Number unknown: ‘You have half an hour to get to this place.’
The first message arrives five minutes after I agreed to this madness. But I was ready, I anticipated it. I had a feeling. He is unlikely to put off our meeting.
At the last second before leaving, I glance at myself in the mirror. I look at the dark circles under my eyes, at my nose swollen from crying. Maybe I shouldn’t. What if I don’t get out alive?
I must do it. Think about him.
Fear. Uncertainty. Hope. Determination. A drop of curiosity. All these feelings are overwhelming me when I go to one of the high-rises of the City. The concierge gave me a key card to the apartment without asking a single question and gestured at the elevators. I take the lift to the thirtieth floor in silence, and cross the threshold of the elegantly furnished studio in silence. The interior is empty and dark, and the panoramic windows are covered with curtains, making it impossible to enjoy the beautiful view of the River Thames...
Before the absolute darkness swallows me...
Number unknown: ‘There is a pillow on the sofa next to a blindfold. Put the pillow on the floor, get on your knees, and put on a blindfold. And don’t you dare bluff.’
I am not going to rebel. I have no choice. Either I follow the rules, or I die with my brother. After all, we need money. He needs money! The faster the better. Thanks to this person, I got a chance to save my dear brother one from imminent death. Until recently, I didn’t expect that someone would give me a hand.
Anonym: ‘It looks like you need money. We can help each other, but I have a condition,’ I view an incoming message on my profile, wiping away unbidden tears with a napkin. Damn! I can’t stop thinking about Dr. Connor’s call. My brother is getting worse, and we need to move fast.
This is my last chance.
I: ‘What condition?’
Anonym: ‘You must follow all my instructions, obey me despite your wishes. No complaints or protests are allowed.’
‘Should I lick your boots as well?’ I tell to myself, but my response has nothing to do with my thoughts:
I: ‘What if I don’t accept your offer?’
I immediately receive notification ’Add funds to your account! The requested amount twice exceeds the limit. It would be enough not only to pay for the surgery and subsequent rehabilitation, but also to recoup for non-pecuniary damages due to the fall.
Anonym: ‘What would you say?’ another message arrives, and the only response that I can give is predictable:
Hence, an hour after the texting, I’m here, blindfolded, on my knees in the middle of the empty living room. The main condition is a blindfold, but I agree to anything for my brother’s sake. I’ll do anything to save his life.
Suddenly there is a sound of footsteps in the room. He walks silently, like a tiger, making me feel like a game. Fear creeps up my spine, a light breeze touches my body and quickly disappears, but goosebumps manage to scatter over my skin, and a mysterious stranger gives a laugh.
‘Hello, Donatella,’ the man says in a low voice. He sounds nice but I hardly care about it at this very moment. ‘I hope your brother feels better.’
I don’t even ask how he managed to know about Adam. The surgery is scheduled for tomorrow, and I’m on my knees in the middle of nowhere, having no idea what will happen for me in the next five minutes.
‘You are more beautiful than the photos,’ the same soft footsteps are heard around me. He sounds like a predator. ‘We’ll give a lot of pleasure to each other.’
These words spoken with a tone of hoarseness make me shudder, and images of this pleasure immediately pop up in my mind. It makes me think that I should give up the dangerous venture, return the money and run as far away as possible from the cursed place, and from this man.
But common sense takes over, reminding me why I’m here.
‘What should I do?’ I ask in a trembling voice, touching the blindfold. Who is the stranger?
My fingers are abruptly removed from my face, and a rough hand is stroking my cheek instead. I feel like a toy that has been praised for obedience. This gesture does not comfort me at all, it only makes me shudder once again.
‘Spend a few nights with me.’
‘Believe me, you will enjoy it.’
His hand touches my face for the last time, and then sharply tears off the folds of my shirt. His fingers lower the bra cups down, exposing my breast. Coolness envelops my body, causes unbidden goosebumps, and tremendous fear denies to leave my head. But it fades into the background, giving way to humility.
That’s it. The game has begun. There’s no going back.