Panic, don’t panic. I repeated those words over and over in my mind as the car bounced through yet another pothole. Rain drummed against the car as it turned yet again. In the darkness claustrophobia reigned. I could feel my chest constricting, as if someone were sitting on it.
“B-b-breathe. Breathe.” It was all I could do to whisper those words as I bounced around, sliding around with the car’s momentum. I don’t do well in dark enclosed spaces. We turned again, my body banged against the side of the trunk.
A spike of anger dampened my fear as I thought about the predicament I was in. It was frustrating to know I was gagged, and tied. Yes I had tried to find the glow-in-the-dark hand and kick out the rear tail-light. But someone had removed the handle, and two metal plate had been welded in place. There was nothing to do but wait, and struggle against my bonds.
The car splashed through a giant puddle. I felt water stream through the wheels and pound against the undercarriage.
Where are they taking me? I forced myself to say a list of what happened.
“1. I was shopping at the market, just down the street from my house. 2. Someone followed me out of the store. 3. Someone hit me from behind . . . .”
We’re stopping. The hum of the road isn’t as loud anymore. Wheels crunch over gravel and we stop.
“Breathe, breathe.” Panic sets in as I realize I’m not ready, I have no plan. Nothing.
They’re going to drag me out of here and do, who knows what to me. . .
The car picks up speed again. The sound of metal clanging on metal passes us by.
That sounded like a gate.
I twist at the ropes tying my wrists, determined to have some kind of plan ready. The car coasts to a stop, I hear doors opening.
“Breathe.” I roll myself over, positioning my feet towards the mouth of the trunk and wait. Footsteps crunch on the ground.
Wait for it. Wait . . . .
Keys jingle in the lock as I pull my legs back, ready to lash out.
And then the trunk is flung open wide. Cold night air fills the space, almost leaving me breathless. I kick without looking. Someone connects with my foot and I hear a gasp of pain.
I can see out into the night. A sky full of stars is framed by lines of low lying structures. Beyond the lights of the city shine miles away.
Gruff voices shout around me.
“Grab him! Grab his legs you idiots!” The voice booms out into the night.
I feel my foot connect with something soft and hear a gasp from another figure.
“Do I have to do everything myself?”
Strong arms clench both of my legs, squeezing so hard I can feel my bones ache.
And then I’m pulled, dragging over the lip of the car and falling onto the ground. Stars explode in my eyes as my head connects with wet asphalt. The tang of nature and concrete fills the air. Above me hot exhaust mutters from a tailpipe.
“Alright! Alright! That’s enough, lets get this over with.” All around me figures loom in the darkness. One walks towards a wall.
“Who are you guys? What do you want with me?” They all freeze at my words. It’s almost comical as I imagine their eyes widening in astonishment.
“You didn’t gag him? Really?” It’s the figure by the wall, he’s waving his arms. “Do your job you morons! Get something! Come on!”
Rough hands grip me around the head, and a knee pushes into my chest. I try to struggle, but they’re too strong. A dark piece of cloth descends onto my face and into my mouth. Trying not to vomit I snort air into my nose.
I would have struggled more but the sudden sound of a garage door rolling up and a blinding flash of light shock me into stillness.
“Drag him over here, let’s go.” Hands drug me across the ground. Asphalt bit into my shoulder and hip as they awkwardly pulled me into the light. Blinking out the dazzle from my eyes I saw the man reaching for a handle. Beyond him were stacks of boxes piled all the way to the ceiling.
“Can’t you move any faster? We don’t have all night!” He was angry. Even with my blurry vision I could see his face turning a blotchy red.
After a second my body is picked up, walked over the threshold and into the storage space. As we pass close to the wall I see the number 56 reflected on a silver plate.
They throw my body to the ground, and I’m left laying on my stomach trying to suck in air. Except I can’t. It’s like the air is refusing to find my starving lungs. All there is an over powering smell of rot.
My stomach heaves as I roll over, or try to. Someone’s boot gets in my way.
“Yeah you smell it don’t you?” It was the big blotchy man, standing over me. He had something long in his hand. A wooden handle. Metal scraped on the cement floor as he hefted an ax into view.
“It’s what death smells like.” All his other henchmen laughed. He pointed to something hiding deeper in the shed.
“Death’s waiting right over there for you.”
I twisted around to see an old freezer half burried beneath a stack of boxes. Smears of red-brown decorated the whitewashed sides. It’s lid was slight open at a cock-eyed angle.
I tried to scream as uncontrollable tears fell from my eyes. A gray hand and forearm stuck out from the freezer. A finger pointed to me, as if saying,”This is your fault.”
Above me the man chuckled, “Try not to struggle too much, it just gets more messy.”
He hefts the ax and swings it with all his strength.