John R. Kess
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Fifteen-year-old Dylan Beachley's family is shattered when his older sister Hannah is kidnapped from their rural New Hampshire home while he slept just one floor away. Weeks of searching by volunteers and local law enforcement provides no clues to Hannah’s whereabouts. Determined to find her after the official search is suspended, Dylan sets out using his extensive knowledge of the forest to search for his sister. He is joined by Molly, an energetic fifteen-year-old who just moved to the area with her drug addict mother and her mother’s drug dealing boyfriend. As Dylan and Molly search hundreds of acres surrounding the Appalachian Trail, they must deal with the rugged wilderness, Dylan’s grief stricken family, and Molly’s abusive home life as the two refuse to give up their goal — Finding Hannah.
you want to go before we set up camp?” “It’ll be dark soon. We can stop whenever.” “Then let’s set up our tent here, inside the walls. We can be the first people to stay in this house in years.” “Let’s do it.” “It’s our house now,” Molly declared. We set up the tent and then sat on the wall of our new house and ate beef jerky and dried bananas. I pulled out the map and the GPS unit. Molly leaned toward me and the pain in my joints lessen as our shoulders touched. “You see that peak?” I
the tent after Molly changed clothes. Light from my dad’s large flashlight filled the tent as Molly rolled on her side away from me while I changed into sweatpants. Once I was finished, Molly rolled onto her stomach and started writing on a pad of paper. “What are you writing?” I asked. “I write my dad a letter every night. It’s kind of like a diary.” “That’s cool.” “It was a tip someone gave me after he died, and I just kept doing it.” “So you have a letter for every night?” “I’ve never
what happened?” “No.” The look on Molly’s face told me she was relieved I hadn’t. She took a drink of water and pointed at my feet. “What’s in the bag?” “I brought you something. First, we have this.” I pulled out the penguin and handed it to her. “How did you … You went to my house? How did you get in?” “I found the key under the propane tank, right where you told me it would be.” Molly seemed impressed I’d remembered. She inspected the penguin. “It’s not damaged. Where did you find
don’t want my mom to know you were in our house.” I nodded and put them back in my bag. Molly held out her arm with the palm of her hand facing me. I sat forward in my chair and put my palm against hers. “Do you remember the last time our hands touched?” she asked. “Saliva was involved.” “A lot of saliva,” she said. We both smiled. “Are you still holding up your end of the deal?” she asked. I knew she was talking about our agreement. “I am. Are you?” “I am.” “Good.” Molly pulled her
was nearly gone. “I’m really glad you’re here,” Molly said. “When I woke up the first time and saw you, it meant a lot to me.” “I wouldn’t be anywhere else.” I held out my hand. “It’s time for your fortune.” Molly held her hand out, palm up. I traced my finger on the lines of her palm. “I see a full recovery. I see you sitting with me at lunch in our crappy school cafeteria. I see Wiz sitting with us, too, and he’s still got a toothpaste stain on his shirt.” Molly laughed, then winced. “Don’t