I walked around my room, looking for my diary. I was going to write about Matt. My room was dark, as it was 2 am. My diary just had to be black with nothing on the outside. I finally found it after about 10 minutes of looking around, I opened it to page 37 and started to write.
“Dear Diary,” I started. “Matt sat by me at lunch today. He was super kind as usual. I really hope that we can be together someday. Love, Lauren”
I closed my diary and started to think about what would happen tomorrow at school. Would he sit by me again? Could we ever be together? All of these thoughts filled my head as I laid in my bed. The clock ticked as I stared at it. It was going to be a long night.
~7 am, Lauren’s bedroom~
I woke up and looked at the clock, it was 7. My light was already on from my mom, so I got up and went downstairs to eat my breakfast. Bagels were my favorite, so I had them again today. I checked the fridge to see that there wasn’t any milk left, so I added it to the shopping list for my dad.
My mom walked in the door as I finished my bagel.
“Hey sweetie, I’ll be driving you to school in 20 minutes.” She chirped.
I went back up to my room and grabbed all of my things, including my diary, and put them in my backpack. The school was super close to my house, it was only about a 5-minute drive from my house to the school. I grabbed my backpack and headed downstairs to watch some TV. I loved the ID channel, all the mysteries and crimes happening were suspenseful.
“Time to go Lauren.” My mom shouted.
“Coming mother” I replied.
She hated being called mother. It was fun to say though.
I got into the car and buckled my seatbelt.
“I can’t believe you’re getting your drivers license in 3 years! You’re getting so old!”
“I’m not that old mom.” I rolled my eyes. “I’m only 13, you’re 38. You’re the old one.”
She scoffed at me and we continued driving in silence. As we pulled up to the school, I see Matt walking inside. I run out of the car and catch up with him. We talked about our homework and walked into school.
“What did you get for number 28?” I asked.
“I got 3.95306. What about you?”
“Same here, it was pretty easy for what we usually do.”
He nodded as we came up to the hall where my locker was. I waved him goodbye and headed over to my locker. The 3 girls named Heather, Faith, and Raegan were there. They were the meanest girls in the school, as well as the dumbest, but people don’t add that part. Heather walked over to me and popped the gum bubble in my face.
“What’re you doing with Matt, huh? Trying to take my man?” She asked seriously. “Well, it’s not gonna be that easy, I bite.”
I rolled my eyes at her and continued minding my own business.
“Speak up idiot.” She yelled.
I looked up at her and said, “I think you’re the idiot Heather, look at your grades. Am I dumb? No. I have a 4.0 GPA and I’m the best student in the school. Think again” I slammed my locker and went to my first class as she stared at me.
I stopped walking and turned around to say, “Oh yeah, Matt doesn’t like you, he told me everything.”
I smiled and started walking again. Footsteps started to come from behind me, they got louder until, SMACK! Heather slapped me right in the face. It stung badly. I turned around to see Heather breathing hard in my face. Matt was behind her, so I ran to him.
“Heather!” Matt shouted.
Heather turned around victoriously and realized who was in front of her. She frowned instantly.
“Matty, it’s not what you think. She hit me first.” She lied.
“That’s a lie, Heather, and we all know that”
Heather didn’t know what to do except to cry. She cried as she had just witnessed Matt get murdered.
“Heather, I’ve never liked you. You’ve done too much for me to even go near you. Spreading rumors, hurting others, and lying straight to my face. I’m done with you.” Matt shouted as the bell rang.
“Well, you both are late now.” She said angrily. “I’m telling my daddy, which he’s the principal.”
Matt and I rolled our eyes as we headed to our class. Halfway there, we realized I had a red mark on my face, so we decided to head to the office instead. We knew we could get her suspended for hitting me. The principal was always in his office, so we could easily tell him anything.
We opened the door to his office and sat down in the chairs.
”What do you need- oh my gosh, what happened to your face?” He asked worriedly.
”Your daughter slapped her, I watched the whole thing.” Matt replied.
He was shocked to hear this, ”Let me check the cameras”
As he checked the cameras, Matt got an ice pack for my face. It stung more than it did before.
”Wow, I guess my daughter has been more rebellious lately. Thank you guys for telling me, and I’m so sorry about what she did to you, Lauren. I’ll make sure to suspend her for a few weeks.”
