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As I walked into Mr. Harper’s seventh period English class, I heard the loud chatter of students and the dropping of backpacks on the floor as kids were sitting down at their chairs. I went all the way to the back left hand side of the classroom and took my seat. I prefered sitting in the back, that way I could basically do anything I wanted without Mr. Harper seeing. I immediately laid my head down on the desk, closed my eyes, and waited for class to start.
Kids were still chatting amongst themselves before Mr. Harper began to speak. “Alright class let’s take our seats and get settled down,” he said after the bell rang. “We have a new student joining today. Everyone, this is Noah Carter.”
My head shot up off of my desk. I heard earlier today that there was a new kid, not just an ordinary new kid though, apparently he was sort of a big deal. Girls at this school were going crazy all day about how absolutely adorable he was.
The gossip was true. He was tall, had brown hair, and was wearing glasses. You could tell he was strong just by the way he stood there at the front of the class. He had on dark washed jeans with a grey shirt under a blue and grey flannel. He was absolutely gorgeous. He had no expression on his face whatsoever, except I could tell he just wanted this long school day to be finally be over.
“Ok,” Mr. Harper clapped his hands together and pointed at the desk right next to me. “Noah, you can take the open seat next to Ava.”
As he walked past the rows of desks, students turned their heads and watched him make his way to the desk sitting at my left. He made no effort to talk to anyone or make eye contact with anyone, except for me. It felt as if his green eyes would not leave mine. He flashed me a soft smile when he sat down.
I smiled back, and brought my attention to Mr. Harper. “Okay, let’s get out our journals for a beginning of class quick write to get us started. You guys are just going to do a quick paragraph about what you think the difference between ethics, morals, and values is.”
I pulled out my journal and a pen and started to write. After a few seconds I felt a hand tap on my shoulder. “Do you have a pen and a piece of paper I could borrow?” It was Noah.
“Yeah, of course,” I flipped my notebook over, tore out a piece of paper, grabbed another pen from inside my backpack, and handed them both to him.
“Thank you.” He said.
I responded to him with a smile and went back to writing my quick write. For some reason I couldn’t focus. I suddenly was wondering who would come to their first day at a new school without a notebook and a writing utensil. I just thought it was odd. Maybe he forgot, but still it’s weird. I finished writing up some thoughts on my paper and the class proceeded like it always did, with long discussions, and students putting in their unnecessary opinions. Once class finally ended, I packed up my things and left the room and started walking home.
I hated walking home from school, It’s not like my house was far or anything, but I had to go through this creepy neighborhood on the south side of school to make it to my house. The houses were old, rundown, and small. I was almost across the street from the school when I heard someone shouting my name.
“Hey Ava!” I turned around, and I never would have guessed who it was. It was Noah. He caught up to me and said, “Do you walk home from school too?”
“Yeah, sadly.” I laughed.
“Cool, me too.” he was walking right beside me now. “Do you mind if I walk with you? My house is just up the street.”
“Sure,” I replied.
“Oh and also,” he flipped his backpack around in front of him so he could unzip it, “I forgot to give this back to you.” He was holding the pen I let him borrow.
“Oh thanks,” I grabbed it from him. “You know you could have just given it to me tomorrow in class.” I giggled.
“I know, I just wanted an excuse to come and talk to you even though my house is right up the street.” He looked at me and smiled. He has a cute smile.
“Oh really?” I couldn’t help but flirt back.
“Yeah really.” He said. “So what’s up with this school, why is everyone so boring?”
“I couldn’t tell you honestly,” I replied. “I’ve lived with the same kids since I was in kindergarten. That’s what sucks about living in such a small town, you never go down the street and see a new face, it’s always the same people. What made your family decide to come to the small town of Boulder Junction, Wisconsin?”
“Well, I live with my uncle. My mom and dad died in a car wreck when I was little,” he sighed. “But my uncle just forced me to pack up my things one day and just move without any explanation whatsoever.”
“Oh I’m sorry, that must have been hard leaving everyone.” I said. If felt so bad. Just the way his mood changed from happy to sad was hard to watch. I couldn’t even imagine just leaving my home like that.
“Yeah, I used to live in California, and I couldn’t tell you why my uncle decided to move here, though, out of all places, but I don’t want to ask him why either because we’ve never had the best relationship.” He was staring straight ahead with no sign of emotion on his face when I looked up at him. I didn’t know what to say or do.
