Chapter One

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"You look like you've been sucking on a lemon. What's wrong?" My friend, Gabby, asked me.

"I could've sworn that I put my math textbook in my backpack before practice." I dumped out my backpack on the floor of the band room to check and shifted through my various granola bars, notebooks, and colored pens only to come up empty.

"Well, we have to go. My mom is making tacos and I'll be damned if I miss that." Her brother had a habit of inhaling his food and not leaving much for anyone else so it wasn't completely out of the question.

"I'll go run to my locker and grab it. It'll only take two seconds." I shoved everything back in my backpack and went off running down the hallway. It was eight at night so there was not a single person around, as per usual after practice. Our instructor liked to work us hard, but we were the best dance team in the state so I wasn't complaining.

I arrived at my locker and found my textbook. I stuffed it in my backpack and turned to run back to Gabby when I bumped into someone and fell on my butt. I also didn't close my backpack back up so my stuff went spilling out onto the floor.

"Ow," I said and stood up rubbing my butt. I looked to see who I ran into and saw that it was Charlie. He was a year older than me but we had the same theatre class. "Hey, what are you doing here so late?" I asked while quickly shoving my stuff back into my bag so I could get back to Gabby.

"Some personal stuff," he answered.

"Nice," I said. I got everything back inside and zipped my bag shut this time. "See you in class," I said and moved to walk by him but he grabbed my arm so tight I could feel his fingers press against my bone.

"I have to go." I tried wiggling out of his grasp but he held on too tight.

"Yeah, about that." He pulled something out of his pocket that suspiciously looked like handcuffs. "I'm really sorry about this, Mia."

He tightened his grip on my arm, which I didn't think was possible and forced me to turn around. I felt a pair of handcuffs tighten around my wrists before he pushed me forward to lead me out of the school and away from the band room.

"Stop! What are you doing?!" I shouted and tried to fight to get away from him. He pressed his hand to my mouth to keep me quiet and wrapped his other arm around my body to keep me from squirming. But I kept squirming and fighting the best I could because I had no idea what was happening. I'll be damned if I get kidnapped or something.

He burst out the back door of the school and dragged me into the parking lot. I was throwing out everything I had to get away, but it seemed almost effortless for him to keep me in line. When we arrived at his car, he opened his trunk and shoved me in. He still held his hand over my mouth and for a moment he just looked at me. I tried to kick him but he used his other hand to grab a roll of duct tape inside the trunk. 

In only a few seconds with little effort on his part, my legs were stuck together and I had a piece of tape over my mouth. I tried to scream at him but it was no use. I was stuck.

He had a strange look on his face. He muttered that he was sorry before shutting me in the darkness. I'm not sure I believe him.

He started up the car and drove off. He wasn't very good because at every stop he slammed on the brakes and I would be thrown forward, only to fly back when he stomped on the gas.

I was in the trunk for a long time. I tried to keep track of the turns and how long it was taking but it was hard because he was driving on some winding roads. Eventually, the pavement turned to gravel and the car stopped. The car door opened and Charlie started heading for the trunk. I struggled at my bindings but they were too tight. 

He opened the trunk and pulled me out. I tried to let my legs go limp so it would be harder for him to hold me, but he picked me up as if I was light as a feather and threw me over his shoulder. I hit at his back and swung my legs around but he was completely unfazed.

"Charlie," someone called from behind us. He turned around and I saw where he was taking me. It was a giant mansion at least two hundred years old based on the architecture and covered in creepy gargoyles doing unspeakable things. "I see you got her."

"It wasn't hard," he said. He turned back around and started taking me back inside the house.

"Are you sure she is a good target?" The guy from before asked. He was closer now, but just because there was two of them didn't mean I wasn't still going to try and getaway.

"As good as the rest of them. She's tried to run away before."

That made me stop. If that was why they were doing this, then that meant they didn't intend to let me go. Ever.

Charlie entered the house and it looked just as traditional and outdated on the inside as it did outside. He went through a door and started to go downstairs into a basement. I tried to see where he was taking me but it was hard to twist around that way. Eventually, he stopped walking and took something out of his pocket. I heard a lock click and a door swing open.

He dumped me in a gated cell then locked the door behind him. I struggled to stand and get off the ground and when I did he reached through the bars and ripped the duct tape off my mouth.

He dumped me in a cage then locked the door behind him. I struggled to stand but couldn't get off the floor. He tossed a key through the bars and it landed right next to my hands. It took a few minutes of maneuvering, but I managed to unlock my hands, take the tape my legs, and free my mouth.

I didn't scream when I took the tape off. I didn't want to give him the satisfaction. Besides, I was in the basement of his house. And the other people here, or at least the one I met, wasn't surprised to see me.

I could scream all I wanted and no one would save me.

"Dick." I spit at him and shuffled toward the back wall of my cage where an old cot was. I sat down and it was damp.

"I told you I was sorry. I'm not happy about it."

"Doesn't change anything." I fought to hold back my tears. I would not let this stupid boy see me cry.

"I know, and I do it for a good cause. But it doesn't mean I like it."

"What kind of good cause requires kidnapping me? Are you in some sort of brainwashing cult?"

"Forget it." He waved goodbye to me over his shoulder as he turned and headed back up the stairs.

Once I was sure I was alone, I let my tears fall.

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