I smiled, ”Thanks Mr.Dens.”
He nodded and handed Matt and me a late pass. We went out of the door and we headed to our class.
The door was locked, as usual, so we had to have our friend Jeff open it for us. We handed our slips to the teacher and sat in our seats, my ice pack still on my face. I realized everyone was staring at me.
”Lauren? What happened in the hall?” one said. ”Did Heather really slap you?” said another.
I rolled my eyes and focused on the work at hand, listening to the teacher. Math was the hardest subject in my opinion, so I had to pay a lot of attention.
”Lauren? Are you ok?” my friend Kiliegh asked me.
”Yeah, I’ll explain at lunch.” I replied.
She continued her work and waited until the bell rang to ask me more questions.
“So, what happened? You look hurt.” Kiliegh said worriedly.
“Yeah, Heather slapped me in the halls today. All because I was talking to Matt.” I replied. “She doesn’t understand what life is about.”
Kiliegh nodded as she turned the corner to go to her next class. I had another class with Matt which was great. Matt was right in front of me, so I caught up with him and walked with him to Spanish. It turns out that we both have been to Spain before!
“Spain was awesome! The food was delicious!” Matt exclaimed.
“Yeah, especially the restaurant right across from the museum!” I agreed.
He laughed, “I didn’t like that restaurant that much, but I can tell you did!”
I smiled as I opened the door and went into class, he followed right behind me.
~8:50 am, Mr.Smith’s class~
I was reading when I noticed how dark it was outside, still. It hasn’t been this dark in a week! Including that its spring. I looked out the window and watched for a bit. I saw small shadows of squirrels from the school lights, and I also saw a small white dot; it looked very strange for how dark it was.
“Lauren, pay attention to class,” Mr.Smith shouted.
“Sorry, Mr.Smith,” I replied.
He nodded and I continued reading my Spanish book for the rest of class until Matt tapped me on the shoulder.
“What’s that outside?” He asked.
“I don’t know! It looks kinda like a car light.” I replied.
“Yeah, probably. I’ll stop bugging you now.” He smiled.
I laughed and looked back at my book.
~9:10 am, Mr.Smith’s Class~
I looked up from my paper to see Matt asking the teacher something, but he was probably asking to get something from his locker as usual. Matt walked out the door with his pass as he disappeared around the corner.
“Okay everyone, time to turn in your essay for the end of the quarter.” Mr.Smith exclaimed, “You may now get your stuff for our next lesson.”
I bent down to grab my Spanish notebook and pencil when I saw that my pencil rolled over to Katie’s desk. I got up, grabbed my pencil, and went back to my seat.
Mr.Smith explained the next lesson carefully as we all listened to him. It took the rest of the class to explain it for tomorrow, and Matt still hadn’t come back to the classroom.
I walked out the door as the bell rang to see that Matt was nowhere near his locker or the boys’ bathroom.
Matt was missing…
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…
WARNING! THIS PART WILL HAVE SOME GORE
“Matt!” I screamed.
I heard footsteps coming downstairs, probably Maddi.
“Maddi! Under the bed!”
She came down the ladder and was in shock. Matt looked horrified. There was nothing I wanted more than to save him. We quickly untied him and got him some food. He probably hasn’t eaten since.
“Lauren!” Matt exclaimed. “How did you find me?”
“We looked around for quite some time, and then we came across this place,” Maddi replied.
“Well, you might want to be careful, that guy could be anywhere.”
“What guy?” I asked.
“The guy that kidnapped me. He owned this place before he got arrested than one time, so he lost the business.”
I know who he’s talking about…
“Come on, let’s go.” Matt cheered as we follow him up the ladder.
Suddenly, he fell and the trapdoor slammed closed. Did Matt accidentally close on us?
HELP! Matt needed help, now!
We climbed as quick as we could up the ladder, the door was locked. We were trapped.
“Maddi, what do we do?!” I cried.
Maddi sat down as she started to cry; neither of us wanted to be trapped like Matt was.
~Matt’s POV, 2:21pm, ???~
I slowly opened my eyes to see pitch black. Where was I?
”Hello?!” I shouted.
”Shut up.” Someone said. ”Your friends can’t save you now.”
”Yes, they can! They’ve found me before, and they can find me again. They’re smarter than you, you idiot.”
