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Author's note: My freshman year English teacher had us find a pair of shoes online that we liked. Then she told us to write a short story about the shoes. Well this short story, that was only 2 pages, turned into a 15 chapter novel.
I plopped down on my new bed. Starring at everything I had now, the only thing I had now, material things. Slowly lying back on the bed, I reached for my bag, looking for the few material things that weren’t new, but I cherished most. A pair of basketball sneakers, a teddy bear, a picture of my family and my baby nieces little shoes. Tears building in my eyes as I wish I had everything back. The light tap on the door brought me back to reality and I said “Hold on I’m almost ready.”
“Okay sweetie. Come downstairs when you’re ready,” Auntie Jill says.
“Okay Auntie, be right down.” I say getting up from the bed and rummaging through my bag for a dress. I find my purple sequenced dress and my mascara, grab my sneakers off the bed, and run to the bathroom. Quickly putting everything on and letting my hair flow over my shoulders. Wishing my dad was here to tell me my dress was too short and my mom to argue with him that the dress is just fine. Then, later my dad whisper in my ear -“You look beautiful.”
I grab my phone and head down stairs, and there is my aunt, my uncle, and my four cousins, Jade, Jake, Dylan, and Kirsten. I look at all their faces and I feel like a burden, like I don’t belong. ”What the hell are you wearing? Why are you wearing sneakers with a dress like that?” Jade says as if she is one to talk. Wearing a short, green, trampy dress with black knee high boots.
“Just what I always wear!” I say with the same high pitched squeal in her voice. My cousins all laugh and my aunt gives us a lecture on how this is a party for my uncle and we shouldn’t ruin it for him, because we don’t get along. We both say we will not, but not leaving the gaze of each other’s death stare. We both finally snap out of it as the door bell rings and we put smiles on, even though hers is real and mine is just a smile to please them.
It’s the morning of the first day of school. I walk down stairs looking for breakfast, but still not in the mood to eat even after all these months. I move slowly back up the stairs while my lovely cousin, Jade, makes her way down the stairs like a princess. Her only words to me are “Why are you up before me? I have to inspect the kitchen before Mom gets up. If it is not spotless, you know how she gets.”
“I didn’t touch anything your royal highness, and your moms not bad in the morning, she’s just not a morning person. Be lucky you have a mom.” When Ms. Princess didn’t say anything I kind of thought I did what I had to do to make her respect me more. Just those few words were all it took. As I get up the stairs I hear Dylan and Jake fighting over whose going to wear the Air Jordan’s. I walk in and say” Jake its Dylan’s turn to wear them you wore them Friday.”
“Thanks Anna.” they say in unison. As I continue to walk down the hallway to Kirsten’s room to make sure the boys haven’t woken her, but unfortunately she is awake. “Anna, I don’t feel good!” she exclaims.
“What hurts?” I say concerned
“My tummy” and that was all she could get out before she threw up. I pick her up and run with her down the hallway. I’m already thrown up on and finally get her to the bathroom. I tell her I’ll be right back and run to go her mom. She gets to the bathroom and makes sure she is okay and then pulls me out of the bathroom.
“I can’t stay home today I have a major international meeting. Could you stay home with her? I mean I don’t want you to miss your first day of school, but would you mind?”
“Auntie its fine, I don’t mind. It’s only the first day they usually lecture and that’s all”
“Okay thank you so much. I owe you” she says as she run down the hallway to finish getting ready. I walk back into the bathroom and find Kirsten fast asleep on the bathroom rug. I pick her up and bring her back to my room and I put her on my bed. She can’t sleep in her bed. As she is sleeping I go to her room and strip her sheets. I walk down stairs with the sheets and throw them in the washer machine. I have my back turned to the door, but I can feel someone standing there looking on. I finish starting the wash and turn around to find a tall, 5’10”, dark hair, blue eyed, god leaning in the door way.
“Hi. I’m…umm..Jade’s…boy…umm...good friend.”
“Nice try but I’m not that stupid when you start to say boyfriend, be coyer about it and say boyfriend that’s a friend that is a boy.” Looking at this guy and thinking why he would flirt with me when he has Jade this isn’t real. I try to walk past him and he blocks my way, I step back and say “excuse me”
“After you plant one” he says as if he thinks he can get every girl.
Smack. “In your dreams asshole!” I exclaim and walk past him.
Jade comes running in and runs right past me to him “John are you okay?!” she yells as if she wouldn’t be heard with that high pitch squeal she has already.
“Shush!” I tell her “Kirsten is upstairs still sleeping.”
“Why is she still sleeping and why aren’t you ready? We leave in ten minutes. John’s taking us this morning.” She adds trying to rub it in my face, which she wasn’t really rubbing in my face as much as she thought she was.
“She’s sick she threw up this morning, but you wouldn’t know that since you were probably on the phone all morning with your boyfriend” adding air quotes “ when he obviously has no problem flirting with your cousin.” I add a smile hoping she will totally ignore me and just leave for the morning, but that doesn’t happen.
“You probably made the first move anyway”
“Yeah it’s called trying to move out of the laundry room, not on your boyfriend!” I say with complete sarcasm.
“Whatever!” she says when she actually cares. I walk up the stairs so they can have their five minute make out session while I make sure the boys get downstairs so they ruin it.
“Boys are you guys ready?” I say hoping I can rush them.
“Anna, can you come here for a minute?” Kirsten calls for me
“I’ll be there in a second. I just want to get the boys down stairs honey.”
“Okay” I hear her little voice say. I walk into the boys’ room and they’re just finishing brushing their teeth.
“Sorry we didn’t answer we were brushing our teeth.” They say in unison, again.
“You guys really have to stop that whole unison thing. It’s kind of creepy, or is that your plan so you can creep out your teachers?” They just give me mischievous smiles, meaning yes. “Okay well get down stairs and ruin your sister and her boyfriend’s make-out session.
“Okay that’s always our job.” Says Jake smiling another mischievous smile and the two of them run down the stairs yelling “JOHN.” I can’t help but laugh, when I realized Kristen called me earlier. I run down the hallway to my room and find her lying there looking around.
“How are you feeling?” I ask hoping she say better and not worse.
“A little better.”
“Do you want some ginger ale or tomato soup or chicken noodles?”
“No, but can you read to me?” she asks, looking at me with big green eyes.
“Sure.” I say “I’d be happy to.” I pull out the book that my aunt gave me when I first got there. The only book that was saved in the fire. It was old and a little burned at the edges, but it was in perfect condition to me. I wrap my arm around her and start reading. About 5 or so minutes later the doorbell rings and I look down at Kirsten to find her asleep again. I slowly move my arm from her head and pull the covers over her shoulders. As I walk down stairs the butler is crossing the parlor. I yell “I got it Jimmy, but thank you.”
“Please Jimmy how many times do I have to ask you to call me Anna”
“I’m sorry just old habits” he apologizes.
“Well were gonna break those old habits” I say smiling and laughing as I walk to the door. “Who is it?”
“The police” I hear on the other side of the door. I open it and they say “Are you Anna?”
“Yes” I say as my throat closes up and thoughts start reeling in my head. “What is it?” I ask trying to keep my voice even and not look like I’m about to break down.
“May we come in?”
“What’s going on?” Now worse thoughts were reeling in my head, like is it my grandparents, is it my brother’s girlfriend, or is it my cousins, my aunt, my uncle. I lead them to the parlor and ask Jimmy to get them some iced tea. The officers both introduce themselves and start talking about the fire and I can feel the tears welling in my eyes as they proceed to tell me more and more. “I know the whole story I don’t need it told to me again the first time was hard enough.” I say sterner than I expected, than any of us expected.
“Well ma’am. We don’t think it was any accident.”
“What are you talking about? It was a gas leak and when my dad went to start the grill everything exploded.”
“Where were you the night of the explosion?”
“I told the officers on the report and you should talk to them not me.”
“You think I would kill my own mother, father, brother and baby niece? Are you crazy?”
“No, I am not some selfless person that has no pride or self respect to kill everyone I love and everything I know or now I should say everything I knew. So, put this in your report” as I flip them the bird and walk to the door and open it.
“If you change your mind and want to talk here” as he tries to hand me his card.
“I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t want to talk to you in a distant dream let alone in the future at any point in time.” And I slam the door as if they weren’t there or getting a bug out of the house. I lean against the door, slide down, and put my head in my hands.
Jimmy walks in” Anna will you be okay or should I call your aunt?”
