the short story project


Mackenzie Dicks

Breaking Free

It’s the first day of senior year, and I’ve never missed mom more. She always made going back to school easier, she made me dread it a little less. But now that she is gone, I have no one. The hardest part is that her death changed Dad completely. It’s like I don’t even exist to him anymore. Unless for some reason he needs to check my lungs or tap my knee with a stick. He’s been giving me these checkups a lot more since she died. I think he’s starting to lose it, because once mom was out of the picture he became swallowed up in worry and fear of losing me too.

The bell rings, and the noise of the hallways fills her with anxiety, she thought to herself keep your head down, don’t make eye contact. With her shoulders shrugged, and head down, she avoided every student in her path. The thought of locking eyes with a stranger made her anxiety shoot through the roof. Her heart was racing, her palms sweating, all she needed was to find a quiet place to read her book, to be specific her sixth book this month. She arrives at the school library. It is isolated and silent. so silent that the sound of a pin dropping would devour the peaceful atmosphere. She is a few sentences into her captivating novel, when the three A’s stormed into the library: Ambre, Ashley, and Alyssa. The silence shattered and the whole library reeked of cashmere, designer purses, and overpriced lipgloss. They jumped onto the worn in sapphire couches and began to squeal of all the gossip from their summer vacations. The A’s assumed they were alone. She was invisible to them. How could she not be, with her hair in a homely low bun, and her head always hung low? She had created herself to be invisible. The sound of the A’s voices aggravated her, but she decided that she would not let the ‘barbie dolls’ ruin her zen, so she stuck her nose right back into her book. The problem though was that her focus was broken. Reading the same sentence ten times over, all she could do was listen to the summer adventures that she was too afraid to experience. She eavesdropped on how: Alyssa went skiing in the alps with her cute new beau, Ashley travelled around Europe to model, and Ambre lounged on beaches all over the world. She became filled with envy and jealousy, although, she would never admit those feelings to herself. The feeling of jealousy then turned into annoyance and anger. She believed it was because her silence had been disturbed, but in reality it was because the idea of envying something that she was too afraid to chase after drove her crazy. Flustered by the inability to recognize the emotions flowing through her, she shut her book, stomped to the library doors, and as she let the doors slam behind her, the A’s realized they were not alone, and Ivy Rose was invisible no more.

As Ivy exited the library in a fiery frenzy, she did not know that in the back corner of the library curiosity about who she really was grew in the mind of tall, skinny, blond curly haired  Jeremy Boyd. Ivy was never invisible to Jeremy. In fact, he had always wondered about her since he first saw her eight years ago on the first day of the third grade. He wondered about her silence, he couldn’t understand why she hid her beauty, and he was intrigued at her obsession of books. To Jeremy she became a mystery, a mystery that he needed to find out more about.

As her dull school day finally came to an end, Ivy was now able to exit the doors of her dreadfully social school, and make her way to her isolated home. As she opened her heavy burgundy front door, a loud squeak came shooting out of the gold door hinges. That would be the only noise she heard tonight, or so she thought. She began to slowly walk around the house with a sliver of hope that her dad would be waiting to hear about her first day of senior year. That was always Ivy’s mom specialty, but without her around Ivy could only hope that her dad would fill her mother’s shoes. As Ivy walked through the house she finally arrived at the door of her father’s study. KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK … there was a moment of silence.

“Not now, Ivy! You know you are not supposed to disturb me while I’m in my study!”

As her hope shattered, a wave of sadness crashed over her. She needed to contain her emotions, and the only way she knew how was through the books she kept in her room, which she used to read herself to sleep.

Squeeeeeak… Bang!

