I couldn’t maim the men. I couldn’t exact vengeance.
For some reason, that knowledge burned at me. The security didn’t know what to do when they arrived. The unconscious men had supposedly been taken into custody by the police but I doubted anything would happen. Supposedly – supposedly there was no proof.
I was just standing there when the police arrived. They said my story didn’t make sense. Now, I was going to watch my kidnappers walk free.
I was furious with the green man for rescuing me. I’d rather be dead than alive right now. I wanted this to be over, to have exacted vengeance, even if it was in some small way.
“Please, sweetie, eat something,” said Kayla as she pushed the take out towards me. I glared at her. She offered me a miserable smile. She was on the phone with the school board and was convincing them that I didn’t need to show up for the final days of school.
“We’re leaving tomorrow,” she announced for the umpteenth time to the phone, as if to make it real. It would be real, I was sure. But then what?
I stared down at the thai noodles. I poked at a piece of tofu. Hunger evaded me. I wanted – I wanted to throw this food at the wall.
Instead I sat quietly. I pushed the food away. I crossed my arms, hugging myself. I missed my unicorn. No one had found it in the hallways, even if I asked several times for it.
“We’ll get you another one,” Kayla had promised as she had wiped her own tears away before hugging me to her chest.
Now I just wanted Kayla to be gone. I wanted her somewhere safe, away from me. I wanted everyone away from me. I was a walking danger magnet it seemed.
Rising from the kitchen table, I went to the living room. Mid-way there, I crossed the entrance hall, and there I froze. A figure was standing on the other side of the entrance door’s frosted glass. It was just a shape, but it was a tall, thick, man-shape.
My mind whirled. Uncle was at the office for the rest of the day. Wanda was upstairs.
The door knocked. The figure shrunk as the person stepped away from the door.
“What is it?” Kayla was beside me, walking to the door. To me, she asked “Is someone there?”
I nodded, mouth dry and eyes wide. Kayla drew the curtain aside from the window beside the door and peered out. “There’s no one,” she murmured. Frowning, she pulled the door open. Then her eyes looked down. “Oh!” she cried out. She fumbled the phone. “I’ll have to call you back!”
I was walking forward, trying to get a look but she shut the door. “Stay there!” she said, spinning to face me. “Don’t go out!”
But I saw it. There, perched on the door’s step, looking inwards expectantly, was my unicorn.
Kayla called the police. “The unicorn is here!” she said insistently. “The kidnappers must have brought it!” She peered again out the window. “They left it at the front door!” Then, exasperated, she exclaimed “Well, do something!”
I went and sat upstairs in Wanda and Uncle’s bedroom. The police came by. I was sure they photographed the unicorn, and did all those police-y things that they showed on TV. I heard vioces speaking to Kayla, and then the door was shut.
Silence. Footsteps padded softly up the stairs. I sat up from the bed, and Kayla was in the doorway. “I’m sorry,” she said, eyes red even as she faked a smile. “They’re keeping it as evidence.”
Even my unicorn was gone. Great.
Somehow, that felt like a gaping cavern inside me – but I was numb all at the same time. Did gaping chasms have feelings, or where they just – there? I lay back down face-first on the bed.
The bed shifted. I looked up as Kayla sat beside me. She stroked my head, eyes shimmering with tears. “I’m so sorry,” she croaked, voice breaking. “I’m so sorry about everything-” and she sobbed.
Our hands gripped at each other. We held on tight.
That night, Kayla slept on the floor beside my couch. Wanda and the cousins were quiet as we slept early.
“We’re leaving first thing tomorrow morning,” Kayla announced to no one in particular as she spread out her blankets on the floor. She ruffled up her pillow, and lay down as if demanding the world comply with her.
That next morning, Kayla was looking starched and ready. Her makeup was a bit fuzzy, but otherwise she looked a bit better than usual- which was a sign that she was on edge. She wasn’t relaxed. She was stiff like a starched collar.
I woke up to her shaking me out of nightmares of police and large men. Breakfast was a shoddy affair, as Wanda and Uncle were still asleep. Kayla was determined that they would sleep, but just before we carried our bags out the door, Wanda appeared in the living room.
“Hey,” and she held out her arms to Kayla. “Take care, hon.”
Then, the hug was turned to me. I hugged Wanda back, thinking this might be the last time I ever saw her. Then, Kayla opened the door and we were off.
As per her ritual, as she announced to me, Kayla bought herself an extra large coffee and we hit the highway.
The drive was long, and I slept most of the morning away. We stopped for a hasty lunch and when we were back in the car on our way Kayla seemed more relaxed.
Hours later, I dozed off again. I slept right through suppertime, and was woken by the sound of the car crunching over gravel. That, and the sheer happiness radiating off Kayla
“Here we are!” she announced as we drew to a stop.
We were outside a small house. It looked like a cabin, a sort of suburban cutesy thing. It was difficult to see much, as the night was pitch dark. Mosquitoes flew here and there. There was a small flower patch out front, a bird bath, and solar lamps that were aglow lining the driveway.
Kayla let out a happy sigh as she swung out of the car. I stepped out of the car, but didn’t do a happy sound. Rather, I felt completely cramped. Instantly mosquitoes swarmed around me.
Kayla began chattering as we got our baggages from the trunk. “Welcome to my home!” she was saying as she closed the trunk of the car. “It’s small but it’s cozy. There’s an extra room you can have, and,”
I didn’t hear the rest. Something was sitting on the front steps, just before the front door. It was pale, small, and the shape was all too familiar.
Kayla stopped talking too as she saw it. “Is that a package?” she asked as she marched towards it ahead of me.
Of course it wasn’t. It was my unicorn.
Kayla picked it up. Her back was to me, her face shrouded in curls as she held it in her trembling hands.
“I don’t think the police kept it,” I said softly.