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The three nearly silent beeps from my phone were enough to rouse me from my sleep. I sighed as I rolled over and scooped up my phone from the ground where it had fallen the day before. I had gotten at least twenty texts from my best friend, Terryn, but the most recent one got my attention.
jendae! wake up! my mom is super drunk and i have no idea what to do!
I shot up from my bed and fell to the floor with a thud. “Ow,” I groaned, rubbing my already sore back. I crawled to my door, creaked it open and tip-toed downstairs to the kitchen. I could see it being a very long night so Terryn and I needed snacks pronto. I had a habit of talking to myself in tricky situations to calm down but since it was one in the morning I didn’t want to risk waking up my mom. She already thought of me as a problem child and sneaking out of the house in the early hours of the day wasn’t going to help my case.
I opened the cupboards and grabbed the first chips I could find and things like Oreos, Chex Mix, various candies and enough soda to keep us up all night long. Grabbing my backpack that was lying carelessly on the living room floor, I slowly opened the front door and slipped out into the night. When my house was out of sight I picked up a steady run until I was at Terryn’s house ten minutes later.
Bounding up the porch steps, I noticed the lights were on in every room of the house. “Oh no,” I muttered under my breath. All of the lights on at one thirty in the morning at the Granger household meant bad news for Terryn. When her mom was drunk she was abusive. Her mom was always drunk. When I finally made it to the door, I hesitated. Do I knock or text Terryn? If I knocked I may get her in trouble but I didn’t know if she had her phone with her.
I decided on texting her. After pressing “send,” I waited for her to reply. Instead of sending a text back, though, she opened the door. “Hey Dae,” she whispered. Her eyes landed on the grocery bag of snacks. “You brought food?” Not only was she beaten regularly, she was nearly starved. I had to buy her lunch at school every day and I smuggled a weeks’ worth of meals to her every Monday. I nodded and she smiled. “Come in, quick.”
After being ushered in, we sprinted up the stairs, trying not to wake up her mom. Mrs. Granger may have been in bed but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t wake up easily.
That was the thing about that night. She didn’t wake up. Usually at the first sound of her daughter she’d wake up in a blind rage but she didn’t that time. Terryn sent me home and I sat in the corner of my room, assuring myself it would be okay. Truthfully, why should I have cared? She was an abusive drunk and I loved and trusted the person she took it out on more than anyone. But there was something that nagged the back of my mind as I ate breakfast the next morning.
Terryn was still a minor. She’d be taken away if her mother died.
I pushed away the thought and absently ate spoonful after spoonful of cereal. Sighing, I got up and put my bowl in the dishwasher and left for school without a word to my mother.
Terryn wasn’t at school that day.
Or the next.
Or the one after that.
She didn’t come to school for a week.
I was starting to get worried. She wouldn’t answer my texts or calls and she wasn’t on Facebook all the time like she usually was. Finally I got sick of sleepless nights while I thought of all the horrible things that could’ve happened to her. At three in the morning on a Saturday, I grabbed the phone and dialed one of my other best friends numbers.
“Hello?” she said groggily. Obviously I had woken her up.
“Hey Ken,” I replied as I played with the fabric of my shirt. When she didn’t reply, I said, “Kendra? Are you there?”
A moment later I heard her breathing again. “Sorry, Bridget texted me and I got distracted. What are you calling me at three in the morning for?”
I shook off the hissy tone in her voice. “I think we need to go over to Terr’s house to see if she’s still alive.” I tried to make it a joke, but it definitely didn’t come off as a joke. Maybe that’s because I was actually worried she was dead.
She sighed as she thought about the risks of venturing over to the Granger’s house. “Okay,” she finally said. “I’ll get Bridget to come with us.”
Within an hour all three of us managed to sneak out of our houses without getting caught and met up at the park. “Do you know how ridiculous this is?” Bridget whispered as we ducked into some bushes. “There are cops patrolling this area tonight! I heard on the news there’s been a bunch of kidnappings recently. I don’t want to end up like those girls they always are talking about.”