She gasped, What was that? Awoken from her sleep by a familiar sound Ivy was unsure of what was going on. Ugh that stupid old door. Ivy was about to fall back asleep when she had a thought, why is the front door squeaking in the middle of the night? Confused by the loud noise she tiptoed downstairs to see what was going on. With each step she took she began to think of what could be happening. Did someone break in? Are we being robbed? What if there’s a murderer? When Ivy came to the bottom of the staircase she was relieved to see that there were no robbers or murderers, but she did find something out of the ordinary. The door to her father’s study had been left wide open, and her father was no longer in the house.  I’ve never seen inside the study before, father always told me it was off limits. She wanted to go inside so badly, but she was so afraid of what would happen if her father ever found out. As she turned around to head back upstairs to bed she caught a glimpse of the most beautiful bookcase she had ever seen. It went all the way up to the ceiling and wrapped halfway around the room. It was made out of a gorgeous ebony wood, and was covered in different shades of browns and maroons. That’s when the temptation became too great. She had to see what literary works she could find. As she took her first step into the room her heart began to beat faster and faster. She did not want her father to catch her, so without hesitation she grabbed the first book she saw, ran upstairs, and threw it in her backpack to read for the next day at school.

The next morning Ivy woke up remembering the thrill she had experienced the night before. I can’t believe I did that. I can’t believe I went into the study and stole a book! At least now I have something to make the day go by a little faster. During Ivy’s day at school all she could look forward to was lunch, where she would finally be able to read her new book. After the first two eternal periods finished the lunch bell finally rang. Ivy had not been this excited in years. She immediately sat down on the ground, leaned her head back against some lockers, and pulled out her book only to find out that she had grabbed the worst book ever. Biology! Ivy rolled her eyes. Seriously, I had hundreds of options, and I grabbed a book about biology. Well this will just have to do for now. While Ivy was on a mission to not fall asleep reading about the cell structure and DNA, someone else was also on a mission to the cafeteria. Suddenly, the two collided, and Ivy’s book flew right out of her hands, and Jeremy Boyd fell right on top of her lap.

“Uh… I’m sorry.” Said Jeremy

with a beat red face as he awkwardly climbed off Ivy, and rushed to pick up her book. As he picked it up a slip of paper fell from the book. The paper swayed back and forth in the air slowly, but before it could hit the ground, Jeremy snatched it out of the air and read it.

I found you an empty place, meet me tonight and we can do the exchange. The address is 4712 Bulox Rd. “I think this is yours… but what does it mean?”

“I don’t know, but it’s none of your business!” Snapped Ivy in reply. She was upset that Jeremy had just embarrassed her infront of everyone in the hallway. She felt uncomfortable in her own skin and did not know what to so with herself, so she packed up her stuff and walked away.

Later that night having had difficulty falling asleep, Ivy sat upright in her bed cringing at the thought of what had happened earlier that afternoon. As she replayed the scenario over in her head she remembered the slip of paper that Jeremy found in her book. That note was kind of strange. I wonder what it was doing in my book? Maybe Dad misplaced it? Maybe it was a note from a long time ago? It’s probably nothing. It’s probably just work related. Ivy had a strange feeling in the bottom of her gut, but choosing to ignore it, she went to sleep.

Squeeeeaakk… Awoken from her sleep for the second night in a row, that feeling began to form in her gut once again, and she began to panic.

Why does Dad keep leaving in the middle of the night? I’m worried about him. Maybe he is just meeting some friends, but in the middle of the night? Okay what should I do? What should I do? Should I follow him? I can’t follow him on my own, what am I thinking! Ivy was wrapped up in the mystery of her father’s disappearing act and she needed to figure out where he had been running off to, but when she racked her brain for ideas only one thing could come to mind… Jeremy.  

Maybe Jeremy can help me? I mean I’ve been going to school with him since the third grade… No, no, no, I can’t ask him for help. I’ve only talked to him once, but I can’t go out on my own. I mean if I had friends I guess he would be the closest thing I had to a friend. Ahh I’m desperate! I’m just going to look for his number and see if he will help. What do I have to lose? Ivy then searched through cupboards and drawers for her school’s directory until she found Jeremy’s number. Beep Boop Boop Beep, was the sound coming from the phone as Ivy dialled Jeremy’s number. 712-117-0417, the phone began to ring and Ivy started to get nervous. What do I say?

Then suddenly, Jeremy answered the phone with a grunt. “Hello.”

“Hi, um Jeremy? It’s Ivy.”

