RED (Part 8)
An hour later, we packed up and headed back to the Inn. He walked me to my room and kissed me goodnight. Floating on air, I breezed through the door to find Jacqui, Ruby and Jill waiting for me.
“How was it?”
I laughed, deciding to have a little fun with them. “Excuse me ladies, I need the bathroom.”
“Can’t you hold it for five minutes?”
“No, sorry. I really do need to go.” I said, shutting the door on their protests but they continued with their questions, yelling them a little louder. I shook my head. Girls will be girls.“Ok.” I opened the door.
“So?” they demanded.
“It was wonderful…” I was interrupted by the sound of car coming to a roaring halt out the front of the Inn.
“Someone’s in a hurry,” Jacqui commented and waved her hand in dismissal. “Continue,” she instructed.
“He is such a gentleman. Very sweet.”
“Come on, enough of the boring stuff. Did you kiss?” Jill demanded.
I flushed. That was all the answer they needed.
“Oh, I knew it! You guys were gone for so long we knew it must have been going well!” Jacqui hugged me as a sharp, rapid knock came from the door.
Jacqui smirked at me. “Maybe Dale decided the night isn’t quite over yet, if you know what I mean.”
I rolled my eyes.
“Everyone knows you don’t put out on the first date,” Ruby piped up.
“Exactly,” I agreed. I turned the handle and opened the door. It wasn’t Dale. My stomach dropped to the floor. I shrieked in fright and tried to run but it was too late.
“You little bitch!” A hand grabbed me roughly and began to drag me away. “Think you can just up and leave like that?” He slapped me hard across the face. “You’re coming home right now!” His face was red with anger as he continued to drag me down the hallway.
“Simon, let go of me!” I caught the look of surprise then anger on the girl’s faces as they realized who it was.
He slapped me again. “Shut up! You do not speak unless spoken to!”
“Hey! Jerk! Let her go!” Jacqui and Jill stormed up and tried to block Simon’s path. It didn’t slow him down. First Jill, then Jacqui went down.
“Stay out of it,” Simon growled. “This is none of your business.”
Ruby raced over to where Jacqui and Jill lay crumpled in a heap. I was numb with fear. I struggled against Simon’s grip to no avail. His fingers were a vice. He dragged and pulled me until we came to his rental car then shoved me roughly into the backseat. I kicked out at him, crying in pain as my foot collided with the car door, missing my target. I reached for the door handle and yanked only to find it was child locked. The other door as well. Simon ran for the driver’s side and in no time at all, we were speeding away, leaving a trail of dust. Without thinking, I launched myself at Simon, grabbing him around the neck. Caught by surprise, he lost control of the car for just a moment before recovering. He was a lot stronger than me and it took hardly effort on his part to pry me loose. I fell back but launched myself at him again, this time catching his ear between my teeth.
“OUCH!” Simon roared.
He braked hard. I fell back, winded from the driver’s seat pressing hard into my chest and abdomen and dizzy from the whiplash. Simon sped on for another few kilometres before pulling over. He got out and wrenched open the back door, pulling me out by my legs and dumping me on the ground. A solid kick to my already aching midsection guaranteed I would not be going anywhere as he took a rope and duct tape from the boot. I was hauled up and pushed against the car, Simon’s body pressing against mine to hold me in place.
“You never learn, do you?” My wrists were pulled together behind my back and secured firmly with the rope. A piece of duct tape went over my mouth. From his pocket, he pulled a bandana and tied it over my eyes. “It’s time I taught you a lesson you will never forget.” He shoved me back in the car, slammed the door and took off again.
I was terrified. Only minutes earlier I had been riding the cloud of elation. How had things changed so quickly? I should have known Simon would find me. I should have known it was a mistake to leave in the first place. Curse that old woman for making me believe things could be different. Things could never be different. I had tried to make a change and it had failed. As far as I could see, I was trapped and doomed to spend the rest of my life in hell. My ribs burned and throbbed and I fought to breathe. I was ready to admit defeat.
“It is not over. You will be free.”
My fear turned to anger. “Shut up! Leave me alone! This is all your fault!” I screamed silently at the voice.
“Have faith. All will be well. Just keep looking for the red.”
I ignored it. Angels. How could I have thought there were angles? I was on my own; always had been and always will be.
“You are never alone. Do not give up.”
“Argh! Go away! Look where listening to you has got me!”
“You are stronger than you once were," was the last thing the voice said before I was alone with my thoughts once more.
I paused. Was that true? It didn’t matter either way. The voice was gone and would offer no more help. Good riddance, I thought cynically. Dale’s face appeared in my mind’s eye along with Jacqui, Jill and Ruby. I was about to lose them and any possible future I had with them. I couldn’t let that happen. The sharp realization came to me that, suddenly, I had something worth fighting for; an experience I had never encountered. It gave me strength, strength I never would have found if I hadn’t escaped to the desert. I started thinking of how I could get away. The dark night would certainly play to my advantage but could I be quick enough? How far could I get while not being able to see? I shook my head, hoping the bandanna would slip. It didn’t budge. Neither did the rope that bound my wrists. I strained and struggled until I was sure my wrists were bleeding. How long had we been driving for? Dale and I had returned to the Inn at around 11:00pm. I estimated it must have been around 11:30 by now. Maybe the girls had called the police. Not that it would help because there was no way they could know where we were going. I managed to get myself up into a sitting position, hoping someone passing by on the road would see me. Simon must have had the same thought.
“Get back down,” he demanded. I did as I was told. There was no point in making him angrier by defying him. That would not serve me well.
A short while later I felt the car begin to slow and come to a stop. I heard the glove box open then slam shut again as I waited for Simon to come and get me. I was still angry but the fear had also returned; an immense fear that Simon was going to kill me. I’d always wondered if people who were going to die got some type of premonition or sense of foreboding before their demise, something to let them know that their time was up. Now I knew. The Reaper bore down on me, his scythe ready to swipe. I could see him, his black hooded robe hanging as still as the grave, hiding a face too ghastly to look upon. No one knew where I was. My body wouldn’t be found for days out here in the middle of nowhere. The Reaper chuckled in anticipation, a hollow, ghostly sound that echoed through my head. Simon opened the door and hauled me out. I lost my balance and fell, wincing at the sharp pain in my ribs then wincing some more as I was pulled back up to my feet. The bandanna was removed from my eyes and in the light from the moon I could see what Simon must have taken from the glove box. I was staring straight down the barrel of a gun.