All Nonfiction Bullying Books Academic Author Interviews Celebrity interviews College Articles College Essays Educator of the Year Heroes Interviews Memoir Personal Experience Sports Travel & CultureAll Opinions Bullying Current Events / Politics Discrimination Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking Entertainment / Celebrities Environment Love / Relationships Movies / Music / TV Pop Culture / Trends School / College Social Issues / Civics Spirituality / Religion Sports / Hobbies
- Summer Guide
- College Guide
- Author Interviews
- Celebrity interviews
- College Articles
- College Essays
- Educator of the Year
- Personal Experience
- Travel & Culture
- Current Events / Politics
- Drugs / Alcohol / Smoking
- Entertainment / Celebrities
- Love / Relationships
- Movies / Music / TV
- Pop Culture / Trends
- School / College
- Social Issues / Civics
- Spirituality / Religion
- Sports / Hobbies
- Community Service
- Letters to the Editor
- Pride & Prejudice
- What Matters
The Journal (Part 3)
There were lights in the cemeteries, so I amused myself by looking at the names on the tombstones I could see. I counted how many times Mary was on one and got fifty-three before I finally couldn’t read the words. We were going into the darkest part of the cemetery. There were no lights, and most of the tombstones were marble and so old you couldn’t make out the names in broad daylight. Zelda looked as if she was going to cry, but she shook her head when I opened my mouth to freak out.
I saw the outline of the van before I could make out any details in what little light drifted this far. It wasn’t one of those vans you would typically see kidnappers or thieves using. You know the ones with the doors in the back like an ambulance. This was a normal van like one you would see a soccer mom using. It was black, and I was seriously amazed that I could make out where the handle on the sliding door was.
I thought of an SSC Ultimate Aero, the only vehicle shorter than me besides a go-kart that I would ever consider driving. It was on the list of the most expensive cars in the world and can hit top speeds of more than 250 miles an hour. Yeah, I wish.
The only man not holding and/or shoving a girl opened the sliding door. They untied my hands, shoved me in the farthest middle seat, put on my seatbelt, and then tied my hands in front of me. I sighed in annoyance, making the one tying my hands glance at me sharply. The ski masks were totally cliché, but his eyes told enough of his annoyance with me. Frankly, I could’ve been much more annoying while walking through the cemetery. I could’ve been saying things like:
“Oh, I know her! She was so sweet! I miss her, you know. Do you miss anyone?”
“Hey, that’d be a good name for you. Seymour. It has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?”
“Bloody Mary is going to get you for taking Zelda away from her, you know. I wouldn’t go looking in mirrors if I were you.”
“This is so bad for my luck, let alone my soul. Can we walk on the paths instead of over the coffins?”
“Wow, this place reeks of death.”
Of course, there were more things that came to mind, but I don’t think you want all fifty or so comments.
They put Zelda next to me, belted her in, and tied her hands. I rolled my eyes, earning another sharp glance. At least they care about our safety if we happen to be hit by a truck on the way to wherever they’re going to hold us captive.
Zelda was the one shaking now, since I had grown quite calm during our trek among the graves. Accepting the fate was all it took. I was pretty sure she was more scared of the cemetery than the three men with guns, two of which climbed in the front and one of which climbed in behind us. My suspicions were confirmed when she looked at me as we drove out and, one time I could actually see her clearly, mouthed, “Bloody Mary didn’t get me, but one of them might.” I knew her well enough to know that she was referring to the ghosts of the people around us.
Yes, I could read her lips. Of course, I whispered back to her since it was too dark again, “It’s alright, I’m a Ninja Ghost in training.” Most people take that to mean I’ll become a ghost, but only Zelda and I really know that it simply means I’ll be kicking ghost butt.
Something hard hit the side of my head, and my vision blacked out and blurred. Zelda gasped, but I shook my head slightly as I tried to get my vision back. She understood and didn’t say anything, but I could practically feel her concern. After a few minutes of blinking and wishing he had used a pillow instead of what was probably a gun, my vision was back to normal. The only difference was that I had a killer headache.
I’m not sure how much time passed, but I knew we took back roads. There were a ton of hills, which is usual for this area, but eventually the ground was almost flat for a few miles at a time. The sky began to lighten, and neither Zelda nor I got any sleep. She looked as if she was going to pass out any time soon, and her stomach growled every twenty minutes or so. I was practically wide-awake, but I was hungry, thirsty, and cranky.
More time passed. The sun would be up in another hour or so. Suddenly, the van turned. I thought he was just taking us off the road because someone was coming, since I couldn’t see any side road. However, there was one. He followed it, the turns obviously familiar to him. I had to assume we were almost there, and I decided I was just going to get even more cranky as the day goes on.
Hunger probably won’t even be the least of my problems.