“Ivy Rose!?” Ivy’s voice woke Jeremy right up, he never thought this would happen.

“Yes It’s Ivy Rose… so I need some help, and I’m desperate. I was wondering if you could maybe help me?”

Jeremy saw the opportunity to get to know Ivy, so he took it. “Yes! Yes! What do you need?”

“Well my father keeps randomly going out in the middle of the night, and I was wondering if you would come over and help me look for him? I have a feeling it has something to do with the note that fell out of my book earlier today.” Ivy had finally decided to acknowledge her gut feeling, and take action.

Jeremy replied. “Seriously?” He thought to himself, that if he did not go over now he may never get the chance to figure out the mystery that is Ivy Rose. “Ok I’ll be right over.”

Once the phone call ended the two began to think the same thing. That they were both going to get answers to their mysteries.

A knock finally arrived at the door. Ivy knew it was Jeremy so she opened the door and greeted him in with her head down, saying. “Sorry I wasn’t sure who else could help me.”

Jeremy quickly responded with bright eyes and a big smile. “That’s ok, I’m happy to help. So what are we doing? Are we going to the address on the note?”  

“Yeah, we better get going.” said Ivy

The two got into Jeremy’s car to set out on their search, but before they could leave the driveway Ivy blurted out. “Wait! I don’t think I can go. I can’t just go out in the middle of the night on some secret mission. It feels wrong, I’m scared.”

In that moment Jeremy got his first answer. He realized that Ivy is a thinker, and that she is afraid of what she does not know. He responded in an understanding manner. “Ok Ivy should I go home? Or is there anything else that you need?”

Ivy paused for a moment. “Could you maybe help me look for clues to where he has gone? You see my Dad has this study that’s off limits, and that’s where I got the book where the note came from. Could you help me look in the study for other notes?”

Jeremy looked at Ivy. Nodding his head in reply, he said “Of course.”

The two then walked back inside and began to ransack the study. They searched through the bookcase, through drawers, through files, but they found nothing.

Finally Jeremy spoke up with hesitation in his voice, “Ivy, maybe the note was nothing.”

Then Jeremy opened up two cupboard doors that were hanging on the wall, and what he saw next made him immediately take back what he had said. Behind the doors he saw a gigantic evidence board that took the shape of a spider web. It had three different coloured strings: red, green, and blue, that were flowing all over the map to different notes and locations. Then Jeremy saw that posted in the very centre of the map was a picture of a women.

“Ivy look at this! Do you know who this is?”


“Wait. that’s your mom? Why is her picture on this crazy board?”

“Well, a few months ago, my mom.” Ivy paused hesitantly, but then decided to tell Jeremy about her mother’s story. “My mom was abducted on her way home from work. We had the police looking for her, and my Dad would search day and night for her, but she was never found, so the police declared her dead.”

Jeremy was shocked, and he spoke to Ivy in a soft tone,

“I am so sorry Ivy. I heard she had passed away, but I didn’t know it was this serious. That is awful.”

“No, no, can’t you see Jeremy. This is great!”

“Wait how is this great Ivy?”

“I thought my father had been icing me out because he was so hurt by my mother’s disappearance, but it looks like he has been searching for her again. He must be close to finding her! He probably just didn’t want me to know incase he doesn’t find her. Tomorrow can you please skip third period with me to go look for her at that address? I need to know if she could possibly be alive.”

“Of course, Ivy. Okay before I go we should probably put the study back to the way we found it.” As the two quickly shut drawers, and tidied the study they began to chat, and an unexpected friendship slowly started to bloom. In that moment Jeremy began to understand Ivy deeper, and he realized that her hope to find her mother erased any fears that she had about the world. He saw how her driven heart enabled her to break out of her comfort zone, and embrace a new found adventurous spirit.

The following day at school Ivy and Jeremy were inseparable. They walked to each class together, ate lunch together, and then third period came around, and it was time to find Ivy’s mother.

“Are you ready Jeremy?” Ivy asked excitedly.

“Yep. Let’s go, Ivy. You have the address, right?”

Ivy snapped in reply, “Of course I do.”

