" I don't care what you think Star, all i care about is clearing your name and getting out of this mess. Oh, and you're on dinner duty. " Panther stalked out onto the porch, the rickety screen door slamming behind him. Part of the torn screen flapped pathetically as it shut. I sighed, shakily, and opened a random draw, looking for tape. Flies was something that i did not need in my life right now. I swore as my hands encountered nothing but stiffly folded napkins, but the word sounded odd coming out of my mouth, weak and meaningless. It was something Panther would say, not me. He had, in fact, been swearing 24/7, ever since the incident had happened. Being on the run wasn't exactly top of my to do list, either, but we had no choice. We couldn't go back, not now. Police and rodots would be swarming all over the place, searching for us, armed to the teeth with laser guns and electric whips and whatever else they'd managed to come up with since we'd gone. The acrid smell of burning suddenly filled the room, and i rushed to the oven, pulling on oven gloves and hurriedly opening the door. I emerged with a thoroughly burnt chicken, trailing wisps of dark grey smoke. I swore again. Nothing worked in this house, which was one that we had found a couple of days ago, situated in the wide open countryside, surrounded by fields and patches of forest. It seemed to belong to an old lady, judging by the abundant flowery patterns, china plates adoring the walls, doily's, and a set of records complete with an ancient gramophone. The old lady was probably on vacation, or had died and no one had noticed. I shivered at the thought of finding her body in a cobwebby closet, and made a mental note not to open any suspicious ones.
I heard Panther moving outside on the porch and knew that by the sound of his footsteps we was angry and frustrated. I inwardly cringed. I hated it, hated this lifestyle of running and hiding, hated the empty look in his eyes that was sometimes there when he looked at me,accusing,and distant. I knew he loathed being stuck with me, performing ongoing older brother duties and having to hide with his wimpy little younger sister just because she had been wrongly accused of murder. I sighed and called out to Panther.
" Dinner time! " There was a pause before he came in and sat down, wrinkling his nose at the burnt chicken.
" Well, not everyone can be an excellent cook like you. " I told him, cutting off a hunk and dumping it unceremoniously on his plate. He delicately poked it with his fork, peeling off the crusty skin.
" So, what do we do now? " I regretted speaking the words as soon as they left my mouth. Like he didn't have enough to deal with. His eyes darkened, and he looked tired. "
" I don't know Star, i don't know. We're just trying to avoid the police for as long as we can. And somehow find mom. " Mom. She had fought off the police while we had ran. She had surely been taken prisoner(i refused to believe that anything worse that that had happened), but where was she? She could be anywhere in the world. An awkward silence followed Panther's statement, falling thickly around us like a blanket of snow. The minutes dragged by, broken only by a hesitant crunch crunch as i chewed my chicken,and the heavy ticking of the big wooden cuckoo clock that hung above the stove. Panther suddenly stood up, pushing his uneaten portion of food away.
" I'm going to bed. If you hear anything outside that sounds suspicious, wake me. Don't bother for a nightmare. " He disappeared up the stairs. I sighed and cleared up, then followed him. My lack of appetite had been filled with tiredness, and i felt the sudden need to get some rest. I had gotten the smaller one of the two rooms, a plain space with unblemished white walls, a dusty closet, and a tiny window framed by frilly white lace curtains. I curled
up on the stiff bed, fully clothed in the muddy attire i had escaped in, and soon drifted into a not quite peaceful oblivion.