Loopholes, Chapter 16

Previous chapters: 1, 2, 3, 4567, 891011, 12, 13, 14, 15.) (And ©!)

The bus station was right where he’d said it would be. And even when you’re maybe disappearing and you don’t know where your mother is, there are few things in the world better than a Hershey bar with almonds. The soft, sweet, bendy chocolate! The snap of the almonds! Excellent. I ate one chocolate bar and followed it up with cold, foamy chocolate milk. I felt like I was finally figuring out how to do this.

I pulled open the door to the bus station and walked in. It wasn’t a big huge place like at home. There were just a few benches with tired-looking people on them, and one ticket window with a line of about five people, with a policeman at the front of it, talking to the ticket lady. I got on the back of the line, enjoying my chocolate bar, until I noticed something: The policeman was still talking to the ticket lady. And he wasn’t buying a ticket.

I got a bad feeling.

Except why would police be looking for me? They didn’t care about detention, did they?

But I couldn’t make the bad feeling go away. It stayed right there in my gut, like it was the truth.

Slowly, slowly, I took a step towards the door, looking around like I was a traveler like anybody else, who just happened to be walking out of the station instead of into it. I was so casual, nobody would believe how casual I seemed. Until I noticed a second police officer, standing at the far end of the waiting room. He wasn’t just standing there, he was looking at everyone carefully. That’s when I ran.

“Juan!” the police officer yelled, and the one at the counter turned, and I ran even faster, tearing out of the station and down the street, dodging other people plus two baby carriages, dashing around a corner. I heard shouts behind me, and running, and I wished I had even once tried to get good at the 100-yard dash in gym but there was no chance now.

I turned another corner, out of breath and panting in huge dry gasps, my heart hammering inside me. “Go around the side!” someone yelled, and I knew I was going to get cut off. So I just grabbed the door handle of the next store, flung it open, and threw myself in, sprawling onto the floor with my eyes shut. Then I waited for them to grab me.


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