Let’s see…...Adam is in my class, but where’s Cresh? I thought we all signed up for the same things. Design, math, and computer science. I looked through the rest of the list. Cresh was nowhere to be seen. I frowned. Had he moved without telling me? If so, where did he go? Me, Adam, and Cresh had been the best of friends since kindergarten, and I couldn’t go to college without one of them. We had promised each other to take classes with each one of our favorite subjects, so without him, the friendship triangle just couldn’t be completed.
I’m Tanner, and I can’t talk or make a noise. Over my mouth seemed to be an invisible tape. The rest of my body worked normally, but my mouth just couldn’t function. I wanted to ask Adam about Cresh with sign language, but he didn’t know any. Usually Cresh was the translator, having a mom who was deaf. I was stuck in a room with no way in and no way out. This is my world. One that I didn’t like very much.
I decided to ask Adam over text. This would be the only way to communicate now. Until we find Cresh. It was a miracle for us to be such close friends without ever saying a word. I met Adam under our meeting space. An oak tree. This is where the three of us met, right after I got bullied by a second grader on the bus. Memories were important. I was a pretty tall figure, standing 180 centimeters tall with an athletic build. Adam was even taller. Though he was only sticks and bones, he is an even taller guy. 195 centimeters! Imagine a friend that tall! Cresh was a short math whiz, calculating everything in his head within seconds though he sounds like a nerd, he actually is quite outgoing. I was such a lucky guy to have these awesome friends.
We sat down on parallel sides of the thick stump. I got out my phone.
“Hey dude! Have you seen Cresh anywhere?” I typed with flying figures. I haven’t for a while and was getting frantic about the situation. Great way to spend the last days in the old neighborhood. “No.” “When was the last time you saw him?” I asked him through my phone, nearly panicking. “At his house. He was chatting with this online girlfriend thing.” He went on typing. I watched the word bubble filling with words. What were they talking about? “They were talking about how cute each other was and Cresh offered her a forty-grand dollar necklace from Cartier. The mystery girl said no and that she preferred cigarettes. Then Cresh told me to leave so he could have some alone time. Haven’t seen him since then.”
Something about that talk back and forth made me think something was really, really wrong. I needed to get to him. Before he disappears forever. I went on Snapchat, looking to see if he had his tracking thing on. He did. Huntington beach, California. We lived in Texas! San Antonio Texas! How did he get there! I sent him a message. Immediately the tracking location was turned off. This wasn’t him! He never does that! Now I was more sure than ever that he was in trouble.
The next day, we set off to work. Adam did the talking, while I used sign language for the deaf and muted. We walked around the neighborhood, asking if anyone had seen him. No one did. Even his mom had only found a missing bed. I was now holding back tears. I’ve only done this twice in my memory, which was when my dad died and now. That night, I decided to go to California the next day.
Cresh’s mom drew me and Adam to Huntington the next day. Nothing looked out of order. Youtubers filming, dogs walking, people eating, nothing looked wrong. As I looked closer, I noticed something weird. Every store was open around it, but a grey shelter looked deserted, everyone avoiding it. This had to be it. I opened the door and looked around. The shop was covered in dust, whatever it once sold was now coated with grime. Then, I smelt smoke. It didn’t look like this small store would have a stove, so it had to be someone smoking.
We walked into the back of the space. There, we found Cresh, sitting next to a girl. They were both smoking, and the only difference was Cresh was now wearing different clothes, baggy ones, with the pants halfway pulled down, and uncountable tattoos. Who was this girl? I used sign language to ask him, but it seemed like he was controlled. He wouldn’t meet my eye or look at either of the three to come find him. Probably because the gal beside him was holding a gun. This had to be the worst way to get someone you like to like you back. Blackmail. Cresh looked chill, leaning against the wall. I texted Adam.
“Who is she? How do we stop her?” “Bro, I don’t know who this girl is, and I don’t know how to stop her.” “I have an idea. Let’s pretend to call the cops and see if she leaves. It works all the time on Youtube.” Luckily, Adam’s second dream is to become an actress if he doesn’t end up in computer science. “911……..Hello? This is Adam Gref from Criftall High School, and I need to report a case in Huntington Beach, California. Our friend Cresh got kidnapped by a psycho and we need you to come immediately. What? You’ll be here in a few seconds? Okay, we will. Alright. Bye.” I low-fived him behind our back.
The girl heard the call but didn’t seem to care. We were out of luck. I was about to sit down when the cops actually came. I looked at Adam. He smiled an angelic smile. So he wasn’t pretending. He really did call the cops. Three policemen ran into the back of the store. “All weapons down and no one will be harmed.” said the first policeman. The kidnapper dropped her gun with a clink. “You still have something.” She reached into her pocket and threw down a pocket knife. “Put your hands up!” She did as told. Cresh’s mom just stood there the whole time, looking at the scene.
The officers circled the woman cautiously, looking to see if she had any more weapons, then handcuffed her behind her back. She blew her bangs up with a powerful breath, her eyebrows frowned. She murmured something about how she could’ve killed him already, but the cops stopped her. “You have the right to remain silent. Everything you say will be used against you.” They guided her to the front of the shop and pushed her inside the car. Cresh ran to his mom and hugged her. She used sign language to ask him why he did that, but he never answered. I guess we would never know the answer.
This was the most exciting part of the last few days before college. Cresh is still tatted up, and he won’t go anywhere without us two around. I guess that adventure has left a dark hole. We managed to enroll him in the same class, thanks to some kind people that backed out for him. We had saved a life, and Cresh was back to normal. No secrets.