"Vroom!" The bright young child said, mimicking the sound of a car engine as she slid her neon green race car across the plush carpet.


Cars were her favorite, and the little girl just couldn't wait till' she turned 16 would finally be able to drive one...

Legally anyway.

Just the mere idea of cars fascinated her tiny mind. They moved you from place to place with the push of a button and could always be relied on to get you wherever you were going in record timing.

Much better than her rickety old bike anyway. Although the girl's bike would never amount to that of a car, it was her only means of transportation. Her bike was still important to her even though she usually spoke otherwise. In fact, she was going to use it tomorrow to ride to her best friend's house.

She just hoped that her mother had fixed the tire already. If she hadn't then the girl would have to walk.

In the snow!


"What! Is something wrong!?" Her mother asked as she burst through her screaming daughter's door, flustered and out of breath.

"Oh, Yeah. I just remembered that my bike needed fixing before I leave tomorrow."

"Oh, Cindy." Her mother sighed.

"huh?" The little girl, Cindy said glancing up from her miniature car for a brief second.

Her mother looked down at the soft carpet.

"Honey, there's something we have to tell you," she said in the sweetest voice she could muster.

Her father appeared from around the corner.

The girl dropped her toy car and gazed up at her parents, awaiting their news.

Last time they'd had news, she and her cousins had gone to Disneyland and stayed in a fancy hotel while her parents had gone on a longer-than-usual business trip.

Her father approached her and smiled. Then he hugged her.

Cindy just smiled. This must be good! She thought as her dad stood back up again. Daddy doesn't usually hug me.

Her mother came up next.

"Just know." She whispered in her girl's ear. "We will always love you no matter what."

"I know!" Cindy breathed back.

For some reason, this made her mother shake.


"It's okay Cindy. It will be okay." She sobbed.

"What's wrong?" Cindy asked her parents.

Her father opened his mouth to answer, but before he spoke a single word, the police burst in, pointing their shiny guns at him.

"What's going on?" Cindy cried out.

"Nothing kid." Said a policeman.

Then they took her parents away.

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"Happy Birthday toooooooo... Yooo- OOOOU!"

Lilian sang with her oh-so-perfect voice as Cindy's cake was brought out into the foyer by her foster dad.

"Thank you Lills' that was beautiful!" Cindy said.

"And my cake?" Her foster dad, Greyson asked her.

"Just as beautiful!"

It was true. The cake was exceptionally perfect with its slick brown frosting and twelve burning candles coating the exterior, she just couldn't wait to taste it.

she had lived with Greyson and Lilian for six years now and had finally started to think of them as family.

Greyson was Lilian's birth father and had decided to take in a foster child when his wife, Ann, had died.

Lilian was just about Cindy's age and liked most of the same things that Cindy liked. They told each other all of their secrets and were constantly found hanging with each other.

It was like living with your best friend.

Cindy loved her life.

"Hey, Cins! Blow out your candles. Make a wish" Lilian urged.

Cindy smiled at her and blew.

I wish everything would stay as perfect as it is right now and... she reached into her pocket and pulled out a small car. A neon green one from her old life that she could barely remember anymore. and that's it.

"What'd you wish for?" Lillian asked.

"I can't tell you!" Cindy laughed, "I'll jinx it!"

Lillian rolled her eyes.

"Let's eat some cake," she said.

When the cake was finished, Lillian and Cindy went out to talk on the porch.

"Just think Lills'!" Cindy sighed. "In four more years, we'll be able to drive!"

"What is it with you and cars Cins'? Don't think I haven't noticed the little toy you carry everywhere!"

"I just think they're fascinating," Cindy replied.

"Whatever, car girl." Lillian giggled.

Cindy elbowed her but laughed along.

Suddenly there was a scream from inside.

"Greyson?" Cindy gasped at the same time Lillian cried out, "Dad?"

The girls bolted into the house, only to find Greyson lying on the kitchen tile, his face cold as motionless.

"No!" Lillian sobbed "NO!!!!"

Cindy hugged her. "It's okay Lills'" She whispered. "It will be okay."

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"Cindy Howells?"


Cindy sometimes wondered where her last name had come from. Howells Her old foster family had been the Garza's, but she'd always just been Cindy Jane Howells.

She hadn't seen her foster sister Lillian for three years now. Not ever since Lillian's father, her foster dad, had been murdered at the hands of some crazed, jealous madman.

Lillian had been sent away to live with her aunt and uncle, but since Cindy wasn't actually family, the authorities decided to put her in a boarding school.

However, other than missing Lillian, the school wasn't that bad. Cindy had made new friends and most everyone there seemed nice.

"Hey C.J." her table partner whispered.


"Jac is looking at you again."

Cindy blushed. Jac was a boy in her class that she had a huge crush on. Based on the number of times her friends caught him gazing at her during class, she suspected he might like her as well.

