mystery, thriller, young adult novel

Girl Lost

A teenage girl. A big secret.

Tyler Series - Book 1 of 2

Madison, raised by her grandparents, discovers she was kidnapped as a toddler. Then her world is turned upside down when she is ripped from the only family she has ever known. Over the years, many family secrets are revealed and Madison is right in the middle of it all. She tells her story from her unique perspective. This young adult suspense novel is a fun read.

Purchase Options:

Amazon - ebook or print

Reviews

I couldn't put this book down! The story started off strongly, and kept me interested until the very end. I would definitely recommend it, and I look forward to reading more from this author.

-Amazon Review 10/2016

I loved this book. It kept me guessing till the end. Highly recommended.

-Amazon Review 10/2016

Such a good read! My wife and I couldn't put it down and read it in about 11 hours! So many shocking twists and intriguing turns we had to read it all in one day!

-Amazon Review 10/2016

It was a good read with some good twist and turns.

-Amazon Review 7/2016

Book 2 in the Tyler Series - The Prequel

Tyler Cover 10_12_18.jpg

Girl Lost

 

CHAPTER 1

“Charlie, how do you work this remote?” I yelled to the other room. I had been waiting forever and I was never known for my patience.

“Charlie!” I yelled again. God, he could be deaf sometimes. What was keeping him?

“What?” Charlie said quietly as he stood only three feet away looking down at me laying on the floor. Being as skittish as I was, I jumped.

“Geez, you scared the life outta me." I put my right hand over my heart and starting breathing heavy, while having a fake heart attack. 

Charlie just smiled at my feeble attempt to scare him. “Sorry!” he said, not sounding sorry at all. I gave him a look. He understood that he was annoying me, which didn’t phase him at all.

“Here, give it to me." He held out his hand, took the remote and started flipping channels, finally settling on one. "Let's watch this."

We started watching some dumb teenage comedy, eating popcorn. Neither one of us really all that interested in it. His parents were at some barbecue that he didn't want to go to. So, we had the whole evening to ourselves. At only fifteen years old, what else was there to do? We couldn't drive yet and it was too dark to walk anywhere. Some of our friends would go out partying and causing trouble. That just wasn’t us. Besides, after everything that happened with my mom, I just couldn’t do that to my grandparents. More on that later.

“Turn the channel, this is stupid,” I demanded. I could be a little bossy sometimes. I admit it. But, Charlie knew that and accepted me the way I was. At least I think he accepted it. Maybe he hated it and just put up with me. I don’t know. Either way, it worked for us. We had been together for a long time.

“Fine." Giving me a glare, he started flipping channels again.

I was watching each channel as it whipped past as fast as he could hit the button.

“Slow down. I can't focus on each channel. How am I supposed to know what’s on if I can’t see it? You have to give it time to register." There was that bossiness again. He obliged.

A photo flashed in front of my eyes. It looked strangely familiar in the one or two seconds that I saw it. I had to see it again.

“Wait, go back. What was that?" I said, staring intently at the TV.

“Back where?" He didn't even look my way.

“Here, let me show you,” I said as I reached for the remote. I went back up a couple of channels and saw a TV show that had pictures of missing people on it, mostly kids. It was cycling through a bunch of pictures. 

“What exactly are we looking for?” Charlie asked me, while staring into the side of my face.

“Wait, you’ll see.”

We watched for a couple minutes and then the photo scrolled around again. I hit the pause button when it came on.

“Hey, doesn't that look like me?" I asked.

“No,” Charlie replied, without even really looking at it.

“Yes it does. Look at it,” I demanded. My eyes never left the TV.

He looked closer. "That is a picture of a little kid, a baby. It doesn't look anything like you. You have dark hair and that kid is blonde. She does have green eyes like you, but that’s it.” Charlie looked really unimpressed with the whole thing.

“I know. I had blonde hair as a baby. I'm going home to get a baby picture of me. This is really creepy, because I look just like her."

“Whatever,” Charlie responded. "It's not you. You live with your grandparents. Obviously, you're not missing."