She was ready to take on her first adventure, more importantly she was ready to find her mother, and nothing was going to stop her. About an hour into their drive, Ivy became anxious. “How long until we get there! I don’t know if I can do this. Maybe we should turn around.”

Jeremy saw that there were so many doubts forming in her mind, so he was quick to shut them down. “Relax Ivy, it’s going to be ok. We will either find your mom, or hit a dead end. You have nothing to worry about.”

“I know, I know, it’s just I’ve never skipped school before.”

Jeremy burst into laughter.

“Seriously? That’s what you are worried about. Just forget about all that. Look we’re here anyways… Well this wasn’t what I was expecting”

The two pulled up to a modern home that was in the middle of a new suburban neighborhood.

Ivy was confused, and angry. “How could my mother possibly be here, in this perfect little neighborhood!? Wait. maybe my father already found her, and, and set her up here so that she could hide in plain site. Maybe she left my father for another man, and my father just told me she was abducted because that was easier. How could she do this to us? How could she do this to me?”

Jeremy had to quickly shut down Ivy before she spiralled out of control. “Woah woah woah, take a step back, Ivy and breath. Nothing is set in stone yet. Your mom might not even be here. Let’s just walk around the back of the house, and see if we can see anything through the windows.”

The two began to walk along the side of the house towards the gate that led into the backyard. When they opened the gate to the backyard they saw a beautiful vegetable garden, and an inground pool. They then tried to see into the house but all they could see was a massive kitchen, and the armrest of a couch.

“I give up!” said Ivy impatiently “I’m never going to find my mother, let’s go home.”

As the two friends began to walk to the car, Jeremy spotted a flashing ray of green light that was coming from the basement window that was on the side of the house.

“What’s that?”

“What, Jeremy?”

“Ivy, look! There’s another window, and there’s a weird light coming through it.”

Ivy and Jeremy bent down to peek through the window, and what they saw next shocked them both. The window looked into an off white room that had the same appearance as a run down doctor’s office. The lights were dim and flickering, and there was weird machinery and tools scattered everywhere.

“Watch out!” said Jeremy.

They saw someone walk past the window wearing a white lab coat, white gloves, and a doctor’s mask. He was wheeling out a big metal table that was covered by a dirty white sheet. The doctor like figure left the table and walked behind one of the strange machines, where he then pushed a button that started the machine up. The machine shot out beams of green and red lights at the metal table, and they lit up the entire room.

“What do you think is going on?” asked Jeremy.

“I’m not sure, but whatever it is I have this feeling in my gut that’s telling me it’s not good.”

Suddenly, the beams of light stopped, and the doctor figure came out from behind the machine and pulled the dirty sheet off of the metal table.

“What is that?” gasped Jeremy.

Strapped to the table there laid a pale figure. It began to move with the little energy it had, and as its head turned in the direction of the window Ivy knew it was her mother.

“No no no no. It can’t be, no it can’t be. That’s my Mom! Jeremy, that’s my Mom! She’s so thin and limp. I can’t believe she’s alive. Oh my goodness she’s alive! What do we do? What do we do! We need to help her! Quick. Quick! Get me home to my Dad! He will be able to help.”

Ivy was hyperventilating, so many emotions had formed inside of her. She had just seen her mother whom she was told was dead. Leaving her mother stranded in that house made Ivy feel sick. She was scared that leaving her mother meant that she may never see her again, but she knew in her gut that she wouldn’t be able to rescue her mother without her the help of her father.

Jeremy and Ivy drove home as fast as they could, and once they arrived Ivy burst into her house yelling, and leaving Jeremy in the car.

“Dad! Dad!” Finally she exploded through the study door shouting “DAD!”

He was sitting in his chair at his desk reading the same book about biology that Ivy had previously taken. When he saw that Ivy had burst into his study he became unimpressed and angry, he slammed his book on his desk and spoke firmly.

“Ivy you do NOT speak to me in that tone! And you do NOT ever come into this study! GET OUT!”

Ivy did not acknowledge his tone, instead she was quick to reply. “I found mom I know where she is, she is alive but just barely. Come with me. We have to save her!”

