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Missing or Dead
Author's note: Inspired by a nightmare I'll never forget, so I hope to make it unforgettable.
The wind rustled my hair as I was walking home from my friend’s house. It was a rather chilly autumn night. The sun was going down and dusk fell upon me. My auburn hair blew around me, and my eyes shifted from day to night. Tanya had told me not to walk home, and told me to call my parents, and at then it had seemed stupid to call, when I could walk only a couple blocks. But, now the wind had picked up and the sun was down, and well, was that snow I saw. I shouldered my tennis bag, and reached down into the pocket, and felt around for my phone. Crap, I had left it at Tanya’s place. Next time you play tennis; don’t take your phone out. In the distance I heard a car coming, and shifted from the road to the side of the forest. I heard a raven caw, and the cars headlights came into view. A couple more seconds and it would pass by me, but as usual I was wrong. The car stopped next to me, and I heard the window slide down. “Hey there, you need a ride,” asked a deep voice. Inside the truck was a mid-aged man, with a kinda-beard. He looked excited for something I could tell from the look in his eye. He had a scar that ran down his cheek, which looked strangely like lighting that struck his face. The man was leaning out the window, probably waiting for me to accept graciously and hop up in the pick-up truck. He had black hair, and was smiling down at me. His truck was a midnight black and I saw something red on the side, probably paint or roadkill. I could tell something was off about this guy, and Erik would scowl at me forever for getting in a strangers car, but then again his anger wouldn’t be as bad as my mothers fury, but I didn’t have to worry about either of those problems. I realized I still had to answer his question, and he was looking at me, waiting.
“Nah, that’s okay, my house is only a few minutes away,” I replied, my mother had taught me to stay away, and that’s what I was going to do. My house was still a a mile or two away, but I could walk the last 20 minutes, I do it every day.
“I insist, it’s rather cold out there, snows coming down,” and as he said those words the snow came down-hard. Oh, the irony, how it loves to torture me.
“No, I like the snow, I’d rather walk, thank you though,” I said. Man, why was the guy so persistent? I started walking again, when I heard the car door open and close. I turned around, and the man was walking towards me. Oh my gosh, he was actually getting out of his car, and then I knew why I had seen the excitement glint in his eyes. He still came at me, and I was walking faster, and he matched my pace. I had gotten 5 steps when I heard his voice close.
‘Be polite, and get in the car,” he practically growled at me.
“No!” and I ran. I heard footsteps coming up behind me, he was gaining on me. I tried to run faster, and faster, but the snow was slowing me down, I kept on slipping on it, and it was getting in my eyes. Throwing off my tennis bag from my shoulder I pushed my feet into the dirt, and was trying to run faster-faster. I slipped on the snow that was forming on the road, but I also heard the crunch of the leaves after our feet came up.Come on, go, go, run!! I screamed at myself. I looked down at my hand, that was going white. I was clutching my tennis racket, and I formed a plan inside my head. Suddenly, the ground was below me, and I was flying through the air for a short second, I hit the ground and my head hit a rock. The tennis racket stayed in my hand though. The man laughed, and I saw him towering over me. I screamed, and screamed; he kicked me in the gut, and picked me up. That’s when the racket made a short trip from being a gently used playful being, to a face-bashing weapon. The racket struck his left side of the face, and a slight trickle of blood ran from his forehead, and his eye would start to blacken, I mean, I hit him pretty hard. The racket had the struck the lighting scar too, and blood also started to make a stream down his face. I must have opened up the would again. I bet it happened the last time that he tried to ‘help’ someone. He hit me in the head, and the racket was out of my hand in seconds. I didn’t pay attention to where it landed, but I don’t care, I tried and kind of failed. I tried a new escape tactic. I was kicking now, and trying desperately to get out of his arms. He threw me in the cab, and tied my hands, and put duck tape over my mouth. I was stuck, in the truck. He laughed quietly, probably over finally getting me in the car. He had cut off my circulation, and I was having trouble breathing. He drove, and we even passed my house, the porch lights on. I saw a shadow pass by the window-my mom, waiting for me. I tried to scream, but was cut off again by the man. He hit me in the head with something, and I was unconscious in seconds, darkness covering me from head to toe.
I knew I was dreaming, but it felt so real. How ironic, that on this day I dream about the Hunger Games. I felt like Rue, as she had died, and I pictured myself in her place, being covered in flowers. I’m thinking, cool. It felt like an out of body experience, and I loved it. I felt myself falling and twisting.
