Samantha looked up at the stars. Hoping for some insight. Some direction. She wanted so badly for the universe to show her the way. She saw a glimmer of hope as a shooting star shot across the sky. Samantha held her breath, closed her eyes, and made her plea. Tonight, she would sleep on her decision. She never did make Hasty decisions.
Samantha rose earlier than the sun and knew what she was going to do. She started packing her hiking bag, first aid kit, trail type foods, water bottle, one change of clothes, flashlight, and several other camping essentials. She took one more look in the folder on her bed. Her birth certificate, her adoption papers, a crinkled up torn map, and a few pictures of her mom, dad, and of herself. She closed it up and stuck it in her bag. Samantha took a look around her room. This was the only thing she had ever known as home. But she knew deep down this was never her life. The love she has was so different from her parents. In fact, they couldn’t have cared less about her. How was it Samantha ended up with parents like these? Samantha opened her window and looked around. She looked up to the sky. “Okay shooting star, show me the way”. Nothing appeared, So Samantha grabbed her bag with her small stent attached and started climbing out of the window. Once she was on the lawn, there was a bright flash. With the sun coming up, she knew it wasn’t a thunderstorm. She looked up into the sky to see what it was. In the sky was a star that shines so bright and glimmered so much, it looked as if it was dancing. Samantha put her hand on her chest. “Thank you”, she whispered. She was about to head south towards the city. But the star was guiding her west, right towards the Mountains. All her life she had an urge to visit the mountains. But her parents never let her and instead insisted on how dangerous they were. Samantha reached the entrance of the subdivision. She looked back, and gave a long sigh. She couldn’t decide whether she was going to miss the place or if she was more relieved to be leaving.
Samantha had put several miles behind her when she stopped for a break. She munched on an apple while she rested her feet. She looked at her watch, it was probably at this time her parents were finding her gone and reading her letter. Her letter explained that she would find the truth, and this wasn’t a typical grounded teen running away scenario. She hopped by doing this, they would understand and let her be. Samantha was never one to play dirty, but knowing who her parents were, she wrote in some information that would incriminate them if they were to go to the police with the letter. Eventually all those thoughts drifted away as she took in the sight. Something about the rich blue sky with the big puffy clouds and the mountains were so calming to her. It was so calming in fact, that Samantha ended up nodding off. Then, there was a bright flash of light. It startled her awake and she jumped to her feet ready to defend herself. But nothing and no one was around. Samantha looked up into the sky and saw her star brightly flashing. She knew it was time to go, so she threw on her pack and started heading towards the mountains.
Dark was starting to set in just as Samantha reached the wooded area. She knew that would be a safe area to camp for the night. After she got everything set up, she sat on a log and took her boots off. Samantha had never walked this much before and her feet could tell. As she was eating oats for dinner, something seemed familiar about the trees. Where has she seen a row of trees? She pulled out her folder and took out the map. It was hard to read the worn map, but she could make out the mountain area and this tree line. Samantha stuck the map in her pocket and put everything else away. She decided to head to bed so she could get an early start.
As soon as the sun started to peer through the trees, Samantha got up and started to get a move on. She still didn’t feel safe enough from her parents tracking her. She spent most of the day following the tree line that was close to the mountains. Samantha pulled out the map to check it. She studied the map and then looked at her surroundings. She spotted the cave that seemed to be up a lot further than where she was. According to the map, she was only at the third peak. Samantha decided to take a break. She carefully pulled off her boots and socks. Her feet were really swollen and they started to feel like they have been rubbed raw. She pulled out the map to see how much further it would help guide her. Unfortunately it ended at the cave. After an hour break, Samantha headed towards the cave. She really wanted to push through the next two hills. Dusk was starting to set in and she was afraid that she wasn’t going to make it. And that was going to be her campsite. She knew she would be safe there. Soon, Samantha came across a trail between the mountains. She pulled out her map and there was nothing on it indicating the trail. Samantha sat down and tears rolled down her cheeks. She was tired, her feet hurt, and now she wasn’t sure what to do. She looked up to the sky and asked for guidance. Soon, a very bright star flickered as if it was dancing in the sky. The star danced between the two mountains. Now she was really torn. But the star hadn’t let her down yet. Samantha practically stubbled her way between the mountains. But relief set in when a little more than halfway, there was a cave. She pulled her flashlight out to check it. It was a bit shallow, but was better than nothing. She actually felt safe in the mountains surroundings.
An eco of a rooster sounded through the mountains. She was actually thankful for that as she needed to be up at dawn to continue her journey. And without her map for some guidance, a lot of it would be up to her. Using a mini stove, Samantha heated up some water and poured in some mixed nuts and oatmeal. She needed breakfast to be quick and easy. Samantha rolled her tent up and attached it under her hiking bag and off she went. She made it through the rest of the mountains to see a beautiful valley below her. She was breathless as she took in the sight. And somehow, all of it seemed right. Samantha decided to continue on the rocked path. She sensed it was the right way. Several hours had passed when she came to a split in the road. It was either the rocked path, or a trail in the grass leading into a different direction. She wanted to stay on the main path, She was trying to decide when she saw a star in the sky when she looked out to the left. Samantha knew that was her star, and took the less-traveled path. Around the long bend, and off in the distance, Samantha saw a farm. She was relieved to find a place to rest. As she got closer, she realized the house was on the complete opposite side of the farm. She knew she would be able to relax a little more. On the far side of the barn, was a stack of hay bales. Samantha placed them side by side to make a small bed. She took off her boots that were hurting her feet. They were red, swollen, and she had some blisters. She hoped the cool breeze would help. She tossed her bag under her neck and let herself drift off.