The van stopped, and the men in front got out. Both sliding doors opened, and the guy in the back climbed out. They all pulled off their masks, and I could just make out some relative features. They all had darker hair and eyes with the sharp features of a man used to violence and fit enough to last during violence. That makes me feel so wonderful.
One of them untied me and yanked me out of the van, dragging me away from it. The ground switched from asphalt to dirt as we walked, growing rougher beneath my feet as we headed towards a forest. Suddenly, he shoved me to my knees. We were at the edge of the trees, so I knew Zelda and the other two men could see clearly.
I wondered where we were. I mean, the back road he took was in the middle of a forest, yet I could see that we were on a deserted back street of some town. I glanced behind me, and all I saw were warehouses lining the street. I saw no signs to indicate where we were or even the name of the street. They had chosen the place well. There was nothing we could describe it as besides a street, warehouses, and a forest.
He pushed me so I was facing forward again, and I really wished I was on my feet. Seconds passed, and then suddenly it hit me that I was in a perfect position for him to blow my head off with his fancy silenced gun. I cursed aloud, and I think it was his foot that connected with the middle of my back. I braced myself against the ground to keep my face from smashing against it. I took a slow, deep breath. Then I sat straight again. I felt something hard brush against my scalp, and swallowed.
“Time’s up, SweeTart.”
One time, at a combined cheerleading/marching band car wash Zelda and I helped with even though we were only in eighth grade and not actually in the marching band or on the high school cheer squad, there was this guy who, not even joking, brought six cars. By that time, the police were there, but before that Zelda kept saying that he was stalking me. Our friends from high school kept agreeing with her, and it became a joke that day.
Even though we know that stalking is not a joke.
Nothing like that is a joke. I remember how I felt when the name came out of the man’s mouth and I never want to feel that way again. Only Zelda ever called me that, brought on by the cemetery. It was only when we were alone. How did he know about SweeTart?
I never really did get to find out.
The sky was clear today, and it was the perfect temperature: just hot enough for a t-shirt yet just cold enough to wear jeans. My feet pounded the pavement in steady rhythm. My thumbs are in the pockets of my jeans. Not my whole hand, just my thumbs. My eyes are on the sky. I know where I’m going, but I don’t realize the house I’ll be passing until I come upon it.
I stare at the house a few seconds; the huge, open yard, the single tree in the front, the swing hanging from one of the stronger branches, the grass missing from around the tree, the chimes hanging on the porch. Then, I realize that this house, this simple little house on this simple little street, is the only place in town that doesn’t remind me of Zelda.
I walk up to the door, wondering what people will think of me. Who is the girl walking up to the door in jeans, a plaid button-down shirt, and black boots? What does she want? Has she been there before? Do you think she’s going to break in?
I knock on the door and wait. Nothing happens, and it reaches my mind to think that maybe, just maybe, they weren’t home when I needed them most. I walked away from the porch, stepped on the sidewalk, ready to keep walking.
Yet, I don’t.
I simply turn around, walk to the tree, sit on the swing, and stare at their yard, my back to the street. I wonder what the neighbors are thinking of me now. Time drags on. I watch the sky, the clouds, the sun, wondering if they were going to come home or if anyone would call. My phone vibrates twice, but I ignore it. Anyone worth talking to would call, not text.
For the first time in months, I feel as if I’m relaxed. I feel as if I could take on the world with my head high, with genuine smiles lighting up my face. I feel as if I could handle my favorite places, my favorite people, and my favorite classes without having to hold myself out of a pit of despair by my fingertips. I feel as if I could finally fit into things again, without being invited simply so I won’t fall over the edge. No, I can get back into things with my whole heart. I feel as if I could live again.
But, then the black cat streaks passed me, and I’m thrown back into the pit without anything to grab onto.
The black cat scared me when it streaked out of the woods, throwing itself at the man behind me, but I was more worried about the silenced shot that followed. The bullet hit the ground a few feet in front of me, and I jumped to my feet and spun. The man was holding one side of his face, blood flowing between his fingers, and the gun was on the ground. The cat was no where in sight. One of the other two men were running towards us. My mind went into auto, debating the fight or flight conflict that seems to be prominent lately.
My eyes landed on Zelda just as I decided on flight. I forced my muscles to stay in place instead of running at the only chance I’ll probably get. I wouldn’t leave without her by my side. I’d kill myself if I did.
The man had scratches on his face, and head wounds bleed a lot. They wrapped him up a little to stop the blood, their eyes on me as I stood there, most likely waiting to die. I pondered the symbolism of a black cat saving me, but can’t come up with anything good. It’s not as if I was born on Friday the Thirteenth or Halloween or something. I keep racking my mind, until I remember that one of my great- or great-great-grandmothers was hung for witchcraft. She owned a black cat, according to my grandmother.
Well, mystery solved. I was just declared a witch.
