This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission from the author, except for the inclusion of brief quotations in a review.
"You can't move away from here, Shara, you just can't," Jacquel Rassenworth said to me when I told her my family was moving from San Francisco, California to a small town in Oregon.
"Well, I don't have much of a choice in that matter," I said.
We were hanging out on Pier 39 eating giant ice cream cones and talking about why my family decided to move.
There were three reasons why we were moving:
- My grandparents are in their late 80s/early 90s and they're having a hard time getting around heir house. (Being that old tends to slow you down.) So, mom decided that she'd move back to her old home to take care of them.
- Dad's job decided to shut down instead of hiring people who weren't Indian. That incident occurred when a black woman raised a stink when the company dad worked for (Boar Microsystems) refused to hire her because she didn't come from India and her ancestors were slaves. She sued Mr. Thaker, claiming that he was racist and only hired Indian men. Mr. Thaker, in a fit of anger that she insulted his company and him, shut down the company. (I don't blame him, as you don't insult people who make products that you use everyday. I wonder if Olishia Blake realizes what she's done by filing that unnecessary lawsuit, as she's angered many people who use products made by Boar.) Dad's not too happy about that, as he's worked at Boar since before I was born.
- The apartment building my family lived in since my parents married and had me is set to be demolished, as the mayor of San Francisco had heard enough complaints about "that eyesore that's destroying our city". He ordered the residents of the apartment that they have 15 days to pack their things and leave.
Well, this sucks.
Now, as my family is packing everything they have (and selling everything that could be sold), mom sends me away to spend one more day with Jacquel before I leave. As we all know, Jacquel is notorious for making memes out of pictures of people she didn't like. That, and making funny YouTube videos that get over 1 million views per hour when it took me three months just to get 100,000 views on my YouTube channel.
How is she talented and I'm not?
Anyway, Jacquel continues, "I can't imagine why your family is moving to Oregon out of all places."
"I know," I said. "I half expected we would move to Fresno, Irvine, or even Monterey. In any case, why would we want to move to Harrison Creek? Who on earth would name a city Harrison Creek?"
"I don't care for small towns," Jacquel said as we walked down Pier 39. "The people there are gossipmongers and the women have extramarital affairs with each other's husbands."
"To make things worse, you could disappear and nobody would find you until it's too late," I said. "Makes you not want to live in a small town, am I right?"
"Of course you're right, Shar," said Jacquel. "There's nothing worse when you deal with a missing person and nobody in that small town knows anything about that person. If that happens while you're there, leave."
"I'll try to remember that," I said while thinking about what would happen when I get to Harrison Creek. I knew my Uncle Raven and my cousins Arthur, Spenser, Jamie, Trevor, and Tallulah were there. I also knew Uncle Raven would force me to hang out with my cousin, as he always does when they come to visit us. I never got along with them because Spenser, Arthur, and Jamie were boys and Tallulah preferred to hang out with Aaliyah. Trevor and I never got along, for reasons that I can't say.
"Oh, and make sure to slap Trevor across his face for me," said Jacquel. "I'm still stung over him making fun of me for not being Hispanic. He has a white mother, for crying out loud!"
"I’ll do that," I said. "He'll learn that his behavior toward you is unacceptable. Plus, he doesn't have the right to insult you, not where it counts."
"And I'll make a meme out of him as well," said Jacquel.
"Can't wait to see his reaction to it on Facebook," I said.
Just then, we saw the family van driving by, with mom, dad, and my siblings Aaliyah and Rufus piled inside, with bags filled to the brim with junk crowding the trunk and the back seat. Mom said, "There you are, Shar. We were hoping you'd be at Pier 39."
"Mom," I began, but dad said, "We've got to leave now before the 5 o'clock traffic jam begins." To Jacquel, he said, "Can we give you a ride home?"
"Nah," said Jacquel. "My dad's coming to get me in a few seconds." To me, she said, "You better take care of yourself, Shar."
"Don't worry, she will," said dad as I climbed into the van. "We'll see you in a few months."
After I was tucked in, dad drove the van onto the highway, driving over the Golden Gate Bridge over the San Francisco Bay for the last time. The kids fell asleep after the city of San Francisco became a blip on the horizon. I pulled out my copy of "The Legend of Arastforth" by T. Y. Clarence and began reading. Mom and dad didn’t talk much, with mom going to sleep and dad using most of his energy with the driving.
