• I can remember now. I was outside playing. I had to have been 10. Barbie's were so popular then. I can remember mom cooking something good, dad still away at work. I can remember now. I can remember the nice old lady and man telling me to come with them.
    They said they were my grandparents. The naive 10 year old me went with them. 6 years now. Nobody cared anymore. Nobody cared about that poor little girl, kidnapped so long ago.
    I selfpitingly cried. I wanted freedom. Then swinging my legs and crying I realized something for the first time. If I couldn't sing the lady and man would have killed me.
    I stopped crying. A shadow passed over the tiny sqaure of sunlight that came in through the basement window. A young boy with reckless brown hair peered in. My heart went up into my mouth. He saw me. We just stared at each other. Then he mouthed the words,
    I mouthed it back. I was hanging onto the metal bar so tight my knuckles went white. He smiled at me and I smiled back. Then he just walked away. Heart-broken I wanted to scream at him to come back, give me company.
    Scratching. Something by the window. I looked at the basement door. Nobody heard.
    I hadn't been to church in 6 years, but now I sent a small prayer up to God. I need so desperately to be free. The window opened wide enough for the boy to crawl through. He landed softly on the ground, and just gawped at me.
    "Help me. Free me please."
    I whispered softly, pleading with my eyes. I saw he had a newpaper bag slung around his shoulder. He came over and examined the heavy padlock on my cage.
    "Sorry, I have no key for this cage."
    He didn't whisper. The people heard, and now they knew.
    "Go. Go now!"
    I whisper screamed at him. He jumped up through the tiny window and shut it behind him. The basement door opened, but he was gone. I curled my legs out from between the bars and tucked them underneath me. It was the old man.
    "What was it I heard."
    His voice was harsh and cruel.
    "Me singing. I need to practice."
    The man yelled out a curse and slammed my cage with his cane. I held onto the bars to keep from flying.
    "You lie!"
    He screamed and smashed my cage again. I whimpered.
    "No breakfast, lunch or dinner till you tell me!"
    He yelled. I pressed my lips together.
    He smashed the cage on more time.
    "No food until you tell the truth."
    He slammed his cane down on the ground and hobbled up the stairs and shut the door behind him, locking it for good measure. I looked at the window. My cage still rocked back and forth gently. The boy poked his face back and peered through the window. He mouthed the words,
    'I'll come back."
    And was gone. I curled up in the darkness and listened to the soft patter of mice feet on the ground.
    I touched the old locket around my neck. It had never come off. I'd had it ever since I could remember being in a cage. It had the shape of a snowflake, and that was it. Just one silver snowflake. I held it pressed to my neck until I fell asleep.
    I hadn't done that since I was 10, and it felt good to feel something like home with me.