• Lesly crouched low in the tall, damp grass. She could feel Mira shivering beside her. Finally the two glowing headlights were past them, illuminating the raindrops in front of them.
    "Come on Mira," Lesly said as she slowly, painfully, got up. The awful belt-beating she had gotten the day before by her alcoholic parents. She could see Mira struggling to stand as well.
    "We gotta get to town 'fore Mama and Daddy realize we're gone."
    Lesly looked at Mira's pitiful sunken face, which was streaked with tears and rain.
    It had been Lesly's idea to run. Mira didn't want to stay with their parents by herself. She was a clever girl, and she knew that once they realized Lesly was gone they would take their anger out on her, beating her with a belt and locking her in her room (if you could call it a room-it was hardly bigger than a coat closet) without food for days on end. Lesly was all she had. And she wasn't going to lose her.
    Mira let Lesly wrap her arm around her shoulder, as they walked on the wet black asphalt, contemplating what was going to happen next.