March 6, 2017

I wake up groggy and the scent of sweat and dirt filling my nostrils.  I open my eyes and see nothing but darkness.  I don’t know where I am or what I’m doing, but I know that it can’t be anything good.  Suddenly the events of earlier flood back into my head and I can’t help but feel a wave of panic surged through my body.  I vividly remember waking up that morning, a usual school day and walking to school as I usually do.  Then the screeching of brakes and the crashing and screaming.  The rough hands around me hitting me and throwing me and then blacking out due to the cause of being hit over the head with a brick. 

Why am I here? 

I ask myself this question plus many more over and over again in my head.  We then we hit a bump and I go flying slamming my shoulder into a wall.  We must be in van or bus I say to myself.  Sure enough, several more swerves and bumps plus the sound of car horns suggests that I’m in the back of a van.  Next I realize that I am tied up, blindfolded and no idea where I’m going or what is to become of me.  The only thing I know is my name, how old I am and what my parents names are.  These are the only things I positively am certain of.  So I repeat them over and over to myself like a broken record. 

“My name is Olive Sawyerman.  I am twelve years old and my parents names are Rachel and Rick.” 

I whisper this phrase over and over to myself like it’s a secret and the world’s not allowed to know it.

I finally fall asleep from the exhaustion of the day’s events.  I do not know how far we traveled or even what direction we’re going in.  I would have called for help a long time ago, but my phone is in my back pocket and my hands are tied in front of me.  I was just glad that I hadn’t had to use my inhaler yet.  I have asthma which means that it is sometimes difficult for me to breath.

The doors of the van open startling me.  Hands reach in and rip the blindfold off me to reveal too bright sunlight and two very scary looking men standing at the back of the van. 

One is short and fat and completely bald wearing a scarf the color of cherries around his neck.  The second one is tall and skinny, the complete opposite of the first man.  The skinny one has greasy black hair covered with a very ugly green hat and yellow, crooked teeth.  The skinny one begins to speak to me in a nasal-like voice,
“Now look here girly, we’re going to take your gag off and you better not say anything or else.” 

I see the flash of a knife as he slides it in and out of his pocket while the other one grabs the brick from the end of the van.  The skinny one reaches in and removes my gag. 

“Alight girly what’s your name?” 

I don’t answer right away.  I must be dreaming I say to myself.  Unfortunately, I’m not. 

“Answer me!”  I flinch at this man’s harsh words.

“My name’s Olive Sawyerman and I’m twelve years old.” 

The skinny one nods at the other and he scoops something up off the ground.  It’s another person!  He tosses them in and then throws in a small bag then slams the doors closed.  I make out that the person that they have thrown in is a boy, and he looks to be about my age.  We sit in silence for a while and then it happens, I’m struck with a sudden asthma attack. 

“Are you okay?”  the boy asks. 

“No… get my inhaler… it’s in my pocket,”  I manage to wheeze out.  Somehow he manages to get it for me and help me use it. 

“By the way, I’m Adam.”

After we make proper introductions, we each take turns asking each other questions.  Mostly things about our lives desperately trying to avoid any questions about our whole situation.  But of course it comes up. 
“Where are we?”  I ask him. 

“Well, I live practically in the middle of New Jersey..” 

“Wait, I live in New York.  We must be heading South then,”  Adam agrees and we fall back into silence. 
The van stops and dread fills my stomach.  Adam and I curl back up in our corners while we wait to face our doom.  The door opens and there stand the men that I’ve come to hate so much.  Everyone says that silence is golden, well I dare to disagree. 

The two men grin down at us, and not the normal smile that you might get from a stranger but very creepy like they know something that we don’t.  The skinny one speaks up again. 

“Well hello there children, I’m Brontus and this here’s Bruce.  Don’t worry we’re not going to hurt you.  However, we do need to know one thing, what are your names?” 

No noise comes from Adam and me and I risk taking a glance at him, I can see the fear in his eyes and immediately feel angry that these men are making Adam and myself feel so scared, so I speak up. 

“We have a few questions ourselves and then we’ll answer yours.  One, Where are we?  Two, where are we going?  Three, what do you want with us?”  Brontus and Bruce look at each other and seem to have a conversation simply with their eyes.  Brontus speaks up and Adam and I can both tell that he is the alpha in this situation. 

“Well right now you are in the back of our van awaiting your doom, er I mean fate.” 

He tries to cover it up but we both notice and butterflies flit in my stomach.