You’re wondering why I didn't say anything about the move, but I’m not one to protest, as fighting with adults doesn’t get you anywhere, am I right? What I knew was the moment we reached Harrison Creek, I would be involved in something bigger than myself, something I didn’t understand…
* * * * * *
While Shara was on her way to Harrison Creek, Trevor Shinnok, Grace Gifford, and Jacalina Gilmore were at Trevor's house. Or to say, in Trevor's perpetually dirty room. They weren't happy because they were the cause of yet another another Tanya Shinnok-related incident. This time, Tanya wrote about their latest bullying attack on a disabled boy on the popular social networking site TheChitChat.com. Because of that post, Trevor, Grace, and Jackie were banned from the school library for the rest of the school year.
Trevor, Grace, and Jackie were known throughout Harrison Creek Middle School as the Bullying Trio. That was because an incident involving a girl named Tara Schindler ruined their reputations and made them enemies to most kids living in Harrison Creek. No one wanted to hang out with them or talk to them, let alone be in a classroom with them. Tanya Shinnok, their most hated enemy, saw to it that they would never change their ways. She and her friends Mara Llewellyn, Stuart Greer, Irene Haughton, and Pearl Tanner vowed to stop the Bullying Trio from hurting other people.
"I say it's time for us to get rid of her," Grace snapped as she sat on Trevor’s desk. "She’s degraded me long enough."
"Not yet," said Jackie. "We agreed that we're going to humiliate her at the promotion."
"You do know the Teen Rebels will be there," Trevor warned them. "They won't go for that! They'll tear us into pieces before we can even blink."
"You do know it's only four of them and over 75 other kids who don't like Tanya," said Grace. "If we can get Tanya away from those Teen Rebels long enough, we can humiliate her and publish the video of us humiliating her on TheChitChat. When the rebels see the video, they'll drop Tanya like a junkie quits antihistamines."
"You can dream," said Jackie. "If they find out about the video, Mara can find and erase the video in less than five seconds. She’s that good."
"She’s a geek," said Grace. "We don't mess with geeks. She’ll ruin us faster than we can say Dick Robertson. As for Stuart, he'll claim that we're terrorists seeking to blow up his homeland. Plus, Irene can get her dad to put a restraining order on us so we can't get to Tanya…"
"Wait," Trevor cried out. The girls stared at him. "Did I tell you my cousin Shara’s coming here in two weeks?"
"I didn't know that," said Grace.
"Wait, who is Shara?" Jackie cried out.
"Why do you ask?" said Trevor.
"Because I remember her for some reason," said Jackie.
"Yeah," said Grace. "Jackie and I saw her while we were on that trip to D.C. last spring."
"Yeah," said Trevor. "What of it?"
"She was rude to us," said Grace. "She and her friends wouldn't let us join them. And that one girl insulted us."
"She said we had no class," said Jackie.
"Typical Shara," said Trevor. "She always judges people on sight."
"So, do you think she’ll want to hang out with us when she gets here?" Jackie said with a hopeful look on her face.
"Don’t get your hopes up," said Trevor. "Once you've seen her, you'll wish you never met her. She doesn’t want to mingle with the commoners and she doesn't hang out with bullies. You two should give up any idea of befriending Shara before you end up hurt."
"Aren’t you her cousin?" Grace cried out.
"Well, that doesn’t stop her from rejecting me," said Trevor. "As far as I know, Shara and I never got along. Sure, she gets along with my brothers and sometimes Tallulah, but never with me. I keep praying that everything would change now that she's coming here, but God doesn't answer all prayers like you want him to."
"Yeah, there is that," said Jackie. "God does things in his own time. He might not answer your prayer regarding Shara because you're going about it the wrong way. It's like I have to deal with Sterling, Austin, and Drake, and they have autism. I ask God to make them normal, but He didn't. So I had to live with the fact that they will never be normal, just as you'll have to live with the fact that you and Shara will probably never get along."
