“I need some fresh air, it’s roasting in here.” I shout in my friends ear, though I doubt she’d heard me; the music inside this club was loud enough to burst my ear drums.
The flash of disco lights and thumping music underneath my feet are making it difficult to have a conversation with Lucy; who was busy swaying in time to the popular beat.
She looked to me and mouthed ‘what?’
“I’ll be back in five.” I tried again and pointed towards the entrance, then held up five fingers for good measure. She pointed to herself now, asking if I wanted her to follow, to which I shook my head; she was having too much fun and I didn’t want to pull her away, just so I could have a small reprieve.
Nodding to the doormen and making sure they would recognise my face when I wanted to re-enter, I stepped out into the cool night, the wind a welcoming breeze on my perspiring body.
There weren’t many people outside; all choosing to be crammed inside the very popular club. The blast of music was heard even behind the now closed doors and I walked a little further until it was silent. Well, as silent as a city at night can be; cars and the rare few people still flitting about at this time of night I could tune out.
This wasn’t my city, but it was similar and I guess that’s why I felt comfortable going outside alone. Lucy and I were here for a long weekend getaway - something she needed after her recent break up.
We were only a few hours drive from our own town, but it was nice to not know anyone and just let loose, even for me who wasn’t experiencing heartbreak.
You had to have been in a relationship beforehand to achieve that.
“Keep moving.” I heard a man hiss and automatically turned towards the voice, just in time to see three men shadowing a fourth into an alley.
If you asked me now what had possessed me to follow what I could clearly see was something dangerous I wouldn’t be able to tell you, curiosity really was a humans downfall.
I think I was expecting some kind of drug deal to go down; envelopes of cash being handed over and bags of something illegal being exchanged, maybe that’s why I continued to silently follow them through the winding path further and further away from the club.
A little danger and spice to bring back to Lucy for us to gossip over... maybe it was just the budding journalist in me, out to discover.
When I turned the next corner though, I had to slap my hand over my mouth to suppress the violent urge to scream. I flung my back against the rough brick wall so they couldn’t see me. But I had seen them; I had seen the biggest guy plunge a knife into the chest of the man who’d been herded into the alley.
I couldn’t stay there. I had to move... fast. Finally the alarm bells that should have been ringing from the start, were going off; I never should have followed them.
I turned to flee from from the scene, only to get my foot caught on a stray can that had it flying across the floor, the clattering echoed loudly inside the confines of the narrow path and I didn’t wait to see if they’d heard, I knew they had.
I carried on running, but hadn’t even reached the first turn, when a strong arm grabbed me around the waist and started to pull me back, just as I opened my mouth to scream, his palm covered half my face, preventing me from calling out.
My attempts to get out of his hold were pitiful; I was small, and had no upper body strength... or lower body strength for that matter. I could feel the back of my bare heels scrape across the floor as he dragged me to the group of men surrounding the dead body.
Note to self: If I get out of this, must start going to the gym and maybe try kickboxing, or some form of self defence class. I could take Lucy - I think of her, still dancing, safe in the club, unaware of the danger her friend had gotten herself into. What I wouldn’t give to be back there right now. I’d take being sweaty over this any day.
“What are we supposed to do now? She’s obviously seen all of us and what we did. You always have to be the saviour don’t you,” One of the men glared angrily at the guy holding me against him. “and why weren’t you listening out for her. Why didn’t you sense her?”
His dark gaze fell from his friend behind me, to my petrified one, and for a moment, a small shot of sympathy passed over him.
“Right... because you heard her and just chose to ignore it?” The man containing me snorted out sarcastically.
“Do we have to kill her as well? That’s not what was ordered of us. Should I contact him and find out what to do?” The other guy, who was stood next to him asked worriedly. He looked to be the youngest of them all.
I whimpered and wriggled against the man holding me trying to get their attention. I had something to say.
“If I move my hand and you scream, I won’t be waiting for any instructions, I’ll just leave you dead next to that filth on the floor, you got it?” His voice was stern, rough and deadly serious. I nodded and waited for him to remove his grip on me.
When my mouth and nose were free I took in many deep breaths, “Look,” I croaked quietly, then coughed to try to get my broken voice to sound more determined and less I’m going to crap myself in zero point two seconds.
“Look, I won’t say anything to anyone. I - I don’t even know this guy,” I refused to look down at the dead man lying five feet from me. “Just let me go, I can forget this. You can forget this, and tonight can be the smooth transaction with no hiccups that you wanted. No one needs to know about me... just let me go,”
They looked at each other for a few moments, having a silent conversation.
“Please... My friend will be looking for me. I was in that club back down there. I can just go back.” I plead when they don’t say anything.
They all stiffened up at the exact same time and I waited.
Had they come to a decision..?
“Ash! Why?” The man who’d shot me a sympathetic look, raged out loud to the younger male, before taking his phone out, and walking away from us to talk to someone.
“What happened?” I asked anxiously. What had this Ash guy done that I hadn’t seen?
The other’s didn’t answer me. I could feel the anger radiating off the guy holding me, but somehow knew it was aimed at Ash and not me.
“Sorry little one.” The man said when he got back after tucking his phone away.
I started to cry; I was going to die, and I hadn’t even lived my life yet. My thoughts flash to my parents. I’d never see them again... Never see my brother or my friends.
The man holding me sighed heavily, I could feel his chest press against my shaking body. “We’ll be in deep shit for this you know?” he directed his words to the man who had regrettably told me my fate. I didn’t understand what he meant.
Hadn’t their boss just told them to kill me? Wasn’t that the plan. I looked up to the sympathetic man with my tear filled eyes and saw him hold a determined look with my captor.
“Maybe,” he said aloud, as if continuing a conversation I hadn’t previously been privy to. “but Blaine, if we bring her to him, then he can make a proper decision, this isn’t the kind of thing someone orders, without at least meeting the person. Besides... he said to ‘deal with it.’ This is the way I want to deal with it.”
The guy holding me, Blaine, chuckled humourlessly “You know he’s in charge right, or did you forget?”
He breathes deeply again and I try to control my tears and hiccups so I can hear and understand everything that’s going on.
“Fine, I’ll go along with this... but it’s your funeral when he sees we’ve disobeyed.” Blaine conceded to sympathy mans plan. “This whole evening has been a shit show with nothing going to plan. What’s one more thing to add to the mix,”
He directed the next words sharply at the youngest “Keep your thoughts to yourself Ash...”
Ash nodded guiltily, keeping his gaze down and off me.
“I’m- I’m no-not get-getting stabbed?” I sobbed, trying to make sense of everything that had just happened.
“We’ll see little one, I hope not.”