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 Yamazaru's Story

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Yamazaru
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Posts : 23
Join date : 2010-08-27
Age : 25

PostSubject: Yamazaru's Story   Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:40 am





1. Summer’s End

My dad drove his black Mercedes into our driveway, having just come from Florida, and having just angered us all, by driving, rather than taking an airplane.
The only good thing about that moment, is that we were back home, in Ontario, and that as soon as one of my brothers- who had claimed the window seats, climbed out of the car, I would be on solid ground, and able to go to my room and call my best friends.
As it turned out, my brother Charlie was the first to get out, and I knew he would try to race me to the phone, but, I knew what was going to happen, because I knew my parents well enough to know how to get what I wanted- but of course it would only work occasionally, or they would catch on.
Charlie began to run for the door, just as my dad, who was opening the drivers’ side door, called, ‘Charlie, help me unload the trunk!’
‘Later dad!’ Charlie called back, ‘I’m gonna-‘
‘Whatever it is you’re going to do, can wait.’ My mom called back, as she walked to the back of the car.
I was now out of the car, and slowly walking to the door, as my younger brother Dawson whispered to my dad. I didn’t hear exactly what he said, but I heard my name, so before my dad could say anything I yelled over my shoulder, ‘I’m going to call Ashley!’
‘Alright…’ my dad said slowly.
‘Hey!’ Charlie yelled from behind me, ‘I was going to call Miranda—and I wasn’t allowed to!’
My mom sighed, ‘You should have said something, now its Anthony’s turn, and so you’ll have to wait.’
Charlie began to rebuttal, but I just closed the door, and was now in our kitchen. I sidled through the doorway, which was blocked by a pile of boxes, that hadn’t been unpacked from our recent move. I followed through, into the living room now, which had a wall phone, but I knew my mom would eavesdrop if I used that phone, so I continued through the house.
Before I left the living room, I noticed the family dog, Dennis sleeping on a ruined leather couch— I assumed it was him that ripped it to shreds.
Finally I reached our dinning room, which held one of our cordless phones, and I dialled Ashley’s number as fast as possible.
After five rings she picked up the phone. ‘Hey— Anthony?’
‘Yeah,’ I said listening to her talk.
‘Oh, my gosh— I’ve been so bored without you, Bobby and Jo, aren’t back from Europe yet! Hey didn’t you say you were coming back two weeks ago? Oh well, I forgive you- how was your trip anyway?’
I smiled, she was my best friend, so many people thought we liked each other, I always had to set them strait, but I can understand where they got their idea, we were always together, and we never kept secrets.
‘Well, it was really hot… um, I got burned a lot, and it wasn’t as great as everyone thinks, but for the most part it was fun.’
‘Well that’s good, are you still burned?’
‘Only a little on my face, anyway, do you want to get together before school starts again? When does it start anyway?’
‘Ten days. Sure I’ll get together, just say the word.’
‘How about tonight, we can get some supper or something.’
‘Alright, I’ll see you then. Bye.’ She said happily.
‘Bye,’ I said, and I hung up the phone.
I turned to the staircase and I walked up to my room.
I glanced out the window and saw my older brother Charlie carrying my luggage, his luggage, and Dawson’s luggage. Dawson was carrying a box full of souvenirs that we had all picked out. Both of their faces seemed sour toward someone, probably toward me. I smiled at the thought—I was doing my job.
I looked at the clock, and calculated in my head, the time I had until five o’clock, which was the time I planned to pick Ashley up… or rather, meet with Ashley, I couldn’t really pick up Ashley, because I was only fifteen, and didn’t have my drivers license—plus I don’t think I could carry her to the restaurant, if I literally needed to pick her up. I had seven hours.
‘DENNIS!’ I heard my mom scream. ‘Bad dog—horrible dog!’
‘Honey, he’s a dog, what did you expect?’ My dad said defending Dennis. I then drowned them out.
I picked up the book that sat on my bed, and opened it up to the second chapter. That was where I left off before our trip. The book was called ‘Simply Confusing’ which was confusing enough as it is. It was about a young girl who has to solve a mystery to save her younger brother. It was quite a good book, unfortunately it was very unrealistic. I knew that it was unrealistic because I’ve been on a few minor cases myself—nothing major of course, just a few random jobs, such as finding a lost dog, or anything along that line. I really loved doing detective work; my dream was to become one—or a police officer, something like that, something where I could work with my skills.
I finished the book at quarter to five, so I quickly gathered up some clothes from my closet and brought them to the bathroom.
I had a quick shower, and got dressed in the most casual/fancy clothes I could manage. Next I hurdled through the house, jumping over the boxes, and even the dog.
I was outside before anyone even saw me, and was jogging to Ashley’s house. I was going to be late if I didn’t get there soon—luckily, Ashley lived three doors down from me.
Ashley was standing on her front porch wearing an elegant blue dress, and heels. Her hair curly red hair was tied in a knot on the back of her head, and her wonderful sparkling blue eyes were smiling at me.
‘You know,’ I said gaping at her, ‘you really didn’t have to get all dressed up…’
‘I know.’
‘Well…’ I sighed. ‘Let’s go then.’
Neither of us said anything on the way to the restaurant, and even through the waiters seating us. I wondered why it was so awkward, we’ve known each other since we were five, and we were fifteen now, that’s ten years. Was she beginning to have feelings for me—feelings that I didn’t—couldn’t share, of course I know that I’m over exaggerating so I waited for her to say something.
‘Just a pizza to share, I think…’ is what she said. I thought about what kind of double meaning that could possibly have, but then I noticed the man standing next to us with a pad of paper.
‘Oh!’ I felt slightly embarrassed, but I said, ‘yeah sure.’ Hoping we were still talking about the pizza, thankfully we were.
‘Ok, what would you like on the pizza?’ The man asked his voice quite deep.
‘Just pepperoni, please.’ Ashley said.
‘Are you sure?’ The man said, ‘because we also have sausage, bacon…’ the man trailed off into a long list of toppings, to which Ashley said with him. Ashley remembered all of the toppings and she had only looked at the menu once. She had a photographic memory.
‘I’m sure. Thanks.’ She said.
‘Alright, your pizza will be ready soon; in the meantime, you can enjoy yourself with the mazes and puzzles on the menus.’
The man walked away.
I immediately reached for a menu, and a crayon, as Ashley smiled and laughed. She knew that I couldn’t resist doing a maze, I was really good at them, and it usually only took me a minute or two to do an extremely hard maze.
Ashley must’ve been really happy to see me again, because she was really giddy. As I was wearing down the crayon on a maze, I was talking a bit about my trip, and telling some jokes, and she was laughing hysterically. I paused every time she began laughing and listened intently.
I looked up and stared into Ashley’s eyes, and… well, starred. She didn’t seem to notice any change in my attitude, but I had to force myself to look away.
Before the man had come back with a pizza in his hands I had finished all three mazes, the crossword puzzles, the word search, and even coloured in all of the pictures. I know that it’s rather childish, but sometimes I can’t help myself.
‘Thank you.’ Ashley said politely, on that note, the waiter left us alone. Really alone. I had just realized that we were the only ones in the restaurant.
‘So…’ Ashley said trying to make conversation. Right now, I was glad. ‘Why were you late coming back to Canada anyway?’
‘My dad loved it there.’ I responded simply, ‘we all wanted to leave; it’s just that he had a blast in Disneyland. Though, I’ll admit, it was fun—but not that fun.’
‘Oh.’ Ashley whispered.
‘Why are you whispering?’ I whispered back.
We both laughed at the completely non-humorous moment. After that we couldn’t stop talking about what had happened to us in the past two months.
‘I had a really great time.’ Ashley said blushing, as I stood on her porch. ‘You know-‘
‘Yeah… great time…’ I interrupted.
Ashley nodded. ‘Anyway, I think we should do something different next time. I mean we’re always going to the same type of restaurants. Maybe next time we could have a picnic.’
I was determined not to allow a next time. This was too weird! I couldn’t like Ashley. ‘Yeah, I’m sure Bobby likes picnics.’ I said hoping she didn’t get too offended. ‘And Jo too.’
‘Anthony…’ she sighed. ‘I was hoping that it would just be the two of us.’ She leaned forward. I was frantic.
‘Anthony!’ I heard Dawson yell. I turned my head toward the sound, and Ashley kissed my cheek.
‘Oh my gosh! Thank you Dawson—so much!’ I said, accidentally out loud.
Ashley smiled, as I felt guilt. ‘Bye Anthony.’ She said turning inside.
‘Bye.’ I said turning away and running home.
‘Anthony—you could have told us where you were going!’ Dawson growled, ‘I was the one who had to see if I could find you—oh, and you’re probably grounded.’
I walked cautiously inside the house.
‘Anthony, you’re grounded.’ My dad said as soon as I walked in the door.
‘You could have guessed where I was—I mean, I called Ashley, then I disappeared, it’s not detective work.’
‘Anthony—you’re not a detective.’ My mom grumbled.
‘Am too…’ I said under my breath.
My dad began ranting, ‘When Charlie goes on a date with Miranda, he tells us, when Dawson goes on a play-date with Lulu-‘
‘Dad! It’s an actual date!’ Dawson yelled.
‘Even, when they’re just going out biking- they tell us, but when you’re going on a date with Ashley-‘
‘Don’t even go there! It’s not a date! We’re just friends!’ I argued. Why was I so determined?
‘Right…’ My dad said smiling.
‘I’m grounded, I’ll go to bed.’ I said walking towards the stairs. Then I remembered one ongoing discussion that would- I hoped, lead to me winning, so I thought now would be a good time to try again. ‘But… really it’s your fault that you didn’t get a hold of me, because you won’t buy me a cell phone, and if I had one-‘
‘Go to bed.’ My dad said laughing. I knew if I was going to get a parent to cave in, it would be him—mom was way too strict, whereas my dad was loose and funny.
I walked up to my bedroom, and pulled the next book of the series I had read before I had gone on my date— gone out with— gone to a restaurant with Ashley, off of the shelf, and began reading.
I was almost finished at about eleven o’clock, when I decided to get changed into my pyjamas, and go to sleep.

I woke early the next morning, with a Saint Bernard crushing my legs, and Charlie’s alarm clock beeping in the next room.
I walked downstairs with Dennis following me. I poured some dog food into his bowl, and dropped it in front of him. Then I grabbed a bowl out of the cupboard, and dumped some cereal into it. I sat down at the table with my milk-less cereal and ate it.
When I was about halfway done, Charlie came downstairs, dressed, and ready to go to work.
‘Have fun.’ I said half-heartedly.
‘Oh, don’t worry, I will.’ Charlie said sarcastically. ‘Anthony, if Miranda calls—which she might, be sure to tell her to meet me at work, if she doesn’t call, well, call her, kay?’
‘I’ll tell Dawson to, I’m grounded.’ I explained solemnly.
‘For what?’ He asked shoving a piece of bread into the toaster. ‘Going on a date?’
‘Yeah- no, it wasn’t a date.’ I said. Wow. I thought my family never used to bug me—why now? ‘I didn’t tell them I was going out, so they grounded me.’
‘That’s dumb.’ Charlie said, popping his toast because he was too impatient for it to pop itself. ‘I never tell them when I go out—though I’m also seventeen, and you’re not.’
‘I’m quite aware of that, thank you Charlie.’ I said.
‘Yeah. Anyway, I gotta go.’ He said shoving the peanut butter back in the cupboard. ‘See ya.’
‘Bye.’ I said, returning to my room.
I, again, looked at the clock, to calculate how much time I had until mom woke up so I could beg to get out of grounding. For this task, I would have to refer to my mom, because dad wouldn’t make the decision without consulting her, and if she found out I was trying to do it behind her back… well, I don’t want to think about what she’d do. The clock read six o’clock, meaning I had about four or five hours because mom would want to sleep in today.
So I looked around searching for something to do while I waited. I decided that finishing the book I was reading would be a good start, so I picked it up off my bedside table, and began to read the third last chapter.
I finished the book in less that half an hour. It ended with every single character dying… that was horrible. Then I noticed an ad in the back of the book saying find out what happened to Melody and her friends in the next instalment of Simply Confusing.” I looked at my bookshelf and realized that there was another book in the series.
I felt intrigued to read more, but I wasn’t in the mood for reading. So just to make both ways work out, I grabbed the book off of my shelf and read the last page. Melody said something, so I know knew she was alive.
I tossed the book on my bed and looked for something else to do.
Just then Dawson walked passed my door, ‘Hey.’ I said a little depressed.
‘G’morning.’ Dawson responded groggily.
‘Dawson, Charlie said to tell Miranda to meet him at work—and if she doesn’t call, you’re supposed to call her.’
‘Alright.’ Dawson sighed. ‘You know, Mom said we should have the boxes unpacked by last night, but you weren’t here, so if you do that, maybe mom will lighten up about your grounding.’
‘Good idea.’ I said, ‘thanks.’
I started immediately, unpacking clothes, books, posters, blankets, more books, more clothes… it went on for a couple hours. Eventually I had everything unpacked. I sighed with relief and sat down on my bed.
With all the boxes gone my room looked so much bigger, and, well better. The walls were white, and that was going to change in due time. I noticed that one section on the east wall looked strange.
I tapped it with my fist, and heard an echo, so I tapped it again, harder this time, I did it one more time, and screamed.
I wasn’t scared, just startled, but I’ll admit I was a little worried about what my mom would say, when I showed her the rectangular hole in my wall.
‘It’s Ok…’ I said calming myself down. ‘It was an accident…’ I really hated lying; I wasn’t too good at it. I examined the whole closer, and realized it was just a door. A door that matched the wall completely.
I couldn’t believe it. I—I had my very own bathroom. I smiled, and spun around on my bed.
‘Cool.’ My dad said. He was standing in the doorway, startling me. You picked the right room, now didn’t you? He walked away, and I turned to examine the new extension to my room.
I turned around and saw my mom standing in the doorway this time. I jumped in surprise. ‘Why does everyone keep doing that?’
‘What are you doing?’ She asked.
‘Not much.’ I said—which was the truth
‘I see.’ She said. ‘You’re still grounded.’ She walked down the hall.

The next three days flew past. I read as many books as I could cram into that little time, which was somewhere between five and fifteen. Of course they weren’t long books, none of my detective books were, which saddened me slightly. Also, my dad bought a new couch, to replace the one Dennis had destroyed.
With six days left until school started I had quite a bit of preparing to, like shopping, or something—ok, so I had virtually no preparing to do, but I needed to do something!
So I walked downstairs to try convincing my mom, to allow me to go shopping.
‘Mom-‘I started.
‘No.’
‘You don’t even know what I want.’
‘So?’
‘Well, I was wondering if we could go shopping for school supplies.’
‘Oh, well, yeah I guess.’ She said slowly. ‘I guess I forgot about that… I will allow you to go—but be back in an hour.’
‘OK, thanks.’ I said. I grabbed my jacket off of the hook by the door, and ran outside. I noticed Charlie pulling in our laneway in his rusty Chevy truck.
Before he got out of the truck, I, noticing that his window was down, asked, ‘Can you take me shopping? For school supplies.’ I added, to be sure he didn’t think it was for a bad reason.
‘Mom said it was OK?’ He asked. I nodded. ‘Get in.’ he said after a second of consideration.
I did as I was told, and Charlie backed out of the laneway.
As we neared Ashley’s house, Charlie slowed down, as he noticed she was outside.
Ashley looked up from the book she was reading, she looked mad.
She sprinted across her front lawn, and stood by my window. I cautiously rolled it down.
‘Why haven’t you been answering my calls?’ She yelled. I thought about all the possible answers and settled on one that might just get Charlie off my back about liking her.
‘I didn’t know you were calling.’ It didn’t have quite the edge I was hoping for, but I said it quite rudely, so maybe…
‘Oh, well Dawson… he didn’t tell you did he?’
I shook my head.
‘Where are you going?’ She asked.
‘School supply shopping.’ I answered.
Without saying another word, she opened the passenger side door, and crawled into the truck overtop of me.
‘Hi Charlie.’ She said, as she reached over me and closed the door.
‘Hi Ashley,’ Charlie said smiling, ‘care to come along?’
On the way to the store I told Ashley about my being grounded, and she informed me that our friends Bobby and Jo had returned to Canada last night. I made a mental note of that, and planned that I would go to their house later this week—if I was let off my grounding by then.
The store was crowded with people doing their last minute school shopping. Charlie wandered around gathering his supplies while I grabbed eight binders, lot’s of pencils, pens and paper. Dawson wasn’t here, so I figured I’d buy some stuff for him too.
Ashley talked the whole time about this and that, and I thought I would get bored of her, but I didn’t, of course I wasn’t listening to what she was saying, just listening to her voice… no—listen to her!
‘…then we went jogging, and that was almost fun, but again, I got sweaty…’ I drifted off again, but this time because I didn’t want to hear about her sweat-fest.
We finished at the store, I didn’t listen to how much money it was, but Charlie paid anyway, so it didn’t matter.
On the way home Ashley continued talking, but of course I didn’t listen to the content of what she was saying, just to the fact she was talking… maybe I did like her…

Two days left of the holidays. It’s a good thing I had already bought new clothes before we left for the trip, because my mom wasn’t about to allow me out of the house again until school started up. This was horrible because I really wanted to see Ashley again.
I sat around looking for something to do and realized, after all of the books that I had read, I still hadn’t finished the ‘Simply Confusing’ series.
I began reading the third and final book, when Dennis trudged mud into the room.
‘Bad dog!’ I said sitting up. ‘You go get a mop to clean this up.’ I knew it wouldn’t work, but at least now I can say that I tried. Then Dennis left the room. Maybe it did work.
I finished the book at about noon. I liked that book the best out of the series. I stood up, about to grab another book off of my shelf, when my mom called me for lunch.
Charlie was home for lunch today. Odd. He was usually working everyday, except when we were on our vacation of course.
‘Did they actually give you a day off?’ I asked him, “they” meaning the restaurant that he worked at.
‘No,’ he replied simply.
‘Then why are you here?’ I asked, seeking more of an explanation.
‘I took the day off, it’s Miranda’s birthday—though it wasn’t exactly hard to get the day off, because her parents own the restaurant, as I’m sure you already know.’
‘No, I didn’t know that.’ Dawson said sarcastically. Charlie seemed to think it was a thing that he worked at his girlfriend’s parent’s restaurant, because he couldn’t get fired. That was pretty much his only reason. Although if he broke up with Miranda… I always thought about that, but apparently he didn’t want to break up with Miranda, and I sometimes thought that they might even get married. Yes, I know that it’s lame that I have to fantasize about my brother’s personal life—but I really didn’t have one. Yet.
Mom put a grilled cheese sandwich down on each of our plates, and then tossed a pot holder on the table, followed by a pot full of macaroni and cheese.
A fairly childish lunch, but I loved it.
‘Does anyone need anything else for school?’ My mom asked as she sat down. We all shook our heads. ‘I was just wondering because, I have to go into work (my mom was a doctor) so I’d be passing the store on the way there.’
‘Well, I need a new shirt… or five.’ Dawson said.
‘I already bought you five—before the trip!’ My mom said, shocked by his news.
‘Yeah, well, they’re all stained with spaghetti sauce.’
‘How did you mange—no, never mind. I’ll get some—but don’t wear them until school actually starts.’

I walked upstairs after lunch, and grabbed my book off of my bed.
There was a sudden bark—Dennis, I hadn’t realized he was in the room. I spun on the spot to face him, he had startled me, but instead of seeing my dog I saw the ceiling, and had a sharp pain in my head.
As far as I could tell, Dennis had left a puddle of mud in my room, and had slipped on it—I guess he didn’t clean it up.
I stood up, and wiped some of the mud off of my arms, and rubbed my aching head.
When I turned around to see the puddle of mud, I also found a piece of wall missing from beside my bed.
‘Ok…’ I told myself, ‘How bad can this really be?’ I decided not to let anyone know, so I quickly ran downstairs and grabbed a mop.
After the mud was cleaned up, I pulled my bed in front of the hole. ‘Ok, now no one has to know. Really, what is wrong with my room, how many more secret holes will I find?’
I went back to reading, but quickly gave up, I wasn’t taking anything in; my mind was still on the hole in the wall.
I locked my door, and pushed my bed out of the way. It looked as if it were a garbage chute, but it was so clean that I could see my shaggy red hair, green eyes, and my slightly tanned skin.
If it really were a garbage chute, than, it would lead out of my room… right? I felt a surge of excitement. If my parents didn’t find out about this, than I could leave the house, even when I was grounded.
Bad idea. I told myself, if my mom saw me I would be grounded until I was forty.
But, my adventurous side argued, you don’t know that they’ll see you.
Ah, but you find out by trying, and I don’t want to find out, so I won’t try.
Oh yes you will!
And then I was going down the chute.
It was a short ride. I landed in the flower garden by the side of the house. To get in I had to go through a flap in the side of the wall.
This was the flower garden where only hedges grew, which was odd, but it created the perfect cover for me as I sat here.
I peeked out of the hedge cover, and saw that no one was outside; I also noticed that there were no first floor windows on this side of the house, so I ran towards the street.
Where I was going wasn’t too far away, just outside of town, and I was longing to go there. I was headed to Bobby and Jo.

I walked in their long lane way, and immediately spotted a fifteen year old boy with light brown hair and blue eyes, wearing a black cowboy hat, jeans and a long sleeved, button up, red plaid flannel shirt.
He was carrying a fifty pound bag of bird feed over one shoulder.
He stopped for a minute, and then turned around. ‘Anthony!’ He dropped the birdfeed in front of the flock of chickens and ran toward me. ‘I knew you’d be here to see me eventually, I just figured it would be a couple of days ago. Here, I’ll go get Jo.’
‘Just don’t let your dad know I’m here—I’m grounded.’ I didn’t want their dad to know I was here, it could easily come up in conversation and I would be grounded for longer than I already was.
‘You snuck out?’ He gasped in sarcastic shock, ‘cool’ He ran towards the big red house in the distance, and came back moments later.
‘Let’s head to the barn, she said she’ll meet us there.’
We headed over to the barn, which was past the pond, chicken coop, and horse stables. The barn was placed just at the edge of the forest, where a small path laid out with flat stones, led to a beautiful pond, with a small waterfall. I knew this place so well, I’ve been coming here ever since I was seven.
A few minutes later Bobby’s twin sister Jo came running around the corner, her dirty blonde hair tied back in a ponytail. On her head was a tan cowgirl hat that cast a shadow that covered her shining blue eyes.
She didn’t stop running, she ran right into me, and flung her arms tight around my neck. ‘Anthony!’ She cheered, in her sing-song voice. ‘It’s so good to see you, what have you been up to? Has Ashley been a good girl?’
I went into a long explanation about what my trip was like, and what I’d been doing for the past few days.
‘Well,’ Bobby started, ‘I guess we had a better vacation than you did.’
‘Oh, most likely.’ I sighed, ‘I didn’t have a whole lot of fun.’
I was, as much as I hate to admit it, quite jealous of Bobby. He had an awesome sister, a great house, an awesome property, and he was quite good looking—not that I’m not good looking… Although Bobby’s kind of… dumb. Not to be mean, but he’s not all that smart.
We were now sitting with our feet in the water talking about everything that came to our mind—every now and then Ashley would cross my mind, but I tried not to bring her up in conversation.
When it started to get darker, I realized my mistake, I quickly said goodbye, and ran down their lane and down the road.
It took me only ten minutes to get home. The front window was open and I heard my mom tell Dawson to go get me for supper.
I crawled through the hedges, lifted the flap, and sort of galloped up the chute.
I was under my bed when I heard Dawson say, ‘Anthony, supper’s ready!’
‘Kay.’ I said crawling out from under my dusty bed.

I woke up at six o’clock on the first day of school, showered, and got dressed.
I ate breakfast, and fed Dennis.
At quarter to eight I walked to the end of the laneway and waited for the bus to come.


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Yamazaru
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Join date : 2010-08-27
Age : 25

PostSubject: Chapter 2   Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:41 am






2. Classes

The bus slowed down, gradually, eventually making its final deadly stop.
I felt sick, this wasn’t really happening, school wasn’t back yet, summer had only just started—yes, that was it. Then why was the school bus in front of me right now? Obviously it was here dropping me off from my last day at school.
I fought the urge to turn around and go back inside the comfort of my cool, air-conditioned house.
Dawson stood behind me, also ready to board the bus, Charlie, however was no where to be seen. Dawson seemed to be thinking the same thing as me, because he said, ‘Where’s Charlie? He can’t miss out on his first day as a senior—and it’s my first day of high school altogether, whose going to show me around…? There’s no one else I can think of!’
‘How about me?’ I said, offended that my brother had forgotten about me.
‘I can’t be seen with you! People will think I’m really smart!’ Dawson argued.
‘Charlie’s a lot smarter than me.’ I pointed out.
‘Yeah, but I’ll be cool if I hang out with a senior when I’m a freshman.’
‘Are you going to get on the bus, or not?’ I looked up; I hadn’t even realized that the bus was waiting for us, though I should have…
‘Wait—Wow we’re stupid!’ Dawson cheered.
‘Speak for yourself.’
‘Charlie will just drive himself to school.’ Dawson pointed out.
Now I really did feel stupid…
The only people on the bus were the people who lived out of town, which consisted of seven people. There were these triplets, that sometimes hung out with me and the others but usually they were really busy, what with their after school activities, their chores, and their part time jobs.
Bobby and Jo were also on the bus, sitting half-way back, waiting for me. I quickly moved into the seat across from them, while Dawson sat near the front.
‘You didn’t get caught did you?’ Bobby asked immediately. I shook my head, ‘good, I didn’t want to be guilty for a deed so atrocious.’
I was stunned for a moment, then when I realized Bobby was holding in laughter, I realized that that probably took him hours to come up with—or he just had some help from Jo.
The bus slowed down again, and Ashley boarded the bus. I tried not to look into her eyes, so as not to be mesmerized. So instead I stared at Bobby, who seemed to realize that something was wrong, I mouthed the word ‘what’ hoping that would keep him away.
Ashley sat down beside me. No one said anything for a while.
‘Well…’ Bobby finally said, breaking the silence, ‘only four more months until we get out of school!’ Clearly he was trying to look at the bright side of this, but he wasn’t helping too much.
Come on Anthony, I said to myself, snap out of it, school isn’t that bad, really, and besides, you’ve got three classes with Ashley.
I nodded to myself, I was right, school wasn’t terrible, and three out of four isn’t bad.
‘We’re getting a new horse,’ Jo said, she seemed too excited, ‘I’m hoping for a black one, but my dad says he wants just another brown one—but we’ll see, I can be quite persuasive.’
This was true, Jo was incredibly convincing. She sometimes seemed spoiled, because she often got her way but she was still one of my best friends.
The triplets, who were seated just in front of us, turned around to say hello.
Alex, and Chris were seated in front of me, and Jamie was in the seat across. The three of them all had names that would work regardless of their gender. Alex and Chris were girls, Jamie, a boy.
I didn’t know them well, but I knew their basic interests, Chris loved to read, she was incredibly smart. Alex was an exceedingly good athlete. And Jamie was exceptionally handy with a tool; he loved to invent random devises that would make life even the slightest bit easier.
The three of them looked identical—with the exception of Jamie being a boy; however their eyes were all the same dazzling shade of green, and their hair all as black as pitch. The only difference between the two girls was that Chris wore glasses from her tendency to read far too often.
 ‘Hi Anthony, Ashley.’ Chris said shyly.
I forgot to mention the one major difference between the three of them. Their attitudes. Chris was shy; there was no other word for it, except maybe timid, bashful, reserved, quiet… Alex was the opposite: sociable, outgoing, extrovert. Then there was Jamie, who was friendly as can be, but preferred to keep the talking to a minimum.
‘Hi Chris, how was your summer?’ Ashley asked, noticing that I wasn’t going to say anything.
‘Oh… good, I guess.’ Chris responded. I knew what her response meant. It meant quite simply, that she had hardly realized it was summer because she was so addicted to, reading her books. ‘How was yours?’ She asked politely.
‘Hot.’ I said keeping my long and sweaty story out of the conversation.
‘Boring.’ Ashley said, following my lead on the one word answers. Then she decided to elaborate. ‘Bobby and Jo were in Europe for duration of the summer, while Anthony was down in Florida.’
‘Well why didn’t you come over to our place?’ Alex asked, joining into our conversation.
There was a moment of silence as we all thought about the exact reason Ashley hadn’t gone to the triplet’s mansion. Mr Bartley—their father, does not allow Ashley into the house. None of us has any idea why, but, whenever she’s around he gets almost mad, but when Bobby, Jo, or I come over, he welcomes us with open arms. I’ve tried to figure out why, but I just, for the life of me, couldn’t figure it out. That was why I hated thinking about this—because this was one case I haven’t been able to solve—the only one.
Bobby and Jo, leaned closer and began talking to the four of us, and even Jamie joined in eventually, saying only short sentences, and only seldom times would he even do that much.
Eventually the bus slowed down in front of the large building I liked to call my nightmare. We descended the stairs in single file and quickly ran into the school. The principal owed me after what I’d done last year, I wasn’t supposed to talk about how he’d lost the report cards, but in the end I found them. So now, if I got to the principal, I could ask for some good lockers—there were a few lockers I had in mind—four in fact.
I walked into the principal’s office, and stated my proposition. She agreed happily, and led Ashley, Bobby, Jo and I to our new lockers.
I was quite pleased with our gain. These specific lockers were in a remote part of the school, and no body ever wanted them, since it took longer to get to class, and there were no windows or even exits around here, yes slightly hazardous in the case of a fire, yet wonderful if you wanted a hallway to yourself.
My friends looked sceptical, but I knew I liked it… though I guess I should have asked them.
My plan was simple, stay away from people, and it would be easier here.
Mrs Cameron handed us our combinations, and said ‘these lockers haven’t been used in years, so if you happen to find anything—food for instance in your lockers—don’t touch it.’
We all nodded and she walked away to return to her business.
I didn’t allow the others to complain to me about our locker positioning, I knew it couldn’t be good. Instead I opened my locker and tossed my backpack inside.
I began sorting through everything, listening to the others do the same. Then some sort of rancid smell reached my nose. I leaned back and looked at the others. Jo had her nose plugged, looking into Ashley’s new locker. Ashley looked as if she were fighting the urge to scream at the top of her lungs and run home to hide under her bed.
She slowly backed up, until she was behind me holding her nose so she didn’t have to smell, what I now saw. Three mice crowded around a pile of mush, that looked like it could have possible been a sandwich once.
‘I—I’m getting the custodian…’ Ashley whispered in my ear. She slammed her locker closed and ran away.
I finished up in my locker, and quickly grabbed my English binder. I almost forgot my pencil case, so I quickly grabbed it off of the top shelf, and as I was closing my locker, I notice a piece of paper falling from where my pencil case had been.
I grabbed it and examined its simple, yet graceful writing. The writing was smudged, the paper old, and frigid. It wasn’t too hard to make out what it said: ‘
Darling, J.T,
I did it again, I don’t know how much more I can take, I know that the thrill was intense, but it lasts no more than a moment, then the police come after you… I’m sorry, I love you, but the law is more important right now, we may never see each other again, once graduation is over. I love you…
P---- Smith
Ps. I really do… love you.

The name began with ‘P’ but I couldn’t make out the rest of the name, and I didn’t know anyone with that last name. I thought about it for a moment, it didn’t mean anything to me, so I tossed it in the garbage, and ran to my English class. This happened to be the one class I had without Ashley, so I had no chance to ask her what had happened to her mice problem.
As I walked into the class my teacher looked up from the book he was reading, he lowered his feet from the desk, and adjusted his crescent shaped glasses that magnified his green eyes. His hair was very white, but still quite thick, covering his entire head.
‘Good morning.’ He said cheerily. ‘Anthony… It’s a pleasure to have you in my class.’
‘Do I know you?’ I asked, trying to be kind, but really I had no idea who he was.
‘No, but I know you.’ He answered.
I tried to think of what to say, but nothing was coming to my mind. ‘That’s not creepy.’ I said sarcastically, I hadn’t knowingly come to a conclusion on saying this, but it was out now.
My teacher began laughing. ‘I’ve known you since you were a baby. In fact, I was there the day you were born.’
‘Where are you going with this?’ I asked, trying not to be too rude.
‘No where in particular.’ He answered. ‘I’m Quincy Harper, but you can call me Quin.’
‘You—who are you?’ I asked, ‘not your name—I mean… who are you?’
‘I am your grandfather.’ He smiled.
‘Whoa—what?’ I thought for a moment and finally came to a conclusion. He wasn’t lying—he was my grandfather. I couldn’t think of a time that my dad had ever talked about him… it made sense.
‘How did you know it was me?’ I asked, testing.
‘Well, I looked at my class list and saw that you were in my class… That and the fact that you look just like your father.’
‘Oh…’ I spluttered. Just at that second three more students filed into the classroom, followed by the rest of the class. I hardly noticed them. I was staring into my grandfathers eyes… he was there, real. I couldn’t imagine what had prevented me from asking what had happened to him, how he was doing, was he still alive? If magic was real, it would be working right now.
Quin smiled and said, ‘you can sit down now.’
I snapped out of my thoughts, and sat in the chair right in front of Quin.
Quin stood up, and walked to the blackboard and wrote down, Mr Harper.
‘I think we’ll get to work right now, and get Romeo and Juliet read, and over with, because I know how much teenagers dislike the classics.’
I found myself raising my hand without thinking about it.
‘Yes Anthony?’
‘I disagree with your assumption sir, Romeo and Juliet is one of my favourites, of course Shakespeare himself is amazing, all of his plays and poems are quite inspiring if you ask me.’
‘OK.’ Quin sighed, ‘Anthony is correct, not all teenagers dislike the classics, just a lot of them.’
I felt like disagreeing with that too, but I couldn’t think of the words I was looking for, and it really was true.
Throughout this class we read Act I Scene I as a class. I was Benvolio, the peace keeper.
Quin continued picking fun at Shakespeare, and trying to bond with me. Either he didn’t like Shakespeare himself, or he was trying to bond with fifteen year olds…
I was almost convinced that I was feeling that same ‘urge’ that I imagined my dad feeling when he was around Quin. It was almost like my dad didn’t tell me about Quin for a reason, and this was that reason.
I glanced at the clock, hoping that this class was going to end soon. Like NOW! The bell rang, interrupting the class doing the questions for the scene we read.
‘Finish these up for homework.’ Quin called over the bustling students. ‘I know Anthony will get to work on these, when he gets home am I correct?’ Quin flashed a smile in my direction.
‘No I won’t.’ I said mechanically.
‘Oh, well why not?’
‘’Cause I’m done.’ I said in the same tone as before
‘Is that right?’ Quin asked. Could you come here for a moment?’
I sluggishly walked over to him.
‘You read the part of Benvolio well today, with such enthusiasm, and unless I’m mistaken you rarely looked to the book for your lines.’
‘You’re not mistaken. What’s your point?’ I asked haughtily.
‘I was just wondering…’ He began, ‘Our school is putting on a version of the play we are reading just now, and I was wondering if you wanted to audition for Benvolio. I mean, I’m the director, and I could help you get the part…’ He waited for my answer.
I thought it out, thinking mainly that I didn’t want to spend more time than was necessary with Quin, then I said, ‘I’d rather not take part in the play, I’m not a very outgoing person, and besides even if I did, I would want to win the part fairly, and not cheat at all.’
‘Oh, well, alright then.’ Quin said disappointed. ‘Bye then, have a good day.’
‘Bye.’ I said smugly, before turning and heading back to my locker for my Math supplies.
Ashley was at her locker when I arrived, she looked rather grossed out. I assumed the mouse problem was dealt with, but the face she made every time she looked into her locker…
‘Hi.’ I said coming up behind her. She jumped at least three inches off of the ground and spun around, her long braid whipping her locker door and closing it.
She sighed when she saw me. ‘I’m sorry. I have a problem with mice… I just… can’t … stand them.’ She turned back to her locker and re-opened it.
I opened mine as well, and we both grabbed our math stuff, and headed off to class.
Math was more fun than English—which to me is like saying, ‘I’d like a brussel sprout please,’ to your mom as she’s taking a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies out of the oven. I really hated math…
Our teacher was Mrs Middleton. She was… odd.
‘Okay class.’ She said with her croaking voice. ‘Please come and pick up one of each of these three worksheets, work with a partner to finish them and I expect them done by the end off class.’ Then she laughed—no, cackled. ‘I’m just kidding, if you don’t get them done, just do them for homework—but I do expect them on my desk by tomorrow at 10:25 at the latest. Also the first team done gets a chocolate bar—go!’
I’m assuming she had expected us all to jump into our work, and scribble the answers down as fast as possible, but only a couple people did.
I, of course, teamed up with Ashley, but she always refused to help me in situations like this, I think it was because she didn’t think I’d learn anything if she did it for me, and of course, her photographic memory made this kind of thing easy for her, not to mention she was really smart to begin with.
Ashley was done in about fifteen minutes, and began watching me work away. I had only one of three sheets completed when she finished, so I was a bit behind, like I had expected.
I finished the second sheet before the others had, and I began on the third sheet.
I stared at the numbers, not making sense of them in my head. Ashley began teaching me how to do certain formulas, and as much as I tried to get her to finish my work, she refused.
I eventually finished the final worksheet, before anyone else. As the bell rang signalling lunch, Mrs Middleton congratulated us on winning the chocolate bars.
Bobby and Jo were sitting by our lockers eating their feast-like lunches, when Ashley and I came down the stairs that led into our hall.
We sat down beside them after retrieving our lunches from our lockers. My lunch was leftover pizza, an apple, a bunch of grapes, and chocolate pudding. To top it all off, my mom had bought my brothers and I each a carton of chocolate milk, to make the first day special—after today, it would be back to water. Plus the chocolate bar from my math teacher.
I noticed Bobby eyeing my lunch, I let him. I waited until I knew exactly what it was that he wanted, before I tossed my chocolate bar at him.
‘Thanks.’ He said cheerfully.
‘Oh,’ Jo said, letting crumbs from her cinnamon bun fall from her mouth. She waited a couple seconds, and swallowed her food before continuing. ‘Bobby, show Anthony and Ashley the note you found in your locker, they might know who wrote it.’
‘Good idea.’ Bobby said, pulling a piece of musty paper from his pocket. He unfolded it and passed it to me.
The writing was messy and scrawled across the page, smudged slightly like the one I had found.

Hun, I know you think this is bad, but it’s not, you know what I mean?
I’m sorry you think that way, but you’ll never get rid of me, I’ll follow you ‘till the end of the earth, until you realize that I’m right for you, then we can be together.
Your Prince
‘I thought it was romantic.’ Jo sighed. ‘Kind of sweet.’
‘Let me see.’ Ashley said, snatching ht letter from my hand. She took three seconds, and said, ‘Aww… That is sweet.’
Bobby stared into me smiling, ‘girls.’ He muttered.
The four of us had the next class together, which was art. Three of four of us liked art—Bobby didn’t dislike art, I guess, he just wasn’t good at it.
We were about half the class which was fine with me, I liked small classes. Our teacher was Miss Stewart or Grace as she preferred to be called. She was the only art teacher our school had.
As we walked into her classroom, I saw the familiar waist length wavy black hair, her bangs pulled back into strange loops around her ears that met on the back of her head. She turned to see us with her glowing blue eyes. She was wearing a light yellow sundress, and a white lab coat, which I guessed was to stop the paint from reaching her dress.
‘Hey guys.’ Grace smiled as she spoke, ‘Grab a brush.’
We didn’t argue. We pulled paint jackets over ourselves, and grabbed a brush and paint.
‘What are we painting?’ Ashley asked.
‘Just… whatever is on your mind.’ Grace explained, as she began to paint. ‘Don’t show anyone, until you’re done. But this is a one period assignment, so it doesn’t have to be perfect.’
I picked up a paint brush and dipped it into a puddle of orange paint and mixed it with red paint. I really didn’t know what I was painting, I just was. I looked over at Bobby’s canvas, and saw he was painting a blue ball.
Barely three seconds after I looked away, Bobby turned to me and asked, ‘does this look like a truck, or an elephant?’
I couldn’t help but laugh, ‘What did you want it to be?’
‘Me.’
I laughed and continued painting, until Grace stood at the front of the class, and said, ‘brushes down! Pass it on to the person on your right.’
I passed mine to Bobby, but not before I saw that his blue ball now had pink… hair? Was it?
Jo had sat on my left, so she passed her canvas to me. I knew what it was immediately. Herself. Well, I guess twins do think alike.
‘Now, I want you to tell the person on your left, what their painting is, to see if you can get it.’ Grace explained.
I leaned over to Jo, and whispered in her ear, ‘it’s you.’
‘Correct.’ She whispered back. Then she turned to talk to Ashley.
I looked at Bobby, maybe he would know what I painted. He was arguing with the person on his right, ‘It does too!’ He whipped his head around, ‘this looks like me, right, Anthony?’
I wanted to say yes, but I really couldn’t lie… ‘What’s my painting?’ I asked.
‘Ashley—duh.’
I gasped, ‘what?’ I examined the painting. It was her. I had mixed the colour for her hair, without even realizing it.
‘Anthony?’ Bobby said, ‘You seem like you didn’t know what you painted… almost.’
I bit my bottom lip.
‘I knew what it was going to be even before I saw it.’ Bobby said. I stared in confusion. ‘You don’t think I haven’t noticed, do you?’ He asked, ‘The way you look at her— the way you’re always looking at her, you’re always out of it, when she’s around… If you’re trying to hide it you may want to work on it a little.’
The bell rang at that second, saving my life. ‘Bye, have a good day—just leave your paintings, I’ll mark them.’
The boy who sat on Bobby’s right, snickered at Bobby’s painting one last time before continuing.
I ran to my locker, then to History, avoiding Bobby.
Ashley came into the class five minutes after me, and sat beside me. ‘What’s the rush?’ She asked in a quiet voice.
‘Just avoiding Bobby,’ I answered truthfully.
‘Oh.’ I knew she wouldn’t ask why, I had fun avoiding Bobby, he was annoying sometimes, but usually I was avoiding him as a game. I would run, and he would search, and the time around any classes we had together didn’t count. So if I wanted to get to my locker, I would have to time it so that he was gone before I got there.
The class started with a… bang? More like a smash. Our history teacher was also a chemistry teacher, and he had just come from teaching a chemistry class, with his cart and everything. The smash was a beaker and a few test tubes, falling and smashing to the ground.
‘Sorry everyone!’ He called, and then looked up. ‘Oh, sorry you two.’
‘S’alright.’ I said, trying to be kind. ‘Where do you want us to sit?’
‘Oh—Here is the seating plan.’ He said, putting a piece of paper on his desk, then frantically pulling a broom from the cupboard and sweeping up the mess.
He ran around after that, sorting through all of his work, as more students filed into the class.
The bell rang and he jumped in surprise, ‘oh, more students… I’m Mr Traverse, pleased to meet you… just work on text book page five, and answer the questions.’ He told us.
‘Sir,’ Ashley said smiling, ‘we haven’t gotten any textbooks.’
‘Oh—yes that’s correct. Thank you miss…?’ Mr Traverse said slowly looking around the classroom.
‘Johnson, sir.’ Ashley said.
‘Johnson… AHA!’ Mr Traverse yelled. A few students who were text messaging under their desks snapped their phones closed and hid them. ‘I’ve found them, Miss Johnson, please hand these out.’ Ashley stood up immediately and walked gracefully to the teacher, and the pile of text books.
She passed them out getting to me and herself last.
I got to work immediately finishing all the questions within half an hour.
I flipped my book closed, and noticed that Ashley had beaten me done—that much was obvious. As the front cover flipped closed a piece of paper slid out.
I read this one with ease, it seemed much newer, and the writing was neater than the ones from mine and Bobby’s locker.

September 3, 2009

I stopped for a minute, and looked at Ashley. She had been reading as well.
‘That’s today’s date…’ I said.
‘That’s not all,’ Ashley said shocked, ‘read on.’

Anthony, meet me in the park by the costume shop after school, and you’ll be very pleased.

My jaw dropped.
‘Anthony—you can’t go!’ Ashley said immediately. ‘You just can’t!’
‘Chill!’ I said calmingly, ‘I won’t go—I promise. But… how did they know I would be here today… How did they know that I would be using this book… who exactly is they?’
‘I don’t know, but it’s freaky.’ Ashley said. ‘Wait…’ She ripped a page out of her notebook, and started scribbling down jot notes.
I looked over her shoulder.
1. Someone had to have seen the searing plan.
2. I would sit beside you—obviously, meaning if one person was absent, I would get that book instead, and would still be able to show you…
3. There was the exact right amount of books…
‘Ok…’ She said slowly and quietly. ‘It had to be someone who knew the class list… to make sure there would be enough books…’
‘I don’t always sit in the same spot—‘I started.
‘Yes you do, by the window, always in the front. Now please be quiet while I figure this out.’
‘Kay…’ I sighed.
After a couple minutes, she sighed and said, ‘All I know is that whoever put it in there was very smart… and knew you.’
‘Was it… you?’ I asked joking around.
Ashley swiftly smacked the back of my head. ‘Don’t joke around with this—it’s really freaking me out!’
Then the bell rang for the end of class.
‘Wow…’ I sighed, ‘time flies when you’re freaked out—doesn’t it Ashley.’
She glared at me.
‘I don’t know though…’ I started. ‘Wouldn’t it be fun to see who wrote the letter?’
‘NO!’ She almost screamed. ‘You can’t, it could be dangerous—it could be a serial killer!’
‘Ashley, you said it was someone I knew, and as far as I know, I don’t know any serial killers.’
‘I didn’t say you knew them, I said they knew you!’
‘Oh…’
Ashley didn’t talk the rest of the way back to the locker, or to the bus.
Or even when we sat down and the bus started moving. I wasn’t the only one who noticed though, Bobby and Jo, both tried to get her to say something, but it was no use, it was like she was a zombie.
That is, until we got off the bus.
She took my hand and dragged me home, all the way into the door. Dawson and Charlie laughed. Ashley wasn’t helping this whole “convince my family that I don’t like Ashley” plan by holding my hand.
She pulled me into my room, and locked the door.
‘What are you doing?’ I asked, as she closed the curtains.
She walked back over to the door, and stood with her arms crossed. ‘Making sure you don’t go to the park.’
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Yamazaru
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Posts : 23
Join date : 2010-08-27
Age : 25

PostSubject: Chapter 3   Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:42 am





3. The Park


‘Ashley!’ I said, shocked, ‘I was grounded—trapped in here for ten days, and now on my first day off, I’m here back in my room, waiting for you to leave so I can get out—trust me, I won’t go to the park—I promised you, didn’t I?
‘Yes, you promised me, but how can I believe you…? How could there be a way that I could be sure you were telling the truth? I realized that I couldn’t, so I trapped you… is that OK?’
‘No, it’s not OK!’ I was almost yelling now. ‘You’ve trapped me in this room—and then you ask if it’s OK? You have some serious problems!’
Ashley walked over to my bed and sat down. ‘Is it really so bad to be trapped in a room with me?’
I felt my face turn red, ‘Well, I suppose it’s not too bad… if you put it that way…’
Ashley put her arm around my shoulder, and began to talk. ‘You see, it’s not horrible. Now, let’s get your mind off of the park.’
I felt like running, but I felt like staying. It would be hard to make a decision when the time came.
‘Do you remember art class today?’ She asked slowly.
‘Yeah, it wasn’t so long ago, I have a—well not good, but I have a memory.’
She smiled, ‘anyway, do you know what I painted?’
‘No.’
‘A violet coloured tulip.’ She sighed.
‘Oh.’ This meant a lot to our relationship.
‘Do you remember?’
‘Yeah, clearly.’ I sighed.
I was five, and a new family had moved in near us, and my dad had heard that there was a girl about my age, so he wanted me to meet her. I was stubborn, and didn’t want to meet the new girl, so my dad dropped the subject for a bit. One day, though, when he came home from work, he had a bouquet of flowers. I asked my dad why he did this, and he said, gentlemen were meant to give women flowers. So he pulled a flower out of the bouquet and told me I should give it to someone. I told him I didn’t like the flower he’s given me, so he let me pick one. I didn’t know a girl, not one around my age anyway. So I had decided that I should go meet the new girl… and the rest is sort of obvious…
But Ashley had been thinking of that memory, when she was painting. I remembered the assignment for art… She was thinking about me, just as I was thinking about her.
‘What did you paint?’ She asked slowly, hoping for the answer she thought was correct.
‘I—I painted you.’ I said slowly. She turned toward me, smiled, and leaned in to kiss me. Without thinking, I leaned forward as well, and just before our mouths touched there was a loud knocking on the door.
‘Anthony,’ I heard Charlie say, ‘dad said I have to get you to open your door—to be safe.’
Ashley smiled, a disappointed smile, one that I felt spread across my own face, as I walked over to open the door.
Charlie and Dawson were standing there.
‘I wasn’t listening—‘Dawson said quickly before running away.
‘I wasn’t listening, I promise you.’ Charlie said sincerely.
‘It- it doesn’t… matter, we were just… studying anyway.’ I cringed at my pathetic excuse for a lie, knowing that Charlie saw right through it.
‘Then where are the books?’ He asked before walking away. I turned back to Ashley, whose face looked as red as mine felt.
I sat down beside her and sighed, as she reached into her backpack. ‘What are you doing?’ I asked, truly curious.
She pulled a book out of her back pack and set it on the bed beside her. She then turned to me, and said, ‘studying.’ She leaned in and kissed me full on the mouth.
I reacted to this, without thinking at all. I kissed her back, it felt… perfect with her. I couldn’t stop, and as it seemed neither could she.
‘Ooooo.’ Dawson’s annoying voice said from the doorway.
I glanced up at him for a second, then sighed.
She looked nervous. She really had things backward. ‘You’re supposed to look nervous before the kiss.’ I explained in a joking tone.
Ashley smiled, and looked down to her notebook. ‘You know, if you want to do well on the exam, you should review what you learned in school every day.’
‘Already thinking about exams… that’s so… you.’ I said, taking out my notebooks.