“Right now we are in Pennsylvania and we are headed somewhere down South that I’m not allowed to tell you.  Bruce and I are going to take you down South aways and then we’re going to call your parents and make them pay a very large sum of money for your return.  Now eat up and no more questions, it’s making my head hurt.”  Bruce tosses in a bag and then slams the doors shut and I hear the click of a lock.  Adam picks up and opens the bag cautiously.  His eyes light up and he looks to me. 

“Olive look!” 

At the sight of food my stomach goes into a growling fit.  We reach into the bag to pull out granola bars, cookies and bottles of water.  It doesn’t seem like much but right now that food is our only hope of survival, and without hope, where would we be?

Adam and I have practically stuffed ourselves with our meager meal and then fall asleep.  I have strange dreams.  I dream that I’m lying on the floor and everything is slightly fuzzy.  My mom and dad are standing over me making very slow movements and when they talk they sound underwater.  My mother reaches out to me, a pained expression on her face and it scares me so much I wake up.  I sit up and am panting and sweating.  I dry heave and collapse back on the floor racked with shivers.  Adam wakes up and seeing that I am not okay, comes to comfort me.  He simply checks to make sure I’m not bleeding or dying and then starts playing with my hair and singing.  He sings songs I know from church or the radio.  He sings songs in different languages.  Latin and Greek he tells me.  He simply will hum out rhythms and patterns at times, lulling me to sleep.  I do have a dream, I dream of voices singing in beautiful words and beautiful colorful patterns fill my head as I sleep on.

I wake up to find Adam sitting up holding a bag in his lap. 

“Is it food?” I ask him sitting up. 

He nods and hands it to me.  I open it to reveal water, apples, peanut butter and granola.  I distribute the food and just as we’re about to start eating he stops me. 

“We don’t know if they’re going to give us lunch.” 

We decide to save some of the granola, peanut butter and water for lunch if we have to.  We eat in silence.  There is a small bucket covered by a curtain in the farthest back of the van that is our bathroom.  Three times a day Adam and I are required to empty it into a chute that leads to a tank under the van that Brontus and Bruce empty out every night.  Thankfully there are lots of cans of different scented febreeze that we have been using to make the van and ourselves smell better.  As I’m putting away our food something slices into my wrist and I wince.  I look down to see that my wrists are completely raw.  The coarse rope that they are using to tie our hands together has rubbed my wrists raw and I see tiny cuts with little spots of blood seeping out.  I have made a fresh cut just now from the rope and it’s the biggest one.  I have no medicine or water to clean my wrists but I do find my gag from earlier and use it to mop of the bit of blood.  It should be about lunchtime now and I’m incredibly hungry.  Adam seems to notice my hunger and I can notice his.  We decide to give them another hour before busting out our stash of food.  We’re only about twenty minutes into our hour when the van stops.

I display my raw wrists hoping that they will see them and take pity on me.  However, luck it appears is not on my side.  The doors swing open and there’s Brontus and Bruce.  Surprisingly, Adam finds his voice in front of the men and speaks up.

“Where are we now?” 

“Well, we left Pennsylvania sometime last night,”  says Brontus. 

“Now we’re in West Virginia.”  Bruce tugs on Brontus’ shirt sleeve and points to my wrists. 

“What is it now Bruce!  I swear you’re always doing something to annoy me.”  Brontus notices my wrists and looks from mine to Adam’s and back again with no expression.  Until his lips curve into a devious smile.
“Oh your poor wrists.  Whatever shall we do?”  He reaches in picks my wrist up dragging the other one behind it. 

“Absolutely nothing!”  He chuckles and throws my wrists back down into my lap.  He nods at Bruce who tosses in another bag. 

“So long children.  Until next time.”  He gives us a lazy wave with his hands and Bruce slams the door shut cutting out the sunlight.

Adam and I wait until the van starts moving again before ripping into the bag like a bunch of wild animals.  In it we find, water, saltine crackers and cookies.  We decide to finish off our granola and peanut butter and save the saltine crackers for emergencies.  We finish our water from breakfast which is a half of a bottle and drink half from the other bottle.  Getting bored sometime in the early evening I decide to take an inventory of our possessions inside the van. 

