I wake up by the sound of my alarm. It is early, and I remember today is the day I come back to work. I stretch and get out of bed, and start doing my morning routine with doing simple stretches. After about 15 minutes, I pick out the outfit of today and some underwear. I decide on a casual outfit, which consists of a pair of jeans, folded to just over my ankles, a dark brown buttoned up shirt and a pair of black low Converse. I leave for the bathroom. I put my clothes on the floor and my iPod on the shelf under the mirror, and put it to play my music for the morning, which starts with Goo Goo Dolls – Black Balloon.
I stand under the shower head and let the water run down over my body. My arms and hands are sore from the trip with Aaron yesterday, which had ended in him driving me home. I tried to invite him inside for a cup of tea and a snack, but he declined, saying he had some important business to take care of; work related. We exchanged phone numbers, and he left.
I am still confused about what to feel about him, but I can’t help that my heart pounds harder by just thinking of him.
As I leave the shower I notice that my Blackberry is blinking, showing that I have a text message. I turn it on and see that it is from Aaron. I read it.
I hope you had a nice sleep upon all that you experienced yesterday, and that your arms are not too sore. Have a nice day at work.
My heart explodes and as I write a reply my hands start trembling.
Thank you for your concern, I had a great time. My hands and arms are sore yes, but I believe it is only temporary. Thank you for a good time yesterday, when can we duplicate the success?
I put the phone down again and start putting on some clothes. I look in the mirror and blow dry my hair.
I sit by the kitchen table, eating my breakfast as Frankie comes out of her room. She has classes today, starting at 9 AM. She yawns a good morning to me and leaves for the bathroom. I check the time and realise that I have a short time before I need to be at work, so I rush and pack the breakfast merchandise away, take my keys and bag, yell good bye to Frankie and rush down the stairs.
I sit in the bus on my way to work; Frankie and I still haven’t decided on a car we’d both enjoy driving, so public transportation is necessary. I sit in the back of the bus, looking out the window at the people walking by. A woman, wearing a black pencil skirt, a white suit jacket and a black shirt underneath is walking by in her pumps, with a pair of black, thick rimmed glasses on her nose. She is talking on the phone. I wonder if I could ever become like that. A woman to which it is obvious what her goal in life is, where it is almost as if she’s wearing a billboard tophat stating that she is an ambitious business woman who desires to run an empire.
I get off the bus and enter the office building. Yorkton Corporation is no big business empire. It is a small business managing financial cases. It is a job like any other assistant’s. I manage Jared’s calendar, take his phone calls and messages, in case he is not available, and lastly of all I get him his lunch. Jared is a great man, who has no bad intentions with women, which is why most of the people at the office is suspecting him being homosexual. He hasn’t said anything, which is of course great, because what this world is lacking today is personal space and privacy, which is, of course difficult to obtain with the social networks.
I greet the receptionist, Laila, and walk towards the elevator. I reach for 3rd floor, which is where my desk is. I look out the doors as the mailman sprints towards the elevator. He extends his hand as to prevent the doors from closing, and I help him. He thanks me and stands with his delivery package under the arm. I notice that he looks at me out the corner of his eyes, and I feel a slight tension in the atmosphere – like there’s something wrong. This feeling is however relieved as soon as the doors open on 3rd floor and I walk out.
- Good morning Jared, I greet him as he walks towards his office at 9 o’clock.
- Good morning Elisabeth, how are you doing? He stops in front of my desk and smiles to me. I put the papers I am sitting with aside and look up at him and smiles faintly.
- Well, I have felt better, but I am doing fine thank you very much. I’m just glad to be back.
- I am glad you are back. What are my plans for today?
I pick up the calendar (I prefer having such things written down in hand) and open up on today’s page.
- You have a meeting at 11:00 AM with Mr. George Price, and at 3:15 PM you have a doctor’s appointment. That is it.
He nods and walks towards his office, but stops in the door.
