THE WRONG ONE
by K.C. Sprayberry
One by one, the residents of Landry, Georgia gave up on finding Lyssa Winders alive. It had, after all, been fourteen years since she vanished. The men who invaded her home left behind the bodies of those she loved with all her heart. Only one person never gave up and still searches for Lyssa. Kyle Tinker battles his own demons from that night, when he hid like a coward instead of running for help. Their eighteenth birthday looms on the horizon, and Kyle is determined to bring Lyssa home.
Meanwhile, Kim Tinker is having trouble understanding her dreams about a pretty blonde girl—she has no idea that these dreams are of her life as Lyssa Winters. She also hears a guy who has recently started talking to her--in her head. All Kim wants is to get away from a family which hates her, but doing it safely is the one thing which eludes her.
On the day of the Freedom Festival, Kyle sees the girl he never thought he'd see again. And Lyssa finds the one person she's protected for the last fourteen years on their shared birthday.
Friday, July 5, 2:30 AM … When It All Began
Four-year-old Lyssa Winders landed with a thump on her living room floor. Her bottom hurt from the hard wood, and her head ached from all the yelling and shouting she'd been hearing. Nothing made sense. She just wanted this to stop.
Her parents, Auntie Keisha, Nana Brandy, and Grandpa Monty kneeled in front of her. They had their hands on the back of their heads, and they looked very scared.
"Gonna talk now, Jack?" the stinky man asked. He had carried her out of the safety of her bedroom and dumped her on the floor. "Or do I hurt your kid?”
Stinky jerked Lyssa to her feet. She couldn't run. He held her tight in front of his nasty smelling body.
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AN INTERVIEW WITH LYSSA AND KYLE
[Thanks for joining us today, guys.]
-Let’s start simple: What’s your favorite number?
Hey, Kyle here. Two. Definitely 2. 'Cause that's for Lyssa and me. We were the only 2 kids in the group our parents were part of, until it happened.
I'm Lyssa. Kyle's a nut now. He wasn't before, but he is now. I like 2, too. It feels comfortable.
-How about your favorite animal?
Lyssa: Rags and Doggy – dogs. They're loyal. They never forget you. I really love dogs.
Kyle: Yeah, dogs are good, but I'd love to have a *wicked grin and glances at Lyssa* python. That's utterly cool.
Lyssa: *groans* I hate snakes!
[I held a python’s head once. *grins* Moving on.]
-All right, you’ve gotten off easy so far. Answer me this: Do you have an embarrassing or hilarious childhood or teen memory? Details, now.
Kyle: Wow! I don't have many hilarious childhood memories, but embarrassing? Well, there was the one time I had a bubble beard in the bathtub. Lyssa kept teasing me about it.
Lyssa: Oh, hilarious, that was hilarious. *giggles* Embarrassing for me too, I couldn't tie my shoes for years and years. Everyone kept making me feel stupid because of that.
[It took me forever to learn to tie my shoes, too. When I was in third grade, my shoe came untied on my way to the bathroom. I spent ten minutes in the hall trying to retie it before I gave up and tucked the laces into the sneaker. *blushes* I was a determined child.]
-What do you wish someone would get you for your next birthday?
Lyssa: I thought I had everything I ever wanted when I found Kyle again, but … well … there is this totally cool outfit at Wet Seal that I've wanted forever. – a multi-colored tie-dyed maxi dress, with the layering friendship bracelet set and a pair of multi-colored yarn boots! That's so great looking.
Kyle: *groans* Clothes, just like a girl. I want … uh … I want a week on the beach. You know, get down with the surfing, hanging out and not worrying about anything. Lots of sand and sun.
-K, getting personal now. If you could go back in time and change one decision you made, what would it be?
Kyle: The night those men kidnapped Lyssa. I've always wished I could have been braver, been able to run to the police station, to get help faster.
Lyssa: I accept now that it wasn't my decision at the time that made everything happen, but I still wish I had Mommy and Daddy, and the twins, Erin and Erich back. I miss them so much sometimes, except Erich and Erin. They weren't born yet when it happened, but I'd really like to know them.
[Thanks for sharing with us, Lyssa and Kyle. It was great having you! Give it up for them, folks.]
KC Sprayberry started writing young, first as a diarist, and later through an interest in English and creative writing. Her first experience with publication came when she placed third in The Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge contest while in the Air Force, but her dedication to writing came after she had her youngest child, now in his senior year of high school. Her family lives in Northwest Georgia where she spends her days creating stories about life in the south, and far beyond. More than a dozen of her short stories have appeared in several magazines. Five anthologies feature other short stories. She has three books that are Amazon best sellers: Softly Say Goodbye, Who Am I?, and Mama's Advice. Her other novels available are: Take Chances, The Ghost Catcher, Family Curse … Times Two, Secret From The Flames, Where U @, The Wrong One, and Grace.
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