“Alright Adam.  We have, a half of a bottle of water, sixteen saltine crackers, one cookie, my cell phone, my gag, our toilet, four bottles of febreeze, two cloth sacks and fourteen rolls of toilet paper.”  It’s nothing too fancy but if this is what we needed to survive, then it would have to do.  Very suddenly I found myself getting very tired.  I noticed Adam looked very drowsy too.  The air had a funny sort of smell and taste to it.  I was laying down and so was Adam.  When did we get here? 

“This is, very strange.” I found myself saying.  It was choppy and I sounded loopy like I had been drugged.  Drugged!  “Adam.. we need to.. Wake.. up.”  And then I was asleep. 

I woke up to the menacing faces of Brontus and Bruce staring down at me and Adam.  Adam was still asleep and I jumped which made Bruce and Brontus laugh. 

“Did you sleep tight with our little bit of gas?” Asked Brontus.  Bruce wheezed which I assumed was his laugh.  “Wake your friend up, go on.”  I leaned over and shook Adam awake.  He jumped too at the sight of Bruce and Brontus making the men laugh. 

“Where are we today?”  I ask folding my arms over my chest.  My inhaler dug into my pocket as I did so. 
“Well, today we are in the lovely state of Georgia.  You two have been asleep for two days giving us plenty of time to travel.  Here’s some food and do you have any more questions?”  Neither of us had the time to ask anything before the doors shut enslaving us in dim light.  Adam and I took turns relieving ourselves in the bathroom and then Adam took the job of emptying the pot into the tank underneath the van.  I opened the bag to find the most amount of food that we had had since we had been here.  There were two small boxes of cereal, three bottles of water, granola, apples and hand sanitizer.  Adam and I sanitized our hands and began to divide our food up.  We saved one box of cereal, a full bottle of water and some of the granola.  After we ate the food that we had put away for eating we put the food that we were saving into the bag that we were hiding back in Adam’s corner of the van. 

We had been in this van for five days and I felt positively disgusting.  My clothes felt dirty my hair felt dirty, I just felt disgusting.  Sharp pains shot through my wrists making me cry out a little.  Adam crawled over to inspect my wrists.  He grabbed my wrists gently and turned them over to inspect them more closely.  “My dad is a doctor.  He taught me some of this kind of stuff.”  My wrists had some small cuts that were swelled with blood and my wrists were swollen cutting into the ropes.  Some parts of my skin were patchy and yellow oozing slightly.  “I’m really sorry Olive, but, we have to put hand sanitizer on them.  It’s the only way to get them clean.”

I began to panic and breath heavily.  I quickly took some of my inhaler while Adam prepared.  He squirted some of the clear sanitizer on his hands and began rubbing it around then placed his fingers to my wrists.  At the slightest touch of the sanitizer I cried out.  As he began rubbing it into my wrists I cried, tears streaming down my cheeks while he tried, and failed, to soothe me.  When he was finally finished I curled up and clutched my wrists to my chest, tears rolling down my face freely.  Adam came over, wiped my tears and left me to sleep.  I woke up and immediately something felt wrong.  The van had stopped moving.  We rarely ever stopped moving.  Brontus drove during the day and slept during the night while Bruce drove during the night and slept during the day.  I heard light lulling and crashing and could smell salt on the air.  I fell back to sleep thinking nothing of this strange event. 

The cawing of a seagull woke me up the next morning and I realized, this was the first living thing that I had heard since Adam, Bruce and Brontus.  Our breakfast had already been delivered with a little slip of blue paper sitting on top of the bag.  Curious I picked the note up.  All it said was, We’re here.  We will come and get you at  one o’clock.  I opened the bag to see what we had today.  Apples, water, crackers and peanut butter.  There was also a dinky, beat up pocket watch that read nine thirty.  That meant that we had three and a half hours until Bruce and Brontus came to fetch us.  I woke Adam up and we ate.  At one o’clock sharp the doors opened. 

Bruce and Brontus had changed clothes and I could see palm trees behind them.  I had never seen palm trees in person before so I gawked at them before I realized what they were doing.  They blindfolded Adam and me and gagged us.  The cloth tasted metallic and I immediately realized that it was some sort of gas to knock us out.  Within minutes I was slumped over asleep.  I was aware that I was being picked up and moved but I could do nothing about it.  I was moved out of the back of a van and placed on some sort of cushioned bed.  The bed felt much better compared to the old matted and stained carpet in the back of the van.  I could feel my body seem to melt as I relaxed into the bed.  The air smelled of salt and sweet fruit.  I could feel the sun beating down on me and could hear the lulling of something that crashed and swirled.  It had to be some sort of body of water, I told myself.  Suddenly, I was being wheeled along, but still on the bed.  We walked for a good five minutes and then the sun disappeared and the scents of salty and sweet lessened.  A door slammed nearby and I could hear Brontus and Bruce talking. 