- Oh, Elisabeth? I will be eating lunch out today, so you won’t have to go out and pick up my lunch.
- Okay, thank you for notifying.
He nods and closes the door after him.
The day passes by, and soon the clock is already 5:30 PM. I close down the office, Jared has not come back after his doctor’s appointment as he took the rest of the day off. It feels great to be back: having something to do during the day rather than sleep, exercise and eat. Now that I think of eating, I decide to pick up some Chinese food on my way home.
As I stand in the elevator on my way down, power shuts off. I press the emergency button, but there seems to be no response. I shiver, but try to calm myself down. Something just seems wrong. I try to call the emergency service from my phone, but there is no service. I look around for a way out, but there is only the hatch in the roof of the elevator, which will just bring me inside the elevator shaft, leading me nowhere – If I could find the strength in me to climb up. I sit down in the corner of the elevator, waiting. Sitting down and wrapping my arms around myself. I wish I had brought my jacket, the anxiousness makes me feel cold.
After what seems to be hours, something happens around the door of the elevator. Something bushes in between the doors, making it open a bit. A man peaks in.
- Hello miss, I’m here to help you. My name’s Gerard Wellington, and I’ll help you get out of here and home into safety.
He extends an arm towards me, a friendly gesture, with a friendly face. I stand up and take his hand, and he helps me get out. The space between the top of the door and the floor is narrow, so I’ll have to crawl my way out of the elevator, but Gerard helps me fine.
As I get out I, brush my jeans off the worst dust. However, as I stand up, he grabs my arm tightly and whispers in my ear.
- Now, no screaming, will you? It will be worst for yourself if you do, but I like to play that game.
He grabs my hair with the other hand and start pushing me forward, towards the doors. The sun is setting outside, and I wonder if anyone will be able to see us on our way out. We do however, take a turn and end up walking towards the back door. No one is left in the building, and the company cannot afford having any greater security measures around.
- What do you want?
I try to make my voice sound strong and determined. I do however hear it as a mere pleading whisper, begging for mercy. My scalp starts stinging from Gerard’s pulling.
- You will figure out… Eventually.
I stop asking, and one of the other men which are following Gerard open the door in front of us, which leads to the employee parking lot. I see a black van parked where I used to park my old car. I guess that is the means of transport I will be having. They walk me towards the van, and stops behind it. Gerard releases my hair, to my greater relief, only to start fiddling with some strips. I use the opportunity to try and fight my way out. I elbow Gerard to the jaw, and even though I have absolutely no expertise in fighting, I am sure it was well-placed, but Gerard seems to be tough. He touches his jaw slightly, and a small tear in the skin is revealed. It will give a bruise tomorrow.
- You little whore!
He yells the words out loud in the parking lot. So loud that I actually believe that people in a radius of 400 metres will be able to hear it. He grabs the pistol which is resting in the holster by his hip, and lifts it over his head. The butt of the gun races towards my head, and I feel a stabbing pain to my skull, and everything goes black.
I wake up by the sound of a roaring engine and the unsteady movements a car would make when driving off-road. I open my eyes, but everything is still black. I realise that I’ve been blindfolded, and I try to sit up. My hands are however, tied behind me so I can’t move too much. I feel hands on me, searching me.
- Have you found anything?
- No sir, nothing.
What are they looking for, and what have I done? Then I realise this must be some sick dream my head is pulling off, so I try to pinch the thin skin on my left hand, right between the thumb and the pointer. It hurts, so I cannot be dreaming. Terror wells up within me. I’ve been abducted, but for what cause?
- She’s awake, one of the men says, probably the one who searched me.
- Then make sure she is not. We don’t want a struggle here.
I try to scream, hoping someone outside would hear me, but as I open my mouth and strain my vocal cord in an effort to do so, nothing happens. My voice is gone. Tears well up in my eyes, and I try hard not to start sobbing. So many emotions have awaken inside me. Fear. Anger. Curiosity. Several questions I want answered appear inside my head, and as I finally get myself to stop crying, the car goes to a stop.
