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When Shelby’s dad died, her mother quickly fell in love with and married David. Shelby despises her step-father. After he pushes her to the limit, she runs away and tries to fix her life using her knowledge of computers and technology. Can she bring back the glory her life once had?

Runaway- Whole Story

In the small town of Berlin, Maryland, there was a girl named Shelby who had a rough life. After her father died of cancer and an unknown airborne disease, Shelby’s mother, Caroline, married David, a very rich man. When they began living with David, he appeared to be a kind man with a big heart. But soon after the marriage, Shelby saw the true side of David.


“Bye Mom! Bye David! Have fun on your honeymoon. Love you!” Shelby shouted as David’s limo drove away into the distance.

Shelby ran back inside and plopped onto the couch when she heard a voice, “Now Shelby,” It was the housekeeper Merida, ”Just because your parents are gone doesn’t mean you can just sit on the couch all day. David left you a book to read.

“First of all, David is not my parent, he is a guardian. Second of all, why do I have to read a book that I probably have already read before?”

“You need to learn to be respect your elders.”

“Ugh,” Shelby whined as she snatched the book off of the counter, “Merida! He’s making me read Merriam-Webster: Dictionary and Thesaurus!”

“He just wants the best for you. This will make you smarter, I promise.”

She began to read the ‘book’ and actually enjoyed it. Shelby always had a passion for reading, even if it was a dictionary. Her passion for reading led her to become very successful in school, she was in every triple advanced class possible. Her dream was to become an computer engineer because she loved building things. When she was 3 years old, she built a robot that baked cookies and vacuumed floors. She was also expert in particle physics.

Two days later, she finished the book and discovered a written test over the book which David left for her to complete. Merida watched over her to make sure she didn’t use the book to cheat. “Well done Shelby, it only took you 17.3 minutes to finish the 200 question test. Your father will be proud to hear about this.” Merida stated.

“Why is he making me do this?”

“He only wants the best for you.”

“No, it’s not. He’s only making me do this to make me smarter so I can act as a slave for him and work and work and work some more until I can’t do it anymore! David, who is not my father, doesn’t want the best for me, he only wants the best for him and he never loved me, this is just stupid stuff that I would only need to know if I worked for him! From now on, you will never be able to make me complete any of this, not one bit!” Shelby stormed off into her room.

    Merida began to call David and it went straight to voicemail. After a few tries, she gave up and knocked on Shelby’s door. No one responded and the door wouldn’t budge, “Shelby, you need to open this door or else I will call your father!”

    “My father is dead! Stop rubbing it in my face, we all know.”

    “I didn’t mean to put it like that. I just,”

    “Go away!” Merida began to clean the house again when she heard the phone ring. It was David, so she picked up.


    “Hey, I saw that you called. What’s up?”

“Shelby has been acting out! She said David doesn’t want the best for me, he only wants the best for him and he never loved me, this is just stupid stuff that I would do if I was a slave for him. She locked herself in her room and won’t let me in.”

“She just misses her dad.” David said mockingly.

“Okay, I guess.” Merida hung up.

After Merida had to deal with Shelby for two weeks, she gave up. She packed up her bags and took a vacation. David and Caroline rushed home when they heard about this. “Shelby,” David began, “what could you do this time to make Merida leave. You are just so selfish! Could you not be a brat next time?”

“David!” Caroline interrupted.

“Well I’m not going to lie.”

“I hate you!” Shelby ran to her room crying.

The next day, David came into Shelby's room, “I’m sorry about yesterday, but it was true. We are leaving for Aspen tomorrow morning, so be packed.”

“Why do you hate me?”

“I don’t.” Shelby stared for a minute and then she began packing even though she didn’t want to go with David anywhere, even Aspen. He walked out of the room and whispered to Merida, who came back after David bribed her $200, “I never liked kids and I wanted to put her up for adoption but Caroline said, ‘No! She’s my only child,’ so that’s not an option anymore.” Shelby knew all along that David hated her.


When they arrived in Aspen, they took an Uber to their cabin. The cabin was the size of a two-story house with a heated, indoor pool! Since they got to the cabin late, they all went straight to bed.

The next morning, they bought all brand new ski gear so they could go skiing. David, with no experience of skiing, was the most nervous. They put on all their gear and headed for the ski lodge. “I bought us an all-way pass so we don’t have to wait in line, it was $283 per person so Shelby, you better teach me to ski real well, real well.”

“Hello, how may I help you?” said the clerk.

“Where do you go to get to the ski lift?”

“Right through those doors right there.” She pointed to a set of a doors labeled Ski Lift. As soon as David walked towards the doors, a beeping noise went off and staff came out, “This is a fire drill, not the real thing! I repeat, this is a fire drill, not the real thing!” They did what everyone else was doing and evacuated towards the nearest exit to wait outside.

