The Disappearance of Mia
Part 1: The Letter
As I follow the faded dirt tracks in the woods right by my house, I look up and the sun glares in my eyes. It reminds me of that day- the day I awoke on the cold, hard, UNCOMFORTABLE ground. It was in this exact spot- right by the pine tree with the chirping birds. I had no clue how I had gotten there.
The SUPERFLUOUS confusion fills my mind again. What is happening to me? What is going on? When I DECIDE I can’t think straight any longer, I run back home, already exhausted from today’s search.
Everyday NONSTOP I’ve found myself SUBMERGING into investigating with no luck. Where did she go? I have no idea, nobody does. The day she left changed everything. Now, everything in my life is a mystery.
Her name is Mia. It’s been two weeks. You could say she was my sister, but sisters aren’t supposed to DISAPPEAR UNEXPECTEDLY on their birthday. No one knows where she went; that’s my job to figure out. The thing is, I constantly find myself at dead ends and I can’t find the missing pieces.
I still remember the words she said. “Maybe I will go. Maybe I’ll just live on my own and never come back.” We were an argument before that. Not just one of those “be quiet I’m trying to CONCENTRATE”, or “why did you get home so late last night and wake me up”, arguments, but a “I can’t believe you would say that argument. So technically, It’s all my fault. But of course, you don’t naturally find yourself in situations where you have to find your missing sister because they left you.
No matter how much we fight, she is still my big sister and I need to find her.
When I reach my small house on the hill, I stick my hand in the mailbox looking for anymore clues. I don’t know why I even bother. There have been no signs of CONTACT. No letters, no emails, no texts, no phone calls, no nothing.
Except for today. I have an eerie, sick feeling when I pull it out- mail never comes on Tuesdays. The envelope was marked with an M with a rough line through it. As I throw back my worst thoughts, I open it. The first thing I see is a pattern of what looks like red swirls. But when I look closer, I see it again. The same SYMBOL was written all over the paper.
What does this mean? Who could have sent this?
And again, all I know is that it’s my job to figure that out.
At that same moment, I hear the sound of feet darting away into the woods. I look and see long, auburn hair. Oh my gosh! Could that be…..
I don’t have time to take a double take. A hand covers my mouth and everything goes black.
Part 2: The “Dungeon”
No! Don’t leave! Your in danger!
When I try to pick up my feet to run after her, I find myself wriggling helplessly with no luck of moving. It’s like I’m in a large puddle of goo that won’t allow me to lift a leg. I watch her disappear centimeter step by CENTIMETER step into the trees as tears come to my eyes.
Where are you going?
Drip, drip, drip.
I jolt awake to the sound of water from a leaking pipe falling on to the ground at PRECISE moments, never MISSING a beat. I look around trying to get an idea of where I am so that if I ever get out of here, I can DESCRIBE the scene of the kidnapping to the cops. It is pitch black in what seems like a large, unfinished basement, due to the consistent echo that’s produced when the water drops. This is definitely not my house. Mine has a small, cozy basement with my adorable puppy, Lucky, that seems to be obsessed with sleeping in the dog bed down there.
I’m taken out of my memories when I hear urgent voices, probably coming from the room upstairs.
“Just do it!” It’s a female's voice.
“Why?” This one is a little less AUDIBLE and more muffled, so it’s hard to tell, but I think it’s another girl.
“Why don’t you ever do what I ask?!”
The woman sighs and I hear footsteps coming down the stairs.
I’m so paranoid and frightened that I take a deep breath and yelp.
Why am I here?
“Read this,” I jump when I hear the sudden voice, “You have one day to do what it says.”
I’m about to ask the woman what the heck is going on when I hear the door slam shut up the stairs. She’s gone.
Who is the “she” anyway? And why do I have an infinite number of questions?
My life is so messed up. I shift myself and stand up because I start to feel something rough and hard underneath me. I look down at where I was.
No! No, no, no! This can’t actually be it. No!
It was my sister’s favorite toy when she was little- the “Just Like Me” American Girl doll that she got when she was six. She was ADDICTED to playing with it. She would dress it in clothes that matched her’s, do its hair like hers, everything was the same between them. Except the fact that one is missing, and the other was just found.