A door opens, and I feel a hard grab around my arm and I stumble to my feet, feeling solid ground beneath them. Then, I feel a hard hit to my jaw, and everything goes black.
I gain consciousness and discover that I am sitting in a room, which is strongly lit with lights. I look down at first, and discover that I’m fully dressed, tied to a chair. A dark silhouette stands before me, and looking at it makes my eyes burn from the strong lights behind it.
- Elisabeth Rosa McTavish, do you have any idea about why you’re here?
The voice belongs to a man. I shake my head, but regret it in the immediate second. Something has happened to my balance, probably from the hit to my jaw, making everything swirl around me. I’m about to vomit.
- Answer me.
- Good. Do you want to give a guess, or should I explain to you?
I shiver, and whisper the following under my breath.
- Explain to me, please.
The silhouette starts motioning with his arms, accordingly to what he says, and walks back and forth, slowly.
- We have no intent to harm you, you should know that. We just wish to extract information from you. If you stay truthful to us, we will release you outside your apartment. If you choose not to cooperate, we will keep you here and make you talk.
I sit there in silence, listening to the man. I have no idea who would ever want to abduct me, and especially not to claim some sort of information they believe I could possess. I am, after all, just an ordinary woman living the ordinary life.
- How do you know Aaron Sanders?
I sit there for a second, thinking about the question. It is funny I think. I don’t really know him good enough to say that I know him, because all we’ve done is to drink a cup of coffee and go shooting together. That’s all. I choose to tell this.
- Interesting. How much do you know about him?
I think for a moment.
- Not much. I just know that he is in possession of enough money to afford my hospital bills, I smile to myself by the thought.
- I also just know that he has some secret he doesn’t want to tell me, and I can’t ask him to tell me.
- Interesting. Has he told anything else?
I think for a second.
- No, I think that was it.
- I don’t believe you Elisabeth.
He walks towards me and slaps my right cheek, then bends over and whispers in my ear.
- I want to know everything you know, and more than that. I want to know where he is, and I know you’ll tell me.
He stands up again and walks behind me, grabs my neck and presses it to the left. I feel a sharp pain to my neck, it pinches. It is a needle. As some substance goes into my blood all the lights start blurring again, and my head falls towards my chest.
I sit in a small room, only containing a bed with a thin mattress, and a bucket for me to use as a toilet. I sit in the corner of the bed, hugging my knees. I’m still wearing my own clothes, for which I am grateful. They only want to extract information from me, not do worse stuff. For that I am happy, yet there is still the fear that they might want to hurt me. I wonder to myself if I’m ever going to get out of here. I sit and wonder why they would suspect me to know everything about a man whom I has just met; and why would they kidnap me for talking to him? Maybe it has some connection to the secret he has, but I’m not sure. All I know for sure is that I want to get out of here, and that be in an instant.
I awake by a knocking on my door, and I rub my eyes. At first I don’t recognise the place, but then it hits me, and I remember. The door opens and a man walks in. I still don’t see his face.
- We have someone on the phone for you, I’ll be supervising. You have one minute.
I take the phone which the man is extending towards me. I lift it to my ear.
- Elisabeth, I’m running out of time. Do you know where you are?
It’s Aaron’s voice. His voice is calm and comforting, and for one bare second I feel warmth in my chest when I hear it.
- No, what do they want?
- Me. Listen carefully, don’t tell them anything until I arrive, it is very important. You can’t tell much about me, but I will let you know once you’re safe.
- Elisabeth, be strong.
He hangs up, and I sit there with the phone to my ear. The man walks towards me, and I get a slight hint of the chin and I see a slight tear in the skin. Gerard.
- You bastards! You will not get away with this!
I yell at him, but Gerard doesn’t react. He takes the phone from me and walks out of the room, and locks the door behind them. I rush to the door, slamming my fists against it.
