Girl, Stolen

April Henry

Henry Holt / Christy Ottaviano Books

1
A Thousand Things Wrong
Cheyenne heard the car door open. She didn’t move from where she lay curled on the backseat, her head resting on her bent arm. Despite the blanket that covered her, Cheyenne was shivering.
She had begged her stepmom to leave the keys in the car so she could turn on the heat if she got cold. After some back-and-forthing, Danielle had agreed. That had only been five minutes ago, and here she was, already back. Maybe the doctor had phoned in the prescription and Danielle hadn’t had to wait for it to be filled.
Now the door slammed closed, the SUV rocking a little as weight settled into the driver’s seat. The engine started. The emergency brake clunked as it was released. The car jerked into reverse.
It was a thousand little things that told Cheyenne something was wrong. Even the way the door closed hadn’t sounded right. Too fast and too hard for Danielle. The breathing was all wrong too, speeded up and harsh. Cheyenne sniffed. The smell of cigarettes. But Danielle didn’t smoke and, as a nurse, couldn’t stand anyone who did.
There was no way the person driving the car was her stepmom.
But why would someone else have gotten in the car? It was a Cadillac Escalade, so it wasn’t likely someone had just gotten confused and thought it was their car.
Then she remembered the keys. Somebody was stealing the car!
And Cheyenne was pretty sure they didn’t know she was in it.
She froze, wondering how much the blanket covered her. She couldn’t feel it on the top of her head.
Cheyenne felt like a mouse she had seen in the kitchen one time when she turned on the light before school. Caught in the middle of the floor, it had stood stock-still. Like maybe she wouldn’t notice it if it didn’t move.
But it hadn’t worked for the mouse, and now it didn’t work for Cheyenne. She must have made some small sound. Or maybe the thief had looked back to see if someone was following and then realized what the shape was underneath the blanket.
A swear word. A guy’s voice. She had already halfway known that it was a guy, the way she sometimes just knew things now.
“Who the hell are you?” His voice broke in surprise.
“What are you doing in Danielle’s car?”
Their words collided and tangled. Both of them speaking too fast, almost yelling.
Sitting up, she scrambled back against the door, the one farthest from him. “Stop our car and get out!”
“No!” he shouted back. The engine surged as he drove faster.
Cheyenne realized she was being kidnapped.
But she couldn’t see the guy who was kidnapping her or where they were going.
Because for the last three years, Cheyenne had been blind.
Excerpted from Girl, Stolen by April Henry.
Copyright © 2010 by April Henry.
Published in 2010 by Henry Holt and Company.
All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.