Fear accumulated inside Ayla as the dark figure stepped towards her, fury building in his features. As she stepped forward, ahead of the long horizontal line of people, numerous faces were filled with confusion and astonishment. She turned her head to get one last glimpse of her friend’s faces before her life was lost. Tears streamed down their faces, and their eyes were pleading quietly to her. She grasped her silver locket in her sweaty palm, and advanced another step, this time stronger. As she opened her arms and closed her eyes, she recited the verse in her head.

Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, give thanks to God the Father through him- Colossians 3:17.

Then she carefully whispered her last prayer loud enough for her friends and her killer to hear. As she prayed, her heart was no longer filled with fear, but for longing and happiness. She smiled, “Lord, I give my life into your hands.”

A sharp, loud bang resounded in the area, leaving a dull ringing in everyone’s ears. Everyone’s screaming echoed away as pain shot through Ayla’s stomach. She pressed one hand to her ribs, and pulled it back, feeling her own warm, sticky blood seeping through her shirt. She stumbled backwards and landed hard on the cement ground. Tears obscured her vision as she laid her head back and watched as the white ceiling faded into darkness.

A strong but strangely familiar voice whispered in her head, “My child...” And all was gone.



Chapter One - Rumor

Ayla’s footsteps were muffled by the lush green grass that grew beneath her. She hopped over the sidewalk leading from her house and landed on the dusty gravel, her feet now crunching underneath her. She pulled her backpack strap tighter around her shoulder as she walked back onto pavement, heading to the bus stop. She could already hear the screeching of breaks, and soon the large yellow vehicle slowed to a stop a few meters away. She took a few long strides and hopped onto the steps where she was shielded from the hot sun beading down overhead. The bus driver pulled the door closed behind her as she went and to find her seat. She clumsily stumbled down the aisle until she saw Spencer’s short dark hair and bright blue eyes peering up at her. She beamed at him and he shuffled closer to the window so she could sit down. She collapsed beside him and nodded, throwing her backpack under the seat. She tucked her long, curly blond hair behind one ear and turned her big emerald eyes towards him. They stared at each other for a moment or two, and then Spencer sighed and brought his face closer to Ayla’s, and whispered in her ear, “Happy Birthday Ayla!” He laughed, “You didn’t think I would forget did you?”

            “No,” she protested and then snickered, pushing him away, “What kind of a best friend would you be if you didn’t remember?”

            “Good point,” he muttered absentmindedly as he reached into his pack by his feet.

            He pulled out a small red box that was long and skinny. He presented it to her and smiled as he lifted the top to reveal a shiny silver jeweled necklace. The chain was long and thin, and a small heart locket hung from it. She lifted it out of the container and held it in both hands, examining it. “It’s beautiful,” She said breathlessly, “you shouldn’t have.”

            “You deserve it, you’re sixteen!” Spencer chuckled, “Open it.”

            Ayla did as he asked, and pulled on both sides of the heart. It cracked open and small diamond cross was embedded in the middle. She closed it again and opened the clasp, fixing it around her neck. As it dangled from her throat, it shimmered from the light peeking in through the window.

            “Thank you.” She looked away from the gift and wrapped her arms around Spencer, giggling, “I love it!”

            “Really?” He asked as she pulled away again.

            “Totally!” Ayla exclaimed excitedly.

            The bus jerked into a stop, and in a few moments, three people entered. The two smaller ones sat down at the front, and the other one dropped themselves into the seat beside Ayla and Spencer. They both look up and saw Angela grinning at them. Ayla quickly showed her the necklace and explained that it was her gift from Spencer. Angela gasped as Ayla ran her hands over the small piece of handiwork and exposed the cross.

            Angela then threw a large package towards Ayla, and laughed at Ayla’s confused expression, “Your present, from me.”

            Ayla ripped it open and raised a smaller box that had a small digital camera sitting in it. She lifted it and pressed the power button and clicked a picture of Spencer with a weird look on his face. She mocked him as she showed him the photo. He stuck out his tongue at them both and then snatched the camera away from Ayla. When she complained, he just shook his head and said, “Get closer together for a picture,” and snapped the button down.

            Angela and Ayla joked around and continued to take pictures until they were forced to stop as everyone crowded out of the bus and into the large city schools front doors. 

            Ayla again hugged Spencer and thanked him for the gift and did the same for Angela. Then the three of them went to their lockers and headed to their first class.

As Ayla sat in class, she thought back to the cross in her necklace. She knew that Spencer and Angela weren’t Christians like she was which made her confused to why Spencer would get her a cross. He always thought it was nonsense, though he didn’t voice his opinion in fear that it would make her mad. At least her friends finally learned to accept Ayla’s faith.

The end of the day rushed by quickly and before Ayla realized, Spencer and Angela were joining her back at their seats on the bus. 


The End

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