1. Prologue

Lottie felt a small smile spread across her face as she analyzed the crinkled poster in front of her. Taped onto a telephone pole across the street from an old coffee shop, a “LOST CHILD” flyer held the familiar smiling face of a girl with long brown hair and bright green eyes. She read the bolded lettering under the picture and felt a pang of regret from somewhere inside her chest, Charlotte ‘Lottie’ Jones, missing since April 22, 2013. Lottie had seen the picture a thousand times, but she never thought she’d see it here.

Where is here you might ask? Why, here is anywhere Lottie wanted to be. Here is on the edge of life. Here is somewhere where no one knew who she was, where no one knew her past. Here was where she could be free.

Lottie’s thoughts wandered back to her family. She thought about how her mother would react to walking into her room on the morning of April 22. She thought about the look on her parents’ faces when they realized she wasn’t there. Would they even care?

She stared back at the picture, looking at her previously rounded face with an abundance of freckles, and a larger grin formed in place of the slight smile. She could no longer feel any sense of remorse. She knew she was where she needed to be. She grabbed a fistfull of the flyer and ripped it clean off the post. She didn’t want to be found, therefore; she wouldn’t be.


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