I nodded. “I know that, Bridge, but we have to help Terryn! What if her mother killed her?”
Kendra groaned, followed by “shhhh” from both Bridget and I. “Guys,” she began, but was quickly cut off by footsteps on grass. She flipped her green hair back to get it out of her eyes.
“Hello?” a voice called. “Who’s there? Come out where I can see you.”
“Now look what you’ve done!” I hissed.
Bridget put her finger to her lips, signaling for me to be quiet. I obeyed and shut my eyes. If we were caught I wouldn’t see the light of day until I was old enough to move out on my own.
“Hello?” the person (who I assumed was a cop) called again. When no one answered he walked away and we all let out sighs of relief.
“Now what?” Kendra asked as she checked her phone. “Shit.”
“What?” I inquired.
“My dad’s pissed. He wants me home now so can we hurry this up? He’s gonna call the cops if we don’t.”
I nodded and we crawled out of the bushes, looking around to make sure the coast was clear. Bridget took the lead and signaled for us to get up and run to the other side of the park.
After twenty minutes of dodging police cars and hopping into bushes to avoid being seen, we made it to Terryn’s run down house. “This is a ridiculous house,” Bridget remarked as we stepped up the stairs. She ran her hand through her blue hair to smooth it down.
“It sure is,” I sighed, knocking on the door. A few moments later, it was being creaked open. I smiled widely at the sight of Terryn. “Oh my gosh Terryn!” I exclaimed. “We’ve been so worried about you! Are you okay?”
She nodded and a tear slipped down her cheek. “My mom… she-she’s… dead. Alcohol poisoning.”
I pulled her into a hug and rubbed her back. “It’s okay, Terryn, it’s okay.” I repeated this over and over again until her bawling turned into a slight sniffle.
“I’m so sorry, guys!” she cried. “I really am! I can’t believe how worried you’ve been about me! It was so nice of you to come over here! I’m so sorry!” Her pink locks stuck to my face but I didn’t bother wiping them away.
“Hey, it’s okay Terr,” Kendra cooed, adding herself to our hug.
“She’s right,” Bridget said. “We care about you.”
“Come on,” I said gently, grabbing her hand and pulling her behind me. “You can live with me for a while.”
She protested a lot, but eventually accepted (mainly because I wouldn’t let her say no). My mother and father didn’t hesitate in taking her in. We replaced my bed with a bunk bed so we could talk to each other whenever we wanted. “Oh this is going to be so fun!” she exclaimed. “Which bunk do you want?”
I smirked. “Top, obviously.”
In addition to our new bunk bed, I had to remodel my room to make it Terryn appropriate. It required a lot of pink paint but in the end it actually looked pretty good, and I despise the color pink. My aunt Miko had a lot to do with it, though. Mom always said she had a knack for things like that. I had to agree once all was said and done and Terryn nearly exploded from happiness when she saw the final outcome.
To celebrate all being right with the world once more, Kendra, Bridget, Luci (who was also Bridget’s boyfriend), Oake (who was Kendra’s boyfriend) and Artemis (Bridget’s sister) came over and played video games and gorged ourselves with junk food.
“Prepare to be defeated!” I exclaimed, holding my controller up in the air.
“You’re going to be sad when you realize how wrong that was,” Luci snickered.
“Shut it, jerk. Who’s playing and who’s not?” Oake slipped in the video game and crawled off to the side, sliding his brown hair behind his ear. “I’m assuming you aren’t, Oake?”
He shook his head and I looked at Terryn.
“What about you, sugar face?”
“Definitely! Games with you guys are epic!” she replied enthusiastically, grabbing a controller.
“Count me in,” Kendra said, adding herself into the game.
“Obviously Luci, too, right? Bridge, what are you going to do?”
She looked and me and raised her eyebrow. “Stick to the sidelines and watch you three get creamed.” She gestured to Kendra, Terryn and I, causing a fight. Artemis just stood there gaping at us, her chocolate hair slipping out of her hat, covering her eye.
