She slammed the door so hard it shook the walls. I stood there in shock for a second. I finally flung the door open and ran after her. My legs moving faster than my thoughts. I was screaming. People were opening their doors and peeking through their peepholes at the commotion going on in the hallways on floor 17 of the Apartment Complex in upstate New York. She ran out into the wet city throwing her hood up as she ran through the crowded streets. Taxi’s honking at her and people rolling down their windows to yell at her. “ANNE! WAIT!” I screamed waving a hand of apology to the drivers. She slowed and turned around waiting for me in the pouring rain, her ginger red, curly, hair now hanging straight and dripping onto her worn out hightop Vans. “What do you want, Jane?” She asked tiredly. “I have no reason to be here anymore.” “I need you here,” I said desperately. “Please stay.” “I can’t.” A silent tear slipping out of her liquid gold eye. I tried to wipe it but she slapped my hand out of the way. I looked into her eyes and whispered one last time, “Please?” She took my hand and whispered, “I’m sorry.” At that, she pivoted and took off into the rain. Leaving me crumbling to my knees choking on tears, gasping for breath in the middle of a busy New York sidewalk.
Everything was a blur after that. Somehow I made my way back to my apartment and onto the couch. When I woke up my throat ached for water and my head pounded. My pillow was mascara stained and my hair was knotted and in my face. I stumbled to the kitchen to get a glass of water. I gulped it down and grabbed another. I slumped back to the living room and saw a photo of her. Anne and I smiling in front of my childhood home both eating ‘Starry Night’ from Crazy John’s Ice Cream Parlor. We went there every Friday after school. Ever since the first day she walked into Mrs. Miller’s Kindergarten class I knew she was going to be my best friend. My un-biological sister. Yesterday was our 12-year friend-anniversary. I grabbed the photo and threw it across the room. The sound of glass shattering filled the room. My knees gave out from under me and I fell to the ground. I screamed. All of the pressure that was building up in my chest was unleashed. “Why did she have to leave?” I thought. I sobbed, sobbed, and sobbed. Eventually, I fell asleep.
Again I woke up with a mascara-stained carpet spot. But this time when I woke up I had a feeling. Not grief, and not anger. Nor sadness. It was a sort of motivation. A motivation to find out what happened to Anne. I just knew she didn’t leave because she couldn’t be around me anymore. No, that's not like her. Something was up; I just had to figure it out. It was still drizzling that day. There were puddles on the streets and the people who were walking were getting splashed with water whenever a car drove by. I grabbed my phone, wallet, and coat and ran out the door. I ran down seventeen flights of stairs, gave a slight smile and wave to the doorman and ran out the door.
The streets were packed with people. Many rushing to their house from work, others going out for a grocery run. As I peeked around a corner I saw four teenagers that looked to be about the age of 17. They were leaning against a brick wall holding a cigarette in one hand and a beer bottle in the other. I decided to not interact with them and grab a taxi to Mila’s house, Anne’s little sister. She’s the little sister I never had. I walked past them and kept my head down, avoiding showing my face. I heard a deep voice behind me say, “Hey, you. Yeah, you. Turn around.” I ran. I sprinted. I heard a beer bottle smash behind me. Still, I ran. Once I got a taxi I could finally catch my breath. The taxi took me to Mila’s house. I immediately paid, thanked the driver and ran inside.
Mila saw me through the window and hugged me when I got in. “Jane! Oh, it’s so good to see you again!” She beamed. “What brings you over here? Where is Anne?” She asked a little worried. I sat her down, took a deep breath, and started on my story. By the end, she was appalled. “But, but why would Anne run away like that?” “That's what I have to figure out. She told me our friendship wasn’t working out anymore and she had to leave.” I said shaking my head. “I don’t believe it. Anne would never just leave without an explanation. I’m going with you. We’re going to find her together.” Mila said in a stubborn, strong voice. ‘No, Mila. You ca-” She cut me off. “I’m coming and it’s final. She’s my sister.” With that, she told her mom she was going on a trip with me and would be gone for a while, grabbed her iPod and wallet, then set out the door.
