1 Chapter One: I'm Innocent

"Could that happen to us mom?"

"What could honey?" It was dinner time, and I was watching the news about a murder and kidnapping of a family near our area. My mom was in the kitchen cleaning up while my brother and I were listening in while eating dinner.

"There was a recent attack on a family near us. They said that some were murdered while the others were kidnapped. Mom, I'm afraid that'll happen to us." My mom stopped cleaning and went over to me. She put her arms around me.

"We just have to stay brave and have faith when things are tough. Don't worry. We will be okay. Nothing will happen to us." She hugged me and went back to the kitchen to finish cleaning up.

After dinner, I went straight up to bed. Laying down, I was still thinking about the recent news about that family. "We do live near where the incident happened. Anything could happen at any second, and we wouldn't be prepared. I hope to God that we will be safe." I shook that last thought out of my head and I finally fell asleep.

~~Next day at night~~

"Hey kids! Can you come down downstairs and help with the dishes please?" I was listening to music while my mom was calling for us, so my brother went down and helped my mom while I stayed upstairs.

"Your sister's asleep or what?" My mom asked my little brother while they were doing the dishes.

"She didn't hear you. She was listening to music."

"Oh that's okay." They finished up and put away the dishes after they dried.

"Alright now, go to bed. You are not skipping school again." My brother just groaned and went upstairs to his room.

My mom was busy tidying up the house when she heard knocking at the door. My mom jumped. "Who could that be at this hour?" The screen door was locked, so she opened the front door and saw two men in sweaters standing there. "Hello. How can I help you?" The man in the black sweater spoke up.

"Hi ma'am. I was wondering if this was the house of Ms. Gruger?"

"It is. Is something wrong?" He then pulled out a gun.

"Open the door." My mom froze in fear and panic. She unlocked and opened the door. "Are you by yourself?" My mom shook her head no. "Who?"

"M-My children." The two men looked at each other.

"I told you we shouldn't have come!"

"Shut up! Let's just finish up." They motioned my mom to go sit on the floor next to the couch in the living room. They didn't know, however, that I was listening to what was going on. I had told my brother to hide under my bed. While the men were talking to my mom, I had already called the police and told them where we lived. I was by the stairs, so I hung up and slowly walked back to my room and hid under my bed with my brother. My mom was still on the floor and the two men went through everything in the house except our rooms.

"Your kids upstairs?" My mom nodded. They started going up the stairs, but my mom stopped them.

"Don't go near them!" One of the men pointed their gun at her.

"Get back to where you were!" My mom stopped and shuddered in fear. They made it to the top of the stairs and made their way to my moms room. They went inside and went through her drawers and wardrobe for anything they could get money for. While one of the guys was busy going through my moms dresser, the other suddenly stopped when he saw a picture frame of me and my brother on wall.

"Bro! That's Lyra!" The other guy stopped what he was doing and came over and saw the picture. The guy hesitated, but continued going through my moms stuff while the other continued looking at the picture.

"Hey! We have to finish this. You know what will happen if we don't do what he asked us to do." The guy put down the picture and followed him. They made it to my brother's room and went through his room also. The guy that held my picture was still in shock that they found out who I was and the other guy was quickly going through my brothers stuff. They finished up and started to head to my room, but the guy was too hesitant to go in. My brother and I saw their feet and I held our mouths closed. My brother was shaking in fear and I tried to calm him down.

"Where the hell are they?" They other guy had already came inside the room while the other stayed outside my room. They both started freaking out. "What if they already called the cops on us?!" They guy left my room and ran downstairs to where my mom was.

"WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU KIDS AT?!" I mom flinched.

"I-I don't know! They were supposed to be u-upstairs in their beds!" The guy pointed his gun at her. "P-Please! Don't do this to my children! They're all I have and I'm all they have left! I'm begging you!" My mom put her hands together begging for the man to not kill her. The other guy came down.

"Bro! Don't! That's not what we were asked to do!" The guy looked at him and looked back at my mom and him. "Please Treyton!" Treyton was hesitant, but he slowly lowered his gun. The other guy took his gun. "You need to calm down. Okay?" Treyton nodded.

"I-I'm sorry, Dean." Then out in the distance, all of us heard police sirens coming closer to our house.

"W-We got to go!" Dean grabbed Treyton and they both ran out the front door. My brother and I came out of hiding and ran to my mom downstairs where she was shaking in fear.

"Oh my goodness!" She ran to us and we all hugged each other while we slowly sat on the ground.

"Mom! I was so scared!" My brother cried into my mom while she held him tightly.

"Thank God you guys are safe. Oh my Lord." Then we heard the police come up to the door.

"Ma'am. Are you guys okay?" My mom nodded and the cop signaled more people to come in and look for evidence. She started asking my mom and us questions about what had happened. "Can you tell me if you've heard anything else the men were talking about?" The cop asked me.

"It sounded like they knew who I was. They saw the photo of us on my moms' wall. I also heard them say that if they don't do this, something would happen to them." My mom hugged me.

