CHAPTER ONE

The tiny girl ran full pelt across the empty plain.

Her blue dress made her stand out against the dull grass, like a rainbow in a grey sky.

All she possessed was a large backpack, full of everything she needed to survive.

Her knees were sore and grazed, but she didn’t care.

All she cared about was to keep running.

Her eyes were puffy, and darkly rimmed.

Probably the result of not sleeping.

The girl looked up, her pink face panting for air, and saw a large, black helicopter flying over head!

From inside the flying contraption, a tall man with sleek dark hair and black sunglasses pointed to the little girl, signalling the helicopter to land.

Oh bother

She thought to herself.

It was orphan services.

The little girl called Sophie, was an orphan.

The orphanage she had ran away from was called, “Madam Priscilla’s Orphanage For Girls.”

Every child there was treated like a prisoner.

If you were lucky, you might get a new pair of new stockings every two months, or you might get a dress, but only until the one you were wearing was thread bare.

Sophie hated the wretched place, and the god forsaken women who owned it.

Sophie flinched as the bulky helicopter landed a few meters away from her.

“Well, well, well.”

Sneered the tall man as he stepped out of the helicopter.

“We meet again.” He continued, a sly grin creeping upon his face.

Sophie noted that the man must not be very clever, because they had never met before.

“You may be wandering my name by now.” Spoke the not very clever man.

In truth, Sophie had indeed been wondering what the mans name was.

“My name is Balthazar, Balthazar Black, but you may call me Mr.Black.”

“I’m n-not going back to the orphanage.”

Stuttered Sophie, her heart thumping madly in her chest.

“I’m not so sure about that.” Said Mr.Black, and with a click of his boney finger, two burly bodyguards grabbed Sophie and dragged her into the helicopter.

Sophie tried to squeeze herself out of the bodyguards grip, but they were too large, and it was clear to Sophie that she wasn’t going anywhere soon.

“Why do you at to take me back to the orphanage?” Questioned Sophie, while being tied with thick rope.

“Because young lady, I am getting paid lots of money if I bring you back.” Cackled Mr.Black in glee, clearly delighted at the thought of money.

“Now if you don’t mind, I have to go to my seat, and don’t you dare make a big ruckus.” And off went Mr.Black to his seat next to the pilot.

As you may have noticed, Mr.Black was not stupid , but he wasn’t exactly clever either, which is why he made quite a silly mistake.

Instead of making sure Sophie was in sight of himself or a body guard, he had put her in the back, while the pilot, guards, and himself were in a little room at the front of the helicopter, where there were seats and a thick door separating Sophie from every one else.

Sophie slumped in the corner, all her positivity gone.

CHAPTER TWO

How could’ve things gone so wrong? Sophie wondered to herself.

At that moment, the helicopter made a sharp turn and she slid backwards, hitting something.

When she looked at what she had hit, her face lit up with joy.

It was a parachute!

She wanted to squeal for joy, but she knew that would not be a good idea.

Desperately, Sophie worked on the knots that the security guards had done, until finally, she was free!

With no time to celebrate, she scanned the walls for an emergency exit until, BINGO!

There was an emergency exit, and a button to open it!

Quickly, Sophie grabbed her backpack, put on the parachute, and smacked the button.

Slowly, the door began to open, revealing that they were flying over a little village!

Sophie looked down, closed her eyes and jumped.

Without a hesitation, Sophie pulled the cord on her parachute, and it opened like a large yellow umbrella.

When she had found a place she wanted to land in, she tugged the parachute to land in a small meadow, a few meters away from the town.

“Poof!” Went the parachute as it slowly floated down on top of Sophie.

She giggled as she tried to make her way out of the bright fabric.

“I made it!” Squealed Sophie with pleasure, as she shoved the parachute into her bag, just in case she ever needed it again.

Sophie started to skip towards the village, and as she did, she thought about her mother.

The thing is, Sophie wasn’t fully an orphan.

Her mother had gone missing, and sent Sophie a letter telling her where she was.

But then orphan services insisted that her mother was dead, and took her to the orphanage.

But now she was free, free to find her mum.

CHAPTER THREE

As she entered the village, she found that she was in a market!

Thankfully, Sophie had quite a lot of money, because she would never spend her pocket money at the orphanage, she would save it for when she needed it.

Every where she looked, she could see food, bracelets, juice, and everything you could’ve imagined!

Everything looked so tempting, but Sophie decided to only get things she needed.

“Get your fresh water and milk here!” Called a friendly looking man with a twirly moustache.

