If I ever learned anything, it was to not assume. Assumption, whether it proved right or wrong in the end, was always a gamble and that was precisely why I tried my hardest to stay away from it. Because you see, the average person fails to take into account the amount of damage a simple assumption could do. They fail to see how terrifying such a decision could be- basing their fate on a guess that is. Others simply don’t care. They go about their boring lives, completely naïve and ill-prepared for the worst of situations, the very ones created with the precision and thought assumption tended to exclude. Its ridiculous really, how complicated everything was because of it and I couldn’t begin to understand the benefit even if my life depended on it. And it did quite often- only I liked it that way.
Leaning casually against the balcony of the fifth street bar, my thoughts directly reflect on the oddity of this natural human inclination. It was extremely packed for a Thursday night, the sickly sweet smell of alcohol and humanly fluids wafting through the stale air. My fingers tap rhythmically against the oak railing, eyes like a hawks from my vantage point on the second floor. I sip casually from a lukewarm glass of water in attempt to calm my thirst, the thought of any type of liquor pulsing through my system repulsive in every sense of the word. I couldn’t stand the taste or dulling affects of the substance. It lead to vulnerability and that was the last thing I wanted after everything.
A lanky woman to my right seems to have different thoughts, however, and she sways dangerously with a glass of something pink and fruity in her grasp. The color matches her florescent lipstick almost perfectly, a neat print of her lips running along the rim. She frowns at me as she leans up against the railing a few feet away, eyes raking up and down my body. I do my best to ignore her stare. There was nothing wrong with my presence or even the way that I looked. I blended in with the rest of them, I made sure of it. And although the dress that I chose rose steadily up my thighs throughout the night, I knew that I looked decent- enough so that I caught the attention of those who stood near and those who were lucky enough to be wandering by. They’d look once, and then steal another glance or two, raking their greedy eyes over ever inch of exposed skin. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the foul and inappropriate things running through their minds.
The occasional overly confident man proved my comfort- and discomfort- as they strode up with confidence and a glass of whatever they assumed I would drink. Most don’t understand the immediate disinterest I show, attempting to start up any form of conversation before backing away in defeat once they finally realize. Others try to convince me, whispering obscenities into my ears as if it’d magically change my mind and have me throwing myself into their arms for the night. I sigh each time, wishing to send them away with a painful reminder of me. What’s sad though, is that it doesn’t stop. One after another they approach as if they hadn’t seen the guy before attempt exactly what they had planned and then one after another, they retreat with wounded egos. Its as if they’re blinded by attraction, throwing common sense so far from the window that nothing remains.
I guess that’s just how men think when they want to get their dicks wet.
The problem was that they assumed I was interested simply because I was in a bar alone and after hours. It should have been obvious that I wasn’t from the start, but it mustn’t have been considering another was approaching, this time with two crystal glasses of whisky clutched tight in his hands. His smile is hopeful as he ushers one into my hands. I do my best to seem uninterested but the man only steps closer.
They were all the same, every single one of them.
“Hey,” he boasts cheerfully. I nod with a forced smile and take the glass despite the fact that I had no plans of drinking it. This one would be over just as soon as the last and again, he would retreat with crushed pride and eight less dollars in his pocket. “My name’s Todd, what’s yours?” I look up at the man, indifferent to his presence.
Todd however, looks thrilled with the fact that I’d yet to push him away, a wide grin plastered over his smug face. He takes a sip from his glass, blue eyes staring up at me from over the rim. I hesitate in replying, my stomach churning with excitement and then disgust as he steps closer, leaning his hip against the balcony less than a foot from where I stood. Todd’s sudden and extreme proximity is repulsing and it takes everything in me not to walk away from the mess I was sure to get into. His presence was concerning however, something felt...wrong. He was more persistent than the previous men had been, glancing to the glass in my hand every few seconds and every time I ignored the drink he frowned just a little, the corner of his lip dropping with defeat. I’m lucky to notice, to be perceptive and in my element. Any other girl would’ve been in trouble, easy prey for the predator in front of me. My decision is easy, almost too easy.