"Sad but true," said Grace as she stared at Trevor. "it's like Irene Haughton and I were once friends when we were younger. Thanks to that monstrosity known as Kara Roehm-Marchske, Irene and I are no longer friends. It's sad that God tore our friendship apart and threw in someone who I don't like, but that's how it is sometimes. Friends come and go, but family always stays. I'm sure you and Shara will have it figured out soon."
Trevor nodded, knowing that the moment Shara came to Harrison Creek, his life, as well as the lives of Grace and Jackie, would change forever...
* * * * * *
As the Bullying Trio plotted to take down Tanya Shinnok, Tanya and her friends Mara, Stuart, Irene, and Pearl were having their end-of-middle-school impromptu party inside an old camper behind a house at the end of the lane. They were excited about finally leaving Harrison Creek Middle School for good.
"Can you believe the graduation is happening in ten days?” Stuart said as he, Irene, Mara, Pearl, and Tanya gathered around the table in the middle of the camper.
"I know," said Mara. "We're finally leaving this place! Isn't it great?"
"It is," said Irene. "But I can't help but wonder if we're really ready for high school. As far as I know, everyone here knows about us and our friendship with Tanya. If it's anything like what happened when Jackie got Tanya expelled, I don't see how we're going to survive."
"Don't worry about high school," said Mara. "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it."
"Besides, we gotta think of the graduation," said Stuart. "Eyes on the prize, remember?"
"Promotion, Stuart," Irene corrected him. "We’re being promoted to the ninth grade. Graduation is for high school. You know that."
"So you keep saying," Stuart muttered as he pulled out another slice of pizza and ate it. He had a list of things he planned to do at the promotion, but the girls talked him out of doing those things. To them, dancing around and waving a flag (especially a flag that wasn’t American) was disrespectful. That act would offend many people, particularly those who had relatives fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"You keep waving that flag and it's going to come back to bite you on the butt," said Mara. "Karma has a way of getting back at those who displease her."
"Jail," said Pearl in a strange tone. Since they could remember, Pearl was the youngest member of their class when she was six years old. She had skipped over the first, second, third, and fourth grades to join their fifth grade class. The other kids thought she was weird and shunned her, but Tanya persuaded Irene, Mara, and Stuart to befriend the odd girl.
"OK, I don't want to go to jail," said Stuart. "You’ve made your point, Pearl."
"Then don't do it," said Irene. "When your name is called, go to the podium, take your award, shake hands with the principal, and return to your seat. That's all."
"I'm sure he’ll remember," said Tanya. "I'll watch him. He won't do anything crazy on my watch."
"There’s something I still don't understand," said Mara. The others stared at her. "How come I saw another Tanya during our trip in D.C.?"
The others groaned. "Oh, we're back to that again?" Stuart frowned. "Stop, OK? Please stop. Stop it now. This is getting old."
“You’re the one who needs to quit acting like you’re 25 years old,” said Irene. “So stop being old.”
“Act your age, not how old you want to be,” said Pearl.
"Mara’s right," said Tanya, interrupting the fight between Stuart and Irene. "There’s more than one Tanya out there. I bet there are several girls named Tanya Shinnok living in the United States. We were fortunate to meet another person named Tanya."
"And this Tanya was nothing like you," said Irene. Tanya glared at her. "She was fun to be with and you're no fun at all."
"Indeed," said Tanya as she shook her head. Another Tanya? That was absurd. It appeared that her friends wanted to talk about the "fun Tanya" instead of "same old boring no-fun Tanya". She stood up, saying, "I’m going to step out for a second and wait until you're done obsessing over "fun Tanya". It’s annoying."
"Well, don't stay out too long," said Mara. "It’s not safe to be outside at night. Kidnappers could be prowling the area, searching for people to steal. You don’t want to end up on the six o'clock news for that."
"Oh, mind yourselves," Tanya scoffed at them as she stepped outside the door.
As Stuart, Irene, Mara, and Pearl talked about the other Tanya and other kids they didn't like, Tanya wandered around the backyard. She held the club meeting at the camper since the sixth grade. To be honest, though, the clubhouse was losing its appeal. Irene had fought with her to change the group's meeting place from the camper to her family's pool house. The pool house was on the right side of her mansion and a lot safer than the dark and ugly neighborhood they currently met in.
