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Left in the Rain

Summary

Sidney was being pressured by her family to go to a good college. She has to attend basic training, so her college will be paid for as her family was very poor. When an incident occurs at basic training, Sidney is too traumatized to continue on, which causes her to go home. Without a choice, she has to babysit to make a living. During her babysitting hours, she makes a discovery that could change her life. Will this discovery change her fate for good?

Chapter 1: Sidney

It was getting closer and closer to graduation day, and my parents still didn’t have a job. We didn’t have money, courage, or pride. I tried my best in school and was above average, but that wasn’t good enough. At that point, there were only two scholarships that ever arrived in the mail. The first one was a full ride scholarship. I was super stoked until I found out that it was misdelivered and supposed to be for our neighbors. The second one was a U.S. Bank Scholarship for only $1,000, but it was something.

A week later, I was asked to stay and clean up a few areas in the school. The janitor broke his wrist, so they paid me to do most of his work. I made $8 dollars an hour and a bonus of $10 if I did it well. When the janitor came back, I kept working without being paid. In total, I made $285.

My parents failed at trying to find a job. We had to move out of our house and into the Indiana Homeless Shelter, IHS. That night, my parents had a sit-down conversation with me. “Sidney,” My mom began, “Graduation day is in exactly a week and you still don’t have any college ideas. We need a plan for your future. I think you should attend Bethel University,”

“No, you wouldn’t like that. I think you should attend basic training.” My dad interrupted.

“What college is that?” I asked.

My mom said annoyed at my dad. “Um, it’s not a college. Basic training is something very challenging you would do to get into the military. It pays for your college if you complete it.”

“Okay, how hard can it be? I’ll do it.” I declared.

The two-day weekend felt like a month. IHS had nothing to do besides eat, watch tv, eat, watch tv, eat, and go to bed. The meals were all the same: chicken, applesauce, carrots, a whole grain brownie, and some milk.

When Monday came along, I realized how fast information traveled. Everyone knew I lived in the IHS. I thought Brody told everyone. He was the only one that knew, along with Karissa, but she was actually trustworthy. His whole life was a chase to be popular, and when he hung out with me, it was only because he had no other place to be.

“Sid! Sid!” Karissa yelled at me. “Sidney, come over here.” I looked at her, shook my head, and kept toward the chemistry lab. I kept my head down so I wouldn’t be seen. Suddenly, I felt a hand grab my shoulder and pull me back. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see that it was Karissa. “Sidney, wait!” I shoved her away and she released my shoulder, so I continued walking. Karissa knew what was going on, and I didn’t need her to rub it in my face.

I arrived in the chemistry lab early, so the chemistry teacher, Mr. Clark, had me set up for the experiment that day. We watched the news for the first ten minutes of class everyday, because according to Mr. Clark, the news was educational. The top story was about a severe shooting at Millard South High School in Papillion, Nebraska.There wasn’t much information on it yet, but the news was starting to cover the story and it seemed interesting. It even hit international news. We continued on with class and performed the experiment. Today was a simple lesson: baking soda and vinegar combined makes it erupt. The day went by and everyone seemed to look at me and call me names. Lunch came around and I sat at a small table in the corner, hoping no one would find me, but both Karissa and Brody came to sit with me. I gave Brody a despising look and then turned to Karissa, “Sorry about earlier, it’s just that I’m not really sure who my true friends are yet. Brody, spreading rumors about people isn’t going to make you popular. ”

Brody interrupted, “Sid, I… I don’t know what to say.”

“You can say goodbye because you need to leave!” I blurted. “Karissa and I need to talk.” Brody stormed away to grab his food. “Karissa, where are you going to college?”

She shrugged, “I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. My mom is putting all this pressure on me that I have to go to Yale, but I would rather go to Harvard and my dad is telling me the University of Evanston. It’s too much. What about you?”

“Basic training.” Karissa nodded and gave me a smile. She understood me; she cared for me. We grabbed our lunch and were walking back to our seats when Brody accidentally spilled all of his food on our table. Nobody came to clean it up and Brody only wanted attention for it.

