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The Search and Rescue Mission
I see her, Kaya, in this dream that will soon be a nightmare. How do I know? I’ve seen it every moment since they took her away from me.
She sits there alone in her room. She doesn’t seem to know what’s happening yet, so I’ll enjoy her like this for a moment. She looks calm, almost at peace you can say. Then it comes. Her eyes widen in fear. Gooseflesh erupts on her arms. Her mind finally registers to run, but even then it’s too late for her.
The figure shoves a gag in her mouth. Bounds her hands and feet, and carries her out, and away from me.
I’m all she has, the only person to care for her. We used to have parents that did that, but it changed when they were blown to bits by an explosion. I don’t know why they were there and what happened to cause that explosion. But I do know that they’re gone, and Kaya could be too.
I wake up to find sheen of sweat on my temple. My hands are shaking as if they had been in the cold for hours. I have the sound of explosions and screaming in my head. I wouldn’t have been surprised if my head exploded right here and now.
Ever since my parents died, I tried to care for Kaya and myself. It wasn’t easy, but we managed.
We lived in numerous homeless shelters. We finally found a good place to live. It was vacated; there was a well in the back. There was enough space for Kaya and me. Things finally seemed to be going our way for a change. But all good things come to end, especially when they came.
There was about a hundred goons there from what I saw. I managed to steal some food from the farm down the road. Right as I was going over the hill, I see them. Swarms of them are cramming themselves into a black van. I don’t realize what they’re doing until I see the small bundle of burlap wriggling in a man’s arms. A muffled scream comes from the bag; I knew what they were carrying. It was Kaya. I tried running from behind the tree line where I was hiding, but it was too late. They had left with my sister, and half of my heart. And all of this happened 48 hours ago.
I gather what I need to get Kaya back. I only packed the essentials, a canteen of water, food, flashlight, and a picture of Kaya. I would have to leave soon. They already had two nights start on me.
I was about to disembark on this journey when I hear footsteps coming up the front porch. They must have come back for something. Then a thought occurs to me…there not coming back for something. They’re coming back for me. Why would they only take one of us? I hurriedly make my way to the back door. The men at the front were already trying to break the door open. I need to leave, NOW.
I burst into the sunlight outside, being temporarily blinded. I squint into the light rays trying to find my way to the woods. I stumble forward, but I’m too late.
They had the minds to come around the back when they saw me flee from the house. They were closing in around me, trying to eliminate my last chance of escape. I thought feebly, well at least they’ll bring me to the same place Kaya is. This thought starts to turn into an idea, in fact I’m holding out my arms for them to take me with them. I relish in this action I just made. They think that I’m giving up, but they’re wrong. They’re dragging me to the door of their van, when some unforeseen force knocks my pursuers to the ground. I look around trying to find who was the person that did this, when I see him. He emerges from the forest line, silent as night, with a dart gun in hand.
He calmly walks up to me, unafraid by what he sees. I'm not as brave. I’m terrified by what I see. I didn't expect to wake up this morning to almost be captured by a bunch of goons, and then have a mysterious stranger make them fall to their knees without trying. Actually, I'm freaking out! Apparently this stranger isn't blind and he sees that I’m afraid. He kneels by me, and gestures for me to take his hand. I do. We sneak back to the forest when he finally speaks.
"So, I guess you didn't expect this to happen, huh?" he asks.
"To be perfectly honest, no. And I'm still pretty terrified of you," I say. I stop where I'm standing suddenly feeling angry.
“What I want to know is who are you? And why are you here?" I demand.
"Okay, you do deserve that much. My name is Max Rodriguez, and the reason I’m here is bring you to Kaya."
“You have to be joking right? How do you even know about Kaya? She just got taken two nights ago, and I was going to find and rescue her until those goons came out and attacked me. What all do you know about us?"
“I know that your name is Aleah Felds. You have a little sister Kaya Felds. You two have been on the run for years now, not knowing what to do or where to go. But you did know you couldn't go back to the place where you use to live, thank god for that. You’re about fifteen years old and Kaya's about 9 years old. An explosion in their science laboratory years ago killed your parents, and that’s why they took Kaya. They used her as bait, so they could find out more about their experiments from you."
