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“Kidnaping Hits the Streets of London Again”
It was a dark, cloudy day in London. I sat in my dorm room, waiting for the school year to end so I could see my parents again. School was almost over. I couldn't wait to go home for the summer. I don't like being away from home too much. Each day is dragging longer than the last. Buckner Boarding Academy for Girls is a great school but I want to go home. We have a nice garden of flowers and a beautiful view, but it's not the same as home.
In history class, Mrs. Montgomery gave us an assignment. We have to think of tragic or wonderful time we had in the past, but we could only go back as far as three years. It had to be a five page paper. I couldn't help but remember the year my sister was killed; the time when we were kidnaped and she died protecting me. My mind has never stopped thinking about it. I keep seeing the images in my head over and over. My mom always told me to not think about it just move on with my life, but I couldn't. Being the witness of a murder and since it was my sister who was the victim, how could I forget it? I was not excited to write this paper. I would have to write about that horrible memory.
My parents always said, “think happy thoughts when you remember something bad or scary”, but that never worked for me, at least so far. I would try to concentrate on anything else, when the thought of my sister's death would come to mind, but I wouldn't be able to distract myself. My sister meant everything to me. We would do everything together. My parents, well when they were together, thought we were two very special sisters. We never fought or argued, and never said we hated each other. We got along so well and would do everything together. We would go shopping, see movies, and even do our homework together. What other people would do with their friends we would do together.
Every year the school talent show would come around in late May. My sister and I would do an act or a song. We would always try to win. This year I'm not doing anything. I am going to be in the audience. I don't want to make a fool of myself. I have never done a solo act before, everything was with my sister. The talent show is big deal in our school. The school is always hustling and bustling as the the talent show comes around the corner. Our teachers only have one rule for all students, whether they are in the show or not, we have to be there. If we're not in it, we need to be in the audience, its a requirement for our school.
It was the day before the night of the talent show. Everyone was working hard, practicing their parts, or just hanging out in their dorms. I wanted to get some fresh air, after my last class of the day, so I went outside and sat on one of the bench in the garden for awhile. I would always go to the garden when I need some time to think or just be by myself for awhile. Every day since my sister died I haven't really been much of a people person. I mean, I would be with my friends but I wouldn't want to introduce myself to a new girl at the school. If I got called on in class, I would get up and answer the question, but that it. I usually like to keep to myself. My sister was the one that would do the introductions and what not. She was always the out-going one of the two of us.
I sat in the garden for a couple of hours, just remembering the times my sister and I would spend there doing our homework or even talking. We would never speak of anything we said in the garden outside of the garden. The teachers would say that the garden was “The Brennan Sisters' Secret Garden”. They thought we just loved spending the time in the garden of flowers, but we were actually doing schoolwork and just having some sister bonding time. My sister and I were never in the same dorm because she was a grade ahead of me. The school's rule was to have two girls of the same grade in a dorm together, so we went to the garden, to spend as much time together as we could. The one thing we didn't know was that last summer was our very last.
It was the morning of the talent show. We didn't have our first two classes because our teachers of those classes were out sick, and we there were no substitutes. A lot of the students liked it, because they could use that time to practice their parts for the talent show. I decided to go out for a walk and get a newspaper from the gas station. I liked keep up on what was happening in the world outside of Buckner Boarding Academy. I payed $1.00 for a paper and starting walking back to the school, reading it along the way. All of the sudden, out of nowhere, an old blue jeep pulled up. The woman, who was driving, asked me if I wanted a ride back to the academy. I thought that she must have realized that I go to the academy because of my uniform. I said, “no thanks I can walk. Its really not that far.” The woman replied, “No, really, honey I can give you a ride just hop in the passenger seat. I'll give you a lift.” I started to feel uncomfortable. “Well I really shouldn't. I mean, I don't even know you. I'll just walk.” The woman would not leave. She said, “you know me I'm Mrs. Jones, from the academy. I work in the kitchen and sometimes watch your study halls.” I couldn't place her, so I said, “I don't remember you. We don't see the cooks from the kitchen, that often and I don't really pay attention in study to who is watching over the class, since I want to get my homework done.” She persisted, “well, I do watch over you classes. Now you must come with me, because you're going to be late, since you wasted time standing there arguing with me.” I looked at my phone and I was late. I agreed to take the ride. The passenger door was already unlocked. I hopped into the jeep. She told me to buckle-up.
I was looking out the window when I notice she pasted the academy. “Umm... excuse me you just past the school. It was right back there.” As I turned around to point out at the school, a man appeared in the backseat of the jeep. I screamed. Then I screamed as loud as I could, but no one could hear me. I tried opening the door, but it was locked. I pushed the unlock button, repeatedly, and tried to get the door open, but the woman just locked it again. There was no way I could get away from them, no matter what I tried. I sat in the car, with the man watching me like a hawk, just thinking to myself and planning. I thought “maybe when the car comes to complete stop I can try to make a run for it, and get away. Maybe.”