Tanya had no idea that someone was watching her and her friends. The person wore bright yellow clothes, a long black overcoat, a pair of dark sunglasses, and a fedora. When he saw Tanya, he approached her, saying, "Are you Tanya Shinnok?"
"Yeah," Tanya said. "What’s it to you?"
"I've noticed you’ve caused trouble for this city," said the person, "and I think it's time for you to go."
"Where am I going?" Tanya said as she panicked. She knew most people living in Harrison Creek hated her, and some of them weren’t above cruel stares and cruel remarks. Tanya should have known there were some people who planned to remove her from the Teen Rebels. Those people also planned to force the kids to find new friends instead of hanging out with each other.
The person pulled a rope from a pocket of his jacket and grabbed Tanya, tying her up. When the girl was tied up, he whispered into a tape recorder, "Tanya is captured. Soon, she'll be gone and the city will forget about her."
Tanya attempted to scream, but the gag prevented that from happening. The person dropped something on the ground, then took his prisoner and walked away. The note said, "I've taken your friend and ringleader. If you Teen Rebels know what's good for you, you'll be smart and forget that she existed."
Yet, the note would never reach its intended recipients, as a strong wind blew the paper away. Despite many people being in front of their houses at night, no one saw the kidnapping. By the time the city learned about the kidnapping, it was too late to help Tanya...
Where we last left off...
After the promotion ceremony ends, Mara, Stuart, and Irene deal with a mysterious stalker who’s leaving them cryptic messages; Raven forces Shara and Trevor to go to the movies with Mara, Stuart, Irene, and Lil’Marie; Shara exposes Jackie as a bully and chases her off; and the kids get the news that Tanya had been reported missing.
* * * *
Well, things just went from strange to worse.
When we finally got home after all the excitement of Tanya being missing, it was now 5:30 A.M.
On July 1, 2010.
I have never stayed up this late before in my life, and I certainly was not the first teenage girl to do so. My internal clock was way off, but for some reason that I could not understand, I could not sleep. Not with Tanya being missing and all.
Even then, did I ever really take the time to actually get to know her?
Before I go any further, I would like to say that I saw Uncle Raven talking to several other adults. Those adults had to be the parents of the kids. Trevor didn't say much and the other kids said nothing at all. I was a bit surprised by how fast the news about Tanya's disappearance was spreading through the neighborhood. People were coming out of their houses and talking to each other. Some people brought their children and spoke to them while other people pulled out their cell phones and began calling others.
I went inside and turned on the TV; all I could find on the news was the story about Tanya Shinnok and her disappearance. The news claimed that Tanya was last seen by her friends at their hangout, but none of them saw her leave the place. As of right now, no one knew where she was.
I don't know what was going on here, but I can tell that this is going to be a messed-up new life for me...
* * * *
Well, this is a bit shocking for us.
The day had started out just fine (if fine meant that we watched the world premiere of the Eclipse movie and had a very late supper at the nearby restaurant), until we found out about Tanya through a phone call. She had gone missing, and we didn’t know why.
In fact, the news of her disappearance made the front page of the newspaper:
Tanya Shinnok reported missing!
Tanya Shinnok, the 16-year-old daughter of Raven Shinnok & Lucy Dengonatti, was reported missing when she failed to show up at Harrison Creek Middle School. Her father, Raven, claimed Tanya had texted him, saying she would meet him at the 8th grade promotion that was taking place at the school. However, when she failed to show up at the appointed time, Raven notified the police.
So far, the city has been searched, particularly around playgrounds and backyards, but there is no sign of Tanya anywhere. Tanya’s friends Mara Llewellyn, Stuart Greer, and Irene Haughton have been questioned about their friendship with Tanya, but for their own protection, these answers cannot be printed here.
We here at the Harrison Creek Times are wondering where is Tanya and what has happened to her. If you have any information regarding this story, please notify the police immediately at (874) 773-1273.
Well, with Tanya’s friendship with us plastered all over the news, I’m thinking about heading home and staying under the sheets of my bed until the summer is over.
Too bad I don’t like to stay with those two people who call themselves my adoptive parents. Did I have a choice?
I was out of luck. I guess I had better find that new girl, Shawna, or whatever her name is.
