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The Very Fabric
From the seat in my van, I can see everything. I watch the girl smile as she hears the reassuring low hum of her cats purr. The cat seems to be no more than 10 weeks old. The notes didn’t tell me that. I grab the little grey notebook on the seat next to me and jot down my observation. The little felines soft purr gives Sarah the courage to flaunt out of bed and walk over to her pinwheel pink dresser and get ready for the day. She had always been especially attached to what seemed like an ordinary dresser that had been given to her by her beloved grandmother, but that's what my notes say at least. As she walks over to her bathroom to complete her morning routine, she stubs her toe on a nail which was attached to her ivory paper door frame. I watch her happiness quickly fade from her face. At first, she was flustered and confused, but then her mind seemed to kick in. She had been living in her apartment for three years this November, but she had never seen a nail poking out of her white, fluffy carpet. As she bent down to inspect the nail she noticed that her door frame was scratched up her door to her ceiling. Realizing that she didn’t have time for this and getting her caffeine fix, she hurried quickly through her morning. Some people might call my job boring, but I don't see it that way. Just how people bird watch, I people watch, well, not exactly, but I do watch people, but on purpose and for a living.
As I get dressed for my day, I can’t help but feel like I am being watched. But, I’m just going to shrug it off because I have always been a suspicious person but I still trust myself, somewhat, so I am going to leave a little bit earlier for work today. Not that 15 minutes is that much of a head start on whatever murderer is going to kill me. But seriously, Chicago is a dangerous place. Especially for a 25-year-old woman who lives alone. That is why when I never try to walk alone, so I have my friend Louis meet me at the L station at my house. Louis is the best. He wakes up at 6:00 just to travel across town to meet me so I don’t have to travel to work by myself. Louis is my rock. I am so lucky to still have him in my life even after our screwed up childhoods. But we have been there for each other since we were 6 and I hope nothing ever changes.
When I get to the station, I could immediately pick Louis out of the crowd. I mean he wasn’t very hard to miss with his bright orange puffy vest. It was so bright that it made the sun look like dirt. And I told him exactly that. I found it funny, he was horrified. “You don’t like my vest?” He said, looking like I just killed his dog.
“No-no-no. I was kidding.” I had to lie to him, he just looked so sad. “Look! Our train!” I was desperate to change the subject. And it worked, I could see his face contort with concentration as he tried to hop off the platform and onto the train.
The rest of the train ride was very uneventful. If we were in New York, we would have seen a bunch of crackheads and teens, but here in Chicago, it was pretty uneventful. But when we finally got to the office, it was anything but fine. And we were immediately greeted by our very frantic boss.
As soon as those big metal doors open, boss #1 comes in, shoves paperwork for boss #2 to sign. Now is the tough part, I have to sprint in my mandatory red high heels to boss #2 who still thinks of me as "the coffee girl" even though I grew out that position one and a half years ago, it still stuck to me like glue. I knew that I was not the ideal hire for most companies, so I stuck to this job because, I know what I liked, and I sort of liked my job and the hectic routine that came with it. But I also liked the big Christmas bonuses that came with it.
The last part of my morning was to make sure that the boss #3 and bosses #2 and #1 didn't come even near 100 feet of each other. Now, this was a new part of my routine. But after the company picnic this summer, I'm surprised #1 and #2 haven't banded together and fired #3 yet. I'm also surprised that he wasn't escorted out here by the Chicago PD.
It only took me 20 minutes before I wanted to quit. Sighing as I plopped down into my very uncomfortable very old spring office chair I made sure to cough loud enough to make Louis notice my bad attitude. Since my first attempt didn't work, I attempted to be louder with my cry for attention but it ended up sounding like a dying cat.
"Geez who killed you." quipped Louis
"Ugh just don't Louis," I answered grumpily.
"Uhh, you don't get to complain ok? Don't even get me started on Nonferrous Harris. He's been in his office all morning.” he groaned.” Louis get me coffee. Louis gets the Crawford report. Louis my office is too hot." he mocked. “I just can't wait until we have enough money to go to North Maroyalgas and see their aMAZAING MUSIC FESTIVAL!" Louis at this point was now yelling with excitement. See that's the thing about Louis, I've known him since I was 3 and we grew up together, same environment, same pressures. But even though we grew up to be two very different people, with two very different personalities we still ended up in the same city and the same job. Which should be comforting to me somehow made me nervous for the future.
