Molly was still cold. According to the TV in Subway, the outside temperature was 25 degrees. It didn’t feel much warmer inside the bus. After the bus departed Toledo and crossed the Maumee River, she quickly realized the need for extra clothing. It had been fortuitous her mother had bought the thick red Christmas sweater while at Walmart. Molly wished she’d insisted on some insulated under-clothes; not cotton, but wool. Oh well, at least the seat was comfortable, and it reclined.
It didn’t take long for Millie and Molly to settle in and start listening to music through their cell phones. Greyhound offered WiFi but didn’t allow streaming YouTube or any other service—something about slowing down WiFi for other passengers. Thankfully, at Walmart after activating their new phones, Molly had suggested downloading some music for their journey since their data plans were so small. With Walmart’s WiFi, and Catherine’s Spotify account, they now had an assortment of play-lists to pick from. Molly assumed her mother’s best friend at work at volunteered her access codes. Millie wouldn’t have asked.
After two songs, Molly removed her ear plugs and listened. No doubt her mother was fast asleep. Her slow and soft consistent puffs were a dead giveaway. Molly straightened her seat, reached for her book bag nestled at her feet, and removed the iPhone 7 Alisha had given her last night.
Molly didn’t hesitate to text her BFF. “Are you still up?” The short and dumpy redhead had come into her life in Kindergarten. They’d been best buds ever since. There were no secrets between them.
“Yep, just lying here thinking about you, wondering where you are and why I haven’t heard anything all day.” Catherine wasn’t the only person who was generous. It had been Alisha’s idea. Last night during the sleepover Molly and Alisha had cried themselves to sleep troubled they might never see each other again. But, this morning, early, before Molly had gotten out of bed, Alisha had snuck out of her room and conversed with Alistair, her fifteen year old brother. In exchange for doing his chores for two months, he had given her an old iPhone 7. It no longer had phone service but still worked on WiFi. Molly had been reluctant to accept it but did so at Alisha’s insistence. “How else are we going to communicate?”
“I’m on a Greyhound bus. Our car broke down in Perrysburg, Ohio. Mom rules.”
“That’s kinda cool. Where are you now?” Molly could picture Alisha’s bedroom. Three times the size of her tiny room. Alisha, Alistair and their parents lived in the Auburn Gresham area in what was clearly a mansion compared to the old and deteriorating dump on Princeton Avenue where Millie and Molly, and Mr. Demon lived. Oh to have had a safe opportunity this morning to call him that to his face.
“About ninety minutes from Cleveland. It’ll take 24 hours to reach NYC. Mom said it’s only nine hours by car, straight through.”
Molly kept glancing at her mother knowing she’d be livid if she discovered the secret phone. The guilt was palpable, as was the loneliness Molly felt from being separated from her best friend. This war had caused Molly’s hesitation in accepting Alisha’s gift. What if the old iPhone somehow someway led Mr. Demon to them in New York City? Alisha had assured her that was impossible. She’d asked Alistair the same question. “It’s untraceable without a sim card.” Molly hoped that was correct.
“That’s a downer. Btw, how’s your mom?” Molly had shared her mother’s roller-coaster emotional ride since Mr. Demon’s first attack.
“She had to go to the ER last night. The bastard hit her with a beer can. Caused a big gap above her eye. Took three stitches. Her fight eye is almost black. Thankfully, she’s held together good and is taking her meds like she’s supposed to.”
TO BE CONTINUED