Luci shook his head, smiling. “I spend my time with children. Can we start the game, please?” His black hair bounced slightly as he laughed.
People in Sunset Valley started getting kidnapped more often than they should have been. I had heard that it was only pretty teenage girls getting abducted. I did fit into the teenage category but I didn’t exactly think I was in any danger because I was average. Right?
I walked down the stairs one day, talking to Bridget on my cell phone as I went. “I’d stay in your house, Midge, you might be next.”
She laughed. “Yeah right. Tell Terryn I say bye though because have you seen the amount of middle aged creeps eyeing her up as we walk to school each day?” This was supposed to be a joke, but it was sadly true. She was completely oblivious to it, though, but Ken, Arty, Midge and I notice it and it was starting to scare us.
“Maybe one of those freaks are up to this kidnapping business,” I suggested. “They’re shady enough. I swear I saw one of those oldies hitting on a girl not much older than us.”
“I don’t know. Their brains are the sizes of peas.”
“How would you know?”
“They’re old, duh.”
I snorted. “Oh come on Bridget, don’t be ridiculous,” I laughed.
I could hear her smirk through the phone. “Jendae, don’t even. How would you know I’m being ridiculous? I’ve observed them–”
“So now you’re a stalker? And I thought you reached the end of your crazy rope.”
“Shut it, Keller, before I–”
“Before you what? Cute me to death?” Recently the group and I had been making fun of her for being a cute little girl type, when clearly she was trying to come off as a bad-ass.
“I have to go. Emmy is having problems with the stairs again. See ya later, Keller.”
I rolled my eyes and hung up. “Jendae?” my mom called from the living room. I hadn’t noticed it until then but I had made it into the kitchen while I was having that fulfilling conversation with my friend.
“What?” I drawled. It may have been that I was a teenager, but my parents annoyed me half to death for no reason.
“Come here,” my dad commanded. The stern tone in his voice intrigued me. While my mother lost all patience with me at the end of my thirteenth year my dad still tried to be understanding. He never spoke to me like I was his problem child, like I was to my mother. I obeyed him and walked into the living room silently.
“–I just don’t understand her anymore,” I walked in on my mother saying.
“Aphton, she’s a teenager. You were exactly like that. I’m surprised your mother didn’t explode before you calmed down,” Dad chuckled.
“What did you need me for?” I interrupted. I hated being talked about behind my back.
My parents jumped and Dad smiled at me. “Hello honey. We’re just watching the news. We–”
“We want you to be informed,” my mother finished. Typical of her. She patted the spot next to her but instead I sat next to my dad and snuggled up with him. This wasn’t something I’d do on a regular basis, but I jumped at any chance to get on my mom’s nerves. Again, I hoped it was my teenage rebellious stage making me do this. I didn’t know why I enjoyed it so much, but for some reason I did. Dad smiled contently and snuggled me back. I could see Mom’s face fall slightly but I didn’t move.
The commercial they had been watching ended and the news came back on. The news anchor, with his perfect, gelled up hair and blue eyes got straight into the report. “Three more teenage girls were kidnapped from their homes last night.” As he named the girls off, I closed my eyes, not wanting any of them to be someone I cared about. Fortunately, it was no one I knew personally but one of them was in my Spanish class. I sighed, glad to hear it wasn’t Kendra or someone else in the group.
“As of now, Sunset Valley Highschool is closed to ensure the safety of the teenage girls who attend school there. It will be closed until S.V.P.D can put an end to the kidnappings.” I tuned him out after that. He went on talking about the progress the police were making on the kidnappings but I didn’t care. Unless he was saying something about how the kidnappers have been arrested, I didn’t care. After sitting through the entire report I excused myself to my room. Opening my laptop, I smiled at the sight of all of my friends online. That meant they were all safe for the time being.