She pulled into her apartment parking lot at promptly at 5:32 pm. But it wasn’t unusual to have work vans outside her building because she does live in the busy city of Chicago, so I wasn't worried. I was worried about how many more days I could pull this off. At this rate I would have to buy an apartment and adopt an alter ego. If I had to make a fake identity I think it would be Lennox O'Reilly who loved ramen noodles and snakes.I had a lot of spare time so I could do as much character building as I wanted. As the door to her apartment creaked shut she felt the eerie presence of an unknown figure watching her, I know this because I could see it in her eyes. She of course, couldn't see me. but I could see her. Her first instinct was probably to go check on Leonardo, her beloved cat. He was waiting for her in his cozy cat apartment, happy as can be. I'm bored and impatient, that's just me. Oh I'm so bored. I wish I could go inside and just talk to her. But wait, there was one thing I could do. I watched as her perfectly sculpted face light up with blue light. But my good mood was quickly squashed when she just sighed and shoved her phone back into her work clothes“Well that’s odd” i muttered to myself. She always messaged me back. I knew I wasn't supposed to get close to subjects but I couldn't help myself. My life was just so boring. Of course my job was risky. But when you do something dangerous everyday for a living, it could get boring, fast. I had taken to buying burner phones and getting tinder. My name for that was Adam Vaughan.It wasn't required, but I liked to get to know the subject. Since it was too risky to follow a subject to work. I had to get an office day job, normally someone in my position would use that job for a cover story. She didn't know me, but I knew her. I knew everything there is to know about her. I knew that she broke her right leg when she was 6 from climbing a tree. And that she was severely punished. her "parents" were very mad because it was "unladylike."Ok well, that part wasn't in her file. But if I do know Angela and David Wilkerson, and I do, I know that they will do anything and everything to protect their reputations.
When I got home the first thing I noticed was a creepy, eerie feeling enveloping me and almost suffocating me. I really need to get more friends. I like routine though, so I went to my kitchen to start. The first thing I did was I went to my fridge and took out my favorite summer-winter drink. I found it on a blog and it was currently my favorite obsession. It was a white chocolate-hot chocolate. it had mint abstract and a hint of fresh peppermint. I wasn't allowed to have regular chocolate as a kid so I had to improvise. Everyone always thinks of hot chocolate as a Christmas drink, but that's not true at all! It was brought to the United States in the 17th century by the Dutch but it quickly spread all throughout the North and South America's. But it was originally served in Mexico as a cold drink. Chocolate there was mixed with water, species, peppers, and herbs. It was a delicacy only for the rich. The Olmecs were the ones that originally made the first hot chocolate in Mexico. I visited Veracruz with my family every year until I was 18.
When I turned 18 I wasn't necessarily cut off, but my parents made sure it was abundantly clear that I was going to be getting less and less financial support from them. I never needed their money when I was younger and I certainly don't know. (which isn't technically true but it made me feel more independent and more free I guess) I had always wanted to live in New York and work for She Who Loves Fashion but it was not really an option unless I wanted to beg for money, and I really didn't want to do it. Chicago was not supposed to be a long term thing but I really wanted to go to college here and getting a degree in fashion wasn't an option unless I wanted to beg for more money. it was not a good thing that I had stayed so long at my current job, and I sort of-kind of liked my job.
I had just finished my delicious white hot chocolate when I got a tinder notification form this guy I went out with a few weeks ago. Our conversations before meeting were fun and we seemed really connected. But when we met it felt oddly personal. And his job seemed really boring. I mean I am boring and so is my life. But I guess the good thing about Louis was he was nothing like me and he kept me interested. Adam Vaughan was just too boring.
I woke up in my truck with a start to the loud sound of my work phone loudly screeching at me.
"Yes boss." I said, suddenly very awake. I was so imbarissed, I had worked so hard at my company to be the best, look the best, be the best at my job. I wasn't going to be one of those losers who clocked in and out, I was going to make what ever time I had worth it for the causes I believed in.
"I trust you have been keeping a close eye on her. She isn't the most exciting subject ever, but does have the most payout, and the most for the company to gain from, for it will all be worth it in the end, that's why we had you, not anyone else, but you, to head this up and make sure everything goes according to plan.
When I got to work, I noticed that the office mood was somber, cold and sad. but I assumed that it was just Louis' seasonal depression that made everyone sad. He was pretty much the office's chi instructor, as he liked to tell everyone.But really he found it on a fortune cookie at a Chinese restaurant on 5th street. It and the best pork dumplings and we went there every Friday together with our college friends. But anyways our office always seems a little sadder when Louis takes one of his many, many saved up sick days, but that's what you get when your the bosses son. He never likes to mention it because he doesn't want people in the office to think he just got the job because of his dad. Louis' pride is one of his most treasured items, he got that from his dad. I kept telling him it is not healthy for someone to care that much about others perspective of them, but it is one of the main traits he got from his family. But apparently I didn't really get that rich kid gene from my parents. Just then I heard a strange noise. I look over and from across the room I see Adam, in a plumbers uniform trying to seem inconspicuous while holding a handful of metal pipes and looking at me. The look on his face I can only describe as extremely guilty and sad, like he Just failed something. At first I was extremely confused. I thought he was in med school trying to become a doctor? At least I hope this was just a day job because he certainly knew a lot about murders and muscles and blood. But just as I was going to walk over and ask him why he was in my office the second strangest thing that had happened all day happened. A llama walked into the office. It was lead by a tall man with a blonde handlebar mustache and the tightest skinny jeans I had ever seen on a human person.
