See disclaimer chapter 1
Sonja pulled her car into her garage and jumped out. She had anxiously checked the rear-view mirror all the way home, and had taken a short detour over a 4-wheel course that she rode her horses on occasionally to throw off anybody who might be following her. Sonja was pretty sure that she had been miles ahead of anyone from the set and knew they wouldn't be able to find her very quickly, but she still had to move fast if she was going to make it out of there before anyone caught up to her. Her dogs jumped up to greet her as Sonja came through the door. Her puppy, Sebastian, had tracked mud all over the kitchen floor. Not that it matters anymore, Sonja thought. She quickly went into her bedroom and flung open the closet doors.
For years Sonja's forethought had saved her neck, and this time was no exception. Buried at the back of her closet was a set of large saddlebags, neatly stuffed with the essentials of living. It contained enough food, clothes, and supplies to last her two weeks comfortably, four at a stretch. She searched her mind for the last time she had refreshed the contents of the bag and decided it had been recent enough.
Anywhere she had ever gone, she had had that pack ready in case leaving on a
moments notice was, once more, her only option. "Wouldn't leave home without
it," she said sarcastically as she grabbed the bag and threw it on to her bed. Sometimes she had chastised herself for being too paranoid, but too many times this sort of preparedness proved to be her only avenue of escape from some very bad situations.
Sonja quickly changed out of her blood-soaked clothes, wincing as she moved
due to the residual pain in her side. She went into the bathroom and gently wiped away at the blood, her own blood, which had streamed down her body when she had healed the man. Sonja made a face in the mirror at the jagged scars scattered across her body as she hurriedly attempted to wash away the blood. When she was satisfactorily clean, Sonja hastily threw on her riding clothes and grabbed her pack off the bed.
Back in her kitchen, Sonja grabbed a pen and paper off the table and quickly
scribbled a note, praying that it got into the right hands.
I did what I had to do, the man would have died. Any of you in my position would have done the same. Please understand. Even if you hate that I am a mutant, please take care of my animals. They have done nothing wrong. The neighbors will know what to do with them.
P.S. Don't come after me, you'll be searching the rest of your life and you will never find me. Goodbye.
Sonja ran outside to her small barn and grabbed Maverick's lead rope and halter off the peg. With the ease of years of practice, she had a saddle on his back along with her bags and a small sachet of grain for him. Maverick was a big and stout gelding, not much for speed, but could he carry her over Mt. Everest if she asked. He was perfect for the long haul, and that's what Sonja needed him for. Anybody could easily identify her car and turn her in, but it would take an expert to track Sonja on horseback, much less pinpoint where she would end up at the end of the day. She looked over to the forest. She knew the national parks that edged her property like the back of her hand, and she could be just as elusive as any other forest animal. Not even the best of experienced trackers would be able to find her after a day or two. She would just ride until she was comfortably far away and slip into some town that would never suspect her of being a mutant, and start over.
When she was all finished, Sonja quickly ran her hands over the other animals, saying goodbye to each in turn, whispering promises she wasn't sure she could keep. They knew that she had to go and that she wasn't coming back; her animals always knew when things were about to change. She threw a day's worth of feed into each of their buckets, threw open their locks so they could wander and eat in the pasture also, and hoped that someone would take on responsibility for the things she cared about most.
She then went inside and did the same for her dogs and cat. By the time Sonja had filled the last food bowl to the brim, she could feel herself choking up and her vision was becoming blurry with tears. "Not now!" she scream at herself, "you have got to get out of here!" She checked her watch. She had been home for about twenty minutes and she knew the crowd of people would be at her doorstep any second.
Sonja walked all over her house once more. She could afford to take a few more things with her, and deciding just what to take was always the hardest part of leaving. She grabbed her jacket, a large powerful flashlight, and a couple books she had been reading. She stuffed them into her small backpack. She also added some miscellaneous items from the kitchen and her tennis shoes. She looked around her living room one more time, searching for that one thing that would need to suffice as a reminder of this place.
On her mantle was a plaque that had a picture of Josh, Julia, Gerdie, and herself, then a picture of just Sonja underneath. Last year for Christmas, Josh and Julia had given it to her. Sonja lightly ran her fingers over the inscription. To our Employee of the Year! Love, Josh, Julia, and Gerdie, the Stevenson Medical Clinic Family. Sonja couldn't stop the tears now. No one had ever called her a part of their family before, and she remembered how it had felt being accepted like a daughter. The emotions rushed back to her so quickly and strongly it could have happened yesterday. I wonder how they would have treated me if they had known, she thought.
She shoved it in her backpack, also shoving aside her thoughts and doubts. Sonja raced out the back door, mentally invoking her dogs to stay in the house. She tightened the cinch on Maverick, then swung up into the saddle. She knew she shouldn't look back; it would only make leaving worse. Sonja couldn't resist and wheeled Maverick around to face the house one last time, saying goodbye to the best life she would never have again. Then, turning Maverick towards the thick forest behind her house, she gave him a slight tap with her heels and disappeared into the woods at a quick trot.
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