Slowly, I come to with a terrible headache. I open my eyes and try to sit up. I am on a cot in a metal cell. There are bars all around me except for the cement wall behind me. There is a toilet against the cement wall, it’s very dark with the only light coming from outside the cell with dim lights. After a few minutes of trying I am able to sit up without getting too dizzy. I still have my Dad’s shirt on with my shorts on. Oddly I can still feel the burner phone in my sports bra. I reach in and grab it out, half a bar. I click on Dad’s number. It goes straight to voicemail. I then try to call Mom’s burner phone number, it does the same thing. What’s happening? Where are they? Are they ok? The police are the ones who took me so I don’t bother calling 911. I don’t have any friends or family I could call for help. I put my head on my knees and take a few deep breaths remembering what Dad taught me. Panicking will only make things harder, ground yourself. With that thought in mind, I stand up and start to look closer at the things around me. Nobody is in any cells near me, I think I can see a lump on a cot about six cells from mine on the right. The floor is slightly damp and cold against my bare feet. I look into the hall and see a guard looking the other way. He is wearing all black and very tall. I mean everyone is taller than me but he’s super tall. When he starts turning this way I quickly back away from the bars.
I watch him as he pulls out a walkie talkie and speaks into it. I sit back on the cot and wait. I don’t wait long, maybe five minutes, three men start walking this way with the guard following behind them. When they get here I move my eyes down and wait. “Finally awake, we worried we gave you too much sedative. You’ve been out for two days.” A small gasp of surprise escapes me. “We need you to answer a few questions. Answer all questions honestly, we will know if you are lying.” The cell door is opened. The three men enter with the guard still standing by the door. One man crutches down in front of me and lifts my head so he can see my eyes.
“My name is Valentine, if you don’t answer our questions truthfully then we will have to use other means that you won’t like. First, we will start easy. What’s your name.” The man asks me his black eyes staring intently into my green eyes.
Without a beat, I answer, “Violet Smith.”
The man sighs and shakes his head, “You know that’s not true one more try, what’s your name?” How does he know I’m lying, I’ve practiced lying my whole life.
“Arabella Kynaston,” I say shakily, scared of what he may do to me.
He smiles, “Good, when is your birthday?”
“November 20th,” I tell him the fake one. Before I can even notice the other two men have grabbed my arms and pick me up. Valentine again stands in front of me and binds down. “No, it isn’t, when is it?”
“It’s October 6th,” He nods and stands back up. “She’s not going, to be honest with us, take her to the room and strap her down.” He speaks to the men holding me. What? That is my birthday! Unless Mom and Dad gave me a different day. When is my birthday then? The men drag me out of the cell to the left where nobody is, up a set of stairs, and down more hallways. They bring me to a room that looks like a courtroom except in the middle is a chair with straps on it. The men push me down onto the seat roughly. Then from a door behind the u-shaped table people come out wearing white and red robes. Valentine moves to stand next to me. Once the four women are sat on one side four men sit down on the other side. Then another man comes from the door he is wearing a gray robe and sits in the middle.
The man in the middle is the first to speak. “Arabella Kynaston daughter of Elanor Page and Edward Kynaston, do you know who we are?” he starts, I shake my head no. “Please give a verbal response, do you know who we are.”
“No,” I say quietly but loud enough.
“Do you know when your birthday is?”
“I thought I did but I guess not.”
“Your birthday is October 9th, so in two days.” The old man tells me not looking up from his paper. “Tell me, Arabella, how did your parents hide you from us? We didn’t even know you existed until a few years ago.”
I look at him not understanding, it takes me a minute. “I was homeschooled, I only went outside when necessary.”
“Yes, but did you not question why you moved so often?” I told him, yes but I had given up when they were never answered. “How did they treat you?”
“What do you mean, sir?” I ask slightly confused.
“Were either of your parents abusive?” He clarifies for me.
“Of course not,” the chair suddenly shocks me! A scream escapes from me at the shock and pain. They allow me to calm back down before questioning me again.
“Were both of them?” he asks me, I shake my head no as tears once again stream down my face. “Your father?” he asks again. All I do is shake my head. “Your mother then? Ok, did your father know?” again I just shake my head yes. He moves on from that and begins to ask me what seems like random questions.
“We know everything about you. We’ve had your mom here for weeks and just got your dad a few days ago.” He finally looks up and sees me shaking from fear. His eyes, they are all white. What has he done to them? A few tears escape from my eyes as I think of what he may have done to them. “We are reviewing your case, you might be executed, you might be assigned into the care of others, or stay in a cell. However, right now you will be given a room to stay in. Your pup is in the room already. If we have any questions for you we will have Valentine ask you fall to answer them honestly and we will let the dogs have your pup.” He says as though this is a normal thing to tell a teenager. They are going to kill me? For what? He then gets up and leaves followed by the rest. When the door closes behind them the two men again step forward and unstrap me from the chair.
“Will you walk freely or do we need to drag you again?” Valentine asks me, I tell him I will walk. No conversation is made while we walk through the maze of hallways. Finally, we get to a hallway that has more than one or two doors on it but five now. They pause at the second door and use a keycard to unlock it. When I step in the door is closed and locked.