Predestined

By: Abbi Glines

Chapter One

Pagan


I’d just turned around to watch the pretty balloons. I liked the pink one best. It reminded me of bubblegum. I’d been trying to think of something I could promise Mommy I’d do if she’d buy me one. Maybe clean out from under my bed or maybe straighten the shoes in her closet. But it had only been a second that I’d stopped and thought about it. Now, my mommy was gone. Tears clouded my vision and I let out a panicked sob. She’d warned me I could get lost in the crowd if I didn’t keep up. Normally I held her hand when we were in crowds but today she was carrying an armload of her books. It had been my responsibility not to lose her. But I had. Where would I sleep? I glanced nervously around at the people covering the busy streets. The Arts and Entertainment Festival had brought people from all over to our small town. Reaching up to wipe my eyes so I could find a police officer to help me, I sniffled and for a second forgot my crisis when the smell of funnel cake reached me.

“Don’t cry, I’ll help you.”

Frowning, I studied the boy in front of me. His blond hair was cut short and his big friendly eyes looked concerned. I had never seen him before. He didn’t go to my school. Maybe he was a tourist. Whoever he was, I knew he couldn’t help me. He was just a kid too.

“I lost my mommy,” I muttered, feeling embarrassed that he’d caught me crying.

He nodded then held out his hand. “I know. I’m going to take you back to her. It’s okay, I promise.”

Swallowing the lump in my throat, I thought about his offer. Could he help me? Two sets of eyes looking for a police officer were better than one, I guess.“Um, if you could just help me look for a police officer so he could find her that would be nice.”

He smiled at me like he thought I was funny. I hadn’t been joking and nothing about this was cause to smile.

“I really know where she is. Trust me,” his hand was still outstretched toward me. Frowning, I thought about all the reasons this was probably a bad idea. He couldn’t be much older than me. Maybe he was like seven at the most. But he seemed so sure of himself. Besides, he wasn’t an adult stranger. He wouldn’t kidnap me.

“Okay,” I finally replied, slipping my hand in his. His face appeared to relax. I sure hoped he didn’t get us both lost.

“Where are your parents?” I asked, suddenly realizing maybe they could help.

“Around here somewhere,” he replied and a small frown touched his forehead. “Come with me,” his voice was gentle but firm. He kind of reminded me of an adult.

I kept up with him as he wove a path through the bodies in our way. I tried to glance up at people as we hurried by to see if I recognized anyone but I wasn’t having any luck.

“There she is,” the boy said as he stopped our pursuit and pointed a finger toward the sidewalk up ahead.

Sure enough, there was my mommy and she was really upset. A scared look was on her face as she grabbed the arms of people passing by and spoke frantically to them. I realized she was looking for me. Needing to reassure her I pulled my hand from the boy’s and took off running in her direction.

Her big, round, terrified eyes found me and she let out a sob then began to call my name, “Pagan, Pagan, Pagan!”

My eyes opened and the ceiling fan greeted me, the sun streamed in through my window and my frustrated mother banged on my door.

“You’re going to be late for school. Now get up right this minute”

“I’m awake. Calm down,” I called out in a voice hoarse from sleep and forced myself to sit up.

“Finally, I swear girl, you’re getting harder and harder to wake up. Now hurry up. I’ve made pancakes for breakfast.”


“Okay, okay,” I muttered and rubbed my sleepy eyes. I’d had another one of those dreams. Why was I dreaming about snippets from my childhood and why was I just now realizing that the same boy helped me out in each of my traumatic experiences? I had forgotten about that day at the festival, getting lost. But it had happened. I remembered it now. And that boy... he’d been there. Why was he so familiar?

My bedroom door opened softly and my concerns vanished at the sight of Dank stepping inside my room. He’d started using my door instead of just appearing out of nowhere and scaring the bejesus out of me. It was a small request that he always tried to honor.

“She’s making pancakes... do you think she’d let me have a few when I show up to pick you up for school?”

His voice was deep and hypnotic. Even now, I wanted to sigh and bask in the warmth it sent through me. I stood up and closed the short distance between us. Stopping right in front of him I placed both hands on his chest and smiled up into his startling blue eyes.

“Until Leif shows up you’re not exactly her favorite person. You know that.”

He frowned and I hated that my mother was being so difficult. I didn’t like making him frown. But unfortunately with my exboyfriend suddenly missing my mother was blaming it on me breaking up with him for another guy. It isn’t like I can tell her the truth. She’d think I was insane for real this time and I’d never be let out of the mental house.

“Hey,” Dank said reaching out a hand to cup my face, “stop it. This isn’t your fault. Besides we both know I don’t need food. Her pancakes just smell incredible.”

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