November 24, 2008
Chapter One - Present

As I walk down the lonely street, there’s no one around me except my shadow from the moon. I feel the trees coming all around me, attacking me, trying to get me into their grasp. I start to run, I hear my feet pound on the gravel road. I am so mad, I have so many questions and never enough time. I stop running and kicked the rocks that are under my feet. It’s not fair! I think to myself. Because all I can think about is what happened last night and how it will change me forever.

It’s ten thirty-three p.m. I am exhausted by the long day that was the last day of school before summer.

“Good night, honey!” my mother says.

“Night, mom, love you!”

I hear the door close as the night surrounds me like a blanket, the chirping from the crickets, the owl’s call, calling to someone far away. It is like every night in the last sixteen years of my life, but something just doesn’t feel right. I think about it as I drown into a heavy sleep.
I hear my mother’s voice from her bedroom across the hall.

“We can’t just get up and leave, what about Annetta?”

“What are we gonna do? We can’t take her with us. She could die!” the father says, as he is packing his clothes into his duffle bag.

“And leaving her here is any better? What is she going to do for food? Who’s going to protect her?”

“I’ll call Zena. She will stay with her.”

“Crazy Zena! No! I won’t allow it! She can barely take care of herself!” Annetta’s mother exclaims as she is taking the clothes out of her closet and into another duffle bag.

“What else can we do?”

There’s a zipping noise as the suitcase is closing, and Annetta’s father is dialing the phone fast and hard.

“I don’t like this, I don’t like this one bit, Jeremy!”


I hear the zooming as the car drives by, but in my head all I could think about is the calls my Aunt Zena made.

‘Annetta, come back here! Annetta, Annetta! There’s things you don’t know, things that can harm you out there!’
What did she mean ‘There’s things you don’t know, things that can harm you out there!’? I know there are bad guys out here, burglars, killers, thieves; but I need to find my parents. I am fed up with all the lies and secrets. I am going to find them, I have too.

I feel the wind pick up and hear the grumble of my stomach. I should’ve brought food with me. As I keep walking, I feel like I’m being followed I look behind me, ‘Isn’t that the same car I saw before?’ I think to myself, ‘How long has it been following me?’ Then, as I go into a gas station I get some food and a drink. I see the guy get out of his Subaru and follow me into the gas station. I pay for my stuff and head back outside. As I see him get into his car, I run toward him and knock on his window. He jumps and rolls down his window.

“Why have you been following me?” I ask.

And he replies, “What are you doing walking on the road at a time like this?”
It’s only nine o’clock, I think to myself. I look hard at him, he looks about seventeen with curly brown hair and dark brown eyes,

“I asked you first!” I say.

“I’m sorry you just kind of got me curious. I mean no one walks around here because it’s five miles both ways until the next town,” he explains.

“Well, what if I like walking?”

“At eleven o’clock at night? I highly doubt that,” he says.

Wow, I didn’t know it was eleven o’clock. “Whatever, just stop following me!” I yell and start walking again. I look behind me and there he is following me, again. I stop and wait for him to drive up beside me.

Before I could say anything he asks, “You want a ride?”

He looks harmless, but I don’t even know him. What if he’s dangerous? But my feet kill and I’m exhausted, but mom says never get into a stranger’s car. When will the next motel be? Anyway, I don’t even have enough money for a motel room, I think to myself. Then my pain and exhaustion overcame my good judgment and I get into his Subaru. It has leather seats and the back of the seat fits perfectly into my back.

“What’s your name?”

I pause for a moment. “Annetta, yours?”


“You live by here?” I ask.

“Ya, about four miles behind us.”

“Then, why are you driving me?” I say.

He gives me a smirk. And I can’t help but smile. As he puts on some music, I breathe the new car smell in and fall into a light sleep.

I wake up at a restaurant on the windshield I see a note. It said ‘Went inside for some food. See you in there.’ I look at myself in the mirror. I look like crap, I think to myself. I fix my hair. Why am I trying to look good? It’s not like he likes me or anything. I get out of the car and walk into the restaurant. I see him in the corner booth as I sit down the waitress comes out and asks me what I want.