The next week went by quickly, with no alone time with Ashley. My mind hadn’t returned to the park at all. I was top of the class—excluding Ashley, in all classes, and I was even starting to get along with Quin, even though I had a few minor adjustments to make on him.
Bobby had sensed the change in my mood immediately, so I told him about the kiss, hoping he wouldn’t think that I was stupid. He didn’t, of course, he thought it was great.
On the 18th of September Bobby and Jo had gone to a doctor’s appointment, leaving us on the bus alone. We didn’t say anything, it was far too awkward.
But when we got off the bus, Dawson asked Charlie if he would take him to go shopping for new shirts, something about pudding. I didn’t ask, one, because Dawson was too complex to figure out, and two, I would be alone with Ashley, as mom and dad were still at work.
We walked inside and sat on the couch, Dennis curled up between us. Ashley was in a white sundress, with white leggings.
‘Are you hungry?’ She asked. ‘I can cook.’
‘No, I’m fine—thanks.’ I wasn’t being entirely truthful, my stomach had been growling not long ago, but it wasn’t now. I’m sure Ashley knew I was lying, but she didn’t say anything.
‘Do you want to watch TV?’ She asked. I shook my head. She smiled, and leaned in to kiss me. I smiled, leaning over Dennis. Our lips had barely met when the phone rang. We sprang apart in surprise.
The answering machine picked up, and we heard a man say ‘Ashley. I know you’re there, please come home, we need to go see your great aunt Gertrude, I will come get you.’ Then it hung up.
Ashley stood up, and grabbed her backpack. ‘I’ve got to go.’ She walked to the door, and waved bye.
‘Bye.’ I sighed. She closed the door lightly on her way out.
I was bored.
I decided that, even though Ashley hadn’t reminded me to, I would study, what was wrong with that? Studying was good.
I pulled out my math book, and turned the TV on.
I spent about half an hour studying, when I decided I was headed to Bobby.
I flipped the TV off, and headed to the door. I grabbed my jacket, and left the house. I was halfway to my bike when I remembered the summer incident… I ran back inside and scribbled down on a sticky note, Gone to Bobby, be back soon, love, Anthony.
I ran back out to my bike, and pulled my helmet over my head.

Bobby was sitting outside playing fetch with a large dog when I rode in the lane way on my bike.
He looked up and smiled waving to me. He was caught off guard by his bear like dog, who pounced onto his chest, pushing him over. I heard Bobby yelp.
I slid off of my bike, and ran over to Bobby, cautiously pulling the black hairy beast off of him.
‘Thanks,’ he gasped, standing up and wiping dirt off of his pants. ‘C’mon inside, I think Jo’s in there.’ Bobby led the way toward the house.
I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been inside the ‘Tree House’. I called it that, because their last name was Tree. I always thought of it as an odd name myself, but I couldn’t change it. I knew that I hadn’t been in the house for years, ever since their mom died.
Bobby stopped me in the doorway. ‘Just thought I’d say, dad might freak out when he sees you… he’s been asking us to invite you in for years, but… let’s just say we never got around to it.’ I decided to take that in a good way.
Bobby stepped aside and let me walk in the front door.
The first thing I noticed was that the house smelled like fresh baking, just like it always had… I loved that smell. Within seconds I had spotted many differences, which ranged from the wall colour to the amount of pictures on the wall.
Bobby closed the door, and slipped past me into the kitchen, I followed him in and heard someone shout my name.
‘Anthony?’ It was Mr Tree. ‘Is that you? Wow, you’ve grown up…’ Mr Tree was huge. That was how I had always described him, it was the fastest way. His hair was exactly like Bobby’s as well as his skin tone, and facial features; the only resemblance he had with his daughter was the eyes.
‘Hello sir.’ I said, ‘It’s nice to see you again. It’s been a while hasn’t it?’
‘Just as polite as always, of course… So unlike my children.’
‘Thanks dad!’ Jo said sarcastically, she was sitting in a chair at the dining table, covering a batch of cupcakes with icing.
Bobby sat down beside her and snatched a cupcake and shoved it in his mouth.
Jo glared at him, and pushed the tray containing the cupcakes away from Bobby. She turned to me and smiled, ‘hey, how’re you?’ She asked.
‘Good I suppose. I was bored so I came to see you guys.’ I responded simply.
‘Oh, well give me a minute, and we can go do something.’
Just then someone else came skipping into the room. I was shocked; I hadn’t realized anyone else had lived here. I could tell that she lived here, by the way she, and everyone else, acted as she arrived.
‘Hello, you must be Anthony. It’s a pleasure to meet you.’ The woman said. Her long white hair was tied into a bun on the back of her head, her glasses sliding down her nose, and her glowing almost white eyes starring at me happily.
‘Yes,’ I nodded, ‘I’m Anthony.’ I didn’t want to ask who she was, I just felt like I should already know her.
‘This is grandma,’ Bobby said, noticing my confused expression. ‘We call her Granny… but only because she wants us to. I smiled and nodded curtly toward “Granny” and politely slipped out of the room with Bobby and Jo.
We walked back the forest track, to get some peace and quiet. We talked for a few hours about nothing in particular. I decided that should probably go home, when Bobby asked ‘How’s Ashley?’
‘What about her?’ Jo asked.
‘They’re going out.’ Bobby said.
‘Are not!’ I argued.
‘And the kissing?’ He asked.
‘You kissed her?’ Jo asked.
‘Thanks for keeping the secret!’ I yelled sarcastically.
‘You’re quite welcome.’ Bobby smiled.
‘How long has this been going on?’ Jo asked.
‘Not long…’ I said trying to avoid eye contact. ‘Since the beginning of the school year.’
‘Oh, well why haven’t I found out?’ Jo asked curiously.
‘Because I had only told Bobby,’ I said obviously, ‘I’ve got to go.’ I began to walk for the exit, but Jo had jumped in front of me.
‘Not so fast. I want to know everything.’ Jo said.
‘Honestly, Jo’ I said, ‘it’s more of a girl thing to talk about the kiss.’
‘I don’t care, Ashley hasn’t told me, so you will.’
I shot one last furtive glance at Bobby and scowled as I told Jo about the kiss.
‘Well,’ I began, ‘She locked me in my room—I don’t remember why, but she was trying to take my mind off of… something—‘I paused for a moment, what had been on my mind? I continued regretfully, I couldn’t remember. ‘And she distracted me by bringing back the memory of the day we met. Then we kissed—that’s it, can I go?’
‘No.’ Jo smiled, ‘how was the kiss, that’s what I want to know.’
‘It was…’ I thought back to the movies I had seen, what had the girls always said…? ‘Magic. It was like magic.’
Jo was caught off guard for a moment, so I swerved around her, and ran back through the forest, ‘Bye traitor!’ I called to Bobby.

As walked into the front door, my dad was standing in the doorway. He looked really angry, his face almost red, his eyes dark and evil, his lip curled over his teeth.
‘I left a note—‘I stuttered in a defensive tone.
‘What-? Oh, yeah, I know.’ His face slowly returned to normal. ‘I wasn’t mad at you.’
‘Then why in the world would you be looking at me like that?’ I asked relieved.
‘Oh—your mom and I had an argument. It’s OK, just go to bed.’
‘It’s seven O’clock!’ I rebelled; I noticed that my dad’s face was returning to its red and fuming face. ‘I—I’m going to go study.’ He nodded encouragingly.
I grabbed my books off of the couch—where I had left it—and ran up to my room.
I flipped open my history binder and began reading the notes I had made all year. I started with the assignment we had worked on the first day of the school year.
I read the answers to the questions without taking in their meaning. Then I noticed a small piece of paper float to the floor of my room.
I caught it just before it hit the ground, and pulled it up to read it.
September 3, 2009
Anthony, meet me in the park by the costume shop after school, and you’ll be very pleased
I remembered. Everything clicked into place. That was why Ashley was trying to distract me—why she had kissed me in the first place. I remembered.

The next morning was when I had planned that I was going to the park. I knew whoever wrote the note wouldn’t be there. There was no way. I just thought it couldn’t hurt to try.
I threw some clothes on, hastily stuffed some food down my throat, and grabbed my jacket. However, just as I opened the door Ashley walked inside.
‘Hi,’ she said smiling. ‘Going out?’
‘Uh—no.’ I lied. ‘I’m just coming… back.’
‘I’ll play along.’ Ashley said, ‘What do you want to do? Go to the park?’
I felt my jaw drop. Wow. She’s good. ‘How did you know I was going to the park?’
‘It’s obvious. You trust me; you would tell me anything—right?’
‘Yeah, sure.’ I agreed.
‘But the one thing you wouldn’t tell me is that you were going behind my back trying to get to the park.’
‘Oh. Well…’ I sighed, ‘let’s go to the park.’
‘Oh, and I knew you were lying, because…’ She trailed off.
‘Because…?’ I asked.
‘You can’t lie.’ She sighed.
‘Yeah, I know…’

The air was cool, and crisp. I could hear many children playing games on the slides, swings, seesaws, and monkey bars. The thick group of trees that were placed to the west side of the park, blocked out any light, and noise, which was where Ashley and I were headed.
‘So why am I allowed to come to the park?’ I asked I really wanted to know; it made no sense to me.
‘Anthony…’ she sighed. ‘Sometimes you are so dim… the note said September… 3rd? Was it? Anyway, it’s the twentieth now, so the chances of that… person being here is like, 1%’
That makes sense.
We walked on through the trees, not able to see anything, holding hands. We didn’t talk for a while, thinking.
I thought about that note, telling me to visit the park, I tried to force it out of my head, but it didn’t work, something was tugging at my mind… fear.
‘Ashley, I don’t really want to be here now—at least not here, where no one can see us die.’ I whispered.
‘Anthony-?’ Ashley gasped, ‘what’s wrong?’
‘I—I don’t really know, but…’ I began pulling her arm and running through the trees.
‘Anthony-!’ Ashley yelped, tripping over a root. I paused momentarily to pull her to her feet, but then continued running. I didn’t know exactly why I was scared, it was just… weird, almost like… maybe I wasn’t scared, it was just an odd sensation, like I knew I had to be in a certain spot… now.
I saw light ahead of me, and I hurdled toward it, knowing I was close to that… spot.
The second I stepped past the final tree, I jumped in surprise, and I screamed, Ashley screamed in response to my scream and the man in front of me screamed in response to our succeeding screams.
People around us stared for a moment, and for that instant everything was silent, no wind, no chirping birds, no happy children playing games, no sound.
Once the world was un-muted I began to take in the man in front of us. He wore dark clothing, black jeans, dark brown leather jacket, a black t-shirt, and black sneakers. His eyes were black, and bold, and scary… His black, greasy hair hung like curtains around his pasty white face, his lips were thin, and pursed around a cigarette, causing the smoke to flick around his hair, and face.
I felt Ashley lean in closer to my ear, and whisper, ‘What is your problem?’
‘I dunno—what’s his problem?’ I whispered back.
The man standing in front of us leaned in too, ‘I’m sorry.’ He whispered, ‘I didn’t mean to scare you Anthony.’
‘How do you know my name?’ I asked a little shocked.
‘Sorry, sir—‘Ashley said suddenly, her face nervous, and jumpy, ‘We have to go—now.’
‘Ashley?’ I asked, ‘What’s wrong?’
‘I know you Anthony, because… well, I just do. Don’t you remember—I wrote that no—‘The man was saying.
‘ANTHONY!’ Ashley yelled suddenly, ‘We have to go now!’
‘Why—wait a minute—‘I flipped my head back to the man, ‘You wrote the note!’
‘Yeah—‘he said.
‘What are the chances?’ I yelled, half scared, half anxious.
‘1%...’ Ashley mumbled. She then tugged on my arm so hard that we both fell over, slamming into the ground at the man’s feet.
‘Ashley! Calm down!’ I yelled, ‘It’s OK, he seems nice!’
‘I’ve been told that before.’ The man said, reaching his hand out to me. I grabbed it without hesitation. ‘My name is James. I’ve known you for a long time.’
Creepy… ‘Cool—I’m Anthony… but you know that. This is Ashley.’ I pulled her to her feet as well.
James reached out to shake Ashley’s hand, but she just stared at it. James lowered his hand awkwardly. ‘Ashley—‘I hissed.
‘It’s alright, nice meeting you Ashley.’ James said trying a smile. ‘I have to go, see you another time.’
‘Don’t count on it.’ Ashley said to his face.
James shook his head and walked away, into the trees. I waited until I couldn’t see him anymore, before I rounded on Ashley. ‘What was that?’
‘I got a freaky vibe from him—that’s all.’ Ashley said plainly. ‘Let’s get out of here.’
‘No.’ I responded without thinking. ‘He seemed really nice, and you tell him off because of a “freaky vibe”?’ I took in the sight of her shocked face. ‘It’s just not right. Now I have to go make amends, for my hysteric girlfriend.’
Ashley blushed and looked away when I said the last word. What? I thought to myself, I called her my girlfriend… she is, isn’t she? ‘Let’s just go home.’ I sighed. I took Ashley’s hand and began walking away.
We were halfway home before she said anything. ‘Sorry.’ That was it. I didn’t have anything to say to it, so I pretended I didn’t hear it.
I threw open the door to my house, when I got there, and walked inside.
Dawson was lying on the couch in the living room, petting Dennis who was lying beside the couch, wagging his tail back and forth. I slid Dawson’s legs off of the couch, and sat down, pulling Ashley with me.
‘Not going out, huh?’ Dawson grumbled as he sat up, annoyed. ‘first kissing, then going out on dates, holding hands… but not going out—no of course not.’
‘Ok, I guess we’re going out—shut up.’ I said back. Ashley let out a long sigh. I assumed this was because she thought we wouldn’t be going out anymore after her crazy talk with James, but I didn’t dislike her, I was just annoyed.
Charlie come stumbling into the room, and plopped himself on the recliner beside Dawson, then Mom and Dad followed, and trailing behind them our neighbours Brian, Lulu, Karen, and Kevin.
Brian sat on the arm of Charlie’s chair and flicked his long black hair away from his face. He was Charlie’s best friend, and much like Charlie, he was very kind, and smart. Lulu sat beside Dawson, who put his arm around her. The two of them were going out. Lulu had the same black hair as her brother, except, rather than thin, and poker strait, her hair was wavy and thick. Both of them had dark blue eyes much like their parents, whose hair was just like their children, Karen’s was strait and Kevin’s hair was wavy.
Karen, Kevin, Mom, and Dad crowded the other couch, as Charlie turned the T.V. on.
I sighed and looked around. Where did all these people come from? I stood up, not realizing that I was still holding Ashley’s hand, so she stood up too.
‘No,’ my dad said not even a second after we stood up.
‘’No’ what?’ I asked, truly confused.
‘You’ll stay where I can see you.’
‘I was going to walk Ashley home.’ I improvised, I hadn’t lied, I had made up my mind… just then.
‘Oh, well, OK, don’t be long.’ My dad said allowing his attention to return to the TV.
I dragged Ashley to the door, and exited. Just before the door closed behind us, I heard everyone in the living room, burst into laughter.
‘You don’t have to take me home.’ Ashley said.
‘I know.’ I didn’t really care; I had said I was taking her home, so I was going to just that. I began walking, our hands still tangled together.
‘Well, I guess if you want to…’ Ashley teased.
It was silent for a moment, but this was disturbed by Ashley asking, ‘Do you hate me?’
I stopped and spun on my heel, and looked into her eyes. I needed her to know, how I felt—I could never, would never hate her. ‘No,’ I said. ‘Ashley I—‘
‘Anthony…’ she whispered, I guess sensing I was about to go into a huge spiel. ‘Good night.’

The next few days flew by, just as the rest of the month had, and with the first month of the school year coming to a close, the air was getting colder, and the leaves were turning colour.
Nothing exciting happened, except I hung out with my friends more often, and then on October 1st, I got the phone call.
The bus pulled into my house, and Dawson, Bobby, Jo, Ashley and I got off and darted into the house, and out of the pouring rain that pounded against the roof of bus, and the house. Inside, my dad greeted us crossly, sitting on the couch.
I glanced at the others, who got the hint, and worked their way upstairs. I walked over to my dad and sat down beside him, I meant to ask him what was wrong, but I couldn’t find any courage, to ask, so instead, I waited for him to say something… anything.
‘Go play with your friends.’ He sighed.
‘What’s wrong?’ I croaked.
‘Nothing—go.’
‘Not until you tell me what’s wrong.’ I said, drawing valour from an unknown source.
‘Not now.’ My dad said, incredibly kindly.
‘OK.’ I agreed, leaving my dad alone to reflect.
I walked upstairs to find Ashley and Bobby sitting on my bed talking with Jo who was sitting on the red beanbag chair in the corner. I grabbed my blue beanbag chair, and dragged it to my bed, and slouched over onto it.
‘What do you want to do?’ Jo asked, dragging her chair closer. ‘We haven’t come up with any ideas.
‘We could go bowling…’ I suggested randomly.
‘We went bowling last week… what about getting pizza?’ Bobby suggested.
‘No,’ Ashley said, ‘we always have pizza.’
‘Only, every other day… but if we make it every day than… it makes Bobby happy.’ Bobby smiled hopefully.
‘No.’ Jo, Ashley, and I said at once.
‘Fine.’ Bobby said, ‘Let’s go see a movie.’
‘OK.’ I agreed, and then my mind drifted as Bobby said something about a movie involving someone named James. I should’ve asked him what his phone number was, so I could apologize… but I didn’t, so that sucked…
‘Are you coming?’ I heard Jo say. I pulled myself back to reality, and noticed that Ashley and Bobby had already left.
‘Oh—yeah sorry.’ I said getting up and following them out of the room.
The front door was open, and I could see Ashley and Bobby outside on the porch, with their hoods up, and an umbrella out.
I followed suit, by putting my hood up, and grabbing my jacket. Ashley had taken the only umbrella we had, so, I left without one.
‘Anthony!’ My dad yelled, as Jo was closing the door. I slipped inside, and found my dad waiting in the kitchen. ‘Someone’s on the phone for you.’
I took the phone from my dad curiously, and put it to my ear. ‘Hello?’ I said.
‘Hello Anthony.’ James said. I knew it was James. I knew his voice; I couldn’t forget it for some reason. I was shocked to hear him.
‘Y—y—yes,’ I stuttered. ‘Can I help you?’
‘Not if you don’t want to,’ James said, catching my attention.
‘Of course—well, that all depends of course, but… go on.’ I said stupidly.
‘It’s nothing really, but I’d much rather discuss it in person.’ James said, ‘I was wondering if we could get together.’
‘Yeah—on a weekend of course, you know… the problem we kids call school.’
James chuckled. ‘Of course, whenever you want, I know how busy a teenagers schedule can be.’
‘Well, how about next Saturday?’ I asked, ‘I think that’s fine.’
‘Alright Anthony, see you then.’ James hung the phone up so fast that I had no chance to say anything after that.
I hesitantly hung up the phone, half expecting James to still be there.
I found Ashley and the others waiting on the porch. I looked to the sky, it looked like it was ten at night, so I glanced down at my watch, and saw that it was five thirty.
Charlie pulled into the laneway as we began walking out; he pulled up next to us and rolled down his window. ‘Going somewhere?’ He asked.
‘To the movies.’ Bobby responded quickly, he seemed in a hurry to get out of the rain. I noticed that a sandy haired girl was sitting in the passenger seat.
‘Hi, Miranda,’ I said, greeting Charlie’s girlfriend.
She nodded curtly as Charlie continued talking, ‘We were headed there too, do you want a ride?’
‘Yes!’ The four of us said together.
‘Kay.’ Charlie said, ‘just let me get my wallet. Charlie ran inside, while Miranda slid into the middle seat in the front. Jo took shotgun, Ashley sat in the middle in the back, and Bobby and I sat on either side of her.
Charlie came running out of the house, covering his head with his hand.
He dove into the car, and stared up the engine, while slamming the door.
Charlie drove perfectly, as always. Perfectly on the speed limit, stopping perfectly, turning perfectly, and, when we arrived at the movie theatre, he parked perfectly too.
It was Jo’s turn to pay for a movie, so Bobby, Ashley and I waited for her. Once she returned, we headed into theatre 3, where some kind of movie was playing—I really wasn’t paying too much attention.
I noticed Charlie and Miranda come in after, but soon after, my mind wondered. I thought about what James wanted to talk about.
I wasn’t much to think about, but my mind went crazy. When I noticed the lights coming back on, I had just been thinking about James teaching me how to fly, after he’s told me I was a prince from a distant planet.
‘That movie wasn’t very good.’ Bobby said on the way home.
‘I liked it!’ Jo defended.
‘I agree with Jo,’ said Miranda, ‘I found it very different, and unpredictable.’
‘Yeah, Bobby, why didn’t you like it?’ Ashley asked.
‘I don’t like happy endings.’ Bobby said.
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Yamazaru
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Posts : 23
Join date : 2010-08-27
Age : 25

PostSubject: Chapter 4   Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:43 am




4. Waiting


Monday morning caused so much annoyance that I wanted to die. I couldn’t wait a whole week for the day that I would finally find out what James wanted.
Bobby and Jo weren’t on the bus when it came around, and Ashley was not waiting at the end of her laneway, when the bus drove by.
It’s like they know I’m suffering and want to intensify it! I yelled inside my head. Maybe I’ll hang out with Dawson—no, he’ll be all lovey-dovey with Lulu… maybe Charlie? Only if Brian’s hanging out with him and not Miranda I decided.
It seemed to me, like the bus took ten times longer to get to the destination, than it normally did, which increased the agony even more.
I walked slowly to my homeroom, English. Quin was waiting for me, and he greeted me the same as he did every day, with great pleasure. I addressed him with false happiness, and then began to ignore him as he commenced talking about the lesson plan for today.
When others began to come in, I slipped away, and placed myself in the front seat. Quin paced the room, returning last weeks’ review tests, about Romeo and Juliet, grammar itself, and Lord of the Flies by William Golding.
‘I am very disappointed in all of you,’ Quin said, ‘I taught you everything that was put on the test, yet most of you failed, only three people passed. I’m not going to pin-point anyone, but I just can’t believe it…’
I looked down at my test and saw that I was one of the three that passed; in fact my test mark was 99%. I was pleased with myself, but I didn’t feel any happier. I flipped through the pages of the test, and saw that on page eleven, I got three questions wrong, under the ‘clause’ section, just as I had expected. I was never too good at clauses.
Quin caught my eyes and smiled at me; I tried to smile back, but was unsuccessful.
Next he began reviewing the answers to the test, and ended the class by telling us that there was a make-up test in a week.
Quin waved goodbye as I left, I sort of waved back.
On my way to my locker, the most interesting thing yet happened. I tripped down the stairs, no one saw me—thankfully, I didn’t want to be known as a klutz.
So I got up, and pretended like it didn’t happen.
I ran off to Math.
We had a quick quiz that I aced, as I knew I would. I was getting better at math—I still didn’t like it! But still, better marks make for happier parents.
My math teacher assigned homework, which didn’t improve my mood—at all!
At lunch I hung out with Charlie and Brian, who almost entirely ignored me, only bringing me into the conversation when they didn’t know the answer to something. Of course if Charlie didn’t know the answer, I definitely didn’t.
The rest of the day went just as slowly as the beginning had.
In art we were analysing professional artists work, and Grace came over to me.
‘I know you already know all this—you’re a really smart kid, did you know that?’ She told me.
I smiled and nodded. I did know that.
‘Where are Ashley and the others?’ She asked.
‘Home, I guess.’ I sighed, as I flipped the pages of a book about Vincent Van Goh.
‘Well you must be bored.’
‘Oh—thanks!’ I said sarcastically, ‘I have a life.’ I said laughing.
‘Well I’m sure you do.’ She said matching my sarcasm.
‘Ha, ha!’ I said, and I flipped the Van Goh book closed as the bell rang.
‘See ya later.’ Grace said to the class, but I knew it was mostly to me.
In history class, we took up last night’s homework and my teacher disused the unit test we would be having in a week or so.
I was almost jumping for joy, when the class ended, so I ran towards the bus, and boarded immediately.

Tuesday dragged on almost as long as Monday had, with the exception of Ashley. Bobby and Jo were still missing.
Quin assigned a project in English, about news. We were to write up about newspaper articles. I chose one that was titled, “Missing”. It was about children that have been going missing over the past month and a half.
Ashley and I sat together at lunch and I did my best to try not talking, I was really anxious. I didn’t know why, I mean, yes, James and I were going to meet officially in a few days, but right now I was here with Ashley.
‘Anthony?’ She said, ‘Are you Ok?’
‘Yes!’ I snapped rudely.
‘Right.’ She responded quickly.
There was a moments silence, then, ‘Do you want to talk about it?’
‘No! Ok! I don’t, so just stop!’ I yelled.
Ashley took one glance at me, then stood up, and walked away.

I scrambled toward my locker after history class that day, and realized that I was really late. I was forced, like so many others, to stay in class late, and finish the essay we were working on.
Then I went the wrong way to get to my locker, because I was daydreaming again, so I had to run. I got to my locker and realized I forgot my combination. ‘Ugh!’ I groaned.
’18… 45… 19?’ I asked myself, while turning the dials to those numbers. ‘No… 20-15-46? Oh, my gosh! Does this have to happen now? Oh—18-59-11! Yes!’ My locker flipped open, and I throw my history binder onto the bottom shelf. I ripped my black leather jacket from the hook and slipped my arms through the sleeves. I grabbed my white back pack and slung it over one shoulder.
I slammed my locker closed and ran down the hall.
As I turned the corner, I slammed into Quin. ‘I’m sorry—I’ve got to go, nice seeing you though!’
‘Stop!’ He said suddenly. ‘You can’t run in the halls—I can’t show favourites, I mean, so you say.’
‘I’m sorry, but I’m going to miss the bus!’ I said, slowing a little, and turning around, to walk backward.
‘Oh, alright—but just this once!’ He called.
‘Thanks!’ But I doubt he heard me, I was already gone around the corner.
When I got outside I saw my bus leave.
‘Why me? Why?’ I said totally depressed.

On the way home, I saw a picket sign, with bright red writing, saying ‘magic show! C’mon n’ see Seth and Sean, the youngest magicians!’
I stopped and thought about it for a moment, and decided—what the hey.
I walked over to the crowd, and squeezed my way to the front, where I saw, two boys, who were maybe twelve years old.
One boy had eyes so green, they were almost glowing. His long white hair was tied in a small ponytail on the back of his head, with his bangs framing his face, making him look much older than his height seemed to say. He was short.
The other boy had shaggy hair, as black as pitch, with blue eyes peering through his bangs. He was much taller than the other boy.
‘Ok, so this is Sean’s first performance, so I’ll let him do most of this show.’ The black haired boy said. ‘So, does anyone have a handkerchief? Ah, you there,’ He pointed to a man with a white suit and a lime green handkerchief. The boy, who must’ve been Seth, walked over, and grabbed the lime green cloth.
‘So, this is… really ugly—but it won’t be for long. The boy walked back up on stage, and handed it to Sean.
Sean looked really nervous, but he clenched his hand around it, then when he uncurled his fingers, the cloth was black. ‘S-so, here you go—no—wait! I’m supposed to do this…’ Seth slapped his forehead, and shook his head, while Sean blew on the handkerchief, which blew back to the owner, but there was another one it Sean’s hand.
Sean continued to blow, and many more black, square pieces, of cloth blew out into the audience.
‘Unless, of course they prefer the old colour?’ Seth asked, almost as a queue for Sean.
‘Right…’ Sean snapped his fingers and the entire handkerchief’s in the crowd changed to an awful lime green colour.
I was too preoccupied to notice the impossibility.
I had to leave, despite, the interest I felt, but I knew I would get in trouble from my parents if I was any later than I already was.
When I walked in the front door, I caught the tail end of an argument.
‘FINE!’ I heard my dad yell. ‘I’M GOING TO BED!’
I saw him glaring at my mom, and her snarling right back at him, with Dawson looking incredibly uncomfortable in the middle of it all.
My dad almost sprinted up the stairs, and I head a door slam, as my dad went to bed. I looked back at my mom, who was storming into the kitchen. I slid my eyes to Dawson’s and we both grimaced.

Wednesday I went to school, just like any other Wednesday, but this time Ashley was mad at me, and Bobby and Jo, were still not at school.
Quin was beginning to grow on me by this point, he still had the major issue—his rudeness, but in general, he was starting to hide his other flaws.
He was even treating me like a normal student now, which is what I wanted most from him, but that meant that if I had to, I couldn’t use him to my advantage.
The week was about halfway over, and the school day ended, with Ashley not saying a word to me at all—until we were getting ready to board the bus, I had just closed my locker, when I heard her footsteps coming toward me.
Ashley came up to me looking angry, sad, and a little bit sorry.
‘Hey—‘she started.
‘No, I don’t – or whatever it is you want, I don’t have it. I don’t want anything, and I…’
Ashley was staring at me, tears welling up in her eyes, her lips were pursed, and her fists clenched together.
‘Anthony…’ She said, holding back the tears. ‘Just… whatever.’ She turned around and walked the other way.

Thursday I was in agony! James was going to be here soon, but not soon enough, Ashley and I had… broken up? I found out that I was the most impatient person ever!
I sat up in my bed in the morning, listening to the radio sing some sort of country song, while I thought about it.
I have no idea what James wants, I told myself, and it probably isn’t too great, so why on earth was I waiting for him? I mean, yeah, wait for him sure, but like this, taking my anger out on Ashley… what anger? There shouldn’t be any anger… so just calm down Anthony!
I stood up and prepared for school. My dad was on the couch downstairs, looking solemn, and watching TV, was he still mad at mom? Usually their arguments lasted a couple hours at the most.
I decided that it would be best if I didn’t talk to him, in case he was ready to take his anger out on me, so instead, I departed for the kitchen, where I found Charlie and Dawson eating breakfast.
The bus came a little early, resulting with Dawson and I being still at home, when it passed.
Luckily, Charlie was still in the driveway, pulling out, but he realized we’d missed the bus, and offered us a ride to school.
I was at my locker a couple minutes after we got to school, and immediately saw Bobby and Jo, standing by their lockers.
‘Bobby!’ I said running down the hall now, amazed at how pleased I was to see my best friend.
I knew Ashley would be here, but thankfully Bobby and Jo were here this time, so I could talk to Bobby about what had happened between me and Ashley. Also it might not be quite as awkward.
And, like someone had queued her, Ashley entered the hallway.
She didn’t say anything to me, or Bobby, probably because he was standing next to me, but she began to talk with Jo, like nothing had happened to her.
‘Ashley…’ I said.
She turned around to face me, smiling. I could feel my face change to a shocked expression, so I tried to shake it off. ‘I—I’m sorry.’ She nodded once, and then turned around to face Jo again.
I looked at Bobby, who looked confused, so I grabbed his arm and dragged him away to explain.
‘So he was at the park?’ Bobby said, taking in the whole story. ‘What are the chances?’
‘One percent…’ I sighed.
‘And he wanted to see you… privately, someone you don’t know, and don’t know if you could trust… he could be a killer… but you want to see him, and you got impatient… then you yelled at Ashley.’
‘Yeah, if you want it in short terms.’ I said.
‘You apologized, and… that was her reaction—all I can say is “wait”. I mean we don’t know what she thought of that, so you see what’s on her mind, then get back together, and everyone’s happy—well, I’m sure I’ll still be just as sad, unless you pay me I suppose.’
‘Not going to happen.’ I told him truthfully.

Ashley treated me as if it was the second day of school again, but like I had not gotten that letter, and that she had not kissed me, and that her feelings for me had never surfaced, like I knew they had over the summer.
I wondered why this was, but I knew she was happy now, I just hoped secretly, that she was happier with me, because I wanted her back.
On the bus ride home, Bobby sat with me, and we talked in whispers about Ashley’s irrational behaviour.
‘Look—‘ Bobby said, stopping my ranting about my thoughts, ‘all I know, is that you and her are meant to be friends, but no one knows if you’re supposed to be a couple, so I figure that Ashley thought like this too, and decided to forget the couple phase.’
‘That actually makes sense.’ I said.
‘It had to happen eventually.’
I started laughing, ‘are you calling yourself stupid?’
‘No—are you?’ He said keeping his serious face.

I awoke on Friday to a shower of rain smashing against my window.
I walked outside ten minutes early—I loved rain—to wait for the bus, which came later then expected, which didn’t bother me at all.
Ashley, Bobby, Jo and I were back to normal, everything was entirely peaceful, like the old days, except in the old days, I didn’t feel a strange pull dragging me toward Ashley.
The warning bell went off signalling five minutes until art.
Bobby and Jo ran off ahead, leaving me and Ashley alone…
I kissed her, without thinking; I just stepped over and did it. She kissed back, but reluctantly, like she was unsure.
I pulled away, and looked into her eyes. She seemed sad. ‘Anthony, I like you… a lot, but I just don’t think we’re supposed to be together. You know? Can’t you feel it? Like we’re the one couple of best friends that aren’t supposed to be together? Do you feel it?’
‘Yes.’ I lied. And for once, she didn’t notice.

I got home at the same time I did on any average day, but this time was different, my parents, weren’t arguing, it was silent.
‘Kids?’ My dad called from the living room, ‘Come here please.’ The three of us obeyed. We were all sitting around the coffee table now. ‘You’re all old enough to understand this, so I’m going to tell you strait out. You’re mother and I are getting a divorce.’
It wasn’t right… they couldn’t be—no, of course they weren’t, this had to be some sort of sick joke, but why would he joke about that?
Then I noticed that mom was sitting in the room too—how did I miss that? She shared the same serious expression as dad did.
‘Yes,’ my mom said, ‘I love you, but we’ve already planned it all, and you’ll be staying with your father. I’ll visit you when I can.’
‘Which should be quite often—right?’ Dawson said, his voice shaky.
‘Well, no.’ My mom said. ‘I plan to travel. It’s always been my dream, and I’ve decided that I will live my dream now. But don’t worry, I’ll call, and I’ll write, I love you, but I won’t see you very often, maybe once every few months.’ Travelling is more important than us? Fine then.
‘Why is this happening so sudden?’ Charlie asked, his voice more concrete than usual, like he was hiding his depression. ‘You argue, but every couple does, I mean…’
‘It doesn’t matter what the reasons are—they don’t concern you,’ My dad’s eyes locked with mine for a moment, that lasted an eternity, His eyes bore deep into mine, like there was a distinct reason, but like I wasn’t to know it now—not ever. ‘And you don’t need to worry, we love you, but this is what needs to happen, trust me.’
‘Ok.’ I said. I trusted him; I knew I had to, for some bizarre reason.
Charlie nodded, while Dawson croaked something out that sounded like, ‘uh-huh.’
My mom kissed each of our heads, and said ‘I love you.’
‘When are you leaving?’ Charlie asked.
My mom looked back and forth between the three of us. Then I noticed three large leopard print suitcases, sitting by the door, and my eyes darted back to my mom’s.
‘In an hour. Then in about ___ hours, I’ll be in Italy.’
Three jaws dropped as we starred at our mom for the last hour we had together for a while, and somehow I knew it would be years until I saw her face again.

I woke up, knowing James was coming today, but somehow that didn’t matter—my mom was gone, Ashley wanted to be friends, and I had hours to wait until James actually showed up.


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Yamazaru
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PostSubject: Chapter 5   Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:44 am





5. James and Paula


I waited at the kitchen table, eating my, now soggy cereal, in a major depression mode. Charlie had gone to work, but before he had left I noticed he looked almost as miserable as I felt, but it was obvious he was trying to hide it. I also noticed Dawson, who now sat across from me, looked horrible. He had had a very close relationship with our mom, and then she suddenly picked up and left, without much warning. Dawson hadn’t said anything, and he was moving like he was a robot, like he had gone into a full-fledged shock.
My dad came into the kitchen smiling—he smiled! He hadn’t done that since the vacation. This one simple action made me feel so much lighter, so much better, I mean, if dad felt great about it, why shouldn’t I?
Dad walked around the kitchen, almost gracefully, like he had started a new life, like a baby bird learning to fly, spreading his wings.
I glanced at Dawson, but he didn’t look up from the scrambled eggs he was eating.
I heard the clattering of glass, and plastic as my dad began to wash the dishes. Then seconds later, I heard humming. Shaking my head, I dropped my now empty cereal bowl; it fell into the soapy water with a plop. I walked away carrying on the tune that my dad began.
I picked up the cordless phone, and threw it in the air with a few flips, and clasped my hands around it. Impressed with myself I tried again, and again, I succeeded. I tried one more time, and shut my eyes as fast as possible once I missed it, like I thought that if I didn’t see it, it wouldn’t be my fault. Luckily, as the smash, and clang of the now broken phone, was drowned out by Dad turning the radio on.
I looked behind me, and smiled, as I scooted the broken phone toward Dennis.
I walked to the next room, where the music was a little quieter, and used the wall phone. I quickly dialled the Tree household, and waited while the other end of the phone rang.
‘Hello, Tree residence.’ Granny said.
I smiled. For some reason her voice made me feel… happy. ‘Hey, how are you?’ I asked, forgetting to state my name.
‘Oh, hello Anthony, I’m fine, thank you.’
How did she memorize my voice? I had met her once, for about a minute. ‘That’s good. I was wondering if Bobby was there, and if I could speak with him if he was.’
‘Oh, yes, here he comes, just finished with his chores, I’ll put him right on.’
I waited a moment, then, ‘Hello? Anthony?’
‘Yep. Hey Bobby.’
‘Oh hi,’
‘I was wondering what you and your sister have planned for today.’
He sighed, ‘I don’t know, I’ll ask-‘a moment of silence, then ‘Nothing, you want me to come over? Or do you want to come to me?
‘Whichever, I don’t—‘My voice was cut off by a very loud buzz. I jerked the phone away from my ear.
‘SORRY!’ Bobby yelled through the receiver a few seconds later. ‘My dad was doing something in the kitchen, and he says he’ll be doing it all day, so I think I’ll go over to your house if that’s OK?’
‘Yeah, that’s fine.’ I said. ‘See you in a few.’
‘Yup.’
We both hung up the phone.
I began dialling Ashley’s phone number, but stopped. Did I want to see her? Duh! But could I put up with her being close, but not close enough?
I dialled Ashley’s number and waited for someone to pick up. When did I make this decision? I thought to myself, as my heart beat rapidly.
‘Hello?’ Ashley’s voice said half-way through a ring.
‘H—Hi.’ I croaked. ‘Ashley, I was wondering if you wanted to come over today.’
‘Anthony, I said, we should just be—‘
I cut her off, I didn’t want her to finish that sentence, ‘I meant as a group, with Bobby and Jo. They're coming too.’
‘Oh…’ She sounded embarrassed. ‘Sure, see you then.’
Then both phones were hung up. I thought about how much shorter my conversations with Ashley were now, and that we had talked for hours before, and now, it had been what, thirty seconds?
I sat on the couch and flipped through the cannels on the TV.
I waited through the horrible shows that were on right now, and sat where I was groggily, drifting in and out of focus, until thirty minutes were up, and then I heard a knock on the door. I figured it would be Ashley, being smart, and waiting a while for Jo and Bobby to come over so she didn’t have to be alone with me. The only problem was that she was too early—if it was her. It was.
‘Hi.’ She said, looking past me, hoping for Bobby or Jo, probably.
‘They’re not here yet.’ I said, moving aside, allowing her to enter. She slipped past and right through the living room, and into the kitchen.
‘Let me do that!’ Ashley laughed, ‘I love doing the dishes!’
‘It’s alright with me!’ My dad sang to the tune of the song that was playing.
Ashley is way too comfortable around my family.
I followed her into the kitchen, where I saw her and my dad square dancing.
I immediately left back to the other room.
Bobby and Jo came knocking at my door five minutes later, I let them in almost too quickly, almost begging them to jump into my house and save me from my insane father.
Bobby and Jo followed the music into the kitchen, so I followed, even though I knew I would be embarrassed when Bobby harassed me about my dad dancing with my girlfriend… friend.
Jo swung the door open, and I glanced at Bobby’s face. He turned and grinned at me, then grabbed Jo’s hand and began square dancing as well.
I noticed my mouth was open, so I quickly snapped it shut.
‘Hey, Anthony—go find Dawson, then you could join in!’ My dad said, as he switched partners and began spinning around with Jo.
‘I’m fine, thanks.’ I said, leaving the kitchen. I had invited my friends over to visit me, not to have a hoedown in my kitchen with my overly giddy father.
I sat down on the couch, and rested my head on the arm. Dennis ran up and jumped on me, and began suffocating me. So I pushed him off as quickly as I could.
Dennis whimpered, as I stood up and brushed some dirt off of me. ‘No Dennis, bad dog.’ I said almost monotonously. I opened the front door to let him out, when I saw him.
A man was standing in the doorway, his fist ready to punch. It felt almost as if everything slowed down, as his fist lunged for my face; as I ducked down, and thought of my own plan; I threw my fist as fast as possible toward his gut.
‘Urgh!’ The man gasped as he crouched over, his hair flinging down over his face.
‘James!’ A girl’s voice rang.
I stood up and took in the sight before me: The man, who was James, was now doubled over in pain, as a very attractive woman kneeled down beside him. The woman looked to be no more than twenty five. She let her long dark hair fall down the back of her neck, and halfway down her spine. She wore a short jean skirt, and a purple tank top, with blue flip-flops. She wore a little too much make-up, and way too much perfume.
I took one intake of breath, and then was gasping for fresh air, as the smell of artificial lilacs filled my nostrils.
She flipped her head around to me, and scowled, her dark green eyes piercing right through me. She pursed her full, red lips and then said, ‘What did you do that for?’
‘He punched at me! I was defending myself!’ I yelled back immediately. I hated her. It was just like that. One look into her dark eyes and I knew we weren’t going to get along.
‘HEY!’ James said, standing up, ‘bud, I was knocking on the door, but nobody heard me, so I knocked harder, and then you were in the doorway—‘ I was about to argue, when he quickly said, ‘but, you didn’t know that—it’s fine.’
I nodded and looked at the girl standing beside me, and took one step back.
‘Are you going to let us in?’ She snarled.
‘No.’ they looked at me funny. ‘Ashley is in there.’ I explained, ‘I wasn’t expecting you until later, so I was hanging out with my…’
‘Oh, then we’ll come back later, we don’t want to interrupt your date.’ James smiled at me.
‘No, it’s not like that.’ I said.
‘Oh. I’m sorry, I just got that impression when I saw you earlier.’
‘We… were dating then, but not now.’ I said completely unwillingly.
‘Oh, I’m sorry.’
‘It’s fine.’
‘So are we going in or not?’ The woman snapped.
‘Chill!’ James snapped back. ‘Anthony, this is my personal assistant Paula.’
She put her hand out to shake my hand, but I refused to shake that, powder white, long slender hand, with the horrible shade of grey painted on her long pointed nails. I waited until she let her hand drop awkwardly.
‘I think we should go… get some fresh air… in the park maybe?’ I suggested.
‘Sounds good.’ James said.
We walked away, without even a glance back.

‘The park was virtually empty, the only other people were over at the play area, and there were only three of them, a man, and two kids.
James, Paula and I walked all the way around the park a few times until we finally decided on a place that was private enough, but not too suspicious… we sat on the swings.
Still no one spoke.
‘Hey kids.’ The man growled. He sounded angry… how could he be angry? His two kids were having a blast. ‘We’re going home.’
‘Yes sir!’ The young boy said with his bowl-cut of almost white hair.
The little girl stuck out her bottom lip, and pouted. ‘Daddy, I want to stay a bit.’
‘Two more times.’ The dad said in his low scratchy voice.
The little boy turned to his sister and smiled. She smiled back pushing her blue hair out of her eyes. It looked like she got everything she wanted, which would probably explain the blue hair. She was like me. If I wanted blue hair I could probably find a way to get it.
‘Brat.’ I mumbled. I just called myself a brat? I guess I kind of was. I made a mental note, to try and change my ways.
‘What was that?’ The man snapped, his black eyes finding mine.
‘Nothing.’ I said, snickering. I hadn’t looked at the man before now. He had tall black hair, spiked up, so it was taller than his own head.
He snarled and grabbed his son who was halfway down the slide, and grabbed his daughter by her waist and began walking away.
Paula smirked at the crying children. She was enjoying the pain of the children… witch.
James let out a soft laugh. ‘Paula, Paula, Paula. Really? Can’t you just try and be a good citizen?’
‘No.’ She said, letting out a hollow laugh.
I felt myself laughing nervously when James turned toward me.
‘Anthony, let’s get to know each other, while Paula gets us some drinks.’ He said. Paula scowled, but stood up and walked away.
‘Grape juice please!’ I called smugly, smirking at the glower she shot toward me. James laughed.
‘So anyway, you want to be a detective?’ He asked me.
‘A police man, a detective, anything like that. I mean, I love mysteries, movies, books, real life.’ I answered, ‘what do you do?’
‘I am a detective, though I have not been working for a few years, other than this one case I’ve been working on for a month or so.’
‘How’s that going?’ I asked truly curious.
‘Well, I haven’t found any leads so far, but I think I’m headed in the right direction. But you see that is exactly why I have found you.’
‘Me?’
‘Yes.’
‘Why?’
‘Because.’
‘Because?’
We both smiled.
‘I know you. I know everything about you.’ James said, he saw my expression, and laughed. ‘I am a creeper, I know. But I do, and all I have to say is: you can help me, and that’s exactly what I need right now. Help.’
I was stunned. Why me? I was sure there were other people that would be much more valuable partners. In fact, Oscar Hamilton, who lived just a few blocks away, was a rude, but very talented detective. Why wouldn’t James go for him, I haven’t done anything with detective work yet—except a few small things, like lost keys, or pets. Why me?
‘What…?’ I started, trying to find the right question… What do you need me to do? Who would want me? Where are we headed? Why would you want me when there are many certified detectives around? When do we go? How do you know me so well? All of these questions were great… but none seemed to fit. I let him talk.
‘What do you say—do you want to go?’ He asked me.
‘I—need to know more.’ I said, being as mature as I could. ‘What are we doing? Where is it? Will it be dangerous?’
‘Solving a crime; not far from here; yes. I will tell you anything you need to know—but it is classified to everyone who is not involved…’
He really did know me! It was creepy. He knew what made me tick—he knew how to manipulate me! He was making me curious—which wasn’t really a hard thing to do—and then hoping that I would buy it! …I could learn something from him!
‘I’m in—if my parents… dad… never mind. I’m in.’
‘All right, any questions?’ I paused for a moment, thinking of the right question. ‘Hurry—I mean, before Paula gets back, we don’t want her… talking.’ He laughed. I had to laugh too. It was something that came over me, like his laugh demanded me to laugh too.
‘Well, what is the case about?’ I asked the first question that came into my head—the most basic, yet most important one of all.
‘I’m sure you’ve read in the newspaper all about the missing kids?’ He asked.
I thought back to my English assignment on Monday. I had written an essay about it. ‘Yeah—is that what we’re doing?’
‘Of course, but it is far more important, and mysterious than the papers let it seem. Also the papers are outdated. There are far more than three children. In fact there are more than ten, the numbers are not yet certain for sure, but I know of ten.’
‘Who were they?’ I asked.
‘I don’t know their names off by heart, but I have them in my case files.’
‘OK.’ I said agreeing to nothing in particular. ‘What do you need me to do? Why me? Someone else would have been more helpful… right?’
‘No, you are exactly who I need.’
‘Why?’
‘You don’t need to know. I know why, and that’s what matters.’ James said firmly.
‘Ok…’
I looked over to the line at the food stand, but didn’t see Paula. ‘Who are you?’ I asked as my last question.
‘I repeat: I know, and that’s what matters.’ He laughed. ‘You know me. I am James.’
I couldn’t think of any more questions. I paused for a moment, and when Paula showed up, I still had nothing to say, but scowled all the same.
‘Here’s your juice.’ She shoved the bottle into my arms.
‘I’d like a hamburger.’ James and I said together.
‘Urgh!’ She groaned.
‘On second thought… maybe I should be getting home.’ I said.
‘Let’s meet again tomorrow, I’ll bring the case file, and we can discuss it.’ James said.
‘Yeah, no problem, I have nothing planned.’
‘Great, I’ll see you then.’ James said, ‘same time?’
‘Sure.’ I said.
‘I might not come.’ Paula sneered.
‘She’ll be here.’ James said to me.
I half-smiled, and nodded. ‘See you later.’