“Ally.” I nearly have to shout over the increasing antics of the bar but the name seems to please him, even if it wasn’t my own. He assumed he was getting somewhere and it was obvious from the sleazy grin on his face.
“That’s cute.” Todd replies, eyes glued to the red on my own lips. I shrug and return to the view of the floor below. His hand inches further toward me, itching to touch me in some form. I glance at it quickly, daring him to move it again. “So Ally,” he asks, “what is someone like yourself doing here?”
“Doing what everyone else is doing.” My reply is short and curt, unkind even, but he pays no attention.
“Oh I see. And what is everyone else doing?” I frown and flick my eyes up at him. His own are dark, excitement seeping through the calm façade.
“Getting away.” He laughs, reaching over to clink his glass against mine before bringing it up to his lips.
“I’ll drink to that,” Todd remarks, finishing off the last of his glass in one large gulp. I offer him mine with a smile, curious as to whether or not he’d take the bait and prove me wrong. When he shakes his head, grin tight, it confirms it all.
He’d drugged the drink. Probably before he even had a target in mind. These kind of men were like that. They decide what they want, not caring who or what they fuck- as long as they get some in the end. It didn't matter even a little if I wanted it or not.
That’s why he kept motioning to it, doing anything he could to get me to take a sip. I knew for a fact that whatever he mixed in would work like a charm but luckily, I was perceptive. He would never get the chance to find out- and if things went my way, he’d also never have a chance to do it again. Because if I let Todd walk away from this unscathed- whether it be now or later- he’d find another girl alone at the bar. He’d offer her the same drink, hoping to find someone naïve or drunk enough to take a sip. And in the end, Todd would succeed. He always would, because sneaky, worthless men like Todd knew how to play the game. They liked playing the game.
The knowledge has me instantly angry- all I can see is red. How dare he try to take advantage of me? Of anyone? It was horrible, even if the things I sometimes considered doing were right up there beside it. But that was the difference between him and I. I could control myself despite the constant desire, I could control whether or not I ruined someone. Sure it was unbelievably hard at moments but that didn’t change what I knew to be good or bad. Todd had given into his desires so easily. He was weak, pathetic, and I couldn’t help but to imagine hundreds of different ways to make him suffer.
Maybe I should drug him- give him a little taste of his own medicine.
His voice rips me from the violent train of thought, “I’m going for a refill. Can I get you anything?” I shake my head without so much as a thought. My mind was conjuring things up as it was, things that were becoming more and more tempting as he strode away with a newfound pep in his step.
What a selfish piece of shit.
After a minute or so I can pick his blonde head from the crowd below. He weaves through it with purpose but also patience, things I would admire if it weren’t for his ill intentions.
Thanks to Todd’s quick departure, I finally have time to think clearly without wanting to rip his head off. A plan comes to mind almost instantly and I swallow down the rest of my water, pouring the tainted liquor into its now emptied glass. Glancing around the room, I dip a careful finger into the substance and wipe it across my collar bone on first one side and then the other.
He was sure to smell it on me then. And if my acting skills were as up to par as normal, then this would be a breeze.
The red head from before assesses me, confused, as I approach her suddenly. She clears her throat when I halt and I waste no time getting to the point. I had very little as it was and small talk was a waste, even if she was drunk and uninterested in anything that I had to say. “Will you do me a huge favor and go dump this out?” I rush the words, eager for her response.
Her pointed eyebrow quirks up instantly, “why?” A quick glance over the railing confirms Todd’s rapidly approaching return and I thrust the glass into her free hand without another thought. His head was missing from the bar, which meant he’d be back within a matter of moments and my plan wouldn’t work if he didn’t assume I had drank whatever he'd given me.
“It’s drugged. Don’t drink it, okay. I’ll take care of him but I need you to get rid of it so that I can.” She nods and hurries off as if suddenly realizing the reality of the situation. The lack of stumble in her step brings a smile to my face; fear was sobering.
The second red disappears around a far corner Todd approaches, this time with a single glass for himself. His smile widens immensely when he notices my empty glass and he raises his left arm, checking the dull steel watch that’s wrapped around his wrist. Lucky for me, I knew what I was most likely dealing with.
