The fourth chapter


A taste of thrill ran through Wren’s throat. The adrenaline was almost unbearable to her chest; her heart was beating beating beating fast fast fast. Hour number three of driving.

Earlier that night, Wren had gotten into an argument with her mom regarding traveling. Wren persisted that traveling alone is safe and valuable to self growth, but her mom remained adamant that Wren would not be allowed to go. The thought had been nagging at Wren’s mind all night; she couldn’t focus on her homework.

Earlier that day, Wren had been caught in the strangest situation. Colton had asked her out on a date during her shift at the restaurant. It still hurt her head to think about.

She saw one solution to her problems–escape.

Escape, if only for a few hours. Breaking out of the walls that suffocate her, breaking out of the doors that confine her, breaking out of the rules that are stricter than border control.

So she drove.

She drove, and drove, and drove. At first, she saw the monotonous skyline of her small town: a skyline so flimsy it might blow away in the wind. There were no impressive skyscrapers tiptoeing around the clouds; there were no art murals hiding behind every crevice.

She drove, and drove, and drove. After an hour, new shadows emerged in the night. She drove until she didn’t recognize the treetops anymore. She drove until the shoulders of the highway narrowed.

She drove, and drove, and drove. Two hours later, even when the two lane highway turned into a one lane road, and even when her fellow passengers of the dark turned in for the night, she kept driving.

And even now, she still drove, and drove, and drove. She was three hours out, and her windows were rolled down. She could feel the icy air pierce her insides as it went down. She could feel the soul-search spread through her veins as she breathed in. The radio had turned to static, and she put on a CD of throwbacks.

She thought about what happened.

“What?” Wren had stepped backwards as her exclamation of shock rang throughout the restaurant. With this flashback, she had stepped back in time.

Colton blinked a few times and laughed. His laughter had an edge of nervousness in it, and he quickly turned it into a cough. Once he regained his composure, he tried again. “I was just wondering if–if you wanted to go out with me? Like, on a date?”

Wren considered this as color rushed to her face and thoughts raced through her mind. What is he talking about? Why would he want to go on a date with me? Is he joking? Is this some sick, cruel prank?

“Are you for real?” Wren had turned beet red as she stuttered out these words. All those years that she thought Colton was trying to annoy her–was he actually trying to impress her? Or get her attention?

Wren’s questioning look must have startled Colton, because he shook his head quickly. “Nah, nah, I was just messina�� with ya! Haha, okaya��. See you at school!”

With that, he walked out of the door.

Wren had stood there, blank faced as she was now, driving through the night. The same confusion contaminated her consciousness–what was that whole situation about?

Tears came to Wren’s eyes as she realized how foolish she had been to think that Colton was being serious. Of course he had been kidding. Why wouldn’t he be? Just another tease.

As she blinked away the tears, she looked down at the clock. It was 3:40 AM, and her parents still had not called to see where she was. They’re probably sleeping, Wren thought. They probably didn’t even hear me leave.

Her eyebrows furrowed. Her hands moved to wipe her eyes. Her vision found a deer in her path. That was the last thing she remembered.