Ivy’s father slowly moved out from behind his desk, stood up from his chair and walked towards Ivy with eyes like daggers, furrowed brows, and his jaw clenched. Once he stood before her, he struck her across the face and shouted.

“You stupid girl!”

Ivy fell to her knees and tears began to stream down her cheeks.

“Dad, what are you doing?”

“You imbecile! You foolish girl! You were never supposed to find out this way, not until I had a cure!”

“Dad, what are you talking about?”

“I did this for you Ivy! I did this because I love you. Ivy you’re sick. You have a very rare disease that is slowly killing you and well, your mother is special. She has a unique cell structure that can cure your disease and that’s why I took her. Can’t you see? I did this for you. I am helping you through her. All I needed to do was run a few experiments in order to cure you.”

Trying to hide the tears in her eyes, Ivy responded with a calm tone and a slight grin.

“Wow. You did this for me? I, I never knew you could love me so much. Thank you Dad. I will let you be now.”

As Ivy slowly closed the door to her father’s study, she saw that Jeremy had been waiting around the corner, and that he had heard the whole conversation. He spoke to her in a whisper. “Ivy, are you crazy! Your dad abducted your mom and you’re just okay with that?”

“Of Course I’m not ok with that Jeremy! My father has been torturing my mother when all along I thought she was dead! He thinks he is doing the right thing, so I needed to make him believe that I agreed with him so that we could rescue my mother without him knowing.”

“Ivy Rose you are one smart girl, so what’s the plan?”

“Meet me at school at 12 a.m tonight. My father tends to go out at night around 2 a.m, so then if he decides to leave tonight we will be at least a good two hours ahead of him.”

“Ivy, are you sure you are up for this?”

“Yes, I would do anything for my mother.”

“Okay, I’ll see you then.”

Jeremy could not believe how much Ivy had come out of her comfort zone. He saw that the love she had for her mother pushed her to do things that she would have never done before. This inspired Jeremy, and there was no way that he would not help her carry out her plan.

Meanwhile, Ivy was on edge. The idea of falling asleep and missing the time slot she had to save her mother gave her anxiety, so she decided she would stay awake until it was time to go meet Jeremy. Then finally the clock struck 11:45 and it was time for Ivy to sneak out. It’s time. Okay I’d better go out my window so that father doesn’t hear the front door creak. Ivy slowly slid up her window and climbed down the side of her house, and began to sprint to her school. When she arrived she saw Jeremy’s car sitting in the parking lot. “Jeremy! Jeremy!” She said as she waved her hand frantically. She then hopped into the passenger seat, and they began to drive towards the little suburban home.

“So what’s the plan when we get there Ivy?”

“Well we break in and get my mom.”

“Should we call the police?” asked Jeremy

“I don’t have a phone do you?”

“I do… but it’s dead.”

“I guess the police aren’t an option then.”

Upon their arrival Ivy jumped out of the car before it was even parked, and tried to rush in through the front door. “Ivy you’re crazy! What if your dad is here?”

“He’s not! He was home when I left, so are you coming?”

The two tried to go in through the front door, but not to their surprise it was locked.

“I can pick the lock Ivy.” As Jeremy struggled to unlock the front door, Ivy found a key hidden under one of the potted plants that sat on the front porch.

“How did you find that!” exclaimed Jeremy.

“My father keeps a spare key in the same place at home.”

As the two opened the door they saw nothing. The house was dark and completely empty, except for a rusty old couch, and a kitchen.“This is so strange” Said Ivy. “On the outside the house looks brand new, but on the inside its abandoned. Okay we should find the basement.”

Jeremy and Ivy carefully searched for the basement, when they came upon a faded black door that was located underneath the upper stairwell. As they opened the door, flakes from the doorframe slowly fell on them, and that’s when they began to ascended the stairs into the gloomy basement.

