Chapter 9 - Hollywood Here I Come
The leader sighed. “Quit crying and I will quit poking you with my finger where your stitches are.” He sighed again. “Pick your head and watch where you are going, just until we get on the boat.” I quickly nodded my head,, wiping my fake tears as I raised my head a little. I still wanted to act compliant, like I was afraid to look people in their eyes.
“Can I get something to drink, sir?” I shakingly asked as my mouth watered for a coke and candy bar. I was still hungry but I was sure the hunger was only my nerves. Hey, don’t judge, I eat when I’m nervous. I’m surprised I was bigger than a house.
“Okay,” the leader grumply replied as I thanked him over and over again. “Only if you can pay for it.”
Of fucking course.
“Yes, sir, I have some money I can use,” I quietly replied. I didn’t want him mad at me. Yet.
We walked over to a building that had seen better days. The outside walls had been bleached an ugly color by the blazing sun. I wondered if the outside was as bad as the inside. I didn’t care if it was gross as long they had cokes and candy bars. As soon as we stepped foot into the store my nose crinkled up at the smell of old cigarettes and new. It stunk of cigarette smoke and body order.
“Remember what I said,” the leader told me as I nodded yes. “Don’t say anything about being kidnapped or I will kill the shopkeeper and you - then go after your sister.”
“I won’t, sir,” I whispered, knowing he could hear. I walked over to the coke box and grabbed three of them and a couple of waters, the leader doing the same. I looked around for any kind of sweets. My eyes honed in on the candy isle as I made my way over to it and grabbed ten different chocolate bars as the leader watched me struggling to hold all my prizes. I wasn’t going to drop anything but it would be close.
“This way,” I heard the leader tell me, pulling me by my upper arm. We were steps away from the counter before I saw the shopkeeper. The old lady looked as if she would croak any minute, a cloud of smoke around her head from the cigarette hanging in her mouth.
“Will this be all?” The lady asked, her voice gravelly as I nodded my, not wanting to breathe anymore of her smoke that was surrounding her.
“Yes, ma’am, this is all.”
“Ooh, manners.” She smiled showing off her tobacco covered teeth. “That will be twenty-five dollars.”
“What? No, I’ll give you only twelve--dollars for all of this, please. I don’t have any more money than that,” I lied, my head down as if I was ashamed.
“Hmm, okay twelve-dollars. You drive a hard bargain, missy.” I looked up at her and smiled, thanking her profusely as she stared at me with pity. I hated pity worse than anything but I would have to stuff those feelings away for now.
I handed her twelve-dollars and bagged my own items, not wanting ashes or more smoke on my items other than what they had on them. I waited for the bastard idiot to pay for his as he haggled a price - which was higher than mine was. He wasn’t happy about the price he had to pay but I couldn’t give a shit what he paid. At least I had more money in my pocket and shoes than he did, well, I assumed he didn’t have more money.
“Have a nice day and come back and see me,” the shopkeeper told us, the leader grumbling about ‘smoke infected, ugly woman’. I had to agree with him on his dead-on point of view.
“Thank you, ma’am,” I quietly replied to her words as I was led out of the stinky store. I took a huge breath of air as soon as we were outside, the leader doing the same.
“Damn, I hate going into her store. My nose will be messed up for a couple of days now.” He wasn’t lying. While I held my breath he was busy sucking contaminated air. I could only hope his nose was screwed up for days so I could continue with my plan.
We walked down the boardwalk, zoning in on the men who kidnapped me. They were already sitting in the boat, storing the sodas they had bought. Good. I wanted them to have messed up noses, too.
I stepped in the boat with the help of one of the leader’s men, quickly getting in and sitting at the back of the boat, but the captain wanted us in the middle so the other people could store their possessions. I had a feeling it was for a whole different reason and he confirmed it when he looked me in the eye and nodded quickly at me. Good, another person on my side. I hoped to hell he was helping me slow these men down.
After we all sat down with me leaning against the side of the boat. The captain let everyone know that he was going to take us a few miles away from our original unloading spot since the other had been blown up and was in the process of being rebuilt, the men grumbling about it would take more times to get back to their compound but at least they could shift and make there quicker.
I leaned over to the leader as I started to shake. “I’m afraid of my jaguar. I haven’t shifted in a long time. Last time I shifted I passed out for weeks because of the pain from not shifting for years. Please don’t make me shift,” I cried, playing as if I was sobbing.
“Bravo, bravo, Cat, you are a terrific actor,” my jaguar said, almost making me take a bow and laug. I almost did but I needed to keep up my act of being scared to shift.
“What do you mean you are scared of shifting?” The leader asked me in a low tone of voice.
I looked up at him, only going as far as his chin, tears streaming down my cheeks. “I’m afraid. I can’t help it. I was brought up as a princess, never learning to shift quickly. My mom and dad protected me at all times, my brother doing the same.
“Well, damn. I guess we will have to walk or one of us carry you one our backs.”
I widened my eyes and shook even more, my head shaking no. “No, please. I’m afraid. I’ve never ridden on a jaguar and I don’t want to.” I shok even more, making sure to think of something scary like my brother’s room. I wanted my heart to pound in my chest, making sure they knew I was afraid, or at least thought I was afraid. I sank to the bottom of the boat as if I had passed out from fear. I wanted to clap my hands on how good my acting skills were.
After five minutes of them checking me out to make sure I hadn’t died on them, they started speaking spanish, hoping the boat captain didn’t understand his words. When the men started talking I winked at the captain, showing him I was okay. I thought he was going to lose his shit and laugh, but he didn’t.
I listened to their conversation. They wanted to drug me but they were afraid I would fall off or wake up and scream, not something anyone of them wanted to hear.The idiots started taking bets on how long I would last in the compound or how long it would take me to scream, announcing their presence to unwanted company. They didn’t want to fight anyone who would slow them down.
No nut assholes.
The idiots talked about the pros and cons of walking in the rainforest or knocking me out . They finally decided to walk and not let anyone know of their presence in the rainforest.
Pass the butter.
I’ve finally lost if I was channeling my mom and my grandfather. I didn’t know where my mother got all her sayings from but they warranted a laugh every time she came up with something we had never heard before. It was entertaining every time she did.
I caught a flash of fur along the bank of the river. I was wondering if the jaguar I saw was the real deal or a shifter. I looked up sideways to the boat captain. He nodded his head, letting me know the jaguar was a shifter.
I returned my eyes to the rainforest, immediately feeling as if I was home. I couldn’t figure out why I felt the way I did but I did. The rainforest was beautiful with its foliage and the trees. I couldn’t see everything from the boat but what I saw had my breath catching in my throat. I knew I wanted nothing to do with the cartel but if i could I would have loved living in the rainforest. I loved the humidity, the sounds of the animals and birds. It was as if the animals and birds were serenading me. It was beautiful but haunting, as if they knew there was something out there not quite right. I could only hope the men I was with didn’t have more waiting for us. But, I knew luck wasn’t on my side, but a girl could dream.
I tuned into what the men were saying when I heard my name. I wanted to know what was going on and I wasn’t the only one, the boat captain was also listening to them. I wanted the information, no, I needed the information. They thought I couldn’t speak Portugese. Ha!