The hourly headache comes again and I sit back down with the doll in my lap. Man, I haven’t seen this doll in what seems like a CENTURY. Mia lost it the next year when we were on vacation in Florida. She cried all day.
Wait a second….vacation!
If this is the same doll I remember from ten years ago, then maybe I’m in the same place it was lost- Florida! But that would mean I’m hundreds of miles away from home; I live in Albany, Georgia.
If I’m right, I’m getting somewhere. But as a NEOPHYTE of investigating things, I could be completely wrong. I start to laugh at my irrelevant concern of how good I am at investigation when I am currently being held CAPTIVE in an unknown basement by unknown people. Heck, these people could be convicts of HOMICIDE!
I’m fiddling with the doll when I feel the texture of paper on the back of its dress.
A gasp escapes my lips as I see the letter M with the same line through it as the note that PRECEDED it had on the piece of paper.
What is this?
Then I remember the note the lady gave me when she came down. I reach for it and read:
Do what you say and you won’t be hurt. Want to find where she is? Don’t worry, you’ll be DISMISSED from your captivity soon. Just follow these directions once you are: go to Tallahassee, Florida in the next three days. There, well, you’ll find out. And remember to ask yourself- how much of a sister is she really?
I can’t breathe when I close my eyes after reading the letter.
Who wrote this, and why are they doing this to me?
Photo Credit: www.wisegeek.com
Part 3: The “Escape”
I wake up from my nap in the creepy basement when I hear the staircase screeching, like someone is coming down. My heart speeds up.
Think, Abby, think! Who is the person holding me captive?
I know there is a lady and a man upstairs who don’t get along very well. I also know that they want me to go to Tallahasee in the next three days and if I don’t, well who knows what will happen. Plus, if going there means finding my sister, then I’m all in. If only we had the power of TELEPATHY… things would be so much easier.
The only thing that is nagging at me is the last sentence of the note- “How much of a sister is she really?” What is that supposed to mean? Of course she is my sister; I’ve always DEPENDED on her to be there for me, and I’ve always been there for her. She has been my leader and best friend for as long as I can remember.
Unless… No, I don’t even want to think of it.
Before I can even back away, hands grab me and pull me up. The person’s hands dig into my arm and create a sharp pain that runs through my body. I cringe.
“Resisting will make it worse. Just follow me and it’ll be over soon. Well, until the next phase starts…”.
My body fills with fear. Every time I hear the mysterious lady’s voice, I don’t know what to think. This lady and her partner in crime kidnapped me and held me in a dungeon-like basement, given me a mind-boggling and hair-rising note telling me where to go and what to do, and are now taking me somewhere once again. Now that I think of it, they are also probably the ones who gave me that letter in my mailbox that had all of the crossed out Ms on it.
What do they want from me?
We walk up the stairs, but everything is pitch black. All the lights have been turned off and the person who is gripping my arm like there is no tomorrow, is wearing a ski mask that covers her whole face. Very clever.
She leads me to the EXIT that is placed just in front of the basement door. We walk straight through it, but then the lady shoves me into the backseat of a car. I don’t have time to put on a seatbelt before the car jerks forward as she speeds off into a deserted road ahead of us.
I gather up my courage, “Where are we going?” I question. I can only INFER from the Cheshire cat smile she is most likey wearing under that mask that it won’t be good. “Are you TRANSFERRING me to another captivity?”
“Oh honey, you don’t know? It was in the letter I PROVIDED you with,” she says in a condescending voice, “You read the letter right? I just don’t want you to get lost in that place. Too bad you don’t have your “sister” to protect you now,” she laughs.
I narrow my eyes at her even though she can’t see me in this darkness. These people have no RESPECT; they think they’re so OMNIPOTENT and can be the boss of my life. Oh but once I find my sister, these people, these INVIDIOUS people, will have the biggest regret of their life- messing with mine.
Because silly me, I just REMEMBERED…my dad is a cop.
Photo Credit: http://blog.drivingforce.ca/?p=737
Part 4: The Ride
We’ve been riding for about an hour when I find the courage to speak again.
“Who do you think you are? Taking an innocent and BENIGN teenager away from her home and to another LOCATION for no good reason? How does that even BENEFIT you?”
“Oh honey, there are more reasons than you will ever know.” Her voice seems to be able to rip through a metal bar. There’s so much anger. But why?