I called another taxi and we decided we would talk about our plan during our drive to Ellicottville, NY. It was a 361-mile drive and we had to switch taxi’s every one hundred miles. That gave us time to talk. About where we were going to look. We decided on Ellicottville because it was the smallest town we knew of and Anne always said she would love to visit it someday. “Ok. First, we should stop in a bakery and see if they keep records of their customers. We both know how much Anne likes baked bread.” Mila said cracking a smile. “Of course. Anne would never miss a chance for baked bread.” I said with a slight giggle.
Once we finally got to Ellicottville we headed straight toward the nearest bakery, ‘Brother Arnies Bread’ Mila ran in immediately, climbed on the counter, looked straight into the eyes of the man behind the counter and asked, “do you keep records?” “Yes. Now, why would you need one.” “We think my sister is in trouble and we’d like to see if she’s been here lately,” Mila stated matter-of-factly. “Ok, name?” The man asked typing on his computer. “Anne Hernandez.” “Okie-Dokie. Yup. She came here just this morning at 9:12 am.” It was now 12:24 pm. “Ok! Thank you!” I said quickly and grabbed Mila. We ran around town for over an hour looking for her.
Then at about 2:03 pm I got a text from an unknown number. Mila grabbed my phone and read it out loud. “I’ve heard you’ve been looking for Anne Hernandez.” She quickly replied, ‘Yes! Do you know anything?!’ ‘In fact I do.’ The person responded. I tried to grab the phone back but Mila quickly turned and moved out of the way. She called the number. “No! Mila don-” “Hello?” A man's voice came through the phone. “Hi. I'm Mila. I’m looking for my sister Anne. Where is she?” “Well, I have her here with me right now actually. Do you want to speak to her?” “Yes!” Mila and I both shouted at the same time. “Ok.” There was lots of commotion in the background. Mila and I gave a quick glance at each other then turned back to the phone. “Mila? Jane? Hello?” “ANNE!” We both shouted. “Where are you?” “I’m in an ally. It’s 430 feet west of ‘Brother Arnies Bakery’ and 300 feet south from there. Come soon!” Then she hung up.
We quickly gathered everything together and ran to the ally. There we saw a tall man standing against a brick wall. He had dirty blond hair and a slim figure. We slowly approached him. “Hello? Wheres Anne?” I asked a little confused. “Oh, she’s coming. That’s for sure. Take a seat she’ll be here soon. Let me text her.” Mila, being the sneaky person she is, got a glimpse of what the man was texting Anne. “He just texted her a threat!” She whispered frantically. ‘Well, what did it say?” I whispered just as frantic. “It said, ‘I have your sister and friend here. Come or you’ll never see either of them again!’” “Oh. My. Gosh! This is who she must have run from! She was afraid!”
Within five minutes of the mysterious man sending the threat, Anne showed up. I ran straight toward her. We embraced in a hard hug. “Jane! Are you okay? Did he hurt you? What happened? Oh, Jane. I'm so sorry!” “Anne! Slow down. I’m fine! I’ll explain everything when we get back. Let’s leave now.” “NO! None of you are going anywhere!” The man yelled. We all jumped back. All except Anne. “No. We are leaving and you are coming with us. This has gone on for too long. I have video footage of everything you’ve done. This stops now.” With that, we were surrounded by police cars. Officers swarmed the man and shoved him against a brick wall. There he was handcuffed. “This isn’t over, Hernandez! I will be back! I swear to you! I’ll be wor-” He was shoved in the back of the cop car. I looked at Anne in disbelief. “Wha? How? Huh?” Was all that came out of my mouth. Anne laughed. “Wow. It’s good to have you back Jane.” Mila then ran and jumped into Anne’s arms. She put her arm around me and held Mila close to her chest. “Hey, I got to go to my dream city!” She exclaimed jokingly. We all laughed and walked back down to ‘Brother Arnies Bread.’
Anne and my phone ‘dinged’ at the same time as a text message popped up on both of our screens. An unknown number. “I’m back.” We said at the same time reading the text. We looked up, frighted looks on our faces. “Oh no.” We said again at the same time.