Rain was coming down in sheets.
I grimaced and looked down at my new shoes. 'Great,' I thought, cursing the weather; the soles were completely soaked though. Glancing around, I searched for some place I could stay the night. On most days I stayed in the park, with a tent I had lifted from a sporting goods store, but since the rain was coming down so heavily, I didn't see any chance of that happening.
I needed to find proper shelter.
Stalking through the rain slicked streets, I thought back to when things were simpler, back to when I'd had a proper home. I used to stay with my grandmother, at her house in California, ever since my mom and my little sister died. But, Grams had been old and schizophrenic, eventually something was bound to go wrong.
That was in the past now. But even still, as the rain coated the raw flesh of my cheeks, I couldn't help but think back to that time. The time when things had seemed to be all right.
I had taken good care of Gran, made sure she was taking her meds and eating the right foods, but since I had been twelve at the time, it obviously wasn't enough. The doctors from a mental hospital had come to our house one day, Gran told me to hide because the 'bad people' were there. To this very day, I could remember the horrified fright in her eyes; I had never seen her so terrified. Even as I stood in the street of an abandoned alley way, I could hear her shrill tone of worry. So, to make her feel secure, I hid in the linen closet in the hall across from the front door. Anything seemed to set her off those days.
I listened to their conversation through the hard oak door. They had told Gran they were going to put her in a nice home, with friendly doctors and everything. She started crying and screaming, but they refused to leave. I listened quietly as they dragged her out of the house, wanting to leave the closet and save her, keep her with me, but it was as if something was holding me down; I couldn't move from the spot.
When it was all over, I had run away. There was no reason for me to stay in California, I had no one left. I hitched a ride on a bus to Oregon and saw what there was to see, but I missed Gran. Even worse, I missed my mom and Penny. However, there was nothing I could do to bring them back.
I don't even know if my Grandmother is still alive. Perhaps not.
Shouldering my pack, I wondered to myself why I kept running. After years of living day to day, why hadn't I simply given up?
I had seen television shows about children placed in 'the system', so, with no better plans, I decided to keep moving north. On my fifteenth birthday, I hitched a ride with a nice, Christian family on the side of a suburban highway. They had been happy to help me out, practically driving off the side of the road to stop for me, and they transported me up to Washington state. A drastically different place from California.
They were the sweetest family I had ever met, they reminded me of my own. They even had a little girl that was around the same age my little sister, Penny, had been when she died. Their daughter was the strongest negative for me; the whole time I was in their hospitality she would watch me with her big eyes, bringing back painful memories. The day that I had ditched them at a local gas station was disheartening for me, I was faced with the fact that I'd probably never remember what it felt like to have a true family again.
Eventually, I made my way to Seattle, by pickpocketing and fighting, of course, and I was now left with no where to turn. I was stuck.
The wind was starting to pick up, so I tightened my jacket around me. 'Gez, I know it's Seattle, but come on! It's spring for heaven's sake!' I was sure the weather should be getting better. Or, if not better, at least less bitter.
A crack of lightning lit up the sky. I could have sworn it was aimed at me, since it struck a lamppost nearby me, causing the very hairs on my arms to stand straight with electricity. Sure, I was being paranoid, but rationality couldn't keep the fear from my mind. It was then that I decided it was probably time to get moving, in case another bolt came streaming towards me.
There was a market in the distance that sold seafood. As I peered through the onslaught of rain, I noticed that the fish market's lights were still on, even though it was at least nine o'clock p.m., so I ran into the building and was immediately hit by a wall of fish odor.
"Oy! How may I help ye' lass?" A chubby, short woman grinned at me, while stuffing fish into a portable freezer.
"U-uh, I'm just looking for a place to get out the rain." I took off my converse, which I had lifted from an outlet store, and rung out the rain water, despite the fact that it did very little to keep my feet dry - my socks were drenched too.
"Well, the best place would be yer home, ain't it?" She smirked, her rosy cheeks glowing under her fiery red hair.
"Home." I scratched the back of my neck. Man, I wished I was ten again. Before my mom died, before Grams was taken away from me. What was my home now? The road? Not even.
"Yeah. Home! Ye know. Where ye mum and da' ar-" She took a long look at my face. "Oh." Her reaction startled me. Was there something on my face? Was I crying? I quickly rubbed at my cheeks but my hands only met the moistness the rain had left on my skin. "Oh. I, er," The lady rubbed her hands on her stripped apron-looking at her feet. "I ha' no idea. I'm sorry, lassie."
"Sorry for what?"
"Oh, I know an orphan when I see one." She stepped out from behind her gutting table and I quickly noticed she was quite pregnant, something I had mistaken for extra weight. "Well, ye might as well stay with me." She shrugged and grabbed her cooler full of fish. "Hope ye like fish, cuz I have a lot of it."
"What? Oh, no. I don't want to intrude." Another crack of thunder and lightning shook the market.
"Wha? When Zeus be throwing a fit, with the weather acting up an all? No, no. I ain't wanna be hearing none of those." She pushed me forward, lightly. "Sides, ye ain't wanna be staying in a smelly place like this one while Zeus carries out his tantrum, do ya?"
I shook my head no, looking at my shoes. All of this Greek god talk reminded me of my mother. She loved greek mythology. This lady reminded me of the warmth my mother had, and I missed it. So, willingly, I followed her home.
Which could have been the worst decision I'd ever made.
I realize Artemis is a virgin goddess - I know - if you keep reading, I promise you everything will be explained :))