Escape from Isolation with a Fresh Bite of Flash Fiction

By Matthew McGovern for Boston Compass (#122)

April 28, 2020


Runaway

I woke with the first light in an open field of rough and dead grass. This was late in the fall. I could feel in my legs and in the back of my mind that I had been running, at least that I was being searched for. There’s a predictable pattern when you are being chased. You gather your money, and buy a ticket headed far away. You would high tail it to Canada. You would go back home, where breakfast used to be served, when you weren't on the run. Or you would go to your sweetheart’s place, the second place they check after your mom’s house.

I didn’t take those particular routes, instead I took that less traveled, which happened to be the main road which led to the park a few blocks away. That’s what I presume, at least, given that I’d just woken up in a field of sorts. My legs really were sore, my whole body too, either from sleeping outside in the cold or from running away. My conscience wasn’t quite right either, and it was just as tough to say why. I know something went wrong, and I certainly was fleeing, but was I guilty or just of a lawless nature? What did I do wrong, and why was I compelled to run?

Whatever it was, it was a culmination, a premeditation. I am not that impulsive, as you can tell by my well thought-out escape. This is not to say there had been a plan, only a passion brewing for a long time, that couldn’t help but manifest through me. And whatever had happened, had been very bad, though I maintain that I was not bad, I am not bad. That being said, I doubt I could prove my innocence, so I left the scene. It would be wrong not to run while being chased, right?

While it might be said that I ran simply in order to be caught, I was not going to allow them to. I wanted them to catch me and end this chase, and at the same time I didn’t want to run another step, and at the same time I could not stop. Part of me wanted them to pin me down, face into this dead grass, and yell at me. I wanted them then to collect themselves a bit, and tell me what are and are not my rights, as their captive, if you will. Best of all, I wanted them to tell me what I did wrong, and why I did it, and why it was wrong... that would be the stuff. Then, better still, take me away, take me and not let me choose where I was being taken.

Laying in this grass now, I see clearly that I wanted it all to be out of my hands. I preferred that it were all in the hands of somebody far more qualified than myself, a judge preferably, or a lawyer if my runaway reserves would cover one.

All this I thought, in the brief moment of first light. At ease with the cold gnawing at my feet and ears and nose. No more running for me! Either they will come and take me, or the cold will, both I prefer to running.

Check out all the art and columns of April's Boston Compass at https://www.issuu.com/bostoncccompass