The only thing that came out of my mouth was, “I’m sorry, Noah.”
He shrugged. “It’s ok, at least one thing good has come out of moving to this town.”
“And what’s that?” I asked.
“Meeting you.” He nudged my arm with his elbow and beamed down at me. I blushed and looked away.
“Well this is my house, I’ll see you tomorrow in class, and maybe if you’re lucky I’ll walk with you again.” He laughed.
“You’re hilarious.” I said sarcastically.
He turned and started to walk to one of the run down houses on the other side of the street. The house was smaller and had bricks on the outside, the window panes were painted white, but there was barely any paint left on them because they were chipping off. The building seemed to sag under the weight of the few roof-tiles and the bushes on the outside were dead. You wouldn’t have a clue that Noah Carter is living in one of these houses.
I continued on my way home and to help with the silence of the neighborhood, I plugged in my headphones and listened to music. I was almost out of the neighborhood when I heard a faint sound of yelling over my music from behind me in an alley between two buildings. I turned around to see two grown men, the larger man had the other by the collar of his shirt shoved up against one of the building’s wall.
I couldn’t tell what they were saying, but I could tell that the stronger one who was shoving the other and smaller man against the wall, was not happy. I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. The bigger man was yelling ferociously and the roar of his voice was echoing between the two buildings. Out of nowhere, the angry man pulled the smaller one away from the wall, then forcefully shoved him back. I could hear the crack of the man’s head on the brick from where I was standing. The man’s limp body fell to the ground with a thud. I couldn’t move, I was completely shocked.
I was brought back to reality when I saw the killer was looking straight at me, realizing that a teenage girl just witnessed him possibly kill someone. I’m not sure if the man is dead or not, but I wasn’t about to take any chances. I dropped my backpack on the ground and I started to sprint as fast as I could away from him. I heard the pounding of footsteps behind me, my heart was racing and I could feel my blood burning with every step I took. He was right behind me now, there was no way I was about to outrun this man. No matter how fast I went, I wasn’t fast enough.
Next thing I knew, I was grabbed and thrown to the ground on the cement behind a group of buildings. Tears started to pour out of my eyes, I screamed for help and tried to fight back but before I could kick him or punch him, his fist met my jaw and everything went black…
I woke up in a place I didn’t recognize, I tried to move but my hands were tied behind me to a pipe in a corner of the room. It looked like I was in a shack of some sort. It was pitch black outside, and the only light I had was one hanging from the top of the ceiling. I saw garden tools hanging up on the wall and a lawnmower across from me. I had absolutely no clue where I was. I’ve never been so scared in my entire life. I started to scream as loud as I could, yelling for help and if someone was there, but nobody replied except silence. I kept screaming with all of the hope I still had of getting out, but still nothing. I tried to pull as hard as I could on the pole, hoping it would break or come out of the ground so I could escape, but I wasn’t strong enough.
Suddenly I heard the sound of a screen door slam and footsteps coming closer. I became still, I could hear the pounding of my heartbeat, but I did not move a muscle. Rattling of chains and a key opening a lock filled my ears, and suddenly the door to the shack swung open. The guy who took me stood in the frame of the doorway.
“Here, eat it. Now.” he groaned. He set a bowl of oatmeal at my feet.
“No.” I kicked it away and half of the bowl spilled on the ground. He grabbed my face hard and tilted my head so I could look directly in his eyes. I groaned at the pain, he was squeezing my jaw, the part he punched earlier.
“It’s either this or starve. I’m being generous so eat the damn oatmeal. I could have killed you already, but I didn’t want more police investigating me with a murder.” He pushed my face out of his hands and walked away slamming the door behind him. I smelt the scent of alcohol when he walked away from me. I looked at the bowl. I was starving. I don’t know how I would be able to eat without my hands. I bent over and started slurping it with my mouth and finished the rest. I noticed that at the bottom of the bowl, there was a crumpled up and small piece of paper covered in oatmeal
“What the heck?” I said under my breath. I took my shoes and got the piece of paper out of the bowl and on the ground, and I finally managed to open it up with my the tips of my shoes. I gasped. It was a note written in pen. From Noah. It was written with the same ink as the pen I let him borrow in English, I could tell by the way it wrote.