"They also called each other by their first names. Dean and Treyton." She wrote down those names on her notepad. "Is there anything you guys can do to make us feel safe?" My mom spoke up.

"We can put you into protective custody for awhile until we know who these people are, but I don't know what else we can do. I would recommend to move somewhere else, however. Once you move, we can have police surveillance you to make sure you aren't followed. Is that okay with you, Ms. Gruger?"

"Y-yeah. It would best. You understand kids?" We both nodded.

"We will be checking in on you guys every week to make sure things are okay. Until then, stay safe." The cop left and all the police left. We all looked around, looking at all the damage they had caused.

"Lyra, Jacob, go pack up all your things. We will move into a new place by tomorrow. I'll look for an apartment big enough for all three of us. Make sure to get everything okay?"

"We will mom. Don't worry. Right Jacob?" He nodded and went upstairs to start packing. I stayed to make sure that mom was okay. I went over to her and started hugging her. She was still shaking non-stop. "I'm sorry mom. This was my fault. I should've been downstairs with you" She turned around. I noticed her eyes had changed from caring, to full of hate.

"You damn right it is." I just stood there, eyes widened.

"W-What?" She then slapped me across my face.

"IF I JUST HAD LEFT YOU AT THE ADOPTION CENTER, I WOULDN'T HAVE TO SUFFER ALL THESE LONG, HARD YEARS!!!"

~~11 years ago~~

"Welcome to the Sun Care Adoption Center. How may I help you ma'am?" The young woman entered the building. With long light brown hair and gorgeous hazel eyes, she looked like the most beautiful woman in town. "Are you considering adopting today?" She nodded. The woman at the desk noticed her blank eyes. She looked so emotionless. "Alright. Please follow me to the office so we can go over the paperwork and do a background and financial check please." The young woman followed to the back office where they went through everything. The process took 2 hours.

"Alright. We are set. Please follow me to the back so you can see the children." They both got up and went to the play area where all the children were playing. Girls playing on the grass, boys chasing each other, however, one girl wasn't with the other kids. She was on the bench, reading a book while watching all the kids playing around her. Being only 6 years old, she could already read a chapter book, while others were still reading picture books in class. The young woman immediately laid eyes on the young girl.

"Can I go meet her?" The office lady turned.

"Oh, Lyra? She's a wonderful young girl. She's only 6 years old, but is very wise. However, we don't know what had happen to her when she was younger. She just suddenly showed up here with a mysterious young man. She also doesn't remember what had happened when she was little." The young woman's eyes widened. She went over to Lyra.

~~Lyra's POV~~

"Why is it that I can't play with the other kids? All the other kids call me a freak just because I'm smarter than them. I always ask them if they want to read with me, but they just say I'm no fun. I just want someone to be my friend. Why is it so hard though?" While reading my book, I saw Mrs. Dankworth walking with a young woman. "Wow. She's really pretty. I guess someone is getting adopted today. Lucky them." I went back to reading my book. I happened to look back up again and saw the young woman standing in front of me. I smiled at her.

"Hello. I'm Lyra." She just smiled back at me.

"Hi Lyra. I'm Lilith." She just kept looking at me.

"Are you here to adopt one of the kids?" She crouched down to my level and smiled.

"I'm here to adopt you." I looked at her with a shocked face.

"Really?!" I dropped my book. She opened her arms wide for me to go hug her and I did just that. "Thank you! Thank you so much!" She embraced me back.

"You're just what I need." She hugged harder and then let go. She turned to Mrs. Dankworth. "So everything's done right?" Mrs. Dankworth nodded. Ms. Lilith picked me up and we headed out the adoption center. She carried me to her car, where she put me in the front seat. I then heard something in the back seat so I turned around and saw a little boy in a car seat.

"Aww. You're so cute." Ms. Lilith came inside the car ready to take off when she heard what I had said.

"He's your little brother. His name is Jacob. Please take care of him okay?" I smiled and nodded. I was so excited to finally have a family. After a year in that adoption center, I got really lonely. I couldn't remember anything about my past, so I was really scared and confused when I first arrived there.

We started off to Ms. Lilith's house downtown. Us, as children, were not allowed in the city. We had always stayed at the orphanage. Seeing the city was like an eye opener for me. Seeing all the different kinds of stores, seeing all the people around town, it was comforting knowing that I'm not alone in my little world.

While on our way there, I noticed Ms. Lilith started to smile more and more.

"You look really happy than you did at the orphanage Ms. Lilith." Her expression suddenly changed. She turned to me and all I saw was hatred. I flinched. 'Ms. Lil-."

"DON'T YOU EVER CALL ME THAT NAME EVER AGAIN! UNDERSTOOD?!" I got really frightened.