Zelda watched, horrified, as the man with the scratches retrieved the gun and aimed at me. I met his gaze defiantly, almost daring him. Then I hear Zelda scream, “Doesn’t she get her last words?” She’s immediately silenced with a slap to the jaw, but the effect was done. The other man simply smiled slightly as I burst out laughing. I couldn’t help it. He stopped the man with the gun.
“Let her live. These two might prove better together.”
I stopped laughing when they grabbed me, dragging me back towards the van. Zelda smiled triumphantly at me, and I smiled back. These men have no idea what they’re getting themselves into.
“Sheik,” Zelda’s insistent whisper tugged me back towards consciousness, “Sheik, wake up. Come on, SweeTart.” I’m still not sure how I managed to fall asleep while tied up in a van. I’m not sure if it was Zelda’s happy attitude beside me, or that I was mega-tired after such a long day and night, or if the adrenaline in my veins from almost dying simply disappeared and the lack of energy lulled me to sleep. No matter what, I was still out within a half hour of hitting the road again. Zelda’s use of SweeTart told me that we were alone, or as alone as we were going to get.
“Sheik, come on.”
I blinked my eyes open, focusing on Zelda. She smiled, “We can get out of here. They left, the door’s unlocked, there’s a vent that we can open, and it’s probably going to be our only chance. Let’s get out of here.”
I sat up, glancing around. The room was basically dark. There was enough light to see that no one else was in the room, and to see the door, and to see the vent. I stared at the vent for a few seconds. The door was too obvious. The vent was also too obvious. It was as if they were looking for a reason to hurt or kill us.
“That’s not a good idea.”
Zelda sighed in annoyance, standing up and putting her hands on her hips, “Why?”
I raised an eyebrow, “If you kidnapped someone, would you put them in a room with a vent they can use to escape and leave the door unlocked? On top of that, the vent is too small for me to fit.”
Zelda’s eyebrows pulled together in thought as she glared at me. I kept thinking things over, wondering just how we could manage to get out of here. Suddenly, something else hit me. I opened my mouth, considered, and then voiced it.
“They want to see what our abilities are. They want to see how smart we are.”
She glanced around in surprise and shrugged, “I’ll go through the vent and you go through the door. If you find the end of the vent, wait for me. Okay?”
Apparently, it doesn’t matter that they’re probably testing us or that we’re most likely being watched right now.
“I’m doing it anyway.”
I sighed, “Fine.” You just don’t argue with her. She never backs down. With us, it’s basically whoever had the idea doesn’t back down no matter what the other person says. We’re both too stubborn, so “fine” basically became the general compromise for most situations.
I stood up and held up a finger. Zelda crossed her arms and leaned against the wall, her eyes on me as I stretched a bit to wake up. It was normal when we were about to do something stupid and/or dangerous five minutes after my eyes open. That way, I won’t pull any muscles.
“Whatever you do, don’t stick around if they catch you. Just try to get out of here.” Zelda started to pull the cover of the vent off. I rolled my eyes and walked towards the door, “Keep dreaming, baby girl.”
She stifled a laugh and pulled the vent cover off completely.
I set my hand on the cool, smooth metal of the doorknob, and turned it very, very slowly.
Most people, in that situation, wouldn’t have even checked to see if the door was locked or if the vent could be uncovered. They would’ve been too freaked out to do anything. Not Zelda. Zelda is a fighter, in that aspect size doesn’t matter, and she’s not one to get scared easily. If she is scared, she’s not one to show it.
I’m almost like that, but she’s a lot better than me at it. She’s a lot better than me at basically everything. She’s just…special, I guess.
Today, we started talking about Bloody Mary in class. That, of course, reminded me of Zelda. There’s no way it can’t, not that you know the full story yet, since you don’t. You’ll figure it out later, okay? I don’t want to drop any hints, since this is supposed to keep you on your toes, right? I guess not. This is just supposed to be a journal. Well, too bad. I’ll keep you on your toes whether you like it or not.
When nothing exploded and a poisoned dart didn’t shoot into my neck, I felt a little better. I inched the door open and glanced behind me to see Zelda’s now-bare feet disappear into darkness, her shoes setting neatly beside the opening with the socks folded neatly inside. I shook my head and turned back to the door.
I looked out the small space between the door and the doorframe, pondering the darkness beyond. Would I let Zelda venture into her darkness while I cower in safety and ignore my own?
Swallowing my fear, I slipped through the door, my arms outstretched. My fingers brushed a wall, and then another one. I kept one hand on each wall, and picked a direction. I think I was heading the way the vent was, but I could be wrong. I kept my steps light, my ears open for any sound.
Nothing happened for a while, and I was making super-slow progress. Then, my fingers weren’t on the wall anymore. There was a turn. I followed it, curious now as to where they had us.
Then someone grabbed my wrist, and I remembered that curiosity killed the cat.