I closed the front door a little harder than I had initially planned, and my dad heard it from in the kitchen, over the music.
‘Anthony?’ He called his voice just barely audible.
‘Yeah…’ I said going toward him. ‘What’s wrong?’
‘You are.’ He said, ‘where were you? Inviting your friends and then leaving… Is there something you want to talk about?’
‘No,’ I said. ‘Am I grounded? Or… what?’
‘No, you’re not grounded, just don’t go anywhere without telling me.’
‘Overprotective…’ I mumbled.
‘Yeah, I am. Do you have a problem with that?’
‘No sir.’
‘Good. Just don’t do it again and you’ll be fine.’ He said.
‘Fine.’ I said, turning back, and walking to my room.


I woke up the next morning, and immediately felt wide awake. James would be here soon and I would learn more about this case.
Half an hour later I was downstairs and watching TV.
There wasn’t much on, so I turned on the news to see random facts like my mom used to do. The weather guy said that the sun would be shining all day; the temperature would remain a solid 8ºC; I also learned that it was October 4th. Had a month of school already gone?
Then, when the news reporter finally came on the screen, with her fake smile, and bobbing head, she began talking about things that escaped my mind, and not until the headline showed up in bright red letters saying “Another child gone missing.”
My eyes snapped into focus, and my mind stopped wandering.
“Another child has gone missing; police are still investigating, but no evidence has been found yet.” A picture of a small girl popped up on the television, she looked like she was about 14 years old, just like James had said. “There has also been another kidnapping, but police are still updating the news, so remain seated and wait for our news update.”
I was planted to my seat. More kidnapping? Why? Who was doing this? Well, obviously I was supposed to figure this out. At least there was no one I knew that was around that age… wait—Dawson, Lulu, Bobby, Jo, Ashley… Me.
We were all safe for the time being, but that could change. I would have to keep an especially close eye on all of us, just to be sure.
I starred at the man sitting at the desk making corny jokes at a serious time…
Where were all these kidnappings happening? Were they getting closer? Further away? Could I be next?
I jumped when the door began yelling at me. Someone wanted in badly—they kept knocking non-stop.
Then I heard some muffled voices, ‘Paula! Calm down!’
‘James?’ I said to myself, ‘That’s early.’ I opened the door, and Paula charged in, surly look on her face. Her clothes sopping wet.
‘Is it raining?’ I asked sarcastically.
‘No.’ she said just as sarcastically.
‘Funny,’ I said, ‘I was just watching the weather, and it said it was going to be sunny.’
‘No way.’ Paula said angrily.
‘James come on in.’ I said, ignoring Paula.
‘Don’t mind if I do.’ He said.
‘You’re early. Is there a reason?’
‘Yeah, we have more to talk about than I thought.’
‘Those two new kidnappings?’ I asked. James nodded slowly. ‘Alright, come on, tell me.’
‘Are we alone?’ He asked.
‘No,’ I told him, ‘My brothers and my dad are here. Why?’
‘No time—let’s just get to the park.’
‘It’s raining,’ and I don’t want to deal with her complaining anymore.
‘They invented this thing called the umbrella.’ Paula sneered.
I walked over to our umbrella stand, and pulled out three umbrellas. I gave James Charlie’s blue umbrella, I took my umbrella—a huge black one, and I gave Paula a green frog umbrella—it was Dawson’s he hadn’t used it in a while, because he had taken a liking to walking through the rain.

We sat on a blanket on the park bench, our umbrellas overlapping each other in silence. James sat in the middle, thinking it was best to separate Paula and me. He was probably right.
We didn’t talk because there was nothing to do while James sorted through some papers that he pulled out of a suitcase.
Eventually James set the papers on his lap and sighed, turning to face me. After one, long deep breath he said, ‘The second kidnap will not be on TV… or, not the details at least.’ He knew I was about to ask why, so he just continued. ‘I made sure it would stay confidential. I don’t want anyone knowing. Knowing what? Who the little girl was. Now don’t take this harshly—I’m sure she’s fine!’ My gut churned. Do I know her yes I do know her. I could feel that. Who is it? Jo? Ashley? It’s a girl—so at least Bobby is ok… I let James continue. ‘I suppose, by the look of your face, that you don’t know yet… So I guess your brother doesn’t know yet.’ I knew who it was before he said it. ‘Lulu Lastname has been taken.’
My jaw dropped like hearing it for sure was like a thousand volts of electricity. My stomach flipped out, I felt sick… Lulu? Why?
‘H… her family?’ I choked out.
‘I don’t know.’ James said. ‘Your first task is to visit them, and interview them. You can’t let them know you’re interrogating them though. After all we are on a secret mission.’
‘Y… yeah, of course… when d-do I go?’ I managed to say.
‘I would say give them a day or two, then get in there.’ James said. ‘I know this is hard for you—you knew her.’
‘I knew her really well… since we were babies.’
James nodded, ‘but to keep it a secret, we need you to go—I mean, we can’t go walking in’
‘Why not?’ I barked.
‘Because she won’t let strangers in, that’s why!’ Paula hissed back. ‘Believe me, if I could go, I would—I don’t trust you.’
‘I feel the same way about you.’ I said, momentarily forgetting about Lulu. Just seconds later, the thoughts rushed back into my mind.
‘Lulu?’ I said. As horrible as it was, I was secretly glad that Ashley was fine.
‘What do I do to prepare? I mean, what do I ask them…? How do I do it? I can’t just walk in and ask them… like “what happened to your daughter who might be dead?”’ I could feel tears welling up inside of me, but I pushed them back.
‘You’ll think of a way.’ James said.
‘Yeah—figure it out, brat.’
‘Paula!’ James, spun around in his seat, and barked the witch’s name at her.
‘Sorry.’
‘No you’re not.’
I sighed at the bickering… couple? I stood up and began walking home, letting my umbrella block only some of the water. This way, if I did cry, it might look like rain.
‘Anthony! Your umbrellas!’ James called.
‘Give them back next time I see you!’ I called over my shoulder.
‘Alright, see you soon.’ James said.
‘Or maybe not.’ Paula added.
‘Yeah, hopefully not.’ I said, meaning only Paula.

I was sitting at the couch watching the news, hoping that maybe James was wrong, and that the other missing child wasn’t Lulu, and that it was a random person who lived out of town. As horrible as that sounded, Lulu couldn’t be the one… just… no.
I glanced at the time. It was only ten o’clock. I hadn’t realized how early it still was. It seemed like eternity had passed just thinking about poor Lulu. Lulu, Lulu, Lulu.
I heard footsteps, someone coming down the stairs. Of course… please don’t be Dawson. NOT DAWSON!
Dawson walked in the room from the kitchen, just as Charlie appeared at the bottom of the stairs.
Oh really? Not exactly what I had in mind!
‘What’s wrong Ant?’ Dawson asked.
‘Stop calling me that.’ I said avoiding the question.
‘Hey Tony—he’s right, you look horrible, what’s wrong?’ He looked at the TV. ‘Mom told you not to watch the news! You always get freaked out!’
‘It… it wasn’t the news.’ I said. ‘It’s Lulu.’
‘What about her?’ Dawson asked, suddenly curious.
‘She…’ I smiled, ‘I saw her at the park!’
‘So.’ Dawson said.
‘Yeah, no big deal… ha ha!’
Charlie chuckled. ‘You have real big problems dude.’
‘So that’s where you’ve been?’ My dad asked while he switched places with Dawson, who walked back into the kitchen holding his bowl of cereal.
‘Yeah.’ I said, holding my fake smile in place.
‘You’re grounded.’ He said.
‘What? You weren’t even awake!’ I rebuked, ‘How was I supposed to ask you?’
‘I was awake. Did you even check?’
‘No.’
‘Exactly.’ My dad smiled.
‘You weren’t awake were you?’
‘No. But you just sang like a canary.’ He said still smiling.
‘Whatever. So I’m grounded big deal. How long?’
‘A week.’
‘Only?’ I asked, truly shocked.
‘Do you want it to be longer?’
‘No.’
‘I’m going easy on you because I feel… sorry for you.’
‘What?’
‘Bobby told me all about Ashley.’
Oh really? He’s in for it now!
‘OK, so we broke up.’ I said.
‘I know. I know it’s hard, especially after you’ve been going out for years.’
‘Dad… it was more like a month.’
‘Don’t lie you’ve been hanging out since, forever.’
‘Just friends!’
‘Fine.’ He smiled, ‘but go ahead and cry its OK.’
‘Dad, if I was going to cry, I would have cried last week. When we broke up.’
‘I know, I know. It’s OK though, it’s not like you’re dying. You’re not being kidnapped.’
Interesting choice of words…
I thought of Lulu, and forced back more tears, but I guess my dad saw them coming.
‘Let it go.’
I shook my head, as the TV said something about kidnapping. Both mine and my dad’s heads jerked toward the television.
The girl said practically nothing; just that there was that there was no more news about the other kidnapping.
‘It’s horrible.’ My dad said, ‘who would do that.’
I was hardly listening. I was thinking about Lulu. The tears came back, and this time I couldn’t stop them.

‘BOBBY!’ I yelled. Charlie had driven me to school, so I didn’t explode on the bus, but there was no one to stop me now. He was standing at his locker, no one else was around. No one would hear me.
‘WHAT?’ He yelled back smiling.
‘IT’S NOT FUNNY!’
‘What’s not funny?’
‘WHY DID YOU EVEN TALK TO HIM?’
‘Who?’
‘MY DAD!’
‘He wanted to know where you were.’
‘yeah?’
‘I told him where you were.’
‘Oh and where was that?’
‘Hiding from Ashley.’
‘…’ I had nothing to say.


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Yamazaru
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PostSubject: Chapter 6   Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:45 am





6. First Task


The rest of the school day, Bobby and I talked like I had never been angry at him at all. I guess I just had to get rid of some steam.
Jo and Ashley joined us somewhere along the way and the four of us just ploughed through this day just like any other regular school day, except for me, I knew that in two days, I would have to talk to Brian, and his parents…
History ended, Ashley and I met Bobby and Jo outside the classroom door, we hadn’t talked to each other all day and Ashley seemed to be aware of that. It was like she was avoiding me… I knew that she knew that I liked her… or did she? Well she did now, after that whole thing with Bobby and my dad… wait… ‘Bobby—‘I grabbed his arm, and dragged him around a corner, hoping Ashley and Jo wouldn’t notice it.
‘When you decided to reveal all my secrets to my dad…’
‘Where are you going with this?’
‘Was Ashley listening?’
‘Oh yeah,’
I smacked Bobby on the back of the head, ‘Were you born stupid, or did you eat some sort of magical stupi-fruit?’
‘There’s such thing as a magical fruit?’ Bobby asked in astonishment.
‘You were definitely born stupid.’
Bobby nodded, his eyes glazed over, probably thinking about the magic fruit. ‘Yup, sure.’
I grabbed Bobby’s arm again and then we were both back in the crowd of people, walking faster than the others to try to catch up with Ashley and Jo.
When finally we did catch up with them, they were waiting for the bus to come, standing in front of the school.
Bobby came out of his trance after a moment, and turned to Ashley. ‘Did you know, there is such thing as a magic—‘
‘Bobby!’ I said interrupting him, ‘there is no such thing as a magical fruit—OK?’
‘But you said—‘
‘No.’
‘But—‘
‘No.’
‘Anthony…’ Ashley said, completely putting aside everything Bobby was saying. ‘We need to talk.’
‘Ooooh!’ Bobby said.
‘What?’ I asked.
‘Not here.’ She said.
‘You can tell me here.’
‘I’d really rather not.’ She said.
‘Oh come on.’
Ashley scowled, and pulled me around the corner, where no one was standing. She took a deep breath and said, ‘Anthony, about our relationship—‘
‘I don’t like you.’
‘What?’
‘Well, I mean, yeah I like you as a friend, but nothing more. Don’t worry, oh, and when Bobby was being idiotic, and telling my dad everything, he was lying. Of course he didn’t know he was lying, he thought it was true, but it wasn’t.’ I forced myself not to smile, at my best lie ever.
‘Oh.’ She half smiled. ‘Then where were you?’
‘With James.’ I bit my lip. I had answered her without thinking, even though I knew she was going to freak out.
‘ANTHONY! I told you that I wanted you to stay away from him! You don’t even know him! How many times have you met with each other?’
‘Three.’
‘THREE?’ Ashley screamed.
‘Two, excluding the time in the park—when you were there.’
‘So what? Two times is still too many!’
‘Ashley he’s fine, he’s OK, it’s his horrible girlfriend…’ I just thought about that. Is she his girlfriend?
‘Anthony,’ Ashley cried, ‘I hoped that it wouldn’t come to this, but… I did some research.’
‘Of course you did.’ I said smirking.
‘Anthony, you have to know this. James Taylor went to this high school. Paula Smith did as well.’
‘Paula?’
‘You know her?’
‘Yeah, I don’t like her… “The horrible girlfriend.”
‘I had no idea they were still together…’ Ashley said. ‘Anyway, the point here is that they were criminal. They were anti-law abiders… they were dishonest, insane criminals!’
‘Ashley—calm down.’ I whispered. ‘Teenagers make wrong choices, but then they change, people change.’ Then it hit me, ‘The love notes! In our lockers! James and Paula! That’s crazy!’
‘It’s not that crazy—and I was getting to that!’
So weird… I tried to remember exactly what was on those notes, and Ashley seemed to know this, because she said-
‘Hun, I know you think this is bad, but it’s not, you know what I mean?
‘I’m sorry you think that way, but you’ll never get rid of me, I’ll follow you ‘till the end of the earth, until you realize that I’m right for you, then we can be together. –Your Prince’
‘And the other one?’
‘Other one?’
‘I didn’t show you did I?’
‘No—what did it say?’
‘I… I can’t remember.’ I told her, ‘something like, “Darling, J.T, I did it again… I know that the thrill was intense, but it lasts no more than a …” then something about police “I’m sorry, I love you… we may never see each other again, once graduation is over. I love you… Paula Smith…” Sorry, I know it’s not much, but it’s all I’ve got.’
‘Ok… well it does tell me some things, like that they really were in love. They still are, according to what you’ve said…’
‘Ashley, you’re acting as if they are escaped criminals!’
‘Did you even listen to the notes? They are escaped criminals!’
‘Ashley, loads of teenagers steal! They get told it’s wrong, and then they CHANGE!’
‘You are being way to difficult!’ Ashley yelled.
‘Me? You’re the one accusing everyone of being a criminal!’
‘Anthony! Just shut up and listen for a minute.’ I did as I was told, ‘they are criminals. Yes, I know some people change, but I can’t see it happening. Even if they did change they may not have changed enough, and they might drag you into it.’ I began to rebuke, but stopped when she held up a finger. ‘You are just trying to defend them, you think you know them, but after three talks, you would still be acquaintances. You always want to be right, and you always want the last word, but this time, I’m winning.’
Ashley would be a good overprotective mother, but as a friend she’s ‘really annoying!’
‘I am not annoying! I’m trying to help you!’
‘I don’t need your help.’ I said walking away.
‘Yes you do!’ She called.
For once, I decided to let her have the last word.
I found Bobby and Jo again, hoping I hadn’t hurt Ashley’s feelings any, I walked over to them.
‘What did Ashley want?’ Bobby asked.
‘Nothing,’ I said.
Ashley appeared between Bobby and Jo, raised her left eyebrow and mouthed “nothing?”
“Yup, nothing.” I mouthed back, smirking.
She rolled her eyes.
Bobby began talking about something that interested no one. I’m not even sure it interested him, and then the bus showed up and he faded away.
The trip home was almost like torture, with Bobby talking about fruit, and Ashley not talking at all. Jo and I occasionally shot depressed glances at one another.
I tuned Bobby out, and thought about Lulu. I looked toward the back of the bus, looking for Brian, but, like I had expected, he wasn’t on.
I would talk to them tonight. I made my decision, and let it fail all in about two seconds. I couldn’t talk to them now… they would be distraught. Maybe I would be able to trick Charlie into it…
No. I would have to do this. I would have to talk to them about Lulu. Tomorrow.

Charlie, Dawson and I sat at the kitchen table, while dad was cooking something. Miranda had come over to visit as well, and was now examining dad’s cooking methods. She seemed to be really interested in becoming a chef of some sort.
‘I wouldn’t do that.’ She said, he was about to dump something into a pot, when she stopped him. ‘Do it like this.’ She grabbed the bowl he was dumping out of, and slowly added it, while stirring the contents of the pot. I wondered what was in the pot, but not for long. Once I saw Charlie’s face my thoughts changed drastically.
He looked as if he was really sick, but totally fine at the same time, like he had heard something horrible… something tragic, was it Lulu?
His best friend was Brian so how could it not be? Brian would tell him why he wasn’t at school… wouldn’t he?
Then Charlie looked up at me, and starred. I understood, now, that he did know about Lulu, and he knew I knew too. He jerked his head toward Dawson. I let my eyes follow his, which were now looking at Dawson.
He looked totally oblivious. A little bored, but he didn’t know. Then he looked up, and saw us both starring at him.
‘What?’ He asked.
‘Nothing,’ I responded simply.
‘It has to be something; otherwise you would not be staring at me.’
‘No, don’t worry, it’s nothing.’
‘Yes, Dawson. There is something.’ Charlie said.
‘No there isn’t,’ Dawson said. ‘Anthony can’t lie.’ This got me thinking. I can lie now, after a month and a bit of lying, I guess I got better at it.
‘He is.’ Charlie said. ‘He is lying, and I can prove it.’
‘Charlie! This isn’t a competition! We have to tell him nicely!’
‘Right… Of course.’ Charlie sighed. ‘Dawson, you know Lulu right?’
‘Yes I do, in fact I know her very well.’ Dawson said. ‘Let me guess. You saw her in the park too?’
‘No, she was kidnapped.’ Charlie said.
‘What?’ Dawson said, like he didn’t hear him, he was clearly pretending, but his face was shocked. Why did he believe it so suddenly? On demand? Unless he was already thinking that. I guess she didn’t show up at school today… and with all the kidnappings going on…
‘Lulu was kidnapped, but it is ok.’ Charlie said, patting him on the shoulder. ‘The police have found a trail, and are following it, they’ll find her by the end of the week.’
Dawson seemed like he was about to die. He was much closer to Lulu than I was, after all they were dating.
Dawson stood up and left the room.
It was a good thing he didn’t pick up on Charlie’s obvious lie. I rounded on Charlie. ‘So much for nicely!’
‘I agree.’ Dad said. ‘You could have done that better.’
‘You knew?’
‘Yeah, of course I did.’ Dad said. ‘Did they really find a trail?’
Charlie shook his head, ‘I was just trying to make him feel better.’
‘Well now he’s expecting her back. If she doesn’t come back… alive—‘
‘She will!’ I shouted. ‘I’m working on it.’ Then I remembered James’ words, ‘After all, we’re on a secret mission.’
Oops
‘What do you mean?’ My dad asked, sitting down. ‘Anthony, this isn’t one of your little detective games.’
‘Games? They are not games! I help people find things. This time is just a bit more severe. You can’t stop me.’
‘Yes I can.’ Dad said, as Miranda began dishing out spaghetti.
‘Just try.’ I said, knowing that I should just be agreeing with him, but for some reason I felt the urge to rebel.
‘I will then. You’re grounded.’
‘I was already grounded.’
Dad sighed, ‘Anthony, I know this seems important because you knew her, but you have to stay out, it’s dangerous.’
‘Your dad is right.’ Miranda said, sitting down herself, ‘it is insanely dangerous for someone your age to go out and do this.’
My age? I thought, I haven’t heard that one in years.
‘I am fifteen years old; you cannot call me too young.’
‘What she meant,’ Charlie said, ‘is that everyone that has been kidnapped has been around your age. Meaning, that if I find out you’ve been going off, trying to solve this mystery, I’m going to beat you to a pulp.’
Miranda rolled her eyes, as my dad said, ’Charlie, you would let me deal with it, right?’
‘Whatever you want dad.’ Charlie said sarcastically, my dad didn’t catch this though.
I looked to the empty chair where Dawson usually sat… What would happen if it was Dawson instead of Lulu? What would my dad do? He couldn’t stop me if it was him, could he?
Nobody spoke for the rest of supper, and when I was done—which was a considerable long time before everyone else—I went upstairs to my room, and made sure to let everyone know this.
I stared at the trapdoor-thing in my room, the one that would lead me out of the house, without being bothered by dad. This door was my one way ticket to Brian. Somehow I was going to talk to them, and learn about the mission.
I locked my door, and sat down at the desk in the corner, and began writing down questions whose answers might be useful when trying to solving the crime. Only a few came to me, but that was all that I would need… maybe.
I took the paper that I wrote my questions on, and slipped it into a folder, and tossed that into my backpack, then I changed clothes into something more… business like—which was just a different t-shirt, a pair of jeans, rather than shorts, and a jacket.
Then I looked out the window, examining the outside world, looking for any humans. I then slid under my bed, and slid my backpack down the slide, and then, turned awkwardly under my bed, so that my feet were by the chute, and soon, I had followed my backpack, and was on my way.

My fist rested hardly an inch away from the door as I readied myself for the worst moment of my life. I had to knock on the door—that was the easiest part of the night and I couldn’t do it. I closed my eyes as tight as I could, and forced my fist to slam against the door.
Now it was all over, my life was ending… I thought about jumping into the bushes by the front door, but the door opened before I had the chance.
‘Hello…’ Brian said, standing in the doorway. ‘Can I help you—oh, Anthony.’ He sounded almost happy, but at the same time sounded so monotonous that he seemed hardly alive.
‘Brian,’ I said, and then at least ten possible phrases occurred to me, but the one that came out was, ‘I heard about Lulu.’
‘Yeah, everyone’s heard by now.’
‘Hmmm.’ I said, trying to be polite about this.
‘Would you like to come in?’
‘Sure, yeah.’
He moved to the side holding the door open, and allowing me to pass. As I did so, I realized that I had never actually been inside their house, which was weird because they had been in our house hundreds of times.
‘Brian—who is it?’ Karen’s voice echoed through the house, so I had no idea where she was.
‘It’s Anthony.’ Brian said quietly, but apparently Karen heard him.
‘Oh—Anthony, how are you?’ Karen asked politely. It was hard to tell if she was depressed or not—of course she was… her daughter has gone missing.
‘Good, how’re you?’ I asked. Just to be sure.
‘Oh, fine… I guess.’ So she was depressed.
Karen walked into the room I was in—the living room, I suspected—holding a dish towel, drying her hands with it.
‘How’s your dad?’ She asked.
It took me a moment to understand why she was talking about my dad at a time like this, but then I remembered the divorce. ‘Oh, dad… Yeah, he’s fine. Happy, in fact.’
‘Really?’ Karen asked. I nodded. There was an awkward silent moment, then Karen asked, ‘Can we help you? Not to be rude.’ She added at the end.
‘Well…’ I can’t say yes, can I? No, of course not… maybe I could… ‘I just came to see how you’re all doing.’
‘We’re doing great, but thanks for asking,’ Karen said, ‘you’re the first person to do so. All the reporters have to say is “where is your daughter?”.’
‘Hmmm.’ I murmured, ‘where is Kevin?’
‘He’s at the police station.’ Karen responded quickly. ‘Brian, why don’t you go get the eggs?’
‘Fine,’ Brian said, and he was out the door, just like that.
I guess I’m not interviewing Brian, or Kevin… One at a time is easier anyway.
‘I suppose you’re wondering what happened?’ She asked.
Did she know I was helping James? No, I was too jumpy. I nodded slowly.
‘Short or long version?’
‘Long please.’
Karen took a deep breath and began. ’”Lulu, Brian, Kevin, and I were going shopping, because Lulu had said she needed to get something for Dawson. Brian didn’t want to come really, but he decided to tag along anyway. So we all loaded into the truck, and drove to the mall. Brian and Lulu wanted to go different ways, so we said we would meet back at the car in twenty minutes. So Brian went to the music store to get guitar strings, while Kevin and I went grocery shopping. Lulu, I believe went shopping for clothes after all—like I had expected, and not to get something for Dawson. So after fifteen minutes, Brian, Kevin and I had already returned to the car, and were just waiting on Lulu.’
Before I even thought about speaking I asked, ‘Do you think, now, that you should have gone with her?’
‘Of course.’ Karen sighed, ‘I regret the whole day, because if I had done one thing differently she might still be here.’ She continued her story, ‘I remember waiting about ten more minutes and hearing a scream. The scream sort of blocked out everything. It was Lulu, and I knew it, so I got out of the car to look for her. I caught a glimpse of someone in a black cloak running around the corner, so I followed him. He ran all the way to the back parking lot of the mall, and of course I wanted to know where he was going, because Lulu was in trouble, and he seemed like a suspect,’
‘Are you sure it was a he?’ I asked; again unaware of my decision to do so.
‘Yes, quite sure.’ She answered simply. So that was something. Right? ‘Anyway, he climbed into the back of a large black van, and then had climbed out of it in seconds. The engine started, and the van began driving away. He started running, the other way. I was torn what way should I go? Then I saw Lulu’s face appear in the back window of the van, and I knew what to do. I had to chase the man, because I had a better chance of catching him than the van, and he would be able to lead me to Lulu anyway. So I ran, letting my sandals fall off, so I could run faster, but he was much faster than me still. He ran all the way back around the building, and then into the forest. I couldn’t catch him, and after I tripped I definitely couldn’t catch him.’
‘Hmmm…’ I said for the third time, making a note in my head to write this down as soon as possible.
‘I was crying like crazy, my baby was gone. Brian found me later—I don’t know how much later, but he found me, and he knew what happened too. Kevin found us even later than that. He said he had called the police and that they should be there soon… but Lulu was gone.’ Karen started to tear up, and then she stood up. ‘I’m sorry; I should continue doing the dishes…’ She walked away.
I felt like the least I could do was to leave her, but I didn’t want to go yet. I didn’t have all the answers. Then, just as I thought that, I saw someone walk past the window outside. Brian—he hadn’t left yet.
I stood up and walked to the door. ‘Good Bye Karen.’ I said quietly.
‘Bye… Anthony.’
I opened the door and chased after Brian.
I caught up with him as he started walking across the street.
‘Brian,’ I said, ‘we need to talk.’
‘I can’t,’ Brian said, ‘uh… need eggs.’
‘I’ll go with you.’
‘Look. I would be gone by now, but Charlie called me, and told me that you’d try and learn about Lulu, and he told me not to help you.’
‘You have to.’
‘No I don’t.’
‘Do you want her to be saved?’ I asked, knowing it was low to guilt him into this, but he didn’t fall for it.
‘Yeah, I do, but you won’t be able to help.’
‘You don’t know that, and you won’t know it unless you try. I might be able to help.’
‘You’re fourteen years old—you can’t help.’
‘I’m fifteen, and yes, I can help. Please, tell me your story, that’s all I’m asking.’
Brian seemed to be thinking about it. ‘Alright, but that’s it, just the story, no extra details OK?’
‘Deal.’ I agreed.
‘We were going shopping, Lulu said something about Dawson, but I didn’t really listen. I had to get new guitar strings, so that’s exactly what I did, and I did it fast. I was in the car in like five minutes.’
His story was exactly the same as his mom’s so far…
‘Then mom and dad came back, and loaded all their groceries in the trunk. They got in the truck and we waited for Lulu. Then I said I had to go to the washroom, so I got out of the truck and wandered back to the mall, and found a washroom. Even from inside I heard the… scream.’
Here was the part I had to hear.
‘That’ll be two dollars’
‘What?’ I asked.
‘Two dollars please.’ I focused on who was talking. It was a woman standing behind a counter, and a cash register, holding a carton of eggs. Brian was handing her two dollars.
We were in the store already? Time really does fly.
When we were outside the store again, Brian started up again.
‘I ran outside the back door, and saw mom hiding behind a White Impala. I didn’t know who had screamed, so I looked around, and gasped when I saw the man pushing Lulu into the back of the van. I was frozen at first, but then was kicked into action. He had started running, so I ran too. In my peripheral vision, I saw mom running too, but she was two rows of cars away from me. Eventually mom fell back. I was faster than the man, and was slowly catching up… until he ran into the trees. I lost him so fast—it was so dark, but I kept looking… I didn’t find him… obviously.’
‘Do… you remember what the man looked like?’
‘No, I never really saw him.’ Brian said. ‘Then I found mom, and dad showed up a couple minutes later.’
So Kevin shows up after everything… and no one can account for him... He is my prime suspect.
‘Anthony,’ Brian said, almost smiling. He stepped up the steps in front of his house. ‘You might want to know—oh hey dad.’
I turned around and saw Kevin standing behind me. ‘Hey, how’re you?’
‘Good… Anthony?’
‘Yeah…’
‘I don’t see you around here much.’
‘Well, I don’t know… If you don’t want me here, I guess I’ll leave.’
‘You know that’s not what I meant.’ He said.
Brian sat on the steps smiling, seeing that I was starting my plea for information on his dad as well as I had with him and his mom.
‘Where were you the day your daughter was kidnapped?’ I asked. I saw Brian’s face rearrange so quickly, it was like he turned off. His face was solemn, like he thought I was completely stupid for thinking that his dad could possible be the culprit.
‘I was at the mall.’
‘I know that.’ I told him, but at the time when she was kidnapped, where were you? Both Brian and Karen’s stories connect, but you weren’t there in either.
‘I was waiting in the car, and Brian left. There was a scream, Karen got out, and started running. I saw a little girl, maybe three years old, on the ground crying. I figured she was the one who screamed, so I waited for Karen to come back.’
‘Do you regret your decision?’ I asked him.
‘No,’ He said, ‘all things happen for a reason, and I did this because I felt it was the right thing to do.’
‘Hmmm….’ I felt like I’d been saying that a lot today.
‘So you’re not accusing me?’ He asked, slowly. I had to think about that.
‘No,’ I lied, testing out my newfound powers. He didn’t notice.
‘That’s good.’
‘Dad,’ Brian said quietly, ‘did you find anything out? About Lulu?’
‘No, son.’ He answered simply, but Brian didn’t seem to be happy with this response, so he continued. ‘We think we found something, thanks to you.’
‘Me?’
‘Telling us what kind of van it was. That really helped, not to mention the first couple characters of the licence plate.’
‘Oh.’ Brian said.
‘Let’s go inside, and let mom know.’ Kevin said.
‘Yeah…’ Brian said standing up. Kevin walked through the door, and held it open for Brian, who walked partway in, then turned around and said, ‘you might want to know, that when Charlie called me, he said your dad was looking for you, and he was doing his best to keep him away from your room.’
‘Now you tell me?’ I said, starting to run down the street.
Kevin was my prime suspect right now, but of course, there are only three people that could have done it in my mind right now. I needed to interview more people, or maybe review James and Paula’s notes on the other suspects, and families.
I reached the house, and looked up to my bedroom window. The light was off, so I was safe… for now. I looked over to the window to the right of mine, and saw Charlie and my dad, looking out the window.
I dived behind a bush, and crawled toward the house. They didn’t see me; they seemed to be looking out over the town or something, which was definitely good for me. I kept crawling until I was safely hidden at the side of the house, behind a bunch of tall flowers.
I slid across the wall, until I found the tunnel, and I turned around and started crawling up.
My shoes had no grip on them, so it was hard to crawl up.
‘Charlie, the sun is not setting.’ My dad said.
‘Yes it is! Once it is beyond the center of the sky, it counts as setting!’ Charlie argued.
‘Are you trying to stall me?’
‘No!’ Charlie said a little too quickly.
I knew it was too late, but maybe if I got up fast enough, I would be able to lie to dad.
I was up the chute, and sitting in bed within minutes.
‘Charlie! I am not going to wrestle you!’
‘C’mon, are you a chicken?’
‘Charlie move.’
‘Dad—stop! NO!’
I looked up and noticed my window was open… the window beside the desk that I was sitting at. I had my jacket on, and my shoes… crap!
I slipped my shoes off, and slid them under my bed, and slipped my jacket off, throwing it across the room into my closet, and slammed the window shut.
I turned around, and saw the door swinging open.
‘Anthony?’ My dad said, ‘What’re you doing?’
‘Looking out the window…’
‘Why?’
‘I think you’re right. It isn’t sunset.’
Dad pivoted, and turned to Charlie ‘HA!’ He turned back, and said, ‘I meant, why: are you coming through the window?’
‘Window? Yeah that’s it.’
‘Why were you coming through the window?’
‘I disobeyed you… sorry.’
‘You were honest, so I won’t put bars on your window.’
‘Oh… thanks?’
‘Go to bed.’
‘Dad, it’s too early.’
‘Fine. Just… stay in your room.’ Dad said. He turned to Charlie, ‘You too. You’re grounded. One week.’
‘Fine.’ Charlie said, winking at me. I winked back, without my dad seeing.
Dad glared at me, and shut the door.
I sat down at my desk again, and jotted down my notes from the interviews. The one note that stood out was, Suspect—Kevin.

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Yamazaru
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Posts : 23
Join date : 2010-08-27
Age : 25

PostSubject: Chapter 7 and 8   Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:49 am



7. The Wicked Witch Has Gone


I was sure James would be pleased with the contents of my notes, and that Paula might even be happy too, but of course there was no possible way that I could find them. It was like finding a needle in a haystack. They could be anywhere. I made a mental note to ask him where he lived.
I sat at my desk reading and re-reading my notes. Something seemed off, but I couldn’t place a finger on it. Maybe it was just that this case was close to home—that I knew the victim. This was not supposed to happen to me. My life should be just how I want it… I knew this was never going to happen.
I thought about how lucky I was that Dawson was still here… that I was still here. Lulu lived right there—not far at all from our house, meaning, quite easily, it could have been me.
I sighed, staring out the window at the kids next door playing tag… so happy; they don’t know what’s happening, they need to know. No, I won’t let them know, I’ll just finish this case before the criminal has a chance to get to anyone else.
I sat watching the kids, and picked out the fastest one, which wasn’t hard, he was a lot faster. Then there was a knock on my door.
‘Come in.’ I said, spinning my chair around, but it only went halfway because the wheels got caught on the rug. I heard the door creak open, and saw Dawson come in. I wheeled back, and continued my turn, to talk to him. If it was dad I would have said “go away,” if it was Charlie, I would have said, “Thanks for distracting dad. Go away,” but this was Dawson, and I couldn’t do that, he needed to talk, and I was here.
‘Anthony…’ He said, walking in and sitting down on my bed. He fiddled with his fingers and stared at them, not looking up, even when he continued. ‘I heard you talking with dad earlier.’
‘About what?’ I asked, I didn’t see where he was going with this, I mean, yeah, I told dad that I snuck out through the window, but was that what he was talking about?
‘I heard you say that you were going to work on this case, and that dad couldn’t stop you. Were you serious?’
I nodded, ‘yes I was serious, and I plan to stop whoever is doing this.’
Dawson smiled. ‘Can I help?’
‘No,’ I said, shocked by his sudden decision. I couldn’t let him do that.
‘Yes, you can’t stop me!’ Dawson said mocking me.
‘No, you won’t go, because it is too dangerous.’ I was sounding like dad now. I got so mad at him for doing this to me, but now I was doing the exact same thing as him, and I could tell that Dawson was feeling the same thing as I had.
He bit his lower lip until the area around it went white. ‘Fine,’ he said, I felt my jaw dropped, but I snapped it shut immediately, ‘As long as you promise me this: bring her back to me. Keep everyone safe, and mostly kill the bastard who took her.’
I was shocked; this wasn’t a very Dawson-ish thing to say. ‘Dawson, I promise you that I will do everything I can do to bring Lulu back to her parents. To bring her back to you. I will also do my best to keep everyone else safe. However, I will not kill the culprit. I will imprison them if that is what needs to be done.’ I sounded like I was running for a beauty pageant.
‘Them?’ Dawson asked, ‘There is more than one?’
‘Dawson—I don’t know for sure, but you can’t tell anyone even that. It is a secret.’
‘I promise.’ Dawson said. ‘Where were you anyway… just a bit ago…?’
‘I was interviewing Brian, Karen and Kevin.’
‘Really? Is that when you found out there was more than one?’
‘Yes—Dawson go away, I shouldn’t be telling you this.’ I ended up telling him to go away anyway.
‘Anthony, I want to help!’
‘Dawson, if I ever need help I’ll call you… talk to you, but I don’t right now, so please leave me alone, while I try to figure this out.’ I told him, knowing he would get angry.
‘Whatever.’ Dawson mumbled, ‘Dad says supper is ready and there is someone on the phone for you.’
‘Who?’
Dawson shrugged smugly, like he knew who it was, he just wanted to annoy me. ‘Who is it?’
‘Why don’t you go find out?’
‘I will then.’ I stood up, and walked past Dawson, making sure to hit him with my shoulder as I passed.
I heard Dawson mutter ‘jerk’ as I passed. I didn’t smile like I usually would have, as I had successfully upset him, instead my face remained annoyed.
Dad was sitting at the kitchen table, talking to someone on the phone, with his back to me. He turned around as I came in, and smiled. He handed the phone to me. I looked at him curiously. Who would he sit and talk to that would want to talk with me? James? No, dad wouldn’t be smiling.
I grabbed the phone, and put it to my ear. The person on the other end was still talking. ‘…And Italy was wonderful, and exotic! I plan to go to England after France, won’t that be great? Richard? Richard?’ I couldn’t say anything. Mom was talking to us like we still cared—I do care, it was just that she left us so suddenly.
‘Mom?’ I whispered.
‘Oh—Anthony, I miss you!’
‘I miss you too.’ I said my voice flat.
‘I guess you heard my plans?’
‘Yeah, I did, and I have a question about that.’
‘Ask away,’
I took in a deep breath, doing my best to ask this in a nice way. ‘If you took one month in Italy… then you’re going to France and England—when will you be back? Why aren’t you back already?’
‘Anthony!’ Dad said. Why did I hear him? He was gone…
‘Dad! Get off the other phone!’
‘No, I want to listen.’
‘You sound like a 12 year old girl.’ Mom said, ‘give us some privacy.’
‘Fine,’ Dad said, and then it went quiet, but there was no “click” indicating that he had hung up the phone.
‘Get lost!’ I said at the same time as my mom.
Click
‘Anyway, I will not be back for a few more months. Me and Markus will be—‘
‘Who’s Markus?’ I asked cutting her off.
‘No one!’ She said far too quickly.
‘Mom—you’re worse at lying than I ever was.’
‘He’s my boyfriend—‘
‘What?’ I wished I had never asked now, ‘mom, it’s been a month, and you’re already dating again?’
‘Anthony, just leave it alone, you don’t understand.’
‘Oh really? Well, have a nice trip, talk to you later, bye.’
‘Anthony—‘click. I scowled and walked toward the door, and opened it.
‘NO!’ My dad came hurtled down the stairs, and tried to jump over the banister, resulting in him sprawling on the floor. Dennis barked at him, and grabbed the phone out of his hand.
‘No—you weren’t eavesdropping at all!’ I said angrily.
‘Look—you are grounded, and you will stay inside.’
‘Fine.’ I said, turning, to go up the stairs. I stepped on his leg as I passed.
‘Anthony! Don’t push it I am not afraid to ground you more.’
‘Whatever.’
My bedroom door was closed when I went back upstairs; I didn’t close it… did I?
I pushed it open, and clenched my fists. Dawson was sitting at my desk reading all my notes. He didn’t seem to notice me. ‘Hey Dawson,’ He jumped so high, he fell off of the chair, ‘supper’s ready!’
‘Sorry!’
‘No you’re not—get out, now!’ I grabbed his arm, and lead him out of my room, and down the stairs. ‘Let’s eat.’

I told Dawson and Charlie the news about mom during supper, hoping they would have the same reaction as me, to show dad that I wasn’t being a total child. Dawson looked like he felt the same way, but masked it well. Charlie on the other hand didn’t care at all. ‘It’s the fact of life. Love conquers all.’ He had said, and of course that made no sense—why would it? Charlie said it.
I sat at the table, angry with them for not helping me. Charlie had invited Miranda over again, she arrived just a matter of minutes after our conversation. She commented on dad’s cooking, and said that he had learned from the spaghetti, and his lasagne tonight was delicious. He in turn, blushed and thanked her.
‘Dad,’ Charlie said, ‘do you want graduation pictures?’
‘Yes—it only happens once, how could I not get them! When do you have them taken?’
‘We already did, I was just wondering if you wanted any. You’ll have to buy them before Christmas.’
I figured this was a good time to disappear, because dad really cared about things that only happened once. Like the wedding Charlie was planning.
Yes, that’s right, Charlie was planning to get married to Miranda, but first he had to propose, and of course she had to accept. Miranda and Charlie had been dating for a while now, and this wedding was really important to him, but he wasn’t sure if she would say yes because she was too young.
I walked upstairs and looked through my notes to make sure Dawson hadn’t stolen any. I didn’t think that he would, because, well, why would he? It turned out that I was right—he didn’t steal any.
I snuck into dad’s room and found his old briefcase. He never used it anymore, because he had a new one, so I took it and brought it back to my room. I put all my papers in it, and set the combination to a number I could remember ‘4~2~6’ my birthday, April 26th.
I looked out my window and saw those kids—they had stopped playing tag and were now having supper out at a picnic table.
I stared, and hoped none of them would see me—they would definitely think I was a creeper.
I was about to look away, when I a noticed a couple metal bars near the bottom of my window. Curious as I was, I moved forward, and opened my window. I stuck my head out to see what it was, but I had an idea already.
I was right. It was a ladder, and about half-way up the ladder was James. I smiled down at him, but he wasn’t looking, so I sat back and waited.
It was pretty lucky that he showed up right when I needed him to, it was sort of like he knew me too well, it gave me chills.
He reached the top and finally looked up. ‘Hi,’ I said, ‘just trying to scare me to death? Maybe steal something? Or are you just going to break into my house for no reason?’
James jumped at my voice, and almost fell down the ladder, but he caught himself, and began laughing.
‘Don’t do that!’ He said, still laughing.
‘So what were you trying to do?’
‘Just coming to see you—I was just outside when your dad yelled at you and told you that you were grounded. So I drove home and grabbed my ladder and now I’m…’ crash. ‘Ow… here.’ James’ foot got caught on his way in through the window, and he had fallen face first on my bedroom floor.
‘Shhhh!’ I hissed, ‘How am I supposed to deal with you?’
James cleared his throat and stood up. ‘Sorry…’ He looked over to my bed and saw my briefcase. ‘Did you… get anywhere?’
‘I interviewed Lulu’s family if that’s what you’re asking, and I found a few things, but nothing is for sure… excuse me?’
James was looking at my briefcase trying to open it. He was acting a lot more nosey than usual.
‘Why won’t this open?’ James asked.
‘It won’t open—‘I grabbed the briefcase and pulled, ‘because I locked it!’
‘Why would you lock it?’
‘To keep people like you out!’ I said. ‘Look, if you want to see what’s in it, then let’s go to the park.’
‘Why always the park? Let’s change it up!’
‘I sort of thought that we’d make that our official meeting place.’ I told him, ‘what is your problem?’
He cleared his throat, and stood up. ‘Sorry, don’t know what came over me.’
I motioned toward the ladder. ‘After you,’ I said. He was getting really odd, so I didn’t really want to go down my slide. I was the only one that should know about it, and James’ attitude right there showed me that.
Was he trying to act a different way? Or maybe he wasn’t acting now, and he was before… I really didn’t know what to think of him. He seemed like an overly excited child. I guess that made sense. I sort of implied that I had found something out about the case, and he was obviously pleased to save these kids… unfortunately it wasn’t what he thought.
We both climbed down the ladder and began walking toward the park. I said nothing, trying to pay attention to what I was doing. I saw Brian, Karen, and Kevin sitting outside at a round mosaic table, with someone sitting beside them. A reporter maybe?
James led the way. For a second I thought I saw James frown, but the next second he was beaming again, practically skipping down the sidewalk. I smiled in a knowledgeable sort of way. I understood fully what his problem was… sort of. He was trying to hide his mood by putting on a false front, except he was doing a horrible job—like someone who hasn’t ever paid any attention to what they do, and was now trying to imitate it.
‘James… what’s wrong? Was there another kidnapping? Who was it?’
‘No, no one’s been kidnapped, why do you ask?’
‘No reason…’ Perhaps I was wrong about his mood; maybe he wasn’t trying to hide anything. But then, why was he acting this way… the only time I’ve seen someone this happy was… my dad when the divorce happened.
Maybe Paula was gone! Then I told myself to calm down, and not to think to rash. Paula was not gone, and I knew it. My luck would not let that happen.
When finally we arrived at the park, I found that I was right, Paula was not gone… she was sitting at a bench underneath a birch tree. She looked at her watch nervously and tapped her foot impatiently.
She looked toward us as we began to walk over, and scowled at me. I glared back feeling my stomach churn, as it always did when I saw her.
‘James,’ she said standing up, ‘We’ll have to hurry—I won’t be able to stay much longer, Jeremy is waiting.’
‘All right, Anthony, hurry, tell us what you’ve got.’ Said James hurriedly.
‘Who is Jeremy?’ I asked, trying to figure out where Paula was headed… possibly somewhere far, far away… for a long, long time.
‘Jeremy is our friend; he’s working on this case from a different station. He is further ahead than we are, and thinks he’s found a lead,’ James informed me quickly, ‘Paula is going with him because he needs more help, and we don’t need her right now.’
‘What did you find?’ Hissed Paula.
‘Well…’ I told them all about my interviews, in a quick, short version. James was particularly interested with my assumption of my only suspect, and told me that he would talk to me about that later. Paula actually went three minutes without scowling, as she listened intently to what I was saying.
‘OK, I’ll talk to Jeremy, about that. Oh, and good job.’ She said, though it looked like it was hard for her to say.
I was taken aback, but said ‘Thanks,’ anyway.
Paula walked over to James and hugged him, ‘I’ll miss you!’
‘Paula, you’ll only be gone till June!’ James said, hugging her back.
‘Which is like eight months away!’ She cried, he kissed her on the cheek as she said it, but apparently that wasn’t good enough, because she grabbed his face, and kissed him on the mouth… over, and over, and over again.
‘Isn’t Jeremy waiting?’ I asked, trying to stop them. Paula looked at me, then kissed James one more time, and ran off.
‘Wow…’ I said, ‘She’s enthusiastic.’
‘Yeah, and a bit annoying.’
‘Yeah—wait, what?’ I said, ‘You agree?’
James nodded, ‘but let’s stop talking about her, I need to know, right now, why you thought that Kevin was a suspect.’
‘Well, I’m just saying that he seems suspicious, and he was totally unaccounted for through the events. I mean, it makes sense.’
‘But does it make sense that he would kidnap all of the other kids, did you think to ask where he was during the time of a different offence?’
‘No—well, no… I didn’t think of that.’ I told him, ‘but really, if I asked him that, what would he think? He would probably be saying something like ‘hey this kid knows something, well, I’m gonna flee the country now!’’
James started laughing. ‘OK, I see what you mean, but no one would ever say that.’
‘So…’ I said smiling. ‘I better get home.’ I stood up and started walking away, ‘bye—oh, wait. Don’t ever come through my window again. Ever.’
‘Oh, right. How will I get a hold of you?’
‘Give me your number.’
James shook his head, and then looked up at me smiling. ‘I’ve got it; I’ll be coming through your window one more time.’
‘No—I would really rather you—‘ but James was gone. ‘Why…?’
I walked home slowly, dragging my feet along the ground. I passed lot’s of people that I knew, hoping they wouldn’t possibly have the urge to call my dad and tell him I was gone. That would have been totally random if they did.
I passed Brian and his parents again; they were still sitting outside, talking to the reporter, or who assumed to be a reporter, but I kept walking. Then an idea hit me… what if they were to tell the reporter something that they didn’t tell me—of course they would, if there was something else that is, I mean why wouldn’t they tell him more, he was more dependable than a fifteen year old boy.
I smiled slyly, and walked backward until I was in a position where I could see them, but was very unlikely for them to see me.
I tried to hear what they were saying, but they were too far away, so I got down on my hands and knees and slowly crept forward until I was sitting behind one of the hedges that lined their property. Luckily for me, the table they were sitting on was just on the other side of the hedge.
‘…I chased after the man, but I couldn’t catch him… I remember my vision became fuzzy, I was crying…’ Karen said. She sighed and continued, ‘I… fell, he got away.’
‘Why did you fall?’ Said a squeaky voice; the reporter? ‘Did you trip? Were you too tired to continue? What happened?’
‘Well, I’m not sure… I think I was just too horrified to continue. But I’ll tell you, I sure wish I stayed in shape after high school. Everything in my life was done wrong! It all led to this moment!’
‘That is quite true.’ Said the reporter.
There was a moment of silence, and I could tell they felt the same way I did: shocked. He was the meanest reporter ever!
‘Oh, sorry, I just meant that everything you did lead up to that moment, not that you are a failure… no, no.’
‘Hmmm,’ Brian mumbled. ‘Anyway, can you find my sister or not? Because so far, I’ve been interviewed by a fifteen year old and it went better, and right now, I think he’ll find her faster than you ever will!’
‘Brian,’ Kevin sighed, ‘sit down, and calm down, you don’t really believe that Anthony can do that, do you?’
‘Yeah, I do!’ He argued. I smiled from behind the bush, ‘well, maybe… he’s doing better than this dude!’
‘Brian!’ Karen snapped.
‘”Why did you fall?’” Brian mocked, putting on a squeaky voice.
‘Brian!’ Kevin snarled.
‘You know what? I’m gonna call Anthony, and tell him something I never told anyone yet!’
‘BRIAN!’ Karen and Kevin hissed.
‘Brian, son,’ the reporter said, kindly.
‘Son? No, I don’t think so!’ Said Brian, angrily, ‘don’t talk to me!’
‘You have to tell me, if she dies it will be because of you,’ the reporter continued.
‘Shut up! She won’t die!’
‘Brian tell him, you know Anthony can’t do this! He’s far too young!’
Oh, no you don’t! ‘I am not too young!’ I barked, jumping up and glaring right into Kevin’s eyes. ‘I am definitely old enough to do anything! I’m smarter, faster, better—maybe not stronger, but—better than you! And if anyone can save her it’ll be me! And when I do save her, I will definitely not accept any thanks from you! You… you… you…’ I faded off. I guess I shared Brian’s anger, I mean really… that was nothing to get mad about.
‘A—Anthony?’ Kevin stuttered. ‘I was just saying that to get Brian to tell me what he was hiding, it was really important that he did that… to save Lulu, you know what I mean?’
I was going to nod, but Brian caught my eyes, which clearly indicated that I was not supposed to agree.
‘You were trying to trick me for your own selfish reasons?’ Brian growled.
‘It isn’t selfish if we are saving your sister!’ The reporter yelled, ‘tell me, or I’ll have you arrested!’
‘You can’t have me arrested if I tell someone my secret—someone that can help save her!’
‘Who will you tell?’
‘Anthony!’ Brian yelled knocking the chair over, and storming toward me, he then grabbed my arm and dragged me down the street, away from my house.
‘The secret…?’ I asked, quickly, when we were out of earshot.
‘Well… it is kind of simple… I saw the man’s face.’
‘What?’ I shot at him quickly, if he saw his face, than it might be easier than I thought to figure out who was behind it all. ‘Did you recognize him? What did he look like? WHO WAS HE?’
‘Anthony, chill…’ he sighed, ‘I didn’t recognize the person, but I can describe him.’
‘Well, why didn’t you tell the other guy?’
‘I didn’t like him at all, he was way too snooty, and self centered.’
‘You know you got angry really easy, he didn’t deserve such an outburst, he was just trying to help save Lulu.’
Brian had a blank look on his face for a moment, then he said, as though I hadn’t even said anything, ‘he had long black hair—dreadlocks. His eyes were black as pitch and his expression…’
‘Hmmm.’ I sighed.
‘Oh, and he was an African-American. I guess that might help too.’
‘Well… Thanks,’ I smiled.
‘It wasn’t really that helpful,’ he said.
‘Not for that—well, yeah, thanks for that too, but I meant, thanks for sticking up for me.’ He smiled, but didn’t say anything. ‘Do you really believe I can do it?’
He nodded, and patted me on the back, ‘yes, I do. Now don’t let me down.’ He turned around, and began walking back, ‘sorry for not telling you before… I hope it helped.’
It did help, now I know what one of (at least) two people involved in this looked like.
‘See you later,’ Brian said without turning around.
‘Bye,’ I said, thinking about the man Brian described. He wasn’t familiar to me, but maybe the detective who lived just a few blocks away, Oscar Hamilton, may have some notes or something on someone who matched the description. I made a mental note to go see him whenever I could, as I began walking home.

