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Runaway with the Wind, a synopsis and an excerpt

Copyright 1983 - 2010 by Dan Brady

The manuscript is in the form of a diary written by a 10 year old, Jan. Throughout the story, Jan's gender remains a mystery.

After a brief introduction, in the form of a cover letter to Jan's mother you learn Jan's father was killed in a car accident and Jan's mother moved back to San Francisco's east bay where she grew up. Jan tells about Vince, the stepfather, an abusive alcoholic with a violent temper who has a hard time earning a living. The mother is acquiescent for the most part; both he and Jan's mother like to drink and party.

Jan has also lost a best friend, Joey. They had an extremely strong bond; they shared common dreams with each other. In their magical dreams, they traveled the world seeking and finding adventures as well as some ancient mysteries. Jan also loves nature and enjoys the wind, the world's free toy.

The situation at home is matched by a difficult situation at school where bullies target Jan. Jan also daydreams in class, has no friends, and is "different" School problems are exacerbated because Jan changes schools whenever his stepfather looses jobs or wants to find a more inexpensive place to live.

Ultimately communications from Joey, dreams and visions have Jan become has Jan learn Vince is planning murder and runs away.

Jan is happy wandering hills because the stars are always there and the wind is a joy. It is on this journey that the Jan and Wind learn to communicate with each other. Wind forewarns Jan of an approaching ranger and so a tale of pursuit begins

Wind's interventions rescue Jan several times but the communication is not perfect. Wind is able to bring papers and money to Jan and so Jan learns that there is a "manhunt" for him, that his parents are "doing better" and somehow are able to offer a large reward to anyone helping to bring Jan home,

Jan travels but Wind is never that far away. In San Jose, Wind saves Jan's life when a drug addict attempts to kill him.

Jan travels to a coastal redwood forest park and succumbs to illness. Here Jan's cover story is found out and park officials try to contact Vince. Then a severe forest fire breaks out, threatening the park, its rangers and the compound where Jan is being kept. Jan breaks free, contacts Wind and has it put out the fire, even if in a bizarre fashion. Unable to escape without using Wind, Jan does just that and, in so doing, leaves a record of what the wind can do.

In a dream, Joey, Jan's imaginary friend, and Jan into the titanic ruins of a lost underground city. They bring back a jeweled and inscribed ring. The ring allows Jan to see just as in the dream world but while awake. This is how Jan learns about the American Indian tracking him. Jan sets up a trap and captures the man, whom he met actually, after the forest fire and they talk. This man tells Jan the government is after him and that his life is in danger.

Their plan is to leave California and make for Arizona where the man has relatives who will protect them both.

The pursuit crosses hundreds of miles and is ultimately futile

Trapped in a desert wilderness, the chief unveils a last ditch effort. Using chants and a magical salt he creates a time shelter. To those outside it looks like an ordinary boulder, to those inside it is a shadowy hideaway, which prevents contact or capture. Jan convinces his partner that the satellite photos or those of aircraft would see this "new boulder" and connect it with their disappearance. Jan's friend then unveils the further mystery of traveling into time and they leave this world behind.

The novel concludes with three entries. The first is by Jan; the next by Jan's mother and the final entry is by Jan's friend who prefers to be called Mr. Fish.

In the new world there are many such "boulders", each holding their own travelers. Jan and his friend stay in this new world for years before Wind comes to them in a raging storm. They understand from this that it is in trouble. Jan goes back to find out what has happened. It is 2012. The records of Jan's talent have provided science with a basis for creating a weather control device and a powerful conspiracy has been using their control over the weather to enhance their power and profit.

Upon Jan's return, when Wind speaks, there is an immediate reaction and pursuit begins anew. Ultimately, Jan holds up in the VistaView, a massive hotel complex on the eastern face of Mount Diablo. It is there that Jan, Wind, Jan's mom, the Chief, or Mr. Fish, and the animal kingdom fight a chaotic, pitched battle with hardened military units. The humans are able to distract Wind, disperse the clouds of insects and slaughter the animals, which answered the Chief's call. It is not until the birds help Jan locate HYDRA, the device used to effect Wind, that the battle ends in victory.

