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I Got It
“I got it.” Three words that would disrupt my life for quite a while.
I was at a baseball practice. It was Tuesday, May 4, 2010. I was playing third base and my friend Patrick had just hit the ball foul. Coach England, Patrick’s dad was pitching to whoever was at bat. We would rotate with one person at bat, and every one else in the field. It was a line drive, about ten feet off the ground. There was a second fence behind the fence made for the field and the ball soared right over it.
I went over to the fence to find that the ball was a good fifty yards away. It was nine o’clock, so it was late and the sun had set a few hours ago. The fence guarded Desert Arroyo Middle School, but there was a field between the fence and school and the ball was on that field. The school was giving off an eerie, orange glow and it was really creeping me out, but the field was pitch black, which was almost worse than the school. Almost.
Oh, I think I forgot to talk about myself. You’re supposed to do that in a story right? Anyway, my name is Eli; I have dark brown hair, and eyes that are just as dark. I’m about 66 inches tall, I guess you could say I’m slim, and I have a moderate set, about one and a half feet from shoulder to shoulder. Oh yeah, and I’m fourteen years old and in the eighth grade.
I like climbing, so jumping the fence was easy. After that, imagining all the things that could happen in the gloom, where no one would know, sped up my heart rate. I ran for the ball as fast as I could, and that was fairly fast. I gave myself the false comfort that my fear-fueled adrenaline would allow me safety from whatever may be lurking in the terrifying darkness. Right as I ducked to grab the ball, I felt my heart skip a beat as I heard the whistle of a bullet skip right by my ear. Another bullet ripped towards me but missed. Unfortunately, as I turned my back to run, the third shot hit its mark(which, if you were wondering, is me). As the bullet bit into my soft flesh, then slammed into my shoulder blade, all in the same instant, I screamed from the intense pain in my back. I hit the cold, sharp gravel in the field as I heard the very same gravel crunching under heavy boots.
My black White Sox jersey was already sticky with the blood pouring out of my right shoulder. I felt faint. I felt myself being turned over so my attacker could see my face. Right as I blacked out from blood loss, I caught a blurry glimpse of his face. I was nearly unconscious, so all I could see was that he had blond hair and pale skin. That wouldn’t really help me turn him in. Plus, supposing I even survived the shot, I would still need to escape. It’s kind of strange that I would be thinking of turning him in at such a time. You’d think I would be more concerned with other things like, oh, I don’t know, survival.
When I woke up, my shoulder was throbbing so painfully that I just wanted to curl up in a corner and cry. But, the lunatic shooter was sitting against a wall, just five feet away, so I refused to give him the satisfaction. I looked around and saw the sun was about to come up above the Arizonan mountains. It was probably about five or six o’clock. I saw that we were in a secluded ramp, about five feet underground, with no roof, so we could see around, but we were still hidden.
Whoever this guy was, he had a strategic mind. Yay for him.
“Look who’s up.” He had a deep, throaty voice. He was wearing a black ski mask, a black, long-sleeve shirt, and black cargo pants. The mask prevented me from seeing any facial features. He stood up, grabbing a bulky backpack and I followed. If I didn’t, I expected I would be inviting another bullet. I wasn’t anxious for that.
We walked around the school and I saw he had a large black Hummer parked by the track field. Man, these criminal types sure liked their black. I then realized I was in all black apart from the white Sox label on my shirt, so I tried to think about anything but bad guys’ dark-colored addiction.
He opened the back door and shoved me in. I looked around and saw that the car was fortified with thick metal to stop bullets. I figured that meant that I was dealing with a hardened criminal who had no problem with illegal activities. Probably broke the law on a daily basis. That, in turn, hinted that he was confident, maybe even egocentric, and I planned to use that to my advantage.
He climbed into the driver seat and started driving. About half an hour later, we ended up by some run down pawn shop. He lost the mask but lifted his hood before I could look at him. We went in and he sold the gun that he shot me with for fifty bucks and I tried to stay quiet in the background. I heard a muttered conversation between the ‘napper and the clerk, which involved much headshaking and fingers pointing at me.
