Lindsey Knight; the new girl from New York City. No one could fathom why someone would move to our small town in Indiana especially from a city like that. Not to mention someone as perfect as her with dark auburn hair and piercing blue eyes. You could tell as soon as everyone in the class laid eyes on her, they made it their goal to become friends with her. Everyone except me.
As soon as high school started, I realized friends will do anything to become popular. I learned to never judge a book by its cover no matter how appealing. The next few weeks basically consisted of the entire grade falling all over her while I kept my promise to myself and maintained my distance. Despite my classmates efforts, Lindsey refused to open herself up to anyone.
The most we knew about her was that she was fifteen, from New York City, and lives with her seventeen year old sister, Ashley. I hate to admit it, but for some reason this intrigued me. The first time I spoke to her was in Biology class where we were assigned as partners.
“Do you want to get the supplies or should I?” I asked her in a reserved tone.
“Oh, uh, I guess it doesn’t matter to me,” she replied, whispering under her breath.
Up close, I gained a whole new perspective on her personality. She stiffened every time she talked to someone as if it physically hurt her. I could see the stress behind the fake smile plastered on her face at all times. She never looked up at me when she’s talking Somehow, she seemed as if she actually cared about what I was saying which was completely foreign to me. Without realizing it, I had broken the one promise I had planned to keep.
Subconsciencly, I had made up this picture of her in my head. She was someone who was full of themselves and will do anything for attention. I could not have been more wrong. It was refreshing to meet someone who seemingly had it all and couldn’t care less. A few weeks went by and suddenly she was the only person I talked to. I shared everything with her and we were completely inseparable. I wish she had shared everything with me sooner.
I was never suspicious about her mysterious home life or how she would cower whenever the words “mom” or “dad” were used. I only began to be curious one Saturday in May at my house in the pool. Everything was going great as usual, until I glanced over at her hair. Her blonde roots were beginning to show through as brown hair dye dripped into the pool.
“I had no idea that you dyed your hair!” I exclaimed.
“Oh yeah, I guess it just never came up,” she said, refusing to meet my eyes. “I think it might be time for me to go home.”
I did not understand why she couldn’t talk about it, and why it made her so uncomfortable.
The next concerning incident happened at her house. It was routine; every Thursday her sister would take us back to her house and we would eat, laugh, and never do homework. This Thursday didn’t go as planned.
A few minutes after we arrived, an intimidating man with brown hair streaked with hints of silver sauntered up to the door. Lindsey was in the bathroom and her sister was in the kitchen so I walked over to see what he had to say. I’m about to turn the knob when I feel a piercing pain in my head as I crash to the ground. I try to scream in pain, but nothing could be heard over the hand on my mouth. I was frustrated, in pain, and concerned but most of all, I was confused. Why did she feel the need to tackle me? Who is at the door that she can’t talk to? What is going on? All of my questions were answered in the next few minutes.
“Ashley, honey, I know you can hear me,” the man said kindly behind the door. “We have been waiting for you for a long time. Open the door and this will all be over.”
I looked to Ashley with wide eyes waiting for an explanation. My entire body was quivering. I was certain that he could hear my pounding heart even behind the wood door.
“Stay quiet no matter what. Don’t you dare move a muscle,” Ashley said, her voice shaking.
“Sweetheart let me in and everything will be fine I promise,” he said, growing frustrated as he pounded on the door.
All of the sudden, the noise stops. I didn’t know whether or not to be relieved or even more scared about what he would do next.
“What are you guys doing?” Lindsey said as she glanced down on the floor where we were laying. Ashley takes hold of her leg and roughly drags her down to join us. She explains the situation in record time when we hear the back door creep open.
“I’ve been waiting to see you two ladies for a long time,” the man’s voice said slyly from the kitchen.
Before I knew it, the room was swarming with men seemingly identical as the man from the door, all staring at Ashley and Lindsey. Before my eyes they were violently brought to their feet and dragged outside. In an instant it was the original man and I standing face to face in the room alone. I tried to speak, to scream, to run, or really do anything but my body wasn’t capable. All I could do was stand and stare.
“I’m sure you’re curious as to what is going on aren’t you?” he questioned.
All I could manage was a quick nod of my head.
As he guided me to the couch to sit down, he explained, “Your friends have been in the foster care system for three years and recently ran away after being told that they had to be seperated. We have been searching for them for four months.” He had said all of this in a calm, even tone as if it was no big deal. Suddenly, everything that had happened clicked together. The hair dye,the living situation, and how she was no unwilling to open up. I was starting to think that my initial distrust of my classmates was justified. I stood there in silence for what seemed like hours. eventually , the man was gone, and I was left by myself. I looked out the window and they were nowhere to be seen. I didn’t realize in that moment that I would never see my best friend again.