The Stolen Lives

by Sierra Krueger-Wolfe, age 11
The Stolen Lives Sierra lives in Minneapolis, MN. She loves reading science fiction, and writing adventure books.

Have you ever met a person who doesn’t seem to be there, a person who shouldn’t be alive, a person with no breath, no feel, no anything?

Have you ever met a person who doesn’t seem to be there, a person who shouldn’t be alive, a person with no breath no feel, no anything? A person like that probably isn’t who they say they are. They probably have taken the life out of a stranger, out of a person who should be there, they have probably lost it and now it is never to be found.

My brother was here last night and now he is gone. Someone has replaced him, someone who took his life. I’m going to find my brother’s life and take it back.

He is all I have, the rest was taken, long and hard was how they took it. A person can’t be real if they have stolen what they have. So I guess I’m not real for all I have is stolen, even my life. I am not Sidny Bright. I am only what I have taken from her.

My mother and father are somewhere else with different lives and they are not real either. They are stealers, too.

Today a lady came to see me. She had neat blond hair and a big broad smile. She wore a bright blue dress and golden earrings and a bright orange scarf. She asked my name and I told her that my name was Sidny Bright, but I was not Sidny Bright. She smiled and nodded like she believed me. No one else has ever believed me. They have thought that I was crazy, and told me I was sick with a disease that makes me think funny. I know they’re wrong because what I have done makes me know that weird things are out there, things regular children should not know. I am different. I have a power that I can’t pronounce the name of. This power makes me special, I am a special.

It’s Wednesday, the middle weekday, the day no one ever expects anything to happen on. That’s why I am going to find my brother’s life today. I have asked the lady who came over yesterday to help me, but not to tell anyone because they would just call me crazy and tell my parents, and that would not end well. She said she wouldn’t, but then she went and talked to my parents, so I am not completely sure if I can trust her. But she was the first person to even pretend to believe me, so I guess I have to trust her. She is all that I have since my brother is gone.

I also showed the lady my list of where all the stealers will be and at what times. You’re probably wondering, just like the lady, how I know where they’ll be and at what times. It all happened like this: when I was eight years old, I had stolen Sidny Bright’s life and now I am using it. After I began using Sidny Bright’s life, I saw a bright light. It felt as if it was calling me, wanting me, loving me unlike anyone else has wanted or loved me before. It was like a force field that would always save me. From that moment on, it has guided me in life showing me what to do. Like right now, it has been helping me to know where the life stealers will be, so that I will be able to find my brother.

LIFE STEALER’S LIST

Thin man with a dark suit on the corner of Fifth Avenue at 1:33 p.m.

Large lady with a fur coat at the third stop on the subway at 2:44 p.m.

Little boy about 5 years old, messy blond hair with blue jeans and a monster truck shirt at the playground on 50th street at 5:22 p.m.

Old man with gray hair and an orange T-shirt in the book store on 35th and Main, paging through a magazine at 7:55 p.m.

Pretty girl about 8 years old with bright red hair and freckles in the supermarket on the end of Elmers lane at 3:55 p.m.

I just finished lunch and told my parents I was going up to my room to play with Eve (by the way, that’s the lady’s name. I found it out over lunch). She had brought a backpack with her things in it, just like I had asked. The ladder was leaned up against my bedroom window. Everything was ready, so I jumped out the window onto the ladder and shimmied down to my backyard.

We started down the alley and took a left on Fifth Avenue. The first person I saw was a lean man, about as tall as the man who says he is my father. He had a dark suit on and I told him that my name was Sidny Bright, but I was not Sidny Bright. He looked at me with a confused face. He asked if I was disabled. I told him that I was the opposite of disabled, that I had an ability. I told him how I was a stealer and how my brother’s life had been stolen. I told him how my parents weren’t my parents and all about what I had seen and learned and how I was a special. He nodded but I think he was confused. He asked me how I knew all of these things and I answered by telling him about the light and how it guides and loves me. While I was talking he seemed confused, but once I had finished, he understood and somehow it made more sense to me to have him understand. It gave me the courage to continue on. I was slowly sharing my gift.

That’s when I thought: kind and generous, understanding but not ignorant. Maybe he is the one who took my brother’s life?

At that moment I decided that I wasn’t going to take any chances. I charged at the man, pinning him to the ground. I screamed at him to tell me if he had taken my brother’s life and to tell me how to take it back. Eve calmly tried to pull me off the man, but I refused to budge. Eve tried seven more times and finally, I gave in.

Calmly and quietly, Eve sat me down. She reminded me of a flower: calm, quiet, beautiful. First she told me to calm down. Having nothing else to do and not wanting to get in trouble, I did as she said and explained why I had attacked him. Each time I got loud and started to raise my temper, she would calm me down. By the end of the conversation I was completely calm and apologized to the man even though I didn’t want to. The man was very cross, but he forgave me.