I woke up probably hours later, and was in a warehouse. I was sitting on a wooden board, but my hands were tied above my head, my arms were asleep. My feet were still tied but were lying loosely on the board. I tried to get up, scraping my feet against the wood in the process; splinters hooked themselves in my feet, which meant my sneakers were off. Something was on my eyes, and the duck tape was no longer on my mouth. I did the one thing that I knew to do, scream! I screamed loud and hard, I screamed until my throat felt raw. I kicked and struggled against the (chains?). As if I wasn’t in enough emotional and physical pain, both kicked up another thousand notches. My body was being lifted by my wrists. The chains were clinking and clanging against each other. It didn’t stop until I was completely suspended. Then I heard the most comical, villainous sentence, “Quiet, or else….” The man practically snarled. I didn’t know what “or else” meant, but who knows maybe keeping quiet could spare me a few more hours. I started concentrating on what was happening rather than the pure teeth-rattling terror I was feeling.
I had no idea where I was, and I probably wouldn’t see another day again. The air was stuffy and damp, and lined with a grotesque smell of something. I had a feeling that I was in a small room, which meant that the kidnapper was probably only a few feet away from me. I could sense his presence, hear him chuckle every once in a while. I knew he would probably be watching me, looking for signs of the terror I was feeling, but I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction, so I kept my face blank, as I concentrated on the room around me. From the distance I heard a very, very faint sound of bubbling, and the rush of…water. We were near a river. I felt my shackles, hard against my wrists. They were colder and I was shivering. Shivering from either cold, or fear, probably both, but who cares. Unexpectedly the chains dropped me and let me land on the board, the chains landing in a heap of clangs around me, something heavy falling inches away from me. My heart was beating loud and clear, but nothing could compare to what happened next.
You know, when you jump off the high dive at a swimming pool, you feel the air whipping against your face, and your hair going up and falling. You feel like you’re flying, and you feel a slight relief when your feet hit the water, and you fall. You come up from the water, and you’re probably smiling or laughing, hopefully both. That’s not it was for me, only hundreds of times worse, when I felt the board leave the bottom of my feet. I was falling, slowly. The blindfold flew from my face, and I saw how long I still had to fall, 20 feet, 10, 8, 5, 3 feet, when I gasped my last, and I mean my last breath of air. The chains and the clunk of metal fell in front of me, and I was sinking till the clunk of metal hit the bottom of the pool. As the last little bit of air, left me, I sucked in the water, and…THE GASOLINE. The world above me lit up as the fire licked up the gasoline, as it floated and blazed above me. I could feel my lungs failing and my heart slowing down, as it tried to beat, my head was bursting, and lights began to fill my eyes. Blackness what coming at me lake a bull but I fought for my life to continue, if only for a few more seconds. The world was turning red and I knew if I didn’t breath air, I would die. I looked down at the chains that wrapped around me leg.As a last attempt of survival, I bent down was trying to unhook the chains clinging to my legs. My limbs were jerky and I started to not worry about them. My breaths were coming in short gasps now, when I got the hooks kind of undone, and was floating slowly towards the top, but it was too late, I was inches from death, and no one was there to save me. My heart was beating slowly, dying, and my mind was foggy and unclear, but before I closed my eyes, I saw the man, learning over the water, the scar on his cheek vivid, red streaks of blood ran down his face. My back was at the top being caressed by the roaring fire. My face was in the water. That’s when it finally happened my mind lived only seconds after, and then it died.
They say that your whole life flashes before your eyes, when you inhale the last intake of air. I saw things I had never seen before and didn’t die sad or thinking, “If only I had…” or “I wish that” or my favorite, “I hate you!” No, what went through my head, was my parents looking down at me in my crib, my first crush, when I had laughed so hard milk spurted from my nose, when I met my first true friend, Tanya. I heard my family laughing, as we took our family picture when I was eight. I felt my first kiss, with my crush, Erik. I felt the strength of my arm, as I backhanded the tennis ball. I didn’t pay attention to the bad things, like braces. My last thought was, Soon, this will all be over, and I’ll live in a happy place. Death is the easy, life was hard.
The short lived life of Autumn Lavessa was over, as her heart stopped pounding, and her breaths stopped coming. So let’s remember how her life should be remembered, don’t pay attention to the bad things about her, but the things you should remember about a person. Her laugh, their smile, the way she joked, and the scream they made when having fun. And that, was the last anyone ever heard of Autumn. As one says, you only get to live life once, if you live it right, once is enough.
There’s still one question though: Who is the murderer?