Hey guys! I typed. While I waited for someone to respond I researched the progress they were making. I tried not to seem interested in front of my parents but when I was in the seclusion of my room I felt comfortable looking at things like that.
hey jen, Bridget replied. After chatting for a few hours and getting no new information on the kidnappings, I shut my laptop and laid my head back while waiting for Terryn to come home from Kendra’s house. While waiting, though, I fell asleep and the next thing I knew a pillow was being chucked at my head. “Ow,” I groaned, rolling over. I hadn’t gotten used to the bunk beds though, which to my great fortune meant I usually fell off and hurt myself. Today was one of those days. As I hit the ground with a thud, Terryn gasped.
“Geez Jen, you’ve got to remember that you’re on the top bunk, girl,” she giggled as she helped me up.
“Thanks for that insightful observation, Terr, but I think I realized that on my own.” She nodded and left to eat breakfast.
As I walked down the hall to the bathroom to get ready for the day, I heard a car pull up outside of our house. “Who is it?” I called down the stairs. When no one answered, I repeated myself louder. Again I was answered with silence. “Fine, be that way,” I muttered as I hopped into the shower. I heard a lot of shouting but didn’t bother worrying. My parents had been fighting a lot recently because of the way I had been acting. I was sure it was nothing.
*~Owen’s Point of View~*
Shouting was getting us nowhere. The two men who thought it wise to pull up to my house fully equipped with guns were yelling at me about how I was taking most of their targets. “I’m sorry, but it’s not my fault. I just take out people that get in my way on the field. I can’t help who I kill.” This didn’t seem to make them any happier as we stood in my foyer. If it got any more out of hand I’d have to make Aphton leave and take the kids with her.
The bigger one, who had to be at least three hundred pounds, was getting angrier and angrier with each passing second. Finally, he pulled out one of his guns and pointed it at my head. “I’ve been gettin’ yelled at by my boss for too long because of you. He thinks I’m no good at my job because all of my targets are gettin’ shot at before I can get to ’em.” His Scottish accent was very strong, which meant he hadn’t been here very long.
I raised my hands and sighed. “Like I said before, Charlie, I don’t control who gets in my way.”
This didn’t please him. His partner, whose name I discovered was Alex, looked tired. When Charlie grew sick of threatening me, Alex took over. “Owen, just stop shooting every one,” he moaned.
Now I was starting to get angry. “If you say that one more time I’ll have to take you out. I don’t control who gets in my way! How about you do your job correctly and get to them before I do? I’m not even an assassin and I do your job better than you do! I bet I kill more men in my line of work just trying to cover up my tracks than you do when you’re supposed to be killing people. Murdering is what you do for a living and from what I’ve heard you do a pretty crappy job at it.”
This rant brought Charlie to his breaking point. “Alex, don’t try to stop me,” he said, irritated, as he got ready to pull the trigger.
“I dare you,” I hissed through gritted teeth. By this point my hands were behind my head to keep him from getting any angrier.
“Go ahead, Charles,” Alex said tiredly. “He’s getting on my nerves.”
Aphton walked down the stairs from our room where she had been getting ready. I cringed. She didn’t have a clue what was going on. Alex, on instinct I assumed, because they don’t shoot civilians, whipped out his gun and a gun shot rang out. Aphton fell to the floor with a thud and didn’t move. Her breathing stopped soon after and I was ready to kick some ass.
“Bad decision,” I growled. Moving my hands from behind my head, I kicked Charlie in the leg. “You’re lucky that wasn’t a nut kick.” Alex reached for his cell phone, probably to call his boss. I grabbed Charlie’s gun from out of his hands as he hunched over, grabbing onto his shin that I kicked. I pointed the gun at Alex’s heart and without hesitation pulled the trigger. Within seconds he was on the floor, bleeding uncontrollably all over my carpet. I sighed as I remembered Charlie was still alive and kicking. That needed to change, and fast.
Charlie stood up straight and pulled out a knife from his jacket flap. “You’re going to regret killing my partner, Keller!” he yelled.
I smirked and said, “You’re going to regret killing my wife.” To get some enjoyment out of murdering the man who killed my wife, I hit him over the head with my gun.
