The Jace Letters
by Karen Funk Blocher
© 2006 by KFB
Subject: As Time Goes By
Dear Aunt Sandy –
It's almost Christmas again, and I still haven't heard from you. I was sure I'd hear from you by summer. I've been trying not to worry about you any more than I do anyway, but it's not working. Every week that goes by, I'm a little more afraid that I'll never hear from you again.
School's okay, I guess. I'm in eighth grade now. Mom thinks it's a little weird that I'm getting As in science and math all the time. It used to be Bs and Cs. I know she thinks I should try out for a school play or something, but I don't have time for that. When I'm not trying to learn physics, I'm trying to write stories, like you used to do. Or I'm doing research online. Since you disappeared, there have been three reports of people turning up in Deming, not knowing how they got there. Nobody really takes in seriously, but one of them said the last thing he remembered was driving on 89A in Arizona.
Oh, and there's a boy I like. His name is Ken, and yes, people ask him "Where's Barbie?" all the time. He just laughs and says, "We broke up." He's not my boyfriend or anything, more like friends. He's a little bit of a computer whiz, and his dad's a doctor.
One of the reasons I'm so worried about you is it sounded in your last email as though you're getting worse and worse. Please tell me I'm wrong about this. Please tell me anything! Just let me know you're alive, and I'm not too late!
Subject: Re: As Time Goes By
Date: 5/??/??? 24r07098wi98wthw9f
Oh, Jace, I'm so sorry to make you worry like that! I wish I could reassure you, but I can't get out of bed this morning. There's a terrible gash down one leg, and my abdomen is bleeding into the fresh bandages Gabby put on. She's made me as comfortable as she can, brought me food and a bedpan (more than you want to know, right?), and even set up my computer on a TV tray for me. But it took a while. That's probably why I'm so "late."
What else did you learn about the man who went from 89A to Deming? Was it just a little news article, or is he someone you can write to and ask questions? I don't know what you'd ask him, but it does sound a lot like my experience. He wasn't injured, was he?
Be careful with the boy who is not your boyfriend. Maybe he will become that, maybe not. Just be sure you don't get pressured into doing more than you are ready to do.
Speaking of feeling pressured, I don't want you to feel you have to save me from whatever is happening to me. No, I don't want to die here, but I'm starting to think maybe I'm going to. Gabby is really doing her best to help me, but it's as if my injuries are appearing slowly, just as I'm living slowly compared to you. They're not healing, either. But THIS IS NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO FIX. You're a teenaged girl, for Heaven's sake, not Sam Beckett. I admire your courage and commitment, and I hope to see you again before I die. I really do. But if that doesn't happen, it won't be your fault or your failure. Please promise me that whatever happens, you won't blame yourself.