- Do you hear me?! You have no idea what I’m capable of!
I don’t really have any other capabilities than being top in my class in economics, but it sounded good in the moment. I slide down the door, and sit down on the floor. For once in a long time I take my hands up to my face, covering my eyes, and I start crying. The crying then turns to sobbing.
I have never felt this alone before.
Six days has passed since I was abducted from work, and I have lost weight. They only give me food for dinner, which usually is a cold soup. I wish I could cook here. I wonder if Frankie can do on her own, and what the people at work might be thinking. I haven’t been able to call anyone at work to even just call in sick. I wonder, ever since I caught eyesight with Aaron that afternoon, things have gone bad for me. He said he is a bad person, but can one really call such a grudge over a person they’ve just met? What about Aaron’s promise? To come and get me? How would he ever manage to do such, the men keeping me here are heavily armed, and I’m sure they are well-trained in combat as well. I shiver. I haven’t showered for six days, and I’ve worn the same clothes.
The door opens, and I know what’s going to happen. It has happened every day ever since I was kidnapped. I stand up already, knowing what I’ll be facing. Gerard stands in the door with a revolver in his hand, pointing at me. I know the routine.
I sit down on my knees in front of the tub, Gerard standing behind me, grabbing my neck.
- Tell me, what do you know about Aaron Sanders?
- I know nothing!
- Not. Good. Enough.
Here it comes. He pushes my head forward, into the tub’s water, and keeps my head down. My lungs start aching, and ‘starves’ for fresh air. The carbon dioxide builds up inside me, makes my lungs and throat burn, and I try to scream. The bubbles leave my mouth and nose, and just as darkness starts to well up in my eyes, Gerard pulls me up.
- Answer my question.
He says in a calm, almost scary tone.
- I don’t know, please let me go, I’m honest with you!
He pushes my head down into the water, but even though I have water in my ears, I hear gunshots. The sound makes my whole body tighten; prepare for the impact of the bullet to my soft flesh. But there’s no pain. Gerard’s hand is removed from my neck, and I bring my head up the water.
- Stay here!
He leaves the room with that message, with his gun in his hand. I fold my hands, close my eyes and beg, for the first time in my life, to God to let it be my saviour. The gunshots continue to sound. Rapid sounds, and single shots. I crawl towards the door and look around the opening. It is completely dark out there, but I see glooms from flashlights down the corridor.
In the far distance I hear voices.
- Where is she?
- You’d like to know? I killed her.
- I know that’s not true.
Silence. Footsteps comes towards the bathroom I’m in, and for a second I believe it is Gerard’s. Silence again. Aaron turns around the corner and into the bathroom, and looks around for a second until he sees me, crumbled up in the corner.
He squats down in front of me, and looks me in the face. I shiver, and he brushes my wet hair away from my face and strokes my cheek. All of a sudden I forget where I am. I feel safe. I look at him, his body, and discover a stainless steel pistol in his hand – silenced. I look up at him, with tears in my eyes.
- Come, I’ll bring you to a safe place.
He takes my hand and brings me to my feet. My legs are shaking, and it becomes hard for me to stand up, so I need to lean onto him. With me in his left side, and the gun in his right hand, we walk forward. Gerard and two of his companions are standing at the end of the hallway, all carrying a machine gun.
Aaron’s voice is cold and heartless, and it makes it run cold down my spine. As warm and caring he can be, as cold and emotionless he can be.
- I’d rather not. I have orders, and I will not stop following you until I fulfil my orders.
- Then you’ll have a lifelong quest before you.
Aaron aims his gun towards Gerard’s forehead. We are just a few metres from each other, and the past week passes before my eyes. Gerard moves aside, and his companions hesitate as Aaron doesn’t move the gun from its aim.
- Stay away from us.
Aaron stares at Gerard.
- If Elisabeth hadn’t been here, I would have killed you. I warn you, do not show up near us.
With that Aaron gets a better grip on me and brings me to the exit.