Author's note: I love my idea of the Forbidden! My best friend even used it in one of her stories. I'd... Show full author's note »
The FindingI run through the trees, running to a destination I know I will not reach. I can't hear the rustling of trees behind me anymore. No one is chasing me any longer...or so I think. I stop and rub my arms from the cold. I don't feel right. Nothing feels right anymore. Something's wrong. I feel that, at least. But I'd rather feel nothing at all.
"Kennedy Holbrook," someone says. "We know you're here…somewhere." I know that voice. It's my caretaker. I hate her. She has cold hands and almost never
I continue my run through the forest, trying to be as quiet as I possibly can. But…apparently I’ve made too much of a ruckus because I hear Marylyn, my caretaker, yell, “Over here!” I don’t know who else she has with her.
I run faster at the sound of more and more feet coming. My heart is pounding. Pounding fast. So. Fast. But I don’t stop. I keep going.
“Kennedy Mariah Holbrook!”
He’s with her.
I glance behind me but see no one. I keep my eyes on the trees behind me, still running forward. Someone grabs my upper arms, spinning me so that my back isn’t to the trees anymore. It’s a boy- about my age, so, seventeen or eighteen by the looks of it. I don’t know who he is or where he came from. But I can tell that he isn’t from the search party. I know I can trust him.
“Help me,” I whisper hoarsely. I didn’t actually think he would but he leads me to the left, back into the trees, but the other way of the search party. He takes me to a small cottage with smoke billowing out of the chimney up on the roof.
The boy opens the front door and I gesture for him to go inside first, even though it’s his house. I think.
“Thank you,” I say. “So much.” He just nods. I take a seat on the couch after he offers me a blanket and walks over to the kitchen. It seems he’s making tea. I can tell because of the ingredients and the smell. Mint tea. Not my favorite. But still. Mm.
He hands me a mug and I take a sip from the steaming cup.
“So. I never introduced myself. I’m Kennedy Holbrook.” He just nods. Again. His long blond hair falls into his eyes. He swiftly moves it away from his face. I smile at this gesture. It reminds me of Zavier. He coughs and there’s a knock at the door. I turn my head toward it. I hop up and race over. I quickly peek out a small window and see my father, my caretaker, and Zavier. “You need to hide. Cover up any evidence-“ I don’t even have to finish, but Zavier starts to talk outside anyway.
“Please open up this door! Official royal business!”
That makes Quiet Dude freeze. He looks up at me. That’s right. He doesn’t know. No one does. No one knows that I am the forbidden princess. It’s obviously because I’m forbidden from the outside world. I haven’t been introduced to the Society of Cities. Then it pops into my mind. He might be a Forbidder. Forbidden from talking. The rest of his life. I take a step back and fall back onto the couch. I ignore the consistent knocking. I let Quiet Forbidder Dude clean the rest up.
“Hide. In the hallway,” I say. He does as I bid. Then, I walk over to the door and open it. “Daddy!” I race into my father’s burly arms.
“Kennedy. I never want you to do this to me again,” he says sternly. “Now, whose house is this?” I look back and see that I left the door open with the fire still going. I wince and swallow hard.
“No one’s?” I announce.
He sighs, seeing it’s useless to argue with me. “Oh, it doesn’t matter. Walk with Zavier. I have to talk to Marylyn,” he says in his strong, bold voice.
“Dad.” I grab his arm before he goes. “Don’t fire her. It’s my fault.” I may hate her, but I’ve grown up with her. She’s like my mother. Maybe that’s why I don’t want her gone. She reminds me of Mama. I don’t care though. I don’t want her to be gone. Daddy sets his hand over mine. He gives me a warm smile.
“I won’t.” He pats my hand one last time before walking over to Marylyn, AKA, Mary, by the edge of the trees. I return the smile a second too late. I walk over to Zavier.
“Hey, Runaway. Why don’t you go get your things?” Zavier says, teasing me. I punch him in the arm and go inside. I slightly close the door behind me and I find Dude in the hallway. I crouch down next to him, out of sight from everyone else, but I still whisper; just because they can’t see me, doesn’t mean they can’t hear me.
“Hey, Quiet Dude- Oops. Sorry. I really need to learn your name. Can I borrow that blanket, so it looks like I brought something?” He nods. I search his dark blue eyes as he searches my bright ones. “By the way, I think I know what you are. You could’ve talked to me. I wouldn’t have said anything. You can trust me.”
Ending with that, I scramble back out the front door, shutting it firmly behind me.
“Come on, Kenny. I need to take care of you more don’t I?” asks Mary. She laughs. I manage to stifle a small smile. She pushes back a strand of my straight, long blond hair over my shoulder. We begin to walk back through the trees, and then out; to the cars.
We reach the house quickly and as soon as we do, I remember that we have the endangered animal banquet to attend for my sister. Marylyn pushes me up the winding stairs of the mansion and into my master bedroom. Mary sits me down in a chair, while I put Dude’s blanket on my bed, and as I pick out the splinters in my feet, and cover them in lotion to cure the rawness, she picks out burrs from my hair that I didn’t even know were there. Next, she orders me into the shower and I obey.
When I’m done, Mary already has a dress picked out and I slip it on. It’s a sea-blue/sea-green dress that billows out in layers until it piles onto the floor with sleeves that flow out from the elbow. It’s a little much for a banquet but my sister picked it out and you don’t want to argue with Miss Kate Holbrook.
Mary does my hair in a bun atop my head with two strands, curled, loose around my face, brushing against my jawline. I go into my closet, pretending to put on some heels but I slip on some old hand-me-down black and white low-tops. I walk back out and I know that Mary notices that I haven’t gotten any taller with the “heels.” She knows me. And she knows that I ain’t wearing no stupid heels.
“Oh, Kennedy. You look great! Now, hurry. We have to be at the banquet, then to dine with our guests,” says Mary. She sees the dread in my eyes. “Don’t worry. It won’t be long. And I have a feeling that something exciting is going to happen tonight,” she says with a twinkle in her eye.
“You always have that feeling, Marylyn. Even when something the exact opposite happens,” I tease. She laughs and we walk down the cascading steps into the main room.
Kate hobbles over in a dress like mine but in red, which matches her eyes in a way. They aren’t red or anything. They’re just the right shade of green to remind me of Christmas with her dress.
“Kenny!” She hugs me.
“Hey, Kate.” I have to pry her off of me. “How’s it going? I-“
“Save it, Kennedy. Are you alright? Are you hurt?” she asks. I shake my head.
“No,” I say.
“Good. Now, Kennedy Mariah Holbrook, what were you thinking?” she says angrily. “Why in the world would you run away?”
“I found something about Mom, Kate. I found a place where we can look for her. It’s not that far! Well, I couldn’t make it on foot…But, still. Oh, Kate! Aren’t you excited?” I blurt out, whispering excitedly.
“No. I’m not. I will never be excited. No one will. What ‘s Dad gonna think?” she begins sternly. “For Pete’s sake, Kennedy. When are you going to stop searching for her? Dad already told us what happened. She died. That’s the end of it. Nothing more.” Kate pushes past me, bumping into my shoulder. I stand still.
But there is more.