"Amphion." he suddenly screeched
"Louis what are you talking about? what is an Amphion?" I replied back.
" No no, hush now." he said, his fingers now covering my lips from making any sound "Not a what but a who. Amphion York is my new yoga instructor and he's here to take me on a field trip!" he said, now climbing on the llamas back with the other misfits. There was a lady with red hair flowing like lava. and a man with the purplest eyes I had ever seen. Which isn't saying a lot because I had never seen anyone with purple eyes, ever. Although I knew from my schooling it was possible. His eyes were hypnotic and very calming. looking into them it made me feel calm somehow, like everything in the universe had a place. His eyes reminded me of the ocean and how calming it is. I liked the beach as a kid because of the sand castles and how it made my mom let her hair down and my dad stopped taking work calls.I was suddenly very sad at this point and very sad. While listening to Irish folk music I cried lilac tears of the sweetest candy.
"Sarah? Honey? Can you hear my words I am speaking right now?" I wake up with a jolt. When my eyes come to terms with the light and the room stops being a big blurry nightmare, I see a woman with silver hair like a crystal in nurses scrubs taking my temperature.
"Where am I?" I said weakly. My throat suddenly felt like someone had just crushed a ton of bricks on my vocal cords. "And why does my throat feel like this?" I had a lot of questions and I needed answers.
"Well, honey you had an accident. But now your parents are here and you are safe now. Ok?'
"Ok" I replied, not entirely sure what I was agreeing to."
"Well Adam was here to identify you and he called your parents." She said now suddenly shoving Adam, now in nurses scrubs into the room. He still looked incredibly suspicious and I still didn't trust him.
"YOU. WHAT ARE YOU MAKE UP YOUR MIND. ARE YOU A PLUMBER, NUSE OR A DOCTOR IN TRAINING" By now I was very, very alert and ready to fight if the situation called for it.
"Are you ok Sarah? You don't look so good." the nice nurse said nervously. "Adam go call a counselor and make him come back. Tell him it's a code 1252."
"Uhm 1252? Are you sure? It doesn't seem that serious. I could talk to her." he said looking afraid again.
"ADAM. GO FIND HIM. SHE THOUGHT YOU WERE A PLUMBER." As I was screaming that, I now realized how insanely crazy I sounded.
"I'm not crazy you know," I said, now suddenly feeling very self-conscious.
" Yes, I know baby. You're not crazy. You're just a little different. Ok so since Adam has been no help at all." she said, now glaring at him. I am glad I am not apart of that stare. She seems like the type of woman who always knows show control a room and everyone in it. " We called your parents and they are on their way. don't you worry, they will be here very soon."
"No!! I yelled. I do not want them here, they are bad bad people. I do not want to see those sycophants ever again! I also do not want them to come to the hospital and I certainly do not want to live with them again."
"It's ok honey, nobody needs you to live with your parents again. And since you are an adult they don't need to know anything. They were your emergency contacts so, by law, we had to contact them." she cooed, which, for the record, made me feel very calm. "Your injuries are bad, but they aren't enough for you to live with them again so it will all be ok."Just then the door barged open. Wait a minute. I know that perfume. I know the sound of big chunky black office shoes barging on the floor. I started to prepare myself for the worst
"Oh, Sara. Honey, you look terrible." Her voice sounded like a thousand knives piercing my eardrums. There were multiple reasons why I rarely contacted my parents, and they're just being on the planet, in front of me, talking to me, was one of the reasons.
"Did you tell them your name?? Sarah, don't tell the hospital anything. ANYTHING YOU HEAR ME. YOU AREN'T GETTING A PENNY OUT OF US UNTIL WE SEE OUR LAWYER YOU HEAR ME NURSE." by this point he was full-on yelling and screaming at poor Adam. I mean I didn't particularly like Adam at this point, but nobody deserves to be yelled at my dad when he's angry. I try not to act like a child anymore, especially around my parents, but I just hate it when they are near me and talk to me, and are around me in general. I decided there was only one thing I could do, leave.
