I walked around the halls looking for him, I just didn’t want him to be late, or even worse, signed out. Matt was nowhere in sight, but his best friend, Sam, was at his locker.
”Hey, Sam? Have you seen Matt anywhere?” I asked.
”No sorry,” He replied, ”but I did see him near the cafeteria a while ago.”
I nodded and ran over to the cafeteria, where the 8th graders were eating right now. Still, Matt was nowhere to be found. I finally gave up after 2 minutes of looking because I didn’t want to be late for P.E.
”Hey, Lauren?” Sam exclaimed.
”Yeah? Hurry I’m gonna be late.”
”I’ll try messaging Matt later, okay?”
”Sure, see ya!” I said as I ran to the gym.
The bell rang as soon as I got in there and I quickly ran to get changed. Only a few people were in the girls’ locker room, but I still made it out before them.
”Ms.Lauren, may I speak to you for a second?” Mrs.Gren asked.
”Yeah, whatcha need?”
”I was wondering if you’d be able to stay after class and help me clean up because we’re doing a lot today and I won’t be able to clean it all up by myself.”
”Of course! I’d be glad too.”
She smiled and went to take attendance.
Joshua, my ex-best friend, was right next to me. Every single time he’s near me, he starts talking for no reason and then gets me in trouble when I tell him to stop. He started talking as soon as I got to my spot, but I didn’t talk to him which made him really mad.
Mrs.Gren smiled at me as she took attendance of my row, and I smiled back. Joshua made a disgusted face at me as I turned back around. He was so annoying, and I just wish I didn’t have any classes with him.
”You’re such a teacher’s pet, Lauren.” He cringed, ”Mrs.Gren isn’t even that nice.”
”Get lost, Joshua.” I rolled my eyes.
The lights suddenly went out as we fought. Everyone looked at the double doors at the front; they were open. Mrs.Kim, the electrician, walked into the room and went to the power box. Mrs.Gren also walked in, but to get the stuff out for today’s lesson. As soon as the lights went on, everyone started talking again.
”Okay, everyone!” Mrs.Gren exclaimed, ”Time for class.”
We all sat on the bleachers and waited for her to get everything out, which she did pretty quickly.
”This lesson will be about basketball.” She started.
Half of the class groaned as they slumped down in their seats.
”Calm down guys, it’s a short lesson. We will be getting into groups of 3 for practicing our passes. Get your groups!”
Everyone rushed around the class picking their partners, but I just waited for someone to choose me. Sam and Howie were the first people to come up to me, so I joined their group.
As half of the class went by, I started to think of what could’ve happened to Matt. Was he signed out? Did he go to the counselor’s office? Nobody knew exactly what happened, but I quit thinking about it.
~3:05 pm, Lauren’s bus stop~
I got off the bus and started walking to my house until I saw a sign on a pole. I looked at it and my eyes started to water. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Was I dreaming? I pinched myself, but nothing happened. My eyes filled with tears as I stared at the sign. Matt was missing.
”Missing Child.” The sign read, ”Name: Matthew Albert Long, Age: 12 (10/12/06), Last seen: Portage Central Middle School, Reward: $10,000.”
I ran to my house and into my room. Matt couldn’t be gone, not on my watch. I went onto my phone and the first thing I see is an amber alert about Matt. This couldn’t be real. I sat in my room pondering about everything. Tears spilled from my eyes as I laid down on my bed.
“Lauren?” My mom asked. “Are you okay, honey?”
“Yeah, mom.” I cried.
“You don’t sound okay.”
“Just go away, mom!” I screamed.
Her footsteps disappeared as I cried into my pillow. Matt was my best friend and I couldn’t lose him. My vision went blurry as I cried myself to sleep.
~3:42 am, Lauren’s bedroom~
I woke up with tears in my eyes as I checked my clock; it was 3 am. I still haven’t done my homework and I didn’t even eat dinner yesterday. I slowly got out of bed and went to my backpack to grab my math homework. My diary appeared once I pulled out my notebook, so I grabbed that too and sat on my bed.
“Dear Diary, ” My diary read, “Matt and I actually had to hold hands in class for a start of the school year activity. I blushed the whole time and I think Matt might’ve seen me. I really hope he didn’t. Until next time, Lauren.”
I cried as I closed my diary and started to do my homework. My tears soaked the paper as I wrote. I can’t believe that Matt is missing. Of course, it was on the day that he saved me from Heather, it just had to be this day. There were so many things I wanted to tell him, but now I can’t.
I’ve got to go look for Matt, no matter what I do. I slowly crept around my room grabbing my clothes, phone, charger, headphones, diary, and everything I needed to survive in the city. Once my bag was almost full, I went downstairs to the kitchen to get food and water. Right before I walked out the door, I saw something. The picture of Matt and I when we were holding hands when we were little. My eyes watered before I grabbed the photo and ran out the front door. The door slammed behind me as I turned to see my neighbor, Maddi.
