May 19, 2010
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Leaves chatter as the wind blows through them. Perfectly reddened, many have floated to the ground. Cassie whizzes back and forth on her blue racing bike, legs pumping and face filled with joy. Looking up, Cassie gazes at the autumn colors falling like rain around her. Screeching tires cause Cassie’s head to snap forward, she thinks it came from up ahead but she’s not sure. Cassie panics, thinking of Emmy, her best friend, who is always riding up ahead. She begins to pedal furiously hoping and praying that Emmy’s okay. She hears a piercing shriek and the slamming of a car door as she rounds the corner. She begins to pedal faster and faster, salty droplets flying from her face, she knows in her heart that Emmy is in trouble. She finally rounds the second corner to see her best friend’s bike abandoned in the middle of the road, back tire still spinning. The pavement is rough beneath her as she skids to a stop and kneels next to her friend’s bike. A warm breeze blows the sweat-soaked hair out of her face and the glint of tears shimmer down her cheeks.
Stunned, Cassie sits next to her best friend’s bike, minutes pass and it feels like she has been there forever. No cars pass this whole time, as if the world knows she wishes to be alone. Looking up, she notices that darkness is creeping into the sky. Realizing her dad is probably worried and wondering where she is, Cassie drags Emmy’s bike to the side of the road, silent tears still streaming down her face. She slumps onto her bike and begins the long journey home. Block after block, thoughts raced through her head, “What will I tell my dad, is Emmy going to be ok, what will happen to her?”
Only a couple blocks from her house she passes the local police station, slows her pace and comes to a screeching halt. Her mouth drops open as the shock of what just happened wears off. Horror drowns out all other emotion as Cassie turns around and pedals as fast as she can back to the police station, deciding her worried dad would have to wait.
Cassie burst panting through the police station’s doors, her face wet with tears. The salty taste of sweat lingers on her lips. Gasping for air she races to the desk and whimpers, “My friend has been taken.”
The receptionist glances down at her and says, “Excuse me?”
So Cassie repeats, “My friend has been taken!” Her voice has a sense of urgency, for she is thinking time is of the essence.
The receptionist, bustling around behind the desk covered in paperwork, picks up a file bursting with paper and asks, “When do you think she was taken?”
Frantic, and now conscious of all this wasted time, she exclaims, “About an hour ago!”
The receptionist quickly looks around for a pen, grabs one out of a mug and scribbles a short note on the cover sheet of the file. She looks down at Cassie and in a rushed tone states, “Sweetie, are you sure she’s missing? Maybe she just went on vacation with her family for a bit.”
As the receptionist turns back to her paperwork, rage fills Cassie’s little heart and with fire in her eyes, she glares at this grey haired woman. “Emmy could be dead by the time you people realize she is actually missing,” she forces through clenched teeth, “and that will be on your shoulders.”
Cassie whips around and blows out the doors, running as fast as she can to her bike. Pedaling home, the feeling of rage still lingering within her little body, she lets out a short sigh of frustration when she hears the squeal of tires once again. This time though, the sound comes from behind her. Quickly glancing back, she sees a large white van turning around to follow her. Fear churns within her and she begins to feel true terror for the first time in her life. Pumping her little legs as fast as they can go, though she knows it isn’t going to be enough, she looks back and the van is gaining on her. Her mind racing, Cassie looks wildly around for a way to escape. Seeing movement in the woods, a familiar flash of color, she immediately thinks, “Emmy’s in there.”
Right as the van is almost upon her she makes a skidding right turn onto a path going through the woods. Thinking she’s safe now, Cassie cries out with joy and exclaims, “Emmy! Emmy, where are you?”
There is no response and she thinks, “You’re being silly Cassie, of course Emmy isn’t in the woods, she was kidnapped.”
Stealing a quick look back from the way she came, expecting to see the van but making out nothing but the shadowy outline of trees, she begins to pedal home the long way, through the woods. It’s incredibly dark now, and she wishes that this day had never happened. The night sky faintly visible through the trees, she hears a stick crack to the left of her. “Emmy?” she whispered but again, no response.
Barely pedaling, turning slowly to her left, she looks into the darkness, yearning for light, when she discerns eyes glowing at her from between the tree trunks. She shudders, “Those don’t look like human eyes,” Cassie whispers under her breath, “so what kind of eyes are they?”
Knowing something is in the woods with her, and the “something” isn’t Emmy, Cassie decides it’s best to not show that she is afraid. She continues pedaling, heart beating faster than ever, until she hears another “crack!” but this time from her right. Assuming there is now more than one thing following her, Cassie tries to come up with a plan. She thinks about her options: pedaling as fast as she can to try and outrun whatever is behind her, or just keep going and hope that it won’t bother her. Not knowing the better choice, Cassie makes a split-second decision and starts pedaling faster than she had all day. Seeing the exit from the woods and street lights faintly visible through the branches makes her legs go even faster. Adrenaline pumping, she knows whatever is following her is having no trouble keeping up. She just continues to look at the exit, telling herself it will leave her alone once she gets out of these terrible dark woods. She’s almost there, ten feet, five feet, one foot, and she’s free! She catapults out of the woods, bumps over the curb and onto pavement, into the glow of the street lamps. Her heart still racing when she looks behind her, she sees the glowing eyes staring right back at her through the brush.
As she quickly pedals towards her house, she makes a mental note to never go into the woods at night again. She coasts into her driveway and up to her house. She jumps off her bike and it crashes and skids to the ground. Tumbling through the front door, her face is contorted with a look filled with fear and confusion. About to cry, she runs to the couch where her father, face filled with worry, arises to meet her. With a slight whimper, and voice trembling she tells him everything. Confused, her dad looks down at her and asks, “Who is Emmy?”…

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