Before I could do that, I needed to talk to the girls. We needed to decide what to do next. Tanya was gone and we had nothing to go on with. I thought about showing the note to the police, but thought better of it. Given the fact that no one in Harrison Creek liked Tanya and Irene, Mara, and I were branded "Teen Rebels" with our decision to remain friends with Tanya, I knew that the police wasn't going to listen to us. They might think that the letter was a prank or something like that.
So, I will do nothing.
I packed my things and stepped out the door, not bothering to inform anyone that I was going to Irene's house. I never trusted anyone with my activities and plans and I wasn't about to start now. I walked down the street until I reached the bus stop, then took the bus to Irene's neighborhood. With any luck, she would have some clue as to what we should do next.
* * * *
Well, my mother heard the news, she was horrified and automatically assumed that the worst has happened to Tanya.
Or as she puts it so very eloquently, “Tanya is dead somewhere and nobody knows where she is, because they’ve lied and covered it up.”
Yes. Myrna Haughton is a complete nutcase.
However, she doesn’t compare to my father, Mason. He would immediately go into the super-overprotective father mode if any news of a missing child were printed in the newspapers. I remembered a few years ago, a young girl had gone to help search for her missing friend. Three days later, the bodies of two young girls matching their descriptions were discovered in a grove of trees just a few yards away from Bridgeview Farms Hospital, where the mentally ill people were sent to. It was shut down for a few years after reports of abuse at the place surfaced.
As far as I knew, 14-year-old Tansy Dorkins and 13-year-old Lavinia Nadler were both the victims of some sick stranger’s cruel game. I had been 9 years old when that happened, and the outbreak of the news left me scared to death. I am now beginning to wonder if that same sick man or woman was responsible for Tanya’s disappearance as well.
Mother snatched the front page from me and said, “I’m sending this to the shredder; there’s no need for your father to know about this.” Luckily, before she took the front page away, I managed to cut a few articles from it, such as the article about the StrawberryPad, reviews of the new Twilight movie (which I’m planning to pass on to Gemma), a pop star’s wedding, something about a new movie being planned, and of course, the news that there would be a new story about Jacquel Rassenworth.
As if we really needed a new story about her; weren’t those fan fictions about her enough?
I frowned as I took the articles to my room and pasted them into my scrapbook. However, the article about the StrawberryPad went straight to my father’s office; he liked to keep up with the news about technology, and I was sure that he would want to read about the StrawberryPad. I read the article once again:
Raymond Hutchins, the inventor of the StrawberryPhone and the StrawberryPod, has unleashed the StrawberryPad, which promises to be the next big thing in portable technology.
Mr. Hutchins claims that the StrawberryPad will take web surfing and communication to a whole new level. The product is slated to rival the popular tablet device Robotz Slab, which is manufactured by the technology company Froggletier.
The StrawberryPad will be sold in local electronic stores for the starting price of $700.
The StrawberryPad. Already it was being hailed as the next big thing in portable technology. I had begged mother to get me the Robotz Slab when it first came out, but she doesn’t trust Froggletier-made products or its founder, Jed Shearer. Luckily, father doesn’t care about some silly fake rivalry, just as long as he gets his money’s worth out of investing and buying products.
I put the article on father’s desk and returned to my room, poring over the other articles that caught my attention:
Charlie Bone Movie to be filming next year
Stewart Kuhn, the director of “The Vampires Resurrected,” “Sensation Musical,” and “Stacy Galaxy” (all which flopped in theaters in the 191990s) has decided to tackle on a near-impossible project, namely the project of filming a film adaptation of the Children of the Red King books.
The Children of the Red King series, despite being on the New York Times bestseller list for years, has been accused of being a Harry Potter look alike. As a result, the books were banned from most libraries all over the U.S. Children everywhere were told to read Harry Potter and no other book. Stewart has decided that he would take on the task of bringing Charlie Bone’s story onto the big screen, starting with “Midnight for Charlie Bone.”
The movie release has been planned for December 23, 2012.
First off, I don’t have much of an idea of who Charlie Bone is, and I could care less if a movie about him is being made. Besides, wasn’t that book considered a rip-off of Harry Potter?
I set the article aside and went on to the next article:
Actress/Singer Candy Cane marries French Model.
Candice Brenner, also known as pop singer Candy Cane, married French model Joseph-Marie Jourdain in a simple yet elegant ceremony in Paris, France this past weekend.