“Where shall we put them?”  That was Bruce talking I could tell by the sound of his gruff voice.  I didn’t know Bruce could talk so I was astonished. 

“Put them in the back room.”

That was Brontus talking.  His voice was more nasal-like compared to Bruce’s.  I was lifted up off the rolling bed and carried a little ways.  A door opened and I was dumped onto another bed.  There were more footsteps and then something else was dumped on me.  I could feel fingers that were rested on top of my arm and assumed that it was Adam. I lay there slipping between consciousness before finally falling asleep. 

I wake up to clinging to Adam.  Sometime since we had been laying here I had curled up and clung next to him out of fear.  I quickly pulled myself away and could feel my cheeks redden.  I looked around the room to see if anyone was watching, there wasn’t anyone but something was different since I had arrived here.  I knew, it was now night but when I had gotten here it had been in the middle of the day.  My stomach grumbled and I swung out of bed, eager to do some snooping and hopefully find some food.  My legs felt wobbly and shaky as I started walking.  I quickly and quietly opened the door to reveal a narrow hallway.  There was a room directly across from the one where Adam and I were staying  but the door was shut.  I walked farther down the hallway to reveal two more rooms.  Both doors were slightly ajar so I peeked in the room opposite of the side that Adam and I were staying.  It revealed the bathroom.  The bathroom had a small white bathtub and old shower head with a dingy dark blue shower curtain.  A small white vanity with some loose change, toothpaste and a pocket knife.  There was a thin dark blue rug on the floor and dark blue towels on the towel holder.  I headed over to the room across from the bathroom.  In it I could see bunk beds and the sleeping forms of Brontus and Bruce.  The room was anything but clean and magazines, empty food wrappers and video games lay scattered across the floor.  I walked into the living room.  There was mismatched furniture and odd pillows and blankets.  The dining room was attached to the living room and there was a counter bar that attached to the kitchen.  When I went into the kitchen, something shocked me.

An old fashioned cauldron sat over a small fire that flickered red and orange and cast strange shadows onto the walls.  Someone was hunched over the pot stirring it with a long stick.  I approached the person cautiously.  I had long ago lost the canvas shoes that I had been wearing and the floor was surprisingly cold on my bare feet and ankles.  I sat down next to the person and could feel the fire warming my bare feet.  I could see now that it was a woman and she continued to stir, mumbling something without even noticing me. 

“Hello?  Hello!”  I gently touched her shoulder and something clicked inside her. 

She scuttled backward on hands and feet away from me and the pot then shrunk into a ball rocking back and forth talking louder know. 

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!  I’m bad so bad.  I did not listen and now I shall be punished.”  She turned her head and seemed now to be talking to herself. 

“Bad Mag, you were very bad, you did not do as master asked and now Mag, you have brought this punishment upon yourself.  Stupid Mag.” 

The woman was wearing  patched dark green dress and had a head of long scraggly gray and white streaked hair.  She had wrinkled skin, gnarled fingers and sunken in cheekbones.  She had large eyes that were a startling color of a pale blue gray.  She looked like a scared animal and I immediately wanted to help this woman. 

“Are you alright?  I’m not going to hurt you.”  I called to this poor, scared old woman. 

I guess she seemed to like me because she uncurled from her ball, crept forward and sat in front of me tending to her pot.

“Is your name Mag?” 

She nodded giving me a mostly toothless smile.  I smiled back. 

“My name’s Olive.  I’m from New York.  Have you ever been to New York Mag?”  She appeared to be in deep thought then sadly shook her head no. 

“Well it’s a lovely place.  However it’s very loud and busy there.  I live in my condo with my mom and dad.  My best friend’s name is Sophie.  She has pet rats…”

I ramble on and on about my life to Mag and ask her yes and no questions along the way.  When I have finally talked about as much as I can talk I ask her about Brontus and Bruce.

“Do you know the two men who live here?”   A sad look comes across her face and she nods her head.
“Would you mind telling me about them and why I’m here?”  Reluctantly she nods.

