The next morning, we left early, at 6:00 am. We figured the less time Maya had to spend alone on campus with Julian the better. We bundled up, made sure we had everything, all our clean clothes, my contacts, the toothbrushes.
We all piled back into the car. Our suitcases in the trunk again. Porter sat behind Harriet and I sat beside him holding his hand. The sky was still dark, the sun wouldn’t rise until 7:00 am. Porter's dark eyes looked out the back passenger window of the car.
“Did you have fun, Ryker?” she asked looking through the rear-view mirror back at me.
“Yes, thank you for having me,” I reply, politely.
“No trouble, kid. If you want to come again for spring break, you’re welcome to,” Oli replied.
“I’m going to try and see if I can get a hold of my brother,” I reply honestly. “It would be nice to see him after all these years.”
“Right,” Oli states.
With the heaters on our breath starts to fog up the windows, Porter wipes the window down with his sleeve so he can see out into the snowy landscape again.
I missed Ezra, I wonder what he’d been up to for the last four years since I’d seen him. I wondered if I’d recognize him now. If he’d still be the same lanky, tall teenage boy or if he’d filled out and grown up. I wondered if he’d like Porter. I wondered if he had gotten a girlfriend while I was gone. He could have a whole family for all I know. It was unlikely, as much as he loved me, he was never one for settling. It was why he moved out, on his own and did his own thing.
Something felt off about all of this though. Going back early, maybe it was just anxiety about being around Julian, Greg and Kristen again. I was safe, I’d be fine. It’s not like they could traumatically hurt me without anyone saying anything, or the evidence leading back to them.
I just tried to stay calm and listen to Porter’s heartbeat. It was only another six months for me, Porter could handle himself there. Not everyone could be like them, he’d make new friends next year that would stand behind him if Julian did make it to graduation, he’d already failed gym class so he was at least coming back for one extra semester. I’d be here for him on the weekends at least, too.
When we arrive at the school, we climb out of the car, take our suitcases from the back of the trunk. We wave goodbye to Porter’s parents in front of the wrought-iron gate of Copper Cove Academy. We watch them drive around the lop and back out onto the street out of sight. It’s 8:00 am, the sun is up and shining brightly now, melting the snow into the drains in the sides of the sidewalk.
We walk inside the gates. It looks pretty empty here and considering there is more than a week of Christmas holidays left, I can see why it would be. It reminds me of all the other times I stayed here over the holidays by myself. It didn’t seem as creepy or ominous then, though.
“Hey!” I heard someone whisper.
I glanced around and saw Maya standing by the side of the main building of the school. She was bundled up. What was she even doing up at this hour? Porter told her we were coming but we assumed she’d still be sleeping when we arrived.
I pointed her out to Porter and she beckoned us in her direction. We went up the main sidewalk to the front school doors and veered off on a side path to where she was.
“What are you doing up? We thought you’d still be asleep,” Porter started.
“It’s not safe here,” she stated.
“What do you mean? Is Julian around?” I ask glancing expecting him to pop up.
“He’s the least of your worries,” she replies.
“What do you mean?” I ask, again. “What’s going on?”
She leads us down the side of the school building heading for the opposite back corner from where Porter and I had snuck in months earlier. She going slowly and watching her surroundings as she’s being watched or followed.
We reach the back corner and there’s a locked gate. Maya pulls out a silver key from her jacket pocket and sticks it in the key. She jiggles it and the lock pops open.
“How did you get a key to a gate?” Porter asks as she pushes open the gate through the snow.
“We just got word, someone dropped them off!” someone shouted.
I looked back but I couldn’t see anyone.
“Can we talk about this later?” she replies concerned.
We all go through the gate quickly.
“They are tracks!” another voice calls.
“Follow them,” one answers.
Maya locks the gate.
“Who’s here? What do they want?” Porter asks.
“You’re in danger. We’re getting you out. We can worry about who and why later,” she states taking off down the street past buildings, and houses.
We follow her quickly, still dragging our suitcases. I really hated winter right about now. it made us so much easier to track.
We followed her the streets to the mouth of an alley. A van came barreling down the street and screeched to a halt beside us. Mr. Yaw threw open the door.
“Get in, we promise we’ll explain everything once we’re out of the city. But you have to trust us now,” he explains quickly.
I and Porter stand there unsure for about a minute. Suddenly, we can hear shouting and wheel screeching a street over. None of its good obviously. Maya pushes Porter towards the van and Mr. Yaw takes his hand and helps him up and in.
“I’ll miss you,” she says and kisses me on the cheek before she pushes me back into the van with Porter and Mr. Yaw.
“What are you doing?” I question.
“I’ll lead them away, get them out, okay?” Maya states to Mr. Yaw.
“Maya, no. If they catch you, they’ll interrogate you. It’s not pleasant,” Mr. Yaw reasons.
“Just go,” Maya says as the screeches and shooting become closer.
She runs off down into the alley and stops at the other end.
“Hey!” she shouts and runs off in the opposite direction she shouted.
We see a jeep drive past a few seconds later after her.
“She’ll be fine, she’s a smart girl,” Mr. Gerald says from the front seat scaring me. “Close the door, Ryū.”
Mr. Yaw reluctantly closes the van’s sliding door as Mr. Gerald starts the van back up.
“You don’t know what they’re like, Tom. They’ll do anything to get ’em back,” he replies sitting against the wall of the van.
“What’s happening?” I ask quietly.
Mr. Yaw won’t look at us as if he’s guilty of something.
“They came back for you,” he states quietly. “After they found out you weren’t failures.”
To be continued in Hidden in The Silence, starts Nov. 10th, 2020…
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Magnus_KWrite a Review