I was sitting in my bedroom when James showed up, which was good, because if James came crawling through my bedroom window when I wasn’t here… and maybe my dad came in to do some cleaning… ha ha, my dad? Clean?
‘I’ve got one. Free of charge and altered so I can track you if you get in trouble!’ James said grinning wildly.
‘Got what?’ I asked interested. James bought me something? What was it? I tried to figure out where, and what it was, but I couldn’t see anything.
Then he stuck his hand in his pocket, and pulled out a green rectangle the size of a… cell phone? ‘Is that… a…?’
‘It is a cell phone, but not just a cell phone, it is connected with mine, so that I can track you, so that if you do get kidnapped… or in any sort of trouble, I’ll always be able to find you.’
I smiled wildly and reached for the phone, and then I let my hand drop, ‘free of charge? Totally, you’ll pay the monthly bill?’
‘Yeah, now take it,’ He said smiling pushing it into my hand.
‘Awesome!’ I grabbed the phone and slid it. It was one of those texting phones with the whole key pad. ‘Thank you so much!’ I said, immediately searching through the phones interior programs.
‘You’re welcome, now I couldn’t make it so you can trace me, because I have secrets,’
‘I don’t care, that’s fine, I won’t need to trace you, you won’t get kidnapped.’ I told him.
Then there was a knock on my bedroom door, and my dad said, ‘Who are you talking to?’
My eyes widened as I pushed James toward the window. He did an odd flip, as I kept pushing him, out the window, and he grabbed the sides of the ladder about half-way down, his face so shocked that he looked like he wet his pants.
‘Just… no one.’ I said nervously; as dad threw the door open. I thought fast and slammed the cell phone up to my ear, and smiled. ‘Bye Bobby,’ I said, and pushed a random button on the phone, pretending to hang it up.
‘Whose phone is that?’
‘Uh—I borrowed it from Jamie at school.’
‘Why, we have a perfectly good phone right here.’
‘He told me to take it!’ I said too quickly.
‘You bought a phone didn’t you?’
‘Uh—no—I—no, I didn’t! Yes,’ I lied. ‘But I’m paying for it, it doesn’t matter!’
Dad thought for a moment, then said, ‘fine, whatever, but if you need help to pay for it, I refuse to do it.’
‘Deal!’ I said, smiling, I couldn’t believe that that actually worked!
‘We need to talk,’ Dad said quietly, ‘come on downstairs.’
‘I’ll be right there.’
Dad nodded, and walked out the door.
I leaned out the window and smiled at James, and waved my phone at him, ‘thanks again, see you later—then maybe you can give me your phone number?’
He shook his head, and smiled, sliding down the rest of the ladder. ‘See you later Anthony,’
I waved good bye, and followed my dad down the stairs.
I found him sitting at the kitchen table, twirling a pen between his fingers, tapping his foot, and snapping his fingers.
I raised one eyebrow, and smiled, ‘dad, what is wrong, you look really nervous… did something else happen?’
‘No,’ He sighed, ‘nothing happened… that was too important, but I need to talk to you about your mom.’
‘Mom?’ What about her?’
‘Well, are you really that depressed about the divorce? We can talk about it.’
‘Dad, I’m fine, I’m just mad because she left so suddenly… and that she already found a boyfriend… and that she didn’t just work it out… and—‘
‘Anthony, it had to happen, things weren’t working out between us anymore, so we just had a divorce. It isn’t as if she died!’
‘No,’ I said quietly, ‘if she died, she would have a reason for not telling me, but she didn’t, she just up and left, for no reason what so ever, trying to make us all angry!’
‘She was just doing for the sake of all of us, it wasn’t selfish, it wasn’t out of spite, she and I had a divorce because it was what needed to happen.’
‘You keep saying that! Why did it need to happen? What are you talking about? Why would anyone ever have to have a divorce?’
‘You will find out soon enough… I will tell you…’ he seemed to be thinking hard, ‘when you are eighteen… yeah, that’s a good number.’
‘Fine.’ I spun around and began walking back up the stairs.
‘Anthony!’
‘Dad, I’m fine!’ I said, as I continued walking.
When I got back to my room I played with my phone a bit, and ended up setting my ring tone for an annoying beep. I was still playing with my phone when I fell asleep.

























8. A Lead

I was sitting at the kitchen table a week later looking in amazement as Dawson came down the stairs looking like a five year old stuck in a teenager’s body. He was dressed up as batman, swishing his cape around and jumping, and rolling like a spy. I tried to say something to him about how childish it was to go out for Halloween, looking at how old he was, but every time I had, he just talked about how excited he was, so I just let him go, though I made sure his costume had a mask, so no one would know who he was. As long as I wasn’t embarrassed I was fine with him going out—oh, and I made plans to snatch a bunch of his candy.
‘How do I look?’ Dawson asked, jumping up on a chair, then onto the table. He pointed towards me, and opened his mouth as if to say something, but I cut him off, I was sure it was going to be embarrassing.
‘You look… heroic, you better get out there… it’s almost six, you don’t want all the candy to be gone before you get any do you?’ I said, making up my reasoning on the spot.
‘You’re right!’ He said jumping off of the table, and heading for the door. ‘How many people from my grade will be out there do you think?’
‘Uh—lots!’ I said, ‘go, and hurry.’ I smiled, watching him swish his cape and run away.
Dawson didn’t close the door, but it must have been because he saw Miranda coming, because she walked in seconds after he left. She smiled at me, then she shook her head, ‘Why is he batman?’ She asked walking closer.
‘It’s Halloween,’ I pointed out.
‘Already?’ She asked in shock, ‘really? Wow, time passes fast.’
I nodded in agreement… it really did, Lulu had been gone for weeks now, will those weeks turn into months? Years? Or will I be able to save her sooner than that? No one could know for sure, as for me, I was determined to save her no matter how long it took, I knew Lulu would come back… maybe next Halloween she could dress up as cat woman and match Dawson.
‘Miranda, thanks for doing this,’ I said smiling, I called Miranda a couple days ago hoping that she would be able to keep my dad busy while I went for a walk. Of course, that was partially true, I was grounded, but that wasn’t going to stop me from seeing Oscar. I told Miranda that I needed to go for a walk, and she totally understood, she said something about her being grounded before. So I lied… I had been doing that a lot lately.
‘It’s fine, just don’t be long, you have about an hour.’
‘One hour?’ I asked, biting my lip, I hope that’s enough…
‘Yeah, one hour, that’s about how long it will take to cook the meal that better be enough because I don’t know if I can keep him busy longer than that.’ She explained, ‘where is Charlie anyway?’
‘Why?’
‘Well, it’ll look weird if I’m here and Charlie isn’t. Would your dad not get suspicious if you invited me here? I think he would.’
‘Charlie is upstairs with dad, just work your charm and I’ll go to my room.’ I said, ‘but first I have to make sure dad sees me go upstairs.’
‘Hmm…’ Miranda mumbled, ‘just wait until he comes downstairs, before you head up.’ There was a silent moment before she said, ‘Charlie told me you are trying to solve the case of the missing children.’ I said nothing, ‘you don’t have to tell me anything… just be careful—promise me.’
‘I promise… that I will do my best to stay out of trouble.’
She smiled, ‘I suppose that will have to do then won’t it?’
I nodded. ‘Here they come!’ I whispered, when I heard footsteps on the stairs. I slid off of my seat, and exited the kitchen through the left door, walking swiftly toward the stairs, passing dad on my way.
‘I’m going upstairs,’ I said, wincing, behind his back, at my horrible acting.
‘All right, I’ll call you for diner—Miranda?’ Dad said, ‘Charlie, I thought you said you had no plans tonight?’
‘I… I must have forgotten.’ Charlie said examining Miranda’s face, then looking at me. I smiled from ear to ear, in a ‘my fault!’ Sort of way.
I walked up the stairs backward, my eyes locked on Charlie’s the whole way up. I ran to the left, to the end of the hall, to get to my room. I shut the door silently, and locked it from the inside. I quickly slipped my shoes on, grabbed my backpack and jacket, and slid under my bed, and into the escape chute.
I crawled through the flowerbed until I reached the end of the house, then I got up, and glanced in the kitchen window, my dad was standing at the counter right inside the window. I jumped back and slammed against the wall, hoping he didn’t see me. I waited about three minutes; apparently he didn’t see anything.
I looked in the window; he was sitting down, and looking the other way, stirring something in a bowl, while talking to Miranda. Charlie raised one eyebrow when he saw me and I smiled, and waved.
I ran to the road, and turned left—I didn’t stop running until I was sure no one could see me from the house.
I wasn’t entirely sure what house was Oscar’s; I just knew it was three blocks away, so that was where I started. After that it wasn’t exactly hard to find him because he was standing out on his front lawn playing fetch with a golden retriever. I knew what he looked like because he came to our school once to do something that I didn’t understand. I was in grade one, but I remembered his face. His face was dark and solemn, his hair was longer than it was back then, but it still had the same black and greasy quality. His black eyes spotted me waiting on the street watching him. His dog ran back and handed him the toy he was throwing, so in return he pet him, then walked toward me.
‘Can I help you?’ He asked.
‘Well, you tell me.’
‘What can I do?’
‘You are a detective, am I correct?’ I asked, though I already knew the answer.
‘You are.’
‘You’ve worked on many cases?’
He nodded.
‘Do you keep records on all of your cases?’
‘Yes,’ he said simply. What a wonderful conversation—with all the one or two syllable answers.
I waited for him to say something else, but he didn’t, so I asked, ‘can I… see them maybe?’
‘No, good bye, it’s been nice meeting you, have a good day.’
I was taken aback—ok… ‘Why not?’
‘They are private.’
‘But they might help me—‘
‘I don’t care—go away.’
‘Are you married?’ I asked.
‘Yes, I am—why?’
‘Is she deaf? She must be if she married you.’
‘Wha—you—how dare you! How rude these kids can be.’
‘Me? I’m rude?’ I gasped.
‘Yes you are—you just insulted my wife.’
‘Well you’re snubbing me.’ I rebuked.
‘That doesn’t bother me. I don’t know you.’
‘So you can snub me just because you don’t know me, but it’s not OK that I make fun of you’re wife—hey, you know what? I bet she’s real ugly.’
Oscar swung a punch at me, but I ducked under it, and then bobbed back up.
‘You are one of the worst fighters I’ve ever seen.’ I said smiling; knowing now that it wasn’t a good idea to anger him if I was expecting to get something from him.
‘You—get off my property before I call the police!’ Oscar shouted.
‘OSCAR!’ A woman yelled from the doorway of the house behind him. She had two young boys running around her feet, they looked like twins, and she was holding a small girl, who looked like she was two years old. I noticed she was pregnant. She looked surprisingly pretty.
‘What Lindsay?’ Oscar called, letting his fists drop.
‘Calm down!’
‘Daddy, you’re not allowed to fight!’ Called one of the boys.
The young girl in Lindsay’s arms reached out toward Oscar, as the two boys ran over to him.
‘He was—‘Oscar started.
‘I don’t care what you plan to say—it is always the same thing—he was insulting me; or he looked at me funny, so I thought I’d hit him! Take a walk around the block and come back when you’ve calmed down a bit!’
Oscar looked like he wanted to yell back, but he took a deep breath and started walking away.
‘I’m sorry for whatever he’s done, he just has anger issues.’ Lindsay sighed, ‘He’s really protective, and I love him for it—but he’s been known to go overboard.’
‘Mama?’ Asked one of the boys.
‘Yes Bradley?’
‘Are you gonna get a divorce with daddy?’
‘No, hon, we’re not getting a divorce.’ She then turned to the other boy, and said, ‘Chip, would you please go play with your brother somewhere else?’
‘Yes Mama.’ Chip said, grabbing his brother’s arm and running away.
‘Susie, do you want to go play too?’
‘Yep!’
‘Go on then.’ She set her daughter down and said, ‘would you like to sit down…?’ She was asking my name.
‘I’m Anthony,’
She began to lead me back behind the house, but then she stopped and muttered something about Pierce, while rubbing her stomach.
When we got to the other side of the house, she sat me down at a round plastic table.
‘Was he… mean to you?’ She asked sitting down herself.
‘Yes,’ I said, trying to work fast—I might be able to convince her to help me before Oscar got back.
‘I’m sorry,’
‘It’s alright… if only I got what I came for before he left… now I’ll have to go home empty handed…’ I knew I was laying it on a little thick, but I hoped it would work.
‘Well, what were you looking for?’ She asked, ‘maybe I could help?’
‘Maybe… but I don’t know.’
‘I’ll do what I can.’
I smiled, ‘well, I was just wondering if I could see Oscar’s notes on his cases, because I was working on one myself and I wanted to know if the offender in any of his cases matches the description of my guy.’
‘Oh… well I don’t know,’
‘Yeah… that’s what I thought; I knew it wouldn’t be possible. I guess I’ll just head home, with all of my bruises.’
‘Oh—I didn’t say I couldn’t do it, just… give me a minute.’
She left me alone, and was gone for only a few minutes, and then she was back with a briefcase.
She fiddled with it for a moment, and then she opened it, and took out two piles of paper. ‘Here are the people he’s dealt with, and here are the people still on the loose.’
‘Thank you,’ I said grabbing the first pile—just in case. I flipped through it, and saw no one that matched the culprit.
I sighed, and picked up the next pile, handing Lindsay the pile I had just looked through.
I looked through this pile a little slower than the last—but I still didn’t find anyone.
‘Horrible,’ I said to myself.
‘No luck?’
I shook my head.
She took the papers back and put them into the briefcase. ‘I’m sorry it wasn’t helpful.’
‘Well, I guess not, but thank you anyway, I appreciate it.’
‘It was no problem,’ she smiled.
I stood up, ‘thanks, really.’
‘Would you like anything else?’
I shook my head, and head, and walked around to the other side of the house; I held my breath and took two paces back.
Oscar was coming around the block, he must have run—it was just one block, but that was fast. I decided to walk around the other side of the house, so I walked all the way around, pretending that I forgot my backpack by the table, when Lindsay looked. She was now playing with her kids.
‘Bye,’ I said, waving at them. I walked around to the right of the house, but ran into someone. ‘Hey… Oscar, how are you today?’
‘I’m fine,’ Oscar said, his eyes freakishly wide, and his smile matched well. ‘How are you… young boy?’
‘I’m good, and my name is Anthony.’
‘My name is Oscar—I am a detective.’ He sounded like a robot, ‘what do you do for a living?’
‘I go to school.’ I said mocking his robotic tone.
‘That is nice, do you like it?’
I nodded, ready to laugh.
‘What do you plan on doing after high school?’
‘I was thinking of becoming some kind of detective.’
‘Really?’ Oscar’s metallic tone disappeared, ‘Why?’
‘Well, I really like doing things like that, and right now I’m working on a huge case, which is why I came here.’
‘Did you go through my stuff? Well?’
‘Yes, I’m sorry.’
‘It’s alright, did you find what you needed?’
‘No,’
‘What were you looking for?’
‘I know what the guy looks like, but I don’t know his name, so I can’t really find him.’ I said.
‘Oh… you’re working on the kidnap case aren’t you?’
‘Yeah, have you been working on it?’
‘I tried, but I couldn’t get anywhere, who ever is behind it is really good—in a bad way.’
‘Well, it was nice meeting you,’ I said.
‘You too.’ He said, ‘see you later.’
I smiled, and walked toward the road, and snuck back home.
I was in my room soon, and was looking at my alarm clock, trying to calculate how long I was gone. I had been gone for only fifteen minutes.
I went downstairs, so I could let Miranda know I was back.
She was in the kitchen with my dad, frying something on the stovetop.
She turned around when she heard footsteps, and whispered, ‘that was fast!’
‘My dad looked at her over his shoulder, ‘What was fast?’
‘Oh… nothing, I meant slow. You should turn it up.’
‘Oh, right,’ dad said, quickly snapping his hand toward the temperature knob on the oven.
‘What’s for dinner?’ I asked, not caring to look at what he was cooking.
‘Hamburger casserole, and for dessert, strawberry pie—but it’s not done yet, so leave, I don’t want an audience to watch me fail.’
I almost laughed as I sat down on the counter to watch. I didn’t really like pie, but it was funny to watch dad cook it. He cracked some eggs, but spent ten extra minutes trying to get the broken shells out. Finally, with Miranda’s help, dad set his concoction onto the table; I was entirely scared to eat it.
Dawson came on cue, without being called—as always, and scooped the food onto his plate and stuffed himself full. He made no noise and no indication that he noticed he was the only one eating. When he finished, he looked up, and said ‘I always love it when you come over Miranda, you’re a good cook.’
I saw a reaction from dad, who smiled broadly, and Miranda who winked at Dawson. They must have planned that, but nonetheless, I followed Dawson’s lead and ate the food.
I wouldn’t say it was good exactly, but it wasn’t bad.
‘So how did your Trick or Treating go?’ Miranda asked Dawson.
‘I got a lot of candy, which was fun… You want some?’ Dawson asked. He always asked it the same way every year, in a way that was asking you, but still saying “get lost! It’s mine!”
‘I’m alright,’ Miranda said.
I waited patiently for supper to end, but it seemed like it never would. Finally Dawson got up and left the table, and Miranda said good bye, after wondering where Charlie was (he was at work).
I stood up; ready to leave, but dad stopped me. ‘Anthony, I need to talk to you.’ I winced. What did he need to talk about? This sucked…
‘What?’ I asked, ‘can we do it fast?’
‘I guess,’ he said. ‘I just wanted to tell you, that… I think you’re not grounded anymore.’
‘What? Really?’ I asked, sitting back down again, ready to talk. ‘Why?’
‘Well, if you want to be—‘
‘No!’
‘Well, I think that’s fair, you’ve been good, so I let you off early for good behaviour.’
‘That’s… unlike you, but I’ll take it!’ I said, leaving the table.
I was a little confused about his choices, because I had barely been grounded a couple weeks—and I had definitely not been good during that time… though dad didn’t really know that did he? I ran upstairs and got ready for bed, setting my alarm clock back one hour, because it was that time of year.
I was asleep before I knew it.

I made plans to go see Ashley the next morning because I wasn’t grounded any more. I didn’t think about how I liked seeing her, but didn’t like it at the same time—just that I wanted to see her; I hadn’t seen her since… Friday.
I hardly bothered with getting ready; I just made sure I had my backpack, and my cell phone.
I told my dad, who was eating breakfast that I was going to Ashley’s house and he let me go.
I turned back when I was halfway there, I couldn’t take it. But I knew I had to. So when dad was eating supper I asked again, he said yes, so I tried again.
It felt really good to be out of the house—and not be on the run. I paid no attention to anything as I walked to her house, and when I got there and found myself knocking on her door, everything was out of place—it wasn’t much, but it seemed weird and then, when the door opened, I swear, I almost threw up.
‘Anthony?’ Ashley asked, standing in her doorway. ‘I was just going to call you—well, in fact I did call you, but your line was busy.’
‘My line was busy?’ I asked, then (overdramatically) I brought in the fact that I had a new phone, ‘then why not call my cell phone?’
‘You don’t have one—oh, ok, maybe you do.’ I held up my phone, ‘anyway, we need to talk.’
‘Ashley, we’ve already broken up, we most definitely do not need to talk.’
‘Not about that!’ Ashley said quickly, her face reddening, ‘it’s about—look, let’s go somewhere to talk privately.’
‘Where?’ I asked hoping that Ashley would say anything other than…
‘The park?’ She asked.
‘Why? What is so great about the park? What’s wrong with… somewhere else?’
‘Ok, calm down, we can stay at my house, or wherever you want.’
‘Well, we could go to that pizza place, maybe.’
‘Oh, alright… I suppose that would work, as long as nobody eavesdrops.’
‘Is it really that private?’ She nodded. ‘Alright—wait do they even open for breakfast?’
‘Anthony!’ Ashley laughed, ‘you ask that every time we decide to go out!’
‘Not ”go out” just go out…’
‘That’s what I meant… yeah.’ Ashley said awkwardly, ‘so let’s go?’
I nodded quickly, and turned to walk down the porch steps.
We were at the restaurant before too long, and a tall waitress was seating us.
Ashley looked nervously over her shoulder, and waited impatiently for all the people to talk again, before she began herself.
‘I decided to do some research—‘
‘Of course,’
‘Anyway,’ she said through gritted teeth, ‘I found a saved chat from a chat room on the internet, and… well, it was a lot like the letter you described. It was between three people, one was a girl named Paula Smith, one was a James Taylor, and the last one was Jeremy Dixon. It seems a bit suspicious.’
‘Suspicious? Ashley, they had an online chat! People do that everyday; does that mean they are all criminals?’
‘They might as well be!’ We were both talking rather loud now, and neither of us noticed that the waitress was back holding menus.
I smiled, embarrassed.
We sent the waitress away, telling her we weren’t ready to order yet.
‘Ashley, you don’t make sense, I might as well leave, because I’m not going to sit here and listen to you make up random thoughts and reasons.’
‘Fine… just listen to me though… You read the note, and you know what they were about?’
I nodded, ready to argue, except she really wanted to finish her point.
‘You know that they stole things?’
‘Can you prove it?’ I couldn’t stop that…
‘Yes, if I could get the online chat again, then yes I could easily prove that all three of them were criminals, can you handle that?’
‘No. What if they were using code?’
‘Code?’
‘Yeah… I don’t really know how, but it’s possible.’
Ashley began another rant, while I tried to think of a way to change her mind, nothing was coming to me… there had to be a way. An idea hit me when the waitress returned. I let Ashley give her our order, which was the same as last time.
‘Ashley, what would you say to a trip?’
‘A trip to where?’
‘Not where, but rather who. James, in fact.’
‘No, I won’t go anywhere near him!’
‘Ashley! I promise I won’t let him hurt you—not that he would want to hurt anyone but I swear on my life that you will not be hurt.’
Ashley seemed to have zoned out before I said that James would never hurt anyone. She started blushing, and then I thought about what I had said, and realized why she was blushing.
I promise I won’t let him hurt you
‘I’ll think about it.’ Ashley stood up as she said it. ‘Good bye.’
She was striding toward the door and was out of sight within seconds.
‘Ashley…’ I sighed.
The waitress was back again, this time with a pizza in a cardboard box. She pointed questioningly toward Ashley’s now empty seat.
I shrugged, and said, ‘I guess you’d better make that to go.’
‘Alright,’ she said, setting the box down, and walking away. She returned a couple seconds later with a bill.
I paid her and grabbed the pizza, I followed Ashley’s tracks, but I knew I would never catch up, so I decided to take the short cut—which was through the park—knowing that even if I did, Ashley was way too far away.
The park was not far away, but it was a fairly large portion of land, so walking all the way around to get to my house would take quite a long time.
Unfortunately the whole far side of the park was a dense forest, that was pitch black in the day time, and now it was night…
I found myself at the park three minutes after leaving the restaurant. I walked past the main playground area, and remembered vividly the small blue haired girl. I remembered mostly, though, the note I made to myself. I said that I was never going to act like a brat again. I guess that went down the drain…
I continued walking, until I found the edge of the trees.
I took a deep breath before immersing myself in them, and getting lost, well I wasn’t lost yet—but I was expecting it.
I felt as though I was lost the second I passed the first tree.
Most people would say that I was really stupid for going through a freaky forest at night—but who really cares what other people think? Besides, I had been through this forest a thousand times, and I knew exactly where I was going, so it wasn’t as bad as it seemed.
After about five minutes, I thought about how nice it would be to have a flashlight.
I had only tripped a couple dozen times; so far… it was just off of my personal record.
I knew I was a little past halfway, when I heard a loud, high pitched scream, cut through the silent night.
‘AAAAHHHHHHH!’ My heart skipped a beat. I immediately thought of Ashley? Had she taken the short cut as well, what happened to her? Did she fall? Or was it worse?
I began to run toward the sound, but I didn’t know how far away it was. I kept running, hoping that Ashley was OK; I couldn’t bear to think about what might have happened.
I heard another scream; this one was slightly muffled.
‘ASHLEY!’ I screamed; I knew what was happening; there was no doubt in my mind. Ashley was gone…
I continued running, doing my best to save Ashley. Then one of the worst possible things happened: A blinding light flashed across my face.
‘Anthony!’ Ashley yelled running over to me, pointing her flashlight down to the ground.
I still had that flashing light in my vision that everyone got when they looked at a bright light, meaning I wasn’t going to be able to see anything.
‘Did you hear that scream?’ Ashley asked.
‘That wasn’t you?’
‘No, I don’t know who it was.’
‘Well, let’s find out—‘
‘AAAHHHH!’ The scream pierced the air once again, but this time was followed with dialogue. ‘Let me go you creep!’
The talking wasn’t too far away, and I knew if it was daytime, and all the trees disappeared, that I would be able to see the girl clearly.
It was much easier running through the trees, knowing that Ashley was safe—oh, and the flashlight was nice too.
Soon I found myself hearing a male saying.
‘Help! Don’t just sit there; she’s stronger than she looks!’
‘Urgh!’ another male voice said in unison with a female’s.
Ashley looked directly at me, and grabbed the back of my jacket, and pulled me over to the side.
His flashlight clicked off and there was no sound at all.
‘Did you hear that?’ the second male asked.
‘No,’ replied the female.
‘AAARRRRGGGHHH!’ Yelled the first male, ‘she bit me! Someone knock her out!’
I peered over a bush and saw a black van, with dim headlights beaming on a scene where a young girl—probably about fifteen years old, sat, with a man hanging over her. I noticed his dreadlocks immediately, and I knew this was the man Brian described.
The woman sitting on a rock had long blonde hair, and a black baseball cap resting backward on her head. A man with equally blonde hair in a mop on the top of his head had one foot resting on the same rock, and he was watching the scene.
I stood up ready to help the girl, but Ashley had my hand. She had tears in her eyes and she was shaking her head wildly.
‘NOOOO!’ The girl yelled before Dreadlocks hit her over the head with a small stone.
I looked at Ashley again; still she shook her head, tears now streaming down her face.
I watched in silence, following Ashley’s one order, as the girl was thrown into the back of the van. I even watched as the others loaded in.
‘Ashley!’ I whispered as the van started up, ‘this is all our fault.’
‘Get the licence plate number!’ she hissed.
I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t thought of that. I turned to look at the plate, but the van was already driving away.
‘Anthony…’ Ashley cried, ‘I’m meeting James—now that I know he’s not behind this… we need to save that girl, and then explain to her why we couldn’t save her.’
‘Ashley…’ I grabbed her in my arms and hugged her.
‘Anthony… it isn’t your fault… it was all my fault…’
‘Ashley—no it’s not.’
‘Yes it is…’
I didn’t know what to say… I truthfully believed that, but I couldn’t tell her that.
I decided to take her mind off of it, but was mostly unsuccessful.
I walked her home, hoping she wouldn’t continue those purely depressing thoughts.
When I got home myself, I went straight to sleep. I wasn’t about to tell anyone about that… and I guessed that Ashley wouldn’t either.
As I was changing into my pyjamas, I pulled my cell phone out of my jeans… ‘no.’ I said, I had totally forgot that I had a phone… I could have called the police…

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Yamazaru
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Posts : 23
Join date : 2010-08-27
Age : 25

PostSubject: Chapter 9 and 10   Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:56 am



9. All Alone

It was wrong to beat myself over the one simple mistake, but now I knew that it wasn’t Ashley’s fault at all—mostly—it was mine.
I had tried to sleep, to no avail. I was tossing and turning, and my mind was set on returning to the kidnap last night. Why is it that horrible things, burn a spot in your memory and stay there forever?
I fell asleep finally at about four o’clock in the morning, and dad woke me up at seven… I moaned as I got up and moped around for the whole day.
The next few days went by similarly. At school Ashley and I talked no more than usual, and avoided any conversations about the kidnap—or any kidnaps for that matter. Bobby, for once, didn’t notice that anything was wrong, or if he did, he didn’t let on. Jo was more talkative than normal, but I think that was because she knew something was up, so she was doing her best to change to subject as much as possible.
Miranda came over constantly to help dad cook, but I didn’t pay much attention to them, because the one thought continued to weave through all of my thoughts. Dad developed a new hobby that took effect whenever Miranda wasn’t around, and it was to ask me what I was doing at all times, no matter what it was, like watching TV or going for a walk.
Charlie noticed it too, as dad had taken to doing the same thing to him as well. Charlie came into my room one day, about a week into November, to talk to me about it.
‘Have you noticed dad is being way more nosey about our lives than normal?’ He asked, sitting on my bed.
‘Oh yeah… any idea why?’
‘Well I have a few ideas, but the most interesting one, is the one Miranda told me.’
‘…which is?’ I asked trying to pry information from him—though he seemed willing, it appeared he wasn’t.
‘Well, after the divorce, he was happy right?’ He continued without waiting for an answer, ‘so Miranda thinks he wants someone to connect to. He picked us.’
‘That sucks,’
Charlie nodded, and then sighed before continuing. ‘I think he just needs a girlfriend, but… I don’t think he’s ready.’
I remembered his dancing after the divorce, ‘I think he’s ready.’
Charlie seemed to know what I was talking about when I said that, because he said, ‘I think he was faking his happiness. He’s just gotten over the divorce, and he now wants something to do, which means… well quite simply, that he needs someone to talk to.’
‘So he’s gotten over the divorce… he’s ready then?’
‘No, but we could wait a bit… maybe then… maybe never.’
‘No, I’m not waiting for ever! It’s easier for you because you’re moving out next year!’
‘Anthony, if you can’t handle it… figure out a way to deal with it!’
‘Fine I will!’
Charlie got up and left the room. I was just played like a sucker. Charlie said exactly what he needed to say to get me to say what he wanted me to say…
Charlie poked his head back into the room. ‘Have you figured anything out yet?’
‘Yes actually,’
‘Really?’
‘Yeah, I figured out that I can throw this at you, and it’ll probably hurt.’ I grabbed a flashlight off of my bedside table and whipped it at his head, which retracted from my room a second before it would have hit him.
I decided that he was right, so I tried to figure out what I could do. I came up with nothing except to find someone who might fall for my dad.
This sent me on a random thinking spree… I came up with no one, I mean, who would fall for dad?
I made a mental note to watch for someone, whenever I could.
But the main thing that kept coming to my mind, other than the kidnap, was that James hadn’t said anything to me for a while. I was almost glad, because if I saw him, I would have to talk about the kidnap, but then… maybe talking about it with someone, would get it off of my mind, and I might feel better. This confused me a lot, so I wasn’t sure if I wanted James to come, but I knew he was going too soon, so I had to brace myself for that.
November was half over before I knew it. Half of the school term was now gone and I was really hoping to end this case a while ago, but that didn’t happen.
Dad continued pestering me until I finally couldn’t take it anymore, and started spending most of my time at the park, at the restaurant, at Bobby and Jo’s house and at the library.
‘Hey Anthony,’ Carl the waiter asked, they all knew me by name now, because I won something about having the most consecutive visits without being related to someone who works there. ‘What’ll it be today?’
‘Surprise me,’ I said smiling at Jo who sat opposite me. Carl smiled writing something down, and then turned to Jo.
‘Hello miss, who might you be?’
‘Just a friend and I’ll have a medium fry with beef gravy.’ Jo said.
‘Alright, French fries, and escargot.’
‘NO!’ I yelled before he left.
‘I’m kidding, we don’t have any escargot—if we did, I would not be working here.’
He turned and walked away.
‘So…’ Jo said awkwardly a couple of minutes after Carl left. ‘Why am I here exactly?’
‘You can’t hang out with your friend alone at a restaurant?’
‘No,’ she joked. ‘Why didn’t you invite Bobby too though?’
‘He said he had a dentist appointment.’
‘Oh, that’s right, I forgot about that.’
‘So what have you been up to?’
‘Not much, mostly just struggling to get all of my homework done, while juggling chores, horseback riding, reading, learning to play the violin, and singing lessons.’
I wanted to respond, but had no idea what to say, so I just nodded.
‘What have you been up to?’ She asked.
‘Nothing much,’ I copied her answer but left out… everything.
‘Nothing at all?’
I shook my head.
‘You are a liar.’ Jo said, ‘I’ve talked to Ashley, I know what you’re up to.’
Ashley talked to her about the case? That’s weird.
‘I know you are trying to get back together with Ashley.’ Jo said.
‘WHAT?’ I said almost standing up.
‘That’s what she said,’ Jo whispered, grabbing my sleeve and forcing me to stay sitting.
‘That’s what she said is it?’ I asked, sitting at the edge of my seat, ‘’cause I’m definitely not… are you sure she didn’t say that she was trying to get back together with me’
‘I’m positive.’ She smiled, ‘let’s change the subject.’
‘Here we are,’ Carl said returning with two trays. ‘One medium fry,’ he set down Jo’s tray, and then set one down in front of me, ‘and one spaghetti with mama-meatballs’ he added the last part with an accent.
‘That was the worst Italian accent I’ve ever heard.’ I told him honestly.
‘Thanks,’ he said smiling, ‘just holler if you need something else.’
We began eating our food, without talking. I began thinking of all the other times I’ve spent with Jo alone. It didn’t take long because… well, it had never ever happened before.
After a while, the meal ended, and we went our separate ways. Awkwardly, of course.
Jo said she was headed home, while I headed off to the library.
I had a book that was due and needed to renew it, which was something I had never had to do before, I was a pretty fast reader, and could usually finish books really fast, though this book was really long, which was probably the reason behind it.
I saw a blue beetle barked outside, when I got to the library. I sighed, and forced myself not to turn around, maybe Ashley’s mom came to the library without Ashley… oh who am I kidding, Ashley would go to the library whenever she had a chance.
I walked inside and looked around. I didn’t see her yet, maybe I could avoid her…
‘Oh hey Anthony,’ a familiar voice said.
I spun around on my heel, ‘Hello miss Johnson, how’re you today?’ I saw Ashley picking out a book from a shelf behind where her mom sat. I walked over to them to be polite.
‘Doing some reading?’ I asked noticing a pile of about ten books sitting in front of her.
‘Not me,’ she replied, pointing over her shoulder with her thumb to Ashley.
She had red hair, but her hair was much lighter than her daughter’s hair. Her eyes were a piercing green, which sort of gave the impression of x-rays…
‘I’ve only got one book,’ I said holding up the book in my hand.
‘And I’ve got twelve,’ Ashley said adding more books to her pile. ‘I’m allowed to bring out fifteen books, so give me a minute while I pick out three more,’ she said. She was trying to ignore me, and I knew that she usually only takes out ten books.
I decided to follow Ashley just for the sake of it, knowing it would probably annoy her.
She was looking through books when I came up behind her, startling her.
‘Anthony,’ she said curtly after straitening herself back up.
I looked at the books in her hands. Mystery Central, Kidnapped for Money, and Just Another Mystery Book. ‘Really Ashley, you want more mystery?’
‘No… yes… I mean, I thought that if I read a bunch of mystery, than it might seem like what really happened was just from one of the books.’
‘Ashley that makes no sense.’
‘I know, but it was all that I could think of!’
‘Ashley, we need to talk about this. It’ll get it off of your mind.’
‘No it won’t, now let me read.’ Ashley began to walk away, but I stepped into her path.
‘Seriously, it will.’
‘Won’t’
‘Will’
‘Won’t’
‘Will’
‘Won’t’
‘Will’
‘It will not!’ She squeaked. ‘Anthony, I don’t want to talk to you right now, but if James contacts you, call me, because I would rather like to talk to him.’
‘So you’ll talk to a criminal but not your best friend?’ I said sternly.
‘I thought he wasn’t a criminal?’
‘I thought he was?’
‘Anthony this is stupid.’
‘I’m,’
‘What?’
‘You said “this is” it is pronounced “I’m”.’
‘Urgh!’
‘Just talk.’ I said, keeping myself from yelling for one reason only—this was a library.
‘Fine. I witnessed a kidnap, and saw the people who did it, wow I feel so much better.’
‘That’s not exactly what I meant, but it’s a start.’
‘Good bye Anthony,’
‘I don’t think so, Ashley. You should know by now, that I’m not that easy to get rid of.’ I smiled.
Ashley scowled at my grinning face, and tried to get away from me by weaving through the maze of bookshelves. This was when I found out that was only good at mazes that I could see from above—like on a piece of paper. She lost me easily through the shelves.
I sat still for a minute and looked at the shelf beside me. ‘Oh they have this book!’ I said out loud to myself. I picked the book off of the shelf and read the back. I looked through the hole my book made and saw Ashley standing still, with her back to me in the next row. Smiling, I began to climb the shelf, slowly and steadily.
When I was at the top I saw that Ashley had started moving. I knew that she knew that she lost me, so I decided to find one of the many exits of this maze (there had to be many exits, for safety reasons), and find her mom.
When I did find her mom, she looked at me funny and asked where Ashley was. I told her simply that I had no idea, which resulted in a small laughing fit from her.
A few minutes after she had stopped laughing, Ashley emerged from the maze, looking over her shoulder.
‘Hey Ashley.’ I said, ‘sorry I got a bit lost in there.’
Ashley’s head slowly turned to face me, and then she smiled in an annoyed way.
‘Come on mom, it’s time to go.’
I followed them to the checkout desk, to check out our books.
Of course, with her mom there I couldn’t really do much to get her to talk, but just being there got the point across to her, and I knew it.
We made our way out to the parking lot, and toward the blue beetle.
‘Bye Anthony—would you like a ride home?’ Ashley’s mom asked from the drivers’ side window of the beetle.
‘No that’s alright; I could do with a walk.’
‘Alright, see you later.’ She said as she started up the car. I waved to them, mostly to Ashley, as the car drove away.
I dragged my feet along the road while walking, I would have stopped myself if I had noticed it, and when I did notice it, I stopped walking altogether. I was at the dentist’s office, and through the window I saw Bobby standing at a counter paying a woman.
I waited for him to come out, and when he did, he didn’t see me. He started walking down the road to his house, so I followed. My initial plan was to run to catch up, but I just walked fast instead.
I tapped him on the shoulder, causing him to jump around and face me.
‘Anthony? What are you doing here?’
I grinned, and told him about my day with Jo and Ashley.
‘If you want to get back together, you might want to stop annoying her so intently.’ Bobby said.
‘What? I do not want to get back together with Ashley!’
‘Anthony, don’t make me hit you, it’s obvious.’
‘Ok… so maybe I do… a little’ I sighed.
Neither of us said anything until we reached the crossroad that both of us knew we had to split up at.
‘OK, so all I have to say, is “be nice to her,”’
‘Alright… see you later.’
‘See you,’
Bobby began running to the right, while I continued dragging my feet along the road to the left.
All I could hear was the soft scraping noise of my feet along the gravel road. There was no wind, no birds, no cars… no anything.
Then I heard an extremely annoying beep. At first I was confused, but then I remembered about my cell phone.
I fished it out of my backpack, and answered it.
‘Hello?’
‘Anthony,’ James said from the other end, ‘we need to talk.’
‘Then talk,’ I told him.
‘I’d rather do it in person.’
I sighed and said, ‘does it have to be in person.’
‘Yes.’
‘Fine… when and where. I’ll see if I can make it there then.’
‘Well, I was thinking later today, if that’s OK? If it isn’t...’
‘It isn’t Ok.’
‘Anthony,’ James said, almost whining.
‘Fine. Where and when?’
‘Today, in the park.’
‘When?’
‘Today,’
‘Yeah, I got that, but when?’
‘Maybe five o’clock?’
‘I’ll be eating supper.’ I told him.
‘How about six?’ He asked.
‘I’ll probably be cleaning up the table, or doing chores or something…’ I lied, hoping I could force it out of him right now.
‘Seven?’
‘Curfew.’
‘It never stopped you before.’
‘Like when?’
‘Every other time we met it was after seven o’clock, so come on.’
‘Ok, well fine, Charlie’s girlfriend is coming over at seven and leaving at ten o’clock.’
‘You see her every day.’ He said, I could tell he was smiling.
‘Ok… so Dawson’s girlfriend…’ I stopped myself because the thought of Lulu was…
‘Fine, when do you want to meet?’
‘How about you tell me now?’
‘No…’
‘Please, I just want to know.’
‘Alright, I’ll tell you.’ James seemed suddenly happy.
‘Ok, let’s hear it then!’ I said, a little too excitedly, waiting for James to say what he so needed to tell me… right now.
I heard tires slowing on the road.
‘Why not get in, so we can talk?’
I turned around, and let my jaw drop. James sat in his black convertible, waving at me with one hand and one hand holding his cell phone up to his ear.
I hung up the phone, and walked around the car to get in.
‘Hey,’ He said, ‘where are you headed?’
‘Home,’ I said.
‘Well, let’s go for a little drive first, so that we can talk a bit.’
‘Fine, just talk fast, I don’t have all day.’
‘I know—you’ve already told me, supper at five.’ James began driving.
‘Wait—let’s go to Ashley’s house.’
‘Why?’
‘She wants to talk to you—if that’s okay, you don’t have to make her happy, she’s being stupid right now anyway.’
‘You should never talk about you’re girlfriend like that—even when she’s not here.’
‘What is wrong with you people?’ I asked more to myself than to James, but I didn’t press the issue.
‘Alright, I’ll pick Ashley up in a minute,’ he said, ‘but first… You know Paula?’
‘No,’ I said sarcastically.
‘Anyway, she is in trouble, and needs more help.’
‘So, what’s you’re point? I’m not going.’
He laughed, ‘No, I think Paula might just shoot me if I sent you—she doesn’t like you.’
‘No way,’ I said, continuing my sarcasm.
‘Well, I have to go help her.’ I could tell he was waiting for my drastic reaction, but it didn’t come. I didn’t care that much.
He turned right onto my road.
‘That means you have to do the whole case by yourself.’
The car slowed down in front of Ashley’s house when he said that. I felt my stomach churn. Not entirely because of what he said, but because of what I thought of when he said it.
I thought of me dying all alone, and nobody was there to help me, because no one knew where I was…
I waited a minute trying to pick out what I wanted to say.
‘I can’t do it alone—there are four of them and only one of me…’
‘Four?’
‘Yeah…’
‘How do you know?’
‘I saw then kidnap a girl.’
‘What? When?’ James said beginning to yell now.
‘A few weeks ago in the park.’
‘Why didn’t you tell me?’
‘You’ve neglected to give me our number!’
‘Oh, right—let’s get Ashley.’
We both got out of the car. ‘She was there too, you know.’
‘Really?’ He said smiling, ‘maybe she could be you’re partner. Two to four is better than one, you know?’
‘Yes I know, but she could easily just get in my way.’
‘Let’s just talk to her.’
‘Fine, come on.’
I knocked on the door, and waited for someone to open it.
Luckily, it was Ashley, so I grabbed her hand and dragged her down her porch steps and over to James’ car, where he was waiting.
‘James!’ She said jumped toward him. ‘We need to talk.’ She dragged James over to the side a little, just to get away from me, and told him all about the kidnap in a hushed voice, making it clear that she wasn’t talking to me in any way. She smiled at one point, showing off her perfectly white teeth; James smiled back at this (as well as me) and he even laughed with her at one point.
Finally when she finished, she dragged him further away from me still, and talked even quieter, just to annoy me.
I waited impatiently for them to come back.
Finally when they did Ashley was frowning intently.
‘What’s wrong?’ I asked.
‘Nothing,’ Ashley said.
‘What was that about?’ I asked.
‘Nothing,’ Ashley said again.
‘I’m serious,’ I said, ‘tell me what it was about.’
‘Well, first I told him about the kidnap we witnessed, because you hadn’t yet—or so he says.’
‘And it made you feel better didn’t it?’
‘What?’
‘It made you feel better to talk about the kidnap didn’t it?’
‘Yes.’ Ashley admitted. ‘Anyway, then I asked him about the people, but he didn’t help a whole lot, because he didn’t know who they were.’
‘He hasn’t even seen them yet, you don’t know that he doesn’t know who they are.’
‘That is true, but, how can we prove it? We can’t just tell them to kidnap someone right now.’
‘That is true as well.’ I said.
There was a moment of silence, in which Ashley and I both looked at James who was being totally silent. He glanced at his watch and then looked at me.
‘I’ve got to go, or I’ll be late.’ He said while walking to his car.
He jumped in over the door, trying to be cool, and said ‘see you later.’ He started the car.
‘Bye…’ I sighed.
‘Good luck.’ James said.
‘AHH!’ Ashley screamed pointing behind me.
I whipped around and saw why. A large black van zoomed by, at about one hundred and twenty miles an hour.
Ashley and I stared at each other for half of a second, and then both jumped over the side of James’ convertible, and told him to follow the van.
He regretfully backed out of the driveway and followed the van.
‘Not too close!’ Ashley ordered from the back seat.
James pulled back a bit.
‘Too far!’ I yelled.
James picked up the speed a bit.
The van turned here and there, eventually pulling into the bowling arenas parking lot.
It became apparent that that van was indeed the one that we thought it was, when the driver got out.
It was the man who had done the actual kidnapping the last time.
‘Oh…’ James said, as he parked as far away as possible.
‘What?’ Ashley asked.
‘Do you know him?’ I asked.
‘I think he does!’ Ashley cheered.
‘Who is it?’ I asked.
James jerked his head, to flip his shoulder length hair out of his eyes. ‘Let’s go.’
Ashley sighed, hopping out of the car with me, as James used his door for once.
We ran from car to car getting as close as we could to the group of criminals crowded around the black van.
I was standing behind a Black truck that was parked right in front of the van. I saw Ashley and James hiding behind the same blue minivan, parked behind it.
‘Dude, it’s your turn, so like, go do what ya gotta do.’ Dreadlocks said.
‘I’m not doing it! I did it the time before last!’ Said the man with the blonde mop of hair.
‘Well, technically it is my turn,’ said the long blonde with the baseball cap. ‘But I really don’t want to do it…’ she whined.
‘All right darling. I’ll do it.’ Said Mop-head.
‘Good, it’s settled.’ Said Dreadlocks.
Baseball-cap stood up and began pacing. ‘Oh, hurry up; I have to catch up on my beauty sleep!’
Mop-head began to run towards the bowling arena.
Baseball-cap continued pacing for a bit until she sighed, and plopped herself down on the hood of the van.
She looked dreamily at the sky. Her eyes slowly drifting down to the truck I was hiding behind.
‘Hey, dude!’ She said, to Dreadlocks, who walked over to her side of the van and stared at her in an annoyed way. ‘We didn’t say anything that would give us away did we?’
‘No… I don’t think so, why?’ Dreadlocks said.
‘There is a kid spying on us from behind that truck.’
‘What?’ he yelled, running around the truck.
‘Hi…’ I said, when he saw me.
‘Who are you?’ he asked.
‘No one!’ I said, turning to run away.
Dreadlocks began chasing me through the parking lot, making me feel as if I might drop dead any second, but I was faster than him, and I managed to get far enough away, to hide again.
After a minute of hiding behind a red car, I stood up to peak at Dreadlocks.
His back was to me, about five rows away, but the sight behind him, made me smile. Ashley was sneaking over to the van to open the back, while James stayed behind motioning for her to come back. My smile faded when I realized that Baseball-cap was missing from my vision.
I focused back on Dreadlocks, who had taken out a handgun, and spotted me.
‘Oh man!’ I screamed. As I ducked down, I heard a gunshot, and at the same second I heard, and felt the window of the car I was hiding behind, shatter.
‘Come out little boy, we don’t want to hurt you,’ Dreadlocks said.
Oh yeah, I thought, that’s why you just shot at me!
‘AHHH!’ I heard Ashley scream.
Ashley!
I stayed crouched down, and ran as fast as I could down the row I was in, to stay far away from Dreadlocks.
I stopped when I was in the same column as Ashley, to look for Dreadlocks, who was still far away.
I stood up and ran toward the van.
‘Let me go!’ Ashley said angrily, ‘and him too!’
I was now close enough to see who Ashley was talking to, and who she was talking about.
Baseball-cap had Ashley in a headlock, and a black haired boy, (about 14 years old) was sitting in the back of the van.
I jumped out and grabbed at Baseball-cap’s arms, and ripped them off of Ashley, who dived toward the boy, and grabbed his arm, dragging him out of the van.
She began to run, with me following closely behind.
Dreadlocks came out of no where, and tripped Ashley, sending both her and the boy crashing to the ground.
Dreadlocks turned on me, with his gun in his right hand, and grabbing Ashley with his left.
Baseball-cap grabbed the boy in both arms, but then dropped him. Her hand flung up and she pointed directly at James, who nervously brushed his hair out of his eyes. ‘You!’ She yelled loudly.
‘It’s you!’ James said, still nervous, matching the girl’s point.
James jumped out from behind the minivan, and pinned Dreadlocks down, just as Mop-head came running back outside with a girl hanging over his shoulder.
Ashley dived at Baseball-cap, knocking the boy out of her arms. Mop-head threw the girl he had into the back of the van, she gave a small moan as she hit the divider between the front seats and the back. Mop-head then grabbed Ashley around the waist with his right hand, and the black haired boy, who had tried to run away, with his left, and threw them both into the back of the van.
James still had Dreadlocks pinned down. Mop-head, pulled James off of Dreadlocks with ease, while Baseball-cap jumped into the back of the van. James was tossed aside as Mop-head ran to the front of the van and hopped into the drivers seat. The back doors were still open, but then Dreadlocks grabbed one of the two doors and slammed it shut.
I snapped out of my hesitation, and reached out for Ashley.
The van started to move away, when I grabbed Ashley’s hand.
Dreadlocks grabbed Ashley’s feet at the same time as the girl in the back grabbed a bunch of Dreadlock’s dreadlocks. Dreadlocks cried out in pain, but did not loosen his hold on Ashley.
The black haired boy locked eyes with me, and I could tell he knew how important it was for me to get Ashley back, so he spun around and punched Dreadlocks. ‘Let go stupid!’ The boy yelled as his fist collided with Dreadlocks face.
Dreadlocks let go of Ashley, just as the van began to speed away, causing Ashley to fly out of the van toward me, and right into my arms. James walked up beside me, and looked after the van. After a minute, I cleared my throat and said, ‘Ashley… you can let go now.’ I could tell James was smiling.
‘It looks like you need me… but I really can’t stay.’ James said as Ashley let go.
I nodded my understanding.