“Oh yeah? What do you even know about my sister that makes you think you can take me to where she is?”
The lady laughed. “More than you do I’m sure! The thing is dear, if you say one more word about where we are going, why we are going there, who I am, or where your sister is — hah I’ve got to laugh at that one — then I will take you back to that dark place and leave you there.”
I can’t take it any longer; this woman can’t talk to me or my sister like that. I suddenly jerk myself out of the back seat and reach for the ski mask. I obviously got her ATTENTION because the car swerves out of her surprise and panic. Luckily there are no other cars around us that we could’ve crashed into. We aren’t exactly in what someone would call a METROPOLIS. I lose my grip on the ski mask when the car jolts to the left and I fall back into the seat. “Really? You think it would be that easy? I mean come on kid, how many cop shows have you seen? The victim never gets an easy shot at the kidnapper, especially one with a REPUTATION of being hard to trace.”
“Hmph, we’ll see about that,” I say under my breathe.
“What was that? I didn’t hear you. You may need to speak into a MEGAPHONE. Hah that would be amusing.” She says while I see her eyes move to lock into mine through the PROJECTION in the mirror. But as she does that, she REPOSITIONS herself just the slightest bit.
I’m about to respond, but when I see the glimpse of a strand of auburn hair… the same color of Mia’s, my heart stops and quickens at the same time. This small moment could VERIFY something that I hope isn’t true.
Photo Credit: http://www.dailymail
Part 5: The Driver’s License
“You seriously feel that way?” Her voice distinctively showed how much I hurt her. It was so broken sounding.
“I mean, sometimes I think you get a little annoying and I just need my space. I’m not going to be by your side forever, I have friends too, you know.”
Her tone suddenly ALTERED to be filled with anger, “You know what? I thought you were a good sister; someone who was willing to be my friend when I didn’t have any. Not everyone makes ten friends a day! Maybe I will go. Maybe I’ll just live on my own and never come back.”
I close my eyes. My irritation got the best of me, and I just said the most horrible things to the best sister I could ask for. I’m about to take my words back, but when I opened my eyes, she was gone.
There was silence when I let the words sink in. What have I done.
My head is GYRATING as I remember my past. Tears pass my eyes, even when I try to hold them back; this LUNATIC can’t see me in my vulnerability. I won’t let her.
The woman slows down as she takes a right. “I have to make a pit-stop at the gas station. The METER is running low. But don’t worry, you and your HYPERACTIVE personality will be nice and contained in the car; I’ll keep the doors locked. I mean seriously, you tried to take my ski mask off! How stupid do you think I am? Ha.”
As she gets out of the car and is too focused on the gas pump to pay attention to me, I lunge forward and dig into her purse. My hands scavenge for any items that may CONTRADICT what I fear. In a matter of seconds, my hand pulls out a driver's license, but in the corner of my eye, I see the woman putting back the gas pump. I have to hurry. I take a quick peek at the license, but long enough to see the last name. Gorbie. I RECOGNIZE it, but can’t place it.
The moment I hear the door being opened, I flop back to my seat. “Hah, I’m SURPRISED you hadn’t attempted to escape, you idiot.
To be honest, it never crossed my mind- I’m too determined to being this lady to JUSTICE for all that she had put me through. But now, with the name Gorbie uncovered, I may have found a VITAL piece of evidence to make that goal happen.
Photo Credit: www.123rf.com
Part 6: The Escape
As we are stopped at high-speed at a red light, a homeless man came to the car to ask for money. I had a sudden instinct, a sudden intuition of what I had to do; I have too much INDIGNATION with her to stand it one second longer.
Quietly fumbling for the lock on the door, I keep my eyes on the lady, who thankfully is distracted. The light just turned yellow; I don’t have a lot of time.
I finally get the grip to pull the stupid lock and throw my self out of the car. Dashing between the eager automobiles that are about to move, I head for the woods.
There is no way I’m going back.
In about two minutes, the color green fills my eyes, bringing me a sense of peace, but I’ve never felt so tired.
“No,” I tell myself. I have to get out of reach of this woman before I can relax, and oh my gosh I have a lot of questions to find the answers to also. So, I run and run like I’ve never ran before.
