I pried my eyes open, resolving to never let Nina drag me out ever again. Clubs had never been my thing but after weeks of pleading I had caved, even sitting still enough to let her paint my face and do some weird thing with a pair of straighteners and some hairspray.
My head felt as though it had been packed with itchy wool and I was cold; there was a serious draught coming from somewhere. I couldn’t see much, the crusty mascara making it difficult to open my eyes completely.
I couldn’t remember going home, but I must have ended up somewhere. I was usually quite good at getting home, or at least to Nina’s. I couldn’t remember much of last night, actually. It must be close to morning though if I am feeling the effects of the alcohol this soon; funny, I didn’t think I drank that much. I closed my eyes again, slowly adjusting to waking up.
My whole body felt as though it had been injected with lead and I couldn’t really feel much other than the cold. I shifted my position slightly, and my eyes flew open, my head snapping up to look up at my hands. I winced as I felt a sharp pang in my head but I didn’t shift my gaze from the dirty rope that bound my hands to the concrete wall behind me.
Suddenly, it was as if I could feel everything; every loose fibre of the rope pricking my skin, every goose bump that trailed my bare arms, every bump touching my legs on the hard floor. My breath quickened, tears mixing with my eyeliner.
Nausea welled within me and I hunched over, choking out the putrid bile. I hurled out everything I had, my throat burning and face splattered with some of the recoil. I couldn’t stop the tears and I sobbed, snot mixing with everything else on my face.
I pulled against the ropes with all my might, but they wouldn’t give. I still didn’t have much feeling in my arms yet, and I grew desperate, drawing blood. I barely noticed.
“Don’t bother,” a voice said.
I tore my gaze from my hands and looked around the room, noticing the dull, grey walls that enclosed me. The draught was coming from the outline of a door in the right wall and a tarp covered something in the middle of the room. I looked up to discover a young girl with the same rope. Although it was dark, I could see her dark eyes and bloody wrists, contrasting with her pale skin.
“I already tried.”
My sight was slowly coming back, but the only light available was from underneath the door. She was wearing a blue dress and had long hair that had matted into clumps. I couldn’t see much else.
“Where are we?” I asked.
Despite everything, it was almost a relief to not be alone. My dad always said that misery loved company; did the same go for fear?
“Don’t know, I only woke up a while before you,” the girl replied, her voice resigned.
“I’m Ruth, by the way,” she continued, looking at me.
I swallowed, my face twisting at the rancid taste, and sniffed, turning my head to wipe some of the gunk off my face on my arm.
“I’m Poppy. Why...why do you think we..?” I trailed off, unsure of how to word the rest of the question.
Why us? Why me? Out of all the girls why did have to be me?
“No idea, no one has come in or anything. He must be waiting for something” she said.
“Wait, why do you think it’s a guy?” I asked.
I could feel her gaze on me.
“Okay, so what do you think he is going to do to us?” I said, my voice breaking at the end.
I had always seen stories of women being killed on the news, with pictures of gross-looking men pictured as the culprits. I had always had the thoughts at the back of my mind that it could happen to me; I could be raped, murdered, abducted, sold. It was a fear all women had. The same fear that made you walk a bit faster on the street when a man walks too close behind you.
I never really thought it would happen to me. The fear was always there, but it was more instinct than anything. Now here I was, in a dark, cold room, bleeding and sore, fuzzy and heavy. Finding it increasingly difficult to take my next breath. Soon to be one of those sob stories on the news, if they even found us.
“Why do you keep asking? I know just as much as you!” the girl snapped, her sharp tone causing me to flinch.
I couldn’t help it. My mind was reacting to everything, expecting danger. I heard a loud sigh.
“I’m sorry, it’s just...I...” her voice quietened into soft sobs.
She was in same situation as me; every thought that ran through my head probably matched closely with hers. I just had to talk though, to connect with someone. I knew she didn’t have any answers; I only needed to say them aloud in an attempt to control my thoughts.
To control something.
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