…Jill Disappeared on Wednesday continued…
“Well, look who decided to show up.”
The entire chapel, which was filled with at least two hundred students and about thirty adults, turned in unison at the entrance as Mitchell and I burst through the double doors. It had started earlier than we thought; morning prayer was already over and today’s speaker had just begun. The snickering, eye-rolling, and gasping had begun as well. This didn’t look good on our part.
The source of the sarcastic comment was a man I’d never seen before. Usually, the speakers could be seen around campus, hanging out with some of the students, but this guy was definitely new. He motioned us to come forward.
I glanced at Mitchell and wondered if my cheeks were as red as his. Most likely. This was so awkward and humiliating. We made our way down the center aisle, my palms sweating.
The man stared angrily, never taking his eyes off of us until we were standing in front of him, nearly ten paces away. The snickering had stopped and the man spoke darkly, directly into the microphone.
“This is just rude.”
“Sorry, we just–” I tried to explain but he cut me off.
“I will see you both directly after the session.” It really bothered me the way he just broadcasted our conversation in front of two hundred plus people. We were already forced through the walk of shame, why make us feel even worse?
He turned to the podium he had been speaking from. He was wearing all black, I noticed, with a gold watch hanging limply on his wrist, like a shackle that was too big for it’s prisoner. I had always hated gold jewelry, especially on guys; it seemed so gaudy and over-the-top. He picked up two sheets of paper, walked toward us, and shoved them at Mitchell’s chest, whose arms shot up and struggled to catch them.
“You are lucky I don’t make you dance and sing,” the man said. The auditorium laughed nervously, as if none of them were sure that was a joke. It was weird that he didn’t make us sing. That was the labeled punishment for anything done wrong at Summit. “Now go sit down.”
Mitchell quickly handed me a sheet, gave me one of his wide-eyed what-the-heck looks and scurried to his seat. On his way, a few guys tried to give him high-fives, saying, “Dude, nice, man!” but he kept his head low and ignored them. He really hated the spotlight.
As I walked to my seat, trying to ignore the blank stares and dirty looks from the students, especially from the girls, I glanced at Jill’s seat. It was located on the left side, toward the front.
Just what I was afraid of. Empty.
Agh, Jillian! I thought and found my seat, all the way in the center back. I sat down next to Aaron, my seat buddy. He was wearing his signature blue and black stripped pull-over that he wore everyday. It reminded me of the first time I met Aaron, just three days ago:
“Hi, I’m Kayley,” I said and offered my hand.
He took it, smiled, and said, “I’m Aaron. But you can call me, A-A-Ron.”
I usually laugh when I see him because of that smooth comment, but today I was too shaken up to even look at him. While I don’t remember what it was actually about, during the seminar I learned three things that would change my day from bad to worse. Four that would ruin the week entirely.
1. Jill was still missing.
2. Today’s speaker definitely hated Mitchell and me.
3. I still hadn’t eaten and A-A-Ron smelled like bacon, which only made my stomach created it’s whale mating noises even louder.
4. And at least every student had given me some sort of negative look during the seminar. I was off to a great start with making new friends.
“Okay, we are going to take a ten minute break,” the speaker finally said. I’d learned from my Summit schedule that his name was Dr. Gavin Black. Fitting name for a guy like him. “So, go stretch your legs, drain your bladders, and be back in a few for our next speaker.”
I got up and searched the crowd of loud, obnoxious teenagers for Mitchell. I saw him standing by himself in his row, two ahead of mine. He looked at me and motioned toward the front with his head.
Crap dang. Again.
We had to go meet with Dr. Black. I made my way through the crowd to Mitchell. We didn’t say anything, but I could tell we were both screaming “WHAT IS GOING ON?” in our heads. Yet nothing was voiced and together, we quietly forced our way through the crowd toward the man named Black conveniently wearing all black.
There was a line of four or five students waiting to talk to him about his session, but when he saw us, Dr. Gavin waved them aside and said to us, “Come with me.”
He walked to the left side of the chapel toward an EXIT door. We followed apprehensively. After reaching the door, Dr. Gavin spun to us and lifted his finger to his lip, his dark green eyes dead serious. My heart started thumping and a chill ran down my spine; I suppressed the urge to shiver.
In hind-sight, this whole ordeal could be seen as ridiculous or even funny. But at this moment right now, I was terrified and I couldn’t even understand why. Maybe it was just the fact that Dr. Gavin looked really strong, or I was really embarrassed, or I just hate, hate being in trouble. My eyes water, my chest grows tight, and I never know what to do with my hands.
The doctor pushed open the door and urged us outside. He pulled the door shut, deserting us on a small emergency escape side-walk. There I saw two six foot tall men, wearing all black and looking as menacing as possible with the beautiful Tennessee mountains at their backs. In one of their hands was a photo. The photo was of Jill, tied up, eyes wide, and hair wild.
Before either Mitchell or I could even process anything, the men seized us. Their big hands wrapped around our mouths and arms, and I could feel a bag being slipped over my head. I tried to struggle but it was no use. This guy was obliviously strong and as I mentioned before, I like bacon more than working out. I was in no shape to fight.
I hoped maybe Mitchell could overtake his attacker. He was tall and strong, but I knew the other guy was taller and stronger. I heard grunting, a few punches, and a yelp, but soon I was being carried away and the sounds all blended together until I wasn’t sure if I was the one screaming or if that was someone else…
…to be continued…