After what felt like a day of driving, they finally pulled up in front of an old, worn down building. It looked like the old shoe factory that the government shut-down, a fews years ago, to rebuild a new one closer to the city. As soon as the car came to a complete stop, I opened the door and jumped out. I took off in a full out run down the road. I got a ways down the road before the man caught up and grabbed me. I kicked and screamed, but it was no use he was too strong. He tied my wrists together and carried me back to the building, like a sack of potatoes. Once he walked into the building, he carried me into a dirty room and dropped me down on an old mattress. He, then, tied my feet together. He started to turn around and walk away, I shouted, “What do you want with me? Why did you take me?” He froze, then turned around and said, “It's got nothing to do with you. It has to do with your mother.” He then smiled and left. I replayed his words over and over in my head and thought to myself, “My mother, what do they want with her? I don't think she even knows them.” I mean, my mom, like my sister, had always been a very friendly woman. She would always invite the random people she meets over for lunch or dinner. Still, I had never seen either of kidnappers before today.
A few hours later, the mysterious woman walked into the room. She was holding a glass in one hand and a plate of food in the other. She looked at me and asked if I was hungary, in a sweet, loving tone of voice. I just nodded my head yes, without saying a word. She untied my wrists and handed me the plate. It wasn't anything fancy, just some mac and cheese, with cut-up hotdogs. After I finished the plate, she handed me a glass of apple juice. I took a sip and asked her name. She said, “My name is Abigail, Abigail Winters”. I wondered why she was being so nice to me, she had helped kidnapped me. So I got up the courage and asked. Her reply surprised me. She said, “I know how it feels to be taken away from your family.” “What?” I responded, “How would you know, you kidnapped me remember?” “I know”, she answered, “but I had to help him, otherwise he would hurt my family. I am a hostage too. I have been for two years now.” “You are a hostage? Really?” Yes”, she replied. “One night I was cleaning the kitchen and my kids were asleep on the couch. He came out of nowhere and just grabbed me. He locked me away in a storage room, until he needed me. It wasn't a time I like to remember.” What didn't you try to get away?” I asked. “Oh sure I did, dozens of times. He just caught me every time I tried so hard to get away, but everything I did failed. He would just catch me and lock me away for three to four days as punishment. I'm sure everyone thinks I've died by now.” I kept thinking of why Abigail's name sounded familiar. Then I remembered. “No thats not true”, I said. “I remember in the papers a woman Abigail, that went missing. The police had given up on the search, but her husband, John Winters, wouldn't give up the search for his wife. The newspapers have been screaming with your name and asking what happened to you. Abigail looked shocked. “Really? My husband has been looking for me all this time?” “Yes, here look at the front page of the paper I bought today.” She took the paper and read the headline out loud. “The Mystery Continues” she read. The story was about her husband caring for his children and looking for his wife for the last two years, never giving up. “Don't you see people still believe your alive, they don't think your dead. They still want to find you.” Abigail was shocked by the fact that her husband has not yet lost hope about finding her.
Abigail began crying, but I still had questions “What does that man want with my my mother? What did she do to him?” Abigail replied, “I believe he said he went to high school with your mother. That they use to date back, but then they went to separate colleges, and she meet another man. James Smith was his name. “My dad. That's my dad. My name is Alison Jane Brennan-Smith. I go by Ali though. Why would he be mad? It was so long ago that she fell in love with someone else. They broke up soon after high school. I don't understand”. Abigail replied, “It seems as if he doing it because of the break-up”.. Abigail and I talked for hours. She seemed so sweet and lonely. I found it strange that she was the woman I had been reading about in the papers, but it was true. We talked for hours.
Meanwhile, back at the school, everyone was getting for the talent show to start. There were only a few hours before the show. My mother walked into the auditorium, she saw all the girls with their families, but she couldn't find me anywhere. She found my principal, Principle Gates, and ask if she know where I was sitting. She told her “no” and that the last time she saw me was when I asked for permission, to go to the gas station and get a newspaper. “Thank you, Mrs. Gates, I'm sure she around here somewhere.” My mother continued to look around. She found my best friend, Sara Watson, and asked if she had seen me. She said, “no”, and that we hadn't really talk that much today. “Oh, ok. Thank you, Sara.” Just than a couple of police officers walked in the door. They ask Mrs. Gates if my mother was there. She said yes and pointed to her. They walked over to her and said, “Ms. Brennan?” “Yes, that's me. May I ask what this is about?” “It's about your daughter, Alison”, they responded. “What about her? What's the matter? Where is she?” my mother asked, frantically. One of the police officers responded, “We believe has been kidnaped.” My mother panicked. “Oh no, no, no, no! Not my Ali! Why Ali? Why her?” My mother began to cry.
