On the corner of the road, a teenage boy stood, unaware of his surroundings. The wind leapt up at him like an angry dog, but he didn’t care. He liked it. He liked the way it blew his hair out of his face, he liked how the soft breeze filled his lungs and made him alive. Sitting right here, right now, unnoticed by the people of California, going about their lives, he felt normal. It almost made him forget why he was there.
Just as he began to retreat into the depths of his mind though, something caught his eye. He looked up, to see a man walking down the other side of the road. A man he knew.
She neared the bench, the dreaded bench, where only mourners sat. A little boy sat on that bench, hunched over, sobbing to himself. He was her little brother – Arthur. Slowly she walked over to him, keeping in her tears- If she cried, he would feel even worse.
“Artie..” she spoke as softly as she could, wishing only that this was all a bad dream.
“Mum and Dad, Sarah, they’re dead!”
“I know. But I’ll be keeping you now, Art, we’ll be fine, I promise.” her voice was fading now, but she tried to sound lively. The little boy sensed her distress, and leant over to hug her, his only family in the world.”
Jake Evans. That’s who the man was. Arthur felt like running across the road and killing him himself, but he knew that in the end he would lose. How had he ended up here? He didn’t understand why; he would never understand why; but he knew that he had to do something.
There was another man there. He didn’t know this one.
“Must be another one of his stupid friends.” he thought aloud. It could actually have been anyone.
It could have been anyone. So why him?
“Artie! Help Me!”
“Sarah! Who’s in there?”
He ran through the door just in time to see three men look at him and jump through the window. They had left, but for how long?
“What happened? ” The urgency in his voice was unmistakeable.
“I don’t know. These men came in and then you came back. I think they may have gone to get reinforcements.”
Three men crashed back in, smashing the windows and everything in their way seemed to die.
Arthur remembered, slowly and painfully how the next three seconds had slowed down.
The teenager was shot by a tranquilliser dart as the men ran-or did they jump- away from him and made him watch. They made him watch as his sister was dragged out of the house, screaming his name. He watched as they took everything worth taking. He watched as the house became empty and the only thing left was a expired credit card.
The name on the card was Jake Evans.
When Arthur finally came out of his dream, the men were pulling someone out of the car. Two minutes later, he had followed them around to an empty kebab shop.
The windows were boarded up with old newspapers, and the room was lit with only a single LED strip light, but Arthur didn’t care about that. He was focusing on the girl they had with them. At first he had hoped she was Sarah, but now it was obvious it wasn’t.
“This is your new home, Arthur.” said the woman from the children’s home. “I know it’s been hard for you, with the death of your sister, but we’ll try to help.”
“I’m alright miss,” he answered, “Because Sarah’s alive. I know it.”
This girl was around his age, a couple of inches shorter than him, with red curls and green eyes, that glared at Jake as though they were having a staring contest.
“If you think you’re gonna get away with this, you’re kidding yourself.”
“We’re not gonna get away with this, are we, Miss Morwenna, eh?” the sarcasm in his voice needed perfecting, as he actually sounded rather silly.
“Do you know who I am? My father is the mayor of Manhattan!”
“Dear,” Morwenna looked disgusted and uncomfortable as he edged towards her “That’s sort of why you’re here. See, your dad is going to pay us an awful lot for your safe return.”
“What are you doing, Arthur?” George, his roommate in the home, looked really worried “Miss Kerridge is going to freak!”
“Just tell her you didn’t see me go.” Arthur didn’t want to get George in trouble for his running away. He edged towards the window with his bag and the £600 he had stashed from his house. Just as he was about to jump though, a hand hit his shoulder.
“Get off!” Arthur felt so scared that he fell backwards off the windowsill.
“It’s only me, George.” Arthur relaxed.”At least tell me where you’re going!”
“George,” he turned,”I’m going to America.”
Five hours later Arthur was behind them on a small road in southern Alaska. The girl was still banging on the windows, the men were still flashing lights ahead of them, and nothing had changed.
Until, of course, Arthur turned on the headlight on the motorcycle he was riding and saw what Morwenna had written in the mist on the window.
‘I KNOW WHERE SARAH IS’