After the conversation was done, he walked over to me, grabbed a fistful of my shirt, and drug me back to the van. On my way out, I sent a pleading look towards the shop owner. I’m not sure he even noticed, but if he did, it didn’t matter. We were in the car for maybe ten minutes before I decided I might try some psychological warfare. Right now, it was my best shot to find a way out. “So, if you don’t mind my asking, why did you shoot me?”
“I thought you had seen me and you were coming over to investigate. I don’t like nosy little twerps. I prefer to stay hidden.”
“And why is that,” I inquired.
“Why do you think?”
I was about to ask what major crime he had recently committed, but before I could, he turned the radio up so loud that I couldn’t focus on anything, and I almost forgot the question. I tried focusing on the thunderous music. I knew the song, but I was unable to remember the name because of how loud it was. I thought my ears were going to bleed, so I covered them with my hands, lowering the noise level, just barely, but enough to grasp at least a semblance of a thought. This punk is like a dormant volcano, about to bust his lid. He could go off at any second!
We drove into a junk yard and stopped at a little hut. He turned off the music and left the car. When he noticed I wasn’t following, he came back and hauled me by my shirt to the hut.
It seemed like he had been living there for a while. Stocked pantry, used bed, yadda, yadda, yadda. He shoved me into a back room and I heard the click of a closing lock. I looked at the room. I loved the décor. A bed and a window. I looked through the window, already analyzing an escape route. The window overlooked a fifty-foot-or-more cliff, which ended with a stack of more burnt out cars. My getaway course just ran into a bit of a nuke. I should have known he wouldn’t be that dumb.
After maybe an hour, mask-man brought me a plate full of food. A bread roll, beans, chili, some slices of turkey, and a coke. For prison food, it was pretty good. I wolfed it down and then sat on the bed, planning a way of escape.
I heard Mr. Criminal leave in the car shortly after my lunch. I started rubbing the plate against the concrete floor to sharpen it. I did this for maybe an hour. I decided it was sharp enough to be used as a weapon just as I heard the thrum of an engine. I hid the plate under the bed, then sat down.
He came in, looked at me, and asked where the plate was.
“I was bored so I used it as a Frisbee. It’s in some car window now. Many of us teens suffer from chronic boredom. Being locked up doesn’t really help.”
He grunted, clearly irritated, then walked out. I heard a conversation between him and another man then he came back in and pulled me towards the car. The other man climbed into a dark blue truck, and we followed his vehicle.
The whole car ride, I bugged Mr. Baddie with questions, and he sent back some rude comments. Every chance I got, I contradicted him, knowing his ego wouldn’t stand such insults.
Maybe an hour later, we arrived at some dignified biology institute, called Liberty Science, or LS. “Get out,” dictates the gunner. I climbed out of the automobile, wondering what alternative I had, apart from going into the building
full of sharp scalpels and other painful weapons. I couldn’t see any that didn’t involve taking a bullet, so I just followed.
On the way to the entrance, I heard the two men talking, and just for kicks, I decided, to disrupt them, maybe anger my attacker a bit. “I’m sorry, I can’t believe how rude I was. I forgot to ask your names,” I said in my most innocent voice possible.
“John,” mutters the kidnapper.
“Jake,” rasps the other, as if those aren’t the most obvious aliases possible.
We stepped in the doors, and I felt like I was in a zoo. Hundreds of animals were locked behind glass. Snakes swinging from branches like pendulums, amphibious little hoppers sticking to the window. It was kind of cool. I love reptiles and stuff. I wish I had a camera, so I could photograph these little experiments.
Apart from the animals, the institute seemed empty. That was, until a guy in a lab coat came up to us, giving me a dirty look. “Who’s the kid?”
“Skip it, Wess. We got work to do. Maybe he can be included in the heavy lifting of the job.”
“Fine, but I need to finish something. You can watch if you want,” says Wess, in a creepily happy voice.
We followed him into a room that was completely white. Doors, walls, operating table, the whole nine yards, entirely white-washed. On the operating table, was a big frog, with its stomach cut open. It was dead. The second the kidnapper saw it, he turned around and walked out, clearly scared. So he was necrophobic. I could use that against him. I followed, just to bug him.
“Shut up,” he whispered in an angry tone.
“I didn’t say anything.”
After maybe five minutes, the lab coat came out. “Your turn,” he said, smiling.