“Brontus and Bruce are not nice men.  My daughter, my only daughter Lilly was married to Brontus.  They had only been married for two years when Lilly learned that Brontus was not who she thought he was.  The couple had only known each other for ten months and had been engaged for one month.  They hadn’t even known each other for a year and were already married.  I should have known that something was wrong but she swore up and down that it was true love.  Whenever I would see Lilly she would seem distant and always wore clothes that covered her limbs, even in the summertime.  Her hair became thin and began to fall out.  She grew pale and always seemed to be sick.  One day I headed over for a surprise visit.  When I walked back to the bedroom Brontus was beating her.  He was ripping out small chunks of her hair and hitting and kicking her.  She silently cried and somehow I knew that if she were to cry out then she would have more lashes.  All the while he was cackling as he abused her.  I made him promise to leave Lily alone if he took me instead.  He agreed, divorced Lilly and I’ve been here ever since.  I’ve only seen Lilly three times since that day.  I’ve been living in this trailer for sixteen years.  The last time I saw her was six months ago.  She’s got a husband and two little ones.  Levi and Luke, twins.  Cutest little things.  Luke is the bigger of the two.  They’ll be one year old in a few weeks and I’m going to use one of my yearly passes to go to their birthday party.” 
She got a sort of sad smile on her face as she stared at the floor, her mind obviously somewhere else.  My stomach growled, loud enough for Mag to hear it.

“Oh you poor thing you must be starved, let me get you something to eat.”

As she began to silently head around the kitchen I thought of Adam.

“Can I go and get my friend?  The one who was brought here with me?”

Mag simply nodded as she busied herself in the kitchen.  Quickly and quietly I headed back down the hallway to the last room on the left where Adam and I were staying.  He was still asleep and hadn’t moved since I’d left an hour ago.  I shook him awake. 

“What is it now Olive?”  I gave him a quick, light slap on the forehead to wake him up.  I shushed him and motioned for him to follow me.  Together we tiptoed down the hallway and into the kitchen.  I pointed out where the bathroom was and where Bruce and Brontus’ room was.  Then the living room and dining room.  Then we were in the kitchen.  He took in the big pot over the small fire and and then saw Mag.

“Olive, who’s that?”  He seemed a bit scared and went to stand in front of me protectively.  Mag turned around and smiled at Adam her light blue eyes practically glowing. 

“Adam, please don’t be alarmed.  This is Mag, she’s going to help us,”  Mag smiled at me and Adam and I returned it. 

“I have so many questions.  Who are you?  Who are they?  Why are we here…”

Mag held up a hand to stop him.  She shoved plates and cups into our hands and beckoned us to come sit by the fire.  We settled in and started eating.  There were cups  of soup, sandwiches and fruit.  Now that we were settled in and had started eating Mag began to retell her story to Adam.

“That’s how I ended up here.” he finished her story long after we had finished eating and even then she had found some pretzels for us to munch on during her story.  At this point it was three thirty in the morning and even though I had been asleep most of the day I was still tired so Adam and I bid goodnight to Mag, promising to come and talk to her that night and went back to bed. 

I woke up to sun coming in through the crooked blinds.  There was a slip of neon pink paper on the door and I saw a tray of food on the dresser.  I grabbed the piece of paper and saw that it was from Brontus.  It said good morning, this morning was far from anything good.  The note then said that there was breakfast on the dresser and that we would only be coming out of our rooms at two for a phone call.  This intrigued me and dozens of ideas started running through my head as fast as a tornado.  That was all the note said and I threw it on the dresser.  It took all of my self control not to eat before Adam woke up.  When Adam finally woke up I quickly filled him in on the what the note said and we ate breakfast.  We spent the rest of the time trying to entertain ourselves, but failing.  At one fifty the door burst open and there stood Brontus and Bruce.

“Come on children.  We have two very important phone calls to make and it’s required that you be there.”  Adam and I slowly get up and follow Bruce and Brontus down the hallway into the living room. 
“Sit down.”  We sit next to each other on the couch.  Brontus dragged a folding chair so that he was sitting right in front of us.  He pulled out the latest iPhone and pulled up the phone setting. 

“Alright, so here is what’s going to happen.  We’re going to call your parents.  At this time right now, they’re at the police stations in their states for questioning and whatnot.  You’re going to call them and then we’ll ask for the ransom money and tell them where we are.  Any questions.?”

We were silent and then Adam raised his hand like we were sitting in a classroom living our normal, everyday lives.  Brontus simply pointed at Adam and nodded his head. 

