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In the cool, autumn afternoon, Charlotte shivered in her light-blue sweater, the crisp, fall air cold enough for her to see her breath. She leaned against a tree, waiting for the others to arrive. Her light-brown hair whipped gently in the wind. She folded her arms impatiently, for she was one who didn't like to wait. Her friends had planned to meet in the woods as soon as school let out. She knew Alice would probably be the last to arrive because she always had to walk home with her younger brother, Frankie. He was seven and under no circumstances should he even take the risk of seeing the sight the rest might see that day. She saw the well in the distance.
" I wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for the fact that I despise Harry Johnson so much. If it wasn't for the fact that we all hate him," Charlotte muttered to herself. In her opinion, she'd much rather be home watching television, or reading the book she had gotten from the library earlier that week.
Suddenly, Charlotte heard the sound of leaves crunching. A faint breath panting. She dared not to look, for fear it'd be Harry and his gang. Rumors told that his gang usually met in these woods, cussing and smoking, being the delinquents they were.
" Hey Charlotte! Where's everyone else?" said the smooth voice of George Cleary. The sound of her boyfriend's voice made her sigh as she walked towards him, arms open for a hug.
" I don't know where everyone else is," Charlotte said, answering George's query. " You'd think they would be here by now."
" Well, Alice has go to take Frankie home, we know that," said George. " Stuart could be on the way here, for all we know, and I think Zack said something about taking a make-up test today after school that he had to take."
Before Charlotte could say anything, Alice and Zack were running through the batch of tree's towards the two. Alice's braid was starting to unravel and Zack's plaid coat starting to slip of his shoulders. Both of them arrived at the same time, their faces red as cherries.
" A tie! We always have a tie when we race!" complained Zack, who was always known to be competitive. " Next time, I know I'll beat you!"
" I'm sorry we're a little late, " said Alice. " Frankie wanted to follow me here and it took me forever to get enough candy to bribe him with so he'd stay home."
" I had to take a make-up test after school today, so that made me a little late." apologized Zack.
" Have you guys heard from Stuart?" Charlotte asked, wanting to go home as soon as possible. She shivered, and George noticing, wrapped his arms around her for warmth.
" Oh, yeah. Well, he was walking with me just a little while ago," said Alice, her voice shaky. " Then I saw Zack and he challenged me to race, so I guess he's coming."
As soon as those words were said, Stuart appeared in the distance. He was clearly upset. His face scrunched up in anger. He had scratches on his face.
" You two left me! I tried to get here very quickly because I figured the rest of you would already be here. I took a short-cut by the creek and ran into some vicious dogs that tried to eat me alive! You all are lucky that I'm even here!"
" Well, at least you are here now," George said, calm as usual. " So, are we all ready to go and see if the legend is true? We don't want to risk running into you-know-who."
The group nodded their heads in agreement. Their hearts pounded at the thought of a kid, just like them, being at the bottom of the well. Myths say that a boy named Johnny Williams fell down the well years ago and that Harry and his friends tortured the poor kid. They say that he's still alive and that the group of young offenders threw their cigarette buds down there in an attempt to burn his flesh. They fed him stale bread and dirty water to keep him alive. As the kids peered down the well, Alice cupped her hands and yelled.
" Is anyone down there?"
They heard a faint squeak. A small, terrified voice which replied with a simple squeak and a cry.
" We are here to help you!" Charlotte yelled. As soon as she heard her voice echo in the dark abyss, she felt a hand grab her. She knew it wasn't her friends, but Harry Johnson. She turned around to face him.
" What do you think you're doing?" he said, his voice tough and raspy. " Trying to free my prisoner? I'm afraid we can't have that." he said, smirking. He pulled a knife from his pocket, a gleaming knife that glinted in the sun. " Any last words?"
Charlotte grinned and said, " Yes, I have a last word for you. Duck!"
" Huh?" said Harry, but before he could ask what she meant, George's fist slammed into the side of Harry's face. Harry got up quickly and sent his two goons, Eric and Derek, after the group. Erick and his brother, Derek, looked at each other.
" You're on your own here," said Derek, and the boys ran off.
Stuart grabbed the knife and grabbed Zack's hand as they ran to where they knew some rope was hidden. Alice, Charlotte, and George were left with Harry. Harry wrapped his arms around Alice, but Alice bit his shoulder. Harry shrieked a yelp of pain as Charlotte and George punched him. He went tumbling backwards, into the well. Not a sound came from his lips as he hit the hard ground. The tree gathered around the well and were joined by Stuart and Zack. They had a long piece of rope in their hands.
" Is Harry down there?" asked Stuart.
" Yes." said Alice.
" Is he dead?" asked Zack.
" I think so." replied George.
The pals descended the rope into the well and waited for a person's grasp. They felt a tug, and the five pulled with all of their might. Out came a boy from the well. He was filthy. He had dark hair and dingy clothes. There were burns on his skin. He was frail and small. He sat at the edge of the well, looking down.
" Thank you," he said quietly, his voice hoarse. " If you don't mind, I'd like to be alone for a while."
So they left him there. They all went home dumbfounded at the previous events. They couldn't believe it. It seemed like a dream, but they knew it hadn't been.
Suddenly, to Charlotte, her book didn't seem so important anymore.