“Why in the world would we need to have a fire drill in the mountains? This is ridiculous!” David complained.

“It’s not ridiculous,” a woman interrupted, “Someone has been lighting fires at ski lodges near Aspen. The mayor declared that each ski lodge must have a fire drill two days in a row once a month. There have been many complaints, but it has saved many lives.”

“I guess.” David mumbled.

A few minutes later, they got to the beginner’s area where they taught David to ride. This took up their whole day because David was terrible at skiing. “Aaah! Why am I sliding?” David would screech, “Help me!”

After they went skiing, they changed out of their gear and ordered sushi from the nearby restaurant. “This is nice, we are eating as a happy family. Right Shelby?” said Caroline.

“Right. We are eating and we are happy.”


“No,” Shelby glanced at David, “We’re not family.” causing David to roll his eyes and steal a piece of Shelby's sushi which caused her to respond, “Hey, that was mine. Give it!”

“No,” David said mockingly.

“Stop, just stop! This is supposed to be a fun trip and,” Caroline began sobbing, “I just want to go skiing.”

“Then we will do that right way in the morning,” David declared proudly

The next morning, they got dressed and went to a diner for breakfast. Caroline’s eggs and bacon weren't up to her standards, so she complained to the owner. “This meal is just awful! I deserve something in return for your rudeness.”

“I’m sorry ma’am, but rudeness?” The waiter replied.

“Yes,” Shelby hoped her mother wouldn’t begin to act like David, “the chef was being rude by making a terrible meal.”

“I apologize,”

“No need, just get me three large milkshakes on the house.”

“Yes ma’am.”

“Oh and add one shot of coffee to one of them, it’s going to be a long day.” The milkshakes were brought out and all was well once again. When they arrived, they went to straight to the ski lift. “Today is going to be a great day.”

“It already is a great day, Caroline.” David said.

Shelby interrupted, “I think it would be a better day if you would strap us in, but no.”

“Maybe you should had a shot of coffee in your milkshake, ‘cuz you're so cranky.” David murmured.

“That’s nice to know.” Shelby smirked.

A few minutes went by when they felt a sudden jerk. The ski lift stopped moving. Caroline fell off the seat and dropped about 45 feet. “This is a fire drill, not the real thing! I repeat, this is a fire drill, not the real thing!”

“Mom!” Shelby bawled, “Someone, HELP! David, call 911.” He nodded and dialed the number.

“911, what's your emergency?"

“A woman fell off the ski lift and is hurt. We are at Aspen Meadows Resort. It’s on 845 Meadows Road, Aspen, Colorado.”

“Thank you.” The woman hung up. Staff came in and out of the lodge along with the ambulance soon after. They watched her get put on the stretcher and carried away.

“Are we ever going to see her alive again?”

“We don’t know what could happen to her but we just need to pray for her and know that she lived a great life. It’s okay.” Shelby nodded.



The next day, a doctor came to their cabin, “Are you David?” He nodded.

“We need to talk about your wife, Caroline, and the incident yesterday. Good news. So we have concluded that Caroline is in fact living. She only has some injuries, a fractured wrist and a sprained ankle, but we are going to keep her in the hospital for a few more days because she might have a punctured lung.”

“Okay, what’s the bad news?”

“Your wife fell off of the ski lift because of a sudden stop, but no one else on the ski lift fell off because of this. Was she strapped in?”

“Um, I don’t recall.”

“Okay, I brought this up because the Aspen Meadows CEO, who told me to tell you this, is very worried that you are going to sue her, but if she wasn’t strapped in, you can’t sue her.”

“So the only bad news is that we can’t sue her?”

“Sort of, the CEO has decided that she wants to sue your family if she wasn’t strapped in, so you might lose 2.5 million dollars in the next week.”

“Okay, I guess I’ll just have to head to the CEO’s office.”

“Thank you for your time. Good luck!”


“Hello, how may I help you?” stated the Aspen Meadows receptionist.

“I would like to talk to the CEO.”

“She might be busy at this time, but I will check. Next time, you should schedule an appointment. Just a minute,” She typed on her computer, “Head up to the 24th floor and then just go straight.” David did exactly that. When he reached her office, he knocked and someone said to come in.

He swung the doors open and saw Betsy, his ex-wife.

“Hello, David. I would ask how your family is doing, but I don’t want to make you feel bad because your wife is in the hospital.”

“How’s life?”

“Mine’s great. After we divorced, I met Orlando Bloom and I guess we just clicked, now I’m married to him and have two happy kids; Brandon, who is 10,  and Bailey, who is 6.”

“Oh, okay. Let’s talk business now. You are sueing me 2.5 million dollars and the last time this happened here, which I have proof of in this newspaper, you sued them $1,500. This is not reasonable.”

