Okay! It's back! I took a poll and did a lot of thinking and this is the result of this story not being deleted. I hope it's liked. I'll be crossing my fingers. Shout outs to Black Raven 2539 for being my inspiration and to all the people who voted "No" on the poll! LOVE YOU!

I own nothing. The Almighty Larson owns it all.

"You must go," Pierre told the eight friends. "All of you. It is not safe here. Quickly!" He kept his attention on The Man, who was approaching fast. The children didn't ask any questions. They ran further into the park and slowed to a walk once they felt they were a good distance away.

"Am I the only wondering who The Man is?" Maureen asked. Everyone except Tom expressed their confusion.

"He's another person in on the lady's murder," the twelve-year-old said.

"How do you know that?" Roger asked.

"Pierre told me."

"Tom, I don't think it's smart to trust someone you just met," Joanne stated. "Think about it. He could be in on the murder, too." The others agreed with her.

"But he saved me," Tom said.

"From what?" Mark inquired.

"Mr. Smee. I heard him talkin' on the phone about the lady while I was at the school. The police have her body now and he's mad about it. So, he came after me."

"What does that have to with you?" Angel questioned.

"My dad's on the case."

"Then we should tell your dad what we know!" Roger decided.

"Mr. Smee'll know it was us."

"There's not much he can do to us behind bars," Mimi pointed out. "I say we tell before we get in too deep." The eight friends had made it out of the park and were walking on the sidewalk. Angel took Tom's hand and the taller boy looked down at him. He immediately thought of the name Pierre had given him.

"Angel, do you know your mom's first name?" he asked. Angel looked up at him.

"Yes," he replied. "It's Amelia, why?" Tom dropped Angel's hand and stopped walking. The seven others followed suit. They stared at their friend as they waited for him to speak.

"Tom, what's wrong?" Mimi asked. Tom looked around at his friends before bringing his attention back to Angel. He took both of the boy's hands in his and looked into his eyes.

"Angel, I have something to tell you," he said. Angel took a small step forward and waited. Tom took a deep breath, feeling all eyes on him. "Your mom . . . I think she-"

The screeching tires of a windowless van that pulled up beside the friends interrupted Tom's sentence. He let go of one of Angel's hands as they all stared at the van in silence. The side door suddenly slid open and four men jumped out, causing the children to scream and begin running back into the park. As they ran, Tom felt Angel's hand yanked from his. He stopped running and turned to see a man carrying the small boy toward the van.

"Tom!" he cried. "Tom, help me!" Angel's voice caused the six others to stop running and turn around.

"Angel!" Tom shouted. He was suddenly picked up from behind and immediately began struggling. "Put me down! Guys, run!" His friends did as he said and ran as fast as they could. Roger and Mark hid behind a large tree to catch their breath. Mark took his glassed off and cleaned them.

"Are we the only ones who made it?" he asked, putting his glasses back on and looking around. Maureen, Joanne, April, and Mimi were nowhere to be found.

"I don't know," Roger replied. "I'll check." He slowly peeked around the trunk of the tree and was instantly grabbed by one of the men from the van. "Run, Mark, run!"

The eleven-year-old ran faster than he ever had out of the park and into the middle of the street. He screamed and covered his face as a cab sped toward him, stopping just in the nick of time.

"Hey, kid!" the driver yelled out the window. "What the hell is wrong with you? I almost hit you!" Taking his hands away from his face, Mark ran to the back of the cab, opened the door, and climbed inside. "And now you want a ride?"

"You gotta give me a ride!" Mark exclaimed, shutting the door. "There are some people back there and they're after me!"

"So, I'm taking you to a police station?"

"Yeah! No, wait!" Mark reached in his jacket pocket and took out a folded piece of paper. During lunch at school the previous day, he asked all of his new friends to write down their addresses in case he ever needed them. He unfolded it and gave it to the driver. "Take me to the third address. And drive as fast as you can!"

