Super Dark (Super Dark Trilogy) Online - Tanith Morse

ONE

Snatched

“What are you reading?”

I glanced up from my book. The girl standing over me had a pleasant, open face, but I didn’t return her smile. She was the willowy blonde from my English class who sat two seats back. She wore way too much make-up and her roots needed retouching, but somehow she made it look right.

She’d tried to catch my eye a couple of times already, but I’d ignored her. If I’d wanted to make friends, I’d have spent lunch in the cafeteria with the others instead of finding this nice, quiet spot on the benches behind the Science department.

I was hoping not to be disturbed. Fat chance.

“It’s George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four,” I answered.

“Any good?”

“Yes, it’s one of the classics.”

“What’s it about?”

I rolled my eyes. Who the hell didn’t know about the Thought Police, Big Brother, and Room 101? Had she been living on another planet?

Undeterred, the blonde sat next to me. She smelled of soap and chewing gum.

“I’m Becky,” she said. “We’ve got English together.”

“I know.”

“You’re Samantha Harper, right?”

“Uh-huh.”

“You know, it’s funny. When we first met last week, I could have sworn I’d seen you somewhere before. Your face looked so familiar. And then Mr. Maine introduced us and the penny dropped.”

My stomach tightened. I knew exactly where this conversation was heading. It wasn’t fair. I’d only been at St. Mary’s High School a short time and already someone had recognized me.

“You’re her, aren’t you?” Becky whispered. “You’re that girl who was kidnapped.”

For a moment, I let the question hang there. Then I nodded.

“Wow, I knew it!” she said. “Obviously, you’re a lot older now. But I could still tell.” Her face lit up with excitement.

I squinted at my book, trying again to immerse myself in the world of Winston Smith, but it was no use. I clenched my jaws, trying to contain my emotion. “If you don’t mind, Becky, I’d rather not talk about this.”

Her smile dropped. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to pry. Hope I haven’t offended you.”

“Not at all,” I said. “It’s just … well, it’s not something I like to think about.”

“I understand. Bad memories and all that.”

“Exactly.”

In the awkward silence that followed, Becky began making little pleats in the hem of her skirt, then smoothed them out and tried a different tack. “Did the police ever find Elliot?” she asked. “You know, the little boy who was abducted with you?”

My mouth became a thin, tight line. I said nothing.

Becky kicked a pebble with the toe of her tennis shoe. “I remember seeing your picture in the newspaper. Must be weird being so famous.”

My mind raced back ten years to a time when the world had seemed a safer place—a time before my innocence was cruelly shattered. I could see it all as if it were yesterday.

Elliot Marsh had lived next door to me since we were toddlers. We’d attended the same nursery and primary schools, and our parents were the best of friends. He was the type of kid who’d take a punch for you, lie for you, or share his last Snickers bar with you. He seemed tough, but he had a big heart. If anyone picked a fight with me at school, I always knew Elliot had my back. I knew I could depend on him, no matter what.

Elliot and I spent most summers together, climbing trees, having water fights, playing video games, watching cartoons, and teasing the neighbor’s dog. We even went to Disneyland together once. We had the kind of friendship that only comes around once in a lifetime.

Neither of us could have imagined what was about to happen.

The snow had come early to London that dark Halloween night as Elliot and I started trick-or-treating on our street. We were both seven, but he was six months older. The two of us had felt so grown up dressed as Batman and Batgirl, trudging from house to house in search of candy. By the time we’d finished the rounds, our buckets were nearly filled to the brim. People had been generous—but I wanted more.

“Let’s start heading back,” Elliot said.

“But I still have a little room in my bucket,” I whined. “And I hardly got any chocolate.”

“You know what our parents said.”

“They’ll never know. Let’s try one more street.”

“Do you reckon we should? Didn’t my mum say we should stay where she can see us?”

“What are you, a scaredy cat?” I teased.

“No, I’m not scared of anything.”

“Then let’s go!”

“But dinner’s gonna be ready soon. I’m hungry.”

“Eat some candy. If you’re too chicken,