sweet. The woman sat down next to her, looking eager to find out more about what’s happening.
“Where have you been, Annie?” she asked. “Why are you down in this part of town? Your grandmother must be worried sick.”
“Relax,” Annie pushed. “She’s drunk half the time.”
“That’s an outrage!” she exclaimed. “How does she get her alcohol?”
“She just told me she hired someone,” Annie admitted. “That’s all I know.”
“What are you doing here?” she asked.
“I need to run away,” Annie confessed. “I can’t live with my grandmother. She’s so evil and drunk. I can’t bare it. I was attempting to run away across the country to find other relatives I could settle in with. But I guess I failed.”
“Why is your grandmother so evil?”
“She’s an alcoholic!” Annie exclaimed. “She’s drunk, glued to that damned radio set, and spends all her money on illegal alcohol! We’re going poor. There’s no more good food in our house. Most of it is basically covered in mold.”
“Well, you’re safe here,” she said, and Annie took a sip of her cocoa. She finally felt warm. She finally felt safe. “Where were you planning to go?” she asked.
“Los Angeles,” Annie exclaimed. “Sunny Los Angeles. Home of Hollywood. That’s where my uncle lives. He’s the greatest man on earth! He’s so fun. I love spending time with him.”
“I’ll get you there,” she promised. “I’ll get you there.”
“Who is this lady?” the man yelled, getting up from the couch and making his way over to the woman. “What is she doing in our house so late at night.”
“George, this is Annie Walker,” the woman soothed. “She’s the daughter of the victims of the funeral we attended.”
“Oh, well, hi Annie,” the man said, as he reached out his hand for her to shake. “It’s great to finally meet you.”
“You too,” Annie said, calmly. “Thanks for letting me stay here.”
“Anytime,” the man said. “Why are you here?”
“Like I was telling your wife,” Annie started. “I’m running away from home because my parents are dead, my brother’s dead, my grandmother’s a drunk, I’m bullied at school, and I just can’t deal with my life.”
“Your grandmother’s a drunk?” the man asked. “How is that possible? It’s completely illegal.”
“She hired someone who goes to speakeasies and pays for smuggled alcohol and delivers it for her,” Annie said. “That’s all I know.”
“Where do you want to go-”
“Los Angeles,” Annie cut the man off. “Where my uncle lives. He’s the greatest guy on Earth, you know. He’s so nice to me. We go down to the beach and he buys me hand-pumped milkshakes.”
“We can get her there, can’t we, George?” the woman asks sympathetically. “Right?”
“We can get her there right now,” George says, and Annie’s hopes rise. “We have enough money for a train pass. Go get into some clothes and put on some shoes. I think we have a size that fits.”
Once Annie dressed into a long-sleeved shirt with a fur coat, she put on some boots they had that were very warm. After she took both of their hands, they confidently walked out of the door to the house. Out to the train station. Out into the night.