About two hours later it seems, I find myself walking on a side street that seems all too familiar. The house architecture, the custom mailboxes, the street names, everything. A sharp pain ERUPTS to my head and my teeth clench in response.
“Where am I?” I wonder. Determined to answer at least one of my hundreds of questions, I walk up to a one story house with yellow siding.
A minute after I ring the door bell I hear footsteps getting closer. The door abruptly opens, allowing me to see a mid-height, wavy-haired woman wearing an apron.
“Hi! I’m so sorry I took so long, I almost burnt the cake. Haha!”
“Haha no it’s fine! Um… I actually just have a quick question. This may actually sound really crazy, but I was just wondering what town this is, and um… what state it is?”
The lady stared at me blankly. “Honey, this is Tallahassee, Florida. Are you lost or something?” She said in a concerned voice.
“Actually yeah, I don’t really even know what I’m doing here.” And at that second, my voice breaks and I just fall to pieces. “I don’t even know why, but this lady kidnapped me and took me in her car to drive me… here.” My eyebrows furrow with confusion. Tallahassee is the place where the lady wanted to take me…but why?
“Oh dear, come in, come in! You look like you haven’t seen food in a year! Let me get you some water and cheese and crackers. Do you like saltines?”
I snap back into attention.
“Um…” I start. This lady seems a little too good to be true. But although she’s talking to me like I’m in PRIMARY school, I know that I can’t just MIGRATE from place to place any longer, waiting for that lady to catch me.
“Yeah, saltines are fine actually. Thanks.” I say as I hesitantly put my foot through the door. The women gets right to work and prepares my snack.
I can’t believe I just came into a strangers house and am going to trust them with food! That’s like the number one rule you learn when you’re a kid: stranger danger. How could I be so reckless?
I push the thought aside when I smell the cheese and saltines coming my way. You would think saltines don’t have a very recognizable smell, but when you haven’t eaten much in two days, you smell everything. My body fills with GRATITUDE as she DISTRIBUTES the cheese and crackers on the table where I decided to sit.
As I chew, I take a minute to scope out the home. It’s not something you would call very big. The kitchen and living room seem to take up one room. Everything is cramped together like a a small apartment. If I had to take a guess, I’d say this woman doesn’t have a lot of money. On the counter in the kitchen area, a bunch of messy baking bowls crowd together.
I turn to look at the woman who, in turn, is staring right back, looking like she has something important to say.
“You know, you look the slightest bit familiar.”
Talk about creepy remarks! Who even is this lady? “Um…”
“Oh I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to weird you out. It’s just… ”
“Well actually, I feel like this town is somewhat familiar to me too.”
The lady makes a suspicious face and after a few seconds says, “My name is Karen, by the way.”
Karen…my brain pulls at that name as if I know something about it. Strange.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Abby. Do you have a phone I could borrow? I need to call my family. They’re probably worried sick. I’ve been SEPARATED from them for days.” Under my breath I add, “PLUS, it’s not like they need another one of their daughters missing.”
Karen opens her mouth promptly, seeming like she has a simple answer to the question, but after a second she hesitates and instead says, “Actually our phone has been out all day. Maybe if you stay a little longer it will start working again and I could help you.”
Did I hear her say our phone? Who else lives here? I’m about to say that it’s fine and I could just ask someone else on the block, but the phone’s ABRUPT ringing DISTRUPTS me.
Didn’t she just say it was broken?
We immediately lock eyes.
Photo Credit: http://www.123rf.com
Part 7: The Call
I immediately lose all the COMFORT I finally found since I walked into this house and met this odd, but POLITE lady. Why would she say the phone is down when it is working perfectly? There is something about this lady that I don’t know, but need to find out. She had been acting strange ever since I got here. Or is that just my PERCEPTION coming up with some ILLOGICAL thought? Maybe she really is a nice lady whose phone really did stop working all day until now.
No. I tell myself. There’s something missing from this picture. Something I don’t know. I could feel it ever since I saw this house. Something drew me to this one specific yellow home and I need to find out why. I REFUSE to give up from trying to answer the never-ending questions I ponder that could potentially lead me to my sister. Maybe things will stop being CONFUSING if I actually commit to finding answers to this mess.
As I pull my attention back to Karen I realize she is in the process of hanging up the phone. The phone call was BRIEF, but I was able to pick up on a few things.