"Ok well, mom, dad, Adam. This was fun, but I would rather be anywhere else right now." As I was saying this I was tearing my I.V. cord out of my arm, which is a lot harder than it looks on T.V and movies. I don't know where I want to go but I do know that I do want to get out of this hospital. I look over at the window longingly. But suddenly I am interrupted by a very loud, very annoying woman by the name of Anglea Wilkerson.
"Sarah, Honey what are you doing? You look fat. NURSE."
"You called," said they very ticked off nurse.
"Can you not bring my daughter any more of those fattening meals? She looks about 400 pounds!"
"Um, ma'am?" She said, now sounding very intimidated. "Your daughter is very underweight." My mom now schoughs. She couldn't stand the thought of e not being the fattest person she had ever seen. I am now not listening anymore and am very turned out of this conversation. All of a sudden I felt like a child again. I wasn't the dumbest child, but I also wasn't, let us say, excelling. At my school. But I went to VanderWall from kindergarten through high school. It was one of my worst memories, that school.
So I decide to leave. It is that easy for me. Just like a hospital, when I didn't like my teacher, I would just leave. I quickly dropped that habit. I didn't receive food money that week. So finally I got my I.V. out of my arm and I don't even think twice once I hear that sweet, sweet sound of the hospital door slamming behind me. It was an easy choice for me to make, but the nurses in the hospital weren't too happy with me leaving their care. As I was running down the hall, finally free. I noticed an elevator door was opening. Getting in I saw Benny Bull, the red bull mascot from the Chicago bulls was in there with me. I thought I was dreaming again. I decided to squeeze my eyes tightly, trying to wake up. Realizing I was still here, I decided to try something I learned out in my Psychology class in high school. We learned that in dreams your brain can't make out certain details, like how you knew you were dreaming was if you look at your hand and you couldn't count all of your fingers. Your brain can't make out all the details in your fingers and can't make out the individual fingers in your hand. So I tried the trip while breathing deeply. Since I could count all 10 of my fingers, I knew that this wasn't dreaming. So anyway I'm in the elevator with Benny the Bull. All of a sudden he gets out a Chipotle burrito and starts trying to smash it into his mouth hole. it seemed like a very difficult task for him, and he was struggling a lot, but I have to give him props for trying, but the burrito seemed to be old and he started to throw up. Think about this for a second, imagine being me, I was in an elevator with the Chicago Bulls mascot and he was trying to eat an old Chipotle burrito. But then, he started throwing up. I am a very squeamish person. It is a very traumatizing experience for me. Because I can't stand the sight or smell of throwup, I craned my neck to look up to escape this hellish prison. But then it didn't get any better, it got worse, something I thought not possible. There was a bologna sandwich in the elevator ceiling? I officially had never wanted to get out of this place more. But then a miracle happened, the elevator door opened! I almost started to scream and cry. But as I looked around, I couldn't find benny the bull anymore? He had just suddenly disappeared. It was all very strange, but it was about to get a lot weirder. As the door dinged open I saw...
My cat? Leonardo was just sitting there, looking very innocent and very mad. But then all of a sudden he started to talk?
"Listen, lady." He sounded like he was about to cry, and I did not want that experience today. " You better get your little ass back upstairs and get back in that hospital bed. I was about to start to consider my options, but then I realized my mom was still upstairs and I did not want to go back to that room.
"Listen, Leonardo, I have been very, very good to you for the last 5 years, but my mom is such a pervicacious woman and she can be a very stubborn and vitriolic person and I don't ever want to see her again." I started to plead with him now. I was in such a wretched state that I seriously considered leaving him there and walking around him. But as I started to notice the little things, like how his reddish-golden fur almost seemed to sparkle in the sunlight, I knew that I would never abandon him. But maybe it was my long, stressful day or my need for approval, but I started to sob quietly. It was a tough thing, to leave the one person or animal that gave me constant approval. But I knew I had to leave, so I picked up Leo and made a dash towards the door. I was finally out of the hospital! I could feel the wind breeze against my hair and Leo's fur and for the second time that day, I had escaped a bizarre and seemingly impossible place to escape from. I was victorious! But as I was celebrating my win with a hollar of joy, that's when the cold taste of metal spread across my teeth and into my tongue.
When I finally came to, again, I didn't realize how much time had passed from my little stunts in the hospital. I was sitting in a small, cold basement that wreaked of mold mildew and pastrami sandwiches. And this wasn't a very important detail, but my hands hurt from the tiptoes, pinching my already very thin, small hands. I was sick to my stomach and felt very weak and woozy. It was one of the most unpleasant experiences of my life, besides a Wilkerson Thanksgiving. But then he arrived. When he had texted me, who even knows how long ago, I hadn't wanted to think or see him ever again, but somehow seeing a familiar face in a cruel place made me feel a little better. But some sick, twisted part of me was glad to see him in the same, uncomfortable, position I was in, tied up, on the floor.