“At least I don’t do stupid stuff for attention,” Karissa yelled. Everyone started laughing at Brody and he began to throw chili at everyone. Principal Skidmore came out and grabbed Brody by the shoulders and he nudged him away the same way I did Karissa. Brody picked up his milk, slowly opened it, and poured it all over Principal Skidmore.

“Brody Ranae Williams!” There was a few chuckles and snorts. “I wouldn’t be laughing because I know all of your middle names. And I’m not afraid to use them. Brody, go sit with the secretary until I have finished cleaning myself up. I will tell Mrs. Sanchez to keep you, contained.” Principal Skidmore turned around to us, “Finish your food and head to sixth period.” The janitor came in to clean up Brody’s mess.

Karissa and I ate as if we haven’t eaten in days. She went to her sixth period, Chemistry, and I went to mine, Study Hall. I saw Principal Skidmore heading back towards his office, so I needed to do one thing: spy. It sounded cheesy, but you didn’t have to be in class when the teacher played Korean 101 videos, and I wanted to hear Brody’s lies anyways.

I simply slipped through the door, grabbed extra blank papers, and said that I need to make copies of them. When Mrs. Sanchez was turned around, I walked into the mail room. There was a pair of lockers in the mail room that were supposed to cover the hole in the wall. I opened the locker door and peered through the hole. With the tinier holes in the locker that kids have made, I could clearly see what was happening in his office. I climbed inside the locker and shut the door, so no one could find me and I would have a better view of the action.

“Brody, we need to discuss three issues with you.” Three? I thought there were only two! “First one, what was the reason for the chaos at lunch?”

“People were laughing at me.”

“Second one, how are we going to punish you for what you’ve done?” He shrugged and rolled his eyes. “I was thinking you should be suspended for a few days to think about what you’ve done.” Brody nodded because there was no possible way of changing what he wanted. “Third one,” This is what I was waiting for, the third one.

He began to talk again when the door opened, light shined into my eyes and blinded me. “Sidney, are you in here? I’m sorry Catie. I don’t know where she is.” Catie was my Study Hall teacher’s name. She was looking for me, but I didn’t care.

Principal Skidmore was still talking. “So what are we going to do about you and your mother?”

“I don’t know. I’ve been acting out ever since my father died years ago, so when my mom lost her job, she was worried about me. She is planning on us moving to Oregon by June.”

“Where in Oregon?”

Brody shrugged. “She was saying stuff about you, too. Stuff like, ‘my brother is gonna be so worried about you when you go off.” Principal Skidmore is Brody’s uncle! If he’s his uncle, then why did he give him a suspension?

I had to get out of there before, “RINGGGGGGGG!” Study hall was over and I was climbing out of a locker. Quickly, I put the extra papers back where they were and opened the door. Mrs. Sanchez was talking to a parent, so I took the backway through the office. I had two and a half minutes left until seventh period, but I still grabbed my stuff from my locker casually so no one would be suspicious. When I arrived in the English room, the second bell rang. I sat down and logged onto my computer before the teacher could see that I just arrived.

The speaker came on and it was Mrs. Sanchez,  “Sidney Thompson to the office, please. Thank you!” I walked down to the office and sat down, “Sidney, what did you do after you made your copies?”

“Went back to IHS. I needed copies of blank paper for my mom, they don’t provide paper and she wanted to draw.” I lied.

“Oh, okay. You can head back to class now.” The day went by and I never saw Brody, once.

 

Chapter 2: Karissa

I got out of my white Aston Martin One-77 and went up to the president's suite in the penthouse, my room, to do my homework. After I was done with my homework, I decided to then go relax in my hot tub. It was nice to finally take a break after the long day I had. After about ten minutes, I fell asleep in the hot tub, so my mom came and woke me up. We ate dinner together along with my dad, and she began glancing at my brother’s empty chair. I saw a few tears rolling down her face, “Karissa, your brother would be proud.” My mom said.