“If you’re going to kill me make it quick,” he squeaked as he fell to the floor once more.
“Oh, so now you’re begging for mercy. No, Charlie, this is going to be slow and painful.”
“Dad?” Jendae screamed from the bottom of the steps. I cringed as I remembered I had my children in the house still. And neither of them knew what I really did for a living. Her eyes landed on Aphton and I bit my tongue to keep myself from yelling out from the pain I felt by looking at my wife.
“Jendae, close your eyes!” I yelled at her. She obeyed, confused as hell and I pulled the trigger towards Charlie’s head. I wanted to make his death slow and painful but I needed to get Jendae out of there as fast as possible. “Jen,” I whispered as I took her in my arms. “It’s okay.” I knew as I felt her breathing faster than normal into my chest that I would have to tell her I was a spy. None of this would make sense to her if I didn’t.
“Daddy, what’s going on?” she squeaked. I shook my head and squeezed her tighter.
“I need you to go upstairs to Logan’s room and be with him. Don’t let him come down, okay?”
“I-is mom… dead?”
I nodded and she let out a small cry. Oh gosh, how had I let things come that far? I tried to tell myself that what happened that night was completely out of my hands but I couldn’t believe myself no matter how hard I tried. As Jendae obeyed and ran up the stairs to her little brother’s room, I looked at the three dead bodies on the floor, all of them bleeding profusely. Two of them I needed to get rid of and fast. I dragged them to my car and slammed my foot on the gas pedal. I needed to get to my partner so he could get rid of them for me while I took care of Aphton.
Oh Aphton. I hadn’t allowed myself to think of her but once I got Charlie and Alex off of my hands I began to cry. I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing down my cheeks as I drove home. I could only hope that Logan and Jendae hadn’t come downstairs when they realized I was gone. When I got home I was relieved to see they stayed upstairs. I looked around the house but Terryn was nowhere to be seen. I assumed she left out the back door when she heard shooting. At least I hoped.
I walked back from the kitchen into the foyer and let out a short sob as I looked at my dead wife. “I’m so sorry Aphton,” I muttered as I picked her up and walked her to our backyard. I propped her up against the side of the house and looked at her face. She looked so peaceful. “I truly am sorry.” I leaned in and planted a kiss on her lips and sat for who knows how long, just staring at her. I needed to get it all out of my system before I went inside to clean up the blood.
While most would be crying and locking themselves in their rooms, I couldn’t, no matter how much I wanted to. I still had my poor children to take care of even though I was dying slowly inside. I had never felt so much pain tugging at my heart before and it made me physically sick. I could barely walk as I grew weaker and weaker until finally I was crawling. My hands gave out underneath me and I fell to the pool of blood and sighed.
Nothing would ever be the same again.
And it was all my fault.
I woke up in a hospital room and groaned, in a significant amount of pain. Doctors rushed in the moment they realized I was awake and soon enough I was once again alone. My partner, Shawn, walked in, sighing in relief. “Oh man, I’m so glad you’re okay! I covered for you, don’t worry. I said that you called me after two men came into your house and shot your wife. I said that you told me you killed them because they were a danger to you and your children. The cops are okay with it, mainly because I told the chief that we were spies. The rest of the cops have no clue what we do for a living,” he explained, out of breath.
I grabbed my head. All of this was giving me a headache. “Why would you do that?” I moaned.
“I had to explain the fact that I was hiding two dead bodies in my garage, Owen. I would’ve been arrested–and so would you–if I didn’t tell him the truth. Of course I had to prove it but that wasn’t that hard.”
“Where are my kids?”
He nodded, understanding that I didn’t want to talk about it anymore. All of it was reminding me too much of Aphton. “In the waiting room. I’ll get them for you.”
A few moments later I heard rushed footsteps. “Daddy!” Jendae exclaimed, running to my side and hugging me the best she could. “I was so worried about you. Shawn explained everything to me. I know you’re a spy. Logan’s still clueless and I told him he wouldn’t understand what happened. All he knows is Mom was murdered. He… he won’t stop crying,” she whispered into my ear.