Karen was saying something like, “Who? Why are you asking me these questions? Should I call the POLICE? Who again? Why are you coming over? Oh yeah, I remember now.” Then I heard another, “Who again?”
Something tells me this lady has some memory issues. If someone has to ask the same question NUMEROUS times, they probably don’t have the best memory.
But something more important is pricking at my brain. The word police and the words coming over don’t necessarily give me PACIFIC thoughts.
“So,” I say, “who was that calling on your phone that now apparently works?”
“Oh, you know just a friend of mine.” She responds in an evading way.
Interesting. I think. Just a friend…sure.
Photo Credit: http://4405ne77th.mhom.es/property-details/
Part 8: The Guest
The floor creaks as Karen walks across the floor and sits down across from me.
“You know,” I say as a GESTURE toward the door, “I think I should get going. You’ve been really nice to me and made me feel more SECURE but I need to find my…”. Wait. In RETROSPECT, I never told this lady yet about my sister, and to be honest I don’t need to make my life even more DISTORTED by letting a stranger, who doesn’t seem that trustworthy at the moment, into my life.
“Don’t leave yet! Your probably really tired. If you want to, you can stay the night. There’s an extra room.”
What kind of person would invite a lost girl to stay the night when there is a working phone in the next room that she can use to call the police? It’s like she is FORTIFYING her home so that I can’t get out. She is too INVOLVED with my well-being at this point that it’s creepy. This lady is TACTFUL with how she keeps me from leaving, but she can’t get me to stay SEDENTARY for long.
“Look, I know you miss your sister and are worried about her, but”
“Wait, I never said anything about my sister. How do you know I have a sister that disappeared out of thin air?”
The lady’s face CONTORTS in an uncomfortable way, not knowing what to say. “What are you talking about? You told me you spent the past few weeks trying to look for her, but one time when you were, you got kidnapped instead.”
I stare at her in disbelief. Is she in on the kidnapping? She’s been acting weird ever since the phone call. Something’s up. “No, you’re wrong. I’d never trust a stranger that much to share that kind of information!”
I jump when I hear the door open. The face I see PETRIFIES me.
Photo Credit: https://noblestallion.wordpress.com
Part 9: The Reunion
It’s her. Karen. My whole body freezes in a moment of terror unable to decide what to do next. My CONSCIENCE is telling me to run. A FRACTION of a second later, I bolt out of the house and onto the street. I turn right onto a gravel road, then run up to an open screen door of a small house.
“Hello?” I say as I ring the doorbell frantically. “Is anyone there?”
“Yes?” a woman says with blonde hair. “Do you need help, kid?”
“Yes, I really do!” At that moment I lose it and the tears come running down my face. What have I got myself into? “I’m lost and am being chased for a reason I don’t know and I need to borrow a phone. Please.”
“Oh dear! Come in, come in.”
She tells me to have a seat while she gets the phone. My whole body CONTRACTS with the feeling of hopelessness. I’ve lost all my CONFIDENCE in getting home.
She comes back with a phone and a face full of EMPATHY. I immediately take the phone from her and dial my dad’s phone number.
“Hello? Who is this?”
“Oh, Dad! It’s me, Abby. I’m at 412 N. Pine Steet somewhere in Tallahassee and I need you to drive me home.” My voice sounds muffled because it’s drowning in tears. “Dad, I was AMORALLY kidnapped by an INSANE lady and ended up here somehow and-”
“Oh Abby, don’t you worry. I’m coming right now. I’m not that far from where you are because I’ve been searching for you all this time. I called you probably a thousand times but you never picked up. I assumed you lost your phone. I’m just so glad to hear from you.”
“Me too, Dad. Just please hurry!”
An hour later, I’m sitting on the nice woman’s couch when I hear the doorbell ring. I jump up and turn to face the door to see my dad standing there with a concerned look on his face.
“Abby? Are you there?”
“Dad!” I cry as a go into one of his bear hugs. “I’ve missed you so much!” My whole body fills with a feeling of pure GRACIOUSNESS.
Our reunion was then interrupted by the CACOPHONY sound of the door being yanked open by a tall woman.
Her MALICIOUS voice pierces through my ears when she says, “Well, well, well. Looks like somebody finally learned how to use the phone.”
Photo Credit: https://beta.theodysseyonline.com