“No, no that isn’t necessary. I just need sometime, I’ll be okay” I walk outside to the guest house. I find the key on top of the door and open the glass French doors. Walk to the fridge and pull out a Red bull, hoping if I’m too hyper things will seem better. After sitting down on the couch for about an hour, I feel I should do something productive. I can’t move, my body is too weak or maybe it is just my mind. The hard knock on the door startled me and I moved from the couch, when the door came barging in. I quickly grabbed the nearest lamp and rip it out of the wall and run for the back door. I’m yanked back by my hair and placed on the floor, looking at a tall, brown eyed man. “What the hell are you doing? And who the hell are you?”
“Get up and shut up”
I stand up and say “and who the effing hell are you to tell me to shut up. When you are in my house with your fancy s***?”
“If you don’t shut up I’ll make you shut up”
“Nope, I’m definitely not shutting up” then without blinking and eye my mouth is duck taped and I’m being led out to a bullet proof Charger. I’m placed inside like a rag doll, luckily I’m able to kick the guy in the nuts and run for the house I hit the front door. Throw open the door, run up the stairs with two men hot on my trail and head into my room. I quickly lock the door behind me. I sit down on the bed and rip the tape off my mouth.
I look at Kristen and see her frightened eyes. I wrap her in a hug and try and comfort her. I look around my room for anything I can put in front of the door to stop them from pounding it in. I find nothing, in a state of panic I grab all my clothes and anything else I can find. I throw it into a bag, throw it out the window on to the trampoline. I grab Kirsten and tell her to hold tight to me. I scale the side of the house till I reach the ground. Run to the trampoline snatch the bag and head for the back of the garage. I realize the keys on the kitchen counter and turn around. I hear them yelling “she got away she got away. What do we do?”
“She couldn’t have gotten too far. FIND HER!” he yells pissed.
I put Kirsten in the car and tell her not to do anything even if people come into the garage to just stay quiet and duck behind the seat. As I walk through the back yard being careful and looking through every window to see if any of the guys are in the house. I walk to the door, look through the window and see the keys. I open the door quietly and grab the keys off the counter and quickly close the door. The butler completely sees me, but hell he’s not going to say anything he knew I was running for it. I get back to the garage and Kirsten was ducked behind the seat. I start up the 2011 Ford Mustang. I think to myself should I just bust through the garage door or open the door and make a big entrance with the high beams on and drive by and flip them off. I like the second option. “Seat belt on honey?” I say to Kirsten, I want to make sure she’s safe before anything goes down.
“Yup” she says as if she knows were in real trouble. I really shouldn’t be driving especially not on a Red Bull buzz like this, but when you’re probably going to be chased by whoever these people were, it is a good thing. I hit the button on the roof and turn the high beams on, rev the engine and am ready to go. The garage door is open and I let the brake come off and we fly out of the garage and I quickly turn the wheel and after the guy, who pulled my hair, was able to see enough, I flipped him the bird and was off. I sped down the street took a quick left and sped past a cop and thought s*** I’m definitely screwed. I look in the rearview mirror and he’s not moving. I kept moving and when we got to the end of the street I had to think quickly, I jerked the wheel right figuring I should pick up my family and then head to my aunts work and then find a plane and get out of here.
I speed faster not seeing them in my rearview hoping they had just decided to screw and move on to the next victim. I’m going about 80 on a main road dodging in and out of traffic just trying to get to the school as quickly as possible. I get to the school come to a screeching stop right outside and shut the engine off. I make my way around the car and run with Kirsten to the front door, still looking around for my stalkers. I get inside the building, and get to the main office, “Hi. Um I kinda need to dismiss Jade, Dylan and Jake Walshman.”
“Do you have a note?”
“No, but their mother has just been rushed to the hospital and their father wanted me to pick them up and bring them.” She looks at me with a suspecting look and then calls over the intercom for them to hurry to the main office they are being dismissed. They all show up and I have signed them out already.
“I hope your mother is alright” the secretary says as we walk out.
“What’s wrong with mother?” Jade asks quietly.
“I’ll tell you when we get in the car” I say anxiously.
We walk to the car” get in fast” I say as I see the charger roaming the school parking lot looking for my car. I start the engine.”Everyone buckle up! It’s gonna be a rough ride from here on out.” I hear all four other clicks and press the gas with no hesitation. I speed out of the parking lot without a look to my right to see if any cars were coming. I get the car up to 90 before I dare look back in the review mirror. When I do look back, I see them stuck at the last light. I speed through ten and then take a quick right and hope they didn’t see that. I take another quick left and another. I’m on the back roads now. I slow to about 70 and finally take a breath when there is no one behind me. I look back in front and see a detour sign quickly press the brake and jerk the wheel right, now I’m facing the sign. I read that the detour is from 8 in the morning till 12 at night. I press the gas and take the detour, pissed as hell.
I hate detours because you never know if they are going to put you where you want to be or somewhere totally opposite. I’m slowing in speed and I take a quick right, now knowing where I am, I slow down. Nobody asked why I was driving so fast, I’m pretty sure they were all scared of me. We get to Aunt Jill’s work. “When we get out of the car, leave all your stuff and get inside. Ya here?!” I say with total exhaustion. “Okay, go NOW” I yell they all get out and run. As we get inside, and I walk to the secretary’s desk, I say “Hello, I need to see Jill Walshman, please. It’s urgent.”
“She’s in a meeting you’ll have to wait till she gets out”
“I don’t think you understand. We’re her children. It’s URGENT” I say again.
“Well maybe I can page her to let her know you’re here.”
“Thank you, and while you do that can you point us in the direction of your bathroom.”
“Um yes right down the hallway first door to your left.”
“Thanks so much, again. Come on guys lets go.” We walk hurried past the cop sitting by the elevator. I was so not in the mood to talk to anyone especially not an officer. We all walk into the bathroom, Dylan and Jake argue with me why they have to go into the woman’s bathroom. “I’ll explain as soon as we get in to the bathroom. Please just go” I look at them with that unforgiving look of exhaustion. They can tell I’m in no mood to fight; they slouch their shoulders and walk into the bathroom. I look in all the stalls and no ones in the bathroom. I put Kirsten, Dylan, and Jake on the bathroom sink and explain that their mother is fine it’s me and I needed and excuse to get them out of school. I turn to Jade and see her eyeing me like we don’t need you to cause more problems.
“Jade, now I know what you’re thinking, but honestly I have no idea who these dudes are and it seems that I don’t want to either. So, can we please just try and put our differences aside because I’m pretty sure lives are at stake.”
She keeps eyeing me and finally says “okay but its only cause your family.” I breathe a sigh of relief when she agrees. We walk out of the bathroom and I didn’t even look to see if the guys were there. I look up and they are running at us.
“Get back in the bathroom quick.” We get back in the bathroom I lock the door and find a window. “Jade go through first, I’ll get the kids through. GO!” Jade goes through the window reluctantly. I lift Kirsten up and through “You got her?”
“I got her.” She says panicked. I then pass Jake and Dylan and as I lift myself and quickly get through as the door busts in. We start running for the car and I quickly stop “what are you stopping for you idiot?” I look up the building side and think can I scale it. Just so we can get to the room. I think hard for a second I can’t, but if we find and ally way I can get to the roof and then get to my aunts office from there. I continue to the car, peek around the corner to look for the car and see if anyone is around it. No one is, but I look to the roof tops and see snipers.
“We can’t get to the car.”
“What are you talking about? It is right there.”
“Look at the roof tops. Those guys are snipers. We make a move from here, were dead in an instant.”
“So, what do we do?” Jade asks finally realizing these are no play ground bullies.
“We need to find another entrance to the building and get to your mom before they do.” I say hoping that will calm everyone down, but I was wrong it just made Jade’s anger build and she started to yell.
“What the hell do they want with you and why are we involved? I shouldn’t be afraid of them they don’t want me they want you. I shouldn’t let this get to me, but my mom is in that building in danger and it is ALL your fault.”
“Jade, Please try and understand that I have no more of a clue what they want from me than you do. I’m trying to figure it out just like you. But until I know more we’re just gonna have to try and get your mom out of that building, In order for me to do that I have to find and ally way and scale the wall to the roof and from there get inside and get your mom out. Okay?”
“Fine, but that doesn’t make me any calmer knowing that you’re going to be scaling the side of a three floor building without any rope.”
“Trust me I know what I’m doing. I did this all the time back home when I would sneak out. So trust me okay?”
“Well I don’t really have any choice I have to; you’re getting my mom out. I NEED to.” I walk around the building staying out of the sight of the snipers. I find a very small ally way where I could put one foot on one wall and the other on the building I need to get in to. Instead I get on the dumpster and jump to get on the fire escape. As I get both feet on the fire escape I hear Kirsten crying. I look down and they are hiding behind the dumpster. I quickly and quietly make my way to the first ledge and put my foot on the railing of that and stand. The guy has no idea that I am about to pounce his ass. I jump and land pretty much perfectly. I struggle with him for a while, till I knock him out with a quick jab to the temple. I Grab his gun and think damn these dudes are loaded.