I glanced at Logan waiting in the doorway and smiled. “Hey bud, come here.”
He ran over to me the second he knew it was fine and gave me a hug. “I’m so confused,” he sniffled.
“I know, kid, I know. Maybe I’ll tell you someday but for now you need to keep on living the way you were.” I turned my attention back to Jendae. “When can I leave?”
“Right now. The only reason you passed out was because you were overwhelmed. That’s just what the doctors said. Shawn said it’s understandable.”
I finally got to go home with my two kids. I thought everything would go back to being as normal as things could be without Aphton around.
Yeah. I was wrong.
*~Jendae’s Point of View~*
In all honesty my dad being a spy wasn’t all that surprising. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t taken off guard at first, but hey, do you really blame me? It’s not all that normal to find out your father is a spy for the government.
Yes, my heart felt heavy since my mother was dead, but I couldn’t let my father know that. I needed to be strong for everyone. Uncle Monty didn’t take her death very well. He went into an extreme depression and wouldn’t talk to anyone for a couple months. Grandma didn’t take it well either, but at least she could function the same.
Max, my cousin and one of my best friends, was always there to comfort me. He, among the others in the group, was one of the people I felt comfortable breaking down in front of. There was no reason to be strong in front of them.
One night, when Terryn was sleeping over at Bridget’s house and my father was locked in his room once more, I was listening to music on my bed, trying to fall asleep. I didn’t think anything else could possibly happen to me that was worse than my mother being murdered, but I guess surprises come in all shapes and forms. Especially when you’re me.
This surprise was a brutal psychopath that crawled through my window in the middle of the night. I, having my headphones on, didn’t hear it open and him step in.
As I began to feel his presence, I took off my headphones and looked him straight in the eye.
Of course I screamed.
There was no way I couldn’t.
He didn’t react very well. He jumped up my ladder and pulled me to the ground. I fell on top of him which only made me scream even more. The lunatic stood up and pulled me with him.
He wrapped one of his hands around my throat in an attempt to silence me. “Hush, sweetheart, it’ll be over before you know it.” His greasy voice gave me goosebumps. I tried my hardest to escape. I clawed him and I knew I hurt him because blood gushed from his hand onto my forehead. In any other moment I would’ve freaked out at the sight of blood, but right then I was distracted with the fact that I was being abducted from my home.
I tried screaming and when he covered my mouth I bit him. He flinched but clearly he had been expecting something of that nature because he didn’t pull away.
I couldn’t believe that my father was only a hallway away and he wasn’t hearing any of this.
Daddy, I thought. Help.
That wasn’t happening. My dad was too absorbed in his own sadness to be able to hear me. His sobs would’ve drowned out any sounds from down the hallway.
Logan wouldn’t be any help either. Even if he had heard through his obnoxious snores he was too tiny to help and Dad wouldn’t have opened the door for him.
I was screwed, I quickly realized.
My thoughts began smashing together as my oxygen supply was cut off. My vision went blurry and suddenly I couldn’t even remember my name. Jendae, I told myself. Your name is Jendae. Don’t forget. Stay awake. Scream.
I couldn’t scream.
As I was dragged out of my window and down the side of my house, the only thing I could think about was how painful it would be for my father to wake up in the morning and realize that not only was his wife dead but his daughter had been taken in the night as well.
How freaking perfect, right?
The last thing I thought as I was thrown in the back of a van was I am so. Freaking. Screwed. And then my world as I knew it faded away to blackness.
I have a HUGE thank you for my AMAZING friend, Skye Everard! This post seriously wouldn’t be here without her! ❤ Thank you for creating Terryn, Charlie, Alex and the Kidnapper. Also, thanks for letting me use your babies, Kendra, Oake, Bridget, Luci and Artemis as main characters and taking the last two screenshots for me! AND for making the kidnapping poses for me and putting up with my crap during the creation of this chapter. I’m sorry I put you through so much work but I’m happy with the outcome! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH CHICA.