“Where are we?”  Brontus gave his creepy, yellow-toothed grin before answering Adam’s question.

“We my child, are in the lovely sunshine state.  We are in Daytona Beach, Florida.”  I couldn’t believe that we had traveled that all of this way.  I went from far up in the North of New York and now we're in the far South of Florida.  I had never been to Florida before but I had always wanted to go.  Unfortunately I had not imagined coming here for the first time this way. 

“Alright, now what are their phone numbers.  Go on.”  He handed the phone to Adam.  Adam hesitantly punched in a phone number handed it to Brontus.  Brontus turned the phone on speaker and placed it on the table while it rang.

A female voice answered hesitantly.  “Hello?” 

“Hello miss, is this Mrs. Sands?”

“Yes, how can I help you?”

“Well Mrs. Sands, I have your son here with me…”

“Adam!  Honey, it’s them, the people who have Adam!” 

Brontus nodded at Adam so he would speak to his mother and father.  Adam didn’t want to, I could tell.  I nudged him with my elbow and gave him a small, encouraging smile.  He took a deep breath and I could see Brontus beginning to grow upset with Adam’s actions. 

“Hi Mom.  I’m okay.  I’m not alone.  There’s another girl here with me.  She’s from New York and her name’s Olive.  She’s the same age as me.  I’m being housed well and being fed well.  I have not been harmed since I’ve been taken.  However, there’s something these men want from you.”
“Anything hon, tell me what it is they want, we’ll give them anything.”  Adam’s poor mother was in tears I could tell and sounded completely desperate.  Adam continued reading of his notecard that held what he was supposed to say.
“Mom, they want five thousand dollars.”  Adam was then supposed to hang up.  He did and I could see the tears in his eyes.  He hung his head and I saw a single tear roll down his cheek. 
Now it was my turn.  I punched in the number that I knew so well and waited while it rang.  My mom answered, “Hello?”
“Hi mom.”  As soon as the work hi came out of my mouth my mother started screaming and crying. 
“Mom.  Calm down, please.”  She whimpered a quick yes and I continued talking.

“I’m okay.  I’m not alone.  There’s another boy here with me.  He’s from New Jersey and his name’s Adam.  He’s the same age as me.  I’m being housed well and being fed well.  I have not been harmed since I’ve been taken.  However, there’s something these men want from you.”

“What is it?  We’ll give them anything they want darling.  Just have them state their price.”  I look at Brontus who urges me on to break the horrible news to my parents. 

“Mom, they want five thousand dollars.”  With that I hung up.  Not even getting in a goodbye or and I love you.  Who knew when I would say that to her again.

Brontus called back my parents and Adam’s parents and told them our exact location and that they had three days to get here and pay the ransom money or else.  After he hung up with my parent’s whom he had called first it was silent while he punched in Adam’s parent’s number when Adam piped up. 

“Or else what?”  Brontus got a confused look on his face and so did Bruce.  “You said that they had three days to get here or else.  Or else what?”  Brontus finally understood what Adam was asking and a sly smile broke out over his face.

“Something just might happen that your parents would not be to happy with.  Now off to your room.”  Without hesitation Adam and I stood up in unison and went down the hallway of the small trailer to the tiny room that we shared.  Sitting on the bed was two wrapped packages wrapped simply in newspaper.  Adam and I ripped the parcels open to reveal, clothes.  Clean clothes that smelled of lavender.  I could feel the flicker of hope inside me grow.  I couldn’t wipe the small smile off of my face and Adam couldn’t either.  While we were fawning over our new clothes there was a knock on the door.  The door slowly swung open to reveal Mag holding a tray of food.  I looked at the clock on the wall.  It was dinner time.  However, a smell filled my nostrils that I hadn’t smelled since I’d been kidnapped.  The rich smell of some sort of herb encrusted meat filled my nose.  Mag set the tray down on the foot of the bed to reveal large glasses of some sort of punch and plates filled with slabs of steak, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, asparagus with butter and salt and for dessert a slice of dark chocolate cake.  Mag left, giving us a smile and I remembered our planned meeting for tonight.  As soon as she left Adam and I dug into the food like animals.  It had been a very long time since I had eaten anything this good and healthy.  When we had finished eating we took turns taking quick showers.  Adam showered first and then me.  I got dresses in the bathroom when I was done.  For my clothes I had gotten a pair of black legging capris and a royal blue tank top dress.  When I went back into the bedroom Adam was sitting on the bed wearing a clean pair of khaki shorts and a royal blue t-shirt that matched my dress. 

