• I awoke the next morning feeling stiffer then usual. The man had kept his promise. No food, instead there was a glass of water sitting on the edge. The old lady must have taken on some sympathy. I grabbed it and gulped it down. It only made the hunger pains in my stomach grow sharper.
    I groaned and stuck my feet back out of the bars and let them dangle. The radio played softly in the darkness. I listened and hummed softly. Would I still sing today? Most likely. I memorized the song playing for further reference. It had a very strong feeling to it.
    The the padded feet opened the basement door, and very slowly the old man and woman came down together. The lady switched off the radio and settled into the lawnchair. With his mouth set in a firm line, the old man smacked my cage with his cane.
    "Sing." He ordered, then sat in his chair, alongside the lady.
    I closed my eyes and dug around in my memory for the song, and slowly started the beat. Then I started singing.
    It was 'I'm not Going'. The lady had sung it so powerfully, and I did my best to sing it the way it was sung. I started singly softly, but the old man whacked my cage to sing louder.
    I did as I was asked. The lady sat back farther in her chair and closed her eyes to listen. I never heard her speak before, it occured to me when I hit a high note.
    I ended on the last note and waited for the man to smack my cage and demand another song. But nothing happened. The man stood up and walked the stairs and slammed the door after him. The lady softly rustled her sundress but didn't make a move to get up.
    "Where did you hear that song?"
    She spoke quietly. I looked at her and didn't answer her for a while.
    "The radio." I said just as softly as her.
    She nodded, and stood up.
    "Good song." She choked out and quickly walked up the stairs.
    She was crying. But what had I done? I watched the door for awhile. Then riveted my head to watch the rain hit the glass pane of the basement window. The boy wouldn't come today. If he did it wouldn't have made much sense. The man knew someone had been here. He'd know.
    I let the gentle hum of the rain wash over me in waves of exsaustion. I remember scratching at the window, but then I drifted off into sleep.


    "Hey wake up!" The voice was rough and scratchy.
    I opened a bleary eye. It was the boy. He'd come back. I smiled and sat up. He grinned back. Then I realized I didn't even know his name. My smiled faded after a minute.
    "Now where are the keys?"
    He whispered urgently. I sighed and swung my legs back and forth.
    "The man keeps them upstairs, but the door is locked." I whispered.
    He gave me a look of sympathy but I shrugged it off. I didn't need sympathy. He dug around in his back pocket of his jeans.
    "I could use this." he murmured softly.
    He was holding a decent sized pocket knife in the palm of his hand. I beamed at him. I pulled my legs in and stood, stooped over because my head was too long.
    "Ok, put your hands on one side of the cage, and walk your feet up the opposite side."
    I did as I was told quietly. The boy stuck the knife into the copper bottom of my cage and started to cut a hole big enough for me to slip through in it. I waited, so excited I could have fallen right off. He tucked the knife away after he'd almost cut a full circle. He took the end of the copper and ripped it off quietly.
    "Here. Jump!" He spoke softly, remembering what happened last time.
    He held out his arms and I very reluctantly let go of the cage. I landed into his arms and he placed me on the ground.
    Now keep in mind I have not been standing straight on the earth for more then 6 years. I fell over immeadiately, my legs collapsing beneath me.
    "I'm James by the way." The boy smiled as he picked me up off the ground.
    "Erin." I murmured.
    He walked back towards the window, caring me as if I weighed nothing. I probably did. Then James lurched forward, stumbling over an old metal pipe, long forgotten by the people.
    The man's padded sneakers came running towards the door. James quickly shoved me through the basement window and hefted himself up after me. He shut the window and dragged me off through the side. The glass of the basement window suddenly shattered, and then I heard the crack of a gun. James picked me up and slung me over his shoulder.
    The man's wails followed us down the street. James was running, his eyes wide with panic.
    We stopped at a white trim house with light green paint.
    "My home." He spoke loudly and sighed.
    "Hurry." I tugged on his sleeve.
    "Before he comes back."
    James nodded and sprinted up the porch, opened the screen door and ran up the stairs before anyone could see us too clearly.
    "James!" His mother yelled.
    "Dinner! Get down here."
    James dumped me on his bed and ran back out the door. I laid back on the bed. It was soft. I felt drowsy from all the adrenaline the raced through me. They wouldn't give up. They'd get me back. I rolled off the bed and crawled underneath the bed to sleep.
    It felt safer there. I realized I'd never let go of my necklace. I pressed it to my neck again and fell asleep.