Candice, better known as the controversial singer/actress Candy Cane, and Joseph met on the set of “The Soul Finders”, which flopped in theaters in 2008. The relationship, however, proved to be Candice’s greatest asset when the Johnson family sued her for fraud in 2009.
Joseph, originally from Lyons, France, made his debut as a model for the popular fashion label Aquius in 2006. He is the son of journalist Charles-Marie Jourdain and his wife, Jeanne-Agnès Jourdain.
While we wish this couple all the best, we can’t help but wonder whether Candy Cane will be able to just simply fade away from the spotlight for good.
Well, I wasn’t much of a fan of Candy Cane (in fact, Lil’Marie and her mother both hate the pop singer for reasons that I can’t get into right now.), but I was indeed surprised that she had gotten married at all. How old was she anyway? 27? Whatever the heck, I say she better start having kids as soon as she can.
I now moved to the next article in my pile:
Jacquel Rassenworth’s story gets a makeover.
It turns out that Janice Davies is no longer the owner of Jacquel Rassenworth.
In a bold move made by Judge James MacDonald, Janice was ordered to give up her claim to the famous heroine, who was created by her parents, Jan Davies and Michael Irving Harlingson, for the fantasy Wonder Circus. For several years, Janice had been fighting with many fan fiction websites over their use of the heroine in their fan fictions. She had already sued Vance Russo, director of “Jacquel’s Russian History,” which flopped in theaters in the summer of 2001.
Janice’s brother, Michael Junior, is a literature professor at the University of San Juan Bautista and has refused to claim the plucky girl. Ownership of Jacquel Rassenworth is now passed to Leslie Harlingson, who came out in the mid-191990s as a lesbian and was shunned by her family and most of the literary world. Her attempts to create a fantasy series featuring a gay hero flopped in 2002 with the poor sales of her book, The Spirit Keeper, and she was given a 7-year writing ban.
Ms. Harlingson is planning to write a new series about Jacquel Rassenworth and her difficulties of being a part-Latino girl growing up in an African-American family living in Northern California. However, she is ordered to not make Jacquel a lesbian or bisexual in any of her books. The release of the new book about Jacquel Rassenworth will be on December 9, 2011.
Now that just amazed me, as I had no idea that Jacquel Rassenworth was invented for some obscure 1980s movie and had changed hands many times until it was given to a lesbian daughter of the original creator. Well, of course, the movie based on that fake book about her did suck, and the fake book series eventually flopped. Then, there was the matter of the restriction of what can and cannot be written about her; such as she can’t be gay or bisexual. Talk about a free country!
I put the article away and pulled out the article that I was planning to give to Gemma:
“The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” Opens in Theaters to eager “Twilight” fans
Twilighters around the country are flocking to theaters to watch the third installment of the popular vampire series Twilight. The series concerns itself with a teenage girl named Bella Swan and her boyfriend Edward Cullen, who is revealed to be a vampire. Bella also struggles with her feelings for Jacob Black, a young boy who is a werewolf.
In this latest installment based on the best selling book written by Stephenie Meyer, Bella is having a hard time dealing with her relationship with Edward and her friendship with Jacob. On top of that, an old enemy seeks vengeance, meaning that she could put a permanent end to Bella’s love story…forever!
So far, the movie is ranking at #1, followed by “The Last Airbender” at #2.
Twilight, yes, but the Last Airbender...HISS!!! I guessed they should have sued James Cameron for stealing the title “AVATAR” from Nickelodeon, since they had the title “AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER” in the first place.
Talk about creative rights in this country and yet, you can’t own any of the things that you create. Gemma would be all on top of this story.
Anyway, I put the articles away and was about to head out the door when I saw Stuart standing outside. I guessed that he wasn’t about to head back to his boring, useless, so-called “home” anytime soon.
Stuart said to me, "I take it that you've already heard, right?"
"I have," I said as I held up the front-page article. "I mean, can you believe this? Whoever wrote the article about Tanya should be fired from journalism!"
"Or shot," Stuart added helpfully.
"Anyway," I said, "we have to talk about this and decide our next move. Do you still have the letter?"
