Innocent

"They took all of our friends. They took the rest of our family. And they'll take you if they find you."

All of Reina's loved ones have been taken by Jackson DeGraff and his small crew of kidnapping masterminds. They have accused her of killing their once-thriving army of kidnappers and crime-doers. They've taken everyone she loves, but they still haven't taken her. Now, Reina's running for her life, out to prove to Jackson that she is completely innocent. Will Reina clear her name in time to save her life? Or will Jackson finally get his revenge?

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1. Chapter One

       I ran as fast as I could, but it still wasn’t fast enough. I could hear them closing in on me from all sides. But it didn’t matter. I still ran. “Don’t let them find you” were my brother’s last words to me. “Run and don’t look back. They took all of our friends. They took the rest of our family. And they’ll take you if they find you.”

       "But, what if they do find me, Matt? What if they catch me? What'll I do then? Watch you all get killed?" I knew by the expression that played across his face that he saw the worry and pain and fear in my eyes.

       "They won't get you if you don't let them. STAY AWAY FROM THEM." That was all he had time to say before we heard a noise and I sprinted out the door of our tiny, shack-sized house. It wasn't long before I heard an ear-piercing scream. I fought the urge to yell Matt's name and go running back to him. But, I kept going forward, as fast as I could, away from the house, away from Jackson...away...

       It was getting dark. I knew I was going to have to find some shelter soon, but where do you find shelter in a creepy, abandoned forest? “Run and don’t look back.” His words rang in my ears. “Don’t stop now, Reina,” I kept telling myself. “You can’t stop.”

       No matter how hard I looked, all I saw around me were trees. Absolutely nothing but treeline. That was until I came across a derelict shack that was falling apart. I didn’t take a second to think about whether I would stay there or not, because I could hear them getting closer. “Reina!” Someone was yelling out my name. Oh no. There's only one person whose voice is that bone-chilling: Jackson's. I immediately ran into the shack. He’ll take me if he finds me. I can’t let that happen. If he finds me, I’ll never find my family.

       As I walked around the shack, I stumbled upon a trapdoor. “Reina!” The voice echoed through the house, making the foundation rattle. But, this time, it wasn't Jackson's. This voice had a warmer tone and an accent to it. Oh great. Bones. That means he's got his crew with him. I looked down into blackness and, after a second of thought, I jumped into the dark abyss.

       A few minutes later, I hit the ground with a loud thud. There’s no way he could have possibly heard that. But, I didn’t have any time to think if I’d given away my hiding place, not when I was running from three known kidnappers.

       I traveled through the abyss for no longer than half an hour and when I saw the next opening, I had more sense than to lunge at it, not knowing who or what was prowling above me. I stood under it and listened for any sign of life. When I was absolutely certain that I was alone, I headed for the exit door.

       Once I was back on ground level, it wasn’t who I saw that froze me to the spot on which I was standing; it was who I heard. “Are you crazy?!” The sound of Jackson’s icy voice made my blood run cold. “We can’t waste any more time guessing where she is. This is important; our lives rest on her capture.” His words lingered in the air. There were talking about me.

       "But, Jack--" I heard Charlie get out before Bones had cut him off.

       "But nothing, Charlie. Look, if we don't get this done soon, we could be over with, done for, capiche?"

       That was all I wanted to listen to. I have to get out of here. I have no choice. Go now, Reina. I stumbled backwards into the opening and ran as fast as my exhausted legs could manage.

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