“He would.” My dad agreed.

My brother was named Theodore, but we called him by his middle name, Peter. He was three years older than me, and much more popular. One night, his friends begged him to go to a party, so he did. They were out late at night, and didn’t even leave until early morning. When Eli, Peter’s friend, was driving everyone home, he blared the music. He was paying no attention to the road, whatsoever. While he was backing out of a someone’s driveway, who lived in the country, a semi came and crashed into the car. Each and every person in that car died, except for my brother. It just so happened that my brother was not hit directly by the semi, unlike everyone else. Peter was transported to the hospital that night. He went into a coma and still is in it to this day. It has been two years since, and he is still in a coma.

My family prays every day that eventually, he will come out of his coma. I always thought he would be there to watch my graduate or to watch me be sent off to college, but now he never will. Sometimes, I think he is just going to die, but my family is keeping him on life support for as long as they can.

I need to focus on college, though. In just two weeks, I will already be at Harvard studying to be a lawyer. If I am successful in becoming a lawyer, I will move to New York for good. I haven't told Sidney yet, and I'm afraid she'll be mad if I move. I'm staying at Harvard throughout the summer along with the regular school year for five years, which means I won't be able to see my family or Sidney in that time.

We finished eating our dinner, and I went up to my room and took a shower. I put my pajamas on and crawled into my bed; I quickly fell asleep after that.

 
 
 
 

Even though I awoke in my comfy bed with silk sheets, I was still in more pain than ever. Sidney hurt me. She thought she nudged me when she basically punched me. I had a bruise the size of a golf ball that was black and blue all over. I understood why she was mad, but it shouldn’t have been at me. It was Brody that went telling everyone about IHS, so I shouldn’t have to get hurt for everything Brody does. First of all, it wasn't that big of a deal, but everyone else made it that way.

I got out of bed and walked into the bathroom expecting the floors to be freezing, but they weren’t. The heated floors actually did work. After I finished using the bathroom and getting ready, I went down to the kitchen, where the chef, Mr. Andrés, was. “What would you like for your big day? I was thinking something like eggs and bacon with Yubari melon on the side.”

I laughed, “Yubari?” He smiled and nodded. “I’ll pass on the Yubari, but thanks.” Mr. Andrés began cooking breakfast. He quickly prepared the eggs and bacon, then I ate it all.

It was Graduation Day and I did my hair and picked out my clothes along with Sidney’s. I was ready for school to be over with so I could go to Harvard. It seemed perfect for me. Harvard had something about it that I just loved, and it wasn't too far from home

We were driving to graduation and I became more nervous than before. We took our seats and time sped by.

I was called up to receive my diploma, so I gently took it, smiled at my family, and they continued on to the next person. Everything went by so fast, I couldn’t remember anything. We were all leaving when Sidney ran up to me and screeched, “We did it! Texas, here I come.”

“Harvard, here I come.” I replied. We hugged and a jolt of pain went through my arm, so, I let go of her and she looked at me weird. “I’m sorry,” I said. “I have a bruise and your arm was pushing on it.”

“How’d you get it?”

“I fell going down the stairs.” I lied. It was really from when Sidney gave me a nudge. “It’s not a big deal.”

 

Chapter 3: Sidney

At first, I was excited for basic training, and then I arrived. Everything was dirty and gross. You got yelled almost every second. A couple of weeks went by and people were becoming more and more secure. We ran inside instead of out, kept the blinds closed, and were supposed to try and keep the lights off. I wanted to know why they became so secure, but I couldn’t get past spying here.

 
 

“Everyone get in the safe house!” Sergeant Martin yelled. “North Korea has come to kill us all!” We were running to the safe house and I tripped over something. I hurt my ankle and then the Koreans began to invade the area. They found me and pointed a gun towards my head, and I awoke in dread; I had a bad dream.

