Sunday Excerpt 6
In this scene, Alexis recounts her reasons for hating Leonidas as she leaves her small town on the way to the Greyhound Bus Station in Dalton, Georgia.
Alexis looked out the window of the taxi, more to hide her face from the driver, then to look at scenery. She wondered if Leonidas had left a mark on her throat and tried to look at her reflection in the glass. She only saw the North Georgia Medical Center as the taxi sped out of town along Main Street. She turned to look out the left window as they drove past the Gilmer County fairgrounds, her anger and hurt still burning her cheeks. An angry heat rose again in her as she remembered the first time Leonidas had shown his true nature. She was just eight years old and at the apple festival with her parents. She remembered it as a time when everything was true and innocent, a time when she still enjoyed her secret identity, and felt like she was a kind of superhero, hiding her powers from the normal, unassuming humans. That was, until Leonidas found her waiting in a line at a concession stand, threw her to the ground, and took the money her parents had given her. He beat her up on many more occasions as they grew up, and did much worse to some of the other girls in the pack.
Alexis finally began to relax as the taxi crossed the bridge over the Coosawattee river, where main street turned into State highway five, and the little town of Ellijay gave way to the great expanse of farmland and wilderness. The sun sat low in the sky and harsh light came through the front windshield forcing the taxi driver to flip his visor down. Alexis continued to look blindly out her window into the blur of trees and fields. She wasn't sure where she was going besides Atlanta, or when, if ever, she would return to Ellijay, but just getting away was good enough for now.
By the time Alexis saw the sign announcing her taxi had reached the Resaca city limit the sun had disappeared below the horizon. The meter attached to the dash was already above ninety dollars as the taxi driver turned right onto Highway forty-one, leaving Resaca behind for more open fields. The occasional flash of headlights from oncoming cars dwindled until they became only a slight interruption within miles of darkness.
"Looks like you're in luck," the taxi driver said as he turned the car into the parking lot of a Pilot Travel Center Truck Stop that seemed like it grew out of nowhere. Parked along the side of a large McDonald's parking lot, Alexis saw lights reflecting off of a big Greyhound bus.
"Is that the bus to Atlanta?" Alexis pointed at the window before realizing the taxi driver was not looking at her.
"Gotta be," the driver slowed the car and pushed a button on the meter, showing her total fee. "It only runs twice a week, from here to Atlanta."
Alexis shoved her credit card forward before the taxi even made a complete stop, worried the bus might pull away any second. She did not care how much the ride cost, at this point, she was willing to max out her parent's credit card to get away from the oppression of Ellijay, her pack, and Leonidas. She looked over at the bus and saw a line of passengers forming by the door. "Go to that big building behind the McDonald's," he said, as he pointed to a building that looked like a garage, standing lonely in a vast sea of dirt and gravel.
Alexis snatched the card out of the driver's hand, tossed four twenty dollar bills to the front. "Can we keep this fare to ourselves?" The driver smiled and nodded his agreement.
"Thanks again," she yelled back as she turned on her heel and ran toward the building.
The driver was standing outside the doors checking passengers for tickets. So, She decided to go for the direct approach and buy her ticket from the driver. She pushed through the twelve or so passengers to ask the driver if she could purchase the ticket from him.
“Sorry Miss, were not set up like that.” The driver shrugged his shoulders. “You’ll have to get your ticket from the office.”
Alexis shook her arms in frustration before bolting toward the office, trying desperately to hold her run down to normal human speed.
"Hurry up, though. I can't hold the bus very long," the driver yelled to her, as she ran toward the building, waving her credit card at the man in the window.
Alexis made it onto the bus and showed her ticket to the driver with a weak smile. She found a seat near the back of the bus and looked out the window into the darkness as the bus pulled onto the road, and almost immediately onto the on ramp of Interstate Seventy-Five. She smiled to herself as the bus merged into the far right lane of the road. The roadway was dark, made even darker through the tinted windows of the bus and only sparsely traveled, an occasional set of headlights reflecting across the shiny blacktop the only indication a populated world beyond the bus interior. She felt a weight lifting off her shoulders as she mentally left her old life behind. She had no idea what the future would bring, but it had to be better than her past. The darkness and the movement of the bus was relaxing. Alexis scooted down in her seat and let the swaying motion sooth her. She closed her eyes and drifted into sleep.