“Okay, change of plans.”
“What are we going to do?
“In about less than 2 minutes they are going to come looking for him and we have to make it up that wall. So boys you need to climb. I’ll carry Kirsten; my adrenaline is so high I can handle her for three flights. I’m going up first, Jade you’re going to have to boost the boys up the wall and ill grab them till they can get both feet and climb. Let’s go!” We are on the last flight and I hear them yelling. “Hurry guys they are almost here.” We just get on the roof and they enter the ally way. I look around for snipers. Nothing. I walk to the door, holding Kirsten’s quivering, little hand. I slowly open the door and look inside. Nothing. I walk down the flight of stairs slowly waiting to hear yelling. Nothing. I finally get to level 2 and head in the door.
I find everything to be normal as if no one is in danger. Something seems odd I tell them to stay on that side of the door and if they hear yelling, as if anyone is coming up the stairs, get up to level three and head in to that level and get in the bathroom up there or an empty office. I walk in look down the hallway to see a guy with a rocket launcher standing there. His back turned but he’s still there. I look around dart into the office across from me and look around. I find random files take a stack of them. Look for a pair of glasses. Find a pair in the bottom left hand drawer. I put them on and look for high heels. Any person that knows a work place like this knows you go in, in high heels you get in the place and to your desk you get into house slippers or more comfy shoes. I found the high heels I’m looking for in the small closet against the back wall. I slip them on and walk across the hallway with the files I slip in to the stairwell.
“Give me your blouse and skirt.”
“ Just do it.”
“Because there is a rocket launcher at the end of the hallway and I need to look like I work here. So, I can bump into him have him put down the rocket launcher and I can give him a quick jab to the jaw and knock him out. That’s why.”
“Okay” she says terrified. We quickly strip down and switch clothes. I walk back in to the floor. Tuck the glasses in my pocket. I walk right across again to the room acting normal as if I just came back from seeing the boss.
And of course there’s my que. “Excuse me miss this floor has been secured.”
“What are you talking about? I’ve been walking through here all day.”
“Well I have to ask you to leave” as he turns and sure enough right where I placed the files he knocks them over.
“Oh my gosh. Do you know how long it took me to sort those documents? Oh my gosh and look now they are mixed together and I have to have those documents in 10 minutes. Actually less than that I have to be at the meeting in 10 minutes and I have to get to the conference room. Oh my gosh.” And I start the water works. The guy looks down at me like I was a puppy wanting a treat after I just got one.
He kneels down and looks at me sympathetically as if he knows how I feel. Awesome pull, how did I know that was going to work? Duh he used to be the file boy for is team and he got punked all the time. I just think of my family and they come harder, faster, and more. “Are you going to be okay?” Awe man now how was I supposed to give him a quick upper cut and knock him out. Hmm maybe I don’t have to. He helps me up and leads me to my chair and waits for me to say something. I notice he is standing directly in front of me with his legs open just enough so I could kick. I did I kick him. Jump over him and shut the door as he’s still in pain he’s let go of the rocket launcher.
I grab the rocket launcher and as he gets up I aim at him and say” another move and well, you’re dead.”
I love being in control of the situation and having the loaded gun to a guy’s head. He says coyly as if I don’t know what he’s doing” do you know how to work that thing?”
“Hell yeah. These things are so much fun to play with.” I say coyly back.
“You’ve been here before haven’t you?”
“Well if mean in the literal term. No. the figurative term as in I’m not afraid to hold a gun to a person’s head. Yeah I have. Problem?”
“Didn’t think so. If you answer this question the way I want it answered, then I will take the gun away from your head, but won’t let you go free. You’ll come with me and tell me there every move they are gonna make. Got it?”
“Nope because in about 15 minutes of them not seeing me in that window they tend to get a little suspicious.”
“Alright then what are we waiting for. Let’s get out of here before you get your head blown off.” We walk down the hall and I enter my aunt’s office and there she is with her assistant. “Let’s go auntie I’m sorry but we have to go NOW!”
“What’s going on and where is Kirsten? Is she okay?”
“Auntie she’s fine, but we have to go I have people chasing us were in danger hence the dude with the rocket launcher. Now let’s go!” I drag her toward the door and open it slowly I find my four cousins standing there waiting intently on me to come out with my aunt. Well kind of surprised them when I walked in with a guy and a rocket launcher along with my aunt. “Let’s not ask and let’s just get out of here.”
“Okay” they all say in unison. We walk up the stairs I make sure the guy is first in case there is a sniper on the roof now. We walk out on to the roof and I hear no shots and see nothing at first, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t someone or something behind the door. I push the guy out on the roof and he falls, on purpose. Knowing if its his own guy they won’t shoot him. Well a shot was fired, but missed his head by an inch. I slam the door back and hear a loud thud. Look behind the door and then guy is out cold with the gun in his hand. I bend down and pick it up.
“You gonna shoot at me or hold me hostage if I give you this gun?” I laugh as if I would be afraid because I have the rocket launcher, but he could have a better shot.
“To be honest I’m with the F.B.I and I was trying to get to you before they did so I could get you out of the country, but I guess I didn’t have to really worry.”
“How the hell did you know I was in trouble and I didn’t?”
“Let’s just say we’ve had tabs on you ever since we saw you at ground zero pulling people out of the rubble.”
“Oh. Can we not talk about that here. It’s a memory I’ve tried to repress. Okay? And plus why would the F.B.I. have tabs on a 17 year old girl who saved a couple of people from a burning building?”
“Because we also saw you at the shooting range and you have the best shot yet of any GIRL under 18.”
“And your point?”
“My point is that you could be a national threat if we don’t turn you into one of us.”
“Oh” and as our conversation is ending an F.B.I. helicopter is starting to land on the roof. The guy starts moving towards the spot and waves us over. We climb in after it lands and fly off.
I was a little sketchy on the whole idea, but after I saw the F.B.I. helicopter that kind of sold me this guy was the real deal. We get to the head quarters and we climb out. When everyone was unloaded and the guy took the rocket launcher from me, they lead us down a long hallway lined with steal and emergency buttons. Wondering what they were for when I caught an actual glimpse of the name and it said “DESTRUCTION BUTTON” and under it read “FOR EMERGENCEY’S ONLY”. I was a little frightened that they would have buttons in such a small cramped area, that was steel walled and easy to just take out the enemy with an easy trip and have them hit their head.
I follow these guys and we’ve been walking for a good five minutes. Finally a random black door appears and I say “where the hell did that thing come from?”
“Any questions will be answered by the head master”
“Arighty then mister not so big shot.” The guy turns around and gives me the death stare. “Like that’s real scary. Where’s your bathroom I just wet pants?” I say with such sass that I thought my aunt was going to back hand me let alone get a punch from the guy. This guy was at least 6’7” with short blond hair and looked to be brown eyes, but could have been contacts.
We walk through the big door and into a massive, oval more steel room. There are several people busy at work and the second they see me. They all freeze and watch me as if I’m the biggest threat to the United States. What the heck I only went to the shooting range as bonding time with my dad and those people weren’t that far buried in. I look at them with such a look; I thought they were going to die. We walk into another room that has nothing but a small chair and a table facing the biggest window I’ve ever seen. While the rest are looking out the window, I’m looking for danger, cameras, people, movable parts on the wall, shifted things on the table, anything that would say this isn’t a place to just sight see. Sure enough I look at the chair and there is a weird piece of linen that doesn’t match its off colored but not by much.
Then just keep looking around for more, as if I didn’t see anything unusual just an old antique chair that fascinated me for a little while. We get to the end of that room and two guards, armed with semi-automatic ak-47. Walking past them sent shivers down my spine, and they weren’t from a breeze. As we enter the next room, it is filled with everything orange you can think of. Suspicious much? Again I don’t look at the colors, I look at the corners, for any movement, that sort of thing and while they all run off behind me and look at all the antiques and sit in the comfy chairs I’m forced to move on.
The next room we enter has high ceilings and looks like a typical loft. Cozy with the fire burning, the lights kind of low, and candles lit. Dean, the rocket launcher guy says “go ahead and sit down while I get the master.”
I don’t sit down I pace pack and forth looking for anything unusual, but just looking worried and nervous. After about 2 minutes the door opens and the master, I’m guessing, walks in, blows out the candles, turns the lights up, and throws water on the fire. “Awe I thought we were gonna have a nice dinner chat in the candle light.”
“Uh. No sorry that was for my last client. If you know what I mean.”
“Uh. Yeah I guess so.” That was a little too much info to know.
