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Hi everyone! I know I have to introduce myself first here, but unfortunately I can’t. You’ll learn why in the next few minutes. More than that, there are plenty of details in this story that will have to remain secret for safety reasons. I should probably not even tell the story in the first place, but it has all been so hard over the last few weeks, that I just need to get it off my chest.
Flashback – two years ago. I’m a regular 14-year-old with no bigger problem than stress at school or being bored on the weekends. I have several really good friends, no enemies, and a great family. It’s just my parents and I.
I’ve always known that my dad had something to do with finance, economics and, well... stuff like that. I wasn't that interested, to be honest, I thought it was a regular day job, like most of the other dads have.
So I didn't get too suspicious when a couple of men in suits appeared at our house to talk with my dad, who seemed puzzled. But it was hard not to notice that something was wrong when the next time they came… they took my dad with them.
Again, I’m sorry I can’t get into details, but the story was that my dad, who had never been any kind of gangster or anything, was involved in a crime. So that night he was basically arrested. He came back pretty soon afterward, because, as I learned later, he had agreed to help in an investigation and… he was now a witness. And apparently he was in danger. I never asked about who these people were that could put us in danger, because I didn’t really wanna know much about what my dad was up to. It’s all over now, and that’s the only thing that matters.
Long story short, our family was going to be a part of the witness protection program. And that was when the nightmare started.
The first part of us getting into it was not that exciting. We stayed at our house, but there was always a police car outside for our safety. I couldn’t really walk anywhere on my own anymore – I was taken to school and then back home, and basically stayed inside for the rest of the day. I could still visit my friends every once in a while, but I had to keep my mouth shut about the program of course. So, life got more stressful, but compared to what was waiting ahead, it was all no big deal.
I did not know it at that time, but while this was happening, things were being prepared to move us to a different part of the country.
So imagine how shocked I was to learn one morning that I had to pack my things (only the essentials) because we were leaving that same night! I guess the officials advised my parents to not tell me anything in case I would not be able to keep it a secret.
Anyway, at 2 in the morning we got into a van and never looked back. The driver was a man I did not know, who kept silent the whole time, and our coordinator was also with us, in the front seat. We drove for the whole night and then for the next day rarely making any stops.
Finally we arrived to a town I had never even heard of before. The house was ready for us, and you could tell that everything was hastily arranged. Everything we needed for life was there but… it was not "home" at all. It was a living space.
But it was still okay. I was so exhausted I didn’t care, all I needed was a shower and a bed. And over the next couple of days, I learned how our life was going to change.
I… I don’t even know where to start. What we got was basically a new life. We were allowed to keep our first names, but we got a new last name, my dad got a job as an accountant at a fairly small, local company, and I got a place at a new school. Now we had to learn the legend about why we moved to this part of the country, where we used to live, and what my family had done for all these years.
And while this was all a little exciting, it was also frightening. It took me several weeks to get used to my new last name, and a couple of times I almost said the old one out loud in class. One of the last things our coordinator told me (he instructed each of us personally) was that the danger was so serious, everyone in our hometown had to think we were dead. So we had to cut all of our ties with friends and relatives.
Now, that part was a total shock. A little later I learned that there was even a news story about the three of us dying in a car crash. And local police confirmed it.
That meant A LOT of things, but the most shocking one to me was that all my friends now basically thought I was dead, and that I could never (literally - never) see them, text them, or talk to them again.
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