Runaway Twin

Runaway Twin by Peg Kehret

Book: Runaway Twin by Peg Kehret Read Free Book Online
Authors: Peg Kehret
have removed the money before they brought it here. No one would ever have known. But they didn’t take my money. They brought the backpack here and left it with the contents intact, hoping the owner would find it. And I did.
    I took Snickers’s leash out of my backpack and snapped it on his collar. Then I removed the belt and took it back to the woman in the food van.
    â€œThanks for the loan,” I told her.
    She smiled. “Anytime.”
    The backpack gave me fresh hope and determination. Nothing could stop me now. I had survived a tornado!

13
    T he next morning, as Snickers and I ate scrambled eggs and toast, with orange juice for me and dog biscuits for him, I saw Zooman and Hunker waiting in line for food. I wondered what they would do if they saw me. Probably they’d complain that Snickers was a vicious dog who had tried to attack them.
    I turned my back to them and positioned myself between them and Snickers so they wouldn’t notice him. He’s definitely a one-of-a-kind dog; if they saw him, they’d recognize him.
    A white van with green lettering on the side pulled in to the parking area, and a man with a large video camera got out. I heard him introduce himself as the reporter for a TV station. “We’re doing a feature story on heroes of the tornado,” he said.
    Remembering what Jake had told me about the media wanting to find the girl who had helped Randy, I decided it was time to move on. Keeping my face turned away from Zooman and Hunker, I led Snickers inside and went back to our cot.
    Many of the people who had slept at the shelter had already gone. Some had been picked up by friends or relatives; others had left on foot or had hitched a ride with a volunteer. Everyone was eager to return to their homes to survey the damage.
    Although the food was tasty, and the cot comfortable enough, I knew I needed to leave before any questions were asked about where I lived, and before Zooman and Hunker caused trouble.
    I folded my blanket and put my pillow on top of it. We had all been instructed to sign out when we left permanently so that anyone searching for us would know we weren’t coming back to the shelter. I didn’t need to do that. No one would come here looking for Kaitlyn Smith, or for Sunny Skyland.
    I waited until the woman at the entry table was engaged in a conversation with someone else, then I added my blanket and pillow to a stack that was already started, and walked out the door. Zooman and Hunker were at the food station, receiving their breakfasts. I quickly went around to the back of the building, passed a chugging generator, and headed into town.
    Snickers seemed to have recovered from his blow to the head. The lump was barely noticeable. Although he still walked as if his joints needed oiling, he apparently felt okay. I decided it wouldn’t be necessary to find a veterinarian, after all. What I needed to find was transportation to Washington State.
    An hour later I saw restaurants, motels, and other businesses ahead. As I neared the edge of town, lights suddenly came on in all the buildings.
    While I waited at a traffic light, a taxi idled in the street beside me, giving me a new idea.
    I waved for the cab to pull over. The driver, a man about Rita’s age, looked as if he should do more walking and less driving. His cheeks were chubby and his ample stomach barely fit behind the steering wheel. His face had laugh lines, and he smiled as he said, “Where to, Miss?”
    â€œHow much would you charge to drive me to Washington?” I asked.
    The smile turned to a scowl. “Don’t play games, kid,” he said as he looked over his left shoulder, preparing to pull away.
    â€œWait!” I cried. “I’m serious!”
    Looking skeptical, he stayed at the curb. “Where do you want to go?” he asked.
    â€œEnumclaw, Washington.”
    â€œWashington State?”
    â€œYes.” I fished my map out of my

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