Autumn ran as fast as she could. The rustling sound her feet made as they smacked through the dry blades of grass became louder and louder as the sounds of her shouting father trailed further and further behind.
At the age of sixteen, Autumn was much faster than her half a century old, out of shape father. There was no way he could ever catch up to her. Especially with the bum knee he received only moments ago when she struck it with the fireplace poker.
She knew there was no turning back. Not this time. Her father had gone too far. It wasn’t the drinking or constant screaming and berating she received night after night that forced her to leave. It wasn’t even the beatings he gave her that often followed those times. All of those things she had learned to tolerate—even ignore sometimes. But if there was one thing she would not allow, it was to have her innocence and virginity incestuously taken from her.
With a mother too afraid to protect herself, let alone her only offspring, Autumn realized she had no choice. Leaving was her only option. And leaving meant she could never return. Having done what he tried to do to her, and knowing it was wrong, her father vowed to kill her if she ever said anything. Autumn knew that by remaining silent, she would ultimately be giving him permission to try again.
She would never allow him to try again. Never.
As she continued to run, her father’s screams and shouts soon became nothing more than harsh whispers floating on the wind. For all she knew, it could have been crows or some other animal that made the now distant sounds. She couldn’t bring herself to turn around and look. Not because she was afraid to see her abusive, pedophile father, but because she knew she was leaving behind her home and the farm she grew up on. She was leaving behind the animals she had spent her entire life caring for and loving. And she was leaving behind her best friend, Becky—her beloved mare.
She knew that Becky would never receive the care and love she needed without her. Her father hated Becky and constantly threatened Autumn to “butcher the damn thing.” It was another reason she had tolerated her father’s abuse for as long as she had.