After the carnage is cleared, Jan stays on with a dwindling number of friends. The world is changed. Nuclear weapons are removed from the earth and tossed into the sun, armies can no longer march nor can navies dispatch ships. War is certainly over. In the passage written by Fish, several tales are told which clarify how and why the wind came to be Wind.

Finally, the two friends leave the VistaView. They walk into a nearby town. No one recognizes them and they eat in peace before they separate promising to meet again.

An excerpt of the first five pages, The Diary,

I am making a diary. I had to wait a long time to do this, really long. Mrs. Ray at school says I am way beyond my years. She says I can write very well, indeed. I like that word, indeed I do. This makes me laugh almost out loud. On the way home today, I felt I could run like the wind. I was so happy. I had made up my mind to buy this book, this one right here. Last summer Tim told me about the kind of book with blank pages inside - ever since I wanted one

I had to save from my lunch or milk money for weeks and weeks. Vince said he would get me one of them for my birthday. Then, when my birthday came, I did not get the book, of course, he said he forgot. I was disappointed mostly like always. He got mad when I asked about it. He gets mad easily. I am learning all the things, which get him angry so I can avoid doing any of them. Tim said I could write anything in the diary. That is what they are for. He said you have to give your diary a name. I do not have a name for mine yet so maybe tomorrow I will get one

My name is Jan. My mom's name is Marie Ann Real and my stepfather's name is Vincent Real; he tells everyone to call him Vince. I live in Alamo, California in the United States, on the world, which goes around the sun, Sol. I am 10 years old. I like to read. My real dad is dead. He died in a car accident when I was only almost six. We lived in a real big city, way back east, New York City. My mom told me a drunken driver hit dad when he was getting into his car. She took me back to California. She always said she wanted to come back here to live. She loved the low brown hills of the East Bay, hearing the ships and foghorns as well as listening to train sounds which fade off into the far country at night. She told me how she loved the wind, even as a child. She said it was a toy the world gave for free. It could whistle tunes around corners, make music with chimes, fly kites and worked to sail ships. I have always loved the wind just as she did when she was a child.

I was born in 1973, August 16. Summer is my favorite season. I like to go swimming. I am good at pitching a baseball. I am a good reader too.


I am naming my diary Joey. Joey was my special friend. We used to play all the time; now he is gone moved away, far away. His family moved out all of a sudden. He was absent from school for a few days, I felt, I saw in a dream, his dead eyes. I used to dream with Joey. We would go to play in our dreams. He said he dreamt of me too; it was our forever and ever secret. We swore on it. Sometimes, we would talk about the times we had in our dreams together. It got so we could not tell whose dream was whose. I sure wish Joey were here. He taught me basketball and handball. He showed me how to catch lizards, snakes as well as other small animals out in the hills. He got money by selling them to other kids. I would not do that now; most kids do not know how to take care of them. Some feed them one time, let someone do bad things to them, or put them in a jar then forget all about them.

My mom found my diary today. When she cleaned my room, top to bottom, she found it. I had put it way under my bed. She told me it was auk to have though Vince would not understand. I knew, from the way she said, it would make him angry. I think it is because he writes real sloppy - even I know he cannot spell or talk the way my teachers say one should. My mom would not say that, of course. She said he is my stepfather; he likes being right all the time. She tries hard to not get him upset. She made me promise to keep it hidden. I keep it in a space under the drawer of my dresser; I will not even tell HER about that.

Tim says to write every day. I will not. I do not want to use up the pages faster than it would take to save for another book; I did the math, believe you me. I am already starting to save up for the next one! I guess I will say goodnight to you diary, goodnight Joey, see you in my dreams.


Dear Joey,

It feels good to write to you. You understand about all the dream things or ways. I wish you were here. Do you remember the colors? You know I still like to go to them whenever I can. When I can not I will still go to a quiet place not far off somewhere but away from people, their houses then sit down, face into the sunlight listening to the sounds of the world around me. It could even be traffic, the other kids playing or the sound of the wind. I like it when the wind brings things, the smell of wild flowers, somebody's barbecue, lightning air, grass, or piles of leaves burning - you remember! I know you do.