Rohypnol starts taking affect within half an hour. That means I’d have to fake it for that long, or at least until he decided to grow a pair and take action. At two hours the effects peak; unconsciousness eminent. Todd would ideally have to act soon, probably with a fair share of persuasion and eagerness until I was out of site and mind to any and everyone that could throw a painful fork into the cog. Otherwise, this was all for nothing. Todd couldn’t have that now could he?
“Hey, hope you didn’t miss me too much.” His voice is calm but still, there’s a tinge of excitement. Todd licks his lips in anticipation as he watches me, waiting for the telltale signs.
Realizing this, I plaster on the best seductive smile I can manage, “Not too much, but maybe a little.” This fuels him and he grins, stepping closer. His cool breath fans the top of my left shoulder and goosebumps arise.
“Is that so?” I nod goofily and release a giggle that sounded far too real even to my own ears. Todd eats it up though- that dumbass. “I knew you just needed a little something to loosen up.” He backs me up further against the banister as he says this, placing a hand on either side while also careful not to spill what he’d just paid for. I nod again, the solid oak digging rut into my lower back. I’m tempted to shift my weight, to do anything to release the pressure but I suffer instead.
For the second time that night, red makes her way to the banister, a mere ten feet from the scene playing out. I sigh in relief at the lack of glass in her hand and Todd tightens his grip, moving his face down to the crook of my neck. His breath makes me nauseous, filling my nose with the scent of cheap alcohol.
“Are you okay? Do you want to leave?” I force a smile and nod again. He was doing exactly what I expected, falling right into my own trap as I expertly dodged his.
Do I need to mention again how brainless this man was?
He fumbles with the glass in his hands, attempting to suppress the giddiness I knew him to be feeling. “Alright, I’ll walk you home quick.” He pulls back at this, wrapping a tight arm around my waist as he pulls me alongside him to the doors. I make sure to feign a stumble as we descend the back stairway, tripping on nothing as if it were the easiest thing to do. Todd’s fingers dig themselves that much further into my side, testing my ability to continue onward.
“Woah, woah, I’ve gotcha. Be careful.” Todd coaxes, grabbing my arm to support me. His actions would have looked sweet to anyone else. Hell, we looked just like any other pair heading home for the night. We seemed normal, and that was okay for the time being, but if they only knew the truth behind this dress and his trousers. They might think twice then, but who knows.
The cool air hits me once we exit the bar, pulling me from my thoughts and back into the reality I had gotten myself into. Todd’s grip remains, but his previously friendly attitude suddenly goes south the moment we exit the bar parameter. He grows quiet and tense, pulling me off into an unknown direction with a newfound sense of purpose and stealth. Occasionally, he looks back to me and I lull my head to the side a bit, stumbling with a false smile pressed to my lips. He doesn’t ask where I live once, much to my lack of surprise, even though he claimed to be “taking me home” earlier. To any other girl that would’ve been the telltale red flag, sober or not.
Unfortunately, by this time around it would also be too late do anything about it, the roofies flowing through their system. Todd had my arm in a death grip; he had no intentions of letting go until his victim was unable to fight back.
My act seems to work perfectly because he keeps pulling harshly on my forearm until we reach an alleyway that runs the length of a few apartment buildings. A hotel or two sit only a block or so away and for a second I rethink my decision to go through with this. Did I really want to end it all like this? Over someone as pathetic and cowardly as Todd? I shouldn’t have even considered this in the first place. I knew that, and I definitely wouldn’t have any other night but tonight seemed to be the exception. I was on edge, forced to make a decision that could alter my future and it was all because of Theo, my cover.
He suddenly wanted things from me, things I couldn’t provide. I didn’t know how to deal with it and my thoughts were unfortunately jumbled and causing quite the problem. I’d never dealt with this sort of thing before, and the collateral damage was at a surprising and sickly sweet high.
“Still with me sweetheart?” I mumble a faint response and Todd’s horrifying grin finds its way back into place. “Alright, come on then. We’re almost home so that I can tuck you into bed.” Again, despite my better judgment I follow him down the alleyway. There was certainly no getting out of this now, at least with out a decent fight. I’d have to do it or take what he had planned for me and there was no way that I would even consider the latter. I wasn’t that type of person, and I certainly wasn’t one to let him go.
