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Nika and Harper put their packed bags in the trunk, sobbing, begging to not go, but it was no use, and they piled into the car. Their Aunt Lisa, in tears as well, got into the driver’s seat and turned on the engine. Nika, thirteen, and Harper, eleven, had lived with their dad since Nika was six because their mom went to rehab and their parents got divorced, so their dad got full custody. Six months ago, their dad developed a tumor and got really sick, then passed away two weeks ago. The girls were devastated when their father died and it was really hard on them, but to make matters worse, they now need to live with their mom who’s fresh out of rehab. They assumed they’d live with their Aunt Lisa who they would see multiple times a week and was most like a mother figure to them, but the law stated that if anything were to happen to their father, their mother would get custody.  After a two hour car ride of tears, they pulled up to what was apparently their mom’s house. It was an old beaten up house that appeared to be really small. It only had two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a kitchen and living area that were practically the same room. Their aunt helped them unload their luggage and bring it to the front door. They heard TV static from inside as they knocked on the door, then after waiting for longer than they probably should have, their mom opened the door. She stumbled out and used one hand to grab the door frame and the other to hold her cigarette. She reeked of alcohol and smoke and looked as if she hadn’t showered in days. Their mom, whose name was Sarah, and Lisa began talking while Nika and Harper walked down the dusty hallway towards their rooms. Once they got to the end they discovered that it was just one room, one room with two beds, one small room with two beds. The room was dirty and the shelves in the closet looked like they were about to break so they left everything on the ground. The beds were hard and the pillows seemed cheap. Nika and Harper knew they definitely wouldn’t enjoy their time here. A week later Nika and Harper, who didn’t know how they managed to survive a week with her, were in the back seat of Sarah’s car. They pulled into a gas station and Sarah gave the girls some money to get something from inside. The two hopped out of the car and walked into the the gas station store. As they opened the door the bell above it rang and they entered the store and searched the aisles for some snacks. About ten minutes later after they got their feist of sorts. As Nika paid, Harper looked out the window and said, “Wait where is she?”

“One second!” Nika responded. After dealing with the money she turned to the window to look for the car, but she didn’t see it either. The hurried out the door and ran over to the gas pump they were at, but no one was there. They ran over to the road and looked down both ways, but still there was no sign of the car. They waited outside for thirty minutes waiting to see if maybe she’s comeback… She didn’t. After waiting for so long, Nika realized that their mom definitely wasn’t going to coming back anytime soon, at least not on her own. They walked back inside the store and asked if they had a phone. The cashier said that they had a pay phone in the back. Once they approached it, Nika realized that they didn’t know her number and started thinking of who they should call instead.

“Call the cops!” Harper exclaimed. Nika began punching in the numbers when she had a thought; if they call the cops they’ll just have to go back and live with their mom, but if they find their way back to Aunt Lisa’s house, then hey can just stay with her. As the phone started to ring, Nika slammed the phone down, grabbed Harper by the arm, and ran out the door. She told Harper the plan and Harper agreed. They didn’t know where they were our how they’d get back, but they assumed they could figure it out. Nika went back inside and asked if they had maps, and the cashier gave her a small free one. She asked where they were and he pressed his finger down. She said thank you and ran back outside. Nika somewhat figured out where they were and concluded that they have to go right. They began walking and munching on their snacks until it got dark. They realized they need somewhere to sleep so they began walking towards a motel they saw in the distance. They hid behind a bush and tried to figure out how they were going to get a room when they only had five dollars. As they sat there, they saw a man in room 19 exit his room and get in his car. He didn’t have his luggage and looked nicely dressed so they figured he wouldn’t be back soon. He was tall with dark brown hair and had a red car. Nika and Harper walked inside to go get a room. “Can we have an extra key card for room 19 pleasee?” Nika asked.

“I’m sorry but someone’s already staying there.” The lady responded.

“Yeah I know, that’s our dad,” Nike said, “we’re staying with him.”

“Nicholas Johnson?” She asked.

“Yes, the tell one with the dark brown hair,” Nika responded, “and the red car.” The lady agreed and handed her another key card. They girls entered the room and it was decently clean. They first took showers because they weren’t sure when they’d be able to do that again. They then began getting ready to sleep. Harper slept in the bed while Nika slept up against the door incase he came back. Hours later, Nika heard a car pull up. She jumped up and shook Harper awake. They ran to the bathroom that was in the back of the room. As he opened they girls were in the process of climbing on top of the toilet ad out the back window. Harper went first and as Nika began to climb through they heard a voice asked hello. She jumped through the window just as they heard the bathroom door open. Once she hit the ground they began running. They ran right out of the parking lot and around the corner. Though it was early, they got a good amount of sleep so they decided to just keep walking. A few hours later they got hungry and found a gas station. They were going to see what they could buy with five dollars when a man left his wallet on the pump and walked inside the store. Nika sprinted over and opened the wallet, she found two twenties and a five so she took it, put the wallet back, and ran. No one noticed them, so they just continued to go into the store and buy food. After they bought it they went on a another boring day of walking. That night they found another motel and were lucky enough to find a room the cleaning lady left open by mistake. They went through the same process the next day up until nightfall. They walked up to a motel as they usually did. This time there was a family unpacking their car and they were all inside their room. Nika went a grabbed a pillow from the back of the car and ran. This time they could only find an unlocked shed and slept there. The next day they got up and Harper said that she didn’t want to walk anymore. She was tired and sore and didn’t want to walk. Nika said fine and figured that they could hitchhike, they’d go a lot further that way. An hour later, there they were at the side of the rode with their thumbs out. After awhile a semi truck finally pulled over. The nice lady told them to hop on in. Very concerned, she asked them how old they were and why they were hitchhiking. Nika told her the whole story since Harper was always more quiet. The lady was quiet, obviously deeply thinking. They rest of the ride was silent until  two hours later when the lady said she had to pullover. She got out of the car and went inside the building as the girls waited inside. She didn’t come back for a long while. A long time later, they looked out the windshield and saw cop cars coming and the lady walked back out. Nika struggled to get out of the car and run, but wasn’t fast enough, the lady grabbed the two of them and they stayed in the car. They later told the cops everything and they sat with a blanket while everyone else was trying to figure out their whole situation. Even longer later, their Aunt Lisa came driving up in tears.

“What were you thinking?” She asked.

“We just wanted to be with you” Nika said. Two months later they girls are living with their Aunt Lisa because their mom lost custody after this horrible incident.

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