There were only a few minutes left until we were supposed to be woken up, so I quickly did my hair before the other girls could hog the mirror. I got dressed and then crawled back into my bunk. We were all woken up and instead of trying to get ready, I walked out the door ready to go. Sergeant Martin congratulated me, “Wow, you are the first one out the door today, you are usually last.” I nodded in thankfulness and continued on.

One by one the other girls came out of the door, we lined up, and suffered another day. That night, I had another bad dream: North Korea killed the president and we were ordered to attend the funeral. I must have been a high ranking because I had to stand right next to the president’s casket with a gun in hand. I could see out of the corner of my a man in an unusual outfit. The man was standing on the balcony and he raised his gun and positioned himself. I turned towards him and shot. It hit him in the left arm and he let out a yelp. There was another man on the other side of the balcony, and he shot at me. It bounced off of the bulletproof casket and skimmed my neck. I woke up and instantly clutched my neck in the same spot the bullet skimmed. It had a slight burn from who knows what.

It was Sunday, which was the beginning of our fourth week at basic training. That day, only one person went home, Sienna. Sienna was from New York and was always the last one out of the bathroom because her hair had to be perfect. She was girly, but could bench-press 210 pounds and hit everything she shot at with a gun. I’ve never seen a girl like Sienna, cute and pretty on the outside, but ruthless and strong on the inside. We became friends quickly after we met. She went home because her parents apparently won the lottery, and she didn’t care at all. We said our goodbyes to Sienna as she took her private jet home. The day went by fast, and easy; Sergeant Martin was taking a sick day. We mainly took turns running short distances to see who was the fastest, which was me.

That night, I had my last and foremost dream: Sienna and I snuck out during the night to visit the beach. We were in our gray pajamas and it was a little past midnight, so we thought no one could see us. After the long walk to beach, Sienna began to do cart wheels. We were living in the moment and just having fun when we began to hear voices telling us to come to the nearby forest, the forest that was supposedly haunted. Sienna began to walk towards the forest, so I followed. Right when you walk into the forest, you could see that North Korean soldiers were expecting us. They were standing by two metal chairs with ropes ready for people to be tied into them. We didn’t try to run out of the forest; we didn’t want to get shot. They tied us up and a man, unarmed, came out of nowhere, “Call me Salinja.” I thought about that name. In my Korean class that I barely showed up to, I learned that you would pronounce killer as sal-inja. I began to panic, but he kept talking. “Now, if you want to go back to camp alive and tonight, then I suggest you tell us everything you know, or else”

“Or else what?” Sienna whimpered. Salinja nodded to one of his men and they pointed a gun at Sienna. She had to tell them something, so Sienna told them lies after lies. Eventually, they caught  her lies and one of the men came behind Sienna and shot her, right in the head.

They all stared at me with their dark, soulless eyes. “So, would you like to talk?” I shook my head, seized every moment I had left, and awoke in terror. The burn was still there, but now there were two bullet-sized bumps on my head.

I got dressed, did my hair in the dark, and laid in bed. It took me a few minutes to realize that there wasn’t anyone in their bunks, and I was alone. Sergeant Martin came in, “Thompson, you’re the last one to get into the safe house. Hurry!”

“What are you talking about?” He didn’t answer and I thought I was still dreaming, but I still went to the safe house.

It took me a few minutes to get there because there were ten flights of stairs you had to take before you could arrive. There were lines of lieutenants standing in front of the soldiers. They made a passageway for me to get through. I walked all the way to the back of the room and took my place. There were multiple doors which led to who knows what, but I got tired and entered one of the rooms. It was an empty control room. I looked at one of the screens and noticed a spy camera pointed at a man with a badge, a badge that read Salinja. Salinja began to speak to his men, “The bombs are ready to be dropped.”

I put together each dream I had. The Koreans were trying to kill us, they were going to do whatever it took, and they needed people to tell them how. But who would tell them? Who was a trader that would even tell them a single clue? There was a sticky note on the keyboards and it read: Bombs come at 7:38!! It was 7:35 and I began to pace back and forth. Seconds had passed and tears were forming in my eyes. I went back to the computer and messed with things. I found a file about the soldiers in training, which included me. It had rankings and a few words about each of us. I was ranked first and described as homeless but brave. Sienna was ranked second and described as a traitor and Korean-blooded.