“Nothing,” I say.

“What? Come on you must be hungry?” Nick says.

Of course, I’m hungry, I think to myself.

“Okay. I’ll have two scrambled eggs and bacon, please,” I say as I fiddle with my fingers I really need to stop that habit.

As the waitress leaves I say, “I don’t have any more money.”

“Don’t worry about it.”

“But I can’t pay you for anything, the food or the ride, nothing,” I explain.

“It’s fine, I promise,” Nick says.

“No, seriously!”

“I know. Everything I get here is free.”

“What? Why?” I question.

“I own this restaurant,” Nick says.

“You’re only seventeen!”

“Actually, I’m eighteen. And the restaurant has been in my family for years now. And when my dad died he left it to me,” Nick explains.

“Oh, I’m sorry.”

“About what? I love this restaurant.”

“No, about your father.”

“He was sick, no one could help him, not even himself.” There was silence and I reach my hand over to touch his and I felt a shock and I pulled my hand away. “So what about you, Raggedy-Ann? What’s your story?”

“I don’t have one.”

“Come on, no one just walks around Hicksville. Where you from?” Nick asks.


“I live in the town next to it.”

“Oh, really?”

“Ya.” He gives me the cutest smile I have ever seen.

As we finish up our meal, we walk outside and he says he wants to show me something as I head to his car. He says this way and goes behind the restaurant.

“This is my favorite place.”

As he grabs my hand and leads me to this beautiful garden, full of every kind of flower you can imagine.

“Wow! This is beautiful!”

“Thanks,” he says.

“So you own a restaurant and a garden?” I say jokingly.

“Own the restaurant, yes. This garden? No. This was my mom’s before she died of cancer, I’ve kept it up for ten years, now.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s not your fault.” We look around the beautiful garden, “These were my mother’s favorite.” As he plucks one of the flowers off and puts it in my hair. And looks back, sadly, at the flowers and I grab his hand.

“I’m alone, too,” I say. He gives me a questioning look. “My parents just got up and left.”

“What do you mean left?”

“I mean left, gone, deserted me with my crazy aunt. They got their things and walked out the door!” I feel my temperature rising, and my heart is beating fast. I turn around so he doesn’t see my face burning up.

“I’m-I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to get you mad.”

Then he touches my shoulder and pulls me into a hug. I feel the warmth of his chest, the beat of his heart, and then out of nowhere he lightly plants a kiss on my forehead.

Chapter Two

As Jeremy and Melanie, Annetta’s parents, cross the Kansas border on their way to California, a police car is behind them with its sirens on. So Jeremy pulls over, and looks at his wife questioningly.

“Was I going over the speed limit?” Jeremy asks.

“Not that I know of,” his wife answers.

“Yes, officer.” As Jeremy looks at the officer he realizes that it’s not an officer, it’s one of the men his father hired. He hits the gas and swerves into the road. As they drive away all they could hear was the man screaming ‘He’ll find you and your daughter, too!’ and gun shots. Then he pulls up behind them and Jeremy looks in his rearview mirror and sees him following them.

“Hold on!” Jeremy exclaims. As he swerves between cars and turns off an exit, the police car is still behind them, he gives a sharp turn and loses the police car.

“Finally,” Jeremy says.

“What? They know about Annetta? How?” Melanie questions and she has a scared expression on her face.

“I don’t know, but I regret leaving Annetta at home.”

“Me too. I hope she’s alright.”

“We’ll call her as soon as we get to the next town,” Jeremy says. As they go the back road way, just in case they run into one of the bad guys again.

Chapter Three

We get to his car and I look at Nick and he looks back at me with a distraught face.

“What’s the matter?” I ask.

“I’m coming with you,” he says.


“On your trip,” he says as he puts the keys into the ignition.

“No, you have the restaurant and the garden.”