"Adam!" I cried out. As soon I said that I knew something was wrong, he seemed relieved to see me, but his name seemed to upset him. He did not seem very happy to see me and it made me sad to my core. But he did muster a small smile, but anyone could tell it was just the polite thing to do. When I first met him, he seemed like the kind of quiet guy you would see at a library, all the time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He just didn't seem very interesting, could see now that my initial judgment was wrong.
"Wait I'm confused." Without warning, a voice rang out from the hall. I wasn't very good at guessing, but I could guess that it was a young guy, maybe around 10 or 12, scared and not here willingly.
"What's there to be confused about?" Now, this voice I could easily pinpoint, it sounded like my dad, but with a raspier voice. " You go in there, scare them a little, get the information and then report back to Billy." by now he sounded like he was about to strangle the younger one. I knew what it was like to be somewhere where you were unwanted and had no power to stop it. I felt for my kidnapper, which no kidnapee probably has ever said and meant it. The door started to rattle with anticipation from the heavy shoes of the men from outside, and they begun to rattle my nerves with it. I looked over at Adam to see if he was feeling the same as me, which was sick to my stomach and feeling like I was going to dye all at the same time. But while I was constantly checking on Adam I had missed one huge, ginormous detail, there was one more innocent being in that room with us, Louis. And by the time I had noticed him, it was too late, he had already been dragged off. Now I wasn't a bad friend, by not noticing Louis, I was a little preoccupied with the fact that I was chained up in the same room as the guy who I had literally run out on, in his place of work, and I did feel bad about that, but for now, I had to concentrate on getting out of these zip ties, and it wasn't going to be an easy feat, I had years of the plastic industry working agents me. But tho, it was the thickest plastic I had ever seen. I had just started to get a small dent into my plastic mortal enemies, but the kidnappers starting walking in. When I had pictured them outside if the door, I pictured a small child and a big, burly man, but when they walked in I could tell my initial instincts where far from what walked in. They were average? Average everything, you could tell them were fit but didn't work out every day, which probably means that they didn't do the whole "kidnapping" thing often. But what I didn't expect was Adam to get up and join them? He just stood up? They didn't even try to make him stay seated, the whole thing was so effortless that it was very confusing and concerning.
"Whatchu want to do wit emboss?" From inside of the room, his voice sounded vaguely Italian, which I guess explained all of the deli meat smell, coming from all over the room, seeping into your tastebuds and slowly traveling down your mouth and into your throat. Which you then swallowed directly into your stomach which was a whole tsunami. I could see how bloviating he was and it discussed me. I had always been around rich, snobby people all my life. But never had I been so blatantly been so played by, who was he even anyways. I had just come to a very sudden realization, so I decided to test my theory. "Oh, Billy," I called out, drawing out every word. As he turned his powerful, scummy gaze unto my eyes I could feel my cheeks heat up and my freckles turn rosy with embarrassment.
"Yes ma'am, is there something I could help you with." He drawled out, now suddenly having a southern accent, which I know had not been there earlier. "Are you perhaps wondering when you are to make your exit? Is this not up to your standards?" He said suddenly growing angry with me. But I decided to keep up the charade, so I could get the h-e double hockey sticks out of here.
"Yes, there is. Can I speak to your manager?" I said, a false smile spreading across my face, now playing along with his sick, twisted game. I was disgusted, hurt and betrayed, how could someone do that to another human being? But I could see that he was clearly ok with everything that was going down. But the bigger one with huge muscles the size of my thighs was not having any of it and was growing impatient, and Adam, or Billy or whatever his name is, was seeing it too. He slowly turned around very slowing on his boot heel, very diligently while maintaining eye contact with me the whole time.
"Is there something you would like to discuss with the group Alejandro?" I decided I did not like this new version of him when I first met him he was very nice and gentlemanly, but now he just seemed bitter and mean, I had never liked anyone less before. And my family, with all its problems and complicatedness, seemed normal, and that's really what I wanted to go back to, normalness, and that's what normal people liked right? Their family?
"No boss," he responded back. It confused me, How powerful was Billy/Adam? How powerful could you be to make a huge muscle man like Alejandro seem meek and powerless? He seems to have a supreme boss, superhero type of vibe around here. I was very sad that I didn't know this side of him sooner, I would have blocked him sooner, but there was no blocking someone when they had kidnapped you.