“Would you like me to french braid your hair?”  Adam asked.  I was a bit taken aback because it was a very random question to come from Adam.  I simply nodded and went to sit on the floor by the edge of the bed.  He started by brushing my hair with an old bristle comb that was on the dresser when we had been here. 
“How do you know how to french braid?”  I asked him very intrigued.  We hadn’t really talked about our families but now that it had come up I was very curious. 

“I’m an only child.  My mom’s name is Amy and my dad’s name is Charles.  I taught myself how to do hair.  I don’t remember why I wanted to learn, I just did.  What about you?  Who’s your family Olive?”

“Well, my dad’s name is Rick and my mom’s name is Rachel.  I don’t have any siblings,  I’m an only child.  I do have a black cat though and her name’s Shadow.”  He nods and then we’re silent.  We don’t really talk for the rest of the night but simply make small talk.  We go to bed around nine, tired for having a long day.

I wake up in the middle of the night, something is wrong, I know it.  I try to sit up but something is holding me back.  I look over to Adam and I see someone pressing some kind of cloth against his face.  I go to scream but get kicked in the side.  I whimper in pain when the cloth comes onto my face.  I thrash and get one good kick into my attacker and just as I’m blacking out I realize it’s Brontus. 

While I’m knocked out I have strange dreams and hallucinations.  I can hear Brontus and Bruce talking and can even see them but I’m still asleep.  Halfway through the day Bruce and Brontus have gone out and Mag comes and sits at our bedside watching over us.  She brushes our hair and holds our hands.  She even cries at sometimes.  My heart hurts for Mag who has lost so much in her life.  I make a vow right then and there that Mag will be rescued with me and can go to live with her daughter. 

When I come back into consciousness it’s dark outside.  Adam is nowhere to be seen so I go out into the kitchen hoping to find him and Mag.  Sure enough I find them, but not how I expected.  Adam and Mag are huddled up on the floor.  Adam is crying and Mag is holding him, comforting him.  I make eye contact with Mag and she shakes her head slowly at me with a sad look on her face.  I went over and hugged him from behind so he would be surrounded by good things.  Me and Mag. 

When he finally managed to compose himself Mag went to find us something to eat while Adam told me everything that had happened.  “Brontus and Bruce got a phone call this evening, Mag overheard it so she told me everything.”  He took a deep breath, shuddering before continuing.  “My mom and dad and some police men were on there way down here to Florida to come and get me but something bad happened.  This semi truck came out of nowhere and hit my parents in their car.  They were both killed.  My dad was killed on the scene but they managed to get my mom to a hospital but by then it was too late.  Tomorrow night is the last of the three days and nobody’s going to come and claim me.  Brontus and Bruce are going to hurt me or worse, kill me.”  Everything is quiet except for the crackle of the fire while I process what Adam just said. 
“Adam, we are going to find a way for you to get out of here.  I’m not going to let you get hurt or stay here any longer.  There has to be some way to contact my parents and let them know.  Adam, they will get you out.  My parents, the NYPD.  New Jersey is close enough to New York right?  Look, everything is going to be okay.  Okay?”  He simply nods.   Mag comes with our food and a phone. 

“Call your parents.”  Taking the phone I punch in the number that I have memorized since I was six years old.  The phone rings once before my mother picks it up.


“Hi mom it’s me, Olive.  Look, we have a problem.”

After I explain to my mother all that’s happening with Adam she asks if she can talk to him.  I pass him the phone and my mother talks to him for a good ten minutes.  When he hands me back the phone I see something in his eyes that I didn’t see before.  Hope.

My mother tells me that she is going to take Adam home.  To New York to live with our neighbor Mrs. Garcia.  Mrs. Garcia is a fifty year old hispanic woman who has one son who is all grown up and moved out and said she’d be happy to take Adam into her care.  I hang up after she tells me that they will be here at nine o’clock in the morning to pick up Adam and me.  To take us home.

Adam, Mag and I talked long into the night, mainly to distract Adam from the fact that his parents were dead coming to rescue him.  We were both very excited that we were going home tomorrow and that Adam was going to be my neighbor. 