“I need to get out of my parent’s shadows and get on with my life. And you need protection,” he says.

“But, I have no plan. I don’t even know where I am going from here and I don’t need protection.”

“Well, then, we’ll take it together. C’mon we have already established that it’s easier to drive then walk. And, yes, you do need protection,” Nick says as he turns on the car and starts driving out of the parking lot.

“It is better driving, and I might need a little protection,” I admit.

“Then it’s decided,” he says as the car in front of him randomly stops.
Why does he want to come with me? He must know that there is no future with me, I mean who knows how long this can go on for? I think to myself.

“I guess so,” I say. I think, somewhere deep down, that I just want to know what it would be like to have a boyfriend. Then that car finally starts moving and another car comes and cuts us off and then sits right in front of us. As Jeremy is yelling at the guy to move, I see something in his hands, it’s a camera and he’s taking pictures of us.

“Go, Nick!”


“Go! Backwards! Anywhere!” I scream.
He whips around and we drive behind the restaurant, but then there’s another car there that blocks us. Nick starts backing up again and the car blocks that direction.

“Hold on!” Nick exclaims and I grab the door handle and put on my seat belt.
He speeds forward and the driver of the other car looks stunned and as we get closer the bad man doesn’t move.

“We are gonna it them!” I scream.

“No, we won’t!” Nick yells back. And doesn’t slow down, as we get so close that we barely touch the bad man puts the car in reverse and speeds backwards. As we go around him and speed away, I hear gun shots and screaming in a language that sounds so familiar to me.

“We lost them.”

“Oh my God! You’re insane! We could have gotten killed!” I yell.

“Ya, but we weren’t. Who were those guys anyway?” Nick says calmly.

“I don’t know. I just have a bad feeling about them.”

“Ya, no idea why,” he says sarcastically.

Chapter Four

Jeremy and Melanie stop at a McDonald’s, as Jeremy is getting food, Melanie is calling Annetta and when Aunt Zena picks up and tells her that Annetta ran away to find them. Melanie rushes inside to tell Jeremy about the news, but Jeremy is not there and in the corner of her eye she sees him get thrown into the backend of a van. As she runs out to help him, the huge guys grab her, tie her arms, and put a black bag over her head. Then, she got thrown into the back of the van.

Inside the hard, cold van Melanie says, afraid, “Are you okay, Jeremy?”

“Yes, I’m fine. You?”

“I’m okay.”

“I can’t believe they found us,” Jeremy says.

“Me too. Annetta ran away.”

“What!? How did this happen?”

“I don’t know. I hope she’s alright!”
There was a lot of swerving, screeching and bumps, then a random stop. Then, the doors flew open.

“Get up!” someone says in a deep, horrifying voice. They get up and get out of the car. And get pulled out of the van, as the walk into a cool room the black bags get taken off there heads.

“What do you want with us?” Jeremy yells at the big man.

The big man grins and shows his mouthful of rotten teeth. “I want nothing, but your father wants you and your daughter. So where is she?”

“I don’t know. Where’s my wife?”

“She’s safe.”

“I want her here!” Jeremy yells.

“Stop yelling. Trust me, you don’t want her here, anyway, because we are gonna have some fun,” the big man says.

Chapter 5

“We have been driving forever!” I say.

“We’ll find them, so tell me about this note, again.”

“I, stupidly, forgot it, but it said ‘I’m sorry, darling, but your father and I have to go. We are going to the Golden State, we will be back for you and explain everything. We love you.’ Now I know that the Golden State means California, but what I need to know is why? Why are they going? And why without me?”

“Maybe something has happened and it would be dangerous to take you,” Nick says encouragingly.

“Then, why didn’t they just tell me about it?”

“I don’t know.”

As I look out the window, I see a big man take a woman out of the back of a black van into a warehouse.

“Stop! Pull over!” I scream.

“What?!” He pulls over. Nick asks, “What’s the matter?”

“See that woman?” I point to the warehouse were the woman was, they were about forty feet away.

