Chapter 21: .flee/while/you/still/can
The rope lay loosely around my feet. Ubel was sleeping on the sofa opposite of me. I was eternally grateful that he hadn’t tied the ropes too tight. He knew I was able to break free, but I don’t think he expected me to do it. I was in a completely foreign part of town. I had glanced out of window, only to see nothing that I recognised.
The task ahead was quite daunting. While Ubel was sleeping only a few metres away from me, I would have to sneak out past him. I got up from the chair. It filled the air with a loud squawk. Ubel turned in his sleep and grunted.
I looked around, to see if I could find the source of the foul stench. In this neat apartment, nothing looked like it would smell like that. I sat down in front of the computer. I probably didn’t have a lot of time, but I still had to look.
The browser was, unsurprisingly, Ex-Fortify. He also had For on his desktop. The icon for Ex-Fortify was a beetroot. I clicked on it and came to the Extra Wiki. I found Document9 and started scrolling. He was signed in as an administrator. This was a great time to delete everything. I found a symbol that looked like a bin and clicked on it. A small box appeared on the screen.
Are you sure you want to delete Document9?
I was beyond sure. I was so sure it hurt. The site disappeared from the screen as soon as I clicked the small “yes” symbol. Then I went on to Document8 and removed all sings of Amanda Sprague and the explosion. When I was ready to move on to the next Document, a small chat box appeared in the right corner.
What the hell are you doing?
Shite, Oxy had noticed what I was doing. I started typing.
What we’re doing is wrong.
I waited for her to answer. I could see that she was typing.
I’m telling your Father. If you continue acting rebellious, we need to remove you from the operation.
Did “removing from the operation” mean death. Maybe it was for the best if Ubel died.
Your Father is on his way to see the merchandise. Have her clean and ready when he comes.
My breath hitched. Were they on their way here to see me? I went to delete the search history, but remembered Ex-Fortify didn’t save any information about you. Then I ran out of the apartment.
I was in a filthy apartment complex. It looked like Ubel's apartment was the only clean thing here. The stairwell looked old and the railings were rusty. When I heard voices coming from downstairs, I ran in the opposite direction. I went up the stairs and hid on the floor above Ubel’s apartment. As the voices got closer, I peeped out from my hiding spot.
Three men were making their way up to Ubel’s apartment. One of them was in his forties. He had blond hair and eyes so big I could see the blue colour from where I was sitting. He was wearing a nice pair of black jeans and a white shirt with a black tie. The second man was the black man from the abandoned house. He was slender and was shaved clean on the head.
I couldn’t see the face of the third man. He was a lot smaller than the other two. His hood was pulled tightly over his face.
He was nervously fiddling with the zipper of his hoodie.
Suddenly, he turned around, as if he had heard a sound. He looked straight at me, but something told me he didn’t see me.
I held back a choked breath. I could see his face. Everything from his black bangs to his eyeliner. It was Derrick. Why would he be with these men? I wanted to run down and grab him, but it didn’t look like he was there against his will. How had he gotten out of Chris’ apartment at this hour? It was hard to judge anything from this angle but it was clear that it was Derrick and that the blond man was Bastyboy. And he was there to see me.
As soon as they entered the apartment, I ran down the stairs. I tried to be as quiet as I could, as the echo was very loud in this stairwell. I came out on the streets. I had never been in this part of town before. I didn’t recognise anything.
My phone was gone, and so was my wallet. Ubel was smart for taking them. Now, I was completely helpless in a strange part of town.
I cried out for help. There weren’t a lot of houses close by, but that didn’t stop me from trying. I continued running down the street. Every five seconds, I turned around to look at the apartment complex. The lights in Ubel’s apartment were still off.
“Help me!” I screamed. Tears started running down my cheeks. My head still ached from the concussion. I swore and screamed as I continued downwards. Thankfully the street went downhill from Ubel’s complex. That made it a lot quicker to run for my life.
“Help!” I cried. I turned to see that the lights were on in in Ubel’s apartment. I could see people moving around. They were coming for me, I knew it. I could almost feel it.
“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” I muttered to myself. “HELP!”
I banged on each door I passed, but it was two in the morning and people didn’t open their doors for anyone at this hour. I wasn’t some criminal with a Glasgow smile, but people in these areas of town had street smarts. They knew not to open their door for a pretty young woman. She would most likely be a burglar, or have a gang on her tail, waiting for her to give the signal to attack.
“Help me, please.” I whimpered. I gasped for air; my feet ached just as bad as my head. For the first time I was thankful that I had been training so much before the incident. My daily runs had really paid off.
I knew I was in the outskirts. The neighbourhood looked extremely sketchy with run-down houses with fences that were falling apart. The gardens were unkempt and the grass was growing freely. No one here had thought of putting in the time or effort to mow their lawn.
This had to be the north side of town. That’s where the worst neighbourhoods were. But that probably meant there was police nearby. Scott had told me that they patrolled the north-outskirts every night. They had at least five officers out every night.
At the same time, they had just lost many officers. Did that mean they couldn’t afford sending in the patrols to this part of town.