Samantha opened her eyes to find herself in a decorated room. On the table next to the bed was a small plate with a muffin and a glass of orange juice. A note read: You are safe. Please eat. Samantha wanted to devour the whole thing all at once. But she knew it would be best to take small slow bites. The bedroom door was cracked just enough for a little girl to peer in. Samantha didn’t want to frighten the little girl, so she gave her a little finger wave. The little girl snickered and saw that as an invite. She walked right in. “Who are you”? The little voice spoke. “I’m Samantha. Who are you”? “I’m Anna”, the little girl said softly while holding her hands behind her and swaying back and forth. “Common. It’s okay. They’re waiting for you”. Anna held out her hand for Samantha to take. Samantha stood up to find herself in a long flannel shirt, and sweatpants. Samantha leaned down and whispered, “who are they”? “Mommy and Daddy”, Anna said excitedly. Samantha’s hand was too big for Anna to hold, so instead, she led her by holding her pointer finger. They made their way down the hall, then down the stairs. As soon as they reached the family room, Anna ran to the couch and sat next to her mom. Samantha stood there alone, with them looking at her. “Thank you for the snack and letting me rest. I’ll change my clothes and be on my way”. “I hate to tell you this sweety, but you’re not going anywhere with the looks of those feet. I’m Charles by the way. Why don’t you come have a seat and talk”. Samantha walked over to the couch and sat close to the edge as she could get. Samantha asked softly “What happened”?. Charles explained, “The animals were going nuts. And when I came out to check on them, I found you, passed out. Samantha stared down in embarrassment. “Now, this is my wife Maggie. And you have already met our Daughter Ann. Maggie reached her hand out and shook her hand. Maggie just sat there staring at Samantha. Anna came over and sat next to Samantha. “We have the same blond hair Sam”. Anna chuckled. A faint frown came across Samantha's face. Samantha got up abruptly and ran towards the screen door flinging it open. She leaned over the rail and proceeded to throw up. Meanwhile, Maggie stood and took a few steps after her. Charles grabbed her arm. “Maggie….”. Maggie turned around a gave Charles a stern look and yanked her arm back and continued to Samantha. Maggie stood by her side. “I guess maybe that muffin and orange juice wasn’t the best thing”. Maggie apologized. Samantha let it go. She couldn’t tell her how it actually helped soothe her stomach. And she certainly couldn’t tell her it was because of being called Sam, and Anna excited about having the same color hair. Something so familiar. Samantha felt something, but could figure out what. She was almost afraid to stay here. She was trying to express how she couldn’t stay. But then Anna came out on the deck. “Look, Look, the first start”! Anna said excitedly. Samantha looked up, and sure enough, right above them was a star. She knew it was too early for actual stars to be out. So she took that as a sign. “Well, my feet do hurt. Maybe just one night”. Maggie gleamed with excitement. “I will make soup tonight. That will do your stomach some good”. After dinner, and a quiet evening with my feet propped up, it was time for bed. This time, they guided me to a different room. It wasn’t as pretty or decorated as the last one. “What was wrong with the last room”? Samantha asked gently. “Maggie, nonchalantly stated, “Oh, it’s just…..it’s just waiting for someone else”. She didn’t allow for any more questions as she was quick to wrap things up and get everyone tucked in for bed.
A couple hours later, Anna snuck down and softly knocked on my door. I let her come in since I was having issues sleeping. “Hi, Sam”. That word...Sam. It seemed to always send shivers down Samantha’s spine. Though she didn’t know why. “Are you okay Anna”? Samantha asks gently. Anna sat on the bed. She looked up a little saddened at Samantha, “Mom is waiting for my sister to come home”. “Oh, are you guys expecting her soon? What’s her name”? “Her name is Samira. We're not sure when she will come back. Someone took her. But mom and dad think she will come back someday”. Anna gave Samantha a big hug and said good night and went to her room. Samantha certainly couldn’t go to sleep after that. She sat in the window seat and looked out to the sky. Her star was nowhere to be seen, and as she sat there staring out the window, she fell asleep.
Morning came and Samantha made her way out to the kitchen. Charles was sipping on his coffee while reading the paper, and Maggie was whipping up some biscuits and gravy. Anna came running in and gave Samantha the biggest hug. Samantha hugged her back, rubbing her head and said “morning Bella”. All the morning noise abruptly stopped. Anna looked up with tears in her eyes. Samantha was just as shocked. “I’m so sorry. I don’t know where that came from”. “Is this some game you're trying to play? Why did you come here”? Charles demanded. “I’m sorry? I don’t understand. It was an accident. I don’t know why I called her that”, Samantha pleaded. “I know her name is Anna”. Maggie came and sat at the table. “Actually, her name is Annabella. Her sister always called her Bella while everyone else called her Anna. And Anna always called Samira, Sam. That was always their special bond.” Samantha calmly asked, “what happened to her. Please tell me”. Charles spoke up, “She was taken from us. And they never found her or the couple that took her”. The hairs on Samantha's arm stood straight up. “I’ll be right back.” She left the table and soon came back with her folder. She set everything out and told them her whole life story growing up with these people she called her parents and all the moving they did. Maggie reached in a drawer behind her and grabbed some papers and pictures. She shared them with Samantha. The pictures they both had, Samantha, looked nearly identical, just a little older. They compared birth records, and it was at that point they knew that Samantha’s was a fake. She always felt it, but could never prove it. They all spent the day gathering up and writing down information. And they decided to have a DNA test done.
Later that evening after the sun had set, Samantha went outside and looked to the sky. “Is this it? Is this my real home”? A star in the sky flashed very bright and then disappeared. A tear ran down Samantha’s cheek as she whispered, “Thank you, guiding star”.