Tears stream down my face as I scurry away from the small white apartment, almost tripping over my own feet. At least it was raining out, so it wasn't too obvious.
Trying to stifle a loud sob, I run past mini lawns, sidewalks and parked cars. I hear voices calling out my name but I ignore them. I don't want to face the screams and disappointment again.
I keep running with my head down so nobody will see my red puffy eyes or the little droplets falling from them.
After running a while, I reach a more secluded area of our neighborhood. Here there are no people out walking with their nice large umbrellas.
I slump down in a corner in between two tall business buildings, letting the rain pour down on me. My messy bun had come out while I had been running through town, and my curly brown hair was now soaked to the roots. The black tank top and sweatpants I had been wearing when I ran away were also soggy and uncomfortable.
But I didn't care about that right now. The only thing I wanted to do at this point was curl up into a ball and cry. I hugged my shoulders and let all my frustration out with an ear-splitting howl.
I let the raging tears flood my face, choking on thundering rain droplets mixed with the salty ones surging from my eyes.
“Hey… um are you okay?” a low voice mutters from behind me.
I gasped and the crying halted. A few stray tears slid down my face as I looked up at his face. I must have looked pretty helpless kneeling on the ground, looking like some homeless girl crying in the rain.
He helps me up and I thank him quietly.
“No problem.” he says, looking at me with an unreadable expression. “But, if you don't mind me asking… what are you doing alone in this part of town?”
“Huh?” I say wiping away a few remaining tears and sniffling.
“It's just that this is a very dangerous neighborhood you've decided to crash in…”
A jolt of fear shocks my body. I should have been paying attention to where I was running to. At least nothing bad happened to me.
“Oh, that. I was just getting some fresh air.” I say.
The man chuckles.
“Okay, I'll just have to take your word for it.” He laughs.
I tense up as we near the traditional ‘creeper van’ but I remember that I'm safe now. A kind person found me, and is taking me…
He was taking me somewhere far away… in an unfamiliar direction.
I panic and start to tell him that I can make my own way back, but he stops and turns to look at me with a crazed grin on his face.
I scream, but nobody hears me.
I kick and flail, but the only thing I can seem to hit is air.
“HELP! HELP ME!”
“Now calm down.” The man grunts as he forces a rag over my mouth.
“NO!” I shriek attempting to shove the rag away, but his grip is like steel and I feel weak all of the sudden. “help... me… he…”
I hear a door open and then I'm laying on cold metal.
Before I lose all feeling and consciousness, a small soft hand grabs mine and a surprised little gasp drifts through the sky, somehow reaching my ear.
I should have known my walk around town would end in this.
I thought it would be a good idea to clear my head out in the rain, but apparently it wasn't. Instead I got a bang to the head with a bat.
And now some poor soul is being dragged into this mess along with me.
She looks like she’s been crying out in the rain and I have the urge to give her a warm comforting hug. But somehow, I don't think a hug from a stranger in the back of some kidnapper's van would be very reassuring.
I grab her hand instead, only now realizing how overwhelmingly pretty she is. (Even if she is soaking wet and messy) A small gasp escapes my mouth as she falls asleep.
The expression full of grief and horror melts away and she is left peaceful. The wrinkles on her olive skin smooth out as she falls deeper asleep.
For a moment I forget we’re in the back of a kidnappers van and, in a trance, I reach out to stroke the pretty stranger's tangled brown hair.
With a jolt I back away from the girl.
What was I thinking? That would have been super creepy. Not to mention we were literally being kidnapped right now…
I decided to focus on getting us out of here while she was passed out instead. I just wish there was a door or something, then I could pick the lock and we would be home free.
All around me was just rusting metal that was impossible to kick through.
Believe me, I’d tried.
With a sigh I accept the fact that there would be no way out until the van stopped.
I slump in the corner of the van and groan, why had I and this girl gotten kidnapped anyway?
I woke up to hammers pounding on my aching head. What a weird, realistic nightmare I'd just had! I’d just dreamt of coming out to my parents who had not taken the news very well. They had even threatened to kill me. And when I ran away to clear my head, I had been kidnapped.
I laughed at how absurd it all was. That would have officially been the worst coming out ever.
I sit up and rub my head. When I open my eyes a horrified gasp escapes my trembling mouth and a tear slides down my cheek.
It hadn't been a dream.
I was in the back of a van with a stranger.
I wipe the tear away and will myself to stop acting like a toddler. I make eye contact with the girl across from me. Her eyes are brown like mine, but they have a harsh sharpness to them.
“Why… I...” I sniff, trying to keep my sanity held together. “What…? Um.”
“I don't know why we’re here” The girl says extremely calmly. “And I can't find a way out other than the way we came in.”
So she had been kidnapped too. I wondered how she could remain so put together.