”I said, shut up!” The man said as he pierced something into my skin, ”You’re not going to ever be seen again.”
I winced in pain. I didn’t know what to do. The man ripped the bag off my head; there was a cut on my leg. It was bleeding a lot more than I thought it would.
He laughed slowly as he started to open a door in front of me. It had a light, and it was the only possible way I could escape. My legs and arms were tied up though, so I can’t just get up and escape. There was no other way though. I had to somehow get the ropes off of me.
My leg was covered in blood, and I started to feel light-headed. I started to close my eyes, and I passed out.
~Lauren’s POV, 4:50 pm, Jonathan’s Bakery~
We’re still trapped in the bakery and I don’t know what to do. Maddi and I just sat on the floor thinking of ways to escape. I then got an idea.
“Maddi! I got it!” I chirped. “You see that crack? I see light through it!”
Maddi looked over to see that I was right, there was light coming through the crack in the corner. She quickly ran over to the corner and looked through the hole, people were all over.
“Help!” She yelled through the crack.
Someone looked over to hear Maddi screaming. He looked around for a while until they saw the crack on the wall.
“Are you ok? Are you trapped?” He asked calmly.
“No! We’re trapped! Someone named Jack trapped us and took our friend!” Maddi screamed.
“Don’t worry, I’ll get the police to get you out.” He said as he ran to the police station nearby.
As he ran, we looked around for objects to escape with. There was literally nothing in here that we could use to escape. Matt probably needed us, but we can’t save him now because we don’t know where he is, and we don’t know if he’s escaped without our help. He was important to me and now he was gone.
“Girls? Are you ok in there?” A woman asked from the crack. It was probably the police officer.
“No! Our friend was kidnapped! We found him in here, but Jack took him back and trapped us here.” Maddi stated.
“Jack? Do you know his last name?” She asked as we heard fire trucks and ambulances in the background.
“No, but we explain what he looks like once we get out of here,” I added.
The officer nodded as she started talking to the firefighters. Once she came back, the firefighters started to break open the wall. The dust went everywhere, including in my eyes. The concrete suddenly fell and created a hole big enough for Maddi and me to get out.
“Thank you for helping us, ma’am.” Maddi beamed.
The lady nodded as she walked to her police car. The doctors and nurses came over to see if we were ok, which we were. Before they could leave, we both quickly ran around the corner to get away and look for Matt. Logan and Karissa suddenly bumped into us as we turned another corner.
“Oh, sorry guys,” Logan said as he helped us up.
“We didn’t know you guys were going out too!” Karissa chirped.
“Yeah, we were just, um, running to the store to get a snack.” I lied.
“Oh! That’s cool, we are too! Which store?” Karissa chattered.
“The one a few blocks away, it has the candy we want.”
“That sucks, we’re headed to Walmart.”
“Oof, well, see you at school tomorrow!” Maddi added as she grabbed my arm and we started running.
Once Karissa and Logan turned the corner, I stopped Maddi from running any further.
“We should’ve stayed at the bakery! We need to tell them what Jack looks like and we need to get out stuff!” I complained.
“Oh my god, I totally forgot. Let’s run back real quick.”
The bakery wasn’t that far away, and the police were still looking around when we got there. We ran inside and grabbed our bags and of course, the money from the register. We ran back outside and started to tell the officers what Jack looked like.
“Well, he has red hair, freckles, wears glasses.” Maddi started, “He also is about the height as you, and he has bushy eyebrows.” Maddi laughed as she said that.
“Jack had an oval type face shape, maybe a bit like a soft heart, and that’s all I remember.” I interrupted.
“Ok, thank you ladies, that will help us find your friend’s kidnapper quicker.
We both ran around town again and looked for places he could’ve brought Matt, probably not too far.
There was a store, museum, park, and the mall. We decided to stay at the mall for now since it was bigger and we could stay at one of the stores overnight. As we ran in, people started to walk out. We had to act quick so we could find a place to stay at.
“Get your pretzel samples! Get them here!” We heard as we walked by the arcade.
We looked over to see someone holding the samples, so we ran over and tried some. They were cinnamon!
“Mmmm.” Maddi moaned. “These are so good!”
I nodded as we walked around the mall, looking for places to stay at. Once we went down the escalator, we saw a store called Mandarin Gifts, an Asian store full of anime and kpop things! Of course, we found Kenley there. She was hugging a random BTS pillow.