“Please take a seat.” He offers as he walks to the window. I don’t, I stay standing and walk to the window with him and lean on it looking at him. “Okay or that works too.” He says a little surprised.
He starts to say something, but I quickly cut him off not wanting to talk small talk. “What the hell am I here for and I don’t want you to pull that whole ‘I don’t know why are you here?’ thing so cut the crap and get to the point.”
“A persistent girl aren’t you?”
“No I just hate wasting time or stupid people like you wasting it.”
“Well then let’s cut to the chase. You are here because you are either a national threat to the country or you’re a national hero to the country.”
“If you don’t mind me asking how AM I a threat if I a pull a couple of very little buried people and go to the shooting range with my father?”
“You are because when we watched you on that shooting range not only were you hitting the target, but you were hitting them right where you were aiming. Most people aim, but when they fire they move the gun centimeters, inches, or even a foot away from the target. You, you on the other hand were dead on with your target. So, after review we decided that you are among the 10 people that are now in our corporation.”
“How can I be in your corporation if I’m under 18? I thought you had to be over 18 to enter the military, let alone enter the F.B.I.?”
“Oh don’t worry you do, but for people like you there are exceptions.”
“What do you mean people like me? I’m not special in any way I’m just a teenage girl that can shoot her target and has the courage to save people, but doesn’t have much left after her family is dead.”
“Ah. So is this what this is really about, your family and their safety?”
“In a sense yes, but they had a life before I moved in and I guess they’ll have a life after I move out too.”
“So, does this mean you’re on the team?”
“I guess, yeah. I’m on the team.”
“Okay we’ll have your stuff moved while you let your family know what is going on.”
“Okay sir thank you for the opportunity”
“The pleasure is ours sweet heart.” As he is walking out he leans and says something to the guard as if to make sure he doesn’t let me out of his sight or something. I can’t tell from this angle, but I know it has to be close by the guard’s body language and his all of a sudden stiffness. I walk into the orange room and find everyone quiet and now waiting for me to return. They all stand as I enter the room. As they stand the body guard slams the door behind me to make it known that that was the only time I would ever see that room.
I tell them to all sit and then explain to them that I am not coming home with them and how I have been one of the many few girls under 18 to be accepted. I had to make it known that I applied for this not stalked for it. The last thing I need is my aunt to freak out and tell me I can’t stay after I already told the master I was.
As they look at me with surprise and my aunt asks “So, you’re not going to be living with us anymore?”
“No, auntie but thank you so much for the time I was there. Putting up with my nightmares, my moodiness and my everything. I know it comes as a shock and I should have discussed this with you and uncle Jerry, but I had to do this for me, for my dad, this is what he would’ve wanted.” I stand as Dean motions for me to come along we have work to do. I stand and hug them all “I’ll write I promise even if it means I have to sneak it out somehow, I’ll do it. If you don’t hear from me every month or so you know I’m on a mission or I wasn’t let out. Okay? Promise me you won’t waste your time worrying?”
“No, promises, but we’ll do our best.”
“Okay I love you all and I really have to go now, but we’ll talk soon.” I quickly run out of the orange room and follow Dean. I find him at the end of the window room waiting.
“I’m going to show you the head quarters and then your living spaces. Here are the rules: no outside people in your loft. No contact with outside people ,but to only tell them your okay. Trust me it’s not as easy as you think. You are to be in your loft every night no later than eleven if you aren’t, there will be server consequences. No other cell phones other than the one the company gives you. And last but not least don’t try and pull any crap like repel down the side of the building to get out of here they catch you before you even get the rope to make the escape. Got it?”
“Yeah I guess.”
“Let’s continue with the tour. There is the cafeteria be here for breakfast every morning at 8 sharp. Dinner is here for 7 sharp. Lunch you are on your own because you’re usually on the job. This hallway is off limits to you for right now. Once you finish the courses this is all yours. Got it?” I nod my head and he goes on with the tour. I can’t help, but think about my dad and how he told me the military wasn’t any walk in the park. Now, look at me I’m not even old enough for the military and I’m basically an F.B.I. agent. “You’re not one yet so, don’t get to cocky.”
“Did you just read my mind?”
“Yeah don’t you have a special talent like that?”
“No, I just have a good shot that’s all and can save people from buildings.”
“So, you have impressive eye and amazing strength?”
“Well if you want to call it that you can.”
“So you can’t read minds, don’t have super speed, amazing strategy?”
“Not that I know of, at least.”
“Well were mostly here because there is something we can contribute to the amazing dream team of army men. We’ll now men and woman.”
“So, I’m the only woman.”
“Yup” he says as if I should know that already. We keep walking and I’m talking to him with my mind. I feel weird doing this, but as we walk, we can just laugh and look like total freaks when we burst out laughing. “Here are you quarters. I figure you’ll want to settle in before dinner. Do you think you want any help?” he asks as he backs me up against the door. I want to say yes and he can read my mind knowing I am, but when I come out with no he says “what?!”
“Okay I lied yes, but don’t think I’m easy.”
“Okay not thinking your easy just thinking you’re really lonely to want to hang out with me.”
“Why would I be lonely if I want to hang out with you?”
“Because let’s just say when you meet the rest you’ll know why.”
“Okay” we walk into my loft and I look around to find all my stuff my bed, nightstand, everything from my aunts. Dean closes the door behind us and I turn to try and walk out because it is just too much to look at this stuff right now, but he is right there to stop me. Lean, mean, comfortable Dean is there to stop me.
“Anna you have to face it sometime and you have to sleep tonight so we have to set up your room now.”
“Dean I just can’t it seems too much like home and not natural to move so many times in less than six months.”
“Anna, trust me it isn’t easy, but don’t worry I’m here to help you, help you get through it.”
“Okay.” I softly whisper, as he lets go of my waist and I turn to the disaster of what in less than two hours was a made up to be a loft. The only bad part is the shower had no curtain and the bedroom had none either for the windows. I walk into the bedroom and Dean isn’t far behind. He can read that I’m not in the best of mood and I only want to sleep, but as I sit on the bed he goes to the closet and pulls down the only game up there the special edition scrabble game that my dad had bought me for my 14th birthday and I hadn’t touched it since the day he died.
He also grabs the only circular box, opens it, and grabs the hat. He walks over to the bed and pulls me up and says “let’s dance” and places the hat on my head. We start dancing to nothing, but somehow we’re both in sync. It might be him putting the beat in my head, but no, he isn’t. He finds my pale blue eyes staring into his dark brown eyes. He’s a person like me not some guy who has a special talent to read minds, a guy who has passion, consideration in a sense, and love for a girl like me. How is it possible? While I’m thinking this he says “I can love a girl like you because you see me for who I am not who the talent is. You see past the weirdness, past all the unnatural things. You see to the heart of me not just the chest of me. ‘It is the east, and Juliet is the sun’ Romeo and Juliet Act 2 scene 2.”
“Why did you quote Romeo and Juliet?”
“Because you are the sun in my life.”
“Why am I? I have known you for less than 24 hours and you are already calling me the sun in your life. Why?”
“I’m calling you the sun because you brightened my day when I saw you in that office kneeling looking at me like a sad puppy looking for a bone. The uppercut to the jaw wouldn’t have hurt that bad by the way.” We both laugh and by now we have stopped dancing and now we are just standing there holding each other.
I look down and he swiftly moves his hand to my chin and moves my head so I’m looking right back into his eyes again, and we are in perfect kissing position. He searches my eyes looking for an answer as if he can’t read my mind anymore. His face falls and he moves closer to mine and I move closer to his. It feels like now I’m breathing his breathe. I’m feeling what he’s feeling. Everything that doesn’t feel normal I feel.
The dinner bell rings and it ruins the moment. The moment that every girl waits for and yes I’m seventeen and haven’t had my first kiss yet and by the way Dean was acting he hadn’t either.
The cafeteria has eight other kids my age, younger, and older. Dean points me to the line of food I was looking for. He’s back to reading my mind. I walk through grab a Big Mac or a knock off one, French fries, and a chocolate shake. The woman looks at me with surprise and says “you must be the new kid?”
“Ugh. Yes I am.”
“We’ll I’m Katherine everyone calls me Kathy. Do you have your card yet hun?”
“No, I just got here less than 3 hours ago.”
Dean says “put it on mine.”
“Dean, honey you know I can’t charge more than one meal to your account.”
“Well Kathy how else is she suppose to eat, the girls hungry.”
“Alright I’ll talk to master and tell him you charged two because she was new.”
As we make our way out of the lunch line and to an empty table, the other eight guys walk over and one puts his arm around my waist and another puts his arm around my shoulder and says “hey, there sexy what’s your name?”
“Um...one you don’t need to know.” I look back over my shoulder to see Dean smiling, completely reading my mind.