10. Dawson


Ashley and I sat in the parking lot for an hour after James left, not even offering us a ride home.
I thought about how I should have looked at the licence plate again, or how I should have saved the boy, and then Ashley, because the boy wasn’t being protected by anyone… and how Ashley hugged me for a whole minute, and didn’t want to let go—it may have been because I just saved her life, but it was still something.
I thought about what Ashley was thinking about… maybe it was the hug… maybe the thought of the hug brought on the thought of one of our kisses? Maybe she did want to get back together… I looked at Ashley and smiled. She was blushing. This totally helped my theory, but she could have been blushing for any number of reasons.
‘Anthony,’ Ashley said finally, ‘we should probably get home, my mom will be really mad that I missed supper.’
‘My dad will be worse; your mom is so nice.’ (Yeah, the thought of hooking my dad up with Ashley’s mom was a reoccurring thought in my mind, but I couldn’t let that happen.)
I stood up, and grabbed Ashley’s hand, pulling her up, waiting for her to dust her clothes off. She smiled weakly at me, and began to walk home. I followed closely behind, and then beside, and then in front, then she got back in front of me, then I was in front of her again, and then we were racing home.
I beat her, but only by a bit, because I didn’t want to leave her alone for even a second.
She smiled and hugged me goodnight.
‘Anthony,’ she said, tears welling up in her eyes. ‘I’m scared.’
‘So am I… I don’t know what to think about this. I almost lost you.’
‘Anthony?’ Ashley said.
‘Yes,’
‘Do you… Never mind.’ She sighed.
‘Goodnight,’ I said, running my fingers through her hair.
She grabbed my hand and brought it to her face. ‘Goodnight.’ She said.
I started walking away, but was stopped by her clasping my hand.
‘Ashley,’ I said, ‘we shouldn’t wait any longer to get home.’
‘I’ll miss you,’ Ashley said sadly, looking down at her feet and turning to walk home.
I stared at her as she left and as she walked up her porch steps and even as she walked inside her front door.
I turned to walk home myself.
I walked silently over to the chute, and began to crawl up.
When I reached the top, I slid myself into my room, and under my bed. I was about to slide out from underneath my bed, but I heard my dad talking, and I felt a slight bulge of the mattress. Dad was sitting on my bed.
It shocked me so bad, that I flung myself back down the chute without bothering with being silent.
I twisted my ankle when I slammed against the ground, which sent me rolling toward the fence.
I got up, my ankle didn’t hurt too much, but the grass stained my pants.
I walked inside, looking tired.
Dad came running down the stairs. ‘There is something under Anthony’s bed! Charlie—go check it out!’
‘Hi dad,’ I yawned.
‘Where were you?’ My dad asked, standing up straight.
‘I fell asleep outside while doing homework.’ I said, yawning again.
‘Where’s the homework?’
‘In my backpack,’
‘Oh, well, go to bed.’
‘Can I eat something?’
‘Oh, yeah, I guess.’
I tossed my backpack onto the couch, where Dennis began to chew on it.
‘Dennis—stop.’ I said sternly. Dennis jumped off of the couch and began to prance away.
I walked into the kitchen and grabbed a loaf of bread. I heard the washing machine starting up.
I looked at my grass stained pants and walked over to the laundry room. I unbuckled my belt, and pulled it off, hanging it up beside the dryer. I took my jeans off and threw them into the running washing machine.
I finished making my sandwich and walked upstairs. I brushed my teeth, and completed the rest of my nightly schedule, until the very last thing that I had been doing for a while now… ever since James gave me my new cell phone: setting it on my desk.
I couldn’t find my cell phone—I looked everywhere, until I realized the mistake I had made. I ran downstairs to the washing machine and ripped my jeans out. I fished through the dripping pockets.
‘Urgh… I’m such an idiot.’ I said as I pulled my phone out.
I slid it open, and growled. The phone was dead, and there was no doubt about that.
I threw the phone against the wall and listened to it smash.
I cleaned it up and brought it upstairs. I didn’t know why I was keeping it, but I was.

The rest of November flew by, but this time, Ashley and I held in no secrets… about the kidnappings anyway. Bobby and Jo knew about it this time, but neither of them wanted to talk about it, because all either of them could say was “tell the police!” Ashley somewhat agreed with them, but I talked her out of it.
‘It kind of makes sense Anthony; the police could do wonders on the situation.’
‘I’m sure they could Ashley, but what you don’t understand, is that I’m a guy.’
‘I do know how to tell the difference between a male and a female. What’s your point?’
‘When a guy gets frustrated with something, they don’t want help, they just want to get it done and over with themselves.’
‘Fine!’ She said angrily. Wow, she gets angry easily…. Oh, I’m one to talk… ‘You go your way and I’ll go mine if you want to do this yourself so much. We’ll see who’s faster.’
‘Just promise—‘
‘I won’t use the police.’ She said.
‘Good.’
Now, Bobby told me I was an idiot for doing that, when I finally had her back within my reach, but I knew she was still there… but hidden in the shadows, I just had to give it a little more time, and she would be mine.
Quinn assigned our final assignment on the first day of December, and a week later the other teachers did as well.
I was having a lot of fun with my art assignment. It was sort of abstract, but sort of a realism painting. I painted a black van driving across the canvass, and a bouquet of violet tulips sitting on a round glass table in the front, the sun was setting in the picture. I left a blank spot for some other form of symbolism.
Quinn’s assignment was to write a short story, which was easy enough. I began by using my research notes about the case, and then put my own twist on the end that was still to come in reality.
I was pretty caught up in my school work, and had almost no time to work on the case at all, until I finished my history timeline.
I called Bobby and Jo and asked them if I could come over and do something other than homework.
‘Hello,’ I said after I dialled the phone. ‘This is Anthony, is Bobby there?’
‘Why yes, he is.’ Said Granny, who had picked up the phone. ‘Would you like me to find him?’
‘Why yes, I would,’ I said, subconsciously mocking her speech.
‘Alright dear, just wait one moment,’
I obeyed, waiting until Bobby said, ‘Yo, what’s up?’
‘Hi Bobby,’ I said, ‘What are you doing this afternoon?’
‘Nothing, why? You wanna come over?’
‘Yeah, if that’s alright.’
‘Jo still has homework, but I’ll be there,’
‘Don’t you have homework?’
‘Yes, what is your point?’
‘Shouldn’t you… I don’t know, finish it?’ I asked.
‘Well, yeah in theory, but I’ve still got the Christmas holidays and most of January left until it’s due so…’
‘Alright, I’ll be there in a couple hours.’ I said.
‘’Kay, see you then.’
Click.
I did practically nothing while waiting for the hours to pass. There was nothing on TV, so I finished reading the book from the library that was to be renewed, and then read about half of the book I had newly signed out.
At about four o’clock, I grabbed my jacket, and shoes, and walked outside.
I found my bike helmet, and then, realizing I forgot to tell dad, yelled at Dawson to tell dad where I was, and then mounted my bike.

I was at Bobby’s house, and knocking on the door within fifteen minutes.
Again, it was Granny to answer my call. She had her hair tied up in the same tight bun, and her glasses, low on her nose. She was using her foot, and her cane to block a white cat from getting outside.
‘Oh—hello Anthony. Please, come in.’ She said, leaning down to pick up the cat.
I nodded, and followed her in.
I smelt freshly baked bread, with a hint of cinnamon. I took in the smell, before continuing to find Bobby.
‘Hey Anthony,’ Bobby said, ‘You suck.’
‘What? Why?’
‘I bet Jo ten dollars that you would be here before four o’clock! It is now four fifteen!’
‘Oh, sorry, I’ll make sure I get here earlier next time.’ I said sarcastically.
‘Good,’ he said, walking toward the stairs. I followed him up, and into the first door on the right.
I had only been in this room once before: Jo’s room. The walls were a Jade green, the carpet was a deep green, the door was a forest green, as well as her cabinet and the bedspread was a French green and yellow quilt. Jo stood out, wearing her red plaid shirt, and blue jeans, sitting on her bed surrounded in papers, and pulling on her long blonde hair while biting her bottom lip.
‘Anthony… hello,’ Jo said, ‘how much do you know about Winthrop Shultz?’
‘Lot’s,’ I said, moving to sit beside her, while Bobby tossed a ten dollar bill in front of her. I examined her work, and started by editing her grammar, which needed a lot of help. Next I explained the entire history (of what I knew) about Winthrop Shultz who was an author of the 1800th century.
‘Thanks,’ she said, jotting it all down.
‘You don’t need to work on it now,’ Bobby said, ‘like I told Anthony, we have until the end of January.’
‘No, I don’t think so,’ Jo said, ‘the projects are due all through January. Like this one for instance, is due the Friday after we get back.’
‘So, that’s still the whole Christmas break.’
‘to do four projects?’ She asked.
‘Three, I’m doing my art project at school, remember?’ Bobby said.
‘Fine,’ Jo said, ‘but I’m not going to listen to you complain about not being done on time.’
‘I won’t complain.’
Jo rolled her eyes, ‘no, of course not. ‘You know, I bet you couldn’t get two projects done before Christmas holidays start.’
‘Bet I could.’
‘Not including the art project.’
‘Deal, ten dollars.’ Bobby said before grabbing my arm, and dragging me away.
‘Anthony can’t help!’ She yelled.
‘He helped you!’ Bobby pointed out.
‘Fine,’ she said.
Bobby did get me to help after we reached his room. We started with his English assignment, which was the same as Jo’s. This took two hours only, because we didn’t have to research anything. I gave him direct quotes from Roland and Julie, and A Midwinter’s Daydream.
I told him I would have to go home soon, but he began begging for me to stay and at least get him started on his Math assignment.
I said, he would fail the exam if I did all the work for him, but he said he needed help with remembering the formulas, so I helped him with that.
‘You know the English assignment isn’t done, right?’ I asked, more to let him know than to see, because I knew he thought it was done.
‘What needs to be done?’ He asked shocked.
‘Well, you need to compare Winthrop Shultz writing to the book you read.’ I explained pointing to the notes on the page.
‘What book?’
‘It says here, “you are to compare Shultz’s work with that of the author whose book you chose to read at the beginning of the semester.”’
‘I didn’t pick a book!’ He gasped.
‘Well, you better start reading.’ I said, handing him a red book off of his shelf. It was entitled “The Philosophers stone’. ‘This book looks like it has never been read!’
‘It hasn’t,’
‘What? How can you not read this book, it’s amazing.’ I said, thrusting it into his hands. ‘Plus it is really easy to compare to Shakespeare. It’s also short.’ I added for his sake.
‘This is short?’ He asked astonished. ‘This is more than two hundred pages.’
‘Just read it and tell me when you’re done.’
‘How am I supposed to read this book and finish my math work?’
‘Just do it.’ I said, standing up and walking toward the door. ‘Just remember to tell me when you’re done, so I can help you. And I will know if you watch the movie and not read the book.’
‘Movie?’
‘No, of course not… no movie.’
‘Yes there is! You just said there was!’
‘Well, I won’t help you with any work ever again if you do watch it before you’ve finished the book.’
‘How will you know?’
‘There are differences. Just read.’
I closed his bedroom door, and turned around to see Jo there.
‘It’s a hopeless case—’ she started.
‘I know.’

When I got home, my dad was making supper with Charlie and Miranda. I decided to avoid watching the chaos of dad in the kitchen and wandered upstairs, where I found Dawson lying on my bed.
‘What are you doing in my room?’
‘Waiting for you,’ He said, sitting up. ‘Ashley came by while you were gone, and asked to see you.’
‘What did she want?’
‘Well, she told me instead.’
‘Why would she tell you?’
‘It wasn’t important she said, just that she wanted to hang out with you—than she told me about how James left, and that Paula had already left—though I didn’t know who they were, but she told me they were your old partners.’ He explained.
‘Why do you care?’
‘Well, I hear you don’t have a partner…’
‘Ashley is my new partner,’
‘Did you even ask her?’ He asked.
‘No, but it was implied—wait…’ I remembered our argument… ‘so maybe I don’t have a partner. What does that have to do with you?’ I knew that answer before he did anything.
He looked at me like I should know what he meant.
‘No,’ I said, ‘you cannot be my partner.’
‘Yes I can.’
I shook my head, and said, ‘it’s too dangerous.’
‘Am I too young?’ He asked raising one eyebrow.
He knew what he was doing… he was a good investigator… he knew how to get what he wanted.
‘…Fine.’ I said after considerable thinking.
‘Awesome, when do we start?’
‘Whenever an opportunity surfaces.’
‘That’s dumb.’ He sighed standing up and dragging his feet out of my room.
‘Anthony! Dawson!’ Charlie yelled, ‘come down for supper!’
I obeyed.
Miranda and Charlie were in mid conversation when I sat down.
‘…but it wasn’t as good as the book,’ Charlie said.
‘Yes it was. I’ll admit the book was amazing—but the movie had much more of a romantic element, with the characters.’
‘That’s why I didn’t like it.’
‘What movie are you talking about?’ Dawson asked.
They told him, but I didn’t listen.
‘Oh, well let’s talk about what I see on my plate right now.’ Dawson said.
‘It’s good.’ Miranda said.
‘What is it?’
‘Good.’
‘What is good?’
‘The food.’
‘What is it?’ Dawson asked sternly.
‘You don’t want to know.’
‘Why not?’
‘I’ll tell you if you take a bite.’
Dawson pulled the meat up and took a large bite.
‘…It’s deer heart.’
Dawson spit the food back out onto his plate and ran out of the dining room.
‘You said it was good!’ I said.
‘I lied.’ Miranda said.
‘My cooking’s not good?’ Dad asked.
‘It’s not your cooking,’ Charlie said frowning. ‘It’s the fact that you actually cooked… this.’
‘Humph.’ Dad sighed taking a small bite of his… creation.
He followed Dawson’s lead, leaving the room, and leaving behind a pile of chewed mess.

‘Anthony!’ Dawson yelled, shaking me the next morning.
I yawned, and sat up.
‘I’ve got a really great idea about the case!’ He cheered.
‘What?’ I croaked.
‘Well,’ he said, showing me some papers, ‘this one says that there was a kidnap at the park, this one says there was a double at the bowling alley, and this one says there was one at the… mall.’
‘What’s your point?’
‘Well, they are all in public places, and always at night.’
‘Not always…’
‘Pretty much, and if it’s not night, it’s late afternoon.’
‘OK, so what’s your point?’ I asked yawning again.
‘Well for one, whoever is doing this should probably be more stealthy, or else someone will catch them—‘
‘That’s kind of the point,’ I pointed out.
‘And second—well, let’s just go check out those places and look for clues.’
‘Dawson—we don’t need clues, we know what the people look like, we just need to know where they took them.’
‘So maybe we can find clues about that.’ Dawson suggested.
‘I don’t think so—but, you know what, you go do that.’
‘No, let’s do it together,’ he whined.
I really didn’t want to go—especially not this early in the morning, so I tried to convince him that there was no point. ‘Dawson, the one in the park wasn’t in the park, it was in the woods. Deep in the woods. We won’t ever be able to find that spot again.’ I “forgot” to mention that it was on the path, that ran through the middle, so it wouldn’t be too hard to find. ‘The one at the bowling alley would be pointless, because I saw where they went; it’s just a matter of following them.’
‘What about the one at the… the one at the mall?’
‘…uh… maybe… but…’ I tried desperately to find some reason. ‘It was so long ago, there would be no clues now.’
‘Plus it has snowed…’ Dawson added.
‘What?’ I asked, ‘don’t you love snow?’ I asked—I knew he loved it, and that I hated it.
‘Yes…’
‘Than go make an angel or something!’ I said almost yelling now.
‘There isn’t enough snow to do that—‘
My yelling woke me up fully. ‘What are you doing with those papers?’
‘I got them from your briefcase.’
‘How?’
‘I figured out your combo.’
‘What?’
‘It wasn’t that hard Anthony. You’re really predictable.’
‘Hmmm.’ I said, sitting up slowly. I swung a punch at Dawson, who backed up and fell off of my bed. ‘Stay out of my stuff!’
‘No—what’s yours is mine’ Dawson hissed.
‘No—I don’t think so.’
‘Wait!’ Dawson yelled just before I dived off of the bed at him. ‘I just came up with the most awesome-ist idea ever!’
‘One last chance—if this is stupid—you’re dead.’
‘SECURITY CAMERA!’
‘What?’ I asked, yet again, lowering my fist.
‘At the mall… wouldn’t there be a security camera?’
‘Yes—yes!’ I said taking a little longer than I should have to understand what he was talking about. ‘Let’s go!’ I jumped off of my bed and ran out the bedroom door.
‘You might want to get dressed before you go… wherever it is you’re going.’ Charlie said blocking my path.
I spun around and ran back to my room to get dressed. I pushed Dawson out, telling him I’d meet him outside.
When I was dressed I grabbed my backpack, and my jacket, while slipping my shoes on, then I slid down the chute, and flying through the bushes.
I looked around and saw Dawson waiting by the road. Standing up, I began running full speed toward him. I grabbed his arm without stopping, and the two of us began running as fast as possible down the street toward the mall.
After a while, Dawson began to slow, and though I hadn’t realized it at first, I was now running out of energy entirely.
‘Anthony… why is the mall… farther away today… than it was yesterday?’
‘It’s not.’ I said, sitting down on the sidewalk.
‘Yeah—yesterday, the mall… was… over there.’
‘You’re not making any sense.’ I said, falling back into a lying position.
‘Yesterday, Charlie took me to the mall—we turned way back there.’ He pointed behind us.
I sat up and looked around. ‘Crap!’ I flopped back down.
‘So the mall didn’t move?’
‘No! Dawson… why didn’t you tell me “that the mall moved” before we got all the way up here?’
‘I dunno… I was confused.’
I grabbed Dawson’s arm, laughing, and walking back down the street.
After another fifteen minutes of walking, I could finally see the mall, sitting on top of the tallest and steepest hill in town.
‘You say Charlie drove you yesterday?’ I asked, looking up the hill and scowling.
‘Yeah…’
‘Next time, we wait ‘till he can drive us.’ I said, beginning to walk up the hill.
‘Agreed,’ Dawson said. There was a silent moment, then Dawson said ‘You know Anthony…’ Dawson began fidgeting with his fingers, as if he was nervous. ‘This… is fun. We should hang out more often…’
‘Yeah,’ I agreed, ‘maybe not so much the “find the poor tired, possibly dying children” part, because it’s not actually so great… and I’d rather them not be in trouble ever again.’
‘Yeah,’ Dawson said, ‘it’s just, we haven’t really done anything together since you started high school, and I really missed it.’
‘That’s…’ weird, a little childish, but… ‘really nice.’ We were at the top of the hill, and working our way through the parking lot and soon had found the front doors to the mall.
Before I went in, I looked around and recounted the Hansen’s story in my head. I looked to the right, and saw trees.
That’s were Dreadlocks went after Lulu was taken…
I followed Dawson into the mall, and then took the lead, taking him to the manager of the store.
I let Dawson do the talking—but only because he really loved it—but whenever he made a mistake I jumped in.
First we asked the manager if they had security cameras around the outside of the mall, and then the manager told us that there was only one—and it surveyed the back of the store.
‘That’s perfect!’ I said, smiling, ‘I know you don’t let everyone see it…’
‘But we really need to; it’s for a really good cause.’ Dawson said seriously. His face showed no sign of emotion—in fact it looked like he was hiding it.
The manager had to think about it for a bit, but then he agreed, and then led the two of us into a dark room at the back of the store, filled with computers and high tech systems.
‘I’ll set it up, and then I’ll be back in fifteen minutes—and don’t worry—you won’t steal anything because Rob will be waiting just outside the door.’
‘How would we possibly steal something this big anyway?’ Dawson asked.
The manager examined the equipment, then sighed, ‘I don’t know—just be aware that Rob will be outside.’
‘Yes sir.’ I said. The manager walked forward, and played around with the video, then explained to us how to work it. The glared at us with an evil eye and then left the room.
I looked at the time of the tape, and saw that it was today’s footage, so I rewound until I found the correct day. This alone took about ten minutes of rewinding, then when I finally found the right day, I had to fast-forward again, until I saw what I was looking for: a black van pulling into the parking lot.
I watched in normal speed with Dawson as Mop-Head, Base-Ball Cap, and Dreadlocks jumped out of the van. Mop-Head was sent to get the victim, while Base-Ball Cap, and Dreadlocks opened the back of the van and prepared.
‘Their faces are so blurry! Plus it’s in black and white!’ Dawson whined.
I noticed he was right, I guess I just knew who they were, so I didn’t notice. I didn’t say anything in a response because Mop-Head came back with a girl in his arms. I felt a lump in my throat, and I looked at Dawson, who had turned his head.
I fast forwarded the tape as Lulu kicked and screamed. Then I watched Dreadlocks get chased into the woods by Karen, and Brian.
‘That wasn’t very helpful…’ I said, distraught. ‘It just made me feel a hundred times worse!’
‘Maybe we can get the licence plate.’ Dawson sighed.
Then we checked that, but it was far too blurry for that too. Then I set the tape back up to where it was when we started so the manager wouldn’t know what we were up to.
We left the tech room, but before we could leave the store itself, Rob had to check us—in case we stole anything.
It was warm outside and the snow had now melted—but still, chills were sent down my spine. I knew why when we walked around the side of the store.
Arms flung around both Dawson and me, and then I heard a familiar voice.
‘You again?’ Dreadlocks asked, from right above my head. I looked to my right and saw that Mop-Head had Dawson held close. Base-Ball Cap was standing right in front of me.
I began to kick around, and struggle with Dreadlock’s grip. ‘Get off of me!’
‘Yo! Woman! Help me now!’ Dreadlocks hissed.
Base-Ball Cap jumped forward and helped hold me in, while Mop-Head took Dawson toward their van.
I elbowed Dreadlocks in the gut—then he dropped me, but Base-Ball Cap had my feet still. I bucked at her, the best I could, hitting her directly in the face.
‘OWWW!’ She squeaked.
I jumped up and then out of the way, as Dreadlocks tried to grab me.
I looked behind me, and saw Dawson being forced into the van. ‘DAWSON!’ I yelled running toward him.
‘Go! Get to the van, I’ll get the boy!’ Dreadlocks yelled, and then Base-Ball Cap ran past me right toward the van.
I had almost reached the van as it began to drive away.
Licence plate! I looked—but the van was too far away for me to read it right.
I spun around, almost growling, as I looked right at Dreadlock’s dark, evil eyes.
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Yamazaru
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Posts : 23
Join date : 2010-08-27
Age : 25

PostSubject: Chapter 11 and 12   Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:57 am




11. Adrenaline

At first I wasn’t sure what was happening. None of this could be real… Dawson was in his bed at home… and I was going to wake up in a minute from the horrible nightmare.
But I didn’t wake up…
I was still staring into the dark eyes of that horrible man… I began glaring, hoping that I would scare him into giving me my brother back.
He took a handgun out, and pointed it at me. His legs began to move. At first I thought he had begun to walk backward in order to run away—but, I was wrong. He was coming right for me, and it was definitely not a good thing. I turned and slid over the top of a car, crouching on the ground, and covering my head preparing for a shot.
I waited, but I did not hear anything, so I popped my head up and peered through the window. My eyes opened wider when I saw the gun pointing through the driver’s side window. I crouched back down and waddled over to the back side of the car.
I listened for another couple seconds, and thought that maybe he hadn’t seen me. But then, I heard him laugh for a brief second before it started.
I heard one shot shatter a window, than another and, more shattering glass, than more, and more, and more.
‘BOY! You can’t hide from me!’ I looked under the car, and saw that his feet were moving. I didn’t know if he was headed all the way around, or just to the back windows, so I slid myself under the car slowly, and kept an eye on his feet.
He stopped at the next window and waited a moment, likely loading his gun again. I felt the urge to tie his shoes together, but I knew he would feel it, and realize I was down here.
To me, this guy seemed pretty stupid; he could just walk around and see that I’m not there… unless he was trying to scare me…in which case, kudos to him.
I watched, and listened to him shatter the windows at the back of the car.
‘Hey, boy, where are you? I just want to play.’ I watched his feet move to the back of the car, and I knew this was my chance.
I pulled myself out from underneath the car, and ran toward the woods. I could’ve run to the store, but he was now on that side of the car.
‘Oh, there you go!’ Dreadlocks laughed.
I continued running into the thick trees, waiting for some sign that I had lost him, but I couldn’t even think of something that might indicate that, except looking back—but I was too scarred to do that.
After several minutes, I decided to take a glance behind me. All I saw was darkness.
I slowed down, and turned around to look in more detail.
Nothing was there.
I sighed, and plopped down onto my knees. He was gone…
‘RRAAAHHH!’ I heard someone scream, and then I saw someone jumping over my head.
I screamed in return when I saw the dreadlocks wiping around his head.
I stood up as fast as I could, and began to run away. He was so close this time, that I not only heard him breathing, but felt it too.
I saw light. The end of the woods—bad idea. I knew if I was running in a wide open space, then he would have a better chance of catching me, so I turned right.
I looked back for a moment, and saw that he was right behind me, and when I turned back, I saw a branch right in front of me.
‘AHHH!’ I screamed while ducking. I started running again, but stopped when I heard a loud thud.
I turned around and saw Dreadlocks lying on the ground, with a huge puddle of blood splattered across his face.
I cautiously moved toward him, until I found that he really was down for the count.
I moved quickly, coming up with an idea on the spot.
I grabbed the gun that was in his pocket, and threw it aside. I searched him for more any other weapons, and found two knives.
I threw him over my shoulder, and began to drag him away. The only possible explanation of how I took him anywhere, was the rush of adrenaline.

I sat in the hospital room waiting for the villain to wake up, waiting for the chance to ask him where my brother was.
I made sure he was going to live—but then kept the nurses out of the room.
After a few hours, I saw his eyelids begin to flutter.
I moved in, to sit right beside him, and waited a few more minutes. Then, I smiled at him when he woke up completely.
‘You!’ He shouted, sitting up quickly. He grabbed my shirt and brought me close to him.
‘I wouldn’t do that if I were you.’ I snarled, ‘if I get hurt everyone will know who did it immediately. Oh and there’s no escape, so just co-operate.’
His grip loosened slightly as he took in the surroundings.
‘Where are we?’
‘We’re at the hospital.’ I said, grabbing his wrist and tearing it away from my shirt.
‘Why?’
‘I think I’ll ask the questions.’ I said, ‘Where the hell is my brother?’
‘Who?’
‘You kidnapped my brother! Where is he? Where have you been taking all of them? Where did you TAKE HIM?’
‘Shut up!’ He hissed.
What was his problem? Was he scared someone might hear me? Did he really think he was getting out of here? He was going to be arrested no matter what.
‘I’ll tell you if you let me go.’
‘No.’
‘Ah, well then I guess you don’t care too much about your brother do you?’
I bit my lip. ‘Fine!’
‘Alright……’

Twenty minutes later I was leading the man out of the hospital with a map in my hand and tons of information in my mind.
We were in the elevator when I told him my rules.
‘you’re free to go this time—but next time I see you…’
‘Are you threatening me?’
‘No.’
‘Well that’s no fun.’
‘Alright, next time I see you, I’ll either have you arrested, or I’ll stab you with this knife.’ I pulled a knife out of my pocket.
‘I’ve started to rub off on you!’ he cheered.
‘What do you mean?’
‘You start by stealing—than you go to kidnapping.’
‘What are you talking about?’
‘That’s my knife.’
I scowled.
I waited until the elevator stopped finally, then followed Dreadlocks to the door of the hospital.
‘Hey, what’s your name?’ I asked him.
‘What’s yours?’
‘Anthony.’
Dreadlocks smiled evilly and said, ‘thanks, that’s good to know,’ then he turned and ran away.
‘Jerk.’ I said under my breath.
I started running.
Dawson needed me, and he needed me now. I should’ve asked that guy what he did to the kids… or made him lead me to them… or—followed him!
I stopped and turned around. I couldn’t see him anymore… crap. I looked at the map that Dreadlocks drew and compared it to where I was now.
The hospital was clearly marked on it, and so was the library and the park.
The map led out of town a bit, and that’s where the ‘x’ was… but that was the opposite way that Dreadlocks went. I thought about it for a while, then came to my conclusion. I would go and follow the map because that was my best chance, then—if that didn’t work—I’d come back here and follow Dreadlocks trail.
I ran.

I had already passed the library, and the park, and I was out of town, passing Bobby and Jo’s house. I walked past, their laneway but then backed up. Maybe they could help.
I ran in their laneway as fast as I could—which wasn’t exactly fast because I was really out of energy right now.
‘Anthony?’ Mr Tree said from in front of the house. He was wheeling a wheelbarrow through the thin layer of snow on the ground. ‘Can I help you?’
‘I was just wondering where Bobby and Jo were.’
‘There just inside, you can go in if you’d like.’ He said. He then wheeled away.
I walked inside and found the twins pretty fast. ‘Come on—we have to go!’ I said to them. They were sitting on their couch, with Granny sitting nearby in a rocking chair, knitting something that looked like socks.
Bobby and Jo looked at Granny, who looked back and saw my frantic face, and then she nodded in the most freakish understanding way possible, like she had just read my mind and knew everything that was happening…
Bobby and Jo stood up and ran for the door.
‘Wait!’ Bobby said turning around and running upstairs. A moment later he came back down with a backpack.
‘What do you need that for?’ I asked quickly.
‘It’s got my book in it!’
‘You’re actually reading it?’ Jo and I asked together.
‘Yeah—it’s really good!’
‘Well you won’t have time to read it.’ I said.
‘But—‘
‘Just put it down.’
‘Fine…’
We ran out the door as Bobby explained how he only had three chapters to go.
I wanted to explain to them everything that had happened, but I knew they would just end up convincing me to call the police—that was something that I knew I should do, but didn’t want to do—so I just told them that I might need their help and that, if they followed me, they might find out what it was about. That plan didn’t work as well as I though it would.
‘Anthony—does this have anything to do with your stupid mystery?’ Jo asked.
‘What mystery?’ Bobby asked.
‘The kidnappings.’ Jo said.
‘Oh, right.’ Bobby said.
‘no,’ I put in.
‘No what?’ Bobby and Jo asked.
‘No, this doesn’t have anything to do with—‘
‘Oh, right, then what is it?’ Jo asked.
‘Maybe he’s lying,’ Bobby said.
‘He can’t lie remember?’ Jo said.
‘I don’t know—he’s been getting better.’
‘I’m right here.’ I said.
‘We know,’ they said together. ‘What’s your point?’
‘Well, stop talking about me like I’m not here.’
‘We weren’t’ they said in unison.
‘Yes you were—and stop doing that!’
‘Doing what?’ they asked together.
‘Doing that!’
‘Oh, sorry.’ they said—again—together.
‘Well… Ok, so it might have a little something to do with it…’ I said.
‘I knew it!’ Jo said, but she continued running anyway.
‘Why do you want to help Anthony—but not Ashley?’ Bobby asked.
‘Meaning what?’ I asked.
‘Because Anthony seems to want it more! Ashley came to us and asked for help, with it—but we said we wanted to stay out of your problem.’
‘Oh…’ I said, slowing down until I stopped completely. ‘I…can’t… run…any…more…’
‘Then let’s walk.’ Bobby said. ‘Come on.’ Both he and Jo stopped running with me, and began walking along side me.
I took out the map and looked at it. ‘We’re almost there… just a little more.’
‘Well, that’s good—maybe when we’re done, we can head over to the Triplet’s house.’ Jo said.
‘Who?’ Bobby asked.
‘Jamie, Chris, and Alex…’ Jo said.
‘They live around here?’ I asked.
‘Yeah—see that willow tree?’ Jo said pointing over the hill.
‘Yeah…’
‘That’s on their property.’
I looked back at my map, and saw a willow tree drawn on it. ‘Huh…’
I led the twins to the tree.

‘My map says that they are here!’
‘I don’t see… them?’ Jo asked.
‘Dawson and the others.’
‘DAWSON?’ Jo asked. ‘Was he kidnapped?’
I nodded.
‘Anthony! This is getting out of hand! We just have to call the police now!’
‘NO! This is something I have to do alone!’
‘When Dawson dies—‘
‘Don’t say that!’ I snarled at her. I grabbed her wrist and said, ‘He won’t die…’
‘Anthony… let her go.’ Bobby said.
I squeezed her wrist harder, and then dropped it.
‘I’m sorry… it’s just—‘
‘Who’s there?’ A voice asked. The three of us whipped around and saw a maid carrying a basket of vegetables.
‘Hello…’ I said nervously.
‘You can’t be here.’ She said, pulling her dark shall, tighter around her shoulders. ‘Plus it’s really cold—you should have warmer clothes on.’
‘We’ve come to visit—‘Jo said.
‘No visitors today.’ She said. ‘I’m sorry.’
‘It’s OK, Veronique,’ another voice said, ‘We can have them… wait who all is there?’ The voice asked.
‘Anthony.’
‘Jo.’
‘Bobby.’
‘No Ashley?’ The voice asked.
‘No.’ I said. ‘I would thank you to come closer—I can’t exactly see through the dark.
Two people stepped out of the dark. One was tall and muscular, with a red bandana in his hair. He had a grey moustache and a sleeveless shirt on, showing off, not only his muscles, but his multiple tattoos. The other figure was short, with black hair covering one of his eyes. He was wearing baggy clothes, and carrying a large red tool box.
‘Jamie?’ Bobby asked.
‘Yeah, it’s me.’ He said thrusting the tool box into the man’s arms. ‘Thanks Rob, I’ll meet you back at the house.’
‘Be careful.’ He said eyeing Veronique, she nodded at him, in understanding, then waited for us to move. She followed behind us, as Jamie led us across the field.
‘What are you three up to?’ He asked.
‘We were…’ I started, but I wasn’t sure how much I should tell him—I didn’t really know him well.
‘Hmm…’ he said, he seemed to be thinking. ‘Anthony… case… kids… You’re trying to solve the whole kidnap thing aren’t you?’
‘How did you know?’ I asked.
‘I know you better than you’d think.’ he said. ‘Anyway, my dad might have something to tell you about that… if he feels Ok with it… or if your dad is ok with it.’
‘What?’ I asked, ‘you really make no sense!’
‘I’m not at liberty to tell you what I mean.’ He said smiling—he was enjoying this!
‘Fine then…’ Jo muttered.
‘You should probably stay out of this and let my dad figure it out.’ Jamie said.
‘No,’ I said. ‘I wouldn’t stop now, if I had to.’
‘Why?’ Jamie said fast, ‘what happened?’
‘Doesn’t matter…’ I sighed.
‘Yes it does! My dad could probably figure it out—well maybe! But it will definitely help if he knew!’
‘No, don’t ask again.’ I said sternly.
There was a moment of silence, and then Bobby said, ‘Dawson. They took Dawson.’
‘Bobby!’ I argued.
Then Jo said, ‘he wants to help! You can’t seriously want Dawson to die—‘
‘I already told you not to say that!’ I snarled.
Jamie sighed, and said, ‘Anthony… I’m sorry I’ll leave it alone. And since you obviously don’t want any help—I won’t tell my dad.’
‘Thank you.’
‘Jamie!’ A female voice cheered, running forward and greeting them. Her long black hair was tied in a messy pony-tail on the back of her head.
‘Hi Alex!’ I said.
‘Anthony? Bobby? Jo?’ What’re you doing here?’
‘Failing.’ I said. ‘Jamie! Dawson’s dying! and—’
Jo cut me off, ‘Don’t say that… I really don’t think he’s dying.’
‘You have no idea…’ I said.
Alex looked really confused. ‘Chris come over here!’ Chris walked over, and stood by her sister.
‘Maybe dad can help.’ She said, as if she had been eavesdropping on our conversation the whole time.
‘He won’t let him…’ Jamie said.
‘Maybe he’ll come around,’ Chris said.
‘I don’t think so—not by the way he was acting…’ Alex said.
‘I’m standing right here!’ I said.
They ignored me. ‘Maybe… he’ll come around, but how can we assure he’ll come back?’ Jamie asked.
I looked over my shoulder, and saw Veronique, now with two others servants to her right. We were nearing the house, and it was getting darker—if that was possible, but on top of the hill in front of us, there was light coming from their house… mansion.
‘Duh—‘Chris said, she then continued talking in whispers.
Alex and Jamie began talking excitedly about something—whispering as well.
When we reached the house one of the other servants began instructing us, like telling us where to put our shoes, and our coats, then where to go sit.
Jamie, Chris and Alex sat side by side in a large black couch, and Bobby, Jo and I sat on a similar couch facing them.
‘Just wait one moment—dad will be here any second.’ Jamie smiled, taking a banana from the wicker basket sitting on the glass table between the two couches.
I looked around at the room. It looked very similar to a waiting room, except much cosier. Everything (with the exception of the couches) looked like it was a hundred years old—like we were in a museum.
After a moment of complete silence, a man dressed in a black suit entered the room. He smiled at me, and the others, then pushed a couple of strands of his black hair to the side, so his entire face was uncovered.
‘Hello Anthony. Bobby, Jo. I’ve been longing to meet you. Specifically you.’ He added not looking to any of us in particular, but I had a strong feeling he meant me.
‘Anyway, dad, can we invite them?’ Chris asked.
‘Hmm… are they—?’ Their dad started.
‘Yes,’ Alex said.
‘Are you sure?’
‘Yes, I made sure.’ Alex said.
‘Then yes, of course.’
‘Thanks daddy,’ Chris smiled.
‘You three, are formerly invited to—‘ Jamie started.
‘Our birthday party!’ Alex finished.
‘I was about to say that!’ Jamie argued.
Alex opened her mouth to argue, but their father cut her off. ‘You will attend. It is formal, dress nicely. Bring your fathers…’ He examined us and then nodded, ‘yes just your fathers. And if you would like—your grandmother (he looked to Bobby and Jo) and your grandfather (he looked at me)’
Bobby and I looked at each other in a way that said, “I’m not bringing my grandparent to a party.”
Both Bobby and Jo looked just as confused as me. ‘When is it?’ I asked.
‘In exactly two weeks.’ He then looked at his watch. ‘I will see you then, but now I will leave—I have work to do.’
He stood up and left the room.
‘Anthony… about Dawson… I’m really sorry. I’m going to try and figure it out… if I figure it out then…’ Chris said slowly.
Their father stuck his head back into the room and cleared his throat.
‘Yes dad?’ Jamie asked.
‘Ashley…’ he said.
‘Oh, right…’ Jamie said.
‘Ashley can’t come.’ Alex said.
‘What, why not?’ Bobby asked.
‘Just because.’ Jamie said.
‘That makes no sense.’ I said.
‘Well, it has to.’ Chris said.
‘Whatever…’ Jo said.
‘Bye, see you tomorrow.’ Their dad said before he ducked back out of the room.
‘Bye!’ the triplets shouted together.
‘Oh…’ I groaned.
‘What?’ They asked together.
‘Do all twins and triplets talk together?’
‘No,’ Bobby, Jo, Alex, Chris, and Jamie said together, ‘of course not, don’t be silly—that makes no sense—don’t discriminate.’
‘Bobby!’ Everyone gasped. ‘You know what discriminate means?’
‘No it just fit the sentence well.’ Bobby said.
I sighed. ‘We need to get home, so I can get some sleep, and get up early, so I can follow Dreadlocks—‘ I stopped myself.
‘Dreadlocks?’ Jamie asked. ‘Who is that?’
‘Well… that doesn’t matter—I’ll see you on your birthday.’ I said, grabbing Bobby and Jo by their arms, and dragging them back toward the door.
‘Alright!’ Jamie yelled. We were charging out the door when we heard them all say, ‘Bye!’
I didn’t respond, but instead led Bobby and Jo back to their house.

‘I’ll see you two later…’ I said.
‘Yeah.’ They said.
‘Bye…’ I closed the door, and turned around.
Mr Tree was standing in the walkway. ‘Would you like a ride home?’ He asked.
‘Yes please.’ I said.
‘C’mon.’ He led me to his truck, and we got in. He drove me home, without any talking—it seemed like he knew something was wrong.
He pulled into my driveway, where there was already dad’s car and Charlie’s truck.
‘Thanks for the ride…’ I said.
‘No problem,’ He said, ‘see you later.’
I nodded, but didn’t feel like talking anymore. I waved at him as he pulled away.
I walked inside and saw dad sitting at the table talking to Charlie—or arguing.
‘All I’m saying is that I got an alarm clock and he gets a— Oh Anthony!’
‘Hey man—‘dad started.
‘Stop trying to be cool.’ Charlie said.
‘Humph… Where’s Dawson?’
I felt a tug in my stomach, and tears welling up in my eyes. I fell to me knees, and buried my face in my hands.
‘What’s wrong?’ Dad asked.
I tried to tell him what happened, but I couldn’t spit it out.
‘It’s Ok…’ Charlie said soothingly.
‘No… it’s really not… Dawson… he’s… Lulu…. and ……. he’s….’
‘No…’ Charlie said. ‘H-he didn’t… you know… for sure?’
I nodded.
‘Oh no…’ Dad said. I couldn’t handle anymore of this, so I went to bed and fell asleep quickly.

I woke up feeling uneasy, but made sure that I didn’t fall apart again today. Dawson was OK… I just knew it. My action plan today was to get him back. That wasn’t going to happen and I knew it…
I headed off early, I told my dad where I was going, but he tried to stop me—of course I didn’t listen, and instead headed off to the mall.
It was nine o’clock before I got there, and, it had started snowing.
There were people moving around carelessly, shopping for whatever it is they need… they had no idea how horrible this world was… they had no idea….
I scowled as I continued walking
People everywhere… smiling… stupid smiling people… stupid smiling shopping people… stupid smiling shopping tall people… stupid smiling shopping tall creepy people… stupid people.
I walked over to where Dawson was right before… right before it happened, and looked around. There were tracks everywhere! ‘I’m in a freaking parking lot!’ I shouted. ‘What did I expect to find?’
‘Me?’ Said a voice. I whipped around. I knew that voice. That was the voice of… no one…
‘Who said that?’ I asked.
‘Me.’ The voice said. ‘You got a problem with that?’
‘Who does that mean?’
‘Me… me… me!’
I fell to my knees, I was clearly hallucinating—I was hearing Dreadlocks talking. Then I realized that I should figure out his name….
I stood up and began looking around the parking lot—just in case a particular vehicle was there. It wasn’t. I then ran away. I ran as fast as my tired legs could take me, heading all the way to the hospital.
The snow picked up, into a full on storm mode, as I ran. Eventually, I got to the hospital… I think. I couldn’t tell—for sure, seeing as I couldn’t see anything, but I knew the town well enough to know this.
I realized how hopeless this was. There was no way that I was going to be able to find any clues in this snow. Dawson was doomed forever.
‘Anthony shut up!’ I said aloud. ‘You’re so stupid.’
‘You’re going insane!’ Said that voice again.
‘Am not.’
‘Are too.’
‘Am not.’
‘Are too.’
‘OK, shut up will you?’ I said.
‘You’re talking to yourself.’
‘Am not!’
‘Are too!’
‘I’m talking to you moron!’
‘I don’t exist moron!’
‘Don’t call me a moron!’
‘Your brother is dying!’ The voice said.
‘No he’s not!’
‘You said so yourself you fool. You know he is dying, so why do you deny what I am saying. Anthony your brother is dead now.’
‘SHUT UP!’ I screamed.
‘Stupid child, stupid stupid child. Dawson is dead, and Anthony will die soon too.’
‘What?’ I said, my heart beating faster. ‘What are you talking about?’
‘You will die, and it will be by my hands.’ He said.
I swung a punch into the air. He had to be real, there was no way that voice was fake—it sounded like it was right beside me.
I ran away when I realized that I wasn’t hitting anything.
I didn’t know where I was going, and I really didn’t care, as long as that horrible man wasn’t there… wherever “there” turned out to be.
I kept running, then ran into a fence, and flipped over it and into a pile of snow.
I turned around and looked at the fence; there was a bright red sign with black letters. It was hard to tell exactly what it said, but I knew that sign. I was at town hall. The town hall was close to the park.
Perfect!
The Park…
My new plan was to go to the park and head through the trees. The trees would keep the snow out of my face which would help substantially.
I headed along the wall of the city hall, using my hands to help with directions.
I reached the end of the building, and walked slowly as I continued.
I saw the park. It was just across the street.
I looked both ways, and only saw snow, so I headed across the street.
I stopped halfway. There was a figure standing on the other side. Just five ten feet in front of me.
‘Anthony?’ The voice asked.
‘Go away!’
‘That’s not very nice.’
I was stunned. I didn’t know what to do. I could run, but that would be totally cowardly. I could attack—but I was too scared. This was one of the worst situations of my life.
I turned when I heard it. There was no time to move. The black van was coming strait for me.
I turned my head, and saw her… Ashley was standing there, it seemed like the snow was swirling around her in an upward spiral, her hair blowing. She was smiling, with her eyes shining… speaking of shining, the sun was out and it was like a spotlight on her.
The last thing I heard before my vision went black was her voice saying… screaming my name.
