My wrist is suddenly released once we enter the sheltered alleyway and in no time, Todd has whipped around and pinned me to the brick of the building by my neck. The roughness stings against my back and an involuntary gasp leaves my lips but it only looks to please him more, his grip tightening until I’m sure it’ll leave a dark purple mark against my skin.
“Wh-” I start, only to be cut off by his free hand pressing against my lips. Its rough against them- disgusting.
I breathe cautiously as he whispers an almost silent warning directly into my ear, “Shhh Ally, don’t make a sound. You’ll regret it if you do...” His breath reeks of whiskey and menthol, a rather disgusting combination, and I do my best to hold in the urge to show my disgust. I had to show him that I was weak- vulnerable for his usage- until the time was right. Hopefully that time came soon.
“Close your eyes.” He nearly moans, a slight slur behind his words. It was obvious he had drank a little too much and for once, I’m grateful for alcohol. It was going to be of great use in this situation. Hell, it might make it even easier than I had originally planned and with the wind nipping at my skin, how could I be any happier? “Shut your fucking eyes Ally, ” Todd forces his palm further into my windpipe so I snap them shut. Pleased, he releases both of his hands from me and steps back. I’m tempted to move, to speak or even open my eyes just to piss him off but I’m cut short as a loud crack fills the air. Its followed by a thump near my feet and I rip my eyes open quickly, dropping them to the uneven bricks of the alleyway.
Todd lays unconscious on the floor, blood seeping from a fresh indentation on the back of his skull.
“What the fuck were you thinking?” A stern and angry voice startles me, a shadow emerging from the side of the building. Completely clothed in black, he blends in with the night- the only light from the moon reflecting in the metal of the silver baseball bat held in his palm. His gaze is angry and simultaneously chilling, the deep brown of his irises melding in with the dark depths of his pupils. I cant look away, mesmerized by the fear and awe that floods my senses.
He was spectacular- fear, is spectacular.
The stranger swings suddenly fueled by my gaze, the side of the bat making contact with Todd’s head over and over again. Blood spatters violently against the brick and concrete in the alleyway. I stay put, watching on with silent amazement even as it splatters against my skin, tainting it with the deep crimson. He continues for far too long, the sad excuse of a man before us resembling nothing he once had- no doubt dead after the brutal beating his body endured.
I suck in a deep breath, making eye contact with the man before me. “Are you going to fucking answer me?” His expression doesn’t change, voice eerily calm despite my blatant refusal to answer his question. He clenches his jaw, lips pursed tightly as he points back out to the street- only 50 yards away. His tone is curt and cold when he speaks again, causing my heartrate to increase rapidly. “You best follow me.” I nod, stepping over the pool of blood at my feet.
The speed and length of his steps has me instantly stumbling to catch up, intrigued by the way he moves so quietly from the crime scene. I needed to understand who he was, why he was there for me in that moment as if he’d known we’d be there all along. The curiosity was eating me up already, question after question flooding my mind with the answers only a few steps ahead as he guided us through the lightless night.
“Are you even going to tell me anything?” I ask frantically, on the strangers heals as we dodge through the back streets. With no response- not as much as a glance in my direction- I try again with a much different tactic. “Hey, I’m not following you unless you answer me right now. I’m not getting myself into any more trouble tonight.” His tall form halts suddenly and I collide with it, grasping for anything that I can as I lose my footing. His arms quickly and carefully steady me however, and I’m left gaping for once in my life by the inhuman speed at which he reacted. His touch is gentle, but his gaze is cold as it meets my own.
“How about, follow because I said to. Unless you want to end up like the last asshole this bat touched, that is? He twirls the slugger over in his palm, admiring the weapon. “Todd, wasn’t it?” I shrug and he grins. “Thought so. Now let’s go, you’ve kept me waiting long enough.”
And with that, I foolishly decide to follow the epitome of danger back into the dark for the second time of the evening. I just wish I would have known what was in store.