Jack G., Memoir

Who’s the man in the van?

We ran and ran. My bike by my side, and my phone in my pocket. Not stopping, even though my legs hurt so much that I could barely feel them. They felt like fire. I could feel the cool breeze but couldn’t hear a thing. I looked behind me to see if anyone was there, but no one was. I then suddenly stopped… I looked ahead of me and Will was gone, but I could still see the van in a distance across the park from me. I looked around, but Will was nowhere to be found. I didn’t want to yell his name just incase whoever was chasing me didn’t know where I was. So I texted Will instead. Will where are you? I saw the … on my phone which I’m pretty sure meant he was texting me back. But then it disappeared. I was confused on why. I then suddenly got a phone call,

“JACK HELP” Will yelled through the phone

“Where are you!?” I replied. All I heard next was whispering, but I couldn’t quite hear it.

All I heard was “Your next kid, watch out.”

I then hung up on them and was frozen like a popsicle stick.

It was 2:58pm, school about to end. Trying not to scream in joy due to the fact that it was the last day until summer vacation! The bell rang and we all ran out into the hall screaming with joy. I was out of the school in a matter of seconds, (Might have been a minute though, I don’t really know). I usually rode home with my best friend, Will. We usually talked about soccer or what we should do or what we’re going to do over summer vacation. But today was different. Will didn’t seem like his usual self… “Will are you okay?” I asked. There was no response. I started to worry that something might have happened to him at school or something. So I repeated myself, “Will are you okay?” This time he replied, but not in the way I expected.

“No Jack, I’m not okay!” Will screamed in anger.

He then started to cry, I didn’t know what to say next so I just asked “Why, what’s wrong?”

“I’ll explain everything to you when we get to the park,” he said.

So from then to the park we rode in silence.


We finally got to the park, we sat down on a set of swings. I stayed silent, waiting for Will to explain.

“It’s my family. They haven’t been getting along lately…”

“Why?” I asked

“I don’t really know, but they argue pretty much every day.”

“So what do you think is going to happen? Are they going to see a therapist or something?”

Will then went off at me.

“GOD DAMMIT JACK, DON’T YOU UNDErSTAND! They’re getting a divorce.”

I then sat there on the swing, not knowing what to say or do. I just sat there in shock due to everything I had just heard.

Finally, I re-gained the courage to speak. “Do you need help with anything? We can go talk to someone if you want.”

“No, I’ll be fine. I just need some time to think about everything that’s going on.”

“Okay, call me if you need any help.”

“Will do!”

I was just about to leave when two guys approached us asking if we could help unload something from their van. Me and Will didn’t know if we should trust these people or not but they had suites on, they had a logo on their van and even had a business card. I wondered if they were bad people or not, but then again there’s not really any crimes happening near me.

We got to the van, not knowing what to do. I opened the two silver doors to where there was something with a white sheet covering it. Even though it was warm outside all I could feel was the cold metal floors. I stepped into the van still debating on if I should help or not. They then asked if me and Will could get to the back and help lift the so called “furniture” out of the van. Me and will couldn’t hear a thing except for our steps in the van, and we could really see much inside the van because there were no windows. All I could smell was bad air and some rusted iron. Will then nodded at me, I then knew what he meant. We made a run for it. I couldn’t stop thinking about how stupid me and Will were for even thinking about trusting them. We ran as fast as we could, not bothering to look back. But I was eager to see if they were still chasing us due to the fact that my legs felt like I had just broke them. So I looked behind me… But there was no one there. I thought maybe they just decided to leave us alone. But I was wrong… I looked back ahead of me, but Will wasn’t there. I didn’t know if he hid or if he just kept running or what, but I was scared to death. I then texted Will, hoping he’d respond. But he didn’t. Instead he called me. I didn’t know why but I had a sick feeling in my stomach that it wasn’t going to be good. I was right… I couldn’t hear much but I could hear Will yell and someone whispering to me very quietly, but I couldn’t hear them. I looked around me to see if they were anywhere in sight. But I couldn’t see them, so instead I looked to see if the van was anywhere close by. I saw it on the other side of the park, it was still moving, but it was moving slowly. I decided to follow the van, because I thought maybe the van would lead to Will. I needed to stay hidden, so I ditched my bike and went from tree to tree making sure he won’t spot me.

It took a while but we finally got to where I could see Will and the guy dragging Will. I didn’t know what to do. (I probably should have called the cops, but I was so scared and nervous at the time I didn’t even think about cops or anything like that). All I could think about is what could I do? Should I try to save Will? But then I thought I was just being stupid, no way could I take on two guys in a fight when I’m only 11 years old. So I backed away a bit, and made a run for it hoping at least one of them would follow me so they wouldn’t leave with Will. My plan had worked, well kind of… Yeah, one of the men started chasing after me. But they were pretty damn fast. So all I could do was run until one of us got tired. That plan actually kind of worked out a bit better. So what happened was, I ran towards the lake going down a steep hill, this is when he decided to go full speed on me and just before I got to the lake I took a sharp turn to my right, leaving him fall into the lake. I then thought to myself, 1 down and 1 to go. I knew he was going to be a decent distance behind me which gave me some time to figure out what to do next. I then knew what to do, I went all out to where the van was about 20 meters ahead of me. I saw the man get out of the back of the van and shut the two doors trying to not act suspicious. I thought that was the perfect time for me to go, so I ran to the back of the van, hoping no one saw me then opened it up, Will was there. Tied up and masking tape over his mouth so he couldn speak. I first took off the rope that was tied around his wrists and ankles. It was kind of hard, but I did it. The van suddenly started to move. I fell back onto the cold, metal floors. I got back up and quickly removed the masking tape from across his face. Thank god the back of the van was still open, because if it wasn’t we would have been screwed. We knew the only thing we could do was jump, even though the van was moving. I went first, I jumped onto the sidewalk, where there was grass. Will then did the same. We ran, and ran as fast as we could. Our legs burning like we had just felt lava for the first time. We ran onto a deck just outside of someone’s house. We then knocked on the door, luckily there were people home, so they let us in. We then called the cops. They came over to the house where we were, notified our parents and got the licence plate we took a picture of. Everything worked out in the end, because about a week later they were caught robbing a gas station.

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