My mom paced, frantically, back and forth, trying to think of people she knew that hated her or would want to harm her or her daughter. Then she remembered her boyfriend from high school, Joseph Clark. He never forgave her because she broke up with him after high school and then, during her second year of college, starting dating John Smith, her ex husband. He always had threatened revenge and accused her of ruining his life. Just then, the police officers asked her if there was anyone she knew that want to harm her or her daughter. My mom looked at the police officers and said there is one man that has hated me for a long time. “What is his name? We'll look into it right away.” “His name is Joseph Clark”, my mother said. “He and I dated back in high school.” “Alright, Ms. Brennan, that's all we need, for now. We'll contact you if we find anything.” “Thank you, and yes please contact me with frequent updates”. With that, the police officers left. My mom decided not to stay for the talent show and just went home.
At home, my mom sat in her rocking chair, with the phone in her hand, waiting for the police department to call. All the sudden, the phone rang. My mom quickly, pick up the phone, hoping it was the police, but it wasn't. It was my dad.The police had contacted him with the news about me and he called my mom right away. He asked if she wanted him to drop by and just to sit together and wait for the police. She want him there and she agreed. My dad hopped in his car and headed to my mom's place. Once he walked in the door of the house, my mom ran to him, with tears in her eyes. He just walked over to her and wrapped his arms around her and said, “They'll find her Emma. Don't worry, she'll be fine. She's a smart girl. She'll know what to do.” “I know she is”, my mother cried, “but if it's who I think it is, that took her, who knows what he'll do to her.” My parents just sat on the couch, my mother crying into a pillow and my father not saying a word for fear that he might say the wrong thing. They had already lost one daughter. They couldn't loose another.
After a few hours the house was silent, except for my mother's crying. All of the sudden the phone rang. My mom jumped from her seat and reached for the phone. She wiped the tears from her eyes and answered it. It was the police department. They told her that they have a hunch on where I might be and would like for her and my father to come down to the station right away. My parents hopped in the car and headed to the station.
Back at the abandon shoe factory, I was pacing back and forth trying to figure out how to get myself and Abigail out of this situation. Abigail must of gotten annoyed because she asked me what in the world I was doing. I looked at her and said “I'm trying to figure how to get us out of here. Now, shush!” I kept thinking about stories I had heard about this factory. There were rumors of secret passages, that the employees would go through to get to another place within the factory. I turned to Abigail, “Come on, we need to go this way.” Alison replied, “Where are we going? We can't escape, he's right down stairs”. “I know that, but if I can find a secret passage maybe we could get a minute to call the police.” “You have your cellphone? How did you keep that hidden from him?” “Hello, Abigail? It's called pockets. Now if I am correct there should be a passage door right............here. See, you should never misjudge stories that are told about old factories. Now come on get in”. We heard a loud creak, “What was that? Alison did you hear that? Abigail asked. “It's him! Get inside now, Abigail! Get in or get caught, Come on.” I followed Abigail into the passage then the door shut behind me. I grabbed my phone from my pocket and dialed 911. No one picked up the phone, so I cancelled the call and dialed my mom's number, hoping she would pick up. I looked at Abigail, she looked scared like she knew he would find us. The phone started ringing. I had my fingers crossed hoping she would pick up.
Than all the sudden a voice answered, “Hello is anyone there?” “Mom is that you?” but then I realized it was just the voicemail. So I left a message in a scared tone, hoping she would get it and understand it. Than I heard a man's voice. He was looking for us. He must have notice the ropes I tried to tuck under the old mattress. I turn to Abigail and told her we need to run, run through the passage to the other opening and try to get out of the building and down the road before he sees us. “Now go, run I'm right behind you. Go, go, go! I whispered, frantically. She started down the passage and I followed right behind her. We went for what seemed like forever, and finally made it to the other door of the passage. It lead to a room on the first level, which was good for us, because then we wouldn't have to sneak down any rickety old staircases. I stepped out first to make sure he was still upstairs. I motioned to Abigail to come out. I stopped at the room entrance, just for a second, scanning the room, then moved on, until I finally found the main entrance door to the factory. I told Abigail that one at a time we need to get to that door. “I'll go first, then as soon as I reach the door, you go. Ok?” “Alright whatever you say” Abigail responded. I made a dash for the door and Abigail followed. We made it outside without him noticing. We darted for a bush because we thought we saw him looking from a window. “Come on, Abigail. Now's our chance. Let's go!” She followed me as we ran down the road until we were out of breathe and had to stop and rest for a while.
