Decided to take a look at some of my older one-off stories today and came across this one (originally written and posted in 2017) which had a couple of spelling errors in. Went to make the changes and ended up rewriting it, so much so that I thought it deserved a re-post.

... ...

WORLD: Little Tracy's

TITLE: RUNAWAY.

... ...

Virgil sat on the bed rifling through his rucksack filled with all of the essentials he would need. Snacks, a blanket, torch, and some pocket money he'd managed to save. Happy that everything was prepared, he grabbed his favourite bear, pushed it inside, then pulled the bag onto his back. He was ready, the clock had just struck Midnight… It was time to run away!

Quietly, he opened his door and peaked through the small gap. Everything was dark and quiet, except for his grandmas' snoring coming from her room. So, taking the opportunity he slipped into the hallway, and down the stairs, his heart immediately sinking when he saw the large bolt was pushed firmly across and locked. Virgil surveyed the lock with a frown, he had really been hoping it would have been unlocked, his father wasn't normally home from work until the early hours, unless… He spun himself around, half expecting his dad to be stood behind him. Thankfully, he wasn't there, and he heaved out a sigh of relief, before turning his attention back to the door.

Stepping backwards, he gazed up at the lock, searching his mind for ideas on what to do. His first option: Try and open it himself. However, Virgil knew that even when standing on his tiptoes he could not reach that latch. A scowl spread across his forehead, why did he have to be so short for his age? When his two older brothers had been 8, they were twice his size. Yes, they kept telling him he would be bigger and stronger one day, but he hadn't had his promised growth spurt yet. Releasing the frown, Virgil thought through his second option: Wait until morning, it was a Saturday, he could have his breakfast, and then slip out, but he wouldn't get very far, not when one of his brothers was always nearby. Third option: He could just leave it and go back to bed. His family would never know what he had intended to do. No, he had been planning this for too long, he'd decided tonight would be the night, it was now or never.

Determination to follow through regained, Virgil dumped his bag on the floor, and began looking around for something he could use to stand on. Maybe then he could reach that lock. Unable to spot anything useful, he made his way into the kitchen, picked up one of the chairs set next to the kitchen table, then carried it back into the hallway. After a short breath out to steady any nerves, he climbed onto it, then finding he still couldn't reach, he raised himself up onto his toes, his arm stretching up above his head. Finally, his fingers grasped onto the bolt, but his smile changed to a grimace when it would not budge. Refusing to give up now he was so close, Virgil tugged at it again, and this time it began to move, along with his chair, and himself… His eyes snapped shut, his body tensing as he began falling backwards. However, instead of hitting the cold hard floor, Virgil felt himself fall into someone's safe and strong arms. Slowly he opened his eyes, and blearily gazed into the eyes of his oldest brother… "Scotty?"

"Hey Virg, going on a trip?" Scott asked, indicating the rucksack which Virgil had placed next to the door.

"No… I just wanted some fresh air."

"Fresh air," Scott remarked, continuing to hold his brother tightly in his arms, "Virg, it's past midnight, if you needed fresh air then you could have opened your window. Besides, you definitely don't need to pack a bag to get fresh air."

Virgil looked away from Scott, knowing his brother had guessed what he was trying to do.

"Now, are you going to tell me why you are running away?"

"No," Virgil responded, still refusing to make eye contact.

"Okay," Scott replied, carrying his brother into the kitchen and sitting him down on a chair, "wait here please."

Virgil quietly watched his brother leave the room, then quickly return with the chair and his rucksack, before making his way to the fridge and taking out some milk.

"Now, I really fancy a hot chocolate. How about you?"

"Yes please."

"Okay, I'll make you a deal," Scott said placing a saucepan on the cooker, "tell me why you are running away, and I will make you the creamiest hot chocolate you've ever tasted."

Virgil looked down at the floor, he knew that his brother wouldn't stop hassling him until he told him, plus the thought of one of Scott's hot chocolates was too irresistible… "Okay."

Scott smiled, instantly setting to work at making both of their drinks, when he was finished, he placed the saucepan in the sink, and then ushered Virgil into the family room. As soon as they were both settled on the sofa with steaming mugs in their hands, Scott pressed the question again. "Now, what's going on Virg, why are you trying to run away?"

"I… I don't want to hurt dad anymore."

"Ah… How are you hurting dad?"

"Since mom died," Virgil felt a tear trickle down his face, "every time someone mentions how much I look like her, I can see that it upsets him… it makes him miss her more… He tries to hide it, but I can tell that it makes him cry, and I… I don't want to make him cry anymore."

"Come here," Scott whispered, placing his and Virgil's drink down before pulling him into a warm hug. "Dad loves you. Yes, he does get upset when he thinks about mom, we all do, but…"

"Virgil."

"Dad," Scott exclaimed, releasing his brother from his arms and looking towards the door," I…"

"It's okay son," Jeff returned, moving out of the doorway he'd been listening at and stepping into the room, "I heard what was said… Why don't you take your drink up to bed, I'll sort this one out."

"Okay."

Jeff ruffled Scott's hair on his way past, then once he had left the room, he sat down on the sofa and gently brought a pale worried looking Virgil into his arms. "Now, listen to me… Scott is right, I do love you and yes, I do get upset when I think about your mother, but that will change and eventually we will all smile when we remember her… I'm sorry if you've seen me getting upset when people say you look like her… Sometimes I do feel sad because it reminds me how much I miss seeing her smiling face, but then when I look at you and your brothers, I'm reminded that she will never be gone, because a part of her is in each one of you, and that makes me so happy… And I can tell you now, if you weren't here then I would be more upset, because not only would I be missing your mom, but I'd also be missing you… And even though you all fight like cats and dogs sometimes, I know your brothers would miss you as well."

"Really?" Virgil questioned wiping away his tears.

"Absolutely… Oh, and another thing… You may not have noticed but whenever you play the piano, or complete a new drawing or painting, the pride I feel for you is overwhelming."

"I thought it upset you when I played the piano and did any drawings because mom enjoyed them too."

"Is that why you've stopped playing recently?"

Virgil nodded.

"Oh son." Jeff sighed, as he pulled his son tighter in his arms. "Far from it… Please, please keep drawing, painting and creating music… It's who you are."

"I will."

"Now, please no more running away?"

"I promise."

"Good," Jeff whispered, gently rocking Virgil in his arms, "I love you son,"

Virgil breathed out wistfully, allowing his eyes to close. "Love you too daddy."