Somehow, I managed to sneak my way onto a subway. I had no idea where it was taking me but I knew I had to get as far away as possible.
When I got to the subway station, I was in a bright, sunny place. It didn’t look anything like the gloomy, foggy Moonlight Falls.
I took a seat outside on the bench outside the station. My feet hurt, I was tired as hell and I hadn’t eaten since the day before. For a split second, I felt like breaking down. My entire life had been uprooted in one night, I was technically homeless now, and I had no plan whatsoever.
But I didn’t break down. I know that Nutmeg would want me to be strong, she’d want me to get through this.
So I picked myself up off that bench and started walking. The only way I would get somewhere is if I started going.
*A few hours later*
It took me a while, but I finally made it into town. I found a park in the middle of everything, so I decided to stop there and rest.
I saw a swing-set and decided to rest there. Hawk and I spent hours on our swing-set when we were young, and maybe sitting on it would help me feel a little better.
As I sat down, I noticed someone around my age making their way over to me. Immediately I got nervous, I was in an entirely new place and I didn’t exactly have great social skills.
“Hey, you look a little lost. Are you alright?” They said as they took the swing next to me.
“A little. I’m not from around here.” I admitted.
“Well I’ve lived here my whole life, I’ll be glad to show you around. I’m Pepper, by the way.”
“You look really familiar.” Pepper said, squinting slightly. “Are you…?”
“The ‘princess’?” I asked, using air quotes. Pepper nodded. “Yea I guess. But I prefer just being a regular guy.”
“So you’re trans?” I nodded. “Cool, I am too.”
“Woah, really?” I was amazed, I’d never met another transgender person before.
“Yea. Is that why you’re here?” He asked.
“Sorta. Lots of shit went down at home. I had to get out.”
“I understand. I don’t live at home anymore either. My parents kicked me out, they didn’t want a ‘queer’ kid.”
“Where do you live?” I asked, hoping I wasn’t being rude.
“Do you have a place to stay tonight?” He ignored my question and I shook my head. “Then I’ll show you where I live, and you can stay there too.”
“Really? You don’t even know me.”
“I know, but I know how hard it is. You shouldn’t be alone out here. Especially considering who you are. I bet people are looking for you.”
“Yea, probably.” I muttered, suddenly extremely aware of how out in the open I was.
“C’mon, let’s go. Just keep in mind that it’s not a castle.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll just be happy to have somewhere to sleep.” I smiled at him.
“That I can do for you. Also, I’ll get you some different clothes, and a pair of shoes.” He said, looking down at my bare feet.
“I’m sorry it’s so junkyardish. This is the bad part of town, but it’s the only park that doesn’t kick out homeless people. They also have bathrooms and showers, so that’s pretty nice.” He explained as we arrived.
“This is the last place anyone would ever look for me. It’s perfect.”
“Awesome. I have a couple friends that live here too, I’ll introduce you.” He offered and I followed him as he led me towards them.
He brought me behind the building, to where a little camp was set up. Two teenagers around our age were sitting and talking.
“Hey guys, this is Thorn. He’s trans and he doesn’t have anywhere to stay, so I invited him to stay with us.”
“Hi Thorn.” The girl with red hair smiled shyly.
“That’s Rose, she’s trans too. She’s also really shy.” Pepper explained.
“Hey, I’m Jean. I’m not trans but I’m super gay. Got kicked out a few months ago when my parents caught me with a girl.” Jean explained.
“Hi guys, nice to meet you.” I smiled.
“Well, I’m gonna help Thorn clean up, Jean can you find an extra sleeping bag for him?” Pepper asked.
“Of course.” Jean pulled herself off the ground and walked over to the boxes behind Pepper and I.
“I’ll show you the shower, then I’ll find you some clothes.” Pepper explained as he led me towards the bathrooms.
“How do they fit?” Pepper asked, as I was in the stall changing into the clothes he brought for me.
“How do I look?” I asked with a smirk.
“Like a different person. The beanie really helps, you’re hair is pretty unique.”
After we finished in there, we went outside to join the other two. They had gotten out an extra sleeping bag for me, which I was very grateful for.
“Thank you guys for being so welcoming. I’ve never had this many friends before.”
“Of course, we gotta help our own. Us LGBT kids gotta stick together.” Jean replied.
“LGBT?” I asked, I’d never heard the term before.
“It means Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender.” Pepper explained.
“So, you’re trans but you’ve never heard that term before?” Jean asked.
“Yea, I grew up really sheltered. I knew I was trans before I even knew the word for it. The only reason I knew the word was because of my nanny.” I said, clenching my fists at the reminder of Nutmeg.
“Nanny? Geez, you must have an interesting story.”
“I guess you could say that.” I chuckled.
“So, let’s hear it.” Pepper prompted. So I told them. Everything, from realizing I was trans, to Hawk falling in love with me, to the events of last night.
“Woah. That is one hell of a story.” Jean shook her head. “I’m sorry you had to go through that.”
“Thanks, but I think it can only go up from here. I’m out of that place, I’m free.”
“That’s very true.” Pepper smiled. “I’m glad you have a positive attitude, this can be hard without one.”
“What’s your story, Rose?” I asked, she had barely said a word since I got here. Pepper wasn’t lying about her being shy.
“Basically, my dad came home early one night and found me in a dress and makeup. He beat the shit out of me and kicked me out. My mom’s dead so I didn’t really have anywhere to go. Luckily I knew Pepper from school and he and I came here.”
“I’m sorry, that’s rough.”
When it started to get a little darker, they built a fire and started to roast marshmellows.
“Sorry we don’t have anything substantial, it’s hard to keep food out here.” Jean apologized.
“Oh I don’t mind, marshmallows are my favorite.” I grabbed a stick and a marshmallow and held it over the fire.
“So Thorn, what do you do for fun?” Pepper asked.
“Um, I really like painting. And video games. Oh, working out too.”
“Oh cool. We’ve got a gym membership, we usually just use it for the showers and the food but you’re welcome to use it.” Jean offered.
“You guys have a gym membership?”
“Yea, it’s just ten dollars a month and its totally worth it. The showers are a lot nicer than ours.” Pepper explained.
“How do you guys make money?” I was curious, how did they survive?
“We usually find salvageable things in the junkyard and sell them at the pawn shop next door.” Rose pointed towards the building behind her.
“Thorn, can I ask you a question?” Rose asked, hesitantly.
“Do you know your family history?”
“Um, not really. Why?”
“Because, your family is like a huge part of the history classes at our schools. If you’d like, I wouldn’t mind telling you a little bit about your history.” She blushed slightly.
“Wow, that would be great. But not right now, I’m pretty exhausted.” I chuckled.
“Of course. We should probably get to sleep.” Rose suggested.
Jean and Rose immediately bundled up in their sleeping bags while Pepper put out the fire. I made a trip to the bathroom before coming out for bed.
“Are you doing alright?” Pepper whispered when I came back outside.
“Yea, thank you guys for being so kind.” I smiled at him.
“Of course. Goodnight Thorn.”
Within seconds, I was fast asleep.