Fiction Horror Mystery

‘I DON’T WANT you getting drunk.’

‘No, Dad, I won’t,’ said Jennifer.

‘I remember when I was eighteen…’

‘Yes, Dad. I know.’

‘Look you’re my only daughter. I don’t want anything happening to you.’

‘Okay, Dad, I’m old enough to look after myself. We’re only going to Winkers.’

‘Yes, I know what goes on in there.’

‘Dad, I can show them ID at last, and they will let me in. Stop going on.’

‘You said, “We’re only going”, who are you going with?’

‘Please, give it a rest. I’m going with the group I go to the pub with.’

‘Yeah, you weren’t old enough to go to the pub as well.’

‘I could if I didn’t drink alcohol, and I didn’t. Now, at last, I’m eighteen, and can go pubbing, clubbing, and drink booze.’

’I won’t be able to sleep until you get back.’ He said ducking his face from view.

‘Oh, please, Dad. Don’t worry.’

She grabbed her handbag and skipped to the door.

‘Here she is. The birthday girl, now it is your turn to buy the drinks.’

‘I’ll buy you all a drink in here, as long as you buy them at Winkers,’ said Jennifer.

‘You must be joking. We can’t afford to go there.’

‘Oh, come on, it’s my birthday.’

The pub lounge became quiet as the group ducked their heads and turned away from Jen.

‘Who watched the game last night?’

‘Yeah, we were brilliant. Bout time we won against them.’

Jennifer looked at the other girls, they all shook their heads.

‘Order my round, I’ll pay when I get back from the loo,’ she said slinging her bag over her shoulder.

Dabbing under her eyes, she stared at herself in the mirror and practised her brave smile as she prepared to face her gang.

‘Hello, congratulations on your birthday,’ said Neal.

‘Oh, thank you. I’ve seen you around, but we haven’t met, or have we?’

‘I’ve only looked on, from a distance,’ he said with a laugh. ‘You look smart.’

‘Thanks again, I hoped we would go somewhere different after the pub. It wasn’t to be.’

‘I’m going to Winkers, you can come with me if you want.’

‘Can I? But…’

‘Don’t worry, I’m a local, some of your group know me. I’m a couple of years older, but they’ve all seen me around.’

‘Come and join us.’

‘No, let’s go straight to the club, we can have a drink before it gets too noisy.’

Neal paid Jen’s bar tab, grabbed her hand and led her out. Jen waved goodbye behind her head as the door closed.

Neal opened the BMW door, and graciously averted his eyes as Jen’s mini skirt became more mini as she adjusted herself.

‘Lovely car. I’ve got my test next month. I wonder if my Dad