“Hoi guys!” Kenley exclaimed.
We both stared at her as if she was crazy. This is going to be a long night.
~Matt’s POV, 8pm, ???~
My whole body stung as I stared at the blood dripping from my arms. That man wasn’t going to get away with this. He’s not going to kill me.
The door creaked open as I saw him come back in.
“G-Get away from me, you’re not going t-to kill me.” I stuttered.
“You think I’m going to listen to you?” Jack laughed. “Well, you’re wrong little guy.”
“I said, get away from me. You’re going to get caught.”
He chuckled as he turned around to grab something. “I’m not going to kill you, I’m just going to hurt you. Badly.”
My mouth was covered by duct tape as I tried to yell at him. My friends had to save me again, I know they will.
Jack pulled out his knife as he put the duct tape away. He wasn’t going to do this again, not on my watch.
Right before he stabbed my leg, I pushed the chair over so that I fell. He tripped over my leg and hit his head on my chair; he went unconscious. Yes! My chance to try to untie myself. I looked around for the closest sharp edge, it was right by my arms.
“Come on rope, cut,” I mumbled.
As the rope started to finally cut a bit, I felt a sharp pain in my leg; the man woke up. My legs started to bleed more than they already were, and I got light headed again. Before my eyes fully closed, I saw the man sit down, twirling the knife in his fingers. My vision went dark as he came closer to me.
The grandfather clock chimes woke me up from my slumber. I didn’t know what I was going to do. My eyes started to water, for I knew what was going to happen to me. That man was going to kill me. I had no choice on what to do. He kidnapped me and has stabbed me and cut me many times. I was going to die of blood loss soon.
“Hey, kid.” He started as he walked through the door.
“Don’t even talk to me,” I grumbled.
“Look, I’m gonna make a deal with you. Either I take your friends and you’re set free, or I take you and your friends are safe.”
It was a lie. I knew it.
“That’s a lie. None of us are going to be safe with you.”
“It’s not a lie. You have one chance to answer.”
I was still really suspicious, but what if he wasn’t lying? I knew what to chose.
~Lauren’s POV, 5:10 am, Mandarin Gifts~
Well, it turns out there was a small cot in the back of Mandarin Gifts, so we stayed there. It was pretty big for such a small storage area. Once I woke up, Maddi and I looked around the mall, the doors to Mandarin Gifts were left open for some reason. I looked around the mall for the coffee joint until I came across Auntie Anne’s pretzel place.
I went over the counter and started to warm up some pretzels for us. While they were in the microwave, I ran down the powered off escalators and ran over to Gloria Jean’s Gourmet Coffee. They had really good coffee for a mall. I went around the counter and started to turn on all of the machines. As I started to make my tea, I called Maddi to see if she was awake, and to ask what she wanted. The Maddi answered as my tea finished brewing.
“What is it? I’m trying to sleep.” Maddi asked grouchily.
“What do you want from the coffee place? I got myself from tea.”
“Oh, I’ll get some frappuccino”
“Ok, I’ll be back in a sec,” I replied as I hung up.
I started to brew her drink as I realized what time it was. The store opened at 10 and it was only 5:16. I was surprised at how early it was.
Maddi’s frappuccino finished as I grabbed some straws. I headed up the escalators and back to Auntie Anne’s to get our pretzels. As I headed into the cot, I saw Maddi looking at some random snacks.
“I bet these taste good.” She said as she showed me some green tea pocky.
“Bet. Kenley said they tasted bad, and she likes a lot of things that I do.” I chuckled.
She shrugged and put them back on the shelf.
We turned around as we drank our coffee and tea to see someone standing there. It was Jack.
“What are you doing here?” I asked angrily.
“Let’s make a deal” He grinned creepily…
“What do you mean?” I asked. “You took Matt from us and locked us up, we’re not going to trust you.”
“Matt trusted me, and I did what he wanted.” He smiled.
Maddi and I looked at each other and turned back to Jack.
“Fine, what is it?” Maddi asked.
“If I let Matt go, you guys can’t hang out with him, and if you hang out with him, I’m gonna kill both of you.”
My jaw dropped as I listened to what he said.
“I can also kill your other friends if I have to.”
