Birthday Mystery
Ariana, Age 12, Pearland, TX

I could have avoided all this. If only I could go back in time to stop her… It was Friday. High School was crowded with people ready to go on a three-day-weekend. I was pushing my way through the hallways to my best friend’s locker. I couldn’t wait to go to the beach with her. Finally, I found her.

How could I mistake her? Her long, glossy brown hair made her impossible to confuse. Her big, brown eyes were shining the second they saw me. And her smile … I don’t really know why she was smiling, but it made me happy.

“Hey, Tati. What are you doing here? We should be on our way to my house.”

“Michelle, you know I have to pack too.”

And yes, it was true. She always made her bags at the last minute. (Don’t tell her I said that.) But somehow I felt this time was different. People always say my premonitions are almost always right, and for some reason I felt like something was about to happen. But I also knew that she knew how to take care of herself. So I decided that nothing could happen to her.

“OK, go finish packing. See you at my house at eight.”

“OK. Bye, Michy.”

It was nine pm, and I still had no sign from her. My phone rang. Please tell me it’s her. Please let it be her. It was her.

“Hey, Tati where are you? I’ve been waiting for you.”

“She’s not here. I’ve kidnapped her and unless you give me what I want, you won’t see her again.” A man’s voice said. It sounded kind of familiar.

I felt breathless. I knew something was happening, I just didn’t expect anything like this.

“Okay, whatever you say. Just let me hear her voice.”

“Michy?” A shy voice said.

“Tati, are you okay? Did they hurt you?”

“No, not yet. Please do anything they tell you to…” Her voice was gone. “Okay, you heard her. Now come to the park at ten pm. I’ll tell you what to do next.”

“Okay, I’ll be there” And yes, I would be there. It was my best friend’s life and I wasn’t about to go playing around with it.

Ten p.m. Time to go. I was there at the right time. I saw him. He had a big strong body, probably from playing football. He had golden skin that seemed a little dark from playing in the sun. He also had dark, glossy hair that seemed to shine in the moonlight. His eyes were sparkling, as if he was happy. His face wore a big, toothy smile… Then I recognized him.

“Is that you Miguel?” Yep, it was him.  He was Tati’s boyfriend. I felt anger rising inside my head. I felt betrayed.

“How could you do this to me?” I exclaimed clearly angry.

“It’s your birthday.” Tati said. Oh, it is my birthday.

“You said you would wanted a mystery to solve.”

I had said that. I was thinking in becoming a detective that day, I hadn’t thought about it in the first place.

“Oh.” That was all I could manage to say. They were laughing at me. And I knew it had been a joke all along. But how could I be mad? Those smiles…

“You know what? Now that I think about it, those smiles are all I need for my birthday.”

They just placed their arms around me. I felt good in between them. I knew that nothing would ever tear us apart.

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