“Oh.” I say weakly, not daring to meet her eyes again.
She was so intense.
“I’m Cherry.” the girl says suddenly. “I know, I know, like the hair.”
She gestures to her short cherry red hair.
“I’m Olive.” I say calming down. “Yep, like the skin.”
She laughs along with me and scoots a little closer. Without my control, my face flushes. I shake it off. She was pretty cute and funny, just my type, but now was not the time to be developing a crush.
Plus my family wouldn't approve. I remember all the terrible things they shrieked at me when I told them I liked girls.
I must have looked scared, or depressed, or something because suddenly Cherry was at my side holding my hand.
“Are you okay?” She asks me.
Her voice was overflowing with genuine concern and tears began to fall down my face. I tried swiping them away, but it was to no avail. I began to sob.
Cherry creased her eyebrows and lunged towards me, giving me a hug. I froze in shock, but let her comfort me.
“If you want to talk, I'm not going anywhere.” she tries to laugh, but I could hear the sadness and fear leaking into her voice.
I hug her back.
“Me too.” I sniff.
Cherry pulls away and smiles, earning another blush from me. I decided to trust her.
I start to speak but I suddenly start to feel drowsy. I want to sleep.
They must have drugged us because when I come to I'm in the middle of a small room. It smells faintly of smoke and feels extremely warm. I flip my head around in a panic when I don't see Olive immediately. When I spot her near the door in the opposite corner from me I breathe out a sigh of relief, but it's short lived.
“Hey Olive have you found an exit?” I call.
“No this door’s locked, can't kick it down either.” she starts to turn towards me.
Olive meets my eyes again and my heart flutters, only to drop like a weight. Her eyes aren't showing subtle pain anymore, now they hold crazed terror.
“Cherry get over here!” She shrieks and I start to stand up wondering what was with the sudden change of mood.
I smell the smoke of the fire like a warning before the searing pain.
“CHERRY!” I scream as she falls victim to the approaching flames.
I should have been paying attention.
I should have known that the place was on fire before it hit this room. I at least could have dragged her limp body over with me to the door.
But I hadn't done any of those things and now she was being eaten up by the fire. My brain was screaming at me and the only thing I could think of doing was running straight into the dancing flames and grabbing Cherry.
With a cry I smash through the blackned wall behind the flames and drag Cherry outside with me. My skin is searing with pain and I am seconds away from passing out, but I push forward.
If I didn't we would surely be done for.
Outside there are people. They look like they've just lost something dear to them. Their eyes are filled with tears and I hear some gasp.
“He- Help her.” I croak at a woman near me, referring to the burning girl I hold in my arms. “She needs…”
I start coughing and the woman suddenly gasps.
“They’re over here!” She cries out, seemingly happier than she’d been before. “Call an ambulance!”
I am blinded by bright light when I crack open my eyes.
‘Is this heaven?’ I think to myself, still half delusional. But eventually my eyes adjust and I see that it's just a boring hospital room.
I'm partly relieved, but then I remember what had happened.
I bolt up in my bed with a gasp.
Some nurse in my room rushes to my side, but I don't care about them. Right now I only have one person on my mind.
I had to know if she was okay.
“Where’s Olive!? Is she alright? Did she make it out?!” I say.
The person next to me laughs and pokes my arm.
“Im alright.” she says.
I turn to look at the ‘nurse’
But she’s not a nurse, she’s Olive.
A tear comes to my eye and I hug her (even if it does cause stabbing pain throughout my whole body)
“I thought I’d lost you or something.” I say weakly.
“I'm the one who almost lost you silly.” she says, returning the hug.
Then she pulls away from me, meeting my eyes. I try not to blush at the intensity in her eyes. She takes a deep breath. I can tell that she must have done something life changing. Something is different about her.
“I'm just going to say it.” She says somewhat nervously.
I just continue to stare into her deep brown eyes.
“I-I kinda have a huge crush on you…” she blurts out, breaking eye contact.
“I know we only just met but I just want you to know cuz like you never know what could happen, like I thought you were a goner for a minute there and…”
I kiss her to stop the rambling.
She looks at me, bewildered and I smile.
“I kind of have a huge crush on you too.” I say.
She laughs, and suddenly she is radiating overwhelming happiness. I laugh along with her.
“Let's go on a date sometime.” I say.
She nods and smirks.
“How about once you’re set free from the hospital?” she says.
I laugh and hug her again.
“I'll plan on it.”
I can't help but think of my family at a time like this. Their disapproval of me and the way they reacted.
Maybe they’ll change their minds someday. I just have to keep pushing them to accept new things.
But until then, I know I won't be alone. I know I’ll have a friend who loves and accepts me for what I am.
I almost want to thank our kidnappers for bringing us together.