“Ok, but what do we get from this?” I yelled.
“You get to have Matt set free, but I get to take control of him.”
“That is so unfair!”
“Go away, nobody wants you here,” Maddi interjected.
“Nobody wanted you here either, Maddi.”
She rolled her eyes as she turned around and went back into the cot.
“Now you, Lauren. I know that you like Matt, but you can’t like him anymore.”
“Why not? You can’t control me.”
“Or can I?” He grinned.
He turned around and he motioned for someone to come. Someone brought Matt over with duct tape on his mouth. The man bringing him over seemed very suspicious. Probably older than Jack too!
“You see Matt? I already gave him his part of the deal, but he may not talk to you. If you chose the other side of the deal, which is talking to him, I’m going to kill him.”
“That’s still unfair!” Maddi complained.
Jacked laughed as he walked away from the store and out of the mall.
~10:30, Auntie Anne’s Pretzels~
Maddi and I started to get hungry again, so we sat and ate our pretzels from Auntie Anne’s.
“Lauren? Is that you?” Someone asked from behind the counter.
I looked to see my mom’s best friend, Addie.
“Addie! It’s nice to see you on a Sunday!” I groused.
“Be kind to your aunt.” She frowned.
She wasn’t actually my aunt though, just a really close friend to my mother.
“Sorry, I’m just a little tired.”
“It’s ok, I’m gonna text your mom and tell her I saw you guys.”
“NO!” I shouted. “She’s, um, working right now. You don’t want to disturb her.”
“True, I’ll let her work”
I sighed as I took the last bite of my pretzel and walked away with Maddi.
“Tooley?” She asked.
“How did Jack know our names? Did Matt tell him?”
“I didn’t hear him say our names.”
“He said my name at least, I don’t know about yours.”
I thought about it as we walked, but I still didn’t remember him saying her name. Matt was the only thing I was concerned about right now, he was hurt.
“How did he even find us?”
“I don’t know, but let’s just stay here for a few more days”
Maddi nodded as we headed over to Mandarin Gifts again. Kenley was there again and this time she was staring at anime posters; hugging the BTS pillow again.
Somehow, she didn’t notice us going by the store, so we decided to look for a different place to go to. We looked around for a few minutes until we found Hot Topic. Maddi looked at clothes while I looked around for a place that we could stay in. I didn’t find any so I went over to Maddi.
“Why don’t we go to that bed store?” I asked. “We could hide under one of them.”
“Sure, isn’t it Kohls?” She replied.
“I think so if we’re wrong, we’ll just have to look for it.”
Maddi nodded as she grabbed the clothes she was getting and headed to the register. The lady scanned everything and got a total of $132.94. I looked at Maddi. We only had about $500 and she spent quite a bit of it.
We headed out of Hot Topic and looked for Kohls. I saw Addie as we passed by, she waved as we went to the other side of the mall. Maddi suddenly jumped as she looked down to the first floor of the mall.
“T-Tooley… Is that, your mom?” She asked worriedly.
I looked down to see that she was right. My mom had come to the mall. I didn’t block her number, but I did turn off notifications, so I couldn’t see them.
I grabbed my phone and went to my mom’s messages. She had messaged me over 100 times, asking where I was. I didn’t want her to be worried, but I didn’t want her to get mad at me for running away to help Matt. Matt means way more to me than my mom does.
I grabbed Maddi’s arm and started running towards Kohls. We ran in and started looking for the beds. They were nowhere to be found, so we had to go to the first floor. My mom was on the first floor and I didn’t want to go down, but we had to. As soon as we went down the escalator, I saw the beds. I ran the first bed I saw that had openings at the bottom. I opened it up and crawled in.
“Maddi! Get in here!” I whisper yelled.
She crawled in as quick as she could and closed the little door. We lay down and Maddi continued to drink the lemonade that she got from Auntie Anne’s. I rolled my eyes as I lay there. We had to get out to buy some food though, so Maddi left her lemonade there and we headed for Auntie Anne’s again. I looked around for Addie, she was nowhere in sight, so we ordered 10 pretzels, 5 for each of us.
“Why so many?” The man behind the counter asked.
“Oh, we’re having a mini party at the coffee joint,” Maddi replied.
The man shrugged as he started warming up our pretzels. We forgot to mention our drinks, so we told him as he put the last pretzel in the oven/microwave.
