By Nava Gross

Chapter 2

NEW FACES: The Day They Took Her Away

For the first time, I sat there scared, cold, and lonely. Carla would always be with me when times got hard; like when they took mommy and daddy; she sat with me crying on her lap until I fell asleep. And now? Now they took Carla too.

After everything was quiet, I went to the kitchen where the phone sat on the counter. I called the number Carla gave me, tentatively putting the phone to my ear. "Hello?" came a rushed voice, "Who is this?"

"M..mi...mis...," my voice trembled.

"Misty?" the voice came again, barely an audible whisper.

"Y-yes," I whispered back.

"Well why didn't you say so? I'll come get you right now, darling! What kind of friend would I be if I didn't! And there's no need to be so hush hush about it, it's not like we're doing something illegal!," exclaimed the voice. Then, in a continued, rushed whisper, "I'll come to the backyard, meet me there with a few changes of clothes and up to three things you don't want to leave behind." Then she hung up and I was left confused.

'What I don't want to leave behind?' I thought, 'Where am I going?'. But I knew I couldn't delay and began taking clothes, putting them in a bag. I packed a little for each season, not knowing how long I would be away or how far this new place would be.

I took my bunny and bear, my favorite stuffed animals. They were a gift to me at the hospital when I was born, and to me it meant there was still hope, no matter how little it was. I then took the most special thing, that to me was beyond value; my family's photo album. It was a beautiful, brown book, with an elegant design of simplicity, and the name GALLEWAY engraved into the center in gold lettering. With it, I knew I would never forget the good times, before they were taken. With it, I knew I would never forget Mommy, Daddy, and Carla.

I put on my coat, socks, untied shoes, a hat, a scarf, and a pair of mittens. I didn't need all of them, but I couldn't carry them and I wanted them for cold weather.

I went to the backdoor and waited. Sure enough a lady came and softly knocked on the door.

"Come with me," she said. "I'll explain everything once we get someplace safe." I followed her out of the house. As I looked back I began crying. There were so many memories here and there could've been so many more. 'But no,' I thought, as my tears turned to anger, 'they ruined everything.'

After a few minutes of walking, the lady suddenly turned and disappeared behind a wall covered with vines. I followed her cautiously and was amazed to see a small forest of trees, with actual leaves on them! We walked through the forest and I marveled at how beautiful it was. Birds hummed little songs among the treetops and I relaxed slightly. Then, we stopped.

"Why did we stop?" I asked. Instead of answering me she pulled back some big leaves and branches and said "Welcome to your new home."

Behind the big leaves was a beautiful, grassy hollow lined with flowers, bushes, fruit trees and vegetable plants of all kinds. At the end of the hollow was a small house; small, but warm and inviting. Trees circled the hollow protectively as if to trap the feeling of happiness lost to the world; a feeling I had longed to know.

As I stood there in awe, the woman started walking toward the house.

"Come on," she said, "let's get you settled in. My name is Lara by the way, Lara Summer."

I followed Lara into the house and for once, I smiled.

1 day earlier...

The phone rang from the kitchen.
"Lara?" a voice called, "you there?"
"Who is this?" I asked, tentatively picking up the phone.
"It's Carla," the voice answered more urgently, "you know why I called."
"Yes; When?"
"Tomorrow night; 6:00. After the call."
"I'll keep my word, I promise."
"Thank you, Lara," Carla said sounding slightly relieved, "thank you so much for everything."

Carla hung up leaving me to my thoughts. 'I hate having to talk more or less in code in order to have a private conversation. It's like we're not allowed to be human! Instead there's a constant fear of saying anything that might prick THEIR ears or give them a reason to take you away.'

With a sigh, I went upstairs to set up the room for Misty. I wanted her to feel as welcome as she could with all that was going on. I opened the door and stopped. A fresh wave of sadness washed over me as remembered her, my sweet little angel; this had been her room. Her bed, her desk, her chair, her closet... I shook my head, snapping out of my moment of grief.

After I set up the room I went about the house making sure everything was perfect.

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