Sally paced back and forth, frustration gnawing at her. Every few minutes she marched to the door and thumped on it or kicked at the wooden panels. For a while she had tapped against the wall and listened to the pathetic response and then stopped. As if by mutual consent she and her neighbour had slowed and then ceased the constant back and forth of limited contact. It was getting them nowhere and so for a while now there had been nothing.
She had brushed her teeth with the tiny, one use brush and she had taken off her knickers and socks and washed them in the little wash basin, using the liquid soap. They dried quickly on the heated towel rail and pulling on clean underwear lifted her spirits a little.
She threw herself onto the bed and as the dullness crept in and her mind fugged over she pushed back to her feet to wash her face in cold water. She wouldn’t sleep, wouldn’t give up.
When the handle began to turn and a key rattled in the lock she moved to the door. The intention was to push aside the slight girl and run. If she could get out into the house at least that would be something. She would run and fight and win her freedom.
As the door pushed inwards she raised clenched fists…
He was tall, and though not as huge as the thugs who had first captured her, the man standing in the doorway was broad and imposing. He was dressed in a dark grey suit. Short hair, almost black was swept back from his forehead and he looked down at her with deep blue eyes. He was a striking man, the sort that would draw a glance should she pass him in the street and the shock of seeing him there immobilized her. He cocked his head to one side and without a word took a step into the room. There was no choice for Sally but to move backwards. Fleetingly she considered kicking out at him but knew that it would be pointless.
“What the hell do you think you are doing? Are you in charge here? Let me out. You really need to let me go now. I have no idea what is going on but this is wrong – so wrong. All I was trying to do was speak to Mr Braithwaite. I’m trying to find my boyfriend. That’s all I’m doing and you have no right to keep me here, how dare you – and those thugs, those two brutes, are they yours? They threatened me. They were going to rape me… …” She was heading towards hysteria, could feel it ramping up, her breathing quickening and hands beginning to shake. The visitor had yet to speak.
Without laying a finger on her he drove her backwards and closed the door behind him. As the rant petered out she had no other choice but to stand in silence before him.
“I am sorry you have been afraid. I hope you have been comfortable.”
“Comfortable. Of course I haven’t been comfortable. I’ve been locked in a stinking, cold barn, forced into this place, held captive. No, No I have not been comfortable. Let me out, let me go. I don’t know what sort of deal you have going on here and to be honest I don’t care. Just let me go home and I won’t tell anyone. I should, I should report you to the authorities but, well, if you just let me go now I won’t.”
He sighed deeply and shook his head. “I’m sorry. This is not possible. What you ask, I can not do it. You have to stay here. For a little while, just a little while and then we will see.”
“No, no what the hell do you think you’re talking about? I’m not staying here. You have no right, no right at all.”
“I am sorry. I would prefer that you would be comfortable and patient. If you can be patient, for just a little while then I think all can be well.”
Like the thugs his accent was strong and suggested Eastern Europe, maybe Poland, Russia. It was difficult to tell, his English was fluent and in another situation she may have found the delivery appealing but right now all she knew was anger.
She drew in a breath, about to launch into another tirade but he raised a hand. “I want you to be calm, think of yourself as my guest and in just a little time you will go home. I also want to tell you that your boyfriend, he is well – up to now”
“Daniel, Daniel, is he here? Let me see him. Here, why is he here? Take me to him.”
“I am sorry, that is not possible. He is well now and he can stay that way, it is up to you.”
“Up to me? How do you mean, how is it up to me?”
“You have been angry, you have made much noise, you have upset my other guests. I would like you to stop that now. I would like you to be quiet and calm and if you do this to please me, then your man will remain well.”
Her throat had dried; there was no mistaking the threat. The horror of what was being said robbed her of speech.
The well dressed handsome man smiled down at her. “Ah, I see now that you understand. This is good. Please be comfortable. I may speak with you again.” He shrugged, “Who knows – we shall see.”
He spun on his heel, strode across the floor and disappeared into the hallway locking the door behind him.
Sally sank to the floor, the frustration and anger replaced now by a profound sense of fear, not for herself, but for Daniel who was possibly near to her but unreachable.