Hey, so I know I haven't update in a while, and I'm really sorry, but I've fixed up this chapter a bit and I really hope you all like it!
"What are you all dressed up for?" My sister Abby asked as I walked down the stairs that night. I looked at her in slight confusion; I wasn't dressed up. I was in jeans and a sweatshirt.
"What are you talking about? I'm not dressed up," I replied. She rolled her eyes.
"I mean, are you going out? Normally you're in your pj's watching old movies nobody's heard of by now." Sadly, she had a point. Our friends could almost never do anything on week nights, so most of the time we stayed in after the afternoon, except for when we had dates or sports awards or something like that.
"I have a date," I said. Abby's face lit up in a grin and she bolted over towards me.
"Ooh, who's the guy? Do I know him? Is he cute?" It was my turn to roll my eyes.
"Andy, like, Andy Carter? Our friend Andy?" She asked. I nodded. "I knew it! I knew it, I knew it, I told you so!"
"Told me what?" I asked.
"That he likes you! Aw, it's so cute! You and me and Andy and Jackson can go on double dates and stuff! Oh my gosh, we've got both the new kids! Man, the other girls in our school must be so jealous right now!" She squealed. Abby kept rambling about all the fun we could have now that we both had boyfriends, and I didn't have the heart to tell her the two most obvious facts: 1. Andy wasn't my boyfriend and 2. While he wasn't exactly ugly, her boyfriend, another new kid named Jackson Gale, wasn't much of a looker either. I don't think our classmates were troubled too terribly when they learned he was taken.
"Speaking of Jackson, didn't you guys have a date tonight?" I asked, just then noticing that she was in her favorite, baggiest sweats that she couldn't go a weak without, yet could also never wear in public. She pouted slightly.
"We had to cancel. Jackson's dad grounded him because he didn't do so great on his last test in Trig," she told me sadly.
"Aw. Well, maybe next week we can all go on one of those double dates you were telling me about." She brightened up quite a bit at that.
"Okay!" I couldn't help but laugh at how easy it was to cheer my sister up. Then the bell rang and I had to run to get it before Abby could fill Andy in on the joys of double dating. I couldn't let the poor kid endure that kind of torture. I could hear Abby close behind me, saying, "Wait! I gotta tell Andy!" so the second I got to the door, I flung it open and rushed him down the stairs.
"Go, go, go!" I hurried him. He gave me a weird look, but did as I said while I slammed the door shut behind us. I saw Abby's face press against the glass and she glared out at me. I just stuck my tongue out at her and turned to Andy. "Sorry about that." He laughed.
"What was that all about?" He asked. I rolled my eyes.
"Abby wants us to double date with her and Jackson. I told her we could just to shut her up, and I'm pretty sure she was coming to tell you the good news. I swear, if you didn't squeal like a little girl, she'd have probably ripped your face off." Andy's eyebrows jerk up. "She's very serious about her double dating. She's been planning for it since we were seven, but we never have boyfriends at the same time. She decided to make you my honorary boyfriend I guess." He laughed again.
"I'm cool with that," he replied. I grinned.
"Easy for you to say. You picked a real winner," I said with a slight smirk.
"You got one too," he pointed out. I quirked an eyebrow and smiled a bit.
"Says the boy who still watches SpongeBob on Saturday mornings."
"Hey! That is quality television!" He defended himself. I laughed and soon enough we'd launched into a debate about which character was better: SpongeBob or Patrick (duh, Patrick!) as we walked towards our town's closest movie theater. As we got into the main part of town, I noticed Andy was acting kind of funny. He kept taking random turns where we didn't need to, looking behind us through his periferal vision, glancing at the reflections in the store windows we passed. I mean, I'd figured out a long time before that Andy was quite fond of his reflection, but this was a little much even for him. It was almost like he thought we were being followed.
"Andy?" He jerked his eyes away from the unlit windows of a pharmacy. "Are you all right? You're acting kind of weird."
"Yea, I'm fine. Dandy." I left it alone after this, but his behavior just kept getting worse and he was soon becoming completely paranoid: randomly turning completely around and changing directions, directing me into random stores saying we had plenty of time before the movie, glancing at the reflective metal on the back of stop sighs, heck, he even checked the reflection on the glass surface of his watch a time or two. He was kind of freaking me out at that point. Then, when he glanced into the window of some deli, his eyes widened in alarm as though his very worst fears and suspicions and just been confirmed. He cursed under his breath. "Um, change of plans Audrey. Why don't we take a little detour?" He steered me around a corner and grabbed my hand, pulling me down the street at a brisk pace.
