Flight AK364 has just arrived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The announcement came through. Repeated thrice.
Shivering in fear, she dragged her feet across the glassy tiles and walked along the corridor connecting the plane to the airport. Her eyes danced in undescribable shudders, looking at the men in black enclosing her. Breathless air escaped through her cracked lips. Hands trembled, hustling the cuffs hidden beneath the black coat topped on her bruised wrists. She scanned the huge transparent casements. Flocks of birds were flying above the purplish-pink sky, cotton webs were shielding the bright rays from hitting the ground. Her sad, longing gaze was enough to say everything.
She was desperate to be freed. After months of being in darkness.
I want to go home, she thought, feeling the rush of tears streaming down her pale white cheeks.
Remaining passengers of the same international flight brushed past, leaving nothing behind but the echoes of their hurried footsteps. Though a few Asians turned to them and a slight hint of suspicion certainly flashed across their faces, a rise in their eyebrows was all they did. No approaches, no questions. And soon after, they continued with their frontward motions. Perhaps they were in a rush to the arrival hall to get their luggage.
Well, they couldn’t be fully blamed for that. Cause from afar, she seemed like a princess, protected by several bodyguards.
But she wasn’t. She was captured here, sold by her very own blood relations without her consent.
I need to run! Clover screamed in her mind.
As soon as she stepped into the building, a wave of cooling sensation kissed her skin. Her scrutiny widened at the number of people waiting to board the plane that had just landed.
And an idea flickered.
She slowed down her pace in a not-so-obvious way. Maybe because their speeds weren’t really fast to begin with, the men didn’t notice the bits and pieces. Parting her dry lips flashing hints of fresh blood, she clicked her tongue. When they weren’t loud enough, she slammed her tongue again and again. She didn’t care if the men heard her nor her tongue ached. This was her only chance, she needed to succeed.
No way she was going to continue being a sex slave.
“Mama! Look at her! Look at her!” A young Chinese girl with two ponytails said as she tapped her mother’s hand.
For one moment, she thought she saw a ray of hope.
“Chloe. Don’t,” her mother snapped, giving Clover a sidelong peak. “Don’t look at the weirdo.”
Damn, she cursed. It’s not a joke, stupid.
Nothing changed. Nobody understood her. She was still in the invisible circle, heading to the targetted direction. Stinging vibes ran along her hands, triggering the pain as she pushed the locks apart. But it was literally useless. Other than staining the blood deeper into the furry coat, it barely helped out anything.
“Walk faster, sexy. He’s waiting for us.” The scarred man beside came up close, grabbed her ass and squeezed it before whispering, “You’ll be treated very well. No worries.”
Clover turned to give him a deadly stare. However, it was soon replaced with fright when horny expression was printed on his face. Dark brown eyes turned hungry as he ran his finger down deeper into her spot, scanning for pleasure.
“I wanna be the first.” He licked her pinna, leaving his saliva.
As though somebody dumped a bucket of ice water over her, she jerked awake from the creeps and shoved him away. She tilted her head, low enough to erase off the disgusting liquid using her upper sleeve.
It was all she could do.
Nowhere near to escaping.
They continued walking without pausing, closer to the destination of her hell. Uniqlo, The Face Shop, Jaya Grocer. People went in and out joyfully, hands full with grocery bags, shopping carts, titbits. None paid enough attention to notice the peculiarity in them nor to understand the body languages she was trying to portray. Slowly, tears began to wet her eyes, blurring the vision in front.
“You okay ah, little girl?” asked a hoarse voice the minute they walked past Starbucks Coffee.
Clover jolted, looking for the source. Left, right. Up, down. Where?
“Over here!” A fair-looking gentleman waved his Java Chips in the air. He was taking two steps at a time, catching up with their pace. “Are you okay?” he repeated, pulling the sunglasses down the bridge of his nose.
Before she could get a chance to speak, those men interrupted. He was trying to get closer when suddenly one of them stretched out his arm and blocked the way.
“Sorry, but this is the lady of our house. Strangers aren’t allowed to be close.”
“Eh... Really?” he said, tipping on his toes, looking for a gap to meet her eyes.