12. Party

‘Anthony,’ she said. ‘Anthony wake up.’ My eyes opened slowly. I smiled.
‘Ashley…’ I said, ‘what are you doing here? Wait… where is here?’
‘You’re at the hospital.’
‘Again?’
‘Again?’ She asked. ‘What happened before?’
‘Nothing,’ I said.
‘Well, it wasn’t nothing, otherwise you wouldn’t be here and –‘
‘No, really. Nothing happened.
‘OK.’ She said.
‘Wait!’ I remembered. ‘The van!’
‘What van?’ She asked.
‘Um, the van that hit me.’
‘You were hit by a car, not a van Anthony.’
‘Oh… no I wasn’t’
‘Yeah you were.’
‘How long was I out?’ I said, asking this question a little late.
‘An hour, maybe.’ Ashley laughed.
‘I don’t understand…’ I said.
Then Ashley began explaining how a small blue car (not at all a van) had swerved on account of the ice on the road, and hit me. Luckily the car had slowed down significantly before it hit me. The figure across the street was Ashley—she was right there and she took me to the hospital with the woman who had hit me. Then I woke up an hour later.
The woman came in after Ashley had finished and told me how sorry she was. I told her it was fine, and she said it wasn’t. I told her it was an accident, but then she gave me all the money in her wallet, which was… interesting. I mean, I didn’t want it, but who could say ‘no’ to two hundred dollars… me? Yup.
‘I really can’t… I’m sorry.’ I said.
‘Alright… but I must be able to do something…’
‘No, it’s fine, I’m alive, and I’m… living. It’s OK.’
She left, after apologizing another hundred times.
‘You could have asked for a ride home.’ Ashley said.
‘Well, I could have, but I don’t exactly trust her driving… you know what I mean?’
‘Ah… I see. So how are you doing on the case?’ She asked.
‘Oh… good—horrible. Ashley! Dawson’s dead!’
‘What?’ She asked standing up and flinging her hand over her mouth.
‘I think he’s dead anyway… they took him and now he’s dead.’
‘No, Anthony it’s OK, he’s not dead yet, and you know it. We can still save him! It’ll be fine.’
‘Fine?’ I said. ‘Oh really? My brother is… might be dead, and it’s all going to be fine?’
‘Yes.’ She said.
‘Whatever… I need to leave now.’ I said.
‘No you don’t—the doctor said you have to rest.’
‘Screw the doctor, let me go.’ I said sitting up. Ashley put her hand on my shoulder, and pushed me back down. I growled. ‘Leave me alone Ashley. I have to go! You don’t understand how important this is!’
‘How important… what is?’
‘I… I—‘
‘Can’t tell me, I get it…’
‘No, it’s not that… I just don’t know.’
‘You don’t know?’
‘I know it’s important that I do a lot of things… but I can’t remember exactly what it is that I should be doing right now.’
‘It’s just a feeling, it’s not accurate. You have a subconscious thought that you should be looking for Dawson. But right now… you need to rest.’
‘No.’
‘Anthony!’ She hissed.
‘Ashley… please…’ I sighed.
‘You should listen to your friend.’ The doctor said, walking into the room. ‘She’s right; you need to rest for a while. I will inform you when you can go. But first I think I’ll give you a check up, and see if you are ok.’
I groaned, letting Ashley win this time.

seven hours later, I was standing—nothing wrong with me at all, and trying to sneak out of the hospital room that I had been trapped in, while Ashley was in the bathroom.
Charlie had come and gone with Miranda. Dad was still working, so he had no time to come in. Ashley on the other hand… she hadn’t left! Not once! Her visiting the bathroom was the closest thing yet, so I decided to take action.
It wasn’t hard to get out of the hospital, as no one stopped me. I realized that I had no ride home, so I started walking—being especially careful when crossing the roads.
I burst through the doors of my house when I finally got home, and wandered up the stairs to find something to put on my frozen feet.
I jumped when I saw the figure at the top of the stairs.
‘Ashley!’ I yelled, ‘How did you—?’
‘Anthony, get into bed, right now.’
‘How did you get here?’
‘Well, it’s a little thing called “transportation”.’
‘Get out of my way.’ I said pushing past her. ‘I don’t have time for this, I need to find three presents by the week after next.’
‘For who?’ Ashley asked.
‘The triplets are having a party.’
‘Can I go?’ She asked.
I thought back to that night, and how Jamie made sure Ashley wasn’t there before he continued talking, and how specific their father was when he told us who we could bring—our fathers only. ‘No, I don’t think so.’
‘Fine, whatever.’ Ashley growled, and then she stormed down the stairs.

Dad arrived back home a couple hours later, it was pretty dark by then—in fact it was around midnight, so yeah, dark would make sense.
‘Anthony? What are you doing?’ He asked when he saw me sitting on the couch.
‘Not much—I was watching TV, and then—‘
‘I mean, why are you still awake?’
‘Oh… I don’t really know.’ I responded, standing up, ‘good night.’
‘Good night.’
‘But are you OK?’ He asked
I nodded, and then ran upstairs.

The next two weeks went by fairly quickly—though not really any faster than normal, because that was just unethical, it just seemed like it was going faster… duh…
I picked out presents for the triplets—and it was really hard. Three rich children… what don’t they have? I ended up getting Jamie a new tool box, I bought Chris a book that she had said that she wanted, and I bought Alex a new soccer ball. I didn’t know if they would like them, but I bought them anyway because they were all really nice and would probably like anything I gave them—in fact they probably weren’t even expecting any gifts.
I hadn’t talked to Ashley, for the past two weeks, and I didn’t know how she was doing on the case—if she hated me—or if she was even safe…
On the day of the party I woke up unusually early, to a strange beeping noise. It was coming from the broken cell phone on my desk… maybe it wasn’t as broken as I thought. I stood up and walked over to it. It continued beeping, but it was obviously broken. The screen was off, and cracked, and the entire thing was waterlogged. Confused, I took the battery out, and let the two pieces sit there, the beeping stopped.
I wandered downstairs, and sat alone in the kitchen for a while before getting some breakfast ready. I ate at the bar counter, watching the dining room window through the thing where you pass food through the wall, and all the way through the dining room.
The window did nothing exciting, but my eyes remained glued to it.
‘Hey, what are you doing up so early?’ Charlie asked—causing me to jump, and almost fall out of my seat.
‘Eating…’ I said, steadying myself again.
‘Isn’t today the day of the party?’ He asked.
I nodded.
‘Too bad I have to work. I would have gone. Those kids are nice.’
Again, I nodded.
There was a long uncomfortable silence.
‘Anthony… I just want you to know that I do care about you, and I don’t want you going into too much trouble, or finding too much danger, while looking for Dawson… I care about him too, but to loose both of you would be absolutely horrid.’
I turned to look at him. Unaware of what I should say.
‘I just thought I’d let you know that. Be careful… I—just do it ok?’
‘I will…’
‘Promise.’
‘I can’t promise you anything, except that Dawson will be saved. I will promise you that… I do promise you that.’
‘Anthony… just don’t get killed in the process. I know how much it means to you to do this without the help of the police—but if things get out of hand… call them. Please.’
‘I promise that I will call the police at some point during the investigation.’
‘Really?’
‘I promise.’ I had a good time to call them in my mind.
‘Alright.’ Charlie said, his gloomy mood already turning slightly happier. He took out a pan, and some eggs, and bacon, and then began cooking. ‘So how’s Ashley these days—I used to see her almost everyday, and now, the last time I saw her was at the hospital and before that a few months ago.’
‘Well, at the hospital you talked to her.’ I pointed out.
‘Well, yeah, but both of us were more or less paying attention to the boy who was hit by a car.’
‘Ah… right.’
‘So how is she?’
‘I guess she’s good.’
‘Good? Just good?’
‘Well… I don’t really know ok? We are both working on the case—but not together… so I don’t even know how to begin. She’s really picky about everything I do, and she’s constantly telling me to call the police, and apparently she’s following me.’ I said referring to the time when I was hit by the car.
‘Sounds to me like I’m not the only one concerned for your safety.’ Charlie said.
‘Well, my safety is fine; you need not concern yourself about it. I can handle myself.’
‘Fine.’ Charlie said.
We didn’t talk for the rest of the morning. He finished making, and eating his breakfast, then headed out the door to go to work.
I walked back upstairs to have a shower and to get dressed in formal clothing… which to me was jeans that had no holes in them, a long sleeved t-shirt, and a sweater.
When dad woke up I got him to drive me to the triplets’ mansion early, so I could talk to the triplets a little. I also really wanted to leave early, so I could get stuff done. I wasn’t sure what it was that I had to do, but I had this feeling that there was something really important.
Dad, and I walked up to the door of the mansion, and I used the golden dragon knocker that hung on their front door, and waited for someone to open the door.
It was Veronique. ‘Hello, are you here for the party? Come on in.’
Veronique led us to the coat hooks, and then took us into the room with the two couches that I had been in with Jo, Bobby and the triplets before. ‘Wait here I will find the children.’
‘Nice place… don’t you think?’ Dad said after a moment’s silence. ‘Remind me again why I had to stay.’
‘You don’t have to; it’s just that their dad wanted you to come. Why? No idea.’ I said standing up and looking around.
‘Well, I don’t even know him. Do I?’ Dad asked walking over to a shelf covered in pictures.
I was standing by the fireplace looking at snow globes and other knickknacks when I said, ‘beats me. You know as much as I do.’
‘About what?’ A female asked. I turned around and saw Chris standing in the doorway.
‘About why my dad had to be here.’ I said.
‘Oh, I don’t really know either.’ She said, walking over to me.
‘I set your presents on that table over there.’ I said pointing to a table in the corner.
‘Oh, thanks.’ She said smiling.
‘Anthony—you’re here early!’ Alex said running into the room. ‘How are you today?’
‘Good, you?’
‘Great! I’m finally fifteen! YES!’ She cheered.
‘Chill, Alex.’ Jamie said walking in. ‘Fifteen is nothing good—once we turn sixteen, then we can cheer.’
‘Are Bobby and Jo coming?’ Chris asked.
‘As far as I know, yes.’ I said with a sigh. ‘Who else is coming?’
‘A bunch of dad’s friends,’ Alex said.
‘Some of our Aunt’s, Uncle’s and cousins,’ Jamie added.
‘And that’s pretty much it.’ Chris said.
I heard a door slam shut. ‘Who’s that?’ I asked.
‘I think its dad.’ Jamie said.
‘Kids, I’m home—has anyone arrived yet?’
‘Yup, it’s dad.’ Alex said to me, ‘Yes—Anthony and his father are here!’
‘Oh good!’ He appeared in the room instantly, and dragged my dad into a corner.
‘Richard, it’s good to see you,’ he said in a whisper.
‘You as well, Jerry,’ dad said.
‘Do you want to—‘Alex started but I cut her off.
‘Shhh! I’m eavesdropping.’ Apparently dad did know him…
‘Anthony—this isn’t a good conversation to be eavesdropping on.’ Jamie said unusually loud.
Jerry looked up, and nodded toward his children and took dad away.
‘Guys—my dad said he didn’t know your dad, and now suddenly he knows his name—I have to eavesdrop, this is like my job.’
‘If you must.’ Chris said.
‘Thank you.’
I ran off chasing my dad. I heard their voices coming from a room down the hall, so I sat down by the door and listened.
‘I haven’t seen you for a while Jerry.’ I heard dad say.
‘Well, I’ve been quite busy. Now, I’m just going to get strait to the point. ‘I need you to take this off of my hands.’
‘No.’ Dad said instantly. ‘I will not take it—I’ve got the other, one, and what was the point of splitting them up?’
‘So no one could get a hold of both in one go.’ Jerry said, ‘but you don’t understand, I think someone’s on to me, and no one suspects you—it’s like your not even one of us anymore, and you have no security… they just won’t suspect you, please, take it.’
There was a long silence. ‘Alright, fine.’
‘Thank you—you won’t regret this! Thank you!’
‘You can’t say that I won’t regret this, because I have a good feeling that I will regret this. If I ever tell you to take it back. You take it. You hear me?’
‘Yes—I promise.’ Jerry said. I heard footsteps from within the room, so I stood up, and jumped into the room across the hall.
I peered out through the key hole and saw that my dad had a worried expression on his face, and was holding a box wrapped colourfully in wrapping paper. Jerry was smiling broadly.
Before I left the room, I heard Jerry say, ‘kids—don’t mistake this for a present.’
‘OK dad,’ Either Chris or Alex said—I wasn’t sure.
I left the room that I was in and crept along the hall way until I was back in the sitting area.
Jo and Bobby arrived moments later, bearing gifts. Bobby held a book in his hands.
I whispered to Chris, ‘I didn’t think I’d ever see Bobby take a book to a party.’
She smiled.
‘I love this series!’ Bobby cheered happily, when I commented on the fact that he was reading the second book.
‘Well, just remember that you have to write a report on the first book.’
‘Ohhhh! I forgot about that!’
‘I thought you might have.’
People began arriving ten minutes after Bobby and Jo. Eventually the whole house was filled with people. So I stepped outside, to get a breath of fresh air.
I took a walk though the snow, thinking about Dawson and Lulu… and all the other kids that were taken. I had witnessed so many now, and I was still safe… that’s pretty lucky. Maybe everyone else was right… maybe it was time to call the cops. I owed it to all of those people who I had not helped… I had tried… but I had also failed. Why was I the only person going insane about this? James and Paula didn’t seem to have gone insane… Ashley wasn’t insane.
Why me?
I found myself at the willow tree, so I sat down and thought for a bit.
Jo and Bobby had followed me apparently, because they showed up a couple minutes later, then the triplets’ moments after that.
‘Don’t like the party?’ Alex asked.
‘It’s not that… it’s just that there are too many people there…’ I said.
‘I understand…’ Jamie said, ‘I hate being around that many people.’
‘Me too.’ Chris said.
‘I don’t mind it—but I was dragged out of the house by Jo here,’ Bobby said.
‘Well I just—FIRE!’ Jo said, we all jumped up and looked toward the house. She was right… there was a fire.
The six of us bolted down the hill toward the house that was being engulfed in flames. It seemed they had just appeared out of no where. Running toward the burning house was not the procedure we had been taught, but still, it was the only thing that seemed right at the time.
We all stood near the house, in awe. We heard screams, and crackling fire, and the sound of breaking wood… the house was collapsing.
‘We have to do something!’ I said.
‘We have to go!’ Alex said, grabbing her siblings’ arms and running toward the barn that stood in the distance. I looked toward the fire, then made up my mind. I followed the triplets.

‘Jo… we have to go in.’ Bobby said to me. I took a deep breath and nodded. He was right, our father was in there. We couldn’t just let him die.
I ran forward and kicked door—being smart enough not to touch the hot metal door knob. Bobby followed me in, but ran strait for the food table.
‘Bobby!’ I screamed.
‘Just getting my book!’
‘NO!’
‘Well, I’ve got it now, so—‘
‘Just help people out,’ I said. We split up, I went upstairs and Bobby stayed down. Hopefully no one ventured up so high as to get to the third floor.
I heard many screams, in all sorts of rooms, so I helped them out, and directed them to the door. Why were there so many people here?
I went up even higher. And found few people, thankfully there weren’t many on this floor.
I finished my upstairs search and then turned back to run down the stairs, but there wad fire everywhere, and gaping holes in the steps.
I wiped my brow; the heat was really starting to get to me. I turned back and looked for another route, but I couldn’t find one.
I opened a window at the end of the hall, and peered down. There was a drain pipe that led all the way down. And a window directly below me was open. Maybe if I could get through that window.
I climbed out the window, and slowly grabbed a hold of the pipe which was quite hot. I swung my legs out and climbed down. I got maybe two feet down when the pipe broke.
‘Ahhhhh!’ I screamed as I fell. I reached my hands out and grabbed the ledge of the window. I slowly pulled myself up and climbed in.
I was in a bedroom, with many bookshelves. Chris’ bedroom. I ran to the door and kicked it open. I was now on the second floor—this one even more engulfed in flames than the last. I ran toward the stairs and skipped two with every step.
I reached the bottom floor, and I saw Bobby helping dad out of the house.
I couldn’t breathe now… The smoke was completely unbearable. I felt like I was going to fall over, as I stood still, sweating. I saw Bobby come back in, and I began to walk over to him.
Crack
A support beam broke and fell in front of me—it was covered in flames. I turned to go back up the stairs but they were totally covered in flames too.
I turned toward a window that was right at the bottom of the stairs, and tried to open it—but it was jammed. I kept trying, the way I saw it, this was my only way out.
‘Please… please… PLEASE!’ I pushed with all my might and the window popped open.
I felt a pair of hands grab my arms, and pull me through the now open window. Both me and my savoir fell to the ground, and felt the snow soak into our clothes.

BOOM
The sound echoed through the barn as the house exploded.
‘Bobby… Jo…’ I said, ‘You don’t think that they were stupid enough to go back in? Do you?’
‘No, of course not,’ Alex said.
The barn was cold and damp, and smelled of rotting wood. There was a tractor that looked as though it had never been used, an old limousine, and a car covered in a tarp, but other than that it was completely empty.
‘It’s a good thing mom was on that vacation.’ Jamie said, as he walked over to the car covered with the tarp.
‘So why is it that we needed to get to the barn so bad?’ I asked.
‘Because we need to protect something.’ Chris said.
‘Protect what? The old limousine? The tractor?’
‘No… this.’ Jamie pulled the tarp off of the car, to reveal the frame of a car, with no wheels. The mechanism had a floor to it, and it looked like it was attached to the barn with metal beams.
‘What is it?’ I asked.
‘It’s an elevator silly,’ Chris said.
Why are they so cheery? I asked myself, their whole house just exploded.
‘Quick—get in!’ Jamie said. I did as I was told. Once the four of us were loaded in, Jamie pressed a button, and the elevator began moving down.
‘Where are we going?’ I asked as my stomach flipped upside down. ‘And why are we going so fast?’
‘Because we’re in a hurry.’ Jamie said. ‘And you’ll find out where we’re going in a minute.’
After about twenty seconds the elevator stopped and we all climbed out. We were in a dimly lit stone hallway with intricate carvings on pillars all the way through. At the end of the hallway there was a path that led to the right and a door. The path smelt like smoke.
I took a step and almost fell over—the elevator really disoriented me.
‘This path leads to the—or led to the house.’ Alex said.
‘But it’s this door that we want to go through anyway,’ Chris said.
She reached forward and opened the metal door. Two people stood behind the door. All four of us, jumped back at the sight of them, but it was just dad and Jerry.
‘Kids!’ Jerry yelled, ‘for goodness sakes… you almost gave me a heart attack.
‘Anthony!’ Dad said smiling, and running toward me. ‘You’re OK!’
‘I am—but I’m not so sure about Bobby and Jo.’ I said.
‘I’m sure they’re fine.’ Dad said. ‘We have to get out of here though. I’m sure Jerry can handle this alone. Come on—all of you.’
Dad began leading us through the tunnel, that led to the house, but I stopped him. ‘Dad—I’m pretty sure the house blew up.’
‘What!?’ He yelled exasperated.
‘Yup…’ I said.
‘Well, I don’t know another way out.’
‘I do.’ I said, the four of us lead my dad the way we had come in, and we all boarded the elevator and began going up. ‘So the point of us coming down here—?’
‘To make sure dad had it handled… or at least make sure no one else was down here.’ Chris explained.
‘Ah… I see,’ I sighed. ‘We have to go find the others. We have to make sure they’re OK ‘
My dad nodded, but didn’t say anything. I knew what he was thinking, he was trying to comfort me, but he wasn’t sure how, with the house blown up and all there was no way Bobby and Jo had survived… I felt the lump in my throat return.
The elevator clicked when it reached the top, and I slid over the railing, and began running toward the door of the barn.
I pushed on it to open it, but it wouldn’t budge. ‘Help! I can’t push it!’ I snarled. ‘Help!’
Jamie was the first to reach me, and help, then my dad, than the girls. But even with all five of us, the door wouldn’t open.
‘Help! Help!’ Alex began yelling.
‘No one is going to care if someone is stuck in the barn!’ I yelled, ‘they’ll be helping everyone outside instead—‘
‘Is someone in there?’ Someone asked from the other side of the door.
‘Prove me wrong why don’t you?’ I mumbled. ‘Yes! Please help!’
‘Alright—there’s just some scrap wood in front of the door—probably from the house. Just give us a minute and we’ll have this cleared out for ya.’
‘Great, thank you!’ I said.
The five of us sat back waiting for the moment when we’d be set free, listening to the sounds of wood being thrown around and trying to ignore the smell of sulphur in the air.
Then finally the sound of a creaking wooden door filled the silence.
I jumped to my feet and pushed passed our saviours—a tall man with a blonde mop for hair, and a woman with a blonde braid down her back.
I began running down the hill toward the house, when another explosion went off at the house.
Screams filled the air, but I kept running, ducking under a wooded beam flew over me. ‘ANTHONY!’
I turned to the sound of someone screaming my name and saw my dad begin running down the hill after me.
‘STOP! IT’S DANGEROUS!’ He yelled.
‘No!’ I yelled in return
My dad caught up to me pretty quickly, and jumped in front of me. ‘Anthony—get—over—here!’ Dad grabbed me and pulled my behind a tree, just as another explosion boomed. I felt the heat on either side of me, and I even saw the fire shoot out farther than ten feet beyond our tree.
‘Dad—I’m going to have to risk it—I have to make sure they’re OK!’
‘No, you will wait right here. I’ll check.’
‘Fine,’ I said, peeking around the corner anyway. I looked around quickly for Bobby and Jo, but they were nowhere to be seen. ‘GO!’ I said to dad.’ I sat down and waited as dad ran from tree to tree looking for my friends.
I didn’t know how much longer I could wait, so I tried to think about how this happened. My prime suspects were Dreadlocks and the others; because they were the people I knew that seemed to be in the mood for crimes.
The others… who were they again… oh yes, Mop Head and Base-Ball Cap…
I suddenly felt like I was going to vomit.
Our saviours….
I stood up—disobeying my father, and began running toward the barn. Jamie…… Chris…… Alex…… I reached the barn quickly, but saw no sign of anyone. No… I let my stupidity lose them. They were gone with those horrible people. Now they were with Dawson, and Lulu…. How could I have been so stupid?
Maybe they would be OK though. Maybe, because they knew something about this case—something that I didn’t know, they could save him. Maybe this was all for the better.
My optimism failed me. I knew, that somehow, and someday, I would have to save them. I would have to go find them. And that mission started into overdrive right now. Right now…

After being pulled from the window by my brother, the two of us hid behind a tree, and waited for the worst to be over, but the worst seemed to never want to stop… Explosion after explosion echoed through the air.
Our clothes were burned in many places, I felt as if I was going to faint soon because of all the heat and smoke, and the large willow tree we were hiding behind caught on fire.
We stood up and ran as far away from that tree as possible, but the fire had reached almost everywhere, when finally we reached a place where no fire had reached yet, but there were also no trees. So we took a deep breath and ran to the next tree which was quite far away, when the biggest explosion of all occurred.
I screamed, and Bobby ducked, but then I was tackled by someone, and pulled back behind the last tree. I watched as Mr Harper ran back out to pull Bobby back too.
Eventually the three of us were sitting behind an oak tree, waiting for something extraordinary to happen, but not much did.
I looked toward the barn and saw Anthony standing at the door. It wasn’t too far away so I could even see his expression, it was really sad, but the moment we made eye contact, he smiled.



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Yamazaru
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Posts : 23
Join date : 2010-08-27
Age : 25

PostSubject: Chapter 13 and 14   Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:58 am









13. Parent Teacher Meeting

Dad came over to me when the explosions were at ten minute intervals between them, Bobby and Jo at his heels. Both of them looked like they had just been in a burning building… oh wait…
Jo ran up to me and flung her arms around me, ‘Anthony!’ She said, hugging me tightly.
‘Are you OK?’ Bobby asked.
I nodded slowly, ‘You?’
‘Yeah—but my book!’ He held up the book, the back of the book was burnt, and so were the last ten pages.
‘I smiled, I have a copy you can borrow.’ I said, back to business, ‘Alex, Chris, and Jamie… they’re gone.’ I said. I had a better hold on my emotions this time.
‘Gone as in…?’ Bobby asked.
‘Gone, as in gone.’ I sighed, ‘Like Dawson and Lulu. And now I know my action plan. I’m going to go full force search mode until they are all back with me, and those horrible people are in jail.’
‘Anthony, you and I need to talk!’ Dad said, ‘Later, but right now I need to talk to Jerry about this.’ He ran into the barn. None of us said anything until we heard the elevator move.
‘Anthony, you’re planning needs work,’ Jo said.
‘Not only that, but it needs a partner.’ Bobby said.
‘You need to talk to Ashley!’ They said together.
‘And somehow, I still feel tempted to stay away from her.’ I hissed.
‘Anthony, this is serious, and I’m not kidding—if you don’t finish this case in the next week, I’ll…’ Jo said, ‘I’ll…’
‘You’ll what? Call the police?’ I said, mocking her lame threat.
‘Yes, yes, that’s exactly what I’ll do! I’ll call the police if you don’t finish it in the next week.’ Jo said.
‘What do you plan on telling them? Oh, I know someone who knows something about the case… a huck yuk!’ I mocked.
‘………. yeah, I will. If they know you know something, they’ll hold you in captivity until you tell them something. It’ll just work out that way, and then—‘
‘And then what? I’ll go to jail! Then you’re life will just carry on the way it was? Yeah, I don’t think so!’
‘You won’t go to jail if you just tell them what you know! Seriously, Anthony—I’ll do it!’
‘Jo, you have no right, this doesn’t involve you!’
‘Still, it’s the best thing to do! What if you decide not to, and then one of them dies? Then it will be all your fault! What if it’s Dawson?’ She yelled.
I paused, she was right; it would be my fault… I have to do it…
‘Jo, it’s a guy thing—remember when I couldn’t catch that chicken?’ Bobby pitched in, ‘You ran around catching like, twenty, and I was still working on the first one, but I wouldn’t let you help me? It’s ‘cause we guys have to do it ourselves!’
‘Do you remember how that day turned out?’ Jo asked.
‘No…’
‘I ended up helping; we caught the chicken, and then made it inside, just as mom was taking a fresh batch of cookies out of the oven.’ Jo said, ‘so basically, if Anthony uses the police, then he’ll save someone just in time? That’s what your story said, right?’
‘Sure?’ Bobby said.
‘You’re right…’ I said, ‘I promise I’ll call them tomorrow.’
‘Really?’ Jo asked.
‘I promise.’
‘Anthony, let’s go home…’ Dad said as he came out of the barn. ‘It’s getting late.’
‘No, we can’t go home yet!’ I said, ‘what about all this,’ I motioned toward the wreckage. ‘What if people are hurt?
‘The ambulance is coming, it’ll all be OK.’ Dad said.
‘But I’d really like to make sure—‘
‘Bobby? Jo?’ A voice rang from the darkness.
‘Dad!’ They said together.
A limp man, with a bloody arm came hobbling out of the bushes, coughing.
‘Are you OK?’ Dad asked, rushing over to help him.
‘I’m (cough) Ok, just how are my (cough) kids?’
‘We’re fine dad—let’s get you to the ambulances.’ Jo said.
‘Are they here yet?’ Bobby asked.
‘I can see their lights up on top of the hill over in the distance,’ Jo responded.
My dad, and Bobby helped Mr Tree over to where the ambulances were going to come, while Jo and I followed in silence.
About ten ambulances drove in, along with five fire trucks and police cars.
All the victims worked their way over to the cars, and had themselves looked at, while the police men and the fire men searched the perimeters for any deaths.
About an hour later, they came back to report that no body had been found, and about ten minutes after that, all the victims were looked after. It was a miracle.
Jerry came walking out of the barn at about this time, and one of the police men ran over to him, ‘Mr Bartley?’ He asked.
‘Yes?’ Jerry asked.
‘I’m going to need a list of everyone who was invited, to find out who did this.’
‘Oh , there’s no need for that!’ Jerry said, ‘I know it wasn’t one of my guests!’
‘We’d still like to make sure sir—‘ The man said.
‘But I saw them! It was the same people who took my kids!’
‘What? Who took your children?’
‘Oh, I don’t know really, but I can tell you what they looked like. A tall blonde male, longish mop-like hair, dark complexion, average height female, long blonde hair, pale complexion.’
‘There was another!’ I said stepping up to them. ‘He wasn’t here today, but he works with them, I’ve witnessed it.’
‘Son, you need to tell me everything you know about this other man.’ The police officer said.
‘Well, he had long hair—dreadlocks… um, black, his hair is black. He’s African-American, average height—mean.’ I said.
‘Mean? Well of course he’s mean.’ The man said taking note of everything, ‘now what was it that you witnessed?’
‘Well, there was a kidnapping at the bowling alley, one in the woods at the park, a few at the mall, and one here… well, I’ve witnessed a lot of them, but the only thing that bugs me, is why Dreadlocks wasn’t here today… it just doesn’t fit.’
‘Alright… you’re sure that’s all you know?’ He asked.
I thought about it for a moment, and then nodded.
‘OK, well, we’ll do what we can with your descriptions, but they won’t give us much of a lead. Thank you, we’ll contact you if necessary—well, it might help if we get your identity.’
‘I’m Anthony. Anthony Harper.’

Once home, I forced myself upstairs, and trudged down the hallway to my room.
I sat in bed thinking about Dreadlocks for an hour or two before I finally felt like I was ready to sleep. So I laid down and fell asleep… instantly.
The next week and a half went by so slowly, without any sign of Dreadlocks, or the others, which made me more uneasy than I had ever been in my life. What were they planning?
The police officer hadn’t called me, and that made me feel even worse… he hadn’t found them, they were still out there doing, who knows what, to Dawson, Lulu, and the triplets, and now—if Dreadlocks met up with the others again—they knew that I was on to them… they knew what I was planning, which gave them the advantage.
I woke up to the sound of laughter and joy, as a snowball fight pursued outside my window.
I felt like sticking my head out the window and yelling at them, but my bedroom door opened, and Charlie walked in.
‘Merry Christmas!’ He said cheerfully.
‘Boo!’ I said, sticking my head under my pillow and blocking out Charlie’s next words. Charlie then ripped the pillow away from me and gave me a speech about how this was the first Christmas without Dawson that we’d had in fourteen years, but we should make the best of it, and how he just knew that Dawson would be back for next year.
I went downstairs with him just so he would think that he’d won, even though I only half listened to what he had said.
I didn’t pay attention to what I was opening for presents. But once I was done we ate breakfast, and I let the rest of the day play out just like any other Christmas.
A few days later, New Years went by—I went to bed early that night.
Then, finally, the day I had been dreading, the return of school.
I did my best not to talk to anyone while there, which wasn’t hard, because no one was really in the talkative mood, seeing as exams were coming fast.
When they did come, I was ready. I flew through my English, and History, struggled slightly with my Math, but still pulled through, and aced my Art exam, which was just to paint an abstract painting. Time wasn’t on my side. So much time had gone passed in just a little space…. Of time…
I prepared for the next semester that next weekend.
My schedule was as follows: Civics and Careers, there was no one I knew in that class; Science, again, I knew no one; and Art (no of course I didn’t take the same class…), with Grace, and Bobby; then finally German, Ashley and Jo were both in this class.
My homeroom teacher, Mr Ewing, handed out a schedule of the semester. The first two things on the list happened in succession, a Valentine’s Day dance on the 15th, and a Parent Teacher Meeting on the 16th. I figured out that Valentines Day was on a weekend this year, so I guess they would have a dance the day after—makes sense.
I paid no attention in any of my classes, because I just really didn’t want to. Simple as that. My life was ending, so what was the point?
I waited the next couple days, and then it was the Valentine’s weekend, and I shut myself up in my room. I was not about to head outside on the most disgusting day of the year in this state of mind.
I heard a distant knocking sound. Someone was at the front door. Moments later footsteps could be heard coming up the stairs.
I swiftly crawled under my bed, and pulled off the door to the chute. I crawled in and grabbed onto one of the support beams at the top to keep steady, then I pulled the door back on, and positioned myself so my stomach was facing the slide, to make my life easier while getting out.
‘I hear you…’ Ashley said. I had a feeling it was her—that’s why I went into the chute in the first place.
I stopped moving altogether, hoping she would leave, but she didn’t.
‘Are you… under here?’ She asked. She sounded closer now—like she was checking under the bed,
I heard thumping noises, that gradually became louder, and finally hands scratching at the chute door. She probably saw it under the bed and wondered what it was… why does she have to be such a snoop?
My eyes opened wide as the door began to move. When she saw me she screamed—I couldn’t blame her—suspenseful moment, snooping for something in someone else’s room, opening a secret door, and seeing a bulging eyed, pale skinned boy hanging from the ceiling looking back at her…
My instinct kicked in, and I threw my hands over her mouth, letting go of the support beams, and smashing into the chute, I flung my arms around, and found her shoulders. She grabbed my arms, and we both fell through the chute.
I could tell she wanted to scream, but she knew I wasn’t, so I guess she figured it was safe.
I slammed against the ground, landing on my back (I had spun around) and Ashley flying out seconds later, landing on top of me.
‘Ow…’ I said.
‘Sorry,’ She said, rolling off of me, ‘but you deserved that—why did you scare me like that?’ She asked.
‘How was I supposed to know that you’d snoop so far as to find my secret escape?’ I snarled.
‘Well—I don’t know! Why would you even have a secret escape? Anyway, I just thought I’d come say hi.’ She seemed like she was trying to change the subject.
‘Well, “hi” now leave.’
‘No, I want to stay.’ She said like a bratty child.
‘Well I don’t want you here.’ I lied.
I turned my head away. I waited a moment, before turning my head back. We were silent for a minute, then she leaned in. What is she doing? Oh man…
I leaned in despite my rapid thoughts about how mad I was at her.
Our lips touched just as Charlie landed beside us.
Ashley screamed again.
‘Charlie?’ I was shocked, ‘Way to go Ashley, now everyone knows about my chute.’
‘Well, I heard a scream, but when I checked, no one was there, so I checked under the bed—good hiding place you know… and well, now I’m here.’ Charlie explained.
‘How wonderful…’ I sighed.
‘Well I’d better get home,’ Ashley said standing up and weaving her way through the bushes. ‘Bye Anthony! Bye Charlie!’
Back to school… My grades were pretty low on everything I got back, but I didn’t really care much, grades weren’t what was on my mind—that is, until Grace talked to me.
‘Anthony, what’s wrong?’ She asked, ‘you haven’t finished a single project—you have to have five finished by mid-term.’
‘That kid hasn’t finished one either.’ I said pointing to a boy in the corner.
‘I don’t expect it from him.’
‘What about her?’ I asked.
‘She’s a perfectionist. She’s working really hard on her first one. Now I would understand not having one done, I suppose, but you haven’t started. At all. I think I need to talk to your dad tomorrow night. It might help.’
‘Yay…’ I said sarcastically.
So that night, I sat outside of Grace’s classroom while my dad sat inside talking to her.
I waited for forty-five minutes before my dad came out. ‘Alright Grace, see you on Saturday, bye.’ He said as he left the room.
‘Saturday?’ I asked.
‘Yeah, I have a date! Now you—pull up your grades, I will not have you failing young man.’
‘A date?’
‘Don’t try to change the subject!’
‘What subject?’
‘All of them!’
‘What?’ I said, truly confused.
‘Pull up your grades in all the subjects.’
No, no one could make me, so why should I?
I pulled myself out of that state of mind quickly after I received my first F on a test. It was in Science. So maybe I’d pull my grades up just a bit.
So dad went on his date with Grace that Saturday, which was one of the weirdest things of my life. I mean, it wasn’t really an experience because I wasn’t the one going on the date, but still really weird.
I looked at the calendar, and sighed. February 20th. Dawson’s birthday. I had guessed that my dad went on the date today to try and forget that today was Dawson’s birthday. It was an interesting strategy, but it wouldn’t work for me. I didn’t want to forget my brother… just save him. He was an important part of my life, and it was not something to let go.
Dawson’s door was open a little, so I pushed it open the rest of the way and saw that Charlie was sitting on the bed. I wanted to ask him what he was doing, but I decided to not say anything and let him go on with whatever it was that needed going on with.
Of course I didn’t leave—what kind of detective leaves when there is something right in front of him to be detected.
Charlie wasn’t saying much, but I didn’t blame him, he was alone in the room of his possibly dead brother… In fact just the thought of that made me want to leave.
When I heard Charlie stand up, I crept out of the room, and crab-walked over to my room.
I waited ten minutes, then snuck over to Dawson’s room. On the bed were multiple journals. Dawson’s. He always did like to keep track of everything in his life. I felt tempted to read them… but even with him not here it didn’t seem right. But, then again, I could always blame Charlie if anyone found out—I mean, it wouldn’t technically be a lie, because it was obvious that this is what Charlie was doing.
I grabbed the first one, and examined it. It was a dark blue hardcover book, and on the first page it read: “This book belongs to Dawson Harper.”
I noticed that it was dad’s handwriting, but it looked so much like my own.
I opened the book to the first page with writing on it. I read it through a few times. It was dated February 20 2000, his birthday… he talked about how excited he was to have gotten this journal, and that he was going to start writing everything in it.
I continued reading the journal, which covered the rest of kindergarten and the summer before grade one.
I picked up the next journal, which was green, and opened it up. He wrote in this one less frequently, this seemed odd to me, because in every entry he began to get more and more depressed.
Then I understood why as I read one about grandma…. That really did take a huge bite out of Dawson’s happiness.
The whole summer between grade two and three was a huge amount of depression. Then when his third grade started a new girl was transferred into his class. Her name was Lulu.
I smiled. I couldn’t remember a time where Lulu and Dawson weren’t best friends. But at least now they were together.
I read through all of Dawson’s journals, until I reached a plum coloured one that sat open on his bed. I started at the beginning, which was the start of his grade nine year.
About five pages in was the page Charlie had left it open to.

September, 26, 2009
Today, Lulu and I went to the park—that was fun. There were a group of strange people looking over at us the whole time though. I don’t think Lulu noticed, but I did. Mostly because one of the guys had dreadlocks, I really don’t like dreadlocks.

My jaw dropped. No way… I had to force myself to continue reading.

Lulu walked me home… she kissed me. I didn’t know what to do, so I walked inside and said “bye” slamming the door in her face.
I’m so stupid!

September, 28, 2009
I hate my brother… Lulu’s gone and it’s his fault! I don’t know how, but he knew about it! He knew about it! How did he know about it? It must have been him…
Oh, who am I kidding? Anthony wouldn’t do that…. but he might know who did! I’ll have to start working with him… that is—if he’ll let me…

I didn’t want to read this anymore… it wasn’t right, reading his journal like it was my own, invading his privacy…
The next few pages were plans of how to get me to let him join me in my quest to find Lulu. Some of them would have worked if he had tried, but others, just were pretty much stupid.
Then the last one he had written…

December, 23, 2009
It worked! I’m in! I can’t wait—I’m so excited that I’m going to bed early so I can wake up earlier! In fact… I think I’ll even wake Anthony up early too so we can get started!

This made me drop the book and walk toward the door to his room, leaving the books lying there. I couldn’t read them again… I had finished his life’s work… it was late now so I swiftly walked into my room and went to bed.
The next morning I woke to the smell of bacon and eggs. I slowly walked downstairs to find my dad singing in the kitchen… again.
‘What is your problem?’ I asked.
‘Why do fools fall in love?’ He sang.
‘Dad?’
‘Anthony—would it be weird if I asked Grace to marry me?’
‘Yes,’ I said.
‘Why? She’s so pretty, and nice, and… and I’m in love!’
‘Oh my gosh…’
I got ready for school and got on the bus, trying to shake off the feeling of love…
Once at school, I went strait to class, hoping that it would keep my mind off of my dad, and off Dawson.
Grace walked in the classroom.
‘Anthony! Just the kid I was looking for!’ She said, moving toward me, her black dress swaying behind her. Her black hair was tied in a braid today.
‘Can I help you?’ I asked.
‘I need to know something… how does your dad feel about me?’
are you kidding me? ‘He lov—kes… likes you a lot.’
‘Really? I like him too!’ She drifted off for a moment, then snapped, ‘I need a wedding dress!’
‘WHAT?’ I screamed.
‘Oh—he doesn’t want to get married.’
‘Oh, don’t get me wrong, he wants to marry you, but you two hardly know each other! You can’t get married now!’
‘If he asks me, I won’t say no.’ then she skipped out of the room. At least now I knew that I could never move too fast, if dad was getting married already…
I tried to avoid contact with both my dad and Grace for the next week, but they just kept trying to contact each other through me—and if that wasn’t bad enough, dad hadn’t gone grocery shopping lately because he’d been on a date with Grace every night!
Then the worst thing of all happened…
It was Friday night, and Charlie was coming to pick me up after school… but dad came instead.
I quickly jumped into his car, so he would drive away, but he got out of the vehicle. He got out! Then he walked over to the door of the school, where Grace stood, and got down on one knee.
I slouched down to hide myself, but peeked out of curiosity.
Grace smiled and began nodding her head frantically, then they kissed—in public. Then the two of them ran toward the car, and I slid into the back seat.
The two of them flung the doors open, and Grace said, ‘Anthony, we—‘
‘Don’t care!’
‘But we’re—‘
‘Don’t wanna know!’ I said, plugging my ears.
‘But—‘
‘Leave me alone!’

Throughout the next month and a half Grace and dad began planning their wedding.
I still thought that they were doing this way too soon, but it wasn’t my choice. Charlie was all for it, and I think it had something to do with him wanting to know what all goes into the wedding so he could ask Miranda.
Finally when I woke up on the sixteenth of April, I felt my heart skip a beat, when I saw Grace, Dad, Charlie, Bobby, Jo, and Ashley, all crowding my room.
They began singing a happy birthday song—one that I was unfamiliar with, but reluctantly listened to anyway. I hadn’t realized that it was my birthday already. Usually my birthday came in April…wait a minute—it was April.
Wow, time sure flies by when you’re trying to save you’re brother’s life.
‘Now you’re sixteen!’ Ashley cheered stupidly.
‘Are you gonna go get your licence?’ Bobby asked.
‘How does it feel?’ Jo asked.
‘You’re not driving my truck—that’s my hint!’ Charlie said, making the least sense.
‘You’re room is a mess!’ Dad whined.
‘We’ve decided to wait until Dawson comes back to have our wedding!’
‘Great!’ I said sarcastically, ‘now can you all… I dunno—leave!’
They filed out of my room, then I got dressed. I wanted to sleep in, why would I want to be woken up this early… I looked at the alarm clock that sat beside my bed, why would I want to be woken up at lunch time on my birthday.
I shuffled down the stairs, and was immediately immersed in presents.
I received a new paint set from Grace, a home made quilt from the Tree’s, a new book from Ashley, and nothing from my family.
The party was getting loud and rather annoying, when my dad pulled me away. ‘Open this.’
He handed me a package wrapped in golden paper. I opened in slowly, inside was a golden chain necklace, and as a charm was something that resembled an A. The charm was golden with APRIL’S BIRTHSTONE lacing the center of A. It was slightly girly, but I liked it anyway.
‘It’s not really something to wear—but it was your great-great grandfather’s, and it’s really important to our family.’ Dad explained. ‘Now go see what Charlie has to show you.
I walked over to Charlie, who was dancing with Miranda.
‘Dad said you had something to show me.’
‘Oh, right!’ He said smiling, ‘One second Miranda.’ Charlie grabbed my arm, and dragged me outside, where a red CAR sat in the driveway.
‘That’s yours.’ Charlie said.
‘What?’ I gasped.
‘Well, dad said that because mom left and stopped spending more than her fair share of the money, he had loads of money to spend, so he bought you this.’
‘Sweet.’ I smiled.
‘And now, I’m taking you to get your licence.’
I smiled, not exactly sure what to say.

Three hours later we returned, me with my licence earned. I walked inside, and saw that Ashley was tying her shoes.
‘I have to go!’
‘Where?’
‘Doesn’t matter!’
She ran out the door, so, naturally, I followed.
She hopped on her bike and began biking away, so I followed, tossing my helmet over my messy hair.
I kept following, but I wasn’t sure where she was going…
She passed her house, the park, the library, the mall, the bowling alley… where was she headed?
Then she stopped and pulled behind a bush, so I pulled behind a bush a little behind her.
She seemed to be spying on something, but I couldn’t see, or hear, so I spied on her spying.
I couldn’t deal with that, so I crept forward and saw one thing that I’d been dreading. The black van.
Ashley began moving forward, so I moved faster—this was beyond our stupid competition, she could get hurt! I moved from tree to tree, trying to catch up to her. I had to get to her before she got to them—without making noise…
What was she planning on doing? She wouldn’t actually go up to them to confront them, she was smart… she knew the situation… she knew what would happen.
She stopped behind a tree and raised her left hand. It almost seemed to glow—no. It was glowing…. But then I realized that the whole area was glowing from the sun. I ran toward her, it seemed that she was reaching out to them, she was going to be taken from me… from her family.
‘Ashley!’ I hissed.
‘Ahhh!’ She screamed.
Crap.
‘What was that?’ Came the voice of Mop-Head.
‘Anthony—what are you doing here?’ Ashley said frantically, ‘hide!’
‘No!’
‘Yes!’
I stared at her for a moment, then fell back into the bushes.
I crouched down and looked through a small gap in the leaves. Mop-Head appeared, and looked around for a moment, Ashley was hiding behind a tree to make it look like she was hiding, but I knew she made it obvious so that they wouldn’t keep looking, and find me. But why? Did she know something I didn’t know?
‘Oh, it’s you.’ He said, ‘I remember you—this time you won’t get away!’ He suddenly jerked forward and grabbed her disappearing the way he had come.
I waited a minute listening to the screams… not doing anything, too cowardly to save her…
I jumped up, and ran out of the tree cover, the van was leaving. I missed her.
‘Anthony! Help!’ Her voice rang.
I looked around, and saw fingers reaching over the side of the bridge a few meters in front of where I stood. I ran over to her, and pulled her up—she was a lot lighter than I had thought.
‘You’re ok?’ I asked.
‘Yes, of course.’
‘You knew you would be.’ I stated.
‘Yes, I did.’
‘How?’
‘Because they don’t want someone like me—‘I was about to ask why, but she said, ‘don’t ask why, you’ll find out when the time is right. And that is not now.’











14. Tough Luck

The second semester seemed to be going a lot faster than the first. I would have thought that with my brother missing like this, and my life being endangered again and again, that it would drag on and torture me. Apparently my thinking process is entirely incorrect. May was almost here, and that meant exams were almost here, which meant about a month until review, and that meant summer, which was good, because that led to more Dawson hunting—and I say that in a way that means looking, not shooting.
On the last day of April, Friday the 30th, I woke up late for school, and in turn had to throw everything together to get ready for school fast enough to catch the bus. I ran downstairs after a quick shower, brushing my teeth, and throwing some clothes together, to find Grace and dad sitting at the table laughing and smiling.
I ripped a bowl out of the cupboard, and pulled a spoon out of the drawer, and tossed them at the table. I pulled out some cereal and milk, and poured them together to save time. I began shovelling cereal into my mouth as I began to move around the house, throwing everything I knew that I would need for school into my backpack.
‘Anthony,’ Dad said as I swallowed a mouthful of cereal. ‘I have something to tell you.’
‘I ill hab to at’ I realized he wouldn’t be able to understand me, so I swallowed the spoon full of cereal that I had threw into my mouth a moment ago, and said, ‘It’ll have to wait, I don’t really have time—I’ll miss the bus!’
‘Well, I’m going to school today too, you know, I could take you.’ Grace said. How did I not realize that? I slowed my eating down and walked back into the kitchen.
‘Alright, what’s up?’ I asked, sitting down beside my dad.
‘Well, I don’t really know how to tell you this, but…’ Grace started.
I took another bite of cereal impatiently.
‘She’s pregnant!’ Dad cheered.
My jaw dropped and the cereal fell back into the bowl.
‘I know it’s not really ideal, but it just sort of happened… you know—‘
‘Yes dad, I do know, you don’t have to explain it… again.’ I said disgusted. ‘So… ummm (I wasn’t sure what to say, or how exactly to ask what I wanted to) how pregnant?’
‘About two months.’ Dad said.
‘Are you both out of your minds?’ I asked as nicely as I could, while still getting my point across.
‘You two just met!’ I said.
‘Well, no, not really.’ Dad said, ‘you know that we “met” (he put air quotes around that word) on parent teacher night back in February, but we actually knew each other from before. Long, long before.’
‘Since we were kids… in fact, if I remember correctly, we were best friends.’ Grace explained.
‘Ah… well, still! It’s like Ashley getting pregnant! We know each other, but it’s too early!’ I sighed, clearly they weren’t getting my point, ‘plus, it’s just weird. It all seems to be going so fast!’
‘Maybe so, but I still don’t see the downside to all of this.’
‘You… don’t? Do you want to be woken up every night by the sound of a crying baby? Well do you?’
‘No,’ Grace said, ‘but I’ve always wanted children.’
I sighed, slowly getting over the initial shock. ‘Do you think it’s a boy, or a girl?’
‘I think it’s a boy.’ Grace said.
‘I think it’s a girl.’ Dad said.
‘I hope it’s a girl.’ I said. I think it was because I didn’t want this baby to replace Dawson if he didn’t come back.
I guess dad (either read my mind or) read my expression. ‘Dawson, will come back.’
‘You seem to have given up!’ I said.
‘Anthony, I learned long ago from someone really important to me, not to dwell on things like this. If they are meant to happen, then it will happen, I can only hope. I have no way to help.’ Dad said
‘That doesn’t even make sense.’ I said.
‘Yes it does, and all I have to say to you now, is be careful. I have a pretty good idea of what’s in store for you, and there is no changing it now. But before it all starts, I just wanted to say—‘ knock knock knock.
I jumped up and ran to the door. I threw it open.
She hugged me. Why would she hug me? After putting me through everything.
‘Anthony! Oh Anthony!’ Mom said, hugging me tighter, with her luggage dropped to the ground. ‘Oh, I thought you’d have already gone to school! How’s Charlie? Is he Ok? What about Miranda.’
I turned around and walked back to the kitchen. ‘Dad someone’s here who wants to talk to you.’
Dad stood up and walked away.
‘Who is it?’ Grace asked. I shrugged my shoulders.
‘What are you doing here?’ Dad asked in a polite way.
‘I thought I’d come to see my kids! How is Anthony, why is he so depressed? Have you been feeding him?’
‘Yes I have!’
‘Oh…’ Grace said.
‘So, Anthony didn’t answer me. How is Charlie and Miranda?’
‘They are both fine.’ Dad responded.
Notice how she doesn’t care about the one that she should care about… Notice how she doesn’t already know… he was the one that missed her the most. His life was so perfect before it happened. Then so horrible…
‘That’s good.’ She said.
‘So… are you going to offer me some coffee?’
‘Does she forget she has another son?’ I said to Grace, but loud enough so they would here.
‘Alright… alright!’ Mom said, ‘I just didn’t think you’d all want to listen to me right now. So, how’s Dawson?’
‘He’s fine.’ Dad said, leading her into the kitchen.
‘I’d better get going.’ I said.
‘Oh, I’ll take you to school.’ Grace stood up and walked out of the kitchen through the second entrance. Mom gave her an “I hate you, get out of my old house,” look.
‘Who was that?’ Mom asked. I decided not to listen to the horrible conversation, so instead I followed Grace. As I was walking out the door, I asked Grace,
‘So, the baby’s due in… November?’ I thought it would be fun to listen to my dad explain that.
‘Yep.’ Was her reply.
We didn’t really talk on the way to school.
‘See you later.’ Grace said getting out of the car and locking the doors (after I got out as well, of course).
Ashley, Bobby, and Jo were sitting in front of our lockers, studying.
‘You’re all studying?’ I asked, ‘For a test? Which class?’
‘Can’t talk!’ They all said together.
‘Fine then,’ I said opening my locker.