“Jeremy, this place is freaking me out. We need to find my Mom quickly.” Once the two reached the bottom of the stairs, they turned the corner and walked through a hallway with a dusty grey floor, as white lights flickered and hung above them. At the end of the hallway they saw a little metal cell, and caged inside was Ivy’s mother. Beside her cell was a metal dental stand with tools, drills, bandages and a white lab coat hanging over top. There were two larger machines leaning up against the wall just underneath the window where Jeremy had seen the green light. As Ivy looked at her mother she saw that she had become thin almost to the point of anorexia. Her clothes were ripped and discoloured and she had stitches and patches on her arm and thigh.

“Mom!” Ivy called out to her mother with her eyes filled with fear, and her mouth hung open in shock, but her mother being too weak to speak, all she could do was faintly point in the direction of where the keys to her cell were hanging.“Jeremy, we need to get her to a hospital now!”

Jeremy quickly grabbed the keys and unlocked the cell. Once it was opened the two ran in and hung her mother’s arms over each of their shoulders. They escorted her as quickly, and as gently as they could up the stairs, out the door, and into the car. Ivy sat in the back of the car with her mother as they drove away from that horrid house. She held her mother in her arms and softly spoke to her as tears streamed down her face. “It’s ok Mom… you’re okay. I’m here now.”

Ivy’s heart broke knowing of the pain that her mother had endured. She had never felt an emotion so clearly before, but with her mother back in her arms she finally understood the feelings of: Pain, anger, sadness, and relief. Jeremy could not have imagined how Ivy was feeling, so he let her know that they were almost at the hospital, and that everything would be okay.

As soon as they arrived at the hospital Ivy and Jeremy rushed Ivy’s mother into the emergency room. And Ivy began to shout for help. “Help! We need a doctor! Help!”

It was clear to everyone in the waiting room that Ivy’s mother needed medical attention, and quickly. That is when doctors began to swarm in. They placed her mother on a stretcher and ran her to the operating room. Then a doctor approached Ivy to figure out what was going on.

“Miss. I’m going to need you to tell me yours and the patient’s name and what happened.”

Ivy replied with a shakiness in her voice. “My name is Ivy Rose, and that was my mother Theresa Rose.”

“Okay Miss Ivy, can you tell me what happened.”

Trying not to choke on her tears, Ivy began to explain to the doctor what had happened.

“My mother went missing about a month ago, and…  

Ivy paused to collect her emotions,

and I found out that my father had taken her. He told me that I was sick… and, and that he could only find a cure for me through experimenting on my mother. So, I took my mother and brought her here. Please help her. I can’t lose her again.”

“Miss, I promise that your mother is going to be okay. If it’s okay with you, you can come with me and we can run some tests to see if we can help with your sickness.”

“Thank you doctor. Would it be alright if my friend Jeremy came as well.”


After thirty minutes of testing, each test came back with the same result, negative. “Miss Ivy, are you sure that your father said you were sick?”

“Yes, I’m positive.”

“Well all my tests say otherwise. They tell me that you are in perfect health. There is nothing wrong with you Miss Ivy.”

“So my father lied to me! That… that, that psychopath.”

“Miss, sometimes adults need help too. Your father may possibly truly believe that he was trying to help you. Ivy do you happen to have the address of where you found your mother? I’m going to need to call the police.”

Ivy was in shock and her heart was pounding out of her chest, but still she managed to respond calmly. “Yes, It’s 4712 Bulox rd.”

“Miss Ivy, you are such a brave young girl.” Said the doctor as she exited the room and called the 911 dispatcher.

As the police where being dispatched, Ivy began to sob. “This is all too much Jeremy. How am I supposed to live through all of this?”

Jeremy hugged her. “You aren’t alone Ivy. I’m here for you, and in a little while your mom will be too.”

As Jeremy was comforting Ivy, the police were rushing as fast as they could to the scene of the crime. Once they arrived the head chief shouted at the front door.


The police then proceed to barricade the door down and rush into the home, where half of them searched upstairs and the rest downstairs. As the police force ascended the basement stairs, turned the corner and walked down the hallway, across the dusty grey floor, while the white lights flickered and hung above them they saw, an empty room. Everything that they had been told was there was cleared out. There was no cage, no machines, no tools or bandages. It was as though, whoever was there knew the police where coming.




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