Stuart pulled out the letter and handed it to me. I scanned it quickly and then gave it back; I would need it later on. He then said, "I don't think we need to tell anyone about this."
"Why shouldn't we?" I asked.
"You know how they hate Tanya and anyone who associates themselves with her," said Stuart, "and if we go to the cops and ask for help, they'll laugh us right out the building!"
"Oh, what do they know?" I said. "Now, are we going to meet up at the clubhouse?"
"Yeah," he said as we both stepped out the door and headed to the garage. I hope that Clarence the chauffeur wasn't too busy to take us to Mara's house. I hope she's holding up well; she hates it when things like this happen.
* * * *
The excitement over Tanya’s disappearance had apparently gripped the town more so than the disappearances of 14-year-old Tansy Dorkins and 13-year-old Lavinia Nadler. Why was that? Was it because both girls were white while Tanya was of a different race? No. Was it because Tanya was the daughter of Raven Shinnok? No.
I don’t know what it is about a girl disappearing that has many people up in arms, but this story wasn’t about to go away anytime soon, unlike the stories about Tansy and Lavinia, both of which had ended after the trial of their killer.
Anyway, I go home and flop down onto my bed, where I can hope to stay there for many hours, not caring if the world that surrounds me is going to hell. If that were the case, then I can care less, because I have a life and I need to focus on it.
But before I could get a few minutes in, I heard my mom yelling for me to answer the door. I went to the door and there was Irene and Stuart standing there. I was not happy to see them and I was going to let them know that.
"Ok, what are you doing here?" I snapped as I stared at them. How dare theyshow up while I’m trying to sleep! Had they no concept of time! "Can’t you see that I'm trying to get some shuteye here?"
“Mara, we need to talk to you,” Irene began.
“No,” I jumped in.
"But this is an emergency!" they cried out.
"Come back when it's a catastrophe!" I shouted as I slammed the door shut.
I then went to my mom and said, "look, I'm exhausted because I stayed up all night. Now, unless the world is burning to the ground, nobody disturb me until tomorrow!"
Mom laughed and said, "OK then, Mara, but later on, we're all going to see "The Last Airbender", so don't sleep too long."
I nodded and crawled back into bed. I had to shut myself off or else I would go crazy. A crazy Mara equals everyone else being miserable and I really don’t want that at all.
Sleep is what I need, not people bombarding me with questions about Tanya.
* * * *
After a few hours of sleep, I was invited by a bunch of other kids to go see "The Last Airbender". To be honest, I never liked the TV show Avatar: the Last Airbender and anyone who did like the show, I shunned them with pain.
Plus, you think you can take a lame TV show and turn it into a hit movie? It’s not going to happen!
Anyway, I came home from the movies and logged onto my WordPress blog with the intent to go rant about how Paramount coerced M. Night Shyamalan into making the movie based on the piece of crap cartoon when I saw Irene and Stuart wandering around the neighborhood. I didn't know half the things that they were doing and I have never exactly spent any time with kids my age. (I guess that skipping several grades and being in a class full of people several years older than me will do that to...well...me.)
Irene was mouthing the word "emergency" as she and Stuart stood under my window. I knew what was up; everyone was trying to go about their usual day, trying not to pay any attention to the missing girl named Tanya Shinnok. But nothing was working, as Tanya was all everyone was talking about. No one could believe that Tanya had disappeared in the night, not even when the next day rolled around and Tanya wasn't there at school. Irene, Stuart, Mara, and I assumed that she had gone somewhere, as she *WAS* technically expelled from Harrison Creek Middle School two years ago.
I wasn't trying to think about the situation with Tanya, but so far, nothing was working. We needed to find a way to deal with this, and fast!
I grabbed my things and rushed out the door, as my foster parents were much too busy for me, and sat outside my front porch. There, Irene and Stuart showed me the article about Tanya. I read it, laughed, and said, "You think that this was the work of Fox News, don't you?"
"Fox News," Stuart mumbled. "Unfair and unbalanced."
"We'll talk about that, as soon as Mara gets off her lazy butt and gets over here," said Irene. "I'm not about to let some fake news report ruin my summer, not if I can help it."
But there was the matter of who that Shara Shinnok was and why she had to show up just as we had gotten the news about Tanya's disappearance had broken out. Something wasn't right here, and we were going to solve that mystery, whether people wanted us to or not.
