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Demitri Didn't Come Home (excerpt)
Demitri wandered idly around the trees, feeling utterly ridiculous in his Boy Scouts' uniform.
Walking single file with the others, he was completely at ease. But alone? He felt like a idiot. Not
that he was exactly proud to be a Boy Scout. It was just the only thing to do in this town.
He muttered angrily, abruptly changing directions. You stop to go to the bathroom
for one second and everyone ditches you. He had absolutely no idea where to go. Of course he had a
compass, but he'd stepped on it a couple weeks back and had yet to get a new one. Now it was just
a decoration hanging around his neck.
'Hey!' he shouted self-consciously. 'Anyone out there? Helloooo?'
He blew out an angry breath and slid down the trunk of a tree, legs splayed out in front of him.
F*** it. He'd just wait for a while. Wasn't the first rule of survival to stay put? Something
like that. He fished a Snickers bar out of his shorts pocket and unwrapped it. It wasn't exactly
hiking food, but he'd been craving it since the hike started.
Demitri jumped, choking on a piece of chocolate. 'He'hello?' he coughed, getting to his feet.
The voice was close, unobstructed by the trees. Demitri coughed like crazy, looking around.
A girl stood to his right. She had long brown hair and a small smile. She was wearing a blue dress,
and was barefoot. Demitri barely had time to think how weird that was when a two-by-four slammed
across the back of his head and knocked him down. The Snickers flew from his hand. He landed face
down in the hard mud. The girl giggled and then the forest disappeared.
'Wake up, honey.'
Demitri's eyes flew open. His body was drenched in a cold sweat. Oh crap. Oh crap oh crap oh what
was going on? He was in a cabin or something. There was a fireplace. Tacky knick-knacks lining the
mantle and the coffee table and the shelves. And his hands were behind his back.
'Hey, you!' A man who was probably twenty leaned over Demitri, smiling a devilish smile.
'Demitri, right? It's on your uniform.' He pointed, putting a finger to Demitri's name
stitched into his shirt. Demitri looked down slowly, confused, and the man flicked him on the nose
with his index finger. 'Ha!' the guy barked. 'I can't believe you fell for that.'
'What the hell''
'Oh, we abducted you. Yeah, wandering around in the woods? Not very safe. Just for future
Demitri was lying on a couch, back against the armrest. Facing the black and unused fireplace.
'I'm sorry for hitting you. Really, I am. But what are you roaming around by yourself for?
Especially in that sexy uniform. There's perverts all over the damn place.'
'I' What is going on?'
The man sighed, sitting on the end of the couch at Demitri's feet. 'We abducted you, I said. Did
I give you brain damage?'
'Oh, you know. We're psychos; you were just sitting there eating your candy. Adorable. How could
Demitri lay silent for a long time, and the man made no attempt to break the hush. The only sound
was Demitri's anxious breathing. 'Let me go,' he finally said, voice cracking.
The man turned, looking at him curiously. 'Let you go? Why would we do that?'
'I'I didn't do anything, I just got lost, I'I just want to go home.'
'Always be prepared,' the man said. 'Where's your compass? Or your tracking device? Don't
people get their kids micro-chipped?'
'I broke it.'
'My compass. It's right here, but it's broken.' He was speaking defensively, as if putting
up a good argument would convince his captors to let him go.
'Oh,' the man said wisely, and that was it.
Demitri sighed desperately, feeling his breath quicken and his mouth turn down sharply. God, he was
about to cry. Don't do it, he thought furiously. Don't don't don't oh please. His nose
burned with the onset of tears, and then everything went in and out of focus. 'Please,' he
choked, hating himself, 'please let me go. I won't tell anyone. They'll just think I was lost
all this time.' The man didn't move. 'Please,' Demitri repeated, sobbing. He felt hot tears
running down his cheeks. He doubled over, hands behind his back, forehead to his knees. His thin
frame shook violently; he swallowed so many sobs his throat hurt.
'My name is David, by the way,' the man said conversationally. 'The girl you saw was Cosette,
but I don't think that's her real name. Or maybe it is. I don't know. Anyway, you hungry?'
Demitri howled suddenly, the cries he'd tried to lock away bursting out in a mournful wail. And
the horrible thing, the cherry on top, was that he just realized he was starving. 'No,' he said,
feeling like a child. 'I'm not hungry, I just wanna go home.'
'Of course you're hungry,' David said indignantly. 'You haven't eaten in twenty-four
It took several moments for Demitri to process this fully. If he meant twenty-four hours since the
Snickers bar, then' What?
'I'll make you something,' David said finally when Demitri didn't respond. He stood,
stretching his arms above his head, his t-shirt pulling up to reveal a milky, emaciated stomach.
'Grilled cheese?' he offered. Demitri nodded numbly. David walked out of his line of vision.