"Now." He said, thoroughly enjoying every second of this exchange. "What to do about little ms. perfect. How shall we utilize this Alejandro? How shall we make them pay, them.." But before he could finish his supervillain speech, his phone rang from his shirt pocket. it was a seemingly ordinary thing for him to do, and I think ordinary is just what I needed, for Billy/Adam to seem more normal. I never had breathing problems before, but I think a kidnapping is a good place for them to start. It had been the worst day possible and I think that I needed to just do normal things, even though my current situation was anything but normal, but I think that this is all a bad dream and that if I go to sleep, when I wake up, everything will be normal again, and I will be home. So that's exactly what I decided to do, go to bed, It was the answer to all my problems, doing nothing.
When I finally woke up from my stress-induced nap, I noticed that one thing was especially different, the room. At first, I thought that it was just my imagination, but something felt off about the room. I don't know if it was just my brain overthinking but, I did notice a big curtain on the west side of the room. Maybe it was just my overactive imagination, but I could have sworn that someone was behind the curtain. It felt very ominous that the curtain was covering where the door should be like it was all just a metaphor and the door was my freedom and my life in the outside world and the kidnappers had placed a curtain in the way. I wish Louis was here, he would have talked me down from the very slippery slope my mind was about to go on, but he wasn't and I was just going to have to deal with this all on my own, independently, like I had wanted to be my whole life. But between staying in my hometown and still being friends with my childhood ones, the results hadn't been optimistic. But I knew that everyone in my life at this moment was there for a reason. I had always believed in fate, but this felt kismet like this was supposed to happen. But that's also what I thought when it hit me. A small paper plane fell from the ceiling with a note? It had all been feeling like one big horror movie, but it was then when I realized my fate and I could feel all of my hope slowly draining out of my body. But getting that note was like it all slowly coming back. Most people would have read the note and been confused, and scared even. But when I read it I was more relieved than anything, I had been seen by the only person that truly mattered to me, Adam.
"It wasn't all a lie."
I know that any sane person in my shoes wouldn't have cared about what he thought, he was working with or was one of, my kidnappers, but I really cared about what he thought because he was the first one to really try to get to know me and my personality, I mean we had only been talking for a few weeks and he knew me more than my mother. I liked the way when he smiled it felt like as his lips were raising, so were my heartstrings. Those five words had meant more to me than a lifetime of happiness. But there was one thing that had me tripping a little bit, the all. So maybe I was overthinking it but some of it was a lie? Just not all? All I knew was I wanted answers and I wasn't going to take no for an answer. I had always been a pervicacious person, but this was going to be a whole new level for me, going after some who I didn't even really know that well, and make him tell me why he kidnapped me? I knew It sounded insane and I didn't even know my plan, I mean it was obfuscated even to me, but I was going to get my answers, and I knew just how to do it.
Ok so here was my plan, I was going to cry and complain to the shorter kidnapper and get him to untie my hands, and since Alejandro was in the other room, and wouldn't be able to see or hear us, I would be able to force the little kidnapper to take my place so I could run out and get my answers from Adam and get back to my life and my cat.
But I should have been paying a little bit closer attention to my surroundings because while I was forming my plan, I failed to notice the security cameras in all the corners of the room. But I was going to get my plan in action, so I cried out.
"Ow! Who do you people think you are?" All I had to do was channel my best impression of my mom and boom, magic. "These are way too tight. Could I get at least a little bit of comfort? I mean you did kidnap me, the least you could do was help me at least a little bit?" I couldn't hear much, I could feel like it worked, I could hear feet shuffling around, the sound of them trying to decide if it was a trap, to help me or not. But finally, they decided, and thank God they did. Because I did get bored in that room, all by myself. I could hear a pair of feet walking into the room, and undoing the heavy tarp that had been placed there while I was asleep. But the footsteps were heavier than I had expected, the short one hadn't come to check on me, it was Alejandro.