Cindy looked back at him with an eyebrow raised.

He hurriedly looked back up at the teacher.

Cindy hid a snicker.

"You like him don't you." her table partner accused.

"Duh!" She smiled.

After school hours, Cindy met up with her friend group. They were a lively bunch that was constantly gossiping.

"So, C.J...." one of them, Amy, said.


"Jac huh?"

Goodness! Word spread fast at this school.

"What about him?"

"Jess told me you have a little crush on him."

"Did she?"


Cindy just stared at Amy with a blank expression. Eventually, Amy gave up and brought up another topic with somebody else.

Cindy laughed and bid farewell to the group. She had piles of homework to do.

She turned around and bumped right into Jac.

"Hey C.J.!" He waved.

"Oh! Hi there," she mumbled.

Her heart was racing faster than the Turbinator II. (The fastest racecar in the world.)

Jac smiled.

"So... I need to talk to you." He said.

Cindy giggled.

"Oh! Of course."

"In private."

Cindy's heart thumped faster than she thought was humanly possible.

"Sure." She led him to an empty hallway.

"Well, I wanted to ask you..." he looked at the floor, shy.

"Yes?" Cindy urged him on.


Cindy's eyes were fixed on his perfect face as he fidgeted uncomfortably.

"So... your table partner in Chemistry..."

Something wasn't right. He was supposed to be professing his love to her.


"She's pretty hot." he laughed, a blush spreading across his face. "Could you put in a good word for me or something?"

Cindy's heart shattered.

"Sure." She said. "Anything for a friend."

"Thanks, C.J.," he said, then left.

"No problem."

That night, Cindy and her friend group were having a girl's night campout in Alice's room. Cindy told Jess about how Jac liked her. Jess's eye's lit up.

"YES!" She screamed.

All the other girls looked her way.

"What?" Alice said.


It was all she had to say. The others gasped at the word and all started squealing. Cindy clutched her little green car in the palm of her hand but joined them.

Despite having a crush on Jac herself, she was happy for Jess.

"Wait." Jess halted the squealing frenzy.

She looked at Cindy.

"Don't you have a crush on Jac C.J?"


"Oh my GOSH! She does!" Dia chuckled.

C.J. shrugged.

"It's not like he would ever like me anyway! I'm just glad he's happy with Jessica." Cindy said.

Amy laughed.

"Jac, a popular guy, falling for the car nerd? Unlikely."

Cindy took a deep breath and walked out of the room.

"Her loss." She heard Alice mumble. "It's not like she has anybody else willing to pretend to be her friend."

"Yeah." the other's replied.

 "It's okay," She told herself. "it'll be okay. I don't need them anyway."

That night, Cindy left the boarding school three years early. (without permission) She had other plans for her life. Plans that did not include school.

She was going to be a race car driver, and drive a neon green race car.

And her official sixteenth birthday tomorrow. She couldn't wait to pass her driving test.

When the next day finally came, she walked three miles to get to the place where tests were being taken. (She didn't have anything to ride.)

There was a man there signing off people.

"Full name."

"Cindy Jane Howells."

"Prefered name."

Cindy thought about her little nickname, C.J. that her so-called "friends." had given her.

"Cindy," she said flatly.

"Okay. And wheres your paperwork."

"Um, Excuse me?"

"Your paperwork?"

Cindy frowned.

"I don't have any."

"Sorry ma'am, you need parental permission to take a driver's test." The man said.


Cindy smiled and walked away from the man.

"Sorry," she said.

As she began to head away, she realized that she had nowhere to go.

She had no home.

No family.


But it's alright. She thought. I'll just camp somewhere.

And so that's what she did.

She slept on the grass at the park that night.

And all the nights after that.

But it was okay.

It would be okay.

October 06, 2019 00:39

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Cam Croz
15:52 Oct 13, 2019

Any feedback would be wonderful! (especially if I need to fix something bad) THANKS! 😉


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Leya Newi
18:28 Dec 18, 2019

Wow. Just wow. I could hardly look away while reading it. A couple typos, but otherwise, absolutely fantastic job. I really sympathize with Cindy, which is a very important thing for a good story.


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Pamela Raymond
01:38 Oct 27, 2019

Well done. The transitions showing how Cindy's circumstances kept changing was thought out and really kept the momentum building. It would have been nice to get more context between the friends dynamic as it seemed okay until the last minute pivot to them pretending to like Cindy. Was Cindy in tune to it or unaware and how that could be added as part of the journey. Again, really well done.


Cam Croz
14:44 Oct 27, 2019

Thank you so much! I really love the feedback! I will keep your thoughts in mind while I write my future stories. Again... TYSM!!!!!! 😁


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Ed Trainor
21:49 Oct 15, 2019

Well told story Cam. Keep writing and help us all be okay.😁


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