Bound by Consequences by Ryan Michele

Prologue





Cyrus





My hands shook in the dark room, and my pulse raced. Nervous? No. Try absolutely terrified. So much so, my throat threatened to close and stop my breaths. This was it. The time was now, and every second counted. More than that, every move had to be perfect.

Everything.

Absolutely everything was on the line.

There was no room for error.

Under my covers, the sounds of the house were nonexistent. Silence. Ghostly quiet like one was going to jump out and scare the crap out of me.

I’d been waiting for this moment for what felt like forever, but I couldn’t move. It was as if my body was carved from concrete and frozen in time, paralyzed. Helpless.

This is it, Cyrus! Snap out of it! You’ve got this shot and only this shot. Don’t waste it!! Life or death. Choose.

My mental pep talk was not calming my nerves. If anything it was making them worse.

Closing my eyes, I sucked in a few deep breaths quietly, not to wake up my sisters. On the third inhale, my mind cleared, and I knew what I had to do. It became evident there was only one option.

Once I mustered the courage to open my eyes, some kind of power flowed through my veins.

Determination.

Strength.

Life.

My baby.

That was why I had to get away. No one would take my baby from me. No one.

From the moment I realized there was a little life inside of me, I changed. My whole existence changed. This wasn’t about me or my life anymore. This was about this tiny being growing in my womb. Every thought I had was directed toward keeping my baby safe. He or she was all that mattered.

No one would take my baby from me. Especially not my parents, nor this life I’d been born into.

A life I never had a choice in having. A lifestyle my unborn child would never have. The baby deserved to have a voice in what her life would be. It was my job to give that to her.

This job was the most important one in my life.

Silent as a mouse, I scooted out of the twin-sized bed, my heel landing on the floor. Carefully my steps missed the floorboards that creaked. I’d memorized the noises since I was a little girl sneaking out of bed at night and knew with my eyes closed where each one was.

My sisters were sleeping soundly in their beds as I looked to make sure. They couldn’t know what I was doing, or they’d tell one of our moms and dad. Leaving was wrong in their eyes, but they didn’t have another being to fear for. They didn’t understand. To them, whatever our father said was the final word, and no one went against him. There wasn’t anyone I could share this with. A single wrong move, step, or even breath and any of them could figure out what I was up to.

With one slight noise I’d wake them, and this would all be over. I’d be stuck in this house until my mother could take care of the problem.

Only my baby wasn’t a problem to take care of. My baby was a reason to clearly see the problems led in this life. And there were so many.

Well, screw them. We were getting far away from here.

Reaching under the mattress, my hand felt around for the black garbage bag I snuck there earlier today. My options were few, so I did the best I could, improvising.

I opened the plastic, realizing for the first time how damn noisy the thing was. The way the bag crinkled and groaned only reminded me it might not have been the best choice, but it was what I had to work with. I waited with bated breath for anyone near me to stir after the bag was opened.

I’d wanted to pack a few things before bed, but the room was never empty. One of the five sisters I shared a room with would come in and out like rabid bunnies. There was never a good time, and instead of getting frustrated, I waited. So this would have to do.

No one moved, but my heart was doing enough moving for everyone in the room. I was scared and nervous, but determined.

I made my way to the dresser on soft feet. I grabbed the knobbed handles and pulled slowly. The wood creaked every time I opened it, so I tried to prepare for it, halting just before the noise. I studied the opening; could I manage? Unfortunately, it wasn’t opened far enough for my hand to reach in.

Please don’t wake up my sisters. Please don’t wake up my sisters.

There was no easy way to do this. If I went fast, the sound would be loud. If I went slow, the sound would be elongated. Each would catch attention. No win situation, but I needed a few things to get me through a least a day or so. I had hope my plan would work, but there were so many moving parts that at any time one could jump its course, and I’d be screwed.

Fast, Cyrus, my gut told me, and I listened. The only person I had to depend on right now was me. Right or wrong, I had to go with my instincts. I pulled the drawer open.

Sure enough, the sound echoed in the room. I turned quickly and scanned my sisters; four didn’t move, but I had to hold my breath at the fifth as she rolled over to her side, tucking her hands under her head.

Only when she settled did I let the air out of my lungs. It was close. So damn close. Too damn close. But I made it through one hurdle. Now only a million more to go.

Grabbing a few pairs of underwear, a couple of dresses, some granola bars I’d scrounged for and the small wad of cash I’d saved doing odd jobs and not telling my parents about them, I stuffed everything in the bag. While I had very little experience outside of the family, I knew I would need money. I didn’t have nearly enough, but what I had was mine, and I planned to stretch every penny as far as I could.