Back at the police station, my parents sat on the bench waiting to hear any news on my disappearance. My mom, with a worried look on her face, and my dad, looking like he was about to cry, waited impatiently. One of the officers finally walked over to them and asked them to come with him. They followed him to the office and were told to sit down. “We believe it is Joseph Clark that took your daughter. He is also in a cases involving a missing woman by the name of Abigail Winters.” “Well, have you found him?” My mother said starting to cry. “No, not yet. We want both of you to stay here at the station, while we go to the outskirts of London to check around and see if we find any leads.” “Yes, sir whatever you want us to do,” my dad replied. “Would you call the Winters and have them come down, if we find the Brennan girl, we might find Mrs. Winters as well.” Yes sir,” the officer replied, “right away”. The officer's name was Mike. He stayed with my parents, while the rest of the officers left to search for clues or hints of where we might be. My parents just sat in station not knowing what might of or could of happened to me. Then Mr. Winters and his two children walk into the station. They had them sit down on the bench next to my parents. They all looked worried.
Back on the side of the road, Abigail and I were trying to figure out how to get a phone signal or some kind of sign that would let someone know we were in trouble. Then we saw him. He was coming up the road from the factory and he looked mad, madder then hungry wolf. I looked at Abigail and began to run. I looked back, he was right behind us. I screamed, “Abigail, come on we got to get to the City you can make it come on. Abigail was tired so was I from running but I knew if we want to get away and get back to our families. We need to run!”
He caught up to Abigail and grabbed her. I heard her scream and I turned around and ran back to help her. I kicked and hollered for him let her go. He just laughed and started walking her back to the factory. I got up my courage and with a running start, ran and kicked him straight in the back. He yelled, let loose of Abigail and fell to the ground. I helped Abigail up and we took off running again, while he laying on the ground in pain. I looked back to make sure he was still on the ground, but when I did I hit something, fell and twisted my ankle. Abigail ran up to me. “Are you ok? What happened?” “When I looked back, I must of hit a rock or something,” I cringed in pain. “My ankle hurts!”. “Oh no! We need to get you help.” No,” I replied, “we need to get away and then get me help”. Suddenly, I heard what sounded like sirens going off further down the road. “Come on, I think thats a cop car further down the road!” So, Abigail put her arm around me and in slow small steps we walked toward the sound of the sirens.
We caught sight of the cop cars, but before we got there, the man caught and grabbed us. I screamed and yelled hoping we were close enough that the cops could hear us. Abigail started to scream, as well. I yelled, “Help! Can anyone hear us? Help!” Then I notice one of the officers getting into his car. They were heading our direction. I yelled some more, The officers came running up the road toward us. They held their weapons up to the man and said, “let them go, Joseph.” I was scared, as he was chocking me. Abigail had struggled free and one of the officers pulled her back behind them. I kept yelling at him to set me free, but he wouldn't. He said, “No the girl stays with me.” Than I saw one of the officers nod their head and all the sudden, I felt the man's arm loosen around my neck. I slipped through his arm and limped to Abigail. With the pain in my ankle, I could only move so fast. The officers put us in the car and drove us back to the station.
My mom and dad came out of the station just as they were opening the car door. I got out and limped over to them. I was so glad to still be alive and to see my mom and dad once again Abigail came out behind me and her saw her kids running toward her and her husband walked up and hugged her. She was so happy to see her family again. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to be away from my family for two years.
The officers took the man out of the car and were taking him up to the station, when my mom stepped in front of them. “Why did you do it ,Joseph, why did you talk my Ali?” “Because of you Emma. You took yourself from me, so I want to take something that meant the world to you, and I knew it was Alison because she is what you lived for”. My mom was shocked. “Just because I broke up with you after college you wanted to take my daughter away from me.? That was years ago and ig was about time for that relationship to end. So get over it, you shouldn't live on things that happened in the past, you deserve to go to jail for what you did, and I hope I never see you again.”
My mom walked back over to me and my dad. She hugged me. I hugged back, but I was busy watching Abigail with her family. Just seeing how happy she was to be with them again, brought tears to my eyes. I couldn't wait to go home and be safe and sound once again. “Well, should we go home?” my dad asked. “Umm.. actually I would to say something to Mrs.Winters, first, if thats ok?” I asked. “Yes, sure honey we'll be in the car.” “Ok, I'll just be a minute.” I walked over to Abigail. “Abigail well we did it, we got away.” “Yes, we did. I couldn't have done it without you,” Abigail responded. “I hope I'll see you again,” I said. “Ali, you're always welcome at my place anytime. You have number, now, just give me a call anytime.” Ok, I'll call you soon”. “Goodbye, Ali.” “Bye Abigail.” I limped into the car and we headed home.
Abigail and I saw each other a lot after the kidnapping. It was mostly during the summer, but there would be times when I would call her when I was feeling down, just to talk. We are friends for life. She has help me see things from a different perspective. Sometimes, it was like being with my sister again. It nice having another person I can rely on, like Abigail. She's now helping finally write that paper about my sister.