Something Like That

Streetlights cut cones of light into the morning fog along State Route 73. Feeling foggy herself, Geri guided her Volvo, old reliable, along the winding road. At a bend, she spotted him, a gangly teenager in a baggy fatigue jacket holding his thumb out.
As a policy, she didn’t pick up hitchhikers, but he looked so forelorn, so helpless, so harmless. Besides, she was still wearing her shoulder holster under her navy blazer.
So she stopped, waited while the boy climbed in, and listened to a mumbled ‘thank you’ from behind shaggy brown hair that hung over his eyes.
“Headed home or running away?” she asked as nicely as she could.
“Yeah, something like that.” The boy had shuddered at her question.
“Come on, kid, where do you live? I’ll take you home, okay.”
His body locked, and his eyes went wide, “No. no. no.” He was whimpering, pressing his body against the door.
“Hmm,” Geri said thoughtfully, “Nostophobia.”
The boy relaxed a bit, curious, “What?”
“Fear of going home.”
“Yeah, something like that.”

View this story's 9 comments.