I’m going to get you out of here, I promise. -Noah. I was so confused. How did Noah know I was here? How does he know I’ve been kidnapped? Was he taken too? Suddenly I remembered that when I was running away from the man, I dropped my backpack on the ground not to far away from his house. Noah must have either witnessed what happened or had some connection to the man to know I was here and picked up my backpack. He wrote with the same pen I let him borrow so I would know that it was really him. All of the sudden, I got a headache and felt dizzy from thinking too hard. I laid back against the pipe that my hands were tied to and started to cry, am I ever going to get away? I was so confused and had no clue what to do and how Noah knew I was here.
I stared at the wall across from me a few minutes later, I stopped crying and my fallen tears were dried up on my face. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine sleeping in my own bed and being at home. An hour later I was fast asleep and hoped that Noah would be here to help me soon.
I woke up to the sound of the chains rattling on the outside of the door again. I didn’t know what time it was, all I know is that it was really late at night. I stayed still and tucked my legs to my chest. I didn’t know what was going to happen, but I hoped that everything would be ok. The door creaked open quietly. Someone walked in and walked over to me. I couldn’t see who it was until they stepped into the light. I let out a sigh of relief when I saw it was Noah.
“Noah oh my god it’s you.” I said.
“He didn’t touch you or harm you in any way did he?” He quickly walked over to me and turned my head from side to side to examine my cheek with his hands. I winced under the pressure of his hand on my jaw. “You have got to be kidding me.”
“What?” I asked.
“There is a huge bruise on your jaw and scratches all over your face Ava. I’m so sorry.” He was really angry I could tell. He took one of the empty bottles of alcohol off the shelf from the wall behind me, and slammed it on the ground. Shards of glass shot all over. At first I didn’t know what he was doing, until he took one of the bigger and sharper pieces and started to cut the rope tied around my hands with it.
“Noah this wasn’t your fault.” I said while he was still working on cutting the rope.
“Yes it is, you wouldn’t understand.” He said and shook his head. “I should have never left you to walk home by yourself.”
“Noah, I’ve walked home everyday since my first year of highschool.” I could feel the rope starting to loosen around my wrists.
“No, you don’t even know.” He spoke.
“What don’t I know?”
“Ava, the man who took you is my uncle.” My heart felt like it dropped to my stomach. Right at that moment the rope slid off of my wrists and we both stood up. I looked up at Noah and his eyes met mine, and they were watering.
“Noah, this is not your fault. So don’t think for one moment that it is.” I opened up my arms and hugged him. For a moment his hands were still at his sides until he wrapped his arms around me. He was crying. We stayed there until we heard the slam of a screen door. Noah pulled quickly away from me.
“Hurry, act as if you’re still tied up.” He grabbed the rope and rushed over to the other side of the shack in the shadows so he couldn’t be seen. I hurried over to the pipe and put my hands behind my back to make it look like my hands were still tied. The shack door slammed open. And Noah’s uncle hobbled in. He was drunk. It was obvious.
“Who opened this door?” He walked over to me and kicked my legs. “Tell me girl, who opened this door? Who the hell is in here?” He yelled. I screamed at the pain. Before I could spat something back, Noah emerged from the shadows and plunged the shard of glass in the side of his uncle’s leg. His uncle winced at the pain and fell to the floor grabbing the wound. The cement was starting to become red with blood and the man was letting out painful wails. Noah pulled me up from the floor.
“It’s about time you got what you were asking for!” Noah yelled down at the wailing man. “Come on, let’s go!” He shouted as he grabbed my arm pulling me away.
Before I could get completely out the door, Noah’s uncle forcefully grabbed my arm. “Get off of me!” I screamed. I was suddenly thrown into the shelf of alcohol bottles and dozens of them came crashing to the ground. The shards of glass cut through my shirt and jeans and cut up my face, arms, and legs. I was in so much pain. My vision became foggy and my head was pounding. There was a piece of glass lodged in my leg, and I could barely move.
All I saw was Noah and his uncle fighting. Noah was trying to get to me but before he could reach me, his uncle had a shovel in his hand and hit Noah in the back with it. Noah toppled to the ground.