“Yes it is. The last time this happened, the people were being dumb and brought their 7 year old daughter and she didn’t fit the seat belt so she fell through. The parents were mad and began to curse, so that’s why I sued them less because they were all strapped in, they just began to curse at me.”

“I understand, but 2.5 million dollars?”

“Your time is up. You need to leave.” He walked out.

David arrived home angry, “Shelby, you should really have been smarter and told your dumb mom to strap herself in. Geez! Now we’re being sued 2.5 million dollars all because of you.”

“Sorry.” She said with question in her voice.

“You should be, now go visit your mom in the hospital so it looks like we care.” While Shelby was visiting her mom in the hospital, the doctors discovered that she didn’t have a punctured lung, so she came home that night. David insisted that he and Caroline go out to eat and discuss the lawsuit issues.

Her mom and David left the house and Shelby began to gather her computer gadgets and ski gear. Shelby headed for the mountains even though had no intention of creating something that actually worked, she just wanted to take her mind off of everything, especially David.

After a few hours of work, everything just clicked. She understood what she was building, her mind just took over and began creating. It was a small, portable time machine which projected the portal that would take you places.

Shelby typed in the period of time she wanted to travel to, before her father died, when she heard a voice, “Shelby!” It was her mom screaming while David sprinted towards her. She grabbed the time machine and ran for her life. David could have destroyed the time machine and Shelby wasn’t going to risk that happening. He couldn’t keep up and eventually, he tripped and wobbled back to the cabin. Shelby just kept running until she realized there was no turning back now.

She didn’t know where she was at, so she decided to use the time machine. In a few clicks of a button there were flashes of light and disturbing noises. Shelby arrived out in the country, right in front of a young woman carrying a basket of apples. “Who are you?” the woman said.

I must have messed up the period of time when I made a run for it. Shelby thought. “I, uh, what year is it?” She said aloud.


“I’m from the past. I don’t know anything about this place, I should really go home.” Shelby interrupted.

“Hurry, head into my house. We will discuss this later.” Shelby ran into her house and looked out the window. The woman changed; she was wearing different clothes now and appeared much older.

She was also talking to a man who seemed mysterious in some ways. He looked around for a few seconds then looked back at the woman and he said, “Ma’am, the council needs your help again.  There are teenagers painting graffiti on the street walls. They need to be altered, again.”

“I’ll be in the Control Room in a few minutes.” she replied. He nodded and then disappeared. The woman walked out of sight and then came into the house young again.

“How’d you do that?” Shelby asked.

“Do what?”

“Where you change from young to old!”

“Oh, that! Come sit down, I’ll tell you about our world. My name is Zaila, but you can call me Zaza. In our world, you go through 9 stages of life: Newborn, Toddler, Child, Pre-Teen, Teen, Young Adult, Adult, Elder, and Death. But no one dies here, they go to the Control Room and watch over everyone, except for me. Once you are in the stage of Death, is when you find out you don’t actually die. When someone is about to be born, we alter their DNA so they are basically perfect. If there was a mistake and they aren’t perfect, but we realize it years later, I have to go in and alter them.”

“Why don’t they watch you? Why do you have to alter them?” Shelby questioned.

“They don’t watch me because I am The Controller. There is a forcefield over my house, so no one can enter unless I let them, but the Keeper, the man who is in charge, can enter whenever he wants.”

“Was that the man that was here?” Shelby interrupted.

“Yes. And my name, Zaila, means power, so when I was born, I was altered to have unstoppable power, but I use it for good. I’m the only one has power to alter people after they are born and I also have a bit of magic in me too.”

“How did you change from young to old, then?” she blurted.

“Like I said, I have magic and I changed to young, so it was easier to carry the apples to my house.”

“Oh, that explains so much!”

“Your turn, tell me all about what happens where you live.”

Shelby told her every detail about her world and what was happening in her life and when she was finished, she quickly said, “I would rather live with you, but I have to fix what happened with my mom and David. Bye Zaza!”

“Goodbye! Come back anytime, don’t get hurt.”

Shelby went through the time machine back to when her mother and David first met, instead of before her father died. In a few seconds, she was at the carnival where David and her mom first met. David came up to Caroline and said, “Hello, I noticed you and I was wondering if you would like to go on a date? It might seem soon, because we just met and all, but you, and your daughter, seem very nice and pretty.

Shelby’s mind went blank, she realized all along what she needed to do, and it wasn’t to get keep David out of her life. She rapidly punched in the time she wanted to go to and just like that, she was back to when David was chasing her.

Shelby screamed, “David, wait!” He didn’t stop, he ran straight towards the time machine planning to destroy it when Shelby grabbed it before he could clearly see what it was. “This is my souvenir for the trip, don’t destroy it!” She shoved it in her back pocket so he couldn’t see it.