"Andy, what are you doing? What's wrong?" I asked.
"Huh? OH, um nothing, I just really like this part of town." He replied, sounding like he was only half paying attention to what he was saying. We continued speed walking straight down the road until we were about a mile out of the main part of town. He finally slowed down a bit, but he still kept glancing around like he expected for someone to jump out and yell "boo!" Finally, his behavior stopped being scary and just became annoying. I tugged my hand out of his iron grip and stopped dead in my tracks. Andy stopped. "What are you doing?"
"What am I doing Andy? What are you doing! You're not acting like yourself and you're really starting to freak me out! What are we doing here?" I asked.
"I told you, I like this part of town, now come on!" He urged me. He tried to grab my hand but I stepped back from him.
"Andy, this is an abandoned construction site." I pointed out. This was really beginning to become scary.
"It's a very nice construction site?" He offered, phrasing it like a question. His expression became serious. "Look Audrey, we have to get out of here."
"Not until you tell me what's going on!" I insisted, stamping my foot like a little kid throwing a tantrum.
"Look, I can't-" He cut himself off and there was a fear in his eyes that kept me shut up as well. I could hear the faint sound of two boys about our age whispering to each other.
"Are you sure he's here?" One boy whispered.
"Of course I'm sure! Do I look like a half-wit to you?" Another whispered harshly. "I just saw him duck in here with his girlfriend." I heard a few boys snickering quietly, then a few thumping sounds.
"Ow!' A different boy whined in complaint. "What'd you do that for Zeke?"
"This isn't the time to act like a bunch of five year olds. Cade has to be caught!" Hey wait a second! Isn't that- Well, I never got to sort out who this Zeke guy sounded like because just then, Andy grabbed my arm and we ducked behind a partly built wall.
"Andy-" He cut me off by clamping his hand over my mouth. I pulled it off, glared at him, and started again. "What-" He slapped both hands over my mouth this time, but the damage was done.
"Sh! Did you guys here that?" The voice which I believed belonged to Zeke asked. We heard a few yes's, then the creepiest chuckle I've heard in my life. "Oh Ethan!" He called. "Come out come out wherever you are!" I looked to Andy in confusion, but he shook his head and held a finger to his lips. "We're not gonna hurt you buddy! We just want to have a nice chat." Andy snorted quietly at this, so I figured he knew not to trust these guys. I just didn't understand why.
"Come on out Ethan!" Another voice called. I pulled Andy's hand off of my mouth again.
"Andy, why do they keep calling you Ethan?" I ask.
"Not now Audrey." He shushed me.
"Ethan, do you really want to do this? We can wait out here all night. We've been through this before, you know that. But do you really want to get Audrey involved?" This time, Andy seemed to consider what they were saying, but instead of moving, he kept whispering to himself, ''they're bluffing, they wouldn't get her involved, they're bluffing." It was really weird. "Fine then. Have it your way Cade." This was followed by a clicking sound and then a gunshot. Then the gunshot was followed by another, and another, and another, each time coming faster and faster, the time in between shorter and shorter. There was obviously more than one person firing now, but they weren't all firing in the same direction. It seemed like they were going to keep shooting in all different directions until they hit one of us. Andy kept cursing under his breath, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw him whip out his phone and type up a short message. He then stared at his phone for a minute or two, as if waiting for some sign, but none came.
"This is not good," he muttered. He looked at me, then peeked over the edge of the wall. When he looked back down, it seemed like he'd made a decision. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a gun. This sent a new wave of alarm shooting through me.
"Why do you have a gun?" I said in a near shriek. Luckily, the boys hadn't heard me over the gunfire. He shrugged.
"In case of emergencies." Then he crouched with his head just above the top of the wall and fired at the large group of shooters. Judging by the immediate cry of pain, I'd say he was a pretty good shot too. The firing ceased for a moment, and instead of the concern for their friend that any normal group of people would show, I heard laughter.
"Bad move Ethan. Now we know exactly where to find you." The firing picked back up again and Andy just kept shooting back at them, not thrown at all by the fact that any minute now, someone from the group was going to come and shoot us. After he'd shot down about five of the ten of eleven boys (in the leg, nothing fatal), he grabbed my arm and tugged me up.