“Well aren’t you a sassy one?”
“Well let’s just say I know how to hold my own.” Dean’s reading there mind and see what they are going to do and I quickly grab the guys arm around my shoulder twist and while this is happening I see Dean getting up quick and kicks the guy with his arm around my waist.
He falls to the floor and as quickly as a turn around the guy I was holding was gone he just vanished and all of a sudden Dean yells “DUCK!” I quickly duck not thinking twice. I mean why would I he can read his mind. I quickly rip my jacket off and Dean does a flip over me to give the guy a hard kick to the chest to knock him against the wall unconscious and come back to normal where everybody can see him. The guy that Dean put on his back was starting to come awake. I walk over and punch him to knock him out cold.
The master walks in to find the tables pushed out of the way, two guys out cold, and Dean and I standing there looking at each other like nice work. “WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED IN HERE?!” The master screams with dismay. We all whip our heads around as Dean and I are to clearly blame for this mess.”You two, my office, NOW!” We follow him to his office afraid of what’s next.
“Take a seat” he says in a tone that says were not in too much trouble, but there are consequences. We take our seats and wait for him to talk he doesn’t say anything for 5 minutes.
Its agonizing pain, but instead of waiting any longer I say “sir in our defense they moved on me first and if anything Dean shouldn’t get in trouble. Honestly those two guys passed out should. They came on to me like lions on cantaloupe it was horrible. Then from Dean’s expression it kinda told me that something bad was gonna happen so I figured I’d try and get away from them, but they had such a hard grasp on my hips and shoulders I couldn’t go anywhere. So, sir the only thing I could do was take them out. I had no other choice I was hoping that they would just back off after they realized I could kick butt, but I was wrong. That’s when Dean stepped in to help and yeah we kinda knocked them out and then you walked in and now were here. So sir now that you have heard our side of the story can you let Dean go and just punish me?”
“You are willing to take the blame for this and get into trouble when you haven’t even been her 24 hours?”
“Well sir if it’s my fault then of course I’m gonna take the blame for it.”
“Okay Dean I guess you can go, but let this be your last warning, one more fight and there will be problems. You know you’ve been warned before. You are dismissed.” Dean walks out leaving the master and me alone in his office with no guards which also surprised me. “so were you trying to get Dean off the hook because you know he is already in trouble with us?”
“No sir, honest, I had no idea that he was even in trouble.”
“Well I thought he would have told you while you were together before dinner.”
“That is private and you have no business snooping.”
“Well as your master I have all the business in the world to know what my students are doing. Including their personal lives. So if that means knowing that you and Dean haven’t left each others side since you met, then so be it, but it is MY business if it includes you or any of my students for that matter.”
“Sir can you just give me a punishment please so I may go.”
“No punishment this time, but next time you will have to pay something.”
“Thank you sir may I go now?”
“Yes you may can you find your way back to the cafeteria?”
“Yes sir. Thank you. Have a good night sir.”
“You as well Anna.” I walk out of his office, go through my mind like a file cabinet to find the directions back to the cafeteria and then back to my room. After they’re found I close my eyes and follow them like I have a GPS or looking at a map. Dean happened to be around the second corner I take. He grabs me, looks at me like I have three heads.
“What are you doing?” He asks with such exhaustion.
“I was following the map in my head. Why?”
“Because you usually find a person walking with their eyes open, not closed.”
“Well I’m not the average Jo if you haven’t figured that out.” We both laugh and walk back to my room. Now it is about 10 o’clock and were sitting on the couch and turning on the T.V. It’s a Thursday night and we flip through the channels and nothing is on. I click the T.V. off and lay down with my head on his lap, looking up at him. We meet eyes again. He leans a little closer to my face and I prop myself on my elbows.
“Is this where we were last time?” he says with sarcasm.
“I think we were here” as I move in for the kiss. My lips land softly on his and I couldn’t think about anything, but back to the day I was sleeping over my friend Melissa’s house and I get that call from the police department saying my parents, brother, and baby niece are dead. I quickly pull away and move toward the door. I open the door “you should leave now. It’s...it’s getting late.” I stumble across the words like walking on familiar territory.
“Are you okay?” he says concerned. I moved so quick to the door that he hadn’t even had a chance to see what I was seeing in my head. The horrifying realization that I was really alone now finally hit me. I had nothing, nobody, nowhere to go if I ever got out of here. Would I get out of here? It seems like the people I see are old and gray, like all they have is me, myself, and I. I feel the tears welling in my eyes and can’t think of much with my head jumbled, I knew it wasn’t right to push him away, but it was all I knew. Dean couldn’t even make sense of my mind. He stood looking at me in the door way and said “you know you’re not alone in this world, I’ll always be here, anytime, just think about me and I’ll be here in a flash. Promise?”
“Promise” I say softly pushing him out of the door because I’m about to burst into tears. After he leaves I grab the few things that were saved from the fire and lay them on the floor. Except for the baby booties, those go around my neck and those tears start flowing. I rip the comforter off the bed and yank a pillow down to the floor, wrap myself in not only the blanket, but in self pity. I feel like it was my fault that I wasn’t there the night they died maybe I could’ve saved them or at least gotten my baby niece and brother out, but no I had to be at my friends house having the last enjoyable night of my life.
“Anna, don’t blame yourself. You had no clue what was going to happen.”
“I know dad, but it doesn’t help when you have no family left and the ones you do have left pretty much hate you. You can’t really feel loved anymore you know?”
“Honey I know it’s hard loosing us, but you have to carry on with your life, and if I go to hell for this than so be it God, but God has plans for you. They may not be what you expected but you still have to carry on without us.”
“Dad it’s not easy and why did the big guy have to take you now when my life is getting complicated? Why now?”
“Because honey if we didn’t leave this earth you wouldn’t have gotten here.”
“Couldn’t he have gotten me here some other way. A way that you guys were alive and I could see my baby niece and you, mom and David. I miss you guys, so much. Can’t you come back I need you now.”
“Honey we can’t once were gone were gone.”
He starts to fade and I say “Dad wait can you bring Taylor-Lynne next time? Dad don’t go yet. I want to talk to you more. DAD!” I yell. Before I could get an answer out of him about bringing Taylor-Lynne he was gone, just as quickly as he appeared. It seemed like he was there for about 3 or so minutes and then he had to do more praying or something. It just wasn’t enough time. I needed more with him, maybe a shot in the line of fire will do because then I can see everybody. My family will be whole again. We’ll be a family, like we should still be.
I run to the bathroom looking for an over dose, but the second I reach the bathroom Deans right next to me shutting the cabinet, staring at me with a look of worry and dismay. “I’m staying here tonight.” Were the only words out of his mouth.
He comes right up in my face searching it for something any kind of answer to tell him why I would want to over dose. “I want to ‘cause then I can see my family and I can feel something again. Almost as if I can feel whole again. Without my family is like a puppy without its mother in the first 6 weeks. I’m lost, what do I do? I just want them back, but I know there is no way I can get them back just one way I can see them. Well that is to die and please can you let me do this for me. Plus you’ll be better off without me anyway. You’ll find a girl twice as pretty and twice as less crazy.”
“Anna I don’t want someone twice as less crazy as you. I don’t want a girl twice as pretty as you. Honestly I don’t think there is anyone prettier than you.”
“Don’t lie t-“
“It’s not a lie, not one bit of it.” I melt right there and he wraps his arms around me.
“I think I know what my power is.” He looks at me puzzled. “You know how you can read minds, well I think-scratch that I know I can see dead or at least half dead people.”
“Are you sure it’s just not you getting carried away or your mind playing tricks on you saying they are there and they really aren’t?”
“I don’t think so, but I don’t know now I never thought of that. I’m not going to no head shrink there is no way I’m not going to one of them crazy people.”
“Well will you let me explore your mind?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Well you have to fall asleep and then I can explore, look at past memories, and see everything that you’ve been through. Even things you’ve written anywhere. Everything you’ve ever known, ever been taught, ever been told and ever said. Everything.”
“So, all I have to do it fall asleep? That’s it, no medicine, no special remedy?”
“Right, all you have to do is fall asleep.”
“Well that’s not gonna be hard I’m already drifting.”
“Well then let’s get you into bed.”
“Okay” I say with a yawn and that was all it took I was asleep. I didn’t even move from the couch. He picks me up and carries me into my bedroom. He softly puts me on the bed he grabs the blanket that my brother gave me and lightly drapes it over me. He walks to the opposite side of the bed and slowly lies down, trying not to move the bed so he won’t wake me.
