Flight (Page 38)

Indulging in the first creamy bite, I tried to pretend that the events of the past few hours hadn’t happened. The problem was that I wore a constant reminder of it on my left hand. I sat on my hand to avoid the temptation to keep trying to pull it off. My finger was getting sore from messing with it so much.

After only a few bites of ice cream the bell above the door jingled, signaling the arrival of more customers. I heard mumbled voices and assumed the new arrivals were ordering.

“Hello there sugar,” a deep voice drawled from right behind me.

I fought the urge to turn around and instead took another bite.

“Oh, come on now, I know you heard me.”

I bristled as I heard a chair scrape the floor. Great. He was going to try to sit with me.

“So what’s your name?”

Clearly, ignoring him wasn’t going to work.

“Listen, I’m not in the mood—” I faltered when I saw the hulk of a man seated across from me. Unshaven, with shaggy hair and a worn out t-shirt, the guy wasn’t a pretty sight. I hoped my usual evasion tactics worked this time. A quick survey made it clear he wasn’t alone. Two other men stood behind me now. Fear crept up on me as I realized that I was being sized up.

“You were saying?” His wry smile did nothing to relax me.

“Hey, nice ring baby.” My eyes darted toward the voice, and I noticed a pair of incredibly dirty jeans. One of the friends now hovered beside me, boxing me in.

“You can have it if I can ever get the damn thing off.”

I stood up and prepared to throw my ice cream in the trash. “Excuse me.”

“You are definitely not excused.” The first man smiled and ran his hands through his greasy hair.

“Hey Harriston, that’s what I think it is right?” My exit was blocked by the second man.

“No question, I wonder what this little princess is doing out here alone. Trevor is going to be happy with us, very happy with us.”

“I need to go.” The hairs stood up on the back of my neck, things weren’t looking good. Suddenly being back in New Orleans didn’t sound so bad.

“You’re not going anywhere other than with us. You sure you don’t want to finish that ice cream?” The original man, who was evidently named Harriston, smirked.

I tried to hide my fear. “I’ve lost my appetite.”

“Well then, I guess we’ll be going.” Harriston grabbed me roughly by the arm. “You are going to come with us nicely, little girl.”

“I’m not going anywhere with you.” I looked around, figuring that someone had to see what was going on, but the cashier was missing. Two other large men stood at the door, and by their mocking expressions, I deduced they were part of the same group.

“Hey, leave me the hell—”

A dirty hand covered my mouth. “No one’s coming to your rescue. Better make it easier on yourself.” Harriston pushed something cold and metal against the back of my neck. “I have no problem cutting you; you’re still worth a lot roughed up.”

I nodded as Harriston led me out to the parking lot. I gazed longingly at my Land Rover as we stopped in front of a rusted out old Chevy pickup.

“Get some tape,” Harriston ordered and removed his hand from my mouth to quickly replace it with a strip of duct tape. He let go of my arms long enough to tie my hands and feet together. I tried to fight them by flailing but they just tied the rope tighter, making it dig into the skin of my wrists. The next time I flailed, all I accomplished was losing my flip-flops and gaining a small cut from the knife.

“I hope you don’t mind riding in the back, sugar.” His sinister tobacco stained smile suggested he didn’t care what I thought.

“I’ll ride in back with her,” the guy with the filthy jeans said.

“She’s your type, huh, Riley?”

“Exactly my type.” Riley picked me up and jumped into the back, looking down at me the whole time. He was younger and appeared less threatening than Harriston, but I knew he could be just as dangerous. He put me down before sitting next to me.

A door slammed shut. The engine started up after a few tries and the truck noisily sped out of the parking lot.

Riley didn’t say anything for a while, he just looked at me, but as the truck continued to travel, he decided to open his mouth.

“You’re really pretty. I wish I knew your name.”

Obviously, I couldn’t answer him with my mouth taped so he continued.

“I wish you were my girl. I’d take better care of you than your boyfriend. Why would he let you wander by yourself? I would never let you out of my sight.”

I wondered why he assumed I had a boyfriend, was all this somehow related to Levi? As angry as I was at him, I could have used him at that moment.

The truck started to bump up and down, and I was thrown against the side painfully. I had the impression we were on a dirt road.

I shivered involuntarily as I thought about where they might be taking me.

Riley scooted over to pick me up. “It’s okay baby, I’ve got you.” He moved my hair to examine the small cut left by the knife. I hoped I was bleeding all over him; it served him right. As if to prove his point about “having me” Riley started to let his hands rove up my legs. I really regretted wearing a short sundress. I tried to scream in protest but the tape limited me to mumbles.

“I can see why he picked you. I’d have picked you too if I were him. Maybe you won’t go back to him. Maybe Trevor will let me keep you.” Riley smiled happily and I started having visions of being kept on a leash like a pet. Damn, how did I get in this situation? Me and my craving for ice cream.

Just as I thought I couldn’t take any more time spent with Riley’s dirty hands all over my legs, the truck came to a stop. In one motion, Riley scooped me up, stood, and jumped out.

“Looks like Trevor’s already home,” Harriston called as he headed toward a rustic cabin. That’s when it clicked; I was essentially living in my own horror movie. Trevor was going to be some lunatic that wore human skin as a mask or mutilated girls for sport. I was petrified. Looking around me I noticed giant cats, or really more like mountain lions moving in toward us.

Harriston entered the cabin leaving the door open behind him for Riley to enter.

From my position in Riley’s arms, I looked around me. The large room was surprisingly well furnished. It didn’t fit. Several couches and armchairs filled the room with a large area rug on the floor. The furnishings did nothing to cover up the squeaky floorboards. It seemed like whoever owned the place was trying to show off. Several men walked into the room, all of whom were shirtless. Fantastic.

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