"Come on!" He urged me. He pulled me along by my arm, occasionally ducking behind walls and shooting behind us. I kept hearing them calling after us for some kid whose name I didn't recognize, but I had no idea who they were talking about. I guess my common sense was kind of lacking at the moment due to the shock of being shot at. Eventually, the boys were all trailing behind, all except one. He kept getting closer and yelling after us. Now, with both his face in sight and his voice, I realized who this mysterious Zeke guy was. He was Abby's boyfriend, Jackson Gale. He finally caught up to us and grabbed me by the arm. Then he held the gun to my head.
"What are you going to do now, huh Ethan? What's your master plan to get out of this?" Andy didn't answer, just stared at us with his face screwed up in concentration. I could tell he was thinking that there had to be some way to get away, but he just couldn't quite figure it out. Jackson or Zeke or whatever his name was laughed. "You don't have one do you? One of the greatest of your kind in the world, and you've got nothing. Amazing how far you've fallen." Andy glared.
"I have not fallen Mitchell. I will always be one step ahead of you." He said, with a slight laugh. "Has it really taken you this long to figure that out?" What's his face gave him a weird look.
"What are you up to Cade?" He asked, spitting the name like it was a disease. Andy just smirked and didn't reply. "I said, what are you-" He was cut off the sound of a gunshot. He cried out in pain and the gun fell from his hand and clattered to the ground. He stumbled back, clutching his hand and staring at it in shock. Behind him stood Stuart Hill, Andy's cousin, with a smoking gun in his hand. Looking from the gun, to the injured boy, to Andy, it seemed he couldn't believe what he'd just done.
"Stuart," Andy said slowly, as though speaking to a small child, "run. Now." Stuart didn't hesitate to do as Andy told him, taking off in the opposite direction. I noticed Jackson/Zeke looking at the gun, and before he could lunge for it, I reached down and pulled it out of his reach, then pointed it at him.
"Go." I commanded. "Go now or I swear to god I'll blow your brains out," I said, speaking mostly out of fear. Like I'd actually ever shoot him, if I could ever even figure out how this gun worked. He looked up at me and smiled like I was his best friend in the world.
"Audrey, you wouldn't do that. I'm Jackson, remember? I'm your buddy, Abby's boyfriend." He said soothingly.
"No buddy of mine would hold a gun to my head. And I don't care who you are, I want you out of my sight right now or I will shoot." He assessed my face, trying to detect any sign of a lie in it. Luckily, he hadn't known me long enough to recognize when I was lying, and backed away, then took off running towards the rest of his gang. Andy looked at me, then held his hand out for the gun, which I was all too happy to hand to him. Then he put his arm around me and rushed me in the opposite direction, towards a railroad track.
"Audrey, I need you to do something." I nodded, willing to do anything to get out of this situation and pretend it had never happened. "When the next freight train comes along, I'm going to grab your hand and we're going to jump into one of the boxcars." He was speaking in that same little kid voice he'd used when talking to Stuart, trying to keep me calm. It didn't work.
"No way!" I shrieked. "We'd get killed doing that!"
"We could've gotten killed back there too. Did we?" I shook my head. "No. We got out of there just fine. Now I'm going to need you to trust me and keep the same level head you had a few minutes ago. Can you do that for me?" I nodded weakly. He smiled reassuringly at me. "It's all going to be okay Audrey, I promise." It wasn't long after that before a freight train came along, and Andy grabbed my hand, put his arm around me again, and we both jumped. As for getting into the boxcar itself, he did most of that work for me. Once we were in, he slid the door shut and crashed to the ground on his back, his hand on his stomach and sighing in relief. "Phew! Glad that's over!" I glared at him through the darkness.
"You're glad that's over huh? At least you knew what you were doing? What was going on back there?" I asked in exasperation. He sighed and sat up.
"It's better for everyone if you don't know." He said.
"You can't just keep me in the dark, you have to tell me! Andy, what's going on?" My anger was gone, and now I just sounded scared. He sighed again.
"Well, if I'm going to tell you anything, which I won't just yet, you might as well stop calling me Andy." He said, sounding extremely reluctant to tell me even this much. "My name's Ethan Cade, and I'm an A3."
Ooooh, I wonder what this mysterious A3 could be! And why would Ethan lie about his name as well as Zeke lying about his? Very strange. And what was Stuart doing there and why did he think to shoot Zeke in the hand? All very good questions. Please review with any more good questions or theories about the answers to these questions.