“What I need right now is the truth from you.” Gillow told her. “What other dangerous thing have you done apart from sleeping with the enemy? And by dangerous, I mean anything that exposes her identity.”
Karina recalled the tattoo show that Arda had insisted on participating in. It seemed harmless at the time and now, she doubted that Gillow would see it that way. She was afraid of what he would do if she mentioned it, so she shook her head.
“Are you certain?”
Karina nodded. “Yes.”
Gillow pushed the barricade aside and stepped into the prison cell while she backed off and pressed her back to the wall but he kept advancing towards her until he was standing directly before her.
Her breathing became erratic, her chest, rising and falling rapidly. She knew he was searching her mind, listening to her soul and she focused her mind on the ocean. The ocean…the ocean…the beauty of the ocean.
Karina gasped as in one swift move, he held her captive against the wall with his body.
“The fact that you’re fighting so hard to concentrate on the ocean at a time like this, tells me that you’re lying. I will count to three and if you do not speak the truth, I will order for your torture.”
“One two three.” He counted rapidly without giving her a chance to make up her mind.
“I will talk.” She said desperately.
“It’s too late.” He hissed and backed away from her. “Guards!”
A couple of men from the pack who had arrested her at the forest, appeared at the barricade. “Prepare her for torture.” He ordered and stormed off the cell as she started a series of pleas.
Arda was back in her off campus home by Sunday evening and didn’t meet anyone at home. Karina’s line was switched off but Jacob had told her he was on his way home from a party.
After showering, she went straight to bed, grabbed her pillow and returned to the living room where she had decided to rest and wait for Jacob to get home.
She arranged the pillow at one end of the sofa, lay down and propped her head on the pillow. She shut her eyes and listened to the Jazz music playing on the music channel on the television. Arda drifted off to sleep, her features relaxing as she slept.
She had not slept for long when her eyes shot open to the sound of the main door being opened from outside. She knew it was Jacob even before the door was pushed open and he let himself inside. He smiled at her and she left the sofa to hug him.
“Welcome back.” He said.
“Hope you’ve forgiven us.”
“Sure.” she said and they disengaged. “Where is Karina? I’ve been trying to reach her since I returned, but her line is switched off.”
“Um…I think she’s probably fine. Don’t worry.”
Arda studied him for a moment, observing for the first time that he seemed all tensed up. For someone who was returning from a party, he seemed awkwardly distracted.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” he asked, somewhat defensively.
“Jacob, you seem quite off. When last did you see her?”
“Jeez, Arda.” He said impatiently. “Please back off will you?” He started marching off to his room and Arda stood there, frozen at his outburst. Was he stressed? She decided to allow him cool off. To be fair to him, he only just got back.
Arda returned to the sofa but she didn’t lie down. She sat down for a while and tried to focus on the jazz music video playing on the television. She was hoping that Jacob would soon resurface but when she didn’t see him after about ten minutes, she got off the sofa and walked towards the corridor in the direction of their rooms.
At the mouth of the corridor, she saw him emerging from his room with his phone in his hand. He had changed into fresh clothes instead of a pair of pajamas. She could not believe that he was about to leave the house again. It was already 9:30pm.
“Jacob, talk to me. How was your day? I should have asked.”
He paused before her. “I’m sorry I yelled at you but I’m fine.”
Arda could tell that he clearly looked worried.
“No problem.” She said and watched him run his fingers through the hairs on his head. Then he groaned with frustration.
“I’ve not seen her since yesterday.” He said.
“”What? And you didn’t alert the police?”
“This is more complicated than that.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Arda, I and Karina, we are not…” he began but his phone buzzed, interrupting his speech. He looked at the screen, read through his message with his eyes and swore under his breath.
“Arda, I have to go. I’ll be back as soon as possible.”
“What? Where are you going? Our friend is probably missing. How long before her family starts asking questions and people discover we hid her disappearance. How would that make us look? You cannot leave me here like that. Jacob, what are you hiding?”
Jacob walked past her without saying a word and she followed behind him like a nagging wife.
“I can tell you were about to say something important. Please tell me. Stop keeping me in the dark.”
He only paused for a few seconds to confirm that his car key was in his pocket. One tap on his pocket and they both could hear the jingling of keys. “I’ll be back.” He said, “Please stay inside and don’t let anyone come into the house no matter who they say they are.”
“Wait, am I in danger? Are we in danger?”
“Arda, trust me and do as I say.” He said and marched towards the main door with her, right behind him. He opened the door and stepped outside while she remained at the door. “Don’t call the police.” He said. “Trust me.” He shut the door behind him, leaving her alone inside the house in confusion.
Arda started pacing back and forth inside the living room. Should she call the police? What was she supposed to do? Jacob certainly knew something that she didn’t. What was going on? Most importantly, who the hell were Jacob and Karina? She couldn’t tell anymore.
He had been about to reveal something before that text got into his phone. Were her friends in some dark cult or something? After all, they had kept their relationship from her for such a long time.
Gosh, Arda felt like she was going crazy. She couldn’t take it anymore. She had to go and snoop around inside their rooms.
Arda walked back to the corridor and tried the handle of the door to Jacob’s room. On it, he had put up a note that read; Jacob’s Room. Knock Before Entry. The door was locked. She left it and Went to Karina’s room door. On it was a note that read; Karina’s Room. No Enemies Allowed. Arda tried the door but it would not budge. Disappointed, she entered her room and put on her laptop at the dressing table. She needed something to keep her mind busy.
Remembering the tattoo show, she visited the tattoo website. To her surprise, the site was not reachable.
She checked her internet connection. It was up and running. She refreshed the page but the site was unreachable still. Arda visited google just to be sure that the network was okay and the google page appeared. Then she visited the tattoo website again but it was unavailable. Her phone began to ring.
She checked the screen to discover that the call was coming from an unknown number. Arda received it and brought it up to her ear. “Hello.” She said.
“Congratulations.” A woman’s voice that sounded balmy and sonorous said. “You are the winner of the show.”
Arda’s tensed up face broke into a smile. Good money was about to reach her.
“Thanks, I am so excited. What happened to the site?”
“It has been taken down. Congratulations again, Arda. We are so happy for you. ”
“Thank you. When do I get my present?”
“Today. It will be delivered to your address.”
“But we were made to understand that it will be sent to our bank accounts.”
“That has changed. We trust that you’re home?”
“Yes.” Arda said and looked at the wall clock. It was already past 10:00pm. Who would deliver a price for her at night? What sort of organization would do that? Fear entered her and she regretted confirming that she was home. “I mean, I’m not home.” She said and heard the woman laugh, the sound, unsettling. Then the line went dead, leaving her frightened and alone.