When she was in third grade, Amy met Jennie. Jennie Newton was so cool, she could do anything, anything at all and that just fascinated Amy. Jennie had wavy brown hair, hazel eyes and a full lipped smile that lit her face up when it appeared. Amy and Jennie became fast friends that year and could be found together just about every minute of every hour of every day the summer between third and fourth grades. They both took swimming lesson at the Y that summer and Amy finally found something that she could do better than Figgy could. Oh how they had giggled the first time Amy had called her “my own little fig Newton”. Jennie had been teased many times about her name, but coming from Amy it felt right some how. Amy thought that if she practiced enough that Fig could do it better, but Jennie didn’t really want to, she had all the other things, sewing and reading and making things and music, Jennie was a Wizard on the piano and had a voice that could make Ella jealous. Amy really wanted to keep leaning this new skill, so she would go to the Y alone twice a week for the lessons and soon she was like a little otter in the water. She could play, swim, dance, almost Fly in the water. It was almost like she was a fish not a little girl.
She really was glad of this skill now! That feeling of comfort in the water is the only thing that was keeping her going. She could almost be more relaxed floating in the ocean then walking on the beach. The water caressed her and protected her. She had no fears while she floated, she was at peace. After a little while she realized that she was drifting away, maybe even losing conciseness every now and then from exhaustion and trauma. She thought that she would be ok, but was now a little worried that she would not be able to make it to shore if she couldn’t get her bearings. So she started treading water again and took a good long look around her. She couldn’t really see anything. There was no moon, and the starlight was not strong enough to reveal any landmarks or houses or Anything. She didn’t know what time it was either, but was pretty sure that morning ought to be arriving soon. One thing she Did know was that she needed to be as far from those men as possible when it got light enough for them to see her. She could sort of feel the direction of the waves, but no real pull towards shore, this led her to believe that she must be pretty far out past the breakwater. This could be a problem if she didn’t have the strength to make it back to shore. No one would ever think to look for her out here. They would assume that the men had either killed her and buried her or taken her away. Then she would be lost at sea. She had not endured all of this just to float passively out into that vast wetness. No way! She started formulating a plan.
Fred and Erin were getting discouraged. They had not seen one person, house or car in the entire time they had been jogging down this road. They knew that they had to find someone, Anyone, but how? Then it hit them!! Fred cried out with frustration “Why didn’t we think of this before? Come on, lets get back to Bret. He has the keys to his car and we can drive to the police station!!!” Erin said “Oh my God, how could we be so stupid?” “Come on!! Let’s RUN!” shouted Valerie. And they did, they turned around and started running back to the three teens sitting in the dark.
It didn’t take them any time at all to return to the starting point. When they came running up, out of breath and panting, Bret jumped up asking if they had found Amy. He almost lost his balance and fell back down, he still wasn’t all that steady and getting excited made it worse. His face fell and he almost cried when they admitted that they had not found her. Bret was devastated. Not only had he failed to protect Amy, he couldn’t even really provide any assistance with the search because of his head injury. He was so frustrated!! Fred told them about his plan as quickly as his panting would allow and almost jumped up and down with impatience while Bret dug in his pocket for the car keys. They were not there. “NO” cried Bret “They Have to be here” as he searched all the pockets on his body, he even took off his shoes just in case, but no keys. The only thing they could think of was that when they took Amy they had taken his keys. If not that, they the keys were laying out there in the sand where they had been attacked and if that were the case, they were still screwed. It was too dark to find that place again and way too dark to try to find the keys, even if they could. None of them had a flashlight, though there was one in Bret’s car, and none of those present smoked, so no lighters or even matches with which to start a fire. They all slumped back down into the sand, Bret cradled his head in his hands and started quietly to cry. Tears running down his face he looked up at his friends and told them that this was all his fault and he didn’t think he could live with his guilt if they couldn’t find Amy. The others just looked at him helplessly, they didn’t know what to do or say, they were so afraid that Amy was gone forever and they didn’t know who to turn to.
JoAnna and Jennie were waking just as fast as they could and talking quietly, trying to come up with some sort of plan of action if they couldn’t find any help soon. Sheila and Harv were a little ways ahead of them moving fast and pulling away slightly, they were so anxious to find someone to help them, they were so out of their depth with this emergency. That’s what adults were for! They were all so upset that they had somehow lost track of how many steps they had taken. They stopped when they realized it to determine what they should do about this. Sheila said “the number of steps we agreed on equal approximately one mile, does it feel like we have gone a mile yet?” They looked at each other standing there in the dark and ruefully shook their heads in mute discouragement. JoAnna said that she thought they might have come about halfway and that they should start counting again, and turn around at 1000. The others agreed that this was sensible and they set off being more careful this time.
They had only gotten to 547 when they spotted headlights coming at them. They were ecstatic! Someone was coming! They were going to get help! Then Jennie grabbed Harv’s arm and started pulling him out of the headlights. He tried to shake her off, asking what the hell was wrong with her and she was shouting “Get off the road!!! That might be the men that DID THIS TO BRET and AMY! How do we know it’s not? How DO WE KNOW?” The others looked at her in stunned disbelief. Why hadn’t anyone else thought of that? They all turned to look at the lights again and then as one, they ran into the dark and hid until the car had passed them. They were all pretty shaken by the nearness of possible disaster and were talking rapidly as they started jogging down the side of the road, even more determined then ever to find help for Amy. They just didn’t know how or when. Unknown to the others, all of the kids were praying, praying hard, for Amy, for Bret, and for themselves. It made them feel a little better. Until JoAnna turned and stared back the way they had come and she whirled around and yelled “if those are the men that took Amy, they are headed right for Bret and the other kids! They won’t know to hide! What are we going to do?” They stopped in their tracks, totally aghast at this new thought. What could they do? They would never be able to beat the car back to their starting point, and they had no way of alerting Bret or the others. Once again they found theAmselves helpless in the face of circumstances.