We continued to run. Finally, we stopped at a gas station, panting. “I’ll go change out of this loose uniform,” said Adhit, as he walked into a bathroom at the gas station. “Well, now what?” I asked.
“What do you mean?” asked Megan.
“I mean, the EIS is probably looking for us. Sure, we delayed them by knocking out the guys who saw us, but they’ll recover and tell the heads. And then, we’ll be screwed!”
“We could just run away from them again,” said Gabi.
“And what good would that do?” I snapped. “They’ll catch us! We don’t even know where the crap we are; let alone how to get anywhere!”
“Anita’s right,” said Howard. “We don’t know where we are. We don’t know where to go. We’re lost, dammit!”
“Well… we could take the bus… right?” asked Gabi.
“That’s how me and Adi were caught,” I said.
“Maybe if we’re really careful…?”
“Still. That’d never work.”
“If only someone had a driver’s license!” said Adhit, who had just come out of the bathroom. “Where should I keep this uniform?”
“Burn it,” said Gabi. We stared at her in surprise. “Hey, that’s my line!” said a glaring Jennifer.
“Sorry,” said Gabi. “I just hate those stupid guards! I guess you could just trash it or something, but that could be a hint for the EIS.”
“So, burning is a good idea,” said Adhit. “The only problem is how can we light this on fire?”
“We’ll deal with that later,” said Megan. “We have to figure out how to get out of here!”
“Hmmm… maybe the gas station has a map,” suggested Gabi.
“But then we’d need someone with a driver’s license,” said Adhit.
“Must we do this legally?” asked Jennifer.
“I’d rather avoid as much trouble with the law as humanly possible,” Adhit replied.
“Killjoy,” muttered Jennifer.
“Um, I happen to have a driver’s license…” said Howard, slowly.
“That’s great! Everything’s solved!” grinned Gabi.
“But we don’t have a car!” said Howard.
“I could obtain a car using certain… methods,” said Jennifer.
“Do these methods involve the original owner mysteriously disappearing?” I asked.
“Yes,” said Jennifer, “do you have a problem with that?”
“Like Adi said, I’d rather not get into trouble with the law,” I replied.
“Unfortunately, I think we’re going to have to,” remarked Howard. “How else can we get a car? Do any of you have any money?”
“Uh… I’ve got fifteen centisythers,” said Adhit.
“I’ve got twelve sythers, a button, and a mouse sticker,” said Megan.
“I’ve got… nuthin’,” said Gabi.
“Oh, come ON! You’ve the CMN of the Goddess of Prosperity! You have to have money!” said Adhit.
“I can’t make money out of thin air (though that would be nice)! My money that I earn myself causes the possessor of the money to be able to make money more easily! That’s all!” said Gabi. “Can’t Megan make a car or something?”
“Actually, I forgot how a car is made, so—” Megan was cut off by the vroom of a car engine. “Jennifer! Where did you get that car? And I thought you didn’t have a driver’s license!” said Megan.
“I don’t have one. And, well, I used those methods to obtain a car,” said Jennifer. She showed a severed head that was still bleeding at the bottom. “EW! Jennifer, I told you, we want to avoid as much trouble as possible!” said Adhit.
“Maybe you people do, but I don’t! Screw laws! And if you’re not using this car because it was ‘stolen,’ then fine! I’ll go off by myself and I’ll have fun breaking laws! Good riddance!” Jennifer yelled, and she drove off.
“That was weird,” said Gabi.
“It’s a good thing she did go. She was only complying with us because she could get out of the prison,” said Howard. “So, now how are we going to get to wherever the heck we’re going to go?”
“I’ll get a map,” said Megan. She went to the gas station building to retrieve a map while we lingered around the building, waiting for her. “I guess we’ll just have to walk,” I sighed.
“Ugh, why can’t we just take a taxi or something?” asked Adhit.
“If someone catches us?” asked Howard.
“Fine. You have a point,” said Adhit. After he said that, Megan returned with the map. “So, where to?” she asked.
“Hmmm, maybe... Eiatras? I know some people, er, well, yeah, people who live there and might be willing to take us in,” I suggested.
“Eiatras? You have to be kidding,” said Gabi. “I couldn’t live in that backwards place!”
“It is pretty far away, though, and the EIS hasn’t actually done anything in that city…” said Howard.
“Let’s go then!” said Adhit.
“What’s the best route?” asked Megan, blue marker appearing in her hand. She spread the map out on the concrete floor. We crowded around the map, kneeling or sitting on the concrete. “The most direct way would be preferred, but we ought to avoid Ycessrp. That’s the place where the disappearances of us Special Ones first appeared,” I said.
“So, we’ll go all the way to Meaihan [may-eye-han] and stop for the day, and then we’ll continue to Eiatras. That okay with everybody?” said Howard.
“Sounds like a plan to me,” I said.
“I’m totally fine with it!” said Gabi.
“Yep. That works,” said Megan.
“I’m fine with it if everyone else is fine with it,” said Adhit, shrugging.
Grrowl! “What was that?!” shrieked Megan.
“I think we ought to buy some food first,” said Gabi, laughing. “That growl came from Howie’s stomach!”
After packing food into our newly bought backpacks (which we had also found inside the gas station store), we started to Meaihan. I’d never walked so far — none of us had — so we ended up resting halfway between the city of the prison and Meaihan. “Why can’t we just take the bus for a little bit of the way?” whined Gabi. “I’m tired. And I’m hungry.”
“No, we can’t!” said Howard. “They might catch us!”
“Where are we, anyway?” asked Adhit. Megan looked at her map. “We’re at Anorklow [aa-nor-clou]. We’re only a quarter of the way to Eiatras! And it’s already two o’clock!” she said.
“We’re screwed,” I said. Everyone muttered their agreement. “Now, what do we do?” asked Howard.
“How about hitchhiking?” suggested Gabi. “The EIS can’t just barge into a private vehicle! Now, they can’t barge into a bus either, technically, but… why would they break into a private car?”
“Could we all fit into a car?” asked Howard.
“Probably not, but we could all definitely fit into a van!” said Megan, pointing excitedly to a white minivan that was approaching us. She stuck her thumb up and waved it frantically. The van screeched to a halt. The front right door opened to reveal a short and slim brunette with shoulder-length hair. “What are a couple of kids like you doing out here all alone?” asked the woman.
“Um, we got lost on…” Adhit hesitated.
“Our school field trip!” I finished. “We were supposed to go on the bus, but we missed it.”
“We were late to school! What a horrible day to be late!” exclaimed Howard. “We’re supposed to go to Eiatras for a history field trip. It would have been so much fun!”
“Could you please, possibly take us to Eiatras, maybe, if you can, ma’am?” asked Gabi. “I hope we’re not too much of a bother!”
“That’s fine with me!” grinned the woman. “I’m Maria, by the way. You don’t have to keep calling me ‘ma’am.’ So, where in Eiatras do you want me to drop you?”
“Right by Ye Old Bookstore, please,” said Megan.“That’s fine by me,” said Maria. “Climb aboard.”