The man handed us everything in a box and we started to head back to Kohls.
“Lauren? Shouldn’t we find a new place to stay? Jack knows where we are now.” Maddi asked.
“Not just yet, we don’t know where he is, and I want to follow him next time he comes.”
Maddi stayed quiet as we walked back to the bed. She looked sad as well.
“Maddi, what’s wrong?” I asked.
She stayed quiet as she crawled into the bed. She didn’t seem okay.
“Listen to me, Maddi. What’s wrong?”
“I want to choose somewhere else to go to. I also want to see our friends again.” She replied angrily.
“We’ll leave once we find Matt, I told you this.”
“What if he doesn’t make it? He could be dead for all we know. Just because you like him doesn’t mean he likes you back, Lauren.”
“He does, Maddi. I’ve told you this. Many different times. You just never listen to me. I care for you and you know that. Every single time we hang out, I tell you how I feel about Matt. I guess you just don’t care. You can go ahead and leave, Maddi, since you don’t like me anymore.” I cried.
A single tear fell from my eye as she came out from under the bed. She looked at me slightly and started to walk away.
“Goodbye, Tools.” She said as she stopped in place; she continued to walk away.
Maddi had taken all of the money, but I needed it. Her family already has a lot of money, but mine doesn’t.
She left her phone though, and she has to use the map to get home. Without it, she’ll get lost. I grabbed her phone from off the bed and went to her messages. Her mother was at the top, so I decided to message her.
“Hey, mom.” I typed, “This is the last messages I will ever send you, or anyone else. Send this to everyone else for me, please. I am committing suicide today and nobody can stop me. Don’t try to look for me either because I’ll already be dead. Thank you for reading this, mom. Just remember that I love you more than you could ever imagine. Goodbye.”
I sent the message and put her phone in my back pocket, keeping it on vibrate so I can feel her answering the message. Maddi’s phone started to vibrate like crazy. Her mom was answering quite a lot. I grinned as I crawled under our bed- I mean, my bed.
I started to think about where Maddi could’ve gone. Maybe to the Starbucks across the street, somehow found her house, got lost in the middle of nowhere! All these possibilities, but I still have to find Matt. He had to be somewhere around here for Jack to have found us.
I ran out of the mall and ran towards to Starbucks across the street. Maddi had money on her apple pay, so I had to use it before she did. I went to the counter and asked for a mocha latte, I just wanted to waste her money so she couldn’t use it. The worker gave me my latte and I sat down at one of the tables to think. When would Maddi realize she left her phone at the mall and come back?
“Ma’am? Sorry, but that’s my seat you’re sitting in.” A man said as he looked at me.
“Oh, sorry. I’ll move if you’d like.” I replied.
”No, I’ll sit in the other seat across the table. Did you not see my jacket on the seat?”
”Oh, no, I’m sorry.” I blushed.
The boy sat down in his seat and looked up, ”I’m Micah.”
We shook hands as he sipped his tea. He asked me some questions about how my day was going and how old I was. Micah was actually 13, just very proper.
”Yeah, my dad is pretty rich, so he teaches me to speak super proper to show it off. I usually don’t talk proper, but I do sometimes.”
”I can tell.” I laughed.
We started to talk about how we came upon our friends.
”Oh, well I don’t have many friends. They all think I’m a preppy rich kid.” Micah exclaimed.
“I just lost my best friend today, I’d rather not say why.”
Micah’s phone started to ring. He took it out of his pocket and looked at his phone.
“Sorry, my mother is calling me. She’s outside right now. Here, have my number. Maybe we can talk again sometime.” He smiled as he walked out the door.
I took the slip of paper and put his number in my phone. Micah was pretty sweet if I say so myself. I got up after finishing my coffee and went to walk out the door. I pulled out my phone and went to text him.
“Hey, Micah. It’s Lauren.” I sent.
He replied back straight away. “Good day, Lauren. I’ll text you in a minute, I’m headed out to eat with my mother.”
I closed his messages and went to my contacts. I haven’t talked to my friend Gwen in a while, so I decided to text her. It was only when I got a message from a random number that I started to cry. It was a picture of Matt.
He was dead…
THE END, FOR NOW
I DO CLAIM COPYRIGHT SO JACK, PAY UP