It had had been some time since she had been in contact with anyone she could really call family. Destiny had always felt like she was on the outside looking in, but this time, she was done! Her parents had trampled on her last nerve, so without much thought for where she was headed, Destiny set off for parts unknown. Not having done this before, she was totally unprepared for what was to transpire.
All the movies she had watched told her that it was easy as sticking out your thumb & she had noted as well, some of the horrors involved, but as it happened, Destiny did a lot of walking before someone finally slowed down for her signal, pulled off the highway & stooped about fifty yards ahead of her. As she walked toward the waiting vehicle, she found herself hoping against hope that it wasn't someone her parents knew: she was NOT going back there!
As she approached the van ( as it turned out, her salvation turned out to be one of those windowless vans ), she heard a female voice ask, 'where ya headed?' 'As far from here as possible', was her first thought, but it came out as, 'the next big town is fine!' When Destiny had situated herself fairly comfortably in the bare passenger seat & fastened her seat-belt, her savior put the vehicle back in gear & eased onto the freeway. Gaining speed, the van was pretty noisy for a bit & even seemed to vibrate a bit. Finally, they got up to speed, the noise lessened & the vibrations seemed to smooth out.
BethEl ( that was the driver's name ) looked over at Destiny & asked her very bluntly, 'what are you running away from?' Destiny, to say the least, was a bit taken aback by this blatant query. 'Oh, just trying new things, ya know', she replied, as casually & flippantly as she could. She was only 15, after all ( well, okay, almost ), but she felt like she was missing out on something big in the little community she had been born into. As BethEl continued to make light, though careful conversation, Destiny's mind wandered back over the events that had led up to this 'final' decision.
Destiny's parents were Christians in the strictest sense of the word. She was never allowed to do any of the extra-curricular activities offered by the public school she was forced to attend. Of course, this made her a very dull girl, not well liked by the overwhelming majority of her schoolmates. Because she was forbidden to take part in these ( mostly ) harmless events, Destiny got a regular ribbing from many of these mean children, the girls especially. As she developed into her teenage years, it only got worse; more & more hurtful things were said & done to her, till she felt she had no other choice.
Up until the day when Destiny's parents had made the fateful decision to enroll her in the local public, otherwise known as 'government' school, though her parents had always been rather strict, now, Destiny felt suffocated by their rigidity. While she was at school, she tasted, to some degree, the freedom that she knew was available, if only she could break free of her parents stranglehold. She obeyed her parents ( for the most part ), not partaking in the freedom that she saw her classmates enjoying. Destiny resented this & thus begin to form a plan to escape her personal 'hell'.
On the night in question, the night in which this new chapter began to unfold, Destiny's parents had been called away to the big city for a family emergency. Destiny, because of her recent good behavior, had been able to convince them to allow her to remain at home by herself. With instructions to keep the doors & windows locked at all times, her parents left Destiny feeling somewhat of the freedom that she knew was just beyond her grasp.
Half an hour after her parents left, Destiny had pretty much gathered everything she thought she would need ( within reason ), so it was well into the evening hours, just as dusk started to settle in, that she set out on her first venture. It was a fair hike, on several country roads, before Destiny finally reached the lonely highway. Even the highway didn't seem to offer much at first, till finally, her efforts finally paid off & she was able to flag down a passing motorist.
BethEl had met Destiny's parents about a month before the night in question, but, as the meetings were for parents alone, she had never met Destiny before. From the casual description she had gleaned, BethEl was pretty certain well before they crossed the state line that she was aiding & abetting a fugitive. She felt for the young girl, remembering her own struggles growing up in a fundamentalist family, but BethEl knew that she had to do something to keep this one from leaving the nest too early.
While BethEl kept up the conversation, however lightly, she had slowly & almost imperceptibly eased up on the accelerator. As the vehicle slowly lost momentum, the shaking returned until it felt to Destiny as if her world was coming apart at the seams. BethEl apologized for the shakiness as she continued to slow the vehicle's forward motion & finally pulled off to the side of the highway .When the vehicle had come to a complete stop, BethEl moved the gear-lever into 'Park', pulled out her cell-phone & on the pretense of opening the hood, stepped out of the van. As she busied herself at the front of the vehicle, BethEl sent a quick text to Destiny's parents concerning her recent activities. After sending the short missive, she made a fake call to a 'mechanic'.
Destiny's savior got back into the van as she neared the end of her 'fake' conversation, telling Destiny that they might have to look for a motel in the next town, since the van would need repairs before going much further. As the hour was fairly late & she was tired anyway, Destiny agreed to the motel stay. She wasn't looking forward to traveling through the night anyway & the roof over her head, along with a good, clean, though strange, bed, sounded good to her. After an uneventful night, Destiny awoke to find her hopes for escape dashed, as her parents had responded to BethEl's call & driven through the night to retrieve their little girl.
Though Destiny was unsuccessful in her first attempt, she determined to persevere. Jacob & Sarah got their little girl back & deducing why she had run, Destiny's parents seemed to ease her heavy load for a time, attempting to show her how much she was loved. It seemed to work for a couple years, but then Destiny tried it again, making it even further away. Again, Fate ( or whatever you want to call It ) seemed to intervene & Destiny was returned, all but kicking & screaming to the fold.
Little did Destiny know that all she was doing was part of a greater plan, a plan that was unfolding with each step she took. Her journey would be fraught with danger, toil, hardship & pain, but she knew that if she stayed where she was, her spirit would quickly be snuffed out.
Charles Haddon Shank