My mouth is open in disbelief. Is this true? Can he really be trying to help to find Kaya? Was I bait? But wait, what do I know about this kid, or should I say teenager, since he can't be much older than me. His name is Max Rodriguez, but that’s all I know. He's about 5’7; he has olive dark skin, big brown eyes and jet-black hair. We look a lot alike, I guess. We were both tall and skinny, underfed. But could he really help me?
"So, what you’re telling me is that you’re seriously going to take me to Kaya? Or help at least. And that you've been watching over both of us to see what would happen and keep us safe?"
"That pretty much sums it all up," he responds
"Okay then," I say. I can't hide the over flowing amount of hope that shows on my face. “So, how are we going to get there?"
When I say this, a wry smile appears on his face. "We," he pauses for dramatic effect, "are going to drive."
"How?" I ask, but I soon find out the answer. He points me in the direction of the 2007 Dodge V6 Charger.
"Oh, sweet!” I say. I'm racing to the car before he can even unlock the doors.
This is how the past days go by, we drive by night and stop to refuel and rest by day. We have to take quite a bit though. We steal stuff from food, water, to gas and oil for the car. (Which by the way is the coolest car in the world!)
"At this rate we should reach the laboratories where their keeping Kaya in Florida in about 2 days," Max said.
"Good! I can't wait until I see Kaya and know she's safe again," I say.
Unfortunately for us, our good moods came to a screeching halt when we saw a string of black vans trailing us.
Okay we were on a highway, it's not like we could go off the road into some rural area like in the movies. Instead we had to take a cross ramp onto a street where it wasn't crowded. Then all chaos broke loose.
It turns out that they had formed some sort of blockade to prevent us from passing. So instead of Max pressing down on the brake to stop, he forced his foot on the accelerator and made us go faster. By that point we were flying down the road. But instead of colliding with the vans, we took a sharp turn and suddenly veered off the road into some abandoned construction site.
We stopped the car. Max only said one word, "Run."
And you better believe I took off like a rocket, but not before I took Max's hand. If you think we were being dramatic and overreacting by running away from some nerdy scientists, then you obviously haven't been in our situation.
The men that spewed out of those vans were on average about 5 inches taller and another 50 pounds heavier than us easy. And they were coming for us. I didn't know if I was more scared of them or not seeing Kaya again.
Suddenly Max was digging in his pack and pulled out two cylindrical tubes. He thrust one in my hand along with a handful of darts. I look at him incredulously then I realize that these were the exact weapons he used to take down the goons that attacked me. They would instantly paralyze you when you came in contact with them...well at least for a little bit.
I was loading my dart gun when I saw multiple goons go down, with colorful darts sticking out of their necks. Max was a pretty good shot. I started shooting goons myself. Max and I take out goons until there’s only a handful left, but we were out of darts. Max looked at me expecting an idea to help us get out of this, but I had no clue myself. Wait, there is one thing, but it would most likely result in the both of us getting killed. Hey, we had no other choices. So I run up to the closest goon, launch myself into the air and deliver a kick right in his jaw. I hear a satisfying and sickening crack, and he falls to the ground. I discovered that they were very uncoordinated and seemed to fall easily. The fighters on both sides looked surprised so I took advantage of the moment and took out another goon. Now Max and I were on the same page. We started kicking, punching even biting until every goon was down. We were pretty banged up afterwards.
"Where in the world did you learn how to kick a fully grown man in the jaw?" he asked excitedly after the fight.
"I saw it in a movie. I always wanted to try it out, but never had anyone to try it out on until now." I said shyly.
“Well, I'm just glad you didn't try it out on me," he said jokingly.
I smiled at that comment, actually happy for a change.
Sadly since the goons saw what car we had, we had to ditch it. I legitimately saw tears forming in Max's eyes. We found a car a few blocks down in a parking lot. Sure it wasn't a Charger, but a Corolla would have to do. Max showed me how to hot wire it and we were off. But I still had one question.
"Max, how did we not crash into the goons, we just veered off the road?" I asked
He smiled as he answered, "It’s called drift. It works pretty well in situations like that and it looks pretty cool."
Drift, I needed to remember that.
Even with the fight with the goons we still made it to the coast of Florida in two days. Now all that was left was to face the scientists.
I don't know if you've ever been to Florida, but it's one of the most beautiful places in the world. There's a bright sun around the clock and the scenery was pretty amazing. I wanted to go to the beach, but we had other assignments on our agenda. And our top priority was Kaya.
