The boy took a deep breath and vaulted the fence. Hit the ground running. This was not his first escape, and he knew the flavors of it well. This part was terror. On the other side of the woods, there would be caution and mild victory. By the time he reached the railroad tracks, he would be a man, laughing at the whole situation. Taking slow pulls from the bottle he had hidden in a bush. It was the only thing he had ever stolen. He would have paid for it if they would have let him buy it. There was money saved from yard work in his room. The old man never touched the money. He had to give him that at least.
The whiskey was cool from the shade of its hiding place. The sun was high in the sky. He had a few hours, max. That would be enough time to drink fast, feel drunk, and still be home relatively sober by dark. He didn't worry about smell. The old man breathed whiskey. Everything in their life smelled like it.
He pulled a bent cigarette out of his pocket, too. These, he did take from the old man. He didn't consider this stealing much like he didn't consider it stealing to eat food out of the fridge. The old man let him eat enough. He had to give him that, too.
The cigarette made him feel a little spacey, and he was already feeling warm from the whiskey. The whiskey got the boy thinking.
The Old Man was grieving. The boy knew that. The loss had hurt both of them, but it had broken the old man's heart. He started drinking. He got mad. He cried. He yelled. Hell, maybe he had that right. The old man never did cheat him, or beat him, or starve him. In a lot of ways the old man treated him pretty well.
The boy took another sip of whiskey and it brought a flash image of the future. Be careful. The words were spoken in his mind. He didn't even recognize the voice. He put the bottle down and stared at it. He was slightly tipsy, but he figured he might as well go home. See what the old man was up to. Might be he'd want to go fishing.
And maybe someday, they would be able to look at a puppy without bawling.