Jaden holds his hand out for me as we tread through the rubble gingerly. Emily trails behind us. I call out for her, ‘Emily quickly or I’ll leave you behind. I think I hear wolves howling!’ I watch as her little legs scurries through the crumbled leaves. I press my lips thin, trying not to laugh. Children are so fun to tease. Jaden releases my hand and crouches down, ‘Emily, I’ll give you a piggy-back. Let’s leave your mean sister behind.’
With that said, the two raced ahead, leaving me to watch their distant backs. Sometimes, I think my boyfriend loves my younger sister more. But I love him that much more for it. I brush my fingers along the dusty cobbled walls. I’m fond of abandoned places. There is a gentle silence to not being touched for so long. Today, Jaden took us to the ruins of an old train station. Long labyrinth tunnels. Broken brick walls. Autumn leaves rustling underneath lonely benches.
Emily’s screams breaks through the silence. Something is wrong. Blindly I follow the sound of her voice. Something is wrong. Jaden wouldn’t let anything happen to her. I was wrong. I stumble into a clearing. I’m surrounded by men. Someone I don’t know have Emily. He’s holding her with one arm and injecting something into her with another. I watch in horror as her body goes limp and she froths at the mouth. Drugs.
‘Let her go!’
I lunge for him, ‘Let Emily go!’ Jaden blocks me. What’s happening? I don’t understand. ‘Jaden? What’s going on?’ He lowers his head, his voice whispering into my left ear, ‘I’m sorry Heather.’ I turn to look at him, ‘Sorry? Sorry for what?’ He shakes his head slightly, ‘Don’t ask questions. Just run. Your sister. . . don’t ever forgive me.’
'I won't forgive. If she dies, I won't ever forgive you.'
I allow myself a final glance at Emily before I spun around and ran away. Behind me, I hear shouts and thundering footsteps. I dodge arms and cut corners through the old station. I escape into the forest and make a break for the bushes. I won’t let myself get captured. I lie flat onto the soil. And wait. My heart pounds hard. I won’t let myself get captured. Not before finding a way to rescue Emily. Not before we're safely home. I will save my sister.
Right now. It's only me. And this forest. No car. No food. No weapons. I dig into my backpack. A bottle of water. Half empty. A compass. A map and my mobile. I should be able to survive. No. I will survive and rescue my sister.