Staying Strong

“Today’s the day!” I yell down the stairs.

My mom turns to me. “Hey, Spencer, be safe, okay?”

I nod. “Okay.” I grab a waffle from the counter and shove it in my mouth. I walk over to the stairs as I hear Troian tripping down the stairs with our bags.

“You could have helped, you know.”

I shrug. “Oops.” I run up to where Troian is and grab my bag. I set my bag down at the bottom of the stairs. “Bye, Mom!”

My mom runs over to me and gives me a hug. “You think you could escape without a hug? You and Troian are traveling across the country to visit colleges!”

I smile. “I’ll miss you.”

Troian drops her bag and joins the hug.

Mom lets go. “You better get going,” she says. “You don’t want to be late.

I nod. “Bye, mom.”

Troian waves as we exit the door with our bags. Troian turns to me, “Hey, do you want to drive?”

I scoff. “Nice try.”

Troian lets out a sigh of anger. We set our stuff in the closets of the trailer as Troian hops into the driver’s seat.

I sit next to her and slip a water bottle into her cup holder. “Let’s pick up Carter first, she’s closer.”

Troian nods and backs out of the driveway.


On The Road

“Alright, here we go!” Aria yells.

“I’m too tired to be excited, but trust me, I am,” Shay says.

I grab a soda out of the mini-fridge and pop it open. “Why are you so tired, Shay?”

She yawns and slouches down on the couch. “I was so excited, I couldn’t sleep. I’ve been up since four.”

Carter sucks her teeth. “I guess we’ll have to stop at a coffee shop, won’t we Troian?”

Troian smiles. ”Yes indeed.”


Coffee Shop

“Alright, now that we’ve got our coffee, Shay can finally rise from the dead,” I say while glaring at Shay.

She pulls her eyebrows together. “Hey, I am not that bad.” We all glare at her as she sighs. “Fine, maybe I am.”

Carter lifts her eyebrow.

“Guys, we should get back to driving. If we’re not in California in time, the scout won’t be able to reschedule our meeting,” Aria says as she sips her coffee.  

We all head back to the trailer, realizing it was unlocked.

“Oh no,” Troian says as she opens the door.

“Do you think anyone, or anything, got into it?” I ask Troian as she’s looking at everything.

“Doesn’t look like it. I think we’re good.”

Aria gives a sigh of relief. “Good.”  

We all get in, and we start driving again.


Who’s There?

“Alright ladies, we’re gonna stop for a few hours and rest,” I say as everyone looks exhausted.

Troian parks the trailer as we all crawl to the back.

“Troian, Aria, and I will share a room, and Carter will stay with Shay,” I say as everyone is already half asleep. We all squeeze into one king-sized bed and head off to sleep.

I’m the first one to wake up, so I look around for a clock. I whisper to myself, “There was a clock, right here.” Then it hits me. We are no longer in the trailer. I get up and turn the doorknob. The door won’t budge.

Then I hear a man’s voice. “Exit your room.”

I stand there wondering if I should leave them here and hopefully they will be safe. But if we’re not in the trailer, I can’t trust anything around us. I turn back and shake them. “Wake up and follow me. But no questions, I don’t know a single thing about what’s going on.”

Troian and Aria roll out of bed and follow me. I open the door to see Shay and Carter. We give them a big hug as they look extremely worried.

“Guys, what’s going on?” Aria asks.

“Yeah, I’m pretty sure we’re not in the trailer,” Troian adds on.

Shay bites her lip and says, “We’re not.”

Carter sighs and takes a step towards us. “We looked around. Someone abducted us overnight and put us here.”

Troian sheds a tear.

“I can’t believe this,” Aria says.

“We need to figure out where we are and who took us,” I say, worried. “More importantly, we need to get a hold of the police, and hopefully they can track us down.”

We all nod in agreement.



“We’ve been here for days,” Carter says.

I nod slowly.

“Yeah. Maybe if the college scout calls our moms, they’ll know something happened to us and come looking for us,” Troian says, as happy as possible.

“Why are you so happy? We’ve been stranded in a basement, or who knows where, with a slice of bread for a meal and a shot of water. This is not paradise, Troian. This may be a big break from school, but it’s no better. And who says they’ll find us? Who knows, we could be inside of Mt. Fuji for all we know,” Aria snaps then takes a breath. “Look, I’m sorry for snapping and getting all your hopes down.”

Troian nods. “It’s fine.”



We wake up once again, but not in the same place. We’re on a surgery table.

“What?” I say as a try to lift my head up, but I’m strapped down.

“What’s happening?” Carter says in a shaky voice.

Then, a voice appears on the speakers. “Please lift yourself up, and exit the room.”

As the chains lift up, we lift as well with a force helping us. We walk out of the room and the door locks behind us.

“What just happened?” Aria asks while we’re all whimpering.

“I think they just put us in a gas chamber,” Troian replies.

We’re all sitting there, trying to cover our noses and mouths. Shay wraps her sweater around her face as I dig mine into my hands. All of a sudden, the ground moves up fast.

“Is this some kind of elevator?” Shay yells as she’s trying to overlap the sound of the ground. As soon as the ground stops, The walls fall down and there is glass. We can see out of where we are, but there’s no way out.

“Oh my gosh,” Troian says as her jaw is practically touching the ground. “We were in Stanford’s gym basement…”


Finding a Way Out

We all bang on the glass door, but it’s bulletproof. We try screaming, but nothing works. All of a sudden, we all hear that voice. “There are five doors out of here. You all get one try to find out where the right doors are. If you find one, you are set free. But chose wisely.”

After the speaker shuts off, about fifty doors show up.

“Oh jeez,” Shay says as she exhales.

I can see Troian’s face light up. “I know how we can determine which ones are a way out. Just hold your ear against the door and see if you hear anything. If you don’t, it’s not a way out.”

We all try to put a smile on our faces. I approach a door. I put my ear up to it and hear talking. “I found one!” I say as I open the door and stand right there waiting for the rest of them to find one.



After we all found a real door, we run to a phone and call the police. About six hours later, our parents had arrived and flew back home with us. After what happened, everywhere I went, my mom went with me. At school, she hired a bodyguard to follow Troian and I everywhere we went — well, everywhere except the bathroom. My mom got a Masterlock on the doors and the garage. We felt a little bit safer but not as safe as we would feel if they had caught the kidnapper.

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