“Kid, you need to get into that house right now. I don't care about your souvenir, just get in the house.”

“If you don’t care about my souvenir, then why did you run after me?” David stared at her as if she was speaking another language. “If you're not going to answer that question, then tell me why you hate me, why you always yell at me and make me read dictionaries?”

“I don’t hate you, I yell at you and make you do all that stuff because of,” he paused, “the time we were in the house making dinner and you spilled chili everywhere. You got it on my expensive clothes, hardwood floors, granite countertop, new fridge, sink, and dishwasher. It stained and you ruined all of those things for me, and then your mom got hurt and now we have to pay the hospital bills and the 2.5 million dollars we are being sued for. It’s a lot to handle.”

“I’m sorry about everything. My souvenir that I have is actually a time machine. If you want, I can travel back in time so none of this happens. We could even both go and change it.”

“No, we are going to get through this the hard way. Now let’s go talk to Betsy.” Shelby looked at him in confusement. “Betsy is the CEO of Aspen Meadows resort, the person suing us 2.5 million dollars, and worst of all,” David took a breath, “my ruthless ex-wife.”


Shelby stormed into Betsy’s office, by herself, and confronted her, “So I heard that you are suing a family 2.5 million dollars, why?”

“I just don’t like the family.” Betsy sputtered.


Betsy thought for a moment, “Between us, the dad is my ex-husband, his name is David, and he is so successful and has all this money just sitting there in his bank account and he didn’t even have to work as hard as me. I’m supposed to only sue them 250 dollars instead of 2.5 million but, oh well.”

“There is something I need to tell you about that family. I’m David’s daughter. He’s my,” she thought, “dad.

“What?” Betsy screamed.

“Betsy, you have,” Shelby began.

The police barged in and finished the sentence, “the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you can not afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.”

David smirked proudly “I don’t appreciate the way you talked to my daughter.”

Shelby and David walked home and then grabbed some hot chocolate and Shelby was extra careful not to spill it everywhere. “Is there anything I can do to make up for what I did.” Shelby asked.

“Yes.” Shelby was surprised, she didn’t think he was going to say yes. “When we get home, apologize to your mom and Merida.”

Shelby nodded and continued walking. They arrived home and her mother hugged her, “Where were you?” She shook her head. “That doesn’t matter. I love you, so don’t get hurt.”

Don’t get hurt. She thought about her mother’s words and remembered Zaza telling her the same thing. Shelby suddenly wanted to go see Zaza, but she didn’t want to leave her parents, especially after David accepted her apology.

While eating dinner, she decided to go visit Zaza and tell her the great news about her and David. She washed her plate and put it in the dishwasher. Her plan was to go visit Zaza when her parents were packing up for the plane ride home the next morning.  


A few flashes later, she was back in front of Zaza’s house. “Shelby!” She ran out and greeted her, “How’s David?”

“Actually, he’s great!” She told her about everything that happened with David.

“That’s good.” Shelby grinned when Zaza replied. It was a relief that she no longer needed to worry about David, but she suddenly had a vague memory of her father. They were on the beach building sand castles and a wave came up and washed it away. Shelby was crying so her father bought her ice cream. The two walked home while eating the ice cream.

“Zaza?” Shelby grabbed her attention. “I’m going to go visit my father.”

“Okay. Don't get hurt.” She nodded and was on her way.

Shelby took the time machine to when her father was dying and she arrived in the hospital room with her real father. The nurses needed to get him ready before they took him off life support, so she was in the hallway with her mother. She wanted her mother to say goodbye to her father because she didn’t the first time. “Mom,” Shelby said. “will you come and give Dad a hug with me?” Caroline nodded.

The two of them walked into the room and Shelby hugged her father and said goodbye. Caroline removed the mask that kept out the airborne disease and gave him a slight kiss. They left the room bawling and Shelby went back to present day.


Shelby was back at home, her home in Maryland, but she was confused. In present day, they were still in Colorado packing. She walked downstairs and saw David, praying. “What are you doing?”

“Praying.” David looked up at Shelby’s confused face. “Your mother is dying in the hospital with an unknown airborne disease and you really don’t care?”

Unknown airborne disease. Shelby realized that she did this, it was her fault. If she didn’t have her mom say goodbye to her father, she wouldn’t have gotten the disease. She wouldn’t be dying if she didn’t remove the mask that kept out the airborne disease and give him a kiss. It had to have been transferred when she took the mask off.

Shelby quickly went back to when her father died. Instead of asking her mom to say goodbye with her, she pushed her out of the way and gave her father the last hug he would ever receive alive. Her mother stayed in the hallway bawling. She went back to present day and found her mother packing just like she was before. Shelby ran up to her mom and gave her a huge bear hug and thought of one word: grateful.