The cab pulled to the side of the road and Skyla climbed out with her bag over her shoulder. She took a glance at the driver and he nodded before driving away. Jason had made sure that he was the one to drop her off because he wanted to make sure that she got there safely.
With a sigh, she pushed open the main door to the dingy block of flats and headed to the lift. Skyla looked inside and changed her mind.
“That is like a death trap,” She muttered and began to climb the stairs to the third floor. The walls were dirty and the lights were dim, but she had a feeling that most of the tenants living in the block were druggies, prostitutes and pimps or just unfortunate souls that couldn’t afford to live somewhere better.
She walked around the corner and saw someone leaning against a door, smoking. The girl looked up and stubbed the cigarette out on the wall.
“Sky?” She asked, “I have the key to your flat. Follow me inside and we can chat,”
“Is the flat better than the hallway?” Skyla asked and the girl smiled at her, “I’m being serious,”
“It’s clean. I cleaned it myself because of the last tenant,”
Skyla stepped inside the small flat and let out a sigh. It was clean, but it could do with a serious makeover.
To the left, was a small kitchen that had a folded dining table leaning against the wall. The two small leather sofas looked old and battered, but it would do her for now. Skyla walked the short distance into the bedroom and was thankful the bed looked new. The bathroom wasn’t anything special but at least she had a bath and shower. It smelt clean which made her let out a sigh of relief.
“What happened to the previous tenant?” Skyla asked walking back into the living room. She sat down and the girl handed her a beer.
“Probably best you don’t know,” She said, “I didn’t introduce myself. I’m Darcy,
“You work with the police,” Skyla said, “Why haven’t you left this prostitution shit?”
“Once you’re in, it’s hard to leave and I have a debt to pay,” She shrugged, “It’s not the ideal life but it pays my bills and it keeps the loan sharks off my back,”
“How old are you?”
“I’m not the youngest girl either,” Darcy muttered and looked up at Skyla, “I’m here to show you the ropes. I’ve told the other girls that we have someone new but they don’t care. As long as you stay away from them they will leave you alone. I have some important things to tell you and it’s about our main pimp,”
“Go ahead,” Skyla said taking a swig of the beer.
“He’s horrible,” She said, “He’s cruel, heartless and will beat you down if you look at him funny. You need to be careful because he has beaten girls unconscious before and tossed their bodies from a moving car, leaving them for dead,”
“He won’t have the chance to do that to me,”
“Maybe, but you can’t a cop anymore. You are undercover so you need to be careful,” Darcy said rubbing the top of her arm, “Another thing, he likes to get to know the new girls and...and he isn’t gentle with them,”
“Ah,” Skyla said, “And there is no way out of getting to know him?”
Darcy shook her head, “Not unless you want to end up dead somewhere. I’ll look after you as much as I can, but when I have clients, I can’t be there with you,”
“Where do you take them? The clients?”
“Wherever they want to go,” Darcy said, “Mostly their cars or back to my flat. There are rules with the clients. They don’t take you to a place where police will be and never back to their house. The pimps around the area want to keep a close eye on their girls just in case they try to make a run for it,”
“When am I supposed to be meeting this guy?”
“Not until tomorrow. I’ve managed to convince him to let you settle in before you start walking the streets with me,” Darcy sighed, “I know this place isn’t much, but it’s warm and better than sleeping on the streets,”
“Can I ask how you got into this sort of job?”
Darcy shrugged, “Both parents were drug addicts and gamblers. My mum overdosed when I was 16 and my dad started to owe the wrong people money. He sold me off into the trade and I work to pay off his debts,”
“Wow,” Skyla said, suddenly feeling even worse for her, “Is there no way out?”
“Yeah, but I’d rather not take that path,”
“Which is what?”
“I kill myself,” Darcy said with a bitter smile, “And as much as I have wished it upon myself, I still have some fight left in me,”
“I’ll do my best to look after you,” Skyla said, “You should have never been-”
“That’s sweet of you, but I’m stuck in this job,” Darcy looked at the beer bottle in Skyla's hand and then sighed, “A little tip from an experienced hooker...never accept a drink from a client. You never know what they have put in it,”
Skyla felt her anger build-up, “And the pimps?”
“They do nothing as long as they get their money,” Darcy said getting to her feet, “You’ll learn the tricks of the trade, in no time. From what I heard, you are very good at your job and you are very smart. Plus, you’re hot so I’m sure you’ll bring in a lot of money,”
“I have a question,” Skyla said, “It’s about The Red Devils,”
“It’s probably best not to mention their name,” Darcy said quietly, “No one messes with them and I know you need to work your way in, but for now, you need to keep your distance. They don’t trust newcomers. You just need to keep your head down and do your job. If you happen to meet them, then don’t be a cop. Show respect or you’ll get yourself killed,”
Skyla nodded, “Thanks...I guess,”
“There is food in your fridge. Make sure you eat properly because you need all the strength you can get in this job,” Darcy said and walked from the flat, closing the door silently.
Skyla looked around the dingy flat with her hands on her hips, letting out a small sigh.
“I guess I could make this slightly more liveable,”