As he was running through the woods, desperate to hide, he could still feel everyone watching him. Even though he had run deep into the woods of northern Pennsylvania, he still felt as if everyone he had just run from was still watching him, waiting for him to break, to melt, to become nothing.
Jason Kelley was your average teenage boy. He was in 9th grade and was good in school, but he didn't talk. He was adjusting to being in high school, but his past was keeping from effectively moving forward. He was physically abused by his father at home, and bullied at school. Last year, he was taken away from his biological family and put into the care of a foster family. Even though his situation at home has greatly improved, he is still bullied at school. Jason was too scared to tell anyone because when he was bullied in middle school, the bullying just got worse after he told someone and asked for help. He didn't want it to turn out like it had last time.
Jason continued running, not feeling any exhaustion as he was just so happy to get away. He had been presenting a project at school when he ran. He opened his mouth to begin his presentation when he started stuttering. This is why he never talked to anyone. Everyone began laughing and making fun of him. This had already happened to him multiple times this year as well as being bullied in the halls and on the bus. This time, he had had enough. He ran form the room and out of the school and into the woods that were behind the school.
Finally feeling the burn in his legs, he slowed his pace until he was slowly walking. He didn't know where he was or how far he had run. It didn't feel like he had been funning for more than five minutes, but in reality, he had been running for one hour and thirteen minutes. Looking around, he only saw trees, trees, and more trees. Jason could hear birds chirping and leaves rustling in the breeze. He continued walking forward, hoping to maybe find a house or a hunting shack. Instead of either of those options, he found a garden shed next to a fallen and burned house. All the wood burned to a crisp, the house was just a pile of debris. The shed was still intact, but it was going to fall in the near future.
Nearing the shed, he saw that there were some burn marks on the wall as well as some small holes. Walking inside, through the non-existent door, he saw many spiders and cobwebs. There were a few tools left in the shed. A few of them are a broken rake, a small hand shovel, branch cutters, and flower pots. Knowing that he needs to have water and food to survive, he began planning what he'll need and where to find it. Looking up the walls to see if anything was hanging on the shelves, he notices a map taped to the wall. Looking closer, he notices that it has been written on and has various markings on it. All the way in the bottom right corner, Jason sees the symbol for a road. Looking outside again, he sees that the sky is clouding up and the temperature is going down. This only means that it is going to rain. "I only have to stay here until the storm is over." Realizing that he has no supplies to last a few days, Jason grabs a flower pot so he can gather different berries or roots and such. He also grabs the branch cutters for defense. Also taking the map off the wall so he knows how to get back, Jason heads out of the shed. Not long after, Jason feels the rain gently land on his head and hears it land softly on the ground. He had managed to get a few berries and some crabapples. He also found what looks like sunflower seeds, but weren't because there were no sunflowers in the area. The rain began to get harder. Slowly making his way back to his shed, he saw some foxes digging holes in the ground. Trying not to disturb them. he goes the other way, but it prolongs his trip to the shed.
After he makes it to his home away from home, he sets out another flower pot outside to collect water for him to drink. Now all Jason can do is wait. Sitting against the wall in his drenched clothing, Jason studies the map. After memorizing the distance from the shed to the road, he calculated the time it would take to get there. Then he estimated how long the storm would last and how he would have to ration the food to make it last. Then, Jason looked outside. Looking at the trees through the empty doorway, he saw the knots in the trees. Then, Jason's mind turned the knots into eyes. The eyes blinked and watched his every move. They looked like everyone's eyes laughing at him while he was doing his presentation. Jason knew that he would never be completely accepted at his school, if he was even accepted at all.
With the image of the eyes on the trees stuck in his mind, Jason couldn't stay in his shed. Having the trees watch him freaked him out so much, he couldn't stand to stay there. Jason grabbed the map and ran out, taking off to the road. Not caring about the rain that soaked his hair or blurred his vision, Jason just wanted to get away from the eyes of the trees; the eyes of the world.
Just when Jason made it to the road he say that the road led to the town where his foster parents lived. He began the slow walked down the road. About twenty minutes into his walk, a car came by and stopped next to him. It was his next-door neighbor. Recognizing him, his neighbor offered him a ride. Grateful to get out of the rain, Jason accepted and made his way into the car. Neither of them spoke during that 15 minute ride, and Jason was happy about that. As his neighbor dropped him off at his house, she asked him what he was doing out there. Jason replied with "I j-j-just needed s-some t-time alo-one." With that, his neighbor drove away and Jason was left alone in his driveway.
Thinking back on his life and that day, Jason realized that he couldn't have done anything different to be accepted into his school. It was everyone else's problem that resulted in his getting bullied. He also realized that someone will always be watching you, no matter where you are, and that someone can either laugh at you, or support you and look out for you. Walking into his foster family's house, he was greeted with hugs and worried questions and faced. After everyone had calmed down, Jason was able to explain what had gone on and that he wants help. Because Jason spoke up about his situation, he was able to get help and the bullying slowed down, and finally stopped. All it took was a falling down shed, and the trees watching him, even though Jason thought he was safe from the eyes of the world.