Chapter 17

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My heart sank at the thoughts and memories of the good times I've had with Pete. I felt ridiculous for even thinking like this. Reminiscing as if I'd never see him again. But being so unsure of things were driving me mad. I liked being in control; knowing what would happen next, knowing my next move, but being controlled like this; i hated.

Jake saw me zoning out again, "You think too much." He said calmly. I rolled my eyes and headed for the tree house.

I looked down at the tools still in my hands which we had been carrying around all the time. I hope I never had to use them, I thought.

Standing next to the all too familiar tree house I tried to remember where Pete and I had walked to get from the tree house to the lake house. I closed my eyes and remembered our happy smiles as we skipped between the lake house and the tree house back and forth while building the tree house.

Once again I shook my head in attempt to erase the memories. I remembered every corner we took, every tree we walked past, every hole in the ground that we avoided; all the memories were so clear.

I opened my eyes and realised it would be really hard to find the house. If I stood where I was standing right now facing this direction, all those years ago, I'd be looking at a far stretched landscape of dry grass up to half a metre long, and on the horizon I would be seeing the shape of a double storey luxurious lake house.

But.

Where I was standing right now, I was facing the same way. Except in front of me were trees and more trees and over grown bushes and grass and weeds. Everything looked completely different. There is no way I could find that house just by memory. Maybe if I had a GPS... but not memory.

Jake and Hayley were staring at me hopefully. Waiting for me to announce that I know where we had to go. Unfortunately, I didn't.

All I knew is that we had to go north, the same direction as we had when we went to the food.

I thought that maybe we could use the same technique we had use to find the food; but I knew it wasn't directly north. I went back to the memory of skipping with Pete, and tried to remember where we had to turn and what trees I could see that might still be there.

I suddenly remembered something that I had forgotten about completely. When Pete and I were playing here we pretended to get married. We both had big dreams, as well as imaginations that only little kids can have. We both had always wanted to have our names carved into a tree, so we attempted it.

I was looking for the tree where we had carved our names into, but I couldn't find it, the bush had grown so much thicker than what I remembered.

Then I saw it.

The tree with our initials.

It was there.

But it had been crossed out viciously.

My heart sank. It was so cute when we had written it though we had no idea what it even meant. It would have been something I would have wanted to hang onto for the rest of my life. True friendship.

I knew that this was the handiwork of the kidnappers, to twist the dagger that they had already stabbed me with. I wanted to cry but I knew I will not. Putting on a brave face I walked back to the tree house and without any hesitation or second thoughts I walked in the direction that I had remembered. I knew I could not get the whole way by memory. But it was worth a shot.

Jake and Hayley were following me though they were hesitant. I briskly walked up to where I could remember. I realised I was lost. I looked around me and only saw trees, bush and more trees and bush. I wanted to give up, to yell out in defeat to my kidnappers and let them know that they've won. Whatever trick they were playing on me was cruel and mean. I could not cope any longer.

I let the tears that were burning behind my eyelids out and they came streaming down my cheeks. I sank onto the ground in defeat. Hayley was with me as soon as I gave in, and she caught me in her arms in a friendship embrace - something only a true friend could do.

My mind was running wild and I did not want to get up. I did not want to go any further. But the thought of Megan, the girl who had done so much for me, in pain gave me the courage to keep going. Again the pain filled my body as the thought of her screaming through the speakers of the recorder came back to me.

I had to find Megan.

I had to find Pete.

I had to solve everything and restore everyone's life that I've been screwing up because of this.

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