“Could I please have some water and milk?” Asked Sophie, thinking she would need it to hydrate herself, if she was ever going to find her mother.

“Why of course you can, Miss!” He said with a flourish.

“All the water is fresh from the river spring a few miles away, and the milk is the finest you’ll ever try! I can assure you that!”

Sophie smiled, deciding that she liked the man very much.

After Sophie had paid, and she had placed the milk and water in the two bottle holders on her bag, she asked the man, “What is your name, sir?”

“No need to call me sir! My name is Louis! And what may I ask is your name?” He said, flashing Sophie a charming smile.

“Sophie, my name is Sophie.” She answered shyly.

“That’s a very nice name. But, why are you out here alone?” Questioned Louis with a puzzled expression.

Sophie hesitated, not sure to trust him or not, but in her heart, Sophie felt that he was trustworthy.

“I am trying to find my mother, but orphan services are trying to take me back to the orphanage.” Whispered Sophie, making sure that no one else was listening.

She felt tears beginning to prickle her eyes.

“Oh my!” Exclaimed Louis, trying not to be too loud.

“Were are you heading to?”

“Roseville.” Said Sophie quietly.

“Same as me! I’ll tell you what, at the end of the day, when you finished shopping, and I’ve finished working, I can give you a ride there!” Offered Louis.

“Oh! Yes please! Thank you, thank you!” Squealed Sophie, barley able to contain her excitement.

“It’s all right! Now why don’t you keep shopping, and I’ll come find you when I’m ready, ok?”

“Alright! See you soon Mr.Louis!” And off she went, skipping and humming a merry tune.

At the end of the day, Sophie had bought milk, water, a loaf of bread, a few apples, and some cheese.

She had gotten extra lucky, because while she was shopping, a frail old man had given her a small bag of sweets, insisting that she needn’t pay.

“Sophie!” Called out Louis.

“Are you ready to go?”

“Yes!” Replied Sophie eagerly.

Louis led the way to a bright yellow beetle bug car.

“Wow! What an amazing car!” Marvelled Sophie.

“I wouldn’t go that far, but it’s quite nice!” Said Louis.

When they were all ready, and Sophie had doubled checked she had everything, Louis started to drive.

Most of the ride Sophie looked out the window, thinking about how beautiful the scenery was.

She reached into her backpack, and pulled out her drawing book, a pencil, an eraser, and a sharpener.

Sophie sharpened her pencil, and began to draw the trees and flowers she saw.

CHAPTER FOUR

“Here we are!” Called Louis to Sophie.

Sophie hopped out of the car, shook Louis’s hand, and said, “Thank you again for the ride, Mr.Louis!”

“Please, call me Louis! And your very welcome for the ride!”

“May I please have your phone number?” Asked Sophie, hoping he would say yes.

Louis’s face broke into a wide smile.

“Absolutely!” He said enthusiastically.

After they had exchanged phone numbers, and said their last goodbyes, Louis handed Sophie another two bottles, one with water, and one with milk.

“Here, take these, you’ll need them.” Said Louis with a kind smile.

“Thank you! Your too nice! Oh, but I don’t have anything to give you! This won’t do.” Remarked Sophie, angry at her self for not thinking to give Louis something.

“I assure you that you don’t have to give me anything.”

“I know, but I want to. Wait a second, I do have something to give you!Take this.” She said, handing Louis the small bag of sweets that the old man at the markets had given her.

Louis thanked her, and they finally parted.

Sophie started to walk down a narrow path covered with overgrown, thick foliage.

After a while, the path turned into a forest path, but not a creepy dark one, it was a light filled forest, dotted with beautiful trees, bushes, flowers, animals, and birds.

Just at that moment, Sophie heard two adult voices not far ahead of her.

She quickly jumped into a near by bush, and covered her mouth with her hand.

Sophie had a peculiar habit of hiding when she heard unknown adult voices on the street, because she had heard story’s of little children being taken away by wicked people, but there was another reason she did this.

She also did this because the voices she heard sounded oddly sinister.

Just as she jumped into the bush, a man and a woman wearing dark sunglasses like Mr.Black walked past the bush she was hiding in.

They stopped, and Sophie was sure she was going to be discovered, but in stead, the woman pulled out a photo of a little girl, grabbed the man near her, and whispered, “Boss told me that the kid that we’re finding is a girl Called Sophie.”

When Sophie saw the photo of the girl, she almost gasped.

It was her!

No wonder the man and woman wore sunglasses like Mr.Black, it was because they worked for him!

Sophie listened on to their conversation.