"How do you know where the labs are?" I asked Max.
His face darkened as I asked this.
“My parents used to work there; they kept trying new experiments, trying to outdo their competitors. They became so absorbed with their work that they didn't realize a gas leak in the labs where they were working. They died, since the gas was chlorine, and I was forced to watch,” he said.
"Oh my god, didn't anyone try to help you?" I asked helplessly
"It was after hours, my parents were working late, again. The labs were abandoned. They had brought me there earlier that day. I had to wait there until the night janitors came into the wing were I was. It had been hours since they died, I kept expecting them to get up and keep working, but the last time I saw them alive, was them writhing in agony on the floor."
I didn’t ask any more questions, not because I wasn’t curious, I just didn’t think he could answer without crying. So we rode on in silence until we came across a huge building with a gate enclosing it. This place gave me the heebie-jeebies, so as you could imagine when Max parked out front I was pretty creeped out.
“So this is where Kaya’s being kept?” I asked.
“Yep, and this is where we have to break in,” he said grimly. I just had one thought. This is going to be harder than it looks. And we set off.
If I said that we snuck into the building stealthily, then I would be lying. As soon as we made it over the gate we set off alarms. So Max and I took off trying to avoid capture. We actually made it pretty far. We made it into the building, hiding in lab coats when a group of security officers came by us. As soon as they left we went to try to find where they were keeping Kaya.
It wasn’t easy as some might expect. The facility was huge. I just hoped there was going to be a you are here sign and to my surprise there actually was. We were located in the west wing, where all the administrative offices were. Where we needed to be was in the north experimental wing. I gave Max a look for reassurance. He nodded in agreement and we took down the hall, making sharp turns and split decisions.
As soon as we reached the north wing we immediately heard screaming. My heart dropped like it was made of lead, could that be Kaya screaming? If so, then I was too late. I ran to the door and burst through not knowing what to expect. There’s a group of scientist circling around something. They finally acknowledge my presents when I come running over to where they are. I’m horrified by what I see.
I see her, Kaya, in this nightmare that is my reality. How do I know? I saw it just now when I saw Kaya lying there, beaten and unconscious. I didn’t know if she was almost dead or not, but what surprised me most wasn’t the scientists or Kaya. It was the people I saw behind the horde of scientists. It was my parents.
“Mom, Dad?” I asked incredulously. “You’re alive?”
“Yes” Mom answered viciously, “but you won’t be for long.”
And with that comment I scooped up Kaya in my arms and high tailed it out of there.
My mom and dad were alive? Yes, obviously and they wanted to kill Kaya and I. How could this be? All my life that I had known them they had been loving and caring parents. Now they were bloodthirsty child killers. Well, I guess that almost being killed can change you. They were no longer my parents, and no longer Kaya’s either.
I didn’t even look back as I ran out the door, but I heard shouting coming after us.
Max sensed my urgency and ran after me. We were almost out the door when the goons surrounded us. Well obviously I couldn’t fight with a nine year old in my arms, so it was up to Max. He kicked, punched, and cursed until they retreated for more reinforcements. Max ran ahead weakly, he was too exhausted to keep fighting like this. Luckily for us the car was just outside the gate and it was wide open.
We piled into the car, and I started the ignition. Max was in no condition to drive, so it was my turn to take responsibility. The engine roared to life and you better believe I floored it. It looked like we were going to make it until the goons started following us.
I didn’t know what to do. I tried to shake them off. I swerved, went off back roads, but to no prevail. Suddenly I heard Max’s voice in my head. It’s called drift .It works pretty well in situations like that and it looks pretty cool. Like I had any better choices? I turned the steering wheel sharply and to my amazement got the same effect as earlier. This is where Corollas came in handy, not vans. Out of my rearview mirror I see the goons veer off down into the water on the beach. Looks like drift didn’t work for them.
I drive for hours until I find a safe spot to stop. An abandoned beach house that was fully stocked with everything from food to clothes to soap. I half drag-half carry Max in after I set Kaya on the couch inside. I caress her hair until she comes to.
“Aleah?” she asks tiredly.
“Hush, you’re safe now,” I say sweetly.
I hoped for her sake I was right.