“What’re you doing up so early, Tooley?” She asked, “It’s 4 am!”
I stood there in shock. Why was she up too?
“Why’re you up?” I replied hesitantly.
“I asked first.”
“Ugh, I’m just getting some air. I was doing my morning exercises.” I lied.
“I thought you did those around 5:30.”
“Nope! I made it earlier so I have time to get ready for school.”
“Oh, good idea. Well, I’m headed back inside. Bye Tooley.”
I waved as she went towards her door.
“Wait! I yelled.
“I’m not working out. Matt is missing and I’m looking for him.”
Maddi was shocked. Sister shook.
“And I want you to help me look for him.”
“Of course I’ll help!” She exclaimed, “Let me get everything I need.”
I waited for her to get everything she needed, and she only took a few minutes because she grabbed everything that I grabbed. We started to run down the sidewalk until we saw an old, unused bakery. Surprisingly, the door was unlocked, so we went in. Maddi looked around for the keys while I made sure nobody tried to come in. After a while, Maddi found the keys by the cash register, so she locked the door and put the blinds down. We had to make sure nobody saw us.
Maddi kept trying to open the register, but she couldn’t get any of the keys to work. I suddenly heard a click and Maddi’s face glow with happiness. I walked over to see what was there. There was money in it. I laughed in amazement.
“Look at this!” Maddi exclaimed. “There’s still money in here!”
I was amazed. I thought the old workers would’ve taken the money, but they didn’t!
“How much is there?” Maddi asked.
~A few minutes later, Johnson’s (now abandoned) Bakery~
There were 363.75 freaking dollars!
“I can’t believe they didn’t take this! They would’ve had quite a lot of money.” I questioned as I recounted the money.
We both cheered as we went to look around the bakery. The whole place was empty, and everything still worked! Lights, ovens, Roomba, everything!
COUGH! We jumped as we heard a sound coming from one of the storage rooms. I bravely opened the door slowly and turned on the lights as quickly as possible.
“AAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!” Some random person screamed.
I grabbed a knife from the table as the man backed up.
“Who are you?” Maddi ordered.
He pointed to his shirt which had a name tag. His name was Jack; he must’ve been an old worker.
“Why’re you here?” I raged.
That man wasn’t supposed to be here. This place has been abandoned for a few years, about 6 actually.
“I used to work here!” Jack shrieked. “I’ve been trapped in here for a few years now, I’ve been lasting off the food and chocolate muffins.” He bit into one as he spoke.
Maddi and I looked at each other before I said, “The door was open, don’t lie to us. Get out before I call the police.”
“Why shouldn’t you get out? You don’t own this place either!”
“We are the grandkids of Johnathan. He gave us the place in his will.”
“Crap…” He mumbled as he got up with his muffin and left.
The bell above the door cracked a bit as he left the store. Maddi and I looked around the place for a secret area or anything they haven’t seen yet, which I found a weird slit underneath one of the moving tables in the kitchen. I pushed the table over to see a trapdoor, waiting to be opened with a key.
“Maddi! Bring the keys to the kitchen!” I beamed as I stood up.
Maddi came running in and saw the trapdoor, put the key in, and opened it all the way. There were stairs going down into a basement, and it had a lot of cobwebs.
“Ew.” Maddi cringed.
I coughed as I opened the door at the bottom. It was full of food and supplies. Surprisingly, there was a bed in the corner, more like a couch though; very springy.
We both laid down and fell asleep right after.
~2 pm, Johnathan’s Bakery~
I got up to see Maddi still asleep right next to me. Neither of us had breakfast, so I decided to go upstairs and make some. The eggs, bacon, and sausages were in the fridge, which also had a bunch of different things that we could use for dinner. I continued to make our breakfast until Maddi came up the stairs, and then she helped me with it. Once it was done, we sat at one of the tables in front of the bakery.
“Where do you think Matt could be?” Maddi asked.
“I don’t know,” I replied, “but I hope we find him soon.”
Maddi nodded as we finished our breakfast.
“Wanna go buy some things from the mall so we can actually start this business again? We could get more money which we could find Matt with.”
“That’s smart! I’ll go get $50 to spend.”
I grabbed the money and went to go out the front door with Maddi. I realized I forgot the keys downstairs, so I went to go get them. I looked everywhere for them, but couldn’t see them.
“Found them.” I thought to myself.
Right as I turned around, I heard something coming from under the bed. It sounded like muffled screams. I looked under our bed to see another trap door. What was under there.
“Hurry up!” Maddi yelled.
“Just a minute!”
I opened the hatch and went down the ladder. It was pitch black except for the light coming from upstairs. I turned on the ceiling light.
It was Matt…