Author: Sierra Hendrickson – Honorable Mention 2018

All of a sudden Bethany felt two strong hands grab her shoulders firmly. At first she didn’t realize what was going on, until the hands furiously began pulling her towards the direction of a car. She began violently throwing her arms and legs, but there was no use. The hands just held her too tight. It wasn’t until the car door was already open that she remembered to scream, and by then it was too late. She couldn’t believe that she was now in this situation. The day started out just like any other…

Bethany had never been a morning person, but that changed when she got her new start in New York. This move was like turning over a new leaf for her, a fresh start. Bethany eagerly waited at the door for those three loud knocks to rattle her door frame that came every morning. She had been living in her small New York University dorm room for about two weeks, and ten of those mornings had been spent walking the streets of New York to her new favorite coffee shop with her two newest friends Cara, and Thomas. Finally after what seemed like centuries, Bethany finally heard those three knocks she had been waiting for, she grabbed her purse and headed out the door.

The coffee shop was only about two blocks from campus, so it was a quick fifteen minute walk. Bethany was still fairly new to the Big City so she relied on Cara and Thomas to guide her through the streets. The three friends talked about upcoming assignments, and people they met in the past week, just casual small talk, while Bethany marveled in the view of the skyscrapers.

The time passed like it was at light speed, and they were at the coffee shop before Bethany could believe it. Time passed so easily with Cara and Thomas; it was carefree. The three friends walked into the coffee shop to see that it was pretty busy, but lucky enough for them their favorite table was open. The barista taking the orders gave a small smile and wave to Bethany as she went to put her stuff down, she smiled politely back at him, then proceed.

Just as Bethany was about to get in line with Thomas and Cara, her phone started to ring, just another part of the day that was so normal. Bethany’s mom called her every morning to check in on her. Bethany knew that if she went out onto the street, the cars would be too loud for her to have a conversation so she went out the back door that led out to the ally.

Just as Bethany was about to answer two strong hands grabbed her shoulders tightly. She got startled and dropped her phone on the sidewalk.  At first she didn’t know what was going on. Maybe it was just someone she knew from school trying to scare her, but right before she turned her head to look around she began being dragged towards the direction of a car.

As soon as she realized someone was trying to take her she began throwing her arms and legs violently in the air trying to break free, but there was no point. This person’s strength was too much. Bethany finally remembered to scream but by then she was already being shoved into the backseat. The door slammed shut, the person jumped into the driver’s seat and sped off as quick as possible.

Bethany didn’t know what to do. The whole thing happened so fast and she could only remember bits and pieces clearly, the rest was a blur. She weighed her options. She thought, I’m not tied up so I could just open the door and jump out, though then I would most likely die, or get seriously injured at the speed this person is going, although that may be better than whatever plan they have for me. The next thought that raced into her mind was, I’m not tied up so maybe this person doesn’t even want to hurt me and I should see what they want first. Both seemed like reasonable explanations, but she decided to risk it and wait to see why this person took her.

Bethany adjusted her position in the back seat to get a look at her abductor. To her surprise the man she saw staring straight ahead in the rear view mirror, was no stranger. He was quite familiar. He was the barista that worked at the coffee shop. What was his name? Ben, I think. She thought but she couldn’t be positive. The only times they had ever seen each other were those ten mornings when she ordered her coffee. What could his problem be with me that he would want to kidnap me?, she thought.

All Bethany wanted in that moment was to escape from Ben. She just wanted to see her friends and family again! Bethany’s thoughts were bubbling up inside of her, but she didn’t want to talk until he did. Then all of a sudden he took a sharp left that brought them to a small house in a nice neighborhood. Bethany began wondering how long they had been driving because they were out of the skyscrapers and everything she had become comfortable within the past two weeks.

Ben pulled up into his driveway, and walked around to the side door to let Bethany out. She knew if she tried to run he would catch her, and she didn’t know how mentally stable he was. When he opened the door, he smiled at her and said, “Hello Bethany, I’m so glad you could finally come over.”

Bethany didn’t know what to think, she had never said more than her coffee order to him, what was he thinking? He helped her out of the car offering her his hand to walk to the door, while casually whispering in her ear, “If you don’t go in willingly, you will go in unwillingly.” Bethany was petrified at that statement, so she took his hand and walked to the door.

When Bethany walked in she was stunned with a sense of familiarity. There was a small scent of the perfume she wore throughout the house. Ben was still gripping her hand firmly almost pulling her through his home. They stopped outside a room, with the name Beth painted over the door. He opened the door and said, “Please go in, make yourself at home.” This was when Bethany realized Ben didn’t have a problem with her at all, he was completely obsessed! He had spent time carefully putting time into this plan by preparing his home.

When Bethany entered the room there were many decorations that were the same as her dorm room, along with framed pictures of her around the campus of her college, and in the coffee shop. All Bethany could think was , This guy has been following me around for the past week, watching me, figuring me out. She was horrified by all of the thoughts that raced through her mind.

Ben said to her, “I will start making dinner now. When we eat we can talk about any questions you have about your living arrangements.”

Bethany sat in her new room replaying step-by-step the moments of the day, wondering where she went wrong and wondering what Cara and Thomas were thinking right now. Were they worried, or did they think she just ditched them? They had to be somewhat concerned, didn’t they? Bethany hoped but she couldn’t be sure.

While Bethany was worrying, wondering if she would ever get out of Ben’s house, her mother had already talked to the cops. You see when Bethany dropped her phone her finger pushed the green answer button by accident. Her mother heard her struggle, scream, and heard the car speed off. She got in touch with the New York Police right away, who tracked the location of her cellphone to get to the coffee shop.

When the police were at the coffee shop they interviewed two frightened college students, who didn’t know where their friend had gone. Cara and Thomas got a bad feeling when the barista said it was his break and left in a hurry out the back door. Neither of them suspected anything really bad until the police came, and Beth hadn’t returned.

Cara knew that the barista’s name was Ben because he was in her Chemistry class. The police got all of his information from the coffee shop, and went to go find out if he took Bethany to his home.

All of this was happening while Bethany was eating dinner with Ben. He made spaghetti, which was Bethany’s favorite dinner. Bethany was scared out of her mind, being with this unstable person, because she didn’t know what he would do next. Ben was intently staring at Bethany and said, “Bethany I would love it if you moved in with me, then I won’t have to watch you from a distance and I could see you everyday.” Bethany didn’t know how unstable Ben was, or how he would react if she rejected him so she went along with what he was saying.

All Bethany could get out of her mouth was, “I would love…” and then the police busted in the door. Bethany was at a loss for words. All she wanted to do was get out of that house and see her friends.

Bethany was scarred from her experience. She stayed in New York for the rest of the semester, but ended up deciding city life wasn’t in her best interest. She moved back to her hometown, but still kept in touch with Cara and Thomas.

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