Sienna’s parents didn’t win the lottery, she flew to North Korea and told them the clues. I thought she was my friend, not a traitor. By now, I couldn’t trust anyone. The clock struck 7:38 and it was silent. People were waiting for the bombs to come, waiting to die. A few seconds later, I felt the energy of the bomb. It was as if I was thrown against the wall. There were multiple bombs and I kept slamming into the wall. I had cuts, bruises, a few gashes in my thigh, and a concussion. The walls began to began to cave in, which created a hole in the wall. I crawled through it in and ended up in another room, the takeoff room. It contained a helicopter which was set on auto-pilot, so I climbed in, put my seatbelt on, and clicked a bunch of buttons which caused the helicopter to malfunction. There was another bomb, and the helicopter tipped over with me in it. I got another concussion and my lungs felt as if they were closing. Without a choice, I laid down, closed my eyes, and imagined what it would be like to be painless, or have family that would reply back to my letters.

 
 

“HEY! Wake up, get up! Hurry…” A man yelled at me. I looked at him in confusion and he spoke again, “Get up!”

“What?”

“The Koreans are invading the area and we need to leave with the others. There are only a few survivors and you are one of them. Let’s go!” I stood up and began to sway back and forth, so the man grabbed my back and led me to a KC-10, an emergency plane. There were only ten people on the plane, including me. One girl was bleeding everywhere. I had a few bruises and compared to her, everyone seemed untouched. “Attention everyone! We are heading to the other base, it will arrive around 13:19 which is about an hour trip, according to the pilot. You will call me Commander Williams,” Williams sounded very familiar. “ and since I am supposed to introduce everyone, this is Fernando. This is Zander. This is Alexa. This is Bailey. This is Felipe. This is Mathias. This is Camellia.” She was the girl covered in blood. “And this is, uh, what’s your name?”

“Sidney.” I replied quietly.

“Sammi, this is Sammi everyone. Sit down and buckle up. Takeoff is in one minute.” Commander Williams walked away.

The plane was decent, it had water and crackers for us, but I gave mine to Camellia. “Thank you. It means a lot.” She thanked me. “Sidney, how did you survive?” Camellia whispered.

“How do you… know… my name?”

“It’s me, Sienna. I told the Koreans to aim the bomb far from you. I wanted to protect you in anyway possible. They threatened to kill my family if I didn’t tell them the location of the base. I’m disguised in blood so no one would know it was me. The bomb was happening with or without me.” My face was filled with excitement. I gave Sienna a little hug and we talked for most of the flight. When I wasn’t talking to Sienna, I wondered who Commander Williams really was. He seemed new and untrained, as if he was the only commander left alive.

 

Chapter 4: John

We arrived on the extra landing pad at the base. An aging man greeted us and showed us an area where we could clean ourselves up, Camellia reluctantly followed. I went the other direction, towards Sidney. “I didn’t know if you were wondering, but when you were out, the Koreans bombed the base and left a note that said: The bombs are a message to show that we are ready to fight and we will no longer attack you, but you must come to us. If not, there will be more attacks.”

“Oh, they probably want us to come to them, so we have a limited amount of warfare.” I nodded and sat down. “What is your name?” She asked.

“John.” I lied. “I come from Mitchell, Oregon. What about you?”

“Starlight, Indiana. It’s a small town, you probably have never heard of it.”

“Uh, no. I haven’t.” I lied again. I walked into another part of the plane so I could prepare us for landing. “Attention everyone! We have landed, so come towards the door.” I announced. Everyone lined up behind me and walked out into the another base.

This base was much smaller and had multiple planes. A man came out and began speaking, “Greetings, I’m Sergeant Miller. You will continue your training here, but you have the option to go home. Please contact me if you want to, and I will understand if you want to, you’ve been through a lot.”