“Don’t ask for troubles, my lady.” The head of the gun at her waist was pressed harder into her skin.
It wasn’t an order. Rather, a threat. The guts to meet the stranger’s eyes vanished liked they never existed. Words waiting to be thrown out stuck in her throat, fading away hopelessly. Clover lowered her head, dropping down strands of untied hair past her cheeks. Ashamed at her own self. A light was shone right upon her, and yet she was going to let it fade away.
The young man was still lingering with the gang, slurping in the coffee in his hand. But when there weren’t any responses from the so-called lady of the house, his feet swayed, stopping soon after.
“S-Sorry ah... I think it’s my mistake,” he uttered and left without looking back.
Great job, Clover. There goes the opportunity to be free.
The men surrounding her began speeding up their steps. Clover did nothing to stop nor delay their increased momentum. Her mind was devastated over the loss of her chance to escape. The fate as a sex slave was starting to pierce into her dignity, forcing her to accept.
Suddenly, strikes of the deafening noises banged loud on the door to her consciousness. She stood high on her exposed toes, looking past the men in front.
Thousands of people were hoarding the exit of the arrival hall heavily guarded by security officers. They had their phone cameras held up high, fighting for the best angle. Getting a hang of something about to happen, Clover circulated her attention, sensing for the clues she missed. She glanced for the unusualities. ‘Kyle Lee’ was written almost everywhere, instantly giving her a sharp punch to the answer she was looking for. Drop-down posters featuring the face of an Asian man doubled the reaction.
Someone was coming. Somebody by the name of Kyle.
And he was approaching from behind, making his way through like the entire world belonged to him. Wilderness exploded and the hungry fans lunged forward with their huge fandom boards, unstabilising the guards on duty. All they wanted was to touch their idol even if it was just a tiny bit. Hundreds of hands extended to reach him, requesting for his autographs, for his shakes. There was no stop. The euphoria was suffocating the oxygen in the air.
“KYLEE!!! I’m your biggest fan!!”
“KYLE!!!! You’re so handsome! I love you!!”
“I love you! KYLEE!!!”
Looking at the number of fans being there for him, the celebrity finally made a pause and bowed. “Hello everyone. It’s me, Kyle Lee.”
It only took a little of the existing elation to shake away those men in black. Clover was yanked to the back by an anonymous force, breaking the circle holding her in. Immediately, she took a quick step to the left and slipped into the exuberant crowd. She couldn’t afford a slight pause. She remained crouched, giving her best to move along with the thrilling flow. Blowing off her fringe interrupting her sight, she sneaked a peek through the gaps in between the horde, searching for the men that were set to hunt for her.
They were there, scattered. Eyes continued to scan everywhere, terrified by the sudden loss of their sweet paradise.
She watched them taking the escalator to the higher floor. The little extraordinary bulge protruded from their back pockets might not be anything to the passers-by. But she clenched her quivering fists in fright, knowing exactly what it was. They continued roaming all the levels. When the men were finally nowhere to be seen, Clover braved herself to take the first step out of the crowd. Only away from this place, she could sense escape.
But she was near no success.
She tripped and overturned the red stand rope barrier she had no idea since when it was there. One was linked to the other and it continued to the rest. The ear-splitting clank happened. Noises arouse and she had the people’s attention for a brief second. It wasn’t strong enough to overtake the presence of Kyle.
But from the second floor, the men saw and met her petrified gaze.
Clover pushed through the sea of humans and ran to the parking lot as fast as she could. Every step behind her felt like predators’. Panting, she dropped next to a huge black tinted hybrid van. Her heart thumped against her skin so hard as though it was going to pierce through her chest. Sweats poured down her temple with no brakes, shudders continued running down her spines. Staying close behind the vehicle, she prayed with all her might that they will not find her. Not again.
“They’re near,” she gasped, feeling the sudden change of pressure in the air.
Right then, she heard someone unlocking the black van she was hiding beside. Without thinking much and putting her safety as the top priority, she slid in.
“I’ll apologise later,” she hissed under her breath, climbing from the backseat to the boot soundlessly.