"I-I'm s-so sorry. I u-understand." I slowly looked away and faced the car window. My heart was beating so fast and I couldn't concentrate. I've never been yelled at before, so my emotions were all over the place. I was frightened, nervous, and...angry. Being yelled at, made me feel angry. I never understood that day why I suddenly felt that way. For the whole drive, I was still frightened, but mostly angry. She noticed how I was feeling since she put her hand on my shoulder.

"I-I'm sorry Lyra. I just...have bad memories being called that name. Just please don't call me that anymore. Just call me mom from now on, okay?" I slowly nodded. I looked back at the window and she went back to driving us to her home.

Ever since that day, I never called mom that name again. I was not allowed to call her by her first name. When people, however, called her by her first name, her expression would change slightly and she would kindly tell them to call her by her last name. Also from that day on, I never did anything to upset her, for I was scared at the thought that I would get yelled at again and probably get something even worse. I did get that worse something today.

~~Back to present time~~

⚠warning: it gets a little violent and there are triggering words, viewer discretion is advised⚠

"M-Mom. W-Why?" My mom stood there, full of anger and hatred. I backed up, also full of anger and...fear. I never felt fear towards my own mother, but today, that emotion finally decided to show itself in me.

"IT'S ALL YOUR DAMN FAULT! WHY DID I PICK YOU THAT DAY?! I SHOULD'VE LEFT AND NEVER CAME TO THAT WORTHLESS PLACE! YOU MADE MY LIFE A LIVING HELL! WITH YOUR INNOCENT LOOKING FACE AND INSTINCTS TO TRY TO MAKE ME LOVE YOU! I NEVER IN MY WHOLE LIFE SINCE THAT DAY LOVED YOU!!!" I fell to the floor, tears flowing out of my eyes, looking up at now my...poor excuse of a mother. I looked down, feeling all emotions coming out. I didn't know what else to say or do. She had yelled at me before when I did little mistakes, but this...really cut deep into me the most. I sat there, with a blank expression. I then heard the top step on the stairs creak. I look up to see Jacob standing there with a frightened expression on his face.

"J-Jacob. What are you doing there? HUH?!" My brother flinched, hearing her yell at him for the first time ever. I got up and stood at the front of the stairs, blocking my mom from Jacob.

"You better not go anywhere near him! I'm the one at fault, not him! Don't you dare go after him!" I stared at her with the most hateful expression anyone could make. She noticed how I was expressing myself and she she started laughing.

"HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! AFTER EVERYTHING I'VE DONE FOR YOU AND YOUR BROTHER, I STILL GET TREATED AS THE BAD GUY?! I'VE CLOTHED AND FED YOU, BUT YOU STILL TREAT ME LIKE THIS?!!?" She then started coming at me with her hands ready to hit me, but I stopped her just before she had the chance to do so. I grabbed her arm and squeezed it tight. She yelled in pain and kept trying to get out of my grasp, but I didn't let her go.

"Jacob and I are leaving, right now, and if you try and follow us, I will call the police again and tell them what you were doing to me and Jacob. Understood...Ms. Lilith?" She gasped and looked at me with the most fearful expression I have ever seen.

"N-No. No. No. No. No. No. NO!!! I TOLD YOU BEFORE TO NEVER CALL ME THAT NAME EVER AGAIN!"

"And do I really give a shit? Lilith." Her face went back to angry and she, again, tried to hit me, but I stopped her again by kicking her in the stomach. She fell to the ground, yelling out in pain.

"Jacob. Get your stuff and come downstairs. We're leaving." He did as I told him and came downstairs with his backpack. I pulled him behind me and faced her. "Like I said, if you try and follow us, I swear to god I will call them and I will show them this recording of you attacking me." I pulled out my phone, which was recording the entire time.

"No you didn't." She said in disbelief.

"Yes I did. Don't even try me Lilith." She looked down at the floor, saying nothing. I grabbed Jacob and we walked out of the house to the street.

"Jacob. I'll get us a room for now okay?" He nodded. I, already being 16, was already working, so I had money for us to spend. Jacob was only 13, so he wasn't old enough. Him and I walked into town to the nearest motel so we can spend the night there. We walked in and the front desk lady was there reading a newspaper.

"Hello ma'am" She looked up.

"Hello. Renting?" I nodded my head.

"That'll be 50$." I pulled out my credit card from my back pocket and handed it over to her. She took it and swiped it on the credit card system.

"There you go. If you plan to stay here longer with your little boy, just come back down here to pay the rent. Your apartment number is 137." I nodded and took the keys and Jacob to the apartment. I opened the door and inside was a bed with a tv, a little kitchen area, and a bathroom. Jacob sat on the bed and removed his clothes and got dressed in his pj's from his bag.

"Lyra. I'm scared that mom will find us and hurt us." I bent down to his level.

"Don't worry one bit Jacob. As your big sister, I will not let anything happen to us okay?" He nodded and hugged me. "Alright get into bed, it's late." He did so and fell right asleep.

"God, I beg of you, please keep Jacob safe from any danger from here on out. I plead for forgiveness and guidance." I got into bed with Jacob and fell asleep.

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