Great New Release... EXCERPT...
The Gift You Gave by Moranda Jane https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HHNFD69/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_U_x_GsbPBbB1DNDFH
Current Day Kannapolis N.C.
It was amazing the things came to mind when your world was crashing down around you. Strawberries. Melissa’s mind was on picking strawberries with her grandmother, a happy place for her in what would be a very short life. Her grandmother would take the scenic route down Miller Road then on to Highway 3 when taking her back home to Mooresville. Fishertown, just one road down, was where her grandmother lived in a small community outside of Kannapolis.
So close to home yet so far away, Melissa thought, tears sliding down her face. She kicked and scrambled across the ground pulling grass as went, but once she fell she knew that it was over. She was operating on two different plains of thought, one was fighting until her last breath, the other; finding peace for what she knew would be her final moments on earth. Like this field for instance. Melissa had seen this field before. She and her grandmother would pass this same field on the way home from Patterson’s Farm after picking those same strawberries that had brought her so much joy. But now, it would be where her body would one day be found. She had no illusion she would make it out of this filed alive.
Grunting, she crawled forward on all fours wheezing after the kick she received. Mud and grass covered her body. Her palms now scratched and bleeding from the rocks and brambles that laden the ground. Melissa turned and roared with all her might, defiant until the end. Clambering to her feet, she swung and kicked. He smiled at what he considered her fruitless efforts until she struck his face, leaving a small scratch underneath his eye. She would not go meekly to her death. The fight came to a standstill for a few brief seconds. Her executioner wiped his face, examining the small drop of blood Melissa had produced. Eyes still on her, he unbuckled his belt removing it slowly from the loops around his waist. Melissa turned and tried to run again, but didn’t get far. He struck hard. Pinning her arms and torso to the ground with his knees and body, he wrapped the belt around her neck and began to tighten.
Feet kicking, digging into the ground, Melissa’s mind split again. She missed home. She missed her cat, hell she even missed her little brother and that was saying something. She had fought, kicked and scratched but it was no use. Melissa’s only consolation was that she was able to get a letter out to her family. They would at least get to hear her story, though she wouldn’t be alive to tell it.
Melissa was a child of the cyber age, so nothing could get past her – Right? Wrong! She thought it was cool to hook up and besides, she was going to meet Sean in broad daylight. He’d said he would bring his friend Jay and she just need to name the place and bring a friend. They’d all decided to meet in the parking lot of Carolina Mall in Concord. She lived in Mooresville, so she thought that hanging out in Concord would buy her freedom from her parents’ prying eyes. Yeah, her grandmother was in Kannapolis which was really just minutes from the mall, but it wasn’t like her grandmother ever went to the movies.
She and her friend Fiona were going to catch a movie and maybe something to eat after. The mistake they made was when Sean, her now murderer if that was even his real name, suggested they take just one car to the restaurant. They never saw their car or home again for the last seven months. Melissa, Honor Roll Student, who thought she was wise enough to know what a Sex Trafficker looked like was now dying at the hands of one.
All the things that had happened in the last months were written in a letter. She managed to get the letter into a mailbox in one of the houses they had taken her to. Melissa even put the return address as her grandmother’s home address. Someone would see it and tell the police. She wanted her mom and dad to know what’d happened. Let them know she was so sorry she didn’t listen. Fiona was her only tie to reality and they took her away days ago. If she had listened, both she and Fiona would be getting ready for prom. She’d be working on applications for college. She’d be able to hug her grandmother. She would not be here in this open field with this belt around her neck.
She was going to escape or die trying. She couldn’t stand it anymore. Her life was a living hell. They had done things to her that her mind would never be able to erase nor, could she ever wash away. She even thought about taking her own life just to stop the pain, but instead, she ran. Maybe if she could get away, or at least get a note to the outside she could help the others escape.
Two things that kept her anchored were the charm bracelet and the movie ticket receipt that she kept when they’d kidnapped her. The bracelet reminded her that she was loved and her family wouldn’t stop looking for her. The ticket was a reminder of how stupid she was and if she did escape, it would be a constant reminder to stay woke. That small piece of paper was now folded and placed in the driest part of her mouth. Maybe if someone found it they could start to connect the dots.
The belt tightened around her neck and Melissa knew it wouldn’t be long before she took her last breath. She hadn’t eaten in days and had run walked at least a mile before Sean caught up with her. Now laying there on the ground, she tried to fight but was quickly losing the battle. Sean neither smiled nor frowned while he looked down at her with dispassion as he slowly choked the life from her body.
She was only sixteen but because of her mistake, sixteen was all she would live to see. Melissa fought until her arms became like lead and gave up. She didn’t feel pain anymore, but she could feel her life slipping away. All she could think about was how beautiful the stars were. Taking her last breath, a single tear slipped down her cheek. Eyes glazing over Melissa continued to fixate on the stars and thought about the ocean. She loved the beach and wondered if the stars looked the same there.