Tonight we stayed at a hotel with pretty little soap containers and a free breakfast. Since the breakfast was free, I ate as much as I could stuff in my small stomach, which ended up being three waffles, three pancakes, two muffins, five pieces of toast with caramel, four helpings of eggs, two cinnamon rolls and four helpings of fruit. I believe I was more stuffed than I have ever been before. It felt as if I was about to explode.

With the breakfast, I was ready to continue my search, so we began the walk to the third stop on the subway to find the large lady in the fur coat. And sure enough, she was there at 2:44 p.m. at the third stop on the subway.

Unlike last time, I went to the lady calmly and quietly. I told her that my name was Sidny Bright, but I was not Sidny Bright. I told her about how my brother’s life was stolen and how I was looking for the person who stole it and I told her how I knew that she was a life stealer and might have taken my brother’s life. She looked at me confused and maybe a bit angry, but once I finished talking and telling her all about my life and the life stealers, she seemed to understand.

But still she asked me, “How is it that you can be real and not real at the same time?”

My answer was this: “Well, the half that makes you real is that you have a name and that you have a life, but the half that makes you unreal is that your life is stolen and that your name doesn’t belong to you.”

When I started talking she was still confused and had a glint in her eyes that made me think that maybe she wanted me to stop talking and leave, but once I finished, she too, just like the man, understood.

I waited about 30 seconds for her to respond and tell me if she had taken it or not, but when she didn’t I got angry and told her to tell me right away everything that she knew.

The lady seemed stunned, confused and overall very scared, and when I saw her start to shiver I realized what I had done. She was not the culprit — she was merely a life stealer who had stolen no lives and had not taken my brother’s life, for no villain would wince in fear as she had.

Ashamed of myself, I walked away with Eve at my side. Still I had to keep going, for what would become of my brother if I did not?

The next stop was the playground on 50th street to find a little boy about 5 years old with messy blond hair, blue jeans, and a monster truck T-shirt.

Sure enough, when we got to the playground at 5:22 p.m. the boy was there, and just like every time I told him that my name was Sidny Bright, but I was not Sidny Bright— that my brother’s life had been stolen, and that I knew that he was a life stealer and that I was a life stealer.

This time he just called me crazy and said, “How could you see a light without anyone else seeing it?”

I told him that the light was inside my eyes so that only I could see it. While I was talking, the boy was listening intently, and once I finished, he clapped and then told me that somehow it almost made sense. Luckily, this time he told me that he had not stolen my brother’s life and that he didn’t know anything about it. I thanked him and went over to find Eve.

This time, sad still that we had not gotten any clues to where the thief could be, I was happier that I did not get mad this time but got answers.

So once again we went in search for my brother’s life, this time in the bookstore on 35th Street. We were looking for an old man with gray hair and an orange T-shirt paging through a magazine, though I was running out of hope now for I had only two more people left to talk to on my list.

As always, the old man was in the bookstore at 7:55 p.m. exactly. Just as I had every other time, I walked up to the man and told him that my name was Sidny Bright, but I am not Sidny Bright. I told him about how my brother’s life was stolen, and how I am a stealer and how I know that you’re a life stealer, too.

The man was confused at first, but came to understand. And he even told me that he did steal lives, but said that he didn’t understand how I knew that he was a life stealer. I told him all about how when I was eight I saw a light and that it tells me things, like for example, that he was a life stealer. The man understood and asked me what I wanted. I took a deep breath and told him that I wanted to know if he had taken my brother’s life or if he knew who did, but the old man couldn’t hear me so I told him again and again and again. By the eighth time, my teeth had become clenched and my breath had sped up. I asked one more time and again he didn’t hear me and I stormed out of the bookstore.

Once again I left shamefully, but still I knew I had to find my brother’s life, so Eve and I went to our next stop: the supermarket on the end of Elmers Lane to find a pretty little girl with bright red hair and freckles.

Just as I was told, we found the little girl in the supermarket at 3:55 p.m. sharp. Just as I had the first two people I met, I introduced myself by telling her that my name was Sidny Bright but that I was not Sidny Bright. I told her about how my brother’s life was stolen and how I was out to get it back. I also told her about how my parents weren’t my parents and how I am a stealer and how I knew that she was a stealer, too. The girl looked at me as if I was crazy, which many do think I am, but like I said before, I am not.

Still confused, the girl asked me how I knew that my brother’s life was stolen and that he didn’t just die or run away.

That question stopped me in my tracks. It left me thinking on another planet in another universe. How did I know? Was I working myself up over nothing? Was I crazy? How long had I been like this? Is none of this world real? Who can I trust? Who can I believe?

Today, Eve walked my heart broken body home. I had finally realized that my whole world was only make believe. My brother was dead and no one can steal lives.

I was only a crazy twelve year old dreamer with her head in the clouds.

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