"What." He said in his deep, rough voice, which sounded deeply annoyed. I had dent expected this, for my plan to work, I needed the short one because I couldn't take on Alejandro, he was too tall and too muscular for me to make him take on, I was going to have to find another way. I think I wanted this plan to be more attainable. I was going to go directly to the source, and as for my guards, I was going to have to take care in the way my dad would have, with money. The problem was I didn't have any on me, I think? In all the craziness, I hadn't decided to check what I had. I had, the jeans I was wearing at the hospital, a white shirt with red, yellow and orange flowers on it, light brown boots that were a months paycheck, and a bunch of bobby pins in my hair that the nurse must have forgotten to take out of my hair at the hospital. I had seen videos on YouTube of people that could pick locks with just a bobby pin, and I haven't tried it myself. But for now, this was going to have to do, because it was all I had. But I could use stuff in the room to do something. I was sitting on the cold hard cement with my hands tied around my back, but I could get around and try to get the tarp to fall down. So I used my shoes to propel me to the other side of the room, and for the most part, it worked, because they noticed and came into the room, except it was Alejandro who came in again and warned me to
" Be quiet and not try to start anything." And it gets me to be quiet for a while, but I was very curious about why the short one hadn't come in the room at all, maybe he was outside, in the real world, where I should be right now. I was angrier than anything at the thought of him, and most likely Adam, taking my place in the real world, probably telling my parents and Louis that I was crazy and it just made me so mad. So, as my revenge for myself, I was going to get revenge for myself by getting revenge for myself. I was going to get my answers and get out of this place. So, like another revenge savvy person, I came up with a new plan. Except this one did not involve the short guard, but Alejandro. I was going to set a fire with some matches I found nestled in the boxes on one side of the room and make him come in, so I wouldn't die from smoke annexation, because, I assumed, they needed me more alive than dead. And out of the three of them, that I knew of anyways, Alejandro seemed the nicest and the most compassionate, if that was even possible for a kidnapper to be. And I was sure this plan was going to work more than the others because, all the trial and errors just showed me what I should and shouldn't do and Alejandros strong points (his strength) and his weak points (him being too compassionate) This whole week and this whole experience just showed me who I could really count on, myself. But I was thinking about Louis at this point. I mean he had been at my side all of my life, my cheerleader and my mom and dad all at once. He and I were a team, always there to support each other and since his dad was too important to the American government. We had known each other since pre-school. And ever since that first fateful day where we played house and did fingerpainting, we had been inseparable. It was a special kind of preschool, the kid the rich snobby ones go too. Our parents being rich was not the worst part of our lives, but it wasn't the greatest one either. I thought we turned out to be pretty great people, but seeing as Louis had to go to a yoga/therapy 4 times a week and me being "Such a great disappointment" to my parents' lives, maybe it wasn't such a great thing after all. But getting back on track to my kidnapping, I just needed to make sure Louis and, maybe even my parents, were ok and safe, I mean I didn't know if the kidnappers were working for somebody and were hired for the downfall of my family, but I had always wanted all my life to control everything. And did know where this trait came from, my mother. When I was a kid I watched her organize events and parties, which everyone loved by the way, and control every little aspect of a room. I saw her doing it and I wanted in too. I would watch her control every table, person, napkin, and spider and I wanted to do the same. So I set up tea parties, nothing special, just little kid tea parties for me and my dolls. Like my mother, my parties enraptured all of the people from the upper social class. Except, in this case, the "everyone" was my rabbit, "Mr. Bunny" my horse "horsy" and my chocolate lab, "Hershey" I had just finished planning the event of the season when my mom got the sudden news that my grandfather had died. It was one of the worst days of my life. We all knew he was sick before and could die, but the way he died was such a shock and so much worse. He had been on an expedition in Africa with my grandmother when he had a heart attack. It was not a good way to go and my grandmother and father did not take the news very well at all. My dad suddenly started to bury himself in his work. My grandmother had decided to take a different approach, to not do anything at all. She had been a lively, energetic person that could smooth talk anyone, but after his death, she became a completely different person, not talking to anyone for days, weeks, months at a time. Instead, she became very work-oriented, something she had not been before. Now I realize death happens every day, but my grandfather was like the glue that helped my family stay together throughout the good times and the bad. Just like anyone, he had his rough moments, but overall, he was the real hero in my family. After his death, my father and my grandmother stopped talking, not like they meant to, but they just grew apart. It was a very sad day for my family when my grandfather died. And maybe it was just being in a room for who knows how long at this point, but it sort of, at that moment gave me strength to think that someone out there, besides myself and Louis, were looking out for me. And with that final thought of all the people that had got me to the mental strength I was there, at that very moment, I took a deep breath and lit myself on fire.
I could admit now that my plan was a little bit crazy, and when you light yourself on fire, even to cause a distraction on purpose, the fire could sting a little bit, not a lot, but just enough that you could appreciate not having to do this every day. But I just needed to make a big enough distraction to make Alejandro mad, and what better way to do that than lighting yourself on fire. I can realize now, looking back on the whole thing, that it was maybe not my finest moment, but for now, it was what I needed to make my big scene, and it worked.
"HEY. KID. WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU ARE DOING." He yelled as he ripped apart my smoldering jacket from my thin, bony arms. He could be genuinely very scary when he was mad, and I wasn't planning on doing this again so I had one more shot at this, and for real this time, I wasn't going to make the same mistakes over and over again, I was finally going to end this. For my plan this time, I was going to convince him to help me. From the look in his eyes, I could tell that he didn't want to do this, so he probably was just doing this maybe as a favor to Adam, or he was blackmailed into doing this, or maybe he just really really needed a job. And I was going to use this to my advantage, and just like my mom, I was going to control the room this time.