“You’ll get to go to school with me.  We can go to Central Park together and see the Statue of Liberty!  Have you ever been to New York Adam?  He shakes his head no but I can see the wonder in his eyes as he is imagining the big apple.  Mag finally tells us that it is getting very late and that we should go to bed so that we can be ready for tomorrow.  We all creep back down to our room and she tucks us in.  Adam and I are practically asleep as soon as our heads hit the pillow but I hear her say something before she leaves.
“I won’t let Brontus and Bruce get to you my sweet little children.  They will have to go through me first.  That’s a promise.”

With Mag’s kind words I fall asleep, dreaming of New York.

The door bangs open and the lamp flicks on.  Adam and I sit up, startled by this unexpected intruder.  We see the form of Brontus in the doorway wearing a pair of red flannel pants and a stained white tank top.  He has some sort of angry look on his face and is seething as he stares at the two of us with so much hate, it’s unreal. 

“Get up you lazy little brats.  Hurry up I haven’t got all the time in the world.  Go to the window and face it.”
Adam and I leap out of bed and race to the window, my heart is pounding in my chest.  What is going to happen to us? 

“Crack the blinds and tell me why on earth the police are outside the trailer door!”

Adam and I crack the blinds and peer out to see a police cruiser slowly circling the block, watching the trailer.  I peek over at the clock.  It reads six forty-six.  My mom’s not coming until nine o’clock.  I hope nothing happens until then.  We are both instructed to stand watch at the window updating Brontus every twenty minutes. 

Adam and I stand watch and watch the sunrise.  Simply standing, barely fidgeting.  By around eight o’clock I am growing impatient.  I’m hungry and sick and tired of standing.  Adam and I take the risk of talking in whispers about how we might be able to defend ourselves if things start getting bad before my mom can come.  By the time we have a whole plan hatched out the policeman has parked across the street and another one pulls up behind him.  The two police officers get out of their cruisers and go and talk to each other.  They write things down and a few times even point to the trailer. 

Dutifully, we call these things out to Brontus who is in the living room.  I don’t know where Bruce and Mag are but I hope Mag is okay and is aware of our plan.  I already talked to my mother last night to see if we could take Mag and take her to her daughter who lived in Orlando.  My mother had agreed and Mag had already packed up her few possessions.

The policemen started walking towards the door.  The one in the back had his hand on his taser.  I checked the clock, fifteen minutes until nine o’clock.  I willed my mother to come faster, but if there was one thing that I knew about my mother it was that she was never late and never early.  She was always precisely on time. 
Brontus came rushing in with a scared look on his face. 

“Brats, in the closet.  Now!”

Adam and I scrambled into the closet and we had barely gotten in when Brontus slammed the door shut and we heard him sprinting to the living room. We sat down in the dark.  My eyes were adjusting, I could feel them but the only light was the thin sliver coming from the top and the bottom of the door.  I was genuinely scared.  I had been scared during this whole week long journey but now I really had no idea what was going to happen.  Adam and I found each other’s hands in the dark for support and sat, awaiting what would happen to us.  We heard muffled movements coming from the other rooms and doors shutting.  Until finally, the bedroom door opened.

“There’s no one else living here except you, your cousin and your mother sir?”

“That’s correct officer.  Just my mother Mag and my cousin Bruce.  And me of course.”  Brontus laughed nervously.

I could hear the police officer looking under the bed and everywhere. 

“I think I’ll check the closet now…”

“No!  I mean, heh heh, go ahead officer.”

The policeman was suspicious, even I could tell and I couldn’t even see him.  The closet door slid open and we were blinded by bright light.  We looked up at the face of two policemen and the furious and scared looking Brontus. 

“You two wouldn’t happen to be Olive Sawyerman and Adam Beaty would you?”

We both nod at the police officer, still sitting on the floor of the closet.  The head policeman immediately handcuffs Brontus. 

“Sir you’re under arrest for kidnapping.  Anything you say will be used against you in court.”

“Sir, the other man in the living room was also involved with the kidnapping.”

The other police officer ran into the living room and I heard the pleading cries of Bruce as the police officer led him to the police car.  As the policeman was taking Brontus and Bruce out to the police cars rounded the corner came almost the whole NYPD with my mother and father leading the police squad.  The police parked at haphazard angles and rushed into the trailer. 



My mom, dad, and I slammed into an embrace into the middle of the street.  My mom was sobbing and my dad had a look of relief on his face.  My mother noticed Adam standing awkwardly by himself off to the side of the road.  My father opened his arms and gestured to Adam to come and join our little group hug.  I knew right then and there that everything was going to be okay.

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