Chapter 3 : Runaway
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Chase the rainbows in my mind
And I will try to stay alive
Maybe the world will know one day
Why won't you help me run away?
James paced the clearing, pausing every few seconds to glance around. He checked his watch for the millionth time. Eleven o’clock. Auralie was supposed have been there twenty minutes ago.
Where was she? Auralie had never been late before.
James waited for half an hour longer, and then, with one last look around, he left. He would just have to meet up with Auralie tomorrow.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard? Check.
Picture of James? Check.
Picture of her mum and dad? Check.
Auralie took one last look around her room. The sunlight was streaming through the window, turning her room a beautiful red-orange in the afternoon sun. She smoothed out the covers on her bed, and sighed.
Her mother had finally lost her mind that morning. So instead of meeting up with James in the forest like she had told him she would, she had called the doctors and turned her mother over to them. The foster care agency was taking her at six o’clock sharp that evening. It was five thirty, and Auralie was running away.
As Auralie walked down the stairs of her home, she felt as if she was reliving her own life. That was where she had taken her first steps. That was where she had unwrapped presents every Christmas. That was where her mother and father made sugar cookies with her.
Auralie had to put down her backpack to pull her father’s old jacket on, which was far too big for her. The shoulder creases were at her elbows, and the bottom of it reached her knees, but it was warm, and would keep her warm for the nights to come.
With one last look around the kitchen, she shouldered her backpack, and walked out the door. She looked somewhat ridiculous, wearing a huge coat, looking a bit smothered. But in an entirely different way, she looked like a symbol of hope, like a symbol of perseverance.
She set out into the forest with a sort of savage inspiration to get away.
Just get away.
James knew something was wrong.
And that something had to do with Auralie. He could feel it. She was doing something she shouldn’t be.
In a flash, he was out the back door. “James, where are you going? Dinner is in ten minutes!” His mother called after him. But he ignored her. He needed to get to Auralie.
He reached the clearing within five minutes. He was accompanied only by the setting sun and the birds, but he knew Auralie was close by.
“Auralie!” He called. “Auralie, I know you’re out there!”
The leaves on a nearby bush to his left rustled, and he spun around to see Auralie climbing out of it. She looked ridiculous with a huge leather coat on. Her small figure seemed to be drowning in it. She had an old grey backpack slung over her shoulder.
“Auralie, what are you doing?” James asked. “Why didn’t you show up this morning? I was so worried—why do you have that coat on?”
“It’s—it’s complicated, James.” She replied.
“Well, sit down, and explain it. And take that coat off; you must be dying under there.” James swarmed Auralie like a worried mother, sitting her down and helping her out of the jacket.
“What are you doing?” He asked, sitting cross-legged on the grass across from her.
“Running away,” Auralie answered, trying to keep her face expressionless. She hid the escaping emotion by turning her head to the side, so the sunlight shone on her face.
“Why?” James asked. “Is it something I did? Is it because I nearly forgot your birthday?”
“It’s got nothing to do with you, James.” Auralie said with a pained expression. “It’s—it’s my mother.”
James was surprised. He had never really thought about Auralie’s mother before. He had never met her. There had only been Auralie. Just Auralie and James. He had never thought about Auralie’s life outside their friendship, but now, as Auralie said those words, he supposed that Auralie had an entirely different life than the one she had with him.
She could be an entirely different person, for all James knew.
“What about her?” James asked curiously. Auralie avoided his eyes, picking up a nearby stick and drawing a heart in the dirt.
“Have you ever heard of . . . dementia?” Auralie asked.
“No,” James replied.
Auralie swallowed. “Well . . . my mum had it. There's a lot of different types, but with my mum . . . it made her . . . forget stuff.”
“Like, where you put your quill or something?” James asked. Auralie shook her head.
“You forget much more serious things than that. Like whether or not there's a Duke of London.”
“But can’t you just look it up and remember?” James asked. “That’s a solution. If your mum’s forgetting whether or not there's a Duke of London, I can get her a thesaurus. My cousin Molly has loads. Then you don’t have to run away.”
Auralie shook her head sadly. “But it gets worse, James. You start forgetting important stuff, like where you are. It gets worse until you can’t even remember your own name. Then the doctors take you away to put in a mental hospital.”
James made a small noise of understanding. “Is that what happened to your mum, Auralie?” He asked.
Auralie nodded. “And now the foster people are going to come and put me in a group home, with other girls.”
“Why?” James asked. “Isn’t your dad at your house? Why can’t you live with him?”
“He’s dead, James.” Auralie said. A tear slipped down her cheek, and she buried her face in her hands, embarrassed to be crying in front of James.
“Oh,” James said softly.
For a while, they just sat there. James was feeling very uncomfortable and Auralie quietly was crying into her hands. Then, James broke the silence with a question.
“Is that why you’re running away? ‘Cause you’re an orphan now?”
Auralie extracted herself, her eyes rimmed red, but her face fierce. “I’m not an orphan!” She said loudly. “Mum’s still alive, and if I’m magic, I swear I’m going to invent a cure for her! Then she’ll remember me.”
James was quiet, and then he scooted around to sit next to Auralie. He reached for her hand, and she allowed him to take it.
“I’ll help you.”
A/N Aww, isn't James adorable?
Review, please tell me what you think. They really brighten my day.