As I enter her mind I find a jumble of information. It’s almost like it has nowhere to go just float around. After careful exploration I find the day of the fire. The more I look into this the farther I get blocked out. It seems like she tried her best to lock the memory in a top coded room all by itself. I can’t figure out that code. At this point I’m basically controlling her mind. I finally break through and it starts right where she came in. She never was at her friend’s house when she found out. She was in that fire, the one that killed her family. Now looking at her that’s why there was a slight discoloration in her skin above her eye brow, and some of the hair missing from her eyebrow.
As I tune into the scene again, it shows her with a frantic look on her face. She runs down the stairs, but as she reaches the bottom she realizes that her baby niece was taking a nap in the nursery upstairs. As she turns to head back up the stairs, they collapse. As determined as she was she looks for a rope a table cloth anything to hike herself up and save her baby niece. As she rips the table cloth off the dining room table and makes a hoist and somehow pulled herself up the stairs. She gets to the balcony and just as she is about to climb over, the balcony starts to creak and finally breaks. As I’m watching this I feel the horror and I can see that by now she has giving up hope. As she falls she says a quick prayer to God and finally hits the hard wooden floor. The balcony lands on her with flames now roaring through the house.
She lays there and I try to shout to her to get up, but remember that it was just a memory and she was still here now. I watch in horror as she lays there. The door burst in as she is fading in and out of consciousness. She sees the many outlines of firemen. The pressure on her chest was becoming so great that she was wheezing like she had just run 20 miles in the middle of the winter with nothing on. She mumbles something to the firemen and none of them heard her. She finally goes unconsciousness.
I follow the firemen’s memory, he takes her to the ambulance and yells to get a ladder up to that the second story window farthest to the left. The fireman races up the ladder hoping he can find what she was going for. He enters the window and is in the nursery. He hears the baby crying and runs across the room and grabs her out of her bassinet and heads back to the window. He feels the floor giving way and hurries faster just as the floor gives way he jumps through the window, covers the baby and tumbles down the fire ladder. The fireman quickly rushes the baby to the ambulance and they start oxygenating her lungs. The memory is slowly fading because Anna was waking up and I quickly exit and lock the memory away. I let go of her hand and fade back into my body.
“Dean, Dean is that you?”
“Yeah Anna it’s me.” After just witnessing that, something tells me that her baby niece is still alive, she just doesn’t realize it.
“Were you able to find anything?”
“Not much sweetie. I’m sorry. We can try tomorrow night, promise.”
“Why not try again tonight?”
“Cause I can only enter the same persons brain once every 24 hours. It’s a rule.”
“Okay, so, I can go back to sleep now?”
“Yeah you can go to sleep now.” I tell her. I stay up the rest of the night and wonder where that little baby could be. An adoption center, foster care, already in a home, where? I quickly log onto her computer and click on the internet. I don’t even know what I’m looking for, or who I’m searching for. I log off the computer figuring there is no use in worrying about it. If that little baby is dead then she is in good hands, but my gut feeling says that baby is alive and healthy somewhere nearer than expected.
The beautiful sun of the morning shines in the big window of the bedroom. I turn to get out of bed and there is a path of rose petals. I follow this path around the end of my bed and out into the hallway. The path leads out the door. I grab my robe from behind my bedroom door and head out the front door. I follow the petals to the right and down the hallway looking in every doorway to find Dean. I can’t find him. I turn left and they stop at a doorway. There is a note on the door that says I hope you brought your bathing suit. I run back down the hallway to my loft and find my bathing suit. I run follow the petals back to the room. There is another note that says, please knock in this pattern. I knock in the pattern I’m told to.
The door opens, but Dean isn’t inside it, instead the head master is. I let a breath out of disappointment.”Come on in. Why so glum? Did you think it was gonna be Dean?”
“Well wasn’t really sure, but in fact yeah I was kinda hoping it was going to be, is that a problem cause if so I’m out. “
“Oh no, no I just want to talk. I meet with all the dream team separately. So, did you have any siblings?”
“Okay did you know your parents?”
“Very well in fact.”
“Okay did you have any nephews or nieces or cousins?”
“Okay how many?”
“Baby niece and several cousins”
“Okay, do you want to talk about what happened to your family?”
“Not really, actually not at all. And if that’s all you have to discuss with me I have to go to get breakfast, I am a little famished today.” I turn on my heels and walk out the door the petals are now gone. I still find my way back to the loft. As I enter the loft Deans up and making something in the kitchen. I head to the bathroom and close the door.
“Anna don’t do it!” Dean yells from the other side of the door.
“What are you talking about?” I say as I slowly open the door.
“Never mind. What are you doing?” he asks sweetly
“About to get in the shower, so I can get ready and we can go to breakfast, is that okay?” I ask him back giving him a questioning look.
“Uh-huh.” He turns on his toes and heads back to the kitchen. I close the door again and climb in the shower. As I’m standing underneath the water I think what was Dean talking about when he said don’t do it. As I finish up the shower and climb out. There is a hard pound on the front door. I wrap my towel around me and head out of the bathroom and go to the door. Passing the kitchen and not seeing Dean I back track quickly to make sure I saw right.
There is another pound on the door. “I’m coming, I’m coming, relax.” I reach the door and turn the knob cautiously. After peeking my head through I open the door completely to find the other eight dream team members standing there. The seems to be head leader gives a whistle at me and says “Well hot stuff if I knew there was going to be a party in your bedroom I would have come more prepared.”
“Wow that was so funny I forgot to laugh. What do you want?”
“Well a little fresh this morning aren’t we?”
“Whatever sinks your submarine?”
“Wow, really fresh this morning maybe I need to straight you out today instead of go through the routine.”
“Lay a hand on me and it will be a repeat of last night. I’m pretty sure you don’t want to get your ass kicked, again. Now do you?”
“Well if your kicking it then go right ahead,” as he turns around and shakes his butt. I see he is stepped into my apartment. I slam the door and hear a thud.
I open the door and ask “shall we try again?”
“Nope,” he says scrambling to get off the ground.
“Now either get out of here and let me be, or tell me why you’re really here. Your choice.” Leaving it up to him makes it so much easier than kicking his ass.
He turns and starts to walk away and then comes back inches away from my face and says “be at the masters room by 8:30 not a minute later.”
“You go it. See you there?”
“Yeah whatever.” He says as if I was a poor ignorant person that didn’t want money. I slam the door to acknowledge I feel the same way about him.
“Ahhhh” I scream and fall to the floor holding my side. I feel the hot searing pain almost as if my appendix is bursting open. Dean is right beside me now. He picks me up and opens the door. Still screaming he runs down the hall to the master’s room.
“We need to get her to the hospital and quick!” They quickly rush me to the ambulance and then after, I’m strapped to the gurney they start asking me questions. By this time I’m in such pain I can’t even tell if this is all real. I scream and struggle against the restraints. They finally give me morphine and then the last thing I remember thinking was what is this cool sensation running through my body?
“Where am I?” I say dazed.
“You’re in a hospital.” A soft voice says.
“Who are you? Your voice doesn’t sound familiar.”
“I’m Nayden, you care giver. I’m supposed to take care of you in your loft but your condition was too bad. They had to bring me to you.”
“Why am I here? What happened? Where’s my family? Are they okay? And what loft I don’t own a loft?”
A guy walks in and goes”here’s your coffee. Extra extra with half a container of cream, did I get it right this time?”
“Who are you, but whoever you are you know my order like the back of your hand. Which frankly I’m not sure if that’s flattering or just plain creepy.”
“What are you talking about? It’s Dean.”
“I don’t know a Dean, I don’t own a loft, I want to know where my family is, and lastly I want to know why the hell I’m here and who the HELL YOU ARE!”
“Um...Nayden, I think you best go get the director and bring him here immediately!”
“Who the hell is the director and why is he coming here?!”
“You will meet him in just a minute and you and he will talk.”
“Why do we have to talk if I don’t know who HE is?!”
“Well him and I have to talk!” I could see his patience was running low and he had a look of worry in his eyes that told me that I should know why I’m there. Honestly I had no idea I was just hoping the director was hot, not some old guy that was bald and fat!
Ten or so minutes later the director walks in. The only way I could tell was the body guards were a dead giveaway. They were dressed like body guards and plus who would have assistance THAT jacked, come on, really, think about it. I was sitting there trying to overhear the conversation between the director and Dean. It was obvious they were talking about me, they kept looking at me. Even a dummy could figure that one out. As I sat there waiting for them to turn and talk to me, I grabbed the book next to my bed filled with word searches. I open the drawer and the body guards straighten up and push the director behind them. “Geez guys relax I’m getting a pencil, duh. Wow and don’t make it obvious or anything that you are the body guards you know, just saying.” I grabbed the pencil and opened up to a word search and started looking for words.