I was worried about Scott. He was much closer than I was when that house blew up, but I thought he was okay. If the black man was alive, that must mean Scott also lived. I wondered if he was lying in the rubble of the abandoned house. Alone and scared, choking on his own blood. Ubel had said that we both had lost someone. Did that mean I had lost Scott?
I shook my head. I couldn’t afford to think like that. It was dangerous thinking. Scott was probably at home, worried sick about me. I got a little sting in my stomach, thinking I’d make him worried. But I needed to focus on moving my feet forward. If I didn’t, the party might be the last time I saw Scott. The last time I kissed him.
I took some short-cuts through a few yards. I didn’t even care when a big bulldog came charging at me for trespassing on his property.
I came back on the streets and looked around. I needed to continue, but I was out of breath. I just needed a quick rest.
A car came from the distance. I froze when I saw the white van. White vans were never a good sign. And especially not when they drove slowly, as if they were looking for someone or something.
I remembered the white van the black man got into when he was talking to Officer Darren Treble. It was the same damn van, I was sure of it. I was completely petrified, not knowing where the run. My gaze fixated on the car coming towards me, and my feet unable to move.
“Run, you dumb bitch,” I said to my self. “C’mon!” I started running again. At the same time I pep-talked myself.
The van was closer now. I could clearly see Ubel’s reddish-brown hair and green eyes behind the steering wheel. They were scouting the scenery for any signs of me. I was lucky because I was hidden in the shadows, but I knew that sooner or later, they would catch up. The headlights were doing a great job of hunting. I was still hidden, but the ominous light only came closer. I was only a few metres away from it now.
Then I saw salvation. A police car stood parked down the street. I crossed my fingers and hoped that it wasn’t that bastard Darren Treble. When I saw her auburn mane and long figure, I relaxed. It was Chrissie. She was standing there like she was waiting for me. As she saw me running towards her, she smiled. Her smile quickly turned to confusion, and then to worry.
“Onila, is that you?” I continued running until my body crashed into hers. Her strong arms held me, and she rubbed my back as I sobbed into her chest.
“What’s happened?” I tired forming a coherent answer, but my mouth wouldn’t form the words. She found a blanket in her car and opened the cop car so that I could sit down and catch my breath. I sat down, with my head in my hands, and started calming myself.
“Oni. You need to tell me what happened. I can’t help you if you don’t,” Chrissie said steadily.
“I was kidnapped,” I whispered. “There is a man named Ubel. I don’t know if that’s his real name or not. He has been stalking me since May. He works for a human trafficking ring or something. His apartment is up the road,” I took a deep breath when I realised I was rambling. “I’m merchandise,” I hissed through my teeth.
Chrissie looked at me with such worry and care. She had an almost motherly expression on her face.
“Let’s go to Ubel’s apartment,” she said, climbing into the car.
“No,” I protested. “They might still be there. He followed me down the street in a white van, but I never saw it pass. They probably went back to his apartment. We are two women and they are three men." I didn't count Derrick as one of them "We’re outnumbered!”It was too late. Chrissie had already started driving back the way I came from.
I didn’t remember the way, but for some reason it seemed like she knew it. When we pulled up I got a bad feeling.
“How did you know the way?” I asked, suspicion dripping from my voice.
“Is that a fire?” I looked up. I could clearly see the smoke seeping out of the open window in Ubel’s apartment.
Chrissie got out of the car, and I followed her. She ran up the staircase and into the apartment.
In the room, tied to a chair with the same ropes that Ubel used on me, sat Derrick. He wriggled on the chair, fear over his face, trying to get free.
“Help me!” he shouted when he saw us. “Oni, help!”
Chrissie dropped to her knees next to the chair.
“Oni, catch,” she shouted and threw the radio at me. I knew what she wanted me to do. I held in the button and started talking.
“An apartment complex is burning in the northern outskirts of town. Over.”
“What’s the address? Over. ”474Please respect copyright.ＰＥＮＡＮＡSiKRjMjbG9
I looked at Chrissie. “250 Fairway Drive,” she told me.
“Two-fifty Fairway Drive. Over,” I shouted into the radio.
“We’ll be on our way. Over and out, ” the voice said.
Chrissie was frantically trying to free Derrick.
“Help me carry him,” she said. She grabbed the chair, and I held the front of the chair. We carried him with the chair. All the way down the stairs we went. Derrick passed out midway down. He was bleeding profusely from a big wound in his head. Worried for his life, we hurried down. Half way down we started smelling the gas in the air.
“We need to get out of here, this place is going to blow up!” Chrissie screamed. She banged on the doors as we went down. Many sleepy people came out of flats and quickly understood the situation. With panic in their eyes, they ran down. Some helped us carry Derrick, but most cowered downstairs with their tail between their legs.
Just as we hit the ground floor, we heard a loud bang above us. Rubble fell down on all sides. We heard screams from the stairwell.
“Hurry out the door,” Chrissie shouted. We moved as quickly as we could.
I was covered in dust and ash as I came out in the open air. I coughed; my lunges were filled with smoke.
I heard sirens in the distance, and I knew I was safe. For now.ns 22.214.171.124da2