His uncle took one of the shards in his hands. He grabbed Noah by the collar of his shirt and lifted him off the ground. “You shouldn’t have done that boy.”
Noah’s uncle’s back was facing me, and he was still strangling Noah. Noah was kicking and trying to pull away from the tight grip around his neck. This was the perfect opportunity to help if I could stand up and not fall over. I wobbled to the rack of shovels on the wall and grabbed one of them. I walked behind Noah’s uncle and drew the shovel back. Should I do this? Should I hit him? He’s Noah”s family. My head was still dizzy and I couldn’t see straight.
“Do it, Ava.” Noah choked out.
“You worthless peice of sh-” His uncle began but before he could finish was already swinging the shovel as hard as I could. The shovel hit the back of his uncle’s head. He fell the ground with a thud, and Noah started gasping for air.
“Ok let’s go.” He said once he got his breath back. We both ran out of the shed as fast as we could. Halfway to the car Noah had to backtrack and help me because I still couldn’t walk very well with shard of glass in my leg. He held me get into an old red truck out in front of the house. Noah put in the keys, started the ignition, and sped away. The whole ride was in complete silence and we were surrounded by pitch black forest on both sides of the winding roads. Noah finally broke the silence once he knew we were safe.
“You’re bleeding.” He said as he took off his flannel and handed it to me. “Put pressure on it with this.”
“Thank you. Are you okay? I’m sorry I had to do that.” I felt bad that I was the one who had to hit his uncle.
“Yes I’m fine, and don’t worry about it, he’s not dead. The police are going to find him anyway. Why do you think we moved all the way to Wisconsin from California? He was running away from being thrown into prison. He’s not much of family to me anyways, I’m just forced to live with him,” he sighed.
“What are you going to do now?” I said as I looked over at him.
“I’m 18, so I’ll live on my own.” He shrugged his shoulders like it was no big deal.
“Are we going to call the police?” I asked with my eyes closed, I had the biggest headache and I felt so dizzy.
“Yeah, I’m not about to take the chance of someone else getting hurt by him. He’s dangerous.” He was looking at the gash in my leg, the blood was now soaking through the flannel.
“We are almost the the hospital Ava, it’s only a few more minutes.” He was really worried about me I could tell.
We drove for a few more minutes until we hit Boulder Junction again. Noah’s uncle must have taken me in the middle of nowhere because I didn’t see any other buildings or houses on the way home. Neither of us had our cell phones so once we got the the hospital Noah immediately jumped out and opened up my passenger side door.
He lifted me off the seat and carried me to the emergency entrance. The piece of glass was still far in my leg, and I was the the point where I could fall over and pass out any second. The last thing I heard were the shouts coming from Noah asking for help and the chatter of nurses and doctors around me. For the second time that day everything went black.
I woke up to the sound of a beeping monitor next to me. I could hear the sound of my mom’s voice just outside the door. She was talking to someone.
“Mom?” I said.
“I’m sorry give me one second.” She told the person she was talking to just as she walked in the room. “Oh Ava, are you feeling ok?” She rushed over to me and took her hands in mine. She looked terrible. Her eyes were red and she had the biggest bags under them.
“I was so worried about you.” She said through tears.
“Yes I’m fine. Just feeling tired.” I replied. I glanced at the clock to see that it was 7:00 in the morning.
“I’m so glad your ok. Your dad and I had the whole town looking for you.”
“Where’s Noah?” I asked her.
“He’s just outside the room.” She smiled. “He wouldn’t leave until he knew you were ok and awake.”
Right as she said that Noah came into the room along with two other police officers.
“You’re awake.” He looked at me through a grin. I nodded and smiled back at him.
“Ava Sprackling?” The police officer asked.
“Yes,” I replied.
“I came here to inform you that the man who took you is now locked away, so he can’t get to you or anyone else.” He smiled then walked out of the room along with the other officer and my mom to talk. Noah was the only other one left in the room.
“I’m really glad you’re ok.” He said.
“Me too. I’m sorry about your uncle again.” I looked down at my hands. My left hand had a needle in it with a tube running into the large and noisy monitor next to me.
“Don’t worry about it, I’ve technically lived on my own for the past 10 years so I think I’ll be able to manage.” He laughed.
“You saved my life and I’ll never be able to thank you enough for that.”
It was in that moment I was so happy to have met Noah Carter.