“Let’s head into town. The girl should be buying supplies from the markets.” And with that, the pair of sunglass freaks briskly made their way to the town market.

Sophie made sure that the coast was clear before she stepped out of the bush she was hiding in.

She brushed off the leaves and twigs that had stuck to her Cotten dress and stockings.

CHAPTER FIVE

Sophie hurriedly jogged along the road, stopping only when she arrived at a small beach town.

She stopped to catch her breath, and to admire the beauty of the shimmery water.

Sophie started to wonder about how she would get to the other side of the lake, because this lake was not an average sized one, it was an enormous one.

In the end, Sophie decided that she would buy a ferry ticket and take the ferry to the other side of the lake.

She hoped that the ferry tickets didn’t cost to much, and she was pleased to find that the tickets costed 5 dollars each.

After she had found out the details about the ferry ride, she bravely walked up to the ferry gate.

When she got to the ferry gate, she was greeted by a plump, friendly looking man, who smiled ever so joyfully.

“Hello Young Lady! Are you travelling alone, or are your parents somewhere else?” Questioned the jolly man.

“I’m travelling alone.” Answered Sophie, hoping the man wouldn’t ask too many questions about where she was going, where her parents were, and wether or not she would like someone to accompany her, and to her greatest relief, he didn’t.

“Alright then! That will be five dollars, please.”

Sophie handed the happy man a slightly crumpled five dollar note, and he took it in his chubby fingers and placed it in a red box with a gold lining.

“Off you go then.” He said with a wide smile.

Sophie stepped inside the ferry, finding an un occupied row, where she sat in the far corner.

The ferry waited a while before leaving the dock, for any last minute ferry riders.

Fortunately for Sophie, no body sat next to her, she felt as if she wanted to be alone for a while.

Just as the ferry was about to leave, another person stepped onto the ferry.

It was a boy, who looked like he was around the same age as Sophie.

The boy was quite something to look at, and Sophie thought he looked like what her mother would call, a character.

He wore old fashioned aviator goggles, and a brown jacket, paired with a blue polka dot bow tie.

His socks were cherry red, and his pants were a slightly darker brown colour than his jacket.

Like Sophie, the boy also had a backpack, and he was not accompanied by an adult.

The boy clumsily walked down the ferry, stopping when he arrived at Sophie’s row.

Seeing that only two out of four chairs were occupied (one for Sophie and one for her bag) he sat in the seat across from her, and he used the other seat for his bag.

“I’m Duncan.” Said the boy with a gap tooth grin.

“I’m Sophie.” Said Sophie, deciding some company would be nice.

“How old are you?” He asked, going on full interview mode.

“I’m ten, turning 11.” She answered, a smile forming on her lips.

“Same as me!”, said Duncan in an exited tone, “though I am already 11.”

Sophie grinned, happy at the possibility of a new friend.

“Would you like to be my friend?” Asked Sophie, blushing Profusely.

“Of course!” Duncan exclaimed.

Duncan started up with the questions again.

Sophie answered his questions, and asked a few herself.

“So where are you going?” said Duncan, eager to hear her answer.

Sophie lowered her voice, and said, “I’m going to find my mum. She was taken away from me, but I don’t really know how. I was at school when it happened.”

Duncan’s jaw dropped, and his mouth resembled a perfect ‘O’ shape.

“What about you?” Sophie asked.

“Actually, I’m here for pretty much the same reason you are. My mother is gone, but she sent my a letter telling me her whereabouts.”

This time it was Sophie’s mouth that formed a perfect ‘O’ shape.

“Same as me.” She whispered in a hoarse voice.

“Well, that is unusual.”

“Indeed it is.” Agreed Sophie.

The pair sat in silence for a while, pondering about their mother’s safety, and how they where they were ever going to find them.

Just at that moment, Duncan broke the silence.

“I wonder – I wonder if our mums secretly knew each other.”

“That would be quite a pleasant shock.” Thought Sophie out loud.

The intercom on the ferry crackled, and the captain started to speak.

“We have reached our destination, and remember, when departing from the ferry, make sure you have all your belongings with you. Thank you!”

“I guess this is goodbye.” Said Duncan, a melancholy look cast upon his face.

“I guess it is.”

“Oh wait, one more thing,” said Sophie in the nick of time, “If you ever see a tall man with sleek dark hair, sunglasses, a helicopter, and two big bodyguards, run.”

“Thanks.” Duncan said, obviously annoyed at having to say goodbye to a new friend.

They shook hands, brushed the tears from their eyes, and said one last good bye.

Even though they had only known each other for 20 minutes, it felt like they had known each other all their lives.

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