“I know, but maybe it's my long lost sister or something. Since I don't know my mom, maybe she has more kids. I just want to check it out. Can you please write that website down that's on the show and we can look at it when I get back?” I was already half way out the door.

“All right, fine." I barely heard him say as I ran out the front door and down the street to my house. Charlie and I had lived only a couple doors down from each other forever.

Charlie and I met when he moved into the house two doors down. We were both 5 years old. I remember the day really well. Strange, since I was so young. I really couldn’t tell you much else from that time, but I do remember everything about the day I met Charlie. He was little and blond and really cute with his glasses, and we became fast friends and were inseparable from the start. We’ve had a few tiffs over the years, but always made up and we will always be friends.

When we were 12 years old Charlie told me he was gay. I think I said something like “Okay. Let’s go fishing.” And, that was that. I never really gave it a second thought. Oh, we talked about it occasionally, but it was not really a big deal to either of us. I figured that one day he would have a boyfriend and I would too and that we would all be great friends. Twelve year olds can be really naive. Well anyway, we were ‘thick as thieves’ as my grandmother would say. I don’t know why thieves are thick, but I think it was some sort of compliment.

"Hi Grandma,” I said as I walked in the door of our house. Actually it was a mobile home park we lived in, so not technically a house. But, that's what I called it anyway.

"Hi sweetie. Why are you back so early?"

"No reason,” I said. "I just want to get something." I didn't want to tell my grandma that I saw a girl that looked like me on the TV. She would think I was crazy. I started digging in the hall closet.

"Madison, what are you looking for?" she asked. She was standing just at the edge of the kitchen wearing the red apron that I had made for her in elementary school. Well, I didn’t actually make it, but I did decorate it with my handprints all over it. It was really ridiculous when you looked at it and I had told my grandmother this many times over the years, but she didn’t care. She said she loved it just the same. Seems like I rarely saw her without it. She loved to cook and was always in the kitchen. She was an excellent cook and my grandpa had the belly to prove it.

"Never mind, I found it." I took off back to Charlie’s house with the photo tucked under my shirt. I could feel Grandma staring at the back of my head as I ran out the door.

"Holy crap, I need to catch my breath,” I said as I ran panting into Charlie’s house without even knocking.

"That was quick. Did you run the whole way?"

"Of course. It's dark out there,” I replied. "Look, doesn't this look like the picture on the TV?" I said, shoving the photo in his face.

Charlie backed up, grabbed the photo out of my hand and looked at it.

"Yeah, I guess." Charlie seemed like he was just pacifying me. "What do you mean? It looks exactly the same.”

"If you say so." Charlie rolled his eyes as he walked into the kitchen and started looking for something in the cabinet.

"Why don't you think this looks like me?" I began stalking him around the kitchen while he was searching. "What are you looking for?" I asked him.

"It's just stupid, Madison. You aren't missing, so why are you even bothering with this whole thing."

He looked in the dishwasher and found the glass that he was looking for, walked to the refrigerator, and filled it with ice and water. I was right on his heels the whole time.

"You know that I don't know my mother, or my father either. Maybe this girl is related to me. It can't hurt to check it out, can it?" I asked with a pout on my face.

"Okay, fine. Do you want some water? That popcorn really made me thirsty."

"Yeah, me too." I grabbed a glass and filled it with cold water. "Did you write down the web site address?" I asked him.

"Yeah, it's over there." He pointed to the desk in the living room.

I grabbed a kitchen chair and we both walked over to the desk and sat down. Charlie typed in the web address and we started searching through their database of pictures. There were a lot of missing kids. After about ten minutes of searching we found it. It was the same picture they had on the TV and it looked a lot like the picture of me that I dug out of the closet. The information gave the girl's birthdate and we just stared at each other. It was the same birthday as mine. That couldn't be a coincidence. It said she was taken when she was just 2 years old. That is about the same age I was when I came to live with my grandparents. Then, at the exact same moment, we saw it. The thing that convinced us. It listed the little girl's name: Madison Tyler. My last name was not Tyler, but that didn't matter. We both gasped.

"Oh my god, that's you!" Charlie almost fell out of his chair.