As if several minutes of being whispered about wasn’t distracting enough, but the annoying nurse that would come in every five minutes to make sure my pillow was fine or I wasn’t thirsty or didn’t need something. Just sitting in that hospital room was weird, not being able to see the people I loved, I wasn’t sure what was really going on, just that I didn’t know these people and wanted out.
Another 20 or so minutes go by and they’re still talking about me I finally have to say something “ You have one of two options you can either talk about me somewhere else or you can tell me what is going on!?” with a slight grin I was satisfied with myself. They stopped talking about me long enough for the nurse to come in and change my IV’s which meant they didn’t want to do either. So, instead they put some morphine in me to put me to sleep.
I was able to keep my attention for about 30 seconds after being injected and the words I heard were”we have to tell her that her parents are gone, but her niece is…” and I was out. Thinking in my dream and my niece is what?! What could’ve happed to her and my parents what do u mean they’re gone. They were here the last time I checked.
“Oh Anna, Anna. Sweetie you need to focus here. We need to get down to business I need to get the real you back lets go!” yells my alter ego Alice.
“What is it? What is it?” I say groggily.
“You have to go back” she says with a cocky grin.
Now let me describe my alter ego, she’s a rocker who plays guitar in this band bittersweet Apologies. She’s the same height, she can mostly be found wearing her circus ring leader costume with daisy dukes, and some combat boots. Her hair pulled back with bangs dyed a light blue to match the blue in the ring leader costume. She’s got the attitude to match the outfit. If she wants something and doesn’t get it at first she will push your buttons till she gets it. So, let’s get back to reality. “Go back where?”I say confused.
“The fire. No if, ands, or buts, you’re going now!”
And sure enough I’m flying through everything I know pictures, stored videos of when I was little, the late nights of caffeine rushes to stay awake and finish a paper, and even to the last thing I want to remember the fire. When I look at the door it has a padlock on it, a heavy padlock. Meaning do not enter, but I couldn’t help to look at the door and see it magically open. I hear the faint voice of Alice say “get back to reality sweetheart you’ll make it back to what you want.” And before I could say anything I was running through the house like a nightmare again. I had made myself believe that I was actually at my friends’ house when I was there. When I could have died with the rest of them, but it had to be one of those late night, monster nights, to finish that final paper for Spanish. Not only does that have double meaning, but it was true and something I thought about for months after the fire and still thought about.
After yelling at myself to not go down the stairs to go get my niece, but then I realized it was the past and the past can’t be changed. I shut my mouth and unfortunately sit back and watch the nightmare again. Following me was like being a ghost in your own life and nobody being able to see you. I knew I was coming to my pass out point, or should I say my give up point. As I stand over myself and see the eyes flickering and the body going limp, I feel my actual body doing the same thing. I start getting tunnel vision, and then it starts going fuzzy and then blackness.
“The fire, the fire, my baby niece, where is she? I-I-I..”
I look around to see a roomful of people, Dean, the master, Nayden the at home nurse, the dream team standing outside the door for protection, and last but not least my alter ego standing in the background saying “I knew you would pull through although you had me scared while you pulled that I want my family crap. I knew you’d make it. Nice work agent!” As she fades out that cocky smile comes across her face.
As I look at the worried faces wondering what the heck I was babbling about. I finally have a grip on myself and say with an ice cold voice “can you tell me where the hell my niece is?” as I look directly at the master. Dean starts to move toward me and I’m even icy toward him “Dean you know where she is don’t you?”
“Dean, you know where she is don’t you?” I pause waiting for an answer, but I when I get silence I already know the answer. My head spins to the master, as I get out of my very uncomfortable hospital bed and get up in his face; I say “what do you think this is? Some sick twisted head game. You think if I meet her I won’t be part of you little dream team, one of your minions. Well, now your little nightmare is coming true because I’m quitting before I even get started, so go find someone else to talk to dead people.”
I turn and walk out of the room as I get part of the way down the hallway I hear whistles behind me and I turn with ice cold eyes and just wish to pound there face in. When all of a sudden I’m in the head man’s face and have him by the throat. “You want to mess with me right now? I could easily snap your neck. Not only that I could kick all your asses right now! Let’s not do a repeat, alright?” He goes for a kick to the gut leaving his legs apart, I squeeze harder on his neck and with the opposite hand grab his leg keep it steady and drill him right in the balls. He doubles over in pain and I say “who’s next?!”
They all come at me as if I’m not on an adrenaline rush and don’t have enough to last me through, at least, the next month. Mr. Muscles, who can vanish, sure enough vanishes. I grab a clothe off the rack next to me and throw it where he probably would be. After careful consideration of body mass and how much bigger he was than me the easiest way to get him down was head right above the balls, stop short, and when he looks at me to say holy s*** why you didn’t drill me. I’ll turn and do a round house kick right to the jaw, which should either dislocate it or break it.
As the next guy comes at me, looking like a computer geek, but never underestimate the dream team. Thinking quick I somehow read his mind and did a flip over him, he went to give me a round house kick, but when I wasn’t there he freaked and looked around frantic I quickly just gave him a kick to back injuring him enough that he won’t mess with me again. The rest look at me with their hands up and start backing away, like were not messing with you. I quickly walk into my room go right for the closet. I grab the backpack that Dean had packed with clothes when I collapsed in my loft. As I’m down the hallway I hear the master yell “the keys to your knew mustang are in the side pocket, don’t worry its already paid off.” There is a slight pause and then “oh yeah there’s also a credit card in there, go get yourself a makeover!”
As I get into the elevator I open up the backpack, find a pair a skinny jeans and my hope t-shirt from MaxRave that I got shopping with my cousin the summer before sophomore year. I look in the right side pocket and find the keys and the credit card. As the elevator doors open I feel like it’s a new world for me that I’ll actually get what I want this time. Reaching for the stars was the limit, maybe even touching one.
Sitting in the mustang was weird because now I had no place to go. Well that’s a lie I had places to go just not sure where to go first. Let’s try the mall the ex-master did say to get a new look, so yeah the mall here I come!
Now my mustang was a light royal blue, it wasn’t quite royal blue, but it wasn’t quite powder blue either. It had the double black racing stripe down the middle. The doors, well let’s just say they’re not suicide or regular doors. For you car people you know what I’m talking about and those of you who don’t, look it up. Back to the whole describing it, tan leather interior, black dashboard, no wood, which I love. Surprisingly this car was all I wanted, but one thing was missing an awesome stereo system that I could plug my iPod into.
As I pull into the mall parking lot I find a parking spot where there aren’t many cars around and grab the credit card and the keys. Walking in to the mall I look at the map because I hadn’t been in here before. First stop was a store called MaxRave I had to go I had to look at their new clothes. I step into MaxRave and see a ray clothes that I love, back shelf covered in skinny jeans, the left side had all graphic tee’s, the right side had jackets and skirts. In the middle was exactly what I was looking for. The circus ring leader costume, my alter ego. I rummage through the rack and find the exact color, blue I was looking for.
Here’s my shopping list at MaxRave:
Circus ring leader costume, blue-$22
7 pairs of skinny jeans, all different colors-$7.50 each
10 graphic tees, all different patterns-$3 each
Black leather jacket-$9.50
Black leather skirt-$8
2 Daisy Dukes (jean short shorts)-$5 each
Shopping list DELiA*s:
Grey military vest-$15
Grey regular cotton vest-$15
Neon orange, blue, black, and grey converse-$25each
White embroidered dress-$10
Shopping list target:
Lime green zebra pillow-$10
Blue zebra pillow-$10
Total purchase for the day would be-$374
After shopping most of the day I was tired and hungry so I went to McDonalds another ten dollars on top of that. I found myself at the Metro PCS store buying a cheap phone for fifty and getting the plan that has everything for forty bucks. After activating the phone I find a café with computers. I walk into the café and go on the computer. I start by looking at adoptions of any baby girls about 3-4 months in the area of Springfield, Virginia.
My heart stopped, I thought to myself I’m so close to her she’s still in Springfield I have to go back. I’m in New Jersey I’m about 5 hours away, its 3:30, I’ll get there at 8:30 maybe they’ll still be open. I grab my bag off the counter and sprint out to the car jump in and start her up. I knew my home no need for the GPS I found in the back seat.
Halfway through the drive after singing to all the songs on the radio and hearing them repeat several times I decided that I would just think, although thinking for me was a dangerous thing. I started to think what if I did find her? What would we do? I don’t have any money, a place to stay. I don’t have anything, nothing for a little girl. I was 17 how was I going to take care of a 3-4 month when I was 17. I probably seem like I’m thinking like a teen mom, but if I do find her that’s what I’m going to be a teen mom. No she’s not mine but she was my brothers and it would mean the world to him if I could find her, just find her, and make sure she’s okay.