Do you know what happened today? I wanted to show Tim about the colors, dreaming or going to the stars. He did not understand one teeny-tiny bit; he just laughed at me then ran off. To make it worse he told the other kids. Now they make fun of me. I trusted him. Now I do not have one friend, really. Already, in a few weeks time, the bullyboys think I am weird. Now Tim is "in" with them, nice. I was going to show him how, up on the roof, it is so quiet you can hear so much better. When I am up there, Vince thinks I am not home. I wish we did not have to move so much. I am always new everywhere. I sometimes go under house, through a break in the foundation. I stay there beneath the flooring. I dug a hole so can sit under there; it is the coolest place on a summer day. I have a camp where I read by candlelight! I wish you were still around. We moved to this stupid place because Vince got a job he likes. At least I have you. Ever since mom married Vince, we have moved a lot. Mom says he has to go where work is. Now we live in Alamo. It is a small place not at all like Oakland. There, in a crowded place, I could be the way I wanted to be. I could hide out in the open while being myself. This place is different - everyone looks at everyone. There is no hiding place. We are in a sub division with about 400 houses. It has its own elementary; it is bad - everyone knows everyone!

Vince got a bonus. He took us all to see a movie. It was about World War II, a battle in the Pacific war, Midway. Seeing the film made me want to read about it. Vince promised to get me a book on it. I like history. I want to know why wars happen so many times. In school, all we seem to learn about are dates or places. I want to know about why they happen; maybe things will balance out, I guess.


Dear Joey:

Today at school, I was staring out an open window when the breeze came in. It was so hot in the classroom. The teacher was talking about a story we had read. I did not like the story, so I looked out the window, closed my eyes. Suddenly I felt cool all over. It was nice. The smells of all the trees were in it and, I promise you, I could hear a stream, even smell water! I know there is no stream for miles around. I started imagining where the stream was. I looked for it in my head, you know the way we do when find lost things or that kid one time. I followed the wind's direction to the stream. Birds were singing there; it was quiet. The sun was out. I closed my eyes. It was calm and warm. You remember how we used to feel like we were afloat and drifting, yet seeing some place we read about?

Well, that is when I heard the teacher calling me. I had to come back. I did not care, except the whole class was staring at me. I knew I was in trouble for "disappearing" again. When I said I did not understand the question, the whole class busted into laughter; she got mad - first at them, then at me. I had to see her after school. When I did, she went on talking and talking. All I could think about was what would happen if I got home so late that Vince would notice and get mad. It would be worse, far worse if she called - I knew I would get beat on. So, like you said to, I prayed and wished and wished and prayed all while I looked like I was listening. I kept on going back to that stream too, it was confusing. Then, through the open window such a bluster came! All the papers in the room started swirling around, books fell off shelves along with everything else. She raced to slam down the windows. The teacher got more upset, but not at me- besides I helped her tidy up. I guess she forgot about calling.

Vince was mad when I got home anyway - even though I was not too late. Like usual, I peeked to see him, if I could, before I went in; he had real mean face. He was scowling at the TV. The front door was open. I stood there a while before I rushed in. He yelled for me to stop. I only hesitated. He was bleary-eyed drunk. He snapped into a growling rage, got up quickly then slipped and fell. I ran for it. He managed to collar me before I could get down the hall. He had a hard time keeping a good hold on me as I squirmed twisted or turned as he tried to smack my face, "don't you try to sneak on me, boy"

I was fending off blows when my mom came up behind him hollering. He hoisted me up, shoved me into her with such back hand that she nearly fell over and bellowed, "Take care of him or I will!" He went back to the TV, put it at full volume and yelled, "I hope I can watch something for once in peace with G.D... quiet around here!:

She took me up. We cried silently as she carried me to their room. She whispered Vince had lost another job. Then she slammed the door behind us. After nice face turned real mean. She told me through clenched teeth - if I did not cry or howl she was going to beat me for real this time. I screamed. She yelled and banged things around before she went out, slamming the door. He began to yell at her and she at him. This went on until they left still loudly angry. He never even asked why I was late. That night the phone lines went down due to a freak storm. I considered it a lucky break.

Before I woke up this morning, I dreamt I was playing a musical instrument, a flute of some kind. I did not get a chance to go to the library to find a picture of it. There was not enough time, since I had to read what I missed in class. I promised the teacher I would always read the stuff. She said if my tests were ok, she would be auk. Joey said he'd help. That made them easy as pie.


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