“Ya, something’s going on over there.”

“Exactly, and she has the exactly same bracelet that I gave to my mother for Christmas two years ago.”

“Coincidence,” Nick says.

“I don’t think so.” As I look closer I see the charm that she bought her mother this year for Christmas. “It’s her!”

“What? How do you know?”

“The charm!” I say as I is getting out of the car and running across the street behind one of the warehouses. I see a fat man, that I would suppose is very rich because of all the jewels he has on and all the men that surrounds him, and he goes into the warehouse.

“Follow me,” I say. As I walk around the warehouse as secretly as possible and behind another warehouse right before the one that my mother is in. I feel the pit of my stomach turn inside out. “What are they doing in there?”

Then out of nowhere I feel a hand grab my arms and tie them and I scream, but the man grabs my mouth. As I turn to Nick I see that the same thing is happening to him. We were caught.

“Oh,” he gives me a horrible grin. “Oh, look what I found. The boss is gonna be so happy, see we were just gonna come to find you. Thanks for making the trip easier.” And he puts duct tape over my mouth, I squeal and squirm, but he overpowers me. I look at Nick, he has duct tape on his mouth, too. He turns around and whips the man that’s holding him with his arms in the face. There’s a smack and blood starts pouring out of the guy’s mouth. The guy punches Nick back so hard that there was a pop and Nick’s nose starts to bleed, also.

Chapter 6

“Turn around little girl,” the evil man says. As I tried to resist he grabs my head harder, then hits my across the face. I feel my face swell up. “Move!” he yells at me. We walk up to the warehouse, I feel a big draft. And I see my mother in the corner of the huge room, chained up like a dog. ‘What do they want with us?’ I think to myself. As they throw me next to my mother.

“Annetta! Are you okay?” she asks. I nod my head.

“Did he hit you?” she questions. I nod my head, again.

“Why I should give him a piece of my mind!” I shake my head.

“I can’t believe this happened, we never planned for this. We love you very much.” She assured me. “We will explain everything after we get out of this mess.” I give her a questioning look.

“Are you asking where your father is?” I nod my head. “In the backroom.”
Then my father comes out with the fat man and they shake hands. As the big man comes over to me, I get ready to attack and he grabs my hands. Then, he cuts the rope off and rips the duct tape off of my mouth and I yelp because of the pain. He does the same to Nick and my mother.

My dad walks over, “It’s okay. We made a deal.”

“What does it entail?” my mother asks.

“I go to Wales and become king, but only if I can take you two with me. And he agreed.”

“Okay! What’s going on? What do you mean king?” I ask.

“Well, honey, you weren’t born in America, you were born in Wales. And your mother and I were, and still are, in love but because she is American and I am not, my father, your grandfather, told me to leave her. But I couldn’t and we had to leave the country right after you were born.” he replies.

“Are you serious? What the heck?! And I had to do chores when we could of gotten a maid!” I joke.

My mom laughs, “Uh, no but good try.”

“Wow! So I’m a princess! Like seriously?”

“Yes. You are,” he says. I hug my parents then I look behind them and see Nick.

I go to him, “So. Thanks for helping me.”

“You’re welcome,” he says sadly.

“What’s the matter?”

“Nothing, I’m just gonna miss you.” He gives me a grin and we hug.

“One second,” I say and walk over to my father. “Dad? Can we bring Nick? He did so much for me and I feel so bad leaving him here with no one. And he left his job and practically his whole life for me.”

“Well, I don’t know how I’m going to say no to that! Yes, he can come.”

I go over to Nick and tell him the good news and he thanks us and takes our offer.

“So, Wales, huh?” he says.

“Yep, I heard it was cold there.” I say jokingly. And he gives me a grin and as we turn away to leave, he grabs me and kisses me right on the lips.

Two years later

Annetta and Nick are married in Wales and have one child. Annetta is princess and her parents are king and queen. The grandfather left Wales and moved to England, where he stayed forever. And they all lived happier ever after.

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