“Sir, I don’t think that is a good idea. Letting them go home, I mean.” I interrupted.

“You are not the one that decides what happens here, I am. If you have a suggestion, contact me, alone.” I was mad, so I walked away. After all the hard work put in, they shouldn’t be able to just go home, especially Sidney. I finally got the nerve to talk to her, and if she goes home everything I’ve done to get here would be useless. After hacking the system and putting my name in as a Sergeant, I thought I would never get the chance to tell her who I really am and why I’m here. I thought they would find me and take me away for good, but everyone looks at me the way I have always wanted to be looked at. They treat me like I’m the same, not different. I didn’t want to harm anyone, I just wanted to talk to her. Maybe after she knows what I did to get here, and what I’ve been through, she will understand.

I led everyone to their cabins and waited for everyone to get cleaned up and come to the mess hall. Everyone had arrived, except for Sidney. I wondered where she was; maybe she was talking to Sergeant Miller and I had nothing to worry about, but if she was talking to him about leaving, I would never have the chance to reveal myself to her and be able to talk as normal people. I might as well do it today, or tomorrow, or a few days from now, or never. There was only one way I could get to her without anyone finding out: in the night. If only I could get past the guards during that time, it would be easy. “Hey! Commander Williams.” A woman yelled. “Get over here.” I walked over to her cautiously. She was old and frail with hints of gray in her hair, yet she had a military badge that said: R. Stewart. “Come with me.”

“Who, uh, what are you?”

“Me? Oh, I am Ruby Stewart, but everyone calls me Rubes. Let’s just start from the beginning, but we need to go somewhere and I’ll just tell you on the way there.” We began walking on a gravel path that became more narrow as you went along. I had no clue of where we were going, but we ended up in an empty space. “I grew up on a farm in a small town with a population of about 450 or so. Anyways, I went to school, graduated, went to college and dropped out six weeks into it. I came to the military and actually did pretty good. I did many things and eventually worked my way up to General of the Army, the highest rank you can have. I was the General of the Army for about twenty years and eventually, retired. But I couldn’t leave the military just yet, I chose to work at the mess hall for a few more years.”

“Okay, so should I be saluting you or something?” I asked.

“Absolutely not. I am just a regular person just like you, so do not treat me different.”

“Why did you take me here?” I blurted.

“Oh, you really want to know?”

“Yeah, that’s why I asked.”

“I was chosen to have to break the news to you, so…”

 

Chapter 5: Sidney

John led us to each of the cabins and I got cleaned up, took a shower, and put new clothes on that weren’t torn or covered in dirt. I was supposed to go to the mess hall and eat, but I needed to talk to Sergeant Miller first. I went out the window and walked through the woods so no one would find me. On the way there, I noticed an open space followed by a path. I waited there to see if anyone was coming, and they were. It was an older woman with a bit of gray in her faded red hair. She was wearing an apron that the mess hall servers wore. It reminded of the meal I missed; I began to get hungry and my stomach began to grumble. I better not get caught because they can hear my stomach. I thought. The woman continued walking towards the open space and began talking to a man; that man was John.

“I grew up on a farm in a small town with a population of about 450 or so. Anyways, I went to school, graduated, went to college and dropped out six weeks into it. I came to the military and actually did pretty good. I did many things and eventually worked my way up to General of the Army, the highest rank you can have. I was the General of the Army for about twenty years and eventually, retired. But I couldn’t leave the military just yet, I chose to work at the mess hall for a few more years.”

John asked her something in a soft voice and I couldn’t hear it, but the woman replied loud enough for me to hear, “Absolutely not. I am just a regular person just like you, so do not treat me different.”

“Why did you take me here?” John blurted.

“Oh, you really want to know?” John nodded in suspense. “I was chosen to have to break the news to you, so…”

“So what?”

“There have been reported issues with you and Sergeant Martin. He specifically said, Brody Williams is not a favored person by me, or anyone, and he needs to learn his lesson. He shall be deployed and that will truly test his skills. So, Brody, you are being deployed in Taji.”

