Fences are made to keep people out of private property. They're made to keep animals in. Others are made to protect the privacy of backyards.
But there are some young people who aren't hindered by fences. On the contrary, fences are a welcome challenge. No trespassing signs are just an added bonus.
In the big city, these young adults are delinquents who are nothing but trouble. They climb over fences with ease, as if they were hardly an obstacle. They don't climb the fences just for the fun of it. They take it a step further and infiltrate whatever is behind the fence.
For the most part, people think they're just no-good delinquents who like vandalizing government/business property. And for the most part, these fence jumpers keep up that illusion. It makes it easier to search for the truth when people think you're just causing mischief.
Image courtesy of Pinterest
Skyler shivered in the cold rain. His brown hair was plastered to his face and neck and kept dripping water into his eyes. His thin shirt did nothing against the cold, and his jeans were even worse. His stomach growled hungrily, but of course he had nothing. There had been no food for three days. Skyler thought he would have gotten used to it by now, but his stomach still twisted painfully, reminding him that he hadn't eaten.
Hannah never seemed to be affected by their situation. And if she was, she never said anything. Maybe when you're sixteen you don't feel very hungry, but Skyler's fourteen-year-old body was feeling it strongly.
"Eureka!" Hannah squealed, startling Skyler out of his misery.
"What?" He looked up eagerly at the dumpster Hannah was rooting through. He didn't care if it was moldy bread, so long as it was food.
"Pizza!" Hannah called back. "Boy, there's, like, half of it left! It's pretty new, too. I assumed it was just an empty box at first--"
"Stop talking," Skyler whined, "I've been standing here long enough."
Hannah clambered down from the dumpster and let Skyler peek inside the box. Sure enough, half of a cheese pizza lay inside. A bit soggy, but it didn't look old.
"Come on," Hannah smiled at her little brother's eager expression. "Let's get back to the hideout and--"
Shouting cut her off. The siblings turned quickly toward the entrance to the alley. Hannah pulled Skyler behind the dumpster just as three people appeared.
"Who are they?" Skyler asked. He shivered again. Hannah rubbed his arm soothingly, but said nothing. Skyler peeked out from their hiding place.
The three strangers were turning over trash cans, crates, and looking in dumpsters. In the darkening sky, Skyler saw that they carried long, straight rods and what looked like pistols.
"Hannah," Skyler whispered, "we should go--"
"Shh!" Hannah said.
One of the strangers suddenly shouted. Skyler was surprised to see a kid bolt from where he hid behind a dumpster. He was headed right for Hannah and Skyler.
Hannah jerked her brother back. They heard the click of a trigger and a cry of pain. Skyler bit his lip, panic shooting through him. He heard struggling, and a series of thunks and more cries, then silence.
Skyler realized Hannah was gripping his arm tight. He held perfectly still, barely daring to breathe, even though the rain covered any noise they might have made.
"Are there any more?" One voice asked over the rain.
"No, there was just that one," another answered. "Get him into the truck and let's go."
A minute later they heard an engine grumble to life. Skyler waited until the sound faded away before he crept out from hiding.
"Careful, Skyler," Hannah whispered, following cautiously.
Skyler looked around. The alley was empty, no sign of any struggle at all.
"What happened?" Skyler looked at his sister. "Who were those people?"
"I don't know," Hannah shrugged.
Suddenly Skyler felt a strong arm wrap around his throat. He writhed as Hannah screamed his name, but his captor's grip tightened.
"Be a good boy now and don't struggle," his captor growled. Skyler felt the cold metal of a pistol press against his head. "Now, little girl, you come along and your friend won't get hurt."
Skyler's breathing was rapid, and every muscle was tense as he clawed fruitlessly at his captor's arm. Hannah nodded, trying not to cry, and approached submissively.
"No, Hannah--" Skyler started, but he choked and coughed when the arm tightened around his neck.
"Good girl," the man had a smile in his voice. The pistol was lowered. "Now--"
Hannah slammed her shoulder into the man's side. Skyler smashed his foot down on the booted foot of the stranger and let Hannah jerk him away.
"Go go go!" She shouted, pushing him forward. Skyler shot out of the alley, followed closely by Hannah. They heard the man yell angrily, and Skyler spied him charging after them.
The siblings dashed down the fairly empty sidewalk. Skyler didn't want to be the one leading the way, but he didn't want to slow down to let Hannah get ahead.
"Left, Skyler! Go left!" Hannah shouted. Skyler veered left and lost his footing, slamming his knee into the pavement. He yelped in pain and got to his feet, shaking, as Hannah joined him and pulled him onward.
They ducked down another street, eventually finding themselves in the suburban area.
"Okay, stop!" Hannah gasped when they entered a cul-de-sac. She grabbed Skyler's arm. Skyler slipped on the grass and fell on his butt. Hannah knelt down by him. "You okay?"
"Yeah," Skyler nodded, his sides heaving. His stomach snarled at him. Running on an empty belly hurt, but Skyler didn't say anything. He let Hannah inspect his grazed knee, but then she hugged him tight. Her dishwater-blonde hair tickled his nose.
"I'm okay, sis," Skyler mumbled into her shirt. He wrapped his arms around her. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine," Hannah smiled, nodding. Skyler smiled back and let her pull him to his feet. "We lost the pizza."
"Better than losing each other," Skyler told her. It had been their motto ever since they ran away from home. Any time something went wrong, they would remind each other other that it was better to lose a comfort rather than each other. It kept them going.
"Where are we?" Skyler looked around himself. "And what's that awful smell?"
"I think we're close to the poor parts of the neighborhood," Hannah replied. "You know. They smell bad because it's where people dump their garbage."
"Oh yeah," Skyler grimaced. "Yuck." He approached the hedge of bushes that bordered the cul-de-sac. There were no houses, only a steep hill going down to another street. Even from up on the hill Skyler could see the filth soaking in the puddles.
Shouts drew his attention away just long enough to register his sister shoving him down the hill.
Skyler yelped and tumbled down, unable to find purchase on the slope. He slammed into the street, hitting his head hard and blacking out.
I hope this first installment of Fence Jumpers was exciting for you! It's been immensely fun writing and planning this serial story, and I hope it will keep you eager for more. And I hope you love the characters as much as I do. They're all great fun.
I have a Pinterest board for this serial that you can peruse. It may contain a few spoilers, but I don't think there's anything huge. The board is also where I pull the images for these posts, so I can pin blog posts to the board for easy access.