The driver studied the address, gave the paper back to the boy, and then took off. Mark felt a great deal of pressure on him. He had just witnessed his first friends at a new school be kidnapped and now he was responsible for seeing that they were rescued. The boy was quiet for the duration of the cab ride, unmoving until he saw his destination out the window. The second the cab stopped, Mark threw the door open and ran onto the porch of Tom's house. He banged on the door and rang the doorbell, ignoring the cab driver's angry shouts. The door flew open and Mark stared up at Ed in slight fear.

"Who are you and why are you pounding on my door?" he asked. Before Mark could say anything, the cab driver grabbed him by his arm.

"You owe me money, kid!" he shouted.

"But . . . I don't have any money," Mark stated.

"Then what the hell did you take a cab for?"

"I had to get away! I told you those guys were after me!"

"You still owe me twenty bucks."

"'Twenty?' Why twenty?"

"You ran without paying me."

"For the love of God," Ed said, taking his wallet out of his back pocket. He produced a twenty-dollar bill and gave it to the driver. "Satisfied?"

"Yeah." The driver glared at Mark. "Consider yourself banned from my cab, kid." Mark watched him walk back to his cab angrily.

"Now, back to my previous question," Ed said. "Who are you and why are you pounding on my door?"

"My name is Mark Cohen and I'm a friend of Tom's," Mark answered quickly. "On the first day of school, my new friends and I found a dead lady in the park and we didn't tell anybody about it and Tom said you're on the case and he found out that Mr. Smee has something to do with her murder and he came after him and then some guy named Pierre saved Tom and-"

"Whoa!" Ed interrupted. "Slow down!"

"There's no time! They took them and I don't know where to! We should've told someone about what we saw, but we didn't and now they're gone! You have to get some other cops to help them!"

"Okay, Mark, I need you to take some deep breaths." Mark did as Ed instructed. "Now, can you calmly and slowly tell me what you're trying to say?"

"The case about the dead lady in the park that you're working on."

"What about it?"

"My friends and I found her body after the first day of school, but we didn't tell anybody. Tom found out today that Mr. Smee has something to do with her murder and he came after him because he found him out. Then a homeless guy saved him and he told us we needed to meet back at the park, so we did. We met the homeless guy and he said that we had to leave because some guy called 'The Man' was coming. We were leaving the park when this van came out of nowhere and four guys got out of it and started chasing us. They grabbed Tom, Angel, Mimi, Roger, April, Maureen, and Joanne and put them in the van, but I got away and came to find help. And that's why I'm on your porch right now." Ed looked ready to cry. Mark had never seen an adult look so worried before, not even his mother.

"Do you . . . um . . . do you remember what any of the men look like?" he asked. He was fighting back tears.

"No, I was running. I'm sorry." Ed fell silent. It had always been a fear of his that his job would get his wife or children targeted by a criminal. "Mr. Collins?"

"Come inside, Mark. I, uh, I'm going to call the other children's parents and . . . I'm going to need you to . . . tell them what you told me." Mark didn't protest and walked into the house.


"I'm scared, Tom," Angel whispered, leaning on Tom inside the dark van. The older boy wrapped his arm around his boyfriend and kissed the top of his head. After the seven friends had been put in the van, the men who had grabbed them went separate ways. The children had been quiet since then, each of them wishing someone would come to their rescue. They could barely see each other.

"What's gonna happen to us?" Maureen asked. No one answered her. They were afraid to.

"Listen, you guys," Tom said. "I'm promise to protect all of you as well as I can, okay?"

"You can't protect us all, Tom," April told him. "I know you're the oldest, but I don't think that's possible."

"I think we should try to think happy thoughts," Joanne declared.

"What exactly is happy about being in a van with no idea where you're headed?" Roger snapped. Mimi smacked him in the back of the head. "Ow!"

"She's just trying to cheer us up, Roger," Mimi said. The van suddenly began slowing down. The friends instinctively moved closer together.

"Angel, whatever happens, don't let go of my hand, okay?" Tom said.

"Okay," Angel replied. He gripped Tom's hand tighter as the door was slid open.

Mr. Smee was standing outside of the van and smirked upon seeing the frightened middle schoolers.

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