“What? Are you serious?”

“Yes, I am so sorry.”

WHAT! He is being deployed and that’s bad, but he lied to me. His name isn’t John, it’s Brody. Brody Williams. Wait, BRODY WILLIAMS! He is the kid that ruined my high school life. I thought to myself. I needed to get to Sergeant Martin this second, confirm that I’m leaving, and get on the first flight home. Their conversation ended quickly; Brody ran away with tears rushing down his face and Ruby strolled behind him.

I waited a few seconds before going to Sergeant Martin. I raced through the woods, sprinted towards his office, and knocked on his door three times. “Come in.” A voice said, so I eagerly opened the door and sat down. The door was heavy duty, so it shut on its own. “So, why are you here today, skipping dinner.”

“I’m sorry I skipped dinner, but I want to leave and get on the first flight home.”

“Okay. I can get you on helicopter right now and have it take you to the airport.”

I was beaming with excitement until Sergeant Martin’s phone rang, and he answered. “Sergeant Martin,” he began. “There are attackers headed our way and will be here in T-minus five minutes.”

“Bombers?”

“Bombers.”

“Order everyone to the bunkers, NOW!” he said before he hung up. “We are getting you to the helicopter before the attacks.”

We raced towards the helipad when I noticed Sienna glancing at me running to the helicopter. I stopped and turned to her. “Can we exchange phone numbers, so we can… talk?”

“Of course.” Sergeant Martin handed me a pen and we wrote our numbers on the others arm. We then said our goodbyes and promised that we would get together when Sienna got back.

I climbed into the helicopter which began to fly. I looked back at Sergeant Martin and waved until he began sprinting away. I was confused at first, but then I looked up at the sky. There were four planes, all dropping bombs. I turned away before the first one landed and covered my ears. Before I knew it, I was at the airport. I flew back home in no time and arrived quite late in Louisville, Kentucky. I waited outside for a taxi but no one came. Eventually, I texted Karissa, hoping she would respond, but she didn’t. It began to rain, but that didn't bother me. I just stood there and held my hand out to feel the rain. It was the first time I had felt rain in weeks. I closed my eyes and reimagined it all. “I could've died.” I thought. “I should've died. I gave up and left when I had something I needed to finish. I got lucky and left in time. No, I was a coward and left in time. Wow, being a coward saved my life.” I opened my eyes and that is when it finally hit me: I have no one. Tears began to form in my eyes. Slowly, I leaned my back on the windows of the airport and sat down. “I could walk home, but that would take six hours.” I couldn’t stop cry8ing and hoping that someone would come for me. Before I realized it, it was eight in the morning.

Then I saw a truck begin to pull up by the airport entrance, right in front of me. The driver rolled down the window and said, “A little birdie told me you just arrived at the airport. Then that birdie told me to come pick you up.”

“What?”

“It’s me.”

“Who’s me?” The driver sighed, then rolled down the window all the way and I couldn’t believe who it was: Peter.

“Karissa told me to come and find you. It’s all over the news, that you left. I’m so sorry.” I barged into the car and he drove home. I crashed on their couch and woke up to Karissa bringing me pancakes and crying tears of happiness. I decided to go my parent IHS living space. I knocked on the door more than usual and still, no one came. I opened it to a bare space. There was nothing, except for a post-it. I have never been more confused in my life. The note read:

Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle. ♡

    

I wiped the tears from my eyes, grabbed the note, and left without looking back. Quickly, I crumpled the note and shoved it in my pocket. I dialed Sergeant Martin’s number when someone else picked up, “Hello?”

“May I speak to Sergeant Martin?”

“I’m so sorry, honey, but he died trying to get back to the safe house.”

I held back my tears, “May I speak to Sienna?”

“Oh my, dear. I’m so deeply sorry, but at least she saved so many people.”

“What, what are you saying?” I muttered.

“Sienna died.”