After school, I decided to stay on the bus, even as it passed my house.
‘Anthony—are you getting off?’ Jo asked, as the bus started moving again.
‘No,’
‘Where are you going then?’ Bobby asked.
‘Well, I was thinking your house, or the side of the road, one or the other.’
‘Why?’ Ashley asked as the bus slowed at her house.
‘Mom’s home.’
‘Ah…’ they all said.
‘Well, bye guys, see you tomorrow.’ Ashley said.
‘Bye,’ we said together.
‘You don’t have any overnight things though.’ Bobby pointed out.
‘Well, I’ll sleep in my clothes.’ I said.
‘Ok…’

Sleeping in my clothes worked for one night, but I knew I had to go home the next day after school, so I did. I told my dad (while ignoring my mother) that I’d be staying at Bobby and Jo’s house for a while. He didn’t object—though I didn’t really give him a chance, so I made my way up to my room and packed a suitcase full of clothes. I tossed in a couple books and slammed the suitcase shut, then sliding it under my bed and down the chute for an easier exit. I followed my clothes, and walked back to the Tree household.
I knocked on the door, and Jo let me in. She smiled a brief smile and then ran off, likely to do more homework, she had had a lot of that to do lately.
I walked upstairs and found Bobby’s room, where a cot was set up for me; I set my suitcase down and slid it underneath.
I knew that Bobby would want to talk, so I made a point of picking up a text book that I had left on the side table yesterday, and started reading.
Bobby came in and I glanced up, he was clearly excited, so I just looked back down again. I didn’t really know what I should have done; it would have been the nice thing to do to talk to him, but being nice isn’t always the best choice. Bobby waited for a few moments, then turned away and disappeared again.

The next day in school neither Bobby nor Jo spoke to me at all, and all Ashley would talk about was how important exams were, and that everyone was too mellow about them.
I tried to think of anything other than exams, but with only Ashley around that was nearly impossible. I tried to remind her that we still had a month before we needed to start, and as a response she said,
‘Just because your classes are going to start reviewing in a month, doesn’t mean that waiting until then to start studying is the best choice.’
Then I tried to tell her that she had a photographic memory, and in turn did not need to study anyway, and she said,
‘Yeah, maybe I do—but what if my memory gives in? What if I fail because I relied on the sight of a page? I need to memorize it all without using the photographic part of the photographic memory!’
I left it at that, I didn’t feel like starting an argument, even though she left it open for me to. Who ever heard of a photographic memory giving in?
I was walking through the halls, on my way outside to wait for the bus to come, when I was stopped my old teacher.
‘Why haven’t we talked lately? Don’t you like me anymore?’ He asked.
‘No, Quin… I like you; it’s just that I have a lot on my mind, with Dawson and everything…’
‘Ah…’ Quin sighed, ‘I’m really sorry about that.’
‘Why are you sorry?’ I asked suspiciously.
‘Uh… it’s a saying, you know… ummm… something that you would say when you’re sorry for a loss or som—‘
‘A loss? Well, then you have no business saying that “saying” because Dawson is not dead—he’s been kidnapped.’
‘So he’s… “lost” get it? Kidnapped, you don’t know where he is… lost. Sorry for your…. Lost…’
‘Not funny.’ I snapped.
‘How long has it been though? Half a year?’ Quin asked.
‘Who cares how long it’s been he’s still alive!’
‘You have to just give up Anthony! You’re acting like a child!’
‘Yeah, well you’re acting like an idiot! My brother is still alive, and I know it… You should know it too!’
I just had this sudden feeling… Dawson was alive, but I wasn’t sure for how much longer. I just knew that they were kidnapping the kids for a reason… probably something that they all had in common, because they didn’t just pick random kids… they were individuals that they went into certain places, like the bowling alley to get… they went in there, and took a specific child… they were looking for someone! But who? Maybe it was Dawson? No one had been taken since him… except the triplets. Was it one of them? What did these people have in common?
I knew someone who would, know, but they were taken too… the triplets… maybe that’s why they were taken… because I could get information from them… which means it was Dawson. Why did they want Dawson? And why did they not want me to know anything? How did they know I was on to them? Were they spying on me? Did I know someone who was working with them?
I looked suspiciously at the man in front of me… Him?
‘Don’t call your grandfather an idiot!’
‘I call them as I see them.’
‘Get out.’
‘Alright, see you never again.’ I said smiling.
‘Don’t think I won’t tell your father.’
‘I hope you do!’
‘I will!’
‘Not if I tell him first.’
‘What?’ Quin seemed shocked, ‘you’re going to rat yourself out?’
‘Well, without Dawson, who else is going to?’
‘I thought Dawson was still alive.’
‘I never said he isn’t!’ I screamed.
‘Go home.’
‘No,’
‘Then how do you plan to tell your father of your behaviour?’
‘I don’t really care! OK? Just stay out of my life and I’ll be fine. And don’t bother to check in to see if my brother’s OK, because no one at my house wants to hear from you.’
‘Don’t say that.’
‘Don’t stop me.’
‘Urgh!’
I left the room and began running toward the bus, which was waiting in front of the school. I climbed aboard and felt the guilt begin.
I guess it was really mean to say all that, because all he did was… never mind. He was being the rudest person that I had seen in a long time. Who would go up to someone and destroy their hope, just for the sake of talking to them? Who would do that to their grandson?
‘What’s wrong?’ Ashley asked comfortingly, ‘What happened?’
‘Quin… I just… don’t know what to do anymore, it’s almost impossible to find a lead… and Dawson’s gone… and… and… and I don’t know what to do!’ I punched the seat.
‘I’ll help, Anthony. Believe me, we’re in this together. No more competition.’ Ashley seemed to be serious, ‘I’m serious. I don’t want to do this anymore, but I’ll do it to help you. To help Dawson, to help Lulu… the triplets, I’ll do it.’
‘Really?’ I asked shocked.
‘Of course,’ Ashley said.
‘I would help too,’ Jo said, ‘but I really wouldn’t be much help, seeing as I don’t know what’s happening at all.’
‘Same here,’ Bobby said.
‘It’s OK, I’m about ready to give up myself, I mean, if there was a way to find them then it would’ve shown itself to me by now.’ I said.
‘Don’t say that,’ Ashley smiled, ‘it’s OK, we’ll get this right eventually. I mean, we’ve always been on foot when they kidnap someone, what if we’re driving when we see one? Then we’ll be able to follow them and see where they put your brother!’
‘That… is a wonderful idea,’ I said, thinking of a way that I could be driving a lot in the next time space. ‘We might have to drag my dad into this… I can’t drive without him.’
‘Why not Charlie?’
‘Well, he hasn’t been driving long enough, so legally—‘
‘Legally? Do we really care that much?’ Ashley said entirely out of character.
‘Yes, we do… unless we just let Charlie drive us around…’ I suggested.
‘You think he’d to that?’ Ashley asked.
‘For me? No. But for Dawson, I think he might.’ I said, ‘all we have to do is pull some gas money together, and wait for something to happen.’
‘That’s like waiting for lightning to strike!’ Jo put in.
‘It’s true,’ Bobby said.
‘I would wait…’ I said.
‘Lightning isn’t hard to find, if you know how to get it.’ Ashley explained, ‘If you have a metal rod in a storm, it’ll come.’
‘Yeah, so…’ I said, urging her on.
‘So, we just need bait to get them to come.’ Ashley said.
‘Of course!’ I cheered, ‘Like what? What did you have in mind?’
‘Well, let’s think… they came to the party… why would they come to the party?’ Ashley asked, even though she knew the answer—I could tell. I waited and let her answer herself. ‘A group of people that they wanted to demolish were gathered together. We just need to recreate that.’ Ashley said.
‘We need to have someone’s house blown up?’ I asked.
‘No, they only blew the house up because they couldn’t find who they really wanted! The triplets. So we need to find someone else that they want, and hand them over.’
‘No! I won’t let someone else get taken!’ I yelled. ‘Do you… know anyone else?’
‘Yes.’
‘Do you know that they are still looking? What if they already found who they were looking for?’
‘I have a feeling that they are still looking. Anthony, you’ve thought too much about this. What makes you think that they’ve found who they’re looking for?’
‘I just had a feeling that it was Dawson.’
‘It wasn’t.’ Ashley said seriously. The bus slowed down at my stop, both Ashley and I stood up.
‘You’re getting off?’
‘We need to keep talking.’
We got off the bus and continued our conversation. It seemed that Ashley was hiding something.
‘So who did you have in mind?’ I asked.
‘Well, obviously they’re looking for a child, and can you think of any child who was invited to the party?’
‘Ashley, how do you know that they want the people at the party?’
‘Later—Anthony, they’ll go for you too!’
‘How do you know?’
‘Well, they went for you’re brother, why wouldn’t they want you?’ She asked.
‘Well, if I’m taken, I won’t be able to save them!’
‘Good point.’ She sighed, ‘well… I don’t know…’
Then at the exact same time, we shouted, ‘Bobby and Jo!’
‘I don’t want to put them in danger though…’ I said, contradicting my own plan.
‘We might have to, we’ll save them, and I wouldn’t suggest them if I knew we couldn’t save them.’
‘We’ll see. If it comes to that, then we’ll ask them.’
‘Can you imagine how that would go?’ Ashley smiled, ‘Would you two go and get kidnapped for us… pretty please.’
I laughed, ‘Yeah that would be awesome.’ We laughed together, until I realized my mistake. I froze.
‘What’s wrong?’ She asked.
‘I’m home.’
‘Yeah, so—oh… your mother.’
‘Yeah, I guess I’m stuck now,’
‘See you tomorrow.’
‘Bye Ashley.’
I waited until Ashley was out of the lane way, watching her go, then turned and walked right through the front door.
‘Anthony!’ Mom cheered. ‘Are you avoiding me?’
‘Uh—yeah.’ I admitted.
‘I swear—I had no idea about Dawson!’
‘That’s not why Mom, I seriously just don’t want to deal with someone like you right now. That’s all.’
‘Someone like me?’
‘You left, without warning, then come back almost a year later, with your stupid little boyfriend, and you’re stupid little life, making stupid little you all happy.’
‘Anthony…’ She said slowly, putting her hand on my shoulder. ‘Please.’
‘No, mom, I’m not kidding, when I say I’m not dealing with you.’
‘Anthony.’ Dad said sternly from the kitchen entrance. ‘I will not have you acting that way when we have guests.’
‘Mom’s not a guest.’
‘I don’t care if you consider her a guest or not—she is one—but we have another guest as well, and I cannot see you considering him as “not a guest”’ Dad lectured.
I knew who it was even before he stepped out so I could see him.
‘I got here first.’ Quin sneered.
‘Yeah, well, as if I care!’ I yelled.
‘Anthony!’ Dad yelled, ‘You’ve been treating everyone horribly ever since Dawson was taken, and I won’t take it anymore! We can’t do anything to get him back, we just have to wait and see what happens.’ I knew he was hoping for a certain answer from me, but I wasn’t sure what it was, so I said,
‘Wait and see what happens? If we all do that, then nothing will happen, OK? I don’t know if you’ve realized this, but I love my brother, and I’ll do anything I can to bring him back!’
Dad grinned like a little boy, receiving a large lollipop. He turned to Quin, who was also smiling, and whispered something that sounded like, ‘He’s the one.’
‘Whatever…’ I sighed then I turned to walk out the door, when my mom stopped me.
‘We need to talk.’ Mom said. She didn’t give me a chance to respond, but instead grabbed my arm and dragged me upstairs.
‘Talk about what?’ I snapped.
‘About your problems. I know you think I left you on a whim, but your father and I have had problems for a while, and I just had to leave to keep you and your brother’s safe.’
‘Funny isn’t it?’
‘What’s funny?’ She asked.
‘When you were here, we were all fine, and when you left, Lulu was taken, starting the first of our problems. Then Dawson and—‘
‘Where are you going with this?’
‘No where special, just trying to bring up the fact that we were safer when you were here.’
‘Anthony, I’m sorry, but your father has found love again, and Grace is having a baby, I’m sure the baby will be lovely. If I stayed, your father would never have come together with Grace, and you will never have met that baby. So think about it, it’s not a bad thing that I left.’
‘Not a bad thing in some ways, but it’s not really a good thing, now is it?’ I snapped. ‘Look, I do forgive you, I guess, but I just don’t think I’ll ever understand why you left, so… as far as I’m concerned, we’re done here.’
‘Alright,’ she said, standing up, ‘Anthony, I love you.’
‘Yup.’ I said walking back downstairs, leaving her behind.
I found Dad, Quin, and Grace sitting in the kitchen. ‘Hey Anthony!’ Grace said, ‘How are you, I haven’t seen you since class today!’ Grace joked.
‘Yeah…’ I said, doing my best to no talk. I didn’t want to be rude to Grace, she was alright.
‘Sit down have some hot chocolate.’ She suggested.
‘No thanks,’ I said, moving toward the wall to lean on it.
Mom walked into the kitchen at that point.
Yay…
‘Where is Charlie?’ I asked.
‘He should be home soon,’ Dad responded after taking a sip of hot chocolate. I knew it was hot chocolate, because it left a moustache around his mouth, and it definitely did not look like coffee.
‘How soon?’ I asked as the sound of the door opening could be heard.
‘That soon.’ Dad said.
I ran out of the kitchen and dragged Charlie outside.
‘Where are we going?’ He asked.
‘We’re going to find Dawson!’
‘You know where he is?’
‘No—but there are people who do, and we’re going to find them.’
‘Anthony, who are you talking about?’
‘Well, he didn’t go there by choice, someone had to have taken him there.’
‘Of course… how do we find them?’
‘Well, Ashley had a plan that we use human bait, but I don’t agree with it, so we’re just going to drive around and see if we can find them.’
‘That won’t work!’
‘You don’t know that!’
‘No, you’re right, but—‘
‘Look!’ I screamed as the miracle happened. ‘How stupid are they? Driving past my house!’
I dived into Charlie’s truck, and he jumped in too, and started the ignition, then began driving away.
He drove after them, and toward Ashley’s house. Ashley was standing outside her house, starring dumbfounded at the road.
‘Slow down!’ I yelled, and Charlie slowed to almost a stop.
Ashley ran forward and climbed into the back of the truck. ‘GO!’ She yelled.
Charlie obeyed.
‘Look, man, they probably want us to follow them! It’s probably a trap.’
‘And if it’s not a trap, then we would have just let them get away!’ I yelled back.
‘Good point, but we have to be careful.’ Charlie said.
We followed the van keeping far enough behind to make it seem inconspicuous. Eventually the van pulled to a stop.
‘What are they doing?’ I asked.
‘Maybe… maybe they’re hungry…’ Charlie suggested as the van pulled in to a restaurant.
‘Park in the parking lot over there!’ I demanded, pointing to the opposite side of the street from the van.
Charlie did so, giving Ashley time to climb in the cab of the truck.
‘They wouldn’t stop to eat if they knew we were following? Would they?’ Ashley asked, reaching behind her and tying her hair into a pony tail.
‘Who knows…’ I sighed.
Moments later Mop-Head emerged from the restaurant, with a child hanging over his shoulder.
‘They don’t know we’re following them.’ I said smiling.
‘How do you know?’
‘I don’t know for sure, but just look at what they’re doing—drive!’ I said as the van took off again.
‘They kidnapped someone, and now they have to take him somewhere! This is perfect!’ Ashley cheered.
‘What are we going to do if we do find out where they were taking them?’ Charlie asked, ‘we can’t just waltz right in there and grab the kids back, we’ll need the police. And you promised you would use the police at least once during the investigation Anthony!’
‘I already did, they weren’t a lot of help though, all they said was that they could look into it.’
‘Oh…’
‘What are we going to do when we’re done this case Anthony?’ Ashley asked, ‘we’ve dedicated almost a whole year to this, and I don’t even remember how to have fun…’
‘Well, the first thing I’m going to do is find out the names of the guys who are doing the kidnapping, then I’m going to study for exams and have a party with Dawson and Lulu. Then re-buy some gifts for the triplets.’
‘Oh… good plan.’ Ashley said.
‘We should be thinking about the present not the future, we don’t even have a good plan for what’s about to happen! I say we use the police again.’ Charlie said.
‘Good idea, but we can’t just sit there and wait for the police to come, we’ll have to take action.’ Ashley said.
‘I say, we just head strait in and have some fun!’ I said, ‘we’ll get those kids back for sure.’
‘I vote Ashley’s plan!’ Charlie said suddenly making sure that my plan didn’t go into action. At least with Ashley’s plan he got to have his go through.
‘Fine…’ I said, ‘I get it, two against one.’
‘Anthony—I realize you’re happy that we’ve almost figured this out, but you seem to be letting your guard down.’ Ashley said.
‘What makes you think that?’ I asked.
‘Well, you’re happy—you haven’t been really happy for a while now.’
‘So I’m happy, big deal!’
‘Shh! I’m trying to drive here! It’s really hard to follow someone inconspicuously with you two yelling!’ Charlie snapped, ‘I’ve almost lost them a couple times now!’
‘Sorry…’ Ashley said.
‘Where are they anyway?’ I asked trying to locate them in front of us.
‘Way up there.’ Charlie said monotonously, ‘like I said, I’m following inconspicuously.’
‘You might want to try a little less inconspicuous, they might make an unexpected turn.’ I said.
Charlie continued following them his way, so Ashley and I sat silently watching, as a very, very dangerous situation approached.
After at least half an hour more of pure driving, the black van pulled into a long winding road.
‘Is this a road?’ Ashley asked.
‘No,’ Charlie said, proving me wrong.
‘Then what is it?’ I asked.
‘Look, there’s a mailbox, a fire number, and a sign… this is a lane way. This is where they keep the kids.’ Charlie explained.’
‘Let’s go.’ I said, losing my happy attitude, and replacing it with a strong feeling of nausea.

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Yamazaru
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Posts : 23
Join date : 2010-08-27
Age : 25

PostSubject: Chapter 15 and 16   Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:59 am






15. Property of Trials

Charlie drove slowly down the long lane, and I figured that if I got out, I could probably get to the end faster than I would in this truck. Eventually though, we rounded the final bend and found the black van parked near a hedge. The doors were closed and no one was inside. They were already gone.
Charlie parked to the side, amongst the trees, to hide just in case someone else came in. We snuck around to the van to look inside. Nothing was there… at all, except keys. That was odd—or at least I thought it was, why would they leave the keys there so someone could take them.
I looked around to try and find a house, or at least a shelter of some kind, but the hedges were too high to see over. I climbed on top of the van to try and see over them, but I was still not tall enough. I gestured for Charlie to come up as well so he could lift me higher. Slowly he did so, and I was shocked at the view that lay before me. The hedge… or shall I say hedges, were formed together in a sort of… maze. ‘A maze?’ How on earth was I to navigate myself through a maze? ‘Look for the entrance’ I said.
Ashley began pacing the area that lay before us, searching for a way in, but she seemed to be unable to find anything.
‘There… there isn’t one.’ She responded.
‘There has to be. What good is a maze without an entrance?’
‘Well, it’s a good idea if they were trying to keep us out… I mean… wait…’ Ashley smiled as she began walking to the left. ‘There’s a way around! We may not have to go through the maze at all!’
‘That would be too easy, but let’s look anyway.’ I said. So Charlie and I hopped down off of the van and followed Ashley around the side of the maze. We walked for approximately ten minutes. Then we found a gate.
‘It’s locked!’ Charlie said shaking the gate rapidly. ‘It won’t open!’
‘Climb it!’ Ashley suggested.
Charlie grabbed two of the bars that made up the gate and tried to climb it. Unfortunately the gate was just made up of vertical bars and was about twelve feet tall, so Charlie was unable to climb.
I sighed, then came up with an idea. I climbed a tree until I was able to see the whole maze. ‘There is an entrance! Over there!’ I shouted pointing to the other side. I gasped when I noticed a small group of people wandering throughout the maze.
I jumped out of the tree, my feet stinging as I landed.
‘This is just a quick entrance,’ I explained looking through the bars. ‘Look there are keys on the other side, in that glass case.’ I grabbed a handful of branches and leaves from the hedge around the gate and tried to pull. It took me a few minutes to pull the handful off. ‘This could take hours just to get a small hole! We’ll never get through.’
‘Don’t be so sure.’ Ashley grinned. She turned around and began climbing the same tree I had just climbed.
A moment later she climbed back down and put her plan to action. ‘Charlie call the police, Anthony, you and I are going to get through that maze.’
‘Well what do I do after I’m done calling?’ Charlie asked.
‘In case the police don’t get here in time, we’ll need an escape plan, so get ready to take us and likely seventeen or more children, got it?’ She said quickly.
‘Got it.’ Charlie said taking out his cell phone, ‘and… good luck.’
‘Thanks,’ we said together.
We ran off, toward our final destination.
It took us quite a while to run all the way around the maze, and it cost a lot of energy as well.
We walked around the maze until we found the entrance. I could only hope now that Ashley’s photographic memory didn’t give in. Or at least I hope that was her plan, otherwise I have no idea why she had to look at the whole maze.
‘Ready?’ I asked.
She nodded as the two of us took a step into the maze. She led us through many twists and turns. She clearly knew what she was doing, she didn’t stop to think once, and we had been in the maze forever.
Ashley wasn’t talking and I could tell she was trying to remember the image she had imprinted in her mind, taking the two of us to the place I had wanted to be in for so long… the place where my brother would be waiting for me… just one maze… just get through one maze, and I’ll have him back.
‘We’re almost done Anthony,’ Ashley said, ‘but I can’t quite remember which way to go from here… I feel so stupid!’
‘You’re not stupid, you’re just a little forgetful. Don’t worry, we’ll figure this out.’ I said. I looked to the sky, and figured out our bearings. ‘We came from over there. So the exit is… over there.’ I pointed in the general direction.
‘I thought you were good at mazes, you should know by now that to get one way, you sometimes need to go the opposite way!’
‘Yes, well, I didn’t actually plan to do it the normal way.’ I tried to force myself through the hedge, and of course that didn’t work. Then I remembered what I did in the library. I smiled as I tried to climb the hedge.
‘It’s not going to work.’
She was right. It didn’t work.
I sighed, and began walking right. I didn’t know if it was the correct direction, but I didn’t actually care, I would be right, or I wouldn’t.
‘Wait! Let me mark the intersection we got stuck on!’ Ashley said running back.
I waited for her. When she returned we kept going.
What I found was a dead end, but it was more than just that, it was a large round chamber with a large metal cage, holding three creatures inside. I moved toward them and sighed. They were dogs—routweilers. They were all lying down, they looked so sad and in pain.
I grabbed the latch that kept them in, and pulled up.
‘Anthony! NO!’ Ashley screamed. The second the latch was pulled up, the dogs perked up and began barking.
Crap!
Ashley and I ran back the way we had come, finding the marked intersection easily (she had marked it with an ‘x’ made of twigs) and continued running straight—the only other way to go. We would be out of this maze in no time.
I glanced over my shoulder and saw the three angry dogs barking and snarling at us.
In front of us, there was another gate, very much like the last. ‘That gate better not be locked!’ Ashley yelled.
It wasn’t. We ran into it and it flipped forward. We turned around and latched it shut from the other side.
The dogs continued barking and snapping at us through the gate.
I looked to our right; there was a path that led to the locked gate. ‘We could get Charlie,’ I suggested.
‘He’s preparing the escape.’ Ashley said.
‘So we continue?’ I said loudly, so I could be heard over the dogs.
Ashley nodded then led the way. Straight ahead, there was a path that led through a batch of trees. It was dark due to the setting sun, and the shadows cast by the trees.
We crept along the path, sneaking through the shadows, hoping that no one was hiding…waiting for us.
The first thing that we saw was a bridge that seemed to lead over a deep chasm, so we moved closer. The bridge was made out of thin rope and rotting wood.
‘I’m not going across that.’ Ashley said, ‘it isn’t safe, we’ll have to find another way.’
‘Do you see another way?’ I asked.
‘No,’
‘Exactly,’
‘That would be why I said “find”’ Ashley said.
‘We can’t just find another way across; these things don’t just appear because we want them.’
‘We should at least look first.’
‘No, it’ll take too much time.’
‘Who cares how long it takes?’ She said, ‘If we go across the bridge we might never make it, it’s not safe, so it’s better late then never.’
‘I get where you’re going, but we shouldn’t do it Ashley, I don’t think you get it.’
‘I get it, and—‘
‘Did you hear that?’ A voice said.
‘Who said that?’ I whispered.
‘Who’s there?’ The voice said again.
I grabbed Ashley’s shoulder and pulled her down to the ground and looked along the bridge. Base-Ball cap was standing on the bridge.
‘Come on Ashley, let’s go, we have to find another way across.’
‘So now you agree?’
‘This is getting a little more dangerous, we need to go.’ I backed up, still staring at the bridge; to make sure Base-Ball Cap didn’t come after us, while Ashley led me through the trees.
‘Anthony,’ She said, ‘There’s a rope… it must be for a backup route.’
I turned around and saw what she was pointing at. I thick rope, hooked onto a log on this side of the chasm, ‘Ah…’ I smiled, ‘How handy.’
We ran toward it, and grabbed it. ‘You go first.’ I said looking down the deep hole in the ground. I was really not ready for something so extreme.
Ashley took the rope from me and swung across gracefully, landing with ease.
‘How did you do that?’ I asked.
‘It wasn’t hard—just swing.’ She said, ‘Now catch this—if you don’t catch it, you’ll be stuck on that side, and I’ll be stuck here.’ Ashley threw the rope and it swung over, I almost missed it, but I did end up catching it, after reaching way over the edge.
I had the rope in my hands, but my feet slipped off of the rim of the chasm. I felt like I was going to vomit. I swung back and forth with my eyes shut tight.
‘Anthony!’ Ashley hissed, ‘Jump off!’
I didn’t want to… I didn’t even want to open my eyes. I felt like such a wimp.
I opened my eyes slowly. I was still. The rope was right in the center of the twenty foot wide abyss.
‘Swing!’ Ashley said, holding in laughter. ‘Swing!’
I did as I was told, slowly rocking back and forth, my legs so tightly wrapped around the rope that I was losing circulation. My hands were sweating, and my face was hot. My life was ending here and now, on a thick rope while Ashley laughed at me.
Slowly, but surely the rope, and I, began to swing far enough that (if I was brave enough) I could jump off and land safely beside Ashley.
I took a deep breath just before I jumped. My feet were only halfway on solid ground when I landed, so Ashley grabbed my arms and pulled me up, sending both of us toppling toward the ground.
‘Well…’ I said, standing up and wiping dirt from my clothes, ‘That sure was fun.’
‘At least we’re both safe, and almost there!’ Ashley put in.
‘How do you know we’re almost there?’
‘Because I can hear talking… maybe that’s just the girl on the bridge… but we can’t be too far, how crazy can one property be?’ She asked.
‘Good point.’ I said. I smiled at the fact that Dawson would be safe soon. I began walking toward the path.
‘Be careful!’ Ashley hissed, ‘we have to make sure we’re not seen, otherwise, we’ll probably die.’
‘That’s comforting…’ I whispered sarcastically.
‘Well, it’s true.’
‘I know it’s true, it’s just that, I’d really rather not hear that.’ I said.
‘Well, let’s hurry,’ She said as the bridge came into sight.
Base-Ball Cap was still pacing the rotting bridge, she looked scared—I didn’t blame her really, she thought she heard someone, but couldn’t find them, and is pacing a bridge that could fall apart at any second. No big deal.
Ashley and I snuck over to the path while the woman’s back was turned, and started running up a hill, in the direction we knew we had to go.
‘HEY YOU!’ The sound of her voice pierced the air, and sent both Ashley and I into an adrenaline rush, we began running much faster, doing our best to get to the top of the hill before she shot at us.
We reached the top of the hill, without a single shot being taken, and then ran about ten feet down the hill, so she didn’t have a clear shot at us.
After a few moments, Ashley said, ‘We have to deal with her, Anthony.’
‘Why?’
‘Well we can’t have her chasing after us, making noise, now can we? We’ll have to stop her.’
‘She’ll have a gun though!’
‘Does it sound like she has a gun?’
‘No…’
‘Then let’s go!’ Ashley said standing up and running back up the hill. What she was planning to do, was a mystery to me, and I was being dragged right into this battle. I didn’t really think that Ashley could do much—I mean I had never really seen her fight, so my guess would have been a battle of the wits—yeah, I was wrong.
Ashley jumped into the air, and because she was higher up the hill, she was able to jump over the girls head. She turned around and grabbed Base-Ball Cap by her shoulders and threw her down the hill.
The woman began rolling toward the bridge.
‘Ashley—wow… holy crap! Where did you learn that?’
‘Learn what? All I did was jump, and then shove!’
‘I guess, but it looked epic!’
‘Well, it’s not over yet, just get ready.’ Ashley set in motion, running down the hill, with me trotting along behind, toward the bridge, where the woman was now sitting, and reaching down to a rope net below.
I tried to find what she was reaching for, but I didn’t see anything, but then her finger nudged it, and it became visible. A hand gun. She must have dropped it earlier, and didn’t want to risk her life trying to grab it, when no one was there for her to use it on. But now there was us.
‘Ashley, she’s reaching for her gun!’ I yelled.
‘I can see that, thank you!’
I could run much faster than Ashley, and now I was running down a hill, so my speed was impeccable. I reached the bridge, and started running across it. I dived toward the woman, and tackled her, sending both of us rolling across the rotting planks, away from the gun.
‘Get off of me!’ She squealed, ‘get off!’
I stopped the rolling, and pinned her down, but I put too much pressure on her shoulders, where I had my hands, and the plank of wood we were on snapped.
Because I was leaning forward, I was sent falling through gap in the bridge, and toward the net. I landed right next to the sharp pieces of wood.
I shakily stood up and tried to climb back up, using the wood right by the whole that I had made, but that plank snapped under my weight.
I tried to find the woman by finding a shadow, but it was so dark that it was impossible to find one.
Then I saw a white arm reaching down. It must have been around the gun.
‘Anthony!’ Ashley screamed. ‘Get her! She’s almost got the gun!’
Why can’t you? I thought, probably too scared to go on the bridge.
I grabbed the arm and pulled, I heard a scream, and then a huge crack as three or four more planks broke. I was now covered with decomposing wood, and a crazy woman.
I saw the gun, but I could barely move.
‘Rah!’ I screamed as I stood up, everything falling off of me, including the woman. I reached down and grabbed the gun, fiddling with it, until it felt right, and then pointing it directly at the woman.
‘Wait…’ She said, ‘You don’t want to kill someone!’
‘Oh yeah, why not?’
‘Killing someone finishes the transformation from peace-keeping to evil. You don’t want to be evil. Do you?’
‘Killing someone like you doesn’t make me evil, that makes me successful and kind, to save people from you… I am not afraid to kill you.’
‘Yes you are.’ She said.
‘No, believe me, I’m not.’
I took a step back, my hand shaking, I knew I wasn’t going to do it, but I didn’t know how well I was lying. I kept backing up until I was at the edge of the chasm again. I quickly whipped around and climbed up. I was almost safely up, but I slipped and fell back onto the net.
I knew what happened before it actually happened. The net broke but it caught my foot, and swung me around upside down, right into the wall. I had my eyes closed as my head smacked against the rocks. I slowly opened my eyes and saw that (upside-down) the woman was hanging on the net as well.
‘Anthony!’ Ashley screamed, grabbing my one foot.
‘Ashley! Let go! I can do this myself, and I don’t want you falling!’ I managed to flip myself, so I was upright, and Ashley started pulling the net up, while I climbed.
‘Anthony, I think she’s stuck! Let’s go!’
‘Shouldn’t we try to help her?’ I asked, ‘We can’t let her die!’
‘If we help her, she’ll probably help kill us,’ Ashley explained, ‘so it’s either her, or us and all those kids.’
‘But we can’t let her—‘
‘Let’s go…’
I took one last look at the woman then ran up the hill, with Ashley right behind.
‘What’s next do you think?’ I asked.
‘Who knows, with what we’ve already been through, it could very well be anything!’ Ashley screamed.
‘Should we camp out?’
‘No—are you insane? If we camp we’ll die!’
‘Ashley, I’m beginning to question why we came in here without the police at all, this is a lot more dangerous than I had hoped!’
‘Well, of course it’s dangerous! Did you really expect a walk in the park?’ Ashley sighed.
I slowed down, now totally out of energy, my adrenaline level gone completely.
‘We should at least take a little break.’ I said, sitting down, ‘we might need our energy for later on, if you know what I mean.’
‘Well, yeah, if we don’t have energy, it increases our chances of d—‘
‘Don’t finish that word.’ I snapped. How many times could she possibly say that we were going to die?
‘But we can only stay for a couple minutes, otherwise we might… perish.’
‘Ha ha.’ I said sarcastically.
‘Now, all we can do is wait for a couple of minutes, and then we’ll head out again.’
‘Deal’
‘Deal…’
‘What do you want to talk about?’ I asked.
‘I dunno, there’s not much to talk about.’ Ashley said.
‘There’s everything in the world to talk about.’ I pointed out.
‘True.’
‘Like how you were going to put Bobby and Jo in trouble just to find this place, then miraculously the exact people we were looking for drove by?’
‘It is a little weird.’
‘Maybe they didn’t know that I lived there, and besides…how would they know that I was ready for them if they were to drive by.’ I said.
‘Maybe, but if you think about it, it is really strange.’ Ashley said thinking. ‘Do you… do you think it might be a… a trap?’
‘No, I can’t see them being smart enough to plan something that in depth.’
‘Good point.’
‘And don’t you think that the woman on the bridge would have acted a little differently if she knew we were coming?’
‘I guess,’ Ashley said.
‘You know, maybe we should have done just one thing differently.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Well, if I didn’t open the dog cage, then we would have more energy,’
‘True,’
‘If we had gone the right way in the first place, then we would have been through the maze faster, and it wouldn’t be so late, and we would be more awake.’
‘Also true.’
‘And if we hadn’t gone on the path, then the woman wouldn’t have seen us, and my arm wouldn’t be cut up.’
‘What? I didn’t even notice!’
‘I was trying to hide it.’
‘How did it happen?’ She asked bringing my arm closer to her.
‘When I fell, the wood stabbed me.’ I said, ‘It’s not too bad, in fact, it doesn’t hurt, or restrict my movement.’
‘No—but you’re bleeding! Do you have any idea what kind of animals that could attract?’
‘Sharks?’
‘If we were in water, yeah, but what about wolves? Bears? We could be in so much danger sitting here!’
‘We could, but if we run, we’ll be spreading the smell all around and the animals will just follow.’
‘So, what you’re saying is we attract them either way, but you’d rather sit in one spot and give them all more time to find us and do… whatever it is they want to do to us?’
‘Kill us.’ I said, filling in her blank.
‘I know what they would want—but I didn’t think you’d want me to say that, it’s a lot like “die” in case you didn’t notice.’ Ashley snapped.
‘You know, I didn’t really notice it much, but you really have changed from the Ashley I once knew.’
‘Changed how?’
‘I’m not sure, but you seem more adventurous, braver… you know?’
‘So changed for the better?’
‘Oh yeah,’
‘That’s good.’ She smiled.
I leaned in to kiss her, and she closed her eyes, but then stood up.
‘We’d better get going!’ She said.
‘Alright then,’ I said following her lead.
The two of us began walking down the path, toward the next step—hopefully where Dawson would be…
We came up to a large circular clearing that had a water pump and a silver gate that glowed from the light of the setting sun. It wasn’t really a gate per say, but more of a wall. In the center of the wall was a large round door.
We moved closer and examined the door. There was a latch on it, so we tried to pull it, but it was locked.
‘There is no way we can climb that one…’ Ashley said.
‘We couldn’t climb the last one either!’ I said. ‘Why do they make these things so hard?’ I yelled.
‘Well, they’re obviously making it so it’s hard to get through…’
‘Duh…’
‘Wait…’ Ashley said, moving to the center of the door, ‘Look! It’s a lock!’
‘What?’ I asked, ‘What’s the combo?’
‘I don’t know!’ Ashley said almost yelling now.
We sat down. ‘Let’s think…’ I said, ‘they aren’t the smartest group of people. So if it’s a combo, it’ll be something they could remember. Like their birthday.’
‘Well, it can only be one person’s birthday, Anthony, and I don’t think so.’ Ashley said, standing up, ‘Why would that water pump be here if it weren’t important?’
‘Who knows.’ I said, ‘Maybe they got thirsty a lot around here, so they installed it.’
‘Do you realize how ridiculous you sound right now?’ Ashley said. ‘Let’s think logically. As you said, they’re not really smart, so they would choose something they could remember… or…’
‘Or…?’
‘Or they would write it on the wall so they could remember it!’
‘They’re not that dumb—they wouldn’t do that!’
‘You don’t know that! And it wouldn’t hurt to check it out,’ Ashley moved over to the water pump and picked up a metal bucket that sat beside it.
She filled it with water, while I sat and watched, doing nothing.
She heaved the bucket over to the wall and splashed it all over the wall. The water dripped down, turning the wall into a dark colour.
‘Well, that didn’t work.’ I said, standing up.
‘Wait for it…’ Ashley smiled as golden letters faded through the dark grey.
After about thirty seconds, the wall was covered by three lines of curly golden writing.
‘Wow…’ I said.
‘I know right?’
‘How did you know that would happen?’
‘Deductive reasoning.’ Ashley smiled.
‘Now let’s figure this out.’
‘Yeah,’ I turned to look at the writing, ‘wait… those aren’t numbers.’
‘No, they’re questions. If we get them all correct, then we should end up with the combo.
‘Ok… so what’s the first question?’

If you take me, and times me by, I will end up the exact same, I’m one letter off of a man who can fly, I am someone very lame.

‘That was the worst riddle of all time.’ Ashley said.
‘Yeah, pretty much—but I did say they were pretty dumb.’
‘True,’ Ashley said, ‘so do you know the answer?’
‘Of course, it’s ‘zero’. If you times it by anything you get zero, a man who can fly would be a hero, and a lame person would be a zero, you know, zero to hero.’
‘Correct,’ Ashley said, moving forward to move the dial to zero.
I looked at the second line, and read it.

The next number is easy, this is all you have to do, take the female children Kronos ate, and times it by two. Will you solve it? Is it fate?

‘They really need to work on the rhymes…’ I said.
‘Agreed,’ Ashley said. ‘Uh… I haven’t studied Greek Mythology yet though… I really don’t know the answer.’
‘Really?’ I asked, ‘That’s awesome! I know something that you don’t know!’
‘Yeah, get over it; I won’t let it happen again.’
‘No, no, it’s fine, I like it!’
‘Well, what’s the answer?’
‘Kronos, the titan of time, ate five children.’
‘So ten… but that’s two digits it won’t fit.’
‘No, Kronos only ate three female children, Demeter, Hestia, and Hera. Hades, and Poseidon were both male.’ I explained.
‘So six, that’s awesome!’ Ashley said turning the dial again.
The third riddle went like this:

If you place me you’ll be quite proud, but you won’t quite be in the clouds.

‘That one was short.’ I said.
‘But it got to the point! It was easy.’
‘What? I didn’t get it.’
‘Then get smarter,’ Ashley said. ‘It’s obviously one. Who doesn’t want to get first?’
‘I guess, no one… but why did it say “you won’t quite be in the clouds”?’
‘I don’t know…’
‘Think the podium! If you’re not first, you’ll be lower, but still proud if you’re—‘
Ashley turned the dial to 2.
‘Let’s go,’ I said. We walked down the path and found another clearing much like the last.
‘Another one?’ I gasped.
Ashley poured water on the wall, just like she did the last.

Just think back to the last locked door, and remember the number that was put in the middle.

‘Is it just me, or are these riddle getting worse?’ I smiled.
‘It’s not just you, believe me.’ Ashley said turning the dial to six.

Mine, fine, shine, cosine, only one number could it be, which number rhymes with sign?

‘Oh wow…’ I said, ‘I guess they’re dumber than I thought.’
‘I’d say.’
Ashley turned the dial to nine.
Finish the combo.

‘What? How on earth do we finish the combo? I have no clue how to do this Anthony.’ Ashley said.
‘Well, let’s think,’ I said, ‘6, 9… blank.’ I thought aloud.
‘Well, what were the last numbers?’ She asked, ‘0, 6, 2, 6, 9… 6? Is it a pattern?’
‘No…’ I reached forward and turned the dial to four. ‘April 26, 1994… my birthday…’
‘What? Are you sure?’
‘Positive,’ I grabbed the latch and pulled up, the door swung open.

















