Previously, Theodora attended the funeral of her father, who had abandoned her and her mother at a very young age. There, she got into an argument with her half-brother, who had loved and respected the father that Theodora despised. She later feels conflicted and guilty about the fight.
“Theodora! Wear a coat, Theodora! It's cold out there!”
“Mooooom. I'll be right back in! I'm getting the paper!”
Light snow padded the ground, dulling the echo of my footsteps against the cold metal of the stairs. A quick step outside was freezing, but my anticipation of the sunday comics outweighed the quick detour for a heavy jacket.
When a man passed me in the street, I didn't think much of it. Even when he came closer to the house, I assumed he was navigating a particularly deep drift of snow and had to work his way around it. However, when he stopped directly in front of me, that's when the alarm bells started to go off and the hair behind my neck prickled from more than just the cold.
“Can I... help you?” I asked, inching up the stairs.
The thing about bad guys is that they don't wait around. They don't want to banter with you, they don't want to pose and look cool and maybe get into a fight. When they have an advantage, whether it be size, or height or the element of surprise, they use it. When they have all 3 advantages, well, they're going to use all three of them.
It didn't take long for the man to drag me to a beat up pick up truck. There wasn't enough time for my mom to come out and rescue me. My head slammed into the edge of the car, and while that made me confused and groggy for a moment, it was the injection that made everything woozy and my vision dark. By the time the car had started, I was already unconscious.
When I finally came to, I didn't want to open my eyes. Partly it was my body. My eyelids were heavy and everything hurt and more than anything else in the world, I just wanted to sleep. I don't think the man had been careful with the dose of knockout drug. The other part, the biggest part, was just that I didn't want to know where I was. I wanted to be at home, with my mom, asleep in my bed and the sunday comics on the dresser.
I know that it was better to know the worst than to wonder, but... I kept my eyes closed for another minute.
Someone coughed. I opened my eyes.
“I know you're awake,” said a voice. I sprang to my feet. Sitting across from me was a man. A tall man. With a gun. I gasped.
“You okay?” he asked. My hands shook and my eyes began to water.
“Where am I?” I sobbed, “Who are you?”
“Jude Campbell,” he grunted, “and you're here because we need a ransom. Your father owes us a lot of money. 30,000 dollars for you. We're being pretty lenient with the amount.”
“I don't understand.” I whispered, tears dripping down my face and drying quickly into a sticky mess, “My dad left when I was 2. I don't even remember him! Why would he come?”
“Parents always come for their kids,” Jude grunted, “So quit whining, kay?”
“But he left! That means he hates me!” I cried, my nose clogged and tears still dripping from my eyes. Jude sighed, looking annoyed.
“No it- Listen. Lives are complicated, okay? Just because someone leaves don't mean they wanted to or they're never coming back. It just means something happened. Hating you has nothing to do with it. So, just- Shut up okay? He'll show up and you'll go home. We're not planning on killing you. This is just to scare him. Even if he shows up without the money it'll be fine. We just need a promise he's going to do things our way in the future.” He stared the other way, apparently done talking.
“So... even if he doesn't have the money, he'll still come?” I whispered hopefully, wiping my eyes.
“That's what dads do. So yeah.” He leaned down and patted my head roughly. “Don't worry about it kid.”
“Are you a dad?” I asked.
He gave me a distracted smile.
“Sorry, not in the mood for a life story, but you'll be fine, so don't worry about it. So be quiet, I think I hear something.”
We sat in silence for a moment.
What happened next happened quickly. Shots were fired and red sprayed in the air. People ran, people yelled, and suddenly everything was hazy and painful and confusing. If I could have slowed down time, I would have seen what had happened as the police described it:
11:23 am: Police enter the building, following a license plate number given by the mother of a kidnapped child.
11:23 am: Child shot in leg as kidnapped attempts escape. Fired shot was made by kidnapper.
11:45 am Ambulance arrives. Child in stable condition. Not speaking much.
He said I wouldn't get hurt. He said my father would come. He lied. Twice. And for a little girl, who was scared and alone and helpless, who had latched onto any person who could possibly help her, the betrayals stung equally. I know now that I'm older that trusting people who kidnap you and people who abandon you are not acts of childish innocence. They are acts of childish ignorance. I never had any dramatic 'The world is evil! Trust only myself!' revelations after that day, but I think the revelation I did have, subtle as it was, held just as much weight.
“Not everyone deserves a second chance.”
Current Events: Adventure, Betrayal
Previous Events: Funeral, New Addition to Family
Word Count: 944
CC Used: Yes
I apologize for the lateness and shoddiness of this. I'm really sick right now and it's hard to think. I hope it was acceptable, if not the best I could do. I shall try harder on the second round!