Sally ran. She ran away from her mother and the only home she knew. She ran from the past, through the present and into the unknown. She ran from an alley that was her place of discovery. A land where her dreams sprung unspoiled by men, mothers and grownups.
She ran from an alley that was magic. It was a world of kings and queens falling in love. Where child princesses played and laughed in fields of flowers. Where little girls danced for the joy of being. Sally ran from the alley that gave her cat and bunny. She ran through memories of joy and happiness. She ran for herself, she ran for Bunny. She ran after Cat.
Sally ran hard and fast. She ran so fast that her little feet could not keep up with her need to run. Her foot caught and she fell hard. Her knees scraped against the rough broken pavement of the cold wet alley. A long scratch was her reward and pain was the bonus. The ground scraped her like the hard scrubs of her mother’s brush.
The pain brought forth memories sad and full of anguish. Memories of which little girls should have none. Reminiscences that would make grownups cry. Thoughts that hurt as much as the raw and burning scratches on her knees. But still she ran, ran now from memories both good and bad. She flew past days of her mother’s sickness. She dashed by urgent men coming in the night. She sailed from the endless summer of a little girl dream and left the long winter of a broken youth. Sally ran from more than just the alley. She ran away from her childhood.
Sally ran and reach reached the end of the alley. The end of an alley that had seemed so far away was now simply a short stride to a new world. To her the end of the alley had always been so distant. It was a world of loud noises, bad smells and bright lights that she had never ventured to explore. Her mother had always said the street was no place for little girls. That the street was where bad men would grab you and take you. The street and the city was not a place for girls. But this day on this rainy morning the city was where Sally must be.
She stepped into the street with tears streaming down her cheeks. Her knees bloodied and hands dirty she looked more a ragged doll than a precocious little girl. She did not look back. She did not return to the alley. She left it behind and stepped out into a waking city. She stepped into the street and left Sally’s alley behind. In the distance she heard a mew and for the first time in a long while Sally smiled. Cat was near and Sally felt the twinges of joy pull at a broken heart. With Bunny clasped under an arm she wiped away the tears and ran towards the sound of Cat.
Years later she could not reason why she chose to run that day. She knew it was more than just to find Cat. More than the desire to flee from the disappointment of an addict mother. It would be much later indeed until she would know the truth of that day. But for this day she was a little girl running out of an alley. A little girl splashing merrily through rain puddles searching for a pet. And so Sally ran.
And Sally ran right into Daniel Jack.