"A teen -- who is regularly abused by her stepfather -- runs away to find her birth father, whom she hasn't seen in years."
Nicole peers out the second story bedroom window, and sees the two bursts of light from the flashlight, signaling the “all clear.” Slowly, she opens the window, carefully places her overstuffed backpack onto the roof, and climbs out. She had practiced this for the last two weeks in anticipation of this night.
Quietly moving to the edge, she tosses her bag into the grass. Wincing at the loud thud it makes as it lands, she stills herself for a moment, listening intently for her stepfather, Chris’ booming voice asking, “What the hell is going on?”
All is calm, and Nicole breathes a sigh of relief, descending the trellis, taking care to place her feet exactly where she had previously established would hold her weight. Once at the bottom, she snatches up the backpack, and haphazardly flings it onto her back, darting down the road to the waiting vehicle at the end of the street.
Jumping into the passenger seat, she slams the door shut, as her boyfriend, Trey, puts the car in gear and starts the two day drive east. It was the first step in her journey to find her father. Nicole had not seen him in six years, not since her mother had remarried, and they had left their home outside bustling DC to move to BFE Iowa. Nicole’s mother and Chris had made it so difficult for her to maintain a relationship with her father, and Nicole eventually lost touch with him. Now, at sixteen, she was determined to find him, and reestablish herself in his life.
She was sure he would put an end to the “discipline” her stepfather insisted she endure. His quick temper, and quicker fists, had beaten her down physically and mentally. At first it had seemed he was truly angry at her; but for the last couple of years, Nicole was convinced that man was just plain angry at everyone and everything.
Placing her head against the car window, she watches the silhouettes of silos and farmhouses pass by, and imagines how her father will look after all this time.