"So... Alejandro was it." I tried to seem as innocent as possible.
"Yes." He seemed like a man of a few words, so I wasn't going to force the conversation.
"I see you Alejandro." he suddenly stopped what the was doing and started to look at me, very slowly.
" You don't know what you are talking about. You don't know the stuff that goes on here. Hell, you don't even know what here is." He started to storm out of the room, but then he suddenly stopped and looked at me. "I know that this sounds crazy, but I don't think that you belong here, you deserve to be free." I know this all looks like I was just doing this to get out of this place, but he seemed so genuinely sincere that I believed him. And slowly but surely, he walked back to where I was sitting to undo the zip-ties around my hands.
The cold air hit me with a burst. I normally do the van work and I don't usually go out into whatever downtown in whatever city I'm usually in. But with Bradly by my side, I could feel more confident. Like Sarah, I also had a childhood best friend that I worked with, a different type of work, but still.
"Hey, man are you ready for the meeting? You don't look so good." Bradly said, sounding concerned.
"Yeah, I'm fine, just cold." The truth was, I didn't feel good about this at all. I knew all about my job, and all the pain it always causes people, but this was the most about of money I had ever received for a job. I wanted a fresh start, away from my crazy job, preferably with Sarah. We finally arrived at the building. It was a cold-looking building with metal handles and metal everything. It looked like a scary empire state building. It was huge, it probably had 60 floors with over 400 sections. There was a reason why I didn't have a normal job, and that was because I hated office buildings. I hated the smell of a fax machine and the shine of a staple, the sound of chairs rolling across the cheep, office carpet. I just wanted to finish the meeting to end and to get out of this working-class hell. But as soon as I stepped into the conference room and saw who my meeting was with I wanted to leave. It was Louis. Sarah's Louis. He must have known who I was by now. She must have told him about me? I mean in my file about her it says that they are very close. No wonder that file was so detailed. And by the look on his face when he saw me walk in he knew who I was too.
"Adam? What are you doing here? Oh, I must have forgotten to introduce myself, I'm Louis. I know Sarah Wilkerson." I could feel everyone's heads turn to watch me. Granted, the had just 6 people in it, but I could feel all of their cold, judgemental stares.
I had done workouts before, of course, but there was no better way to assess your strength and stamina than running for your life through what it looked like very old L station. There were so many cobwebs down here you would have thought this place was made especially for spiders and other insects. At this point, I was running the fastest I have ever run, and I have run 4 10ks for various charities of Louis' choosing.
I wanted to scream in his face. "How could you do this to her. Do you even know how much emotional pain she is in right now?" But I didn't. And I will probably never forgive myself for that, but right now, at this moment, I couldn't do anything, so I didn't do anything. By the look on his face, Louis was trying to figure me out. And I was trying to do the same for him. I mean who hires a company to kidnap your best friend? But before I could big deeper into Louis' brain, his dad walked in. The all-powerful senator from Illinois. But he did not seem like the type of man you wanted to make a business deal with, and I was suddenly regretting all of my life choices and decisions.
"Quiet down everyone." His voice was calm and firm. I could see why people liked the guy and why they had voted for him so many times. I could feel his cold gaze sweeping across the room, like an eagle hunting for and picking out its prey. I wanted to run, or hide, or both. I looked over at Bradly, trying to see if he was thinking and feeling what I was. And my suspicions were right, he looked like he wanted to die just the same amount that I was feeling. But finally, his gaze stopped. Instead, he rolled up a chair and sat down. His words were suggested to you that you maybe should sit down. But his eyes were not, they were a direct SIT THE HELL DOWN BEFORE I HIRE SOMEONE TO END YOU AND YOUR CAREER AT THIS COMPANY. His regular employees looked normal, sane even. So I couldn't just figure out why it was only me and Bradly that his mysterious gaze worked on. But maybe it was just my imagination.
Right now my only focus was getting out of here, out of this miserable, awful, place. I had been running for a long time, too long of a time. But focusing on my feet made my goal seem more attainable. With every step, it brought be maybe a foot closer to achieving my goal. I had wanted to get out of Chicago for a while, to find a fresh start in some other city. But before I had wanted to do that for other people, for my parents, and my career. But now I was running for me. And to get away from it all. To get away from my parents, my job, Adam, and even Louis had made the list somehow. But as for right now, I was just focusing on my steps and my breaths. I couldn't wait to get out of this old L train station. I was running for a long time. Too long of a time. I just wanted to leave. But finally, I reached the end, the end of a bad relationship with myself, leaving an unhappy state of mind where I would just wish and wish for things to happen, without doing real work. But with this whole experience, I was done with waiting. I was finally going to take that extra leap. But just as I was celebrating my victory decision, I didn't see the car.