After about 20 minutes of thinking I notice that the same black car has been behind me since I left Clifton. I say okay I’m being followed let’s take and exit sees where it puts us. It’s about another mile to the next exit. I move over to the right lane. The black car seems to follow, I’m sure this is no coincidence, especially since the F.B.I might be looking for me, but hey I was at easy range most of the day. I take the exit the black car takes the exit with me, I go right on the ramp, it follows. Think Anna, think, what should you do? Gas station! Pull into a gas station and go inside if they follow you inside they want to talk if they wait outside then you approach them. I kept driving about five miles before there was a gas station and by this time I did need gas. I fill up, and head inside I was getting thirsty again, I go to the back of the convenience store and find some monster, I knew I was going to need it for the drive home. I noticed that the guy followed me in, he’s “looking” at candy, when clearly he was looking at me.
I don’t see my stalker, but I quickly throw my head back and connect with a nose or a mouth I hear a wince. Quickly turn around so he doesn’t have an easy attacking position. I was ready when I realized it was Dean. “Oh my gosh, are you okay?”
“I will be as soon as I can feel my nose again.” He says painfully.
“You know you can’t sneak up on me like that.” I say with a bit of ice in my voice.
“Well, what? You’re seriously not expecting and apology are you?”I ask as I give him that look of oh really.
“No, what are you doing? Where are you going?”
“No, if you cared about me you would have told me at the hospital!”
“You’re actually going to go looking for her?”
“Yes!” I say with such force that if it was my head I would have broken his nose.
“I’ll go with you then.”
“Who says you’re invited?”
“Well don’t yo-“
“Let’s get one thing straight you’re the one that didn’t want to tell me where she was in the first place so, why do you all of a sudden want to help? Is it because you think oh if I help her I might get some. Well listen here bud let’s get one thin-“ and I couldn’t even finish being mad at him because he kissed me. I’m not going to lie I kissed back, the two ladies in the store were getting their own private love story. We pulled away and I couldn’t help but smile, he was so Dean, everything about him was every girls dream guy. And so far he’s doing a good job at passing the boyfriend test. 1. He would do anything for you.2.follow you till the ends of the earth.3.will shut you up when you need him too. No matter how he has to do it.
After standing there looking like a smiling fool. I finally realize the longer I stand here the less time I have to get to Sterling before the adoption center closes. I run out of the mini-mart and jump in the car, dean hot on my trail. He catches my door and says “where are you going?”
“I told you already. I’m going to get her. You better hurry up and follow me if you’re coming.” As I speed off I see him in the rearview mirror racing to his car and getting in to follow. I hit the highway doing about 70. After driving for a half hour I see Dean pulled up beside me honking his horn telling me to roll down my window. As I roll down the window I turn down the radio. “What do you want?”
“I want to know how much longer it will be? I really have to hit the bathroom!”
“What you didn’t go back at the mini-mart while you were stalking me?”
“No, I couldn’t lose you. Not for a third time.”
“You never lost me in the first place, I was just not me. And the second time you could have come with me, but you made it seem like the team was more important by not even saying one word to me when I decided to leave. You didn’t try to convince me to stay; I thought you had been just another guy to break just another girl’s heart.”
“Well I guess you were wrong.”
“No, I know I was wrong.”
“So, can we stop and got the bathroom? Please, I really gotta go.”
“Fine take the next exit. I’ll follow you.”
“No, you in front of me.” I roll up my window and pull out in front of him completely cutting him off. He honks his horn to say what the hell. I ignore him and move over to the right lane he follows me over and we take another exit stalling more time before I get to her. We get to Arby’s and Dean quickly runs inside. As I sit outside thinking, again, about what I’m going to do when I find her? I don’t even know how to feed a baby, change diaper, anything. I don’t know how to take care of a baby. I know my brother wouldn’t have had much experience, he had me to take care of, when my mom was asleep and my dad was at work. On the other hand I got nothing, except a little experience taking care of Kirsten and that was only for a couple months. Which to be honest was nothing besides maybe a bath every other week or making Mac and Cheese. I didn’t know s***.
As I snap out of distant reality and back in to present day reality, Deans coming out of Arby’s with a bag. I can only think now is not the time to eat, we have just over an hour to get there and the adoption center closes in an hour and a half. There was no time to be eating. “What are you doing?” I say as he’s climbing in the passenger side.
“I got us some food.”
“Dean there’s no time for food. We have very little time and maybe fifteen minutes more than that to get to the center. Okay? So can you please get in your car so we can go, or leave your car here and well pick it up on the way back?”
“Okay fine but, I don’t know what the big deal is if we get her tonight or get her tomorrow, when you’ve had a night to think about it.”
“Dean I don’t need a night to think about it. This is what I want, this is what I need. A family has been missing from my life for the past 3-4 months and I’m done being lonely, I’m done relying on other people. I just want part of my family back, part of me back. I don’t know who I am anymore, living this way just hasn’t been right. If finding Taylor-Lynne will help me see back to the days that I loved so much, then so be it, I’m not giving this up. Please Dean you have to understand that.”
When Dean sees my eyes and sees how lonely I really am, he just smiles that stupid little smile I’ve come to love, and gets out of the car and climbs into his. After that I was done being nice, as I hit the highway I start doing 80, this time climbing to 95 in less than a heartbeat. As we approach Sterling, Virginia my heart starts to race, my head starts to spin. I pull off to the side of the highway and stop. I rest my head back on the seat and wonder what the hell is happening to me, for some reason my whole world seem to be slowing down,.
Deans knocking on my window franticly, I can feel myself slowly slipping in and out of consciousness. “Anna roll down the window! Anna unlock the door, DO something. ANNA!”
“Anna darling I’m back!”
“Huh? Who are you?”
“Hunny I’m your conscience.”
“No your not. Your suppose to look like me if that’s the case.”
“No every time you turn into me I turn into something else.”
“So now you’re a stuck up cheerleader, with an agenda?”
“Pretty much.” I take in her long dyed blonde hair and extensions. She has fake nails that look like a French manicure. A pink cheerleading outfit with a skirt that’s too short to mention. Her face is caked with make-up and her bronzer a couple shades to dark. She is not the alter ego I remember! “Hunny, I told you I’m not the alter ego you remember, I’m a better version.”
“Yeah if that’s what you want to think, but why am I back in my conscience?”
“I don’t know you tell me. Why are you here?”
“When you brought me here before, it was for some reason. You always had a reason.”
“Well in my experience you shouldn’t rush into anything. Trust me that’s when weird things start happening. Relationships going down the drain, losing things like your mind. Changing everything about you!” she says the last part looking me up and down.
“It’s a fashion statement not a change in lifestyle!”
“That’s so not a fashion statement!!”
“Maybe not here in your little white world, but where I come from fashion means you wear what you want to and this is what I want to wear. Got a problem with it?”
Then quickly the old alter ego is back, “look I hate that me. Get me back to the way things used to be, please I’m begging you. Anyway I don’t have much time, but go with what Dean said, find a hotel, take a night to think about it. It’s what is best, promise me you’ll take a night?”
“Fine, one night.”
“Okay I can promise you she’s perfectly fine. Not a scratch on her, well besides the normal shots she has to get, but looks like I’m-“ And she was gone as fast as she was there. I stared at the new alter-ego with disgust. Not believing she was MY alter-ego.
“Well it looks like you got all the answers, now scoot I have a party to plan.”
“With who coming? You and that’s it,” I laugh.
“Actually you can have other alter-egos come over and party. I checked the rule book.”
“There’s a rule book on this crap?”
“Uh yeah we have to follow rules just as much as you do in your world. Now go back to reality, you have a hottie waiting for you!”
And just like that I jumped awake “Anna, everything’s okay.”
“Where the hell am I?”
“I got a hotel. You were blacked out for a while. What happened back there?”
“I had to go talk to my conscience.” I say nonchalantly sitting up and going into the bathroom for some water.
“Uh your conscience?”
“Yeah. Your telling me you’ve never had a talk with your conscience?” I stop turning towards him.
“Oh. That’s weird,” I turn back to the sink and turn the facet on.
“No, maybe that’s your things. Maybe you can talk to peoples conscience and find out what they really want not what they make themselves want.”
“That’s crazy” I say splashing my face with water and grabbing a cup and filling it up. I walk back out to the beds and take a seat. “Wait, where’s my car?”
“Right outside I had a tow truck tow it here. You think I’d leave it on the side of the road?”
“Hey I don’t know,” I say giving him a look and a shrug. “Where are my keys?”
“You are not going to get her, are you?”
“No I’m just grabbing some clothes and stuff I bought at the store. That’s all.”
“Alright here.” He says tossing me the keys and opening the door.
“Yeah Dean.” I say turning around right outside the door.