I was speechless. Could this really be me? I didn't know my mother, hadn't seen her since I was a toddler. Did she report me missing? Why would she do that if she knew I was with my grandparents? Did she kidnap me from my real parents? All these things were racing through my mind a million miles a minute. I didn't even realize I hadn't said a word.

"Madison, are you all right? Can you hear me? Madison!" I heard him yell. That snapped me out of it.

"What?" I answered, kind of spacey like.

"That's you." He pointed to the computer screen.

"I know. What do I do now?"

Charlie shrugged his shoulders, like teenagers do.

I got up and just started walking home. I could feel Charlie staring after me and he never said a word.

When I got home, I went straight to my room without saying anything to my grandmother. Regardless of what this would turn out to be, I knew things were going to be different for me. My life was going to change somehow.

When I was about 7 or 8 years old, I started bugging my grandparents about my mother. Who was she and why didn't she live with us? For years they just said that my mom couldn’t take care of me so she left me with them and they loved me very much. That mostly satisfied me, but I had to know more. They stalled for as long as they could, but eventually they had to tell me something. At first they just told me that my mother was too young to raise a child, so she left me with my grandparents. But as I got older I learned more and eventually I got the whole story.

They told me that my mother, Abbey, ran away from home when she was 15 years old. She had been a really good student when she was younger, but had become friends with some kids that my grandmother said were from the wrong side of the tracks. I never really knew where those tracks were. Abbey started dressing in all black, dying her hair black, getting tattoos and skipping school. Then she got into drugs. After that, it was all down hill. She would disappear for a day or two at a time, then weeks at a time, and finally one day she left and didn't come back for almost three years. When she did, I was with her. She stayed for only a few months and then disappeared for good. That was thirteen years ago and no one has seen or heard from her since.

As a child this hurt me deeply. I could never understand why my mother didn’t love me enough to stay with me, to raise me. I had old photographs of her, from when she was a teenager and I spent hours and hours looking at them and imagining what my life would be like with her. My grandparents were wonderful to me, but it wasn’t the same. Though I never knew her, I missed my mother terribly.

I don’t really look like her at all. She was of average height, had sandy blonde hair and blue eyes. I am tall and thin and have long, auburn hair. People often tell me I’m beautiful and that I have striking green eyes. Being beautiful is not really important to me. It just kind of embarrasses me whenever someone tells me that. People put way too much importance on looks. None of it matters, really.

I’m not the type to just let things go. I had to know more about my mother and what happened to her. Then maybe I could find out who my father is. So, for years I did all I could to find my mother. I did frequent internet searches for her. I even looked for a death certificate. I called local hospitals to see if there was a record of her. Nothing. I had to know if she was alive or dead, but I couldn’t find a trace of her anywhere.

My grandparents thought she was dead. They finally told me that when I was 15. I guess they figured I was old enough to handle it by then. They told me that if she were still alive that she would have made some kind of contact with them. She would have wanted to see her daughter. She would have at least made a phone call. I had to agree with them about that. I couldn’t imagine why she wouldn’t at least call once in all these years. I had gotten all I could from my grandparents. They just didn’t know anymore. So, for the most part I had to let the whole thing drop. It's not like a 15 year old can hire a private detective.

Then there's the question of who my father is. No one has a clue. My grandparents said that Abbey never told them. They aren't sure she even knew. That may be a question that never gets answered. 

A couple of years ago a detective came by the house one day with a photo of a woman that looked a lot like my mother. It was of a prostitute that was found dead and she matched Abbey’s description, so they believed it was a photo of her. The woman in the photo was several years older than the last time my grandparents had seen their daughter, but she was around the age Abbey would be. I later found out that Abbey was a known prostitute in the area. Unfortunately, since the body had not been claimed, she had been cremated. So, there was no way to know for sure if it was her or not. Apparently, she wasn't important enough to even take a DNA sample from, in case they needed it later.

After that, life went on. I think they secretly assumed this might be how they would last see their daughter.

Michelle Files

Author & Book Lover

AUTHOR OF

Contemporary Mystery, Suspense, Thriller Novels

Michelle Files' Tyler Series, Wildflower Mystery Series, and Ivy Mystery Series are copyrighted.

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