16. Race to the Finish

Through the door, there was… nothing.
Just a barn sitting alone on the top of a hill, with no trees, except for in the back, and an array of boxes and crates sitting along the sides of the path, and around part of the edge of the clearing.
‘That was a very in depth security system for a barn.’ Ashley said walking toward the barn.
‘Be careful!’ I hissed. ‘Don’t just assume that it’s safe! This is the moment we’ve been dreading! The moment that we’ve been looking forward to for a long time…’
‘Yeah, but do you see anything standing in our way?’ She asked, ‘What do you expect? People to jump out of the boxes? Maybe a triggered string that if we touch it, an explosion will occur and we’ll die?’
‘No, but—‘
‘Think about it! They walk through here with kids slung over their shoulders! They don’t have time to think about traps and triggers!’
‘Good point…’ I said following her.
‘I wonder where everyone is.’ I said.
‘Probably guarding the kids,’
‘Well, yeah, but… where?’
‘What do you mean?’ Ashley asked.
‘I know that they’re guarding the kids, but where are the kids?’
‘I don’t know. That’s kind of the point of coming here isn’t it?’
‘I don’t think you’re getting it…’ I said.
‘What am I not getting?’
I felt like biting her head off. ‘Where are the guards?’
‘By the kids?’
‘Where are the kids?’
‘Oh…’ She said, ‘I get it!’
‘Thank you…’
‘Just keep your guard up at all times—I have no idea where they are.’
‘Thanks for the tip…’ I said sarcastically.
‘You’re welcome.’
‘Do you think they’re right inside?’ I asked.
‘Maybe they’re not inside at all.’ Ashley said.
I spun in a circle looking around for someone who might jump out to scare us. ‘I think they’re inside.’ I said trying to convince myself that I was right.
‘Alright… let’s go.’ Ashley said.
‘I’m scared.’ I said to stop Ashley from moving.
‘So am I, but just think—if we keep going, Dawson will be home free, and our lives will return to normal.’ Ashley said.
We continued walking and reached the barn quickly and stared at the door. There were no windows on the large black barn. The door was at least twenty feet tall, which was only a third of the way up. The barn was pretty large.
‘Ready?’ I asked again, reliving the moment that we had lived before we entered the maze, hoping that we wouldn’t make quite as many mistakes this time.
‘Ready.’ The two of us grabbed the door and pulled.
‘Did you hear that?’ A voice asked from within.
I grabbed Ashley’s arm and dived behind the boxes. I heard the door open, and then a couple of footsteps.
‘Who’s there?’ The voice of Mop-Head. ‘Is that you hun? Jennifer? Are you there?’
‘I told you that you were hearing things,’ Said another male voice. It seemed familiar to me… of course… him!
The sound of the door being closed filled the air around us.
I began crawling away from the barn, motioning for Ashley to follow.
Once we were far enough away, I stopped and waited the extra moment that it took for Ashley to catch up.
I took a few deep breaths before starting my “plan”… it wasn’t much of a plan, just me freaking out.
‘Ok, so we can’t go through the barn to find what we’re looking for,’ I started.
‘Remember though, we might have followed them to their base, but it might not be where they keep the kids!’ Ashley added.
‘Then why were they bringing that kid from the restaurant here?’
‘Good point,’ Ashley said.
‘So, there must be a back entrance!’ I said, ‘let’s go.’
We snuck back to the barn, and waited at the side for a moment. ‘Wait… let’s look first.’ Ashley said so quietly that it was almost inaudible.
I turned around and looked inside through the gap between two of the wall boards, there was a table right in front of where we were, so I couldn’t see any faces, but I did see a trap door… or something. There was definitely something under the barn though.
‘C’mon,’ I said, taking Ashley’s hand and leading the way around the corner. No one was there. I started into a run, and didn’t see cement block sitting by the wall, causing me to stub my toe.
‘Arhg.’ I yelped, shoving my fist in my mouth.
‘I deffinetly heard something!’ Mop-Head screeched. ‘I’m gonna go guard the door. OK?’
There was no answer. I looked at Ashley, who looked the same way I felt. Scared.
We waited for a moment to see what Mop-Head was doing. We heard him coming around from the way we had come, so I took Ashley’s hand again and led her around to the other side of the barn.
My heart was pounding so hard that it felt like it was about to explode.
This is way better than any horror movie… for sure.
A plan was slowly forming in my mind, while I waited with Ashley to see what Mop-Head was planning.
I looked down to my feet and smiled. I reached down and picked up the palm sized rock.
I slowly peeked around the corner. Mop-Head was turned the other way looking up to the sky. He didn’t have a gun that I could see, but I double checked just to be sure, then I turned to Ashley and grabbed her, throwing her out into the open, grabbing her roughly enough that she’d make some sort of noise.
‘Ow,’ she said quietly, Mop-Head turned to face her, I could tell by Ashley’s face, but she trusted me, I knew this because she remained standing in the same spot.
‘Rah!’ Mop-Head yelled, and then I heard footsteps.
‘Scared are you?’ Asked a voice from within, female this time.
Ashley took a couple steps back, and I prepared for my part in this battle. Wait… what if this doesn’t do the trick… if it doesn’t… then we die.
Mop-Head’s shadow appeared in front of me, almost completely blended into the dark ground.
I jumped out in front of him, and whipped the stone as hard as I could straight toward his face.
As a result of the conflicting forces, the man flipped backward, landing on his back, his head landing in the perfect place. On another rock.
I smiled at Ashley. ‘Sorry,’ I whispered, ‘I’m glad you can still trust me.’
‘I’m surprised that worked!’ She whispered back. ‘Let’s go.’
We walked up to where Mop-Head had been standing, and began searching for a door. We knew it was there, because he said he was going to guard it.
‘Look!’ I hissed, ‘a crease!’
Ashley came over and examined it, nodding at me.
We felt around to look for a handle, but there didn’t seem to be one, so we pushed. The door fell open, revealing a five foot tunnel, with stone floors and dirt walls, lit by a torch.
‘Whoa…’ Ashley said, ‘how… odd.’
We moved forward, and found a metal door, we tried to push it open, but it was locked.
Ashley found a key ring hanging on the wall to her right, and we tried the first of five keys.
It didn’t work.
‘What do you think all these keys are for?’ I asked quietly.
‘Who knows, probably spare keys for the main door, and probably some other doors inside, who knows.’ She said nervously.
I tried the second key, it didn’t work either.
‘Why don’t you come on back inside Nick?’ The female voice asked, ‘You know there’s no one out there now.’
I swear, my heart skipped a beat at the sound of her voice. Thankfully it came from within the barn.
I shoved the third key into the key hole, and twisted it quickly.
‘Nick?’ She asked.
I hastily tested the fourth key, and again, nothing happened. So I tried the last one. Of course it would be the last one, why make things easy for me. But it wasn’t just me, it was everyone in the world. Why is it always the last one? I should have known it was going to be the last one, so I should have tried it first…
Or not… it didn’t work.
‘Think…’ I said, ‘where do you think they would hide their keys?’
‘Do you think they would burry them?’ Ashley asked.
‘No, why would they want to dig them up every time they came to do something?’
‘I guess not…’ Ashley said,
‘Wait…’ I knocked quietly on the door.
‘What?’ Snapped an unfamiliar female voice, ‘did you get another kid, want to kill him or her like you’re doing to us?’
‘SHHHH!’ I hissed.
‘Don’t tell me to shut up, you—‘
‘We’re breaking you out, and if you don’t shut up, we’ll be heard!’ Ashley hissed as quietly as possible.
‘Oh my gosh!’ The girl cheered, ‘No way!’
‘Shh!’ I hissed again.
‘Oh right… Should I wake the others?’ She asked.
‘That would be good,’ I said, ‘but first we need to know if you know where the keys are.’
‘NICK?’ The woman’s voice screamed, ‘GET IN HERE!’ She was still inside.
‘Check in the door.’ The girl whispered.
‘I was just shoving keys into the key hole, clearly the right key isn’t—‘ I began quietly.
‘The first door.’ She said, ‘the one without a lock.’
I turned around and looked at the door we had previously come through. Surely we would have felt the key when we were looking for the handle… unless… I flipped the door around and looked on the inside. A golden key was stuck in the key hole.
I pulled it out and held it up. I turned back to the door, and unlocked it as quickly as possible. The door swung open.
The chamber we were in was lit much like the hallway just outside, the walls were lined with sleeping children, and I knew one of them was Dawson, but I didn’t know which.
‘Wake them up!’ I whispered, ‘Cover their mouths so they won’t make noise.’
Ashley and the girl, who was blonde, and who looked like she was starving to death, nodded their understanding.
We each took a wall, following my instructions, covering the mouths of each of the kids. I didn’t recognize anyone from my row.
Ashley and I met in the middle, with around twenty young teenagers and children standing in a line around us. I looked at the blonde girl’s line, there was no one left asleep, then Ashley nudged me and pointed toward two sleeping kids, that she had left in her row.
I knew it was Dawson… who else would she leave to me? I moved over to them swiftly, and stared for a moment at the form of the sleeping boy. He was still in the clothes that he was wearing before he left, a thick grey sweatshirt, and jeans, he was covered in a red fleece blanket. I smiled, and then shook him awake.
His eyes opened wide, he was ready to scream. I quickly threw my hand over his mouth.
He became limp, staring blankly into my eyes. Dawson… finally… he was back.
He flung his arms around me, and whispered in my ear, ‘I knew you’d find me… I just knew it.’
I turned to the figure beside him, it was a black haired girl, covered almost completely in a violet fleece blanket. I woke Lulu up with more caution than I had with Dawson, covering her mouth immediately. I felt her smile from beneath my hand.
‘Anthony!’ She said a little too loudly.
‘I’m going to go check it out!’ The woman inside the barn said.
‘I’ll go with you,’ the man said.
Oh man… oh man… oh man…
I ran through all the people that had been in the barn… I thought quickly, if both of those two left, then there was no one in the barn now….
‘Why does that voice seem familiar?’ Ashley asked, as I frantically searched for a different escape.
‘Because…’ I said slowly, a little ashamed to admit this, ‘because it’s James. James and Paula.’
‘What?’ Ashley screamed. ‘Are you joking?’
‘No—now help me find a trap door! Now!’ I said.
Dawson sprang to his feet, ‘It’s over here!’ He shouted. ‘Lulu, quick!’
Lulu jumped onto Dawson’s back and climbed onto his shoulders, reaching up to push open the trap door.
‘Good job,’ I said almost smiling.
‘Ashley, you go first, and start leading them away from here, and back toward the maze.’ I ordered. Ashley jumped through the trap door, followed by Dawson, then Lulu, then kid after kid climbed through.
When there were only five kids left, I realized that the triplets were still here.
‘GO!’ I yelled.
‘Not without you!’ They yelled, ‘You don’t know how important you are!’
‘GO!’ I yelled once again, and the last four children filed through the trap door.
‘YOU!’ James yelled, framed in the door.
‘You,’ I snarled.
‘Get over here!’ Paula snorted pushing past James, ‘Get… over… here!’ She yelled, grabbing at me with every word.
‘Paula, go find the KIDS!’ James screamed.
‘Got it!’ Paula reached up to pull herself through the trap door.
‘I don’t think so!’ I said through gritted teeth. I grabbed her leg, and pulled her back down. She landed on her back.
I turned to James, who had pulled out a gun.
‘I can’t have you meddling with my plans.’ James said.
Oh boy… I hope you’re as stupid as you’re companions.
‘If you kill me, then you’ll still be taken away anyway.’ I’ve already texted my brother Charlie with the details, so, even if Ashley—‘
‘Liar,’ James said.
I looked down at Paula who was rolling around on the ground at my feet.
‘Don’t be so sure,’ I said.
‘You’re parents wouldn’t buy you a phone, and the one I gave you was destroyed.’ James said.
‘How did you know—‘
‘Because it was rigged.’
‘Oh…’
James took a step toward me. ‘I thought I had played it out right—I thought I had led you away… kept you away from ruining everything…’
‘Well, it appears you were wrong.’ I said, ‘You, in fact are one of the main reasons that I was so focused on it at all.’
‘I thought that if you knew how dangerous it was you would stay away.’
‘You thought wrong!’ I yelled, ‘Maybe if you hadn’t taken Lulu! Then I wouldn’t have kept going… that is, until my brother was taken! Then three of my friends!’
‘I don’t understand…’ James said, ‘weren’t you at all scared?’
‘Of course I was!’ I said, ‘but that kept me going! Knowing that my brother was likely a thousand times more scared than me!’
‘Huh…’ James said, ‘how odd.’
‘You act like you’re not even human! You’re acting like you have no idea what it’s like to love someone!’
‘I… I don’t.’
Paula grunted on the ground.
‘’Cept you hun.’ James added.
James took another step forward.
‘Why did you take all those kids… if you were only looking for… for one?’ I asked.
‘Well, we didn’t know who we were looking for. Not exactly.’
‘Didn’t?’ I asked, ‘You do now though?’
‘Oh yes,’
‘What do you want with “the one”’
‘We don’t really want “the one”, so much as, what “the one” has.’ James explained.
‘So you wouldn’t kill “the one”?’
‘No… not until we were through with him.’ James said inching forward. He was no about seven feet from me.
‘So…’ I said, running out of staller questions.
‘Do you, Anthony… do you know who “the one” is?’ James asked.
‘Yes.’ I said.
‘Who?’
‘Me,’
‘How did you know?’ James asked with absolutely no curiosity in his voice… was he stalling? For who? For what? Not Paula, I could tell she wasn’t getting up anytime soon. He took another step forward, and I knew what he was doing.
Not until we were through with him… they didn’t want to kill me, so he wanted to grab me… to capture me so I would give him—give him what?
‘You’re pass code is my birthday.’ I said.
‘Is it?’ James asked.
‘What? No…’ I said, suddenly scared. James had an evil look in his eyes.
‘We knew the birthday of the one… but we in no way knew who it was… until now.’
Damn…
James took one step closer to me—just what I wanted.
I jumped backward, letting my sudden rush of adrenaline take over, doing a flip, my hands touching the ground, and my feet swinging up, kicking James’ gun. I finished the flip, and landed perfectly, right underneath the trap door, I jumped up, and pulled myself through.
I ran for the door of the barn, but it was locked—thankfully I was on the inside, and right beside the locks, so I began flipping the locks up, unlocking them. Why were they locked….? Ashley just came through here! There were so many, I was down to three when I felt the hand on my shoulder.
I whipped around, and saw James right there, pointing his gun right at my face.
‘No…’
‘”No…” is right, you pig—‘ James started.
Suddenly he fell over, limp to the ground. Behind him stood Jamie with a long plank of wood in his hand, his sisters standing behind him cheering.
‘Let’s go!’ I said, thankful, but still terrified that something bad might have happened to Dawson or Ashley, even though there wasn’t really anyone to do anything to them.
‘There’s a shortcut to the bridge!’ Alex said.
‘Follow me!’ Chris said, jumping back down the trap door.
Alex jumped down after her then I came in the rear.
We ran through the barn’s basement, but once we were through, I realized something was wrong. I ran back in and looked around… no Paula…
I ran outside, and saw the triplets waiting for me halfway to the trees. A pink blur running ahead of them.
‘PAULA!’ I screamed, running at full speed toward the triplets.
They were running again before I caught up to them, but still, I passed them. I didn’t really care how fast they were going, and I didn’t care that they weren’t leading me to the shortcut anymore, I figured that Paula would either be escaping, or going that way anyway.
I tripped over a tree root, smashing into the trunk of a tree. I stood up, dizzy.
‘Anthony!’ Alex screamed.
‘Look out!’ Jamie yelled.
Chris was ahead of them jumping at Paula, who was holding a branch.
Chris pushed her to the ground.
‘Good job Chris!’ Alex shouted, helping her up.
We stood around Paula, who lay still on the ground. Then, as quick as lightning, she jumped up and ran away again.
The four of us shot after her.
How did she do that?
We reached a drop off, after Paula had already jumped down off of it. We were at the bridge. On the side we would prefer not to be on.
We surrounded Paula after she paused at the bridge.
It sounded as if a herd of cattle were stampeding toward us, as Ashley led her mob over the hill.
‘Anthony!’ She screamed, ‘How’d you get there so fast?’
Alex, Chris, Jamie, and I turned to look at Ashley.
Suddenly, I felt like I had been slapped across the face, and I realized… I probably had.
I toppled backward, doing my best to keep balance, but in the end I fell. Hard. Knocking a couple of kids in the process.
I opened my eyes, which actually hurt. I had gone through a lot of pain lately. My arm from the bridge, was still bleeding, but not as much as it had been when it initially occurred. My forehead was in pain, and really could you blame me, I just head-butted a tree. Now, after being slapped across the face, I really felt like I wanted to go to sleep and not wake up for about a week.
I saw, through my fuzzy vision, Ashley run forward and wound up her arm, swinging it to hit Paula square across the face. ‘You jerk!’ She yelled while she did so.
The blonde haired girl, who had helped us find the key pulled me to my feet. ‘Are you OK?’ She asked.
‘No…’ I yawned.
‘Now isn’t the time to go to sleep. Think about what’ll happen if you go to sleep now! You might—‘
‘Die?’ I guessed. This girl reminded me a lot of Ashley. I wonder why?
‘Yeah, you might, so stand up.’ She said.
I felt another pair of hands grab me. ‘Anthony, get up!’ Lulu said. ‘Ashley can’t handle Paula by herself.’
That got me moving. I stood up, my vision a little hazy still. I waddled forward, ready to punch, but I didn’t have enough force.
‘Anthony!’ Dawson yelled, ‘stay out of the battle!’
‘Listen to your brudder!’ Paula said in a mock baby voice, as she ducked under Ashley’s punch.
‘Let me do it instead!’ He yelled.
I moved back, toppling over and landing on my butt, sitting back to watch the fight that could decide whether my brother and my best friend /the girl I like, live or die… I sat on my bum.
Dawson dived toward Paula, pushing her over, giving Ashley time to breathe.
Ashley moved toward me, then moved back to Paula, unsure of what to do.
‘I’m fine!’ I yelled, ‘go!’
Ashley turned to Paula who was now pinned to the ground by Dawson.
‘Go Dawson!’ Ashley cheered.
Then out of no where another figure pushed Dawson off of Paula. It was the girl from the bridge. She held a knife.
Paula reached to the woman’s ankle, and grabbed a spare knife, swinging it at Ashley.
‘NO!’ I yelped.
Ashley dodged.
‘They’re going to die!’ I screamed! ‘They’re going to die.’
There was a moment of silence, then Lulu said, ‘Not if I can help it. CHARGE!’
‘RAAHH!’ The battle cry of twenty kids filled the air, as they all ran forward to help out Dawson and Ashley.
I shakily stood up, just in time to see the kids wrapping the woman and Paula up around a large tree, using a piece of the net that I had dragged up with me, after I fell.
I smiled at Lulu. ‘Thank you.’
‘Don’t mention it.’ She replied.
We ran over the bridge safely, which really surprised me, I had really expected it to give in under all of the weight. But it didn’t… we were almost home free.
Then I heard a familiar noise. Barking.
‘Ashley!’ I screamed, working my way up to the front of the line. ‘We can’t go through the maze!’ I yelled.
‘I know… unless we can find a way to get passed the dogs…’ She said, as we slowed down in front of the locked gate.
‘There has to be another way… would they really want to go through the maze every single time?’ I asked.
‘No… but we can’t rely on what they would want to do… to keep the kids hidden and safe, they wouldn’t make a quick escape—‘ Ashley said.
‘Or would they?’ I smiled.
‘They would!’ She said, remembering.
We led the mob through the quick escape, and then around the outside of the maze.
I saw him before he saw us.
‘CHARLIE!’ I screamed. ‘ARE THE POLICE HERE YET?’
He turned around, the biggest smile I had ever seen, spread across his face.
‘No!’ He yelled in return.
Dawson zoomed past me, and jumped into Charlie’s arms.
‘Dawson!’ He yelled happily. ‘Thank god!’
Charlie then tossed Dawson into the shotgun of the truck, so he slid over and sat in the middle. Lulu jumping in after him.
About six kids jumped in the back of the truck.
‘Charlie they won’t all fit!’ I yelled.
‘I know—use the van!’ He yelled.
‘What if it’s triggered to explode?’ I asked.
‘I already used it! It’s not!’ He yelled.
I jumped in the driver’s seat and calmed down.
Why were we so tense, no one was following us… everyone was dealt with. James, Paula, Base-Ball Cap… and… Mop-Head wasn’t at the entrance to the “dungeon”… where was he?
Ashley hoped in the shot gun of the van, and the remaining kids got in the back, including Jamie, Alex, and Chris.
I started the ignition, just as Mop-Head showed himself. He tore out of the maze, and jumped into a black convertible. James’ vehicle.
Then, somehow, James bolted out of the maze after Mop-Head… whose name, I believe was Nick. He was still alive, yes, but conscious? How? I swear, that if I was hit in the back of the head with a plank of wood, I would be out for a while, or at least an hour, as apposed to… what? The ten minutes that James had been out? Why couldn’t something just go right for a change? Couldn’t just one person stay out cold? You know… I believe we had to face each one of them twice. Twice!
I slammed on the gas, forgetting to go into reverse. I almost crashed into a tree, but I hit the brakes just in time. I backed up and spun around to face the right way, and followed Charlie out of the lane way.
James and Nick tailed behind me, and I mean it—they were so close that they were nearly touching the back of the van.
I was driving a little faster than would seem normal, and since I hadn’t actually tested my driving skills before, I was spinning, and swerving along the road.
I knew that this wasn’t good exactly, but if the police decided to pull me over—great! Then they could take these goons off of my hand.
Smash
‘What was that?’ I screamed, as the back window smashed, shattering glass over all of the kids in the back.
‘I’m thinking, that it wasn’t a good thing.’ Ashley said.
‘Thank you, captain obvious.’ I said.
‘The window was shot out!’ Jamie yelled.
‘Again—thank you captain—‘
Thud.
Alex screamed.
‘He’s crashing into us!’ Chris yelled.
‘Again—‘
Smash!
I reached for the hand gun that I had completely forgot about, and threw it into the back. ‘Shoot ‘em!’
‘What?’ Alex asked, holding the gun.
‘Shoot!’ I yelled.
Jamie snatched the gun from Alex, and peered through the smashed window.
‘Everyone get down!’ He ordered as he readied the gun.
bang, bang, bang!
‘I hit a tire!’ Jamie cheered.
Then a loud popping noise rang over all the roaring noise of the van.
‘I think you gave them some ideas!’ I shouted. ‘They popped our tire!’
Another tire went out, and I spun out of control, the van changing direction completely, turning me to face James.
I looked directly into his eyes, his gun was held up pointing right at me… no, not me… Ashley. He pulled the trigger, but nothing happened.
He looked at it, and smacked it into his hand.
‘Out of bullets!’ I cheered.
‘Don’t be so happy! He can still reload, and we can’t move!’ Ashley yelled.
‘Everyone out!’ I yelled, but then the sound I had been longing to hear filled my ears. I grinned widely, and began cheering. Red and blue lights flashed filling my range of vision. The sirens blaring, the lights flashing… my heroes.
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Yamazaru
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Posts : 23
Join date : 2010-08-27
Age : 25

PostSubject: Chapter 17   Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:00 am





17. Happily Ever After?

James looked back and forth, then turned to yell at his partner, to get going. Nick hit the gas, but it was no use, we were surrounded by police.
Something worked out for me… James was now trapped within a circle of police cars, Ashley was sitting safely beside me, I was unharmed (as in, I hadn’t been hurt since what had happened by the bridge), and the triplets were all standing tall, beaming at each other. I had saved this group of people—but how Charlie did was still a mystery to me.
I got out of the van, and stumbled forward, falling onto my knee.
Ashley jumped out of the van and ran over to help me up. The triplets followed her lead, and Jamie slung my arm over his shoulder, and then helped me walk over to the police.
I looked around as the police began to move in, tightening their hold on the three vehicles. I saw that Charlie’s truck was pulled over, and a group of kids were piling out of the back of it and running over to the now parked van.
I turned back to James and Nick, who were now surrounded by, not police cars, but policemen. They were now out of their cars and moving in even tighter around the two men.
I watched as the men were grabbed and flung to the ground, and as the police men clipped hand-cuffs onto them.
I almost felt like smiling, but this wasn’t enough. They should have to be tortured. They should have had to be killed!
‘Anthony!’ Lulu shouted. I turned to greet her, as she jumped toward me, and flung her arms around my neck.
‘Whoa!’ I shouted in surprise, ‘Lulu!’ She let go of me. ‘What was that for?’
‘For saving my life!’ She responded simply.
I thought about the conversation James and I had had when we were in the barn’s basement, and how he didn’t know who “the one” was.
‘You were never really in danger of dying.’ I said, ‘He didn’t want to kill anyone until he knew who the right kid was.’
‘I was being fed so little that I swear I would have died soon anyway.’ Lulu admitted. ‘So, for saving my life… I thank you.’
‘You’re welcome.’ She hugged me again.
‘Thank you…. thank you!’ She turned to Ashley. ‘I don’t really know you well, but I do know that you helped. I thank you as well. I bet Anthony wouldn’t have been able to figure it out by himself—he’s a little thick headed.’
‘Hey!’ I butted in.
‘No offence, but you really aren’t very observant.’ Lulu said.
‘But—no… that’s true.’ I smiled.
Lulu returned the favour and ran off back to the group of kids.
‘She’s right…’ I said, ‘I—I couldn’t have done it without you. ‘
Ashley blushed, ‘I know.’ She said. ‘But if I didn’t have your help, I never would have figured it out.’
‘Yes you would have!’ I told her, ‘you suspected James from the start! You said that he was evil and that I should never have trusted him.’
‘But, James would never have come near me if it wasn’t for you.’ She said.
‘Why not—he knew what year “the one” was born and you’re the same age as me, so I can’t see him not coming—‘
‘I told you, they don’t want someone like me.’ She said.
‘Why not?’
‘I can’t tell you yet.’ She responded simply. ‘But even if they did want me, they would have kidnapped me instead of just meeting me, and I wouldn’t have been able to do anything.’
‘So it’s agreed? We needed each other to finish the case?’
‘Agreed.’ She said.
I turned to see what was happening with James, but he wasn’t where he was at first, he was instead being shoved in the back of a car.
Again, I smiled. Now this was enough. As long as he was never ever getting out again, then I think that would be OK, it wasn’t death, but it was almost a form of torture.
I walked over to the car that James and Nick were in, helped by Ashley (Jamie had run to celebrate with Alex and Chris).
There were two police men standing by the car.
‘Please step away from the car.’ The first police man told me. ‘It is not safe to stand near these men. Well—you should know that. After being kidnapped by them.’
I looked at the man. He had dark eyes, and short black hair—like a crew cut. He skin was dark. He looked vaguely familiar.
‘I wasn’t kidnapped sir.’ I told him. ‘I solved the case.’ I looked at Ashley, ‘We solved the case.’
‘No—that doesn’t make sense!’ The second police officer said, his hair was blonde and tied in a ponytail. ‘You’re just kids.’
‘Really?’ I asked, ticked off. ‘Well, this kid just solved a case that all of you, super smart, super awesome policemen couldn’t—‘
‘Anthony!’ Ashley hissed.
‘There’s no way!’ The blonde man said, still in shock.
‘Really all we did was spy… right?’ Ashley said looking to me.
I nodded, ‘pretty much, it doesn’t take much time and effort to spy.’
‘Well… I’m not even sure that this is the case that we’ve been working on…’ He said, ‘If I’m not mistaken there were only ten… most… only ten kids missing!’
‘Well, you were misinformed.’ I told him.
‘No… that’s not possible.’
‘Well, believe it.’ I said.
I turned around, to walk away, when he said, ‘How old are you?’
‘Sixteen.’ I responded, but I didn’t turn around.
‘And you… you’re driving?’
‘Yeah…. about that… it was to save all those lives and, did you really want me to let them all die? I mean, who would want that? Certainly not a policeman!’
‘Well… perhaps… perhaps I can look past this…’ The man looked around nervously. ‘Just don’t tell anyone.’
‘Promise.’ I said, then Ashley and I started walking away again. ‘You know, he’s not so bad.’ I told her.
I remembered something quite important, so I turned back to the policeman. ‘There are two females tied up over that way (I pointed in the direction of the bridge), you might want to take them away too… they’re not quite nice…’
‘Thank you sir.’ The blonde man said.
We walked over to Charlie’s truck and found Charlie, still sitting in the driver’s seat, the door hanging open.
‘Hey,’ I said, leaning against the truck.
‘Hey,’ He responded, ‘I’m proud of you.’
I smiled, ‘what for?’
‘You betrayed everyone’s wishes, and went with your gut.’
‘And…?’
‘And, if you hadn’t, then we wouldn’t be here right now.’ He said looking to his feet.
‘How so?’
‘I don’t know, exactly, but if you hadn’t gone to action, then Dawson wouldn’t have been saved…. Now I’m not saying that I’m glad you risked your life… and don’t ever do it again… but… thanks.’
‘Your welcome.’ I said, awkwardly.
‘You want to go home?’ He asked.
‘No—not yet.’ I said.
‘Why?’
‘I really want to make sure everyone gets home OK.’ I said.
Over the sounds of the talking crowd, I heard a car start. It drove right past me. James was seated in the back seat, scowling at me. I couldn’t help but scowl right back.
‘He’s gone…’ I said.
‘You said that like you knew him.’ Charlie said.
‘I did… kind of.’
‘What? How?’
‘Well, he was my first partner in this case… him and Paula. After they left, it was Dawson… then finally Ashley.’ I explained.
‘Awe…’ Charlie said, 'you don’t consider me a partner.’
‘No, not really.’ I said bluntly.
‘Thanks…’
‘I’m kidding. You weren’t really a help until now, but, I do thank you… a lot.’
‘Well, your welcome.’
I left Charlie there, knowing that I would probably make him feel bad if I kept talking, so I walked over to the group of kids that stood around the van.
I stood up on the hood to look through them and found a particularly important boy, with black hair.
I hopped down and manoeuvred my way toward him.
‘Hi!’ I yelled over the murmuring crowd.
‘Hey,’ He smiled, ‘You rock man!’
‘Don’t I though?’ I laughed, ‘come on, I want to talk to you!’
‘Alright!’ He said, backing up, and getting out of the crowd. I limped after him.
‘What’s up?’ He asked.
‘Everything…’
‘Oh…’ I didn’t say anything for a minute, while I tried to figure out how to word it, so he said, ‘I’m Jarred. What’s your name?’
‘Anthony…’
‘That’s cool.’ He said.
‘Thank you.’ I blurted.
‘For what?’ He was shocked, ‘Get it straight man! You saved me! Don’t you remember?’
‘Yes, but… I wouldn’t have been able to save you… if you hadn’t saved Ashley.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘When you were being taken… At the bowling Alley… Ashley was about to be taken, but you saved her. Thank you.’
‘No problem dude.’ He said, patting me on the back. There was a moment of silence, then he said, quite randomly, ‘we should have a party!’
I was taken aback. ‘Yeah… I guess that could be fun…’
‘Darn right it would be fun!’ He cheered, ‘C’mon, let’s go!’
‘I—I’ll see you later, I’ve got to talk to some others.’ I said.
‘Kay,’ He squeezed back into the crowd.
I started walking through the crowd as well, and was clapped on the back by many people, and the blonde girl who helped me find the keys said, ‘Go Anthony!’
I found Dawson, and pulled him away.
‘Anthony!’ He shouted hugging me. ‘Wow… I’m so glad you’re OK!’
‘Uh… you’re the one who was kidnapped—not me.’
‘I know, but if you were hurt, than I knew no one would be able to save us!’ That meant a lot to me, I was glad he had faith in me.
‘So… they didn’t do anything to you… did they?’ I asked.
‘Other than take me against my will, force me in the back of a van, and then keep me in a smelly barn for… how long was it?’
‘About nine months… not too long.’ I said.
‘Let’s go home! I want to see dad! And mom!’
‘How did you know mom was home?’
‘What do you mean, she liv—oh right… I forgot about that.’
‘Well, she’s home anyway… and there’s a little surprise for you there.’ I smiled.
‘What is it?’ He asked.
‘I can’t tell you, it won’t be a surprise if I tell you!’ I laughed.
‘I’ll keep it a secret—I’ll still act surprised!’
‘It doesn’t work that way.’ I laughed.
I left him with Lulu and the others, and walked back over to Charlie to watch the scene lay out in front of me. Ashley was still standing with him, talking about what had happened.
After she finished Charlie said, ‘Sound like you didn’t pull your weight in there Anthony.’
‘Yeah I did!’
‘Who navigated you guys through the maze?’ Charlie asked.
‘Ashley…’
‘Who endangered your lives by setting ravage dogs after you?’
‘Me…’
‘So there’s one for Ashley and negative one for you.’ He said, ‘Who found the rope to swing across?’
‘Ashley…’
‘Who got stuck and ended up hanging there?’
‘Me…’
‘Two, to negative Two for Ashley.’ Charlie said, ‘Who answered most of the riddles and figured out the answers?’
‘Ashley and I both got the first, I got the second and the third… then Ashley and I both got the fourth, and the fifth, and I got the sixth!’ I defended myself.
‘OK, Two, to negative one, for Ashley.’ Charlie concluded.
‘OK, well who fought Base-Ball Cap? Who stole her gun?’ I rebuked.
‘Who fought Paula?’ Ashley joined in.
‘Who pulled her out of the trap door, and cornered her in the woods?’
‘Who led the mob to safety?’
‘Who faced James and beat him?’
‘You faced him… but wasn’t it Jamie who—‘
‘OK, fair enough!’ I said smiling. ‘We each did our fair amount of work.
‘Agreed.’
I watched in silence for the next couple hours as parents and police men showed up, and left, the crowd of kids gradually getting smaller, Ashley and I being thanked multiple times from each parent, even embraced by some. Some offered us money for finding them—and although I was tempted, I didn’t take the money.
Eventually, the blonde policeman did come back with Paula and Base-Ball Cap.
‘This is all your fault Jennifer!’ Paula had snapped.
‘Me?’ Jennifer—that was her name… saves a lot of time—snapped back. ‘I say we just blame Jeremy.’
‘Deal.’
The policemen dispersed, and then there were only six people still in the small clearing that we had ended up in, Charlie, Dawson, Ashley, Lulu, Jarred and I.
I moved swiftly over to Jarred, yawning (it was late at night, I wasn’t sure exactly how late, but probably past midnight), and asked him, ‘When are your parents coming?’
‘They aren’t.’ He responded. ‘My parents are dead.’
‘Oh… I’m sorry,’
‘Don’t be… it’s alright.’ He said.
‘How are you getting home?’ I asked politely.
‘I don’t have a home man.’ He said.
I wasn’t sure how to respond to that one… He reminded me of a lost puppy that I had once found on the side of the road. I had asked my dad if I could keep it, but he said no. I kept it anyway, hidden in the garage. Dad found it, and realized that I had kept it and took care of it for about a month and it was still alive, so he said I could keep it. I named it Dennis.
‘Why don’t you come live with me?’ I asked suddenly.
‘What? You mean it?’ Jarred asked, clearly shocked.
‘Yeah, there’s no way my dad will say no, he’s going to be in such a rush of happiness that my brother is home that—‘
‘Do you have room?’ He asked. ‘I really don’t want to bother you. I was living with someone once, but he only had one bed, so he gave me the bed and he took the couch. Then he got tired of it, and instead of giving me the couch, he just kicked me out! So really, if you don’t have room—‘
‘We have room—believe me! We’ve got like three extra rooms upstairs!’
‘You must have a big house.’ Jarred observed.
‘You have no idea.’ I said smiling. ‘Come on, let’s go.’
I led him to Charlie’s truck and explained that I was taking him home. Charlie agreed, and hopped in the front of the truck. Lulu and Dawson sat in the cab with him, while Jarred, Ashley and I jumped in the back.
Charlie drove away. I looked back at the black van that had caused so much trouble, now sitting still in the middle of the road, where it would do no harm ever again.

Once home we walked inside immediately without knocking. The kitchen light was on, so, clearly dad was still awake. Why?
Oh wait… Charlie and I left without any indication, they were probably up waiting.
‘Anthony? Is that you?’ Dad yelled, ‘You are in so much trouble—‘ He stopped when he stepped out into the hallway. He saw Dawson, and smiled wider than he ever had—even when he was talking about marrying Grace.
Dad ran down the hall toward Dawson and picked him up, and spun around.
‘Dad!’ Dawson yelled, his face turning red, ‘put me down!’ Lulu was laughing.
Dad set Dawson down and looked at Lulu. ‘LULU!’ He cheered.
Grace and mom stepped out into the hall.
‘Mom!’ Dawson cried, apparently not embarrassed to hug his mom in front of Lulu. ‘MOM!’ He began crying.
Ashley and I stepped aside, and let the scene unfold.
When Mom finally let Dawson go, he saw Grace. ‘Hi…’ Dawson looked at me for a second, then said really fast, ‘What is my art teacher doing at my house at one o’clock in the morning?’ Then something clicked, ‘She’s the surprise!’
I nodded.
‘You can now call me Grace.’ Grace said. Dawson hugged her.
‘So, you’re my dad’s girlfriend?’
‘That was quick! How did you figure that out so fast?’ I asked.
‘Why else would she be here?’ Dawson asked.
‘Well, he wasn’t technically right. I am your fathers’ fiancé.’
‘Really?’ Dawson seemed to be taking it well.
‘We are also expecting a baby!’ She smiled.
Why tell him everything so fast, that’s no fun! ‘Cool! That’s awesome—wait! Speaking about teachers… did I pass my classes?’
‘Uh—I don’t think so.’ Grace said, ‘but I came up with an idea for those of you who were taken. I’m starting a program at school over the summer, for half-days only, so you can get your credits that you missed out on.’
‘So, like eight for me…’ Lulu sighed.
Dad noticed Jarred, ‘And who is this?’
‘I’m Jarred sir,’ Jarred responded.
‘And… what are you—‘
‘Dad, let him explain,’ I said.
‘Yes, please!’ Jarred said.
‘Can I talk to you Anthony?’ Dad asked as a rhetorical question. He walked over to me and grabbed my arm, dragging me away, and into the kitchen.
‘Would you like to explain?’ Dad asked.
‘Well, that’s Jarred, and—‘
‘I do know Jarred, I’ve known him since he was little—his parents were killed, and, now… now he needs a place to stay doesn’t he?’
I nodded.
Dad thought for a moment, then listened as Dawson yelled, ‘PARTY!’
‘OK… he can stay… in the storage room.’
‘The storage room?’ I asked, ‘but we have three two other rooms… and a library, and—‘
‘Ohh!’ Came a voice from behind me. ‘Can I sleep in the library?’
‘No, but the storage room door is directly in front of the library—you could sleep there.’
‘OK!’ Jarred cheered, ‘Thanks Mr H!’ Jarred hugged him, then said, ‘Do you… do you have another bed? I don’t want to—‘
‘Don’t worry, we have another bed.’ Dad smiled. ‘You are definitely welcome.’
‘Thanks!’ Jarred ran off.
‘So how do you know Jarred?’ I asked.
‘That is no concern of yours.’
‘Fine… then answer me this, why didn’t you give him one of the nicer rooms?’ I asked.
‘Well, one of them is right by my room, so I want that one for the baby, and one is pink—and I don’t actually want to paint it. Plus your mom is staying in the pink one.’
‘Oh…’ I said, ‘well, he seems content with the storage room anyway.’
‘It beats standing on the streets, doesn’t it?’ Dad said, ‘well, at any rate, he’s a nice kid.’
‘I thought so too.’
We walked back into the kitchen.
‘Hey Lulu,’ I said, ‘Do you want me to walk you home?’ I asked.
‘Sure,’ she said. I strode over to the door, and opened it swiftly.
‘Come on, let’s go.’ I said, leading the way out the door. ‘I’ll be back!’
‘Soon!’ Dad ordered.
‘Yeah, yeah!’
I silently walked Lulu home. I didn’t want to say anything, because I wasn’t sure what mood she was in.
When we reached the door to her house, she grabbed the door handle, but I stopped her.
‘Do you not want an epic, happy moment like they have in movies?’
‘Yeah, I guess.’ She said,
’They’re probably sleeping, so, you have to let them come to you.’
‘Oh, uh… so I’ll…’ She rang the doorbell.
We waited for a couple seconds, then rang it again… and again, and again, until finally the door flung open.
‘WHAT?’ Brian yelled. ‘I DON’T WANT—Lulu….’ He jumped outside, and hugged her.
‘See, didn’t I tell you—‘ I started.
‘Don’t ruin it!’ Lulu snapped.
‘Lulu!’ Brian said again. ‘MOM! DAD! HURRY!’
‘Brian—I can’t… breathe!’ Lulu spat out.
‘Sorry—‘ He let go, as his parents appeared in the doorway.
‘LULU!’ The screamed together. Karen began to cry, as her and Kevin embraced their daughter.
Brian looked at me for a moment, then hugged me, ‘thank you!’ He said, ‘thank you Anthony…’
‘Don’t mention it.’
‘You saved her…’ Brian said, ‘Did… Did I help?’
‘Yeah…’ I lied.
‘No I didn’t,’
‘Not really…’
‘That’s OK, just as long as she’s safe.’ He hugged me again. ‘You might want to go home. It’s pretty late—but if you don’t want to, you can stay—in fact, despite what my parents say, you can live here if you want!’
‘That’s alright, I’ve got my own house, but thanks anyway, I’ll just go home.’ I said, ‘but really, it’s no big deal. This is my new job—save people… I’ve taken it on.’
‘Alright…’ Brian looked at me like I was crazy, ‘Well, thanks anyway…’
I smiled at him, and walked home. I knew Karen and Kevin would have thanked me, if given the chance, but I left, not wanting a huge spiel.
I got home, to find that Charlie had taken Ashley home, and already returned, and Dawson had gone to bed. Dad had already set up the couch for Jarred (we didn’t have time tonight to set up the room, but I knew we were going to do it tomorrow).
I looked around at the group of people in the living room. Mom, Dad, and Grace sat on the small couch chatting excitedly, Charlie sat yawning in a chair, and Jarred was lying on the couch smiling, and playing with Dennis.
‘Good night.’ I said, running toward the stairs.
I sat down on my bed and waited for… forever. I didn’t want to go to sleep, even though I was more tired than I could ever remember being.
I finally got changed, and jumped into bed, ready to go to sleep.
Thud
I jumped up, and out of bed. What was that?
Thud.
It was coming from under my bed, so I jumped back on top, ready to pounce at whoever… or whatever it was.
Then a boy sped out from underneath my bed, headed for the door.
I dived toward him and pinned him to the ground. ‘Dawson?’ I asked.
‘Get off!’ He shouted, pushing me off.
‘What were you doing?’
‘I was seeing Lulu—I wanted to see her again, now that we were free.’
I sighed, and stood up, ‘fine.’ I helped him up, ‘But ask next time you’re going to use the chute, rather than scaring me half to death. OK?’
‘OK,’ Dawson smiled then ran away.

I woke up the next day… or should I say, afternoon, to find that everyone else in the house was already up. Everyone except Mom. She was the one that I wanted to talk to. She seemed really depressed, and I knew why. All of her kids hated her. I wanted to forgive her… I didn’t know if I could, but I wanted her to at least think that I had, so she wouldn’t be so sad.
I opened the door to her bedroom, hoping to wake her up. I walked over to the bed and sat down, realizing that there wasn’t anything in the bed.
‘Mom?’ I said aloud. ‘MOM?’
I ran downstairs, and found dad in the kitchen,
‘Dad where is mom?’
‘In bed.’
‘No, she’s not, she isn’t there! There’s nothing in the bed!’
He peered outside. ‘Her car is gone.’ He picked up the phone, and called her cell number. ‘And apparently… her cell phone number isn’t valid anymore.’
‘Why’d she leave? Do you know what happened?’
‘No, the last thing I remember was watching the news last night, and your case was on it—by the way, they don’t know your name, so they can’t give you credit.’
‘That’s a good thing, I don’t want everyone to know that it was me—too much publicity.’
‘Good point,’ He said, ‘but anyway, we were watching the news, then I went to bed… but she didn’t go… I don’t think so…’
‘Well, I’m going to go to school now.’ I said.
‘No you’re not—just take the day off,’
‘But I want to talk to Bobby and Jo!’ I protested.
‘Talk to them when they get home from school.’
‘Fine…’
So I waited until the time came, then found Jarred and Charlie, who was hanging out with Miranda in the living room, and took all three of them to the Tree’s house (I had to sit in the back of the truck).
I walked up the front door, and waited a moment, I laughed to myself. ‘You might want to prepare for this…’ I told Jarred, ‘They aren’t the most normal people.’
I knocked on the door three times, and waited.
The door opened, and to my surprise, Ashley stood on the other side, her red hair, particularly refined today, tied in a wavy ponytail, that she slung over her shoulder.
‘Anthony?’
‘Ashley?’ I asked, ‘What are you doing here?’
‘I came to visit my friends.’ She replied, ‘Hi Charlie, hi Jarred, hi Miranda.’
‘Hello Ashley,’ Charlie and Miranda said.
‘What’s up?’ Jarred asked.
Before Ashley could answer his question, Bobby and Jo came to the door.
‘Do you want to go for a walk?’ I asked them. They nodded.
I took Ashley and Jarred with us, leaving Charlie and Miranda for a little alone time.
I basically just wanted to explain everything to the twins, and let them know what happened. That it was over. That Jo was wrong, and Dawson was still alive.
I introduced them to Jarred, who they both really liked, and he seemed to like them too. Everything seemed to be happening perfectly. Everything. And even though I knew this wasn’t the end… it was still a happy ending.
I thought back to September… for some reason I remembered Bobby saying this… “I don’t like happy endings.”
‘Bobby… do you still dislike the happy endings?’
‘Yes—why?’
I shrugged.
‘I’m glad this all worked out, but… really happy endings aren’t things that should happen… too perfect.’
‘I agree!’ Jarred said.
‘Well… it’s about to get happier!’ Jo said pointing forward.
I followed her arm, and looked where she was pointing. Charlie was on one knee, in front of Miranda…
No…
‘Yes!’ Miranda cried, ‘Yes!’
‘After school of course… I just couldn’t wait another minute to ask!’ Charlie said hugging her. ‘Oh, here’s your ring!’ He slipped it onto her finger.
‘How romantic!’ Jo said.
‘How gross…’ Bobby sighed.
‘Who is she?’ Jarred whispered.
‘It’s sweet!’ Ashley exclaimed.
‘Predictable…’ I smiled. I don’t know how I could handle one more wedding… Why did everyone want to get married?
I looked at Ashley, who was smiling broadly. She returned the glance, and stopped smiling, then, out of the blue, we both flung ourselves forward into a kiss.


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PostSubject: Epilogue    Sat Aug 28, 2010 11:00 am

Epilogue

The next few weeks flew by, and exams were approaching, and I had crammed my head to the max with all of the information that I would need when the time came. Ashley had insisted that we all study, so she was over at my house a lot with Bobby, and Jo, all of us sitting in my room studying, giving Jarred time to bond with Dawson. Jarred was his age, but much smarter. Now, usually I wouldn’t have questioned someone being smarter than Dawson, because it simply isn’t a hard thing to accomplish, but since Jarred had lived on the street for a large portion of his life, I had to ask why.
‘Just because I live on the street doesn’t mean I don’t go to school.’ He said, sitting at the table, with a bowl of cereal in front of him.
‘Ah…’ I said, ‘How did you pay?’
‘I had some money, but that left pretty fast, but then the government paid for it.’
‘Really?’
‘Yeah…’ He said, ‘it was really weird. I didn’t think anyone cared, but then, that happened.’
‘So you had a little bit of money and you spent it on school?’
‘Yeah man, I knew it was the right thing to do.’ Jarred said, ‘it was like a gut feeling… you know? I just knew it was right.’
‘Alright…’ I said, ‘that makes sense… I guess.’
‘I thought so.’ He scooped some cereal onto a spoon, and shoved it in his mouth.
I smiled.
Dad really liked Jarred; I think it was because he was polite, kind, and funny.
We had cleared out the storage room, and put his bed in, and even bought him a dresser and an entire wardrobe. He was reluctant to accept it all at first, but how could we just let him go on with just the one outfit that was old, ripped and dirty?
It was weird to have another brother, of course he wasn’t really a brother but it seemed that way. But it was weird because I was so used to just the two of them… and the weirdest part, was that Grace’s baby (she was about four months pregnant now) was going to be a boy… we didn’t know for sure, but I just had this feeling that it was a boy. I wonder how Grace would feel, being surrounded by six guys… but then again, Charlie was planning on moving away, so it would still only be five I guess.
I had nothing to do, besides study, because all that I had done in the past year was look for Dawson and the others, and since that was over and done with, I was at a loss.
I went to school on the day of the first exam, which was Civics. This was the one exam I wasn’t really worried about. Politics wasn’t my favourite topic, and yet, after Ashley bombarded me with questions, I felt entirely ready.
The test was going smoothly until I reached the last page—I didn’t know anything about whatever it was it was asking, so I just put down some random answers. I thought that would be better than leaving it blank.
I yawned as I left the classroom. I had a feeling I did really well on that exam. Just science and German to go.
The second I got off of the bus Dawson greeted me (He didn’t go to school… what was the point?).
‘Anthony!’ He cheered, ‘Where have you been?’
‘Where do you think?’ I laughed.
‘Well, Lulu and Charlie are waiting for us!’
‘Where?’ I asked.
‘In the truck!’
‘There are only three seats—I’m not riding in the back again.’
‘Don’t worry; I’ll sit in the back.’
‘Wait… where are we going anyway?’ I asked, finally realizing that I had no idea.
‘For a drive,’
‘Well, I have to study.’ I said, not wanting to go for a drive.
‘All you do is study; I think you can let up on it for four hours… can’t you? Or do you not want to spend time with me? What if I’m taken again? What will you do?’
‘Fine… I’ll go…’
‘Great!’
‘What about Jarred?’ I asked, ‘He deserves to come too—after all, he was kidnapped for a longer time than you were, so… did you invite him?’
‘I was going to, but dad said not to bother him.’
‘Why?’
‘He’s doing school.’
‘What?’ I asked. The way he put it, it didn’t make sense.
‘His old school kicked him out, because he “skipped so much school” so dad is helping him finish school. He’s a really smart kid, he knows everything he’s supposed to know already, so dad is almost ready to give him his exams.’
‘How does he know all of that if he’s been kept under a barn for that long…?’
‘I told ya, he’s smart—now come!’
‘Alright,’

My science exam went well, again, thanks to Ashley’s studying. Afterwards Ashley, Jo, Bobby, and I went to the pizza restaurant that Ashley and I went on for our first date… “Date”.
‘I can’t believe how fast this year has gone…’ Bobby said, ‘I…I’m not even sure if I want it to end.’
‘Why?’ I asked, ‘this was by far the worst year that I’ve ever lived through.’
‘Why?’ Bobby asked, ‘everything turned out fine. Everyone is still alive, and you’re gonna live happily ever after with Ashley.’
Ashley spit her juice out, spraying it all over Jo.
I didn’t even bother with what that was supposed to mean. Bobby was wrong. One thing did happen that I would have liked to change. My mother left us. Twice without any explanation.
But then again, I did get Grace… and Ashley… and Jarred… I guess they out numbered her… then why did I still feel so bad about what happened?
Jo ordered our food for us, while the rest of us sat in silence. I knew that Ashley was thinking, just as I was, but I think Bobby just had nobody to talk to.
We ate our pizza, still in silence.
As we were leaving the restaurant Jo said, ‘we should do this more often.’
‘We should… but that would cost money… something that I severely lack.’ I said.
‘As do I,’ Ashley laughed.
‘Actually… a job might be a good idea!’ Jo smiled.
‘Maybe…’ Bobby said, ‘but I’m not working somewhere where I will have to smell food all day.’
‘Well, that’s the beauty of it; you get to apply for places that you’d like to work at.’ Jo explained.
‘Well, that’s just dandy,’ Bobby said excitedly.
I zoned out as Jo explained the whole job factor to her brother. I thought about how much studying I could have been doing during this time, but then snapped out of it. I was acting too… too… too Ashley.
I said bye to the others as they loaded into my dad’s car. He was going to take them home, giving me time to talk to Jarred.
I looked around for him, all through the house, but he wasn’t there.
‘Hey, Charlie, where’s Jarred?’ I asked, as he and Miranda sat in the living room on the couch, laughing.
‘He went out with Dawson and Lulu, because you weren’t here.’ He said.
‘Oh…’ I sighed, ‘fine then.’
I ran upstairs and flipped my German textbook open. And began studying the weather. I had most trouble remembering those words.
Once I had the words memorized, I worked my way downstairs, and did my best to only talk in German for the rest of the night, and the next morning.
I prepared myself while on the bus with Ashley and Jo, who were also taking this exam. Bobby had no exam today—his vacation started a day early.
The classroom was dimly lit, by candles, the blinds were pulled shut, and every desk was facing a wall.
‘Just a little intimidating…’ I said.
‘Ah-ah-ah!’ Jo said, ‘Deutsch!’
I nodded, unsure of how to say sorry in German.
I took a seat by the window, even though the blinds were pulled, hoping that it might help me think. Usually seeing the outside world would motivate me, so I could write faster, and get out there.
Our teacher handed out the papers, and the test began.
Again, thanks to Ashley’s persistent studies, I was flying through the test.
Then I reached the weather part, so instead of thinking too hard about it, I skipped over it, planning to go back to it when I was finished the rest of the test.
Finally I was back at the weather section. I answered all the questions I knew off hand, but had to actually start thinking about the last ones.
One question showed a picture, and I was to describe the weather in the picture. In the picture was a barn.
That caused my mind to wander. I thought about the events that had happened in the past month…
I remembered even past that, to when Paula was leaving me and James alone… she said “Jeremy is waiting,”… then when she and Jennifer were being hauled off by the police they mentioned the name again… who was that?
There was obviously James—couldn’t forget him... and of course Paula… and Jennifer… or Base-Ball Cap …Nick… or Mop-Head… So who was Jeremy…?
Ah…. I remembered, Dreadlocks.
My pencil snapped as I pressed it against the test too hard.
The policeman that had taken James and Nick away… he was so familiar to me… now I knew why… He was Dreadlocks… Jeremy!
Ashley glanced at me, and I could tell she knew something was wrong. I decided I would tell her when I really needed to.
No need to worry her.





there is my book... I dunno if this thing makes it copywritten, but i've already done that, so you can't steal it... not that you'd want to... not too good. SO HA!
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PostSubject: Re: Yamazaru's Story   Sun Aug 29, 2010 10:53 am

HEY! It's randomly all together as one!! thank you whoever did that!!! Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Yamazaru's Story   Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:30 am

well, thats was long. it was an awsome story, i absolutly love how you made everything it was paula and james and then it was dreadlocks and then paula and james, i loved it!! just fluff it up a little, fix some mistakes and you have got a story ready for publishing, it was really good!!! one more thing, i still dont understand what was up with the triplets dad and his dad. and maybe you could be more clear about how they wouldnt want ashley, you know? and his dad and grandpa, i have an idea what that was about but i wasnt too sure
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PostSubject: Re: Yamazaru's Story   Mon Aug 30, 2010 11:43 am

well see the point is that you will find all this out in the last book, of why they wouldn't allow Ashley, and it becomes more and more annoying in each book and your like "JUST TELL ME!" and then i do... at the end of book 5... but thanks for reading it. A lot of the adults you don't really get right? that's sorta the point, most of them have their backgrounds that all clue in together that you learn more about in the third book, so then it'll start making sense. And Anthony's new necklace. But Thank you!
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PostSubject: Re: Yamazaru's Story   Mon Aug 30, 2010 2:22 pm

kk, i cant wait to read them!!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Yamazaru's Story   Mon Aug 30, 2010 4:07 pm

can you read chapter 1 book 2 in the critique needed section since you are the only one who has read this...?
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PostSubject: Re: Yamazaru's Story   Mon Aug 30, 2010 5:23 pm

mmhmm
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