* * * *
As for the general public, most of the people living in Harrison Creek, Oregon had heard the news about Tanya Shinnok and they were filled with shock and anger, as it were.
To be honest, most of them didn't like Tanya at all and those who did, such as Mara, Irene, and Stuart, were shunned by their peers. But that didn't stop the amount of outrage and anger that seemed to sweep through the city like wildfire.
"Can you believe this?" Mrs. Kiddell said to Mrs. Balfour as they sat at the restaurant outside the movie theater. "They took that girl away. How could this have happened?"
"I wouldn't know," said Mrs. Balfour, but given the amount of people who seem to dislike her, I wouldn't be surprised to know that one of them was responsible for Tanya's disappearance."
Just then, Mr. Soltini came to the women, saying, "The cops saw some guy wandering around the place near the old Fraser house."
"Wasn’t that where the Fraser family used to live?" said Mrs. Kiddell.
"They did," said Mr. Soltini, "until they were murdered and Jan Fraser was kidnapped. What a crying shame that our city has to go through this. It seems as if every time I turn around, some girl goes missing."
"I know, isn't that sad," said Mr. Goodwin. "First, it was Jan Fraser, then it was Ella Carter, and there was that awful matter about Tansy Dorkins and Lavinia Nadler a few years ago. Now it's Tanya Shinnok. How many more girls are going to disappear before we step in and do something?"
* * * *
In an apartment across the city, man watched as the news regarding Tanya’s disappearance flashed on his TV. He shook his head, wondering how on earth could ANOTHER girl just disappear like that? He was glad that so far, he had escaped from that fate.
He knew that perhaps someone that he knew, but refused to name, was up to his old tricks again. So far, no one could stop him.
He decided to leave his home behind in Napa, California, and move to Harrison Creek, Oregon. Peter Rasputin was once part of the trouble-making Rasputin troupe; that was, until he had grown tired of the emptiness of the life that he shared with the Rasputins and he longed to go to Hollywood and work there. Lazarus Freedport, who was one of the janitors of Faded Heritage Studios, had advised him to become a teacher instead of acting, believing that Peter would be better off in a normal work setting instead of a film studio.
So, Peter left Napa behind and moved to Salem, Oregon, where he eventually graduated from Salem High School and later took teaching courses at the local community college until he had gotten his degree last year.
Peter Rasputin was now 24 years old, 10 years older than the slew of high school freshmen he was to be teaching. He was to be working at a school called Harrison Creek High School as an English teacher. No one was to know that he was once a child star under the name Bartok Courtney.
Well, secrets do have ways of getting out, but Peter wasn’t too concerned with those secrets at all. He had a new life to live, and he would be glad to teach children who needed to learn instead of thinking of fame.
Fame (and infamy) wasn’t finished with him yet, as he discovered that among his students were six children who knew a missing teenaged girl named Tanya Shinnok.
* * * *
That night, the police had spotted and arrested a man named Martin Davidson; he was been sneaking around the Teen Rebels' clubhouse the night that Tanya disappeared and had a hand in Tanya's disappearance. As the 24-year-old man was dragged away from the crime scene, one of the officers noticed a peculiar note that had fallen out of Davidson's pocket. The note read "I have taken your friend and ringleader. If you Teen Rebels know what's good for you, you will be smart and forget that she ever existed." The cop shook his head and he put the note into a sealed bag, intending to analyze the note further. He would have time to figure out who the Teen Rebels were later.
* * * *
Also, Shara was quickly unpacking her things when she knocked over a box. The box was full of pictures of herself, her friends Maddy Haroldson, Scott McAllister, Jacquel Rassenworth, and Tanya Shinnok. But unknown to everyone else, Shara knew that Tanya Shinnok wasn't Tanya's real name, and the last time they had seen each other was the DAY before Shara left San Francisco. Tanya told her that she was going to live in some small town in central Arizona, and both of them had made plans to visit each other during the school-sanctioned autumn break.
What do they know about Tanya, Shara laughed to herself as she put the box away. No one knows who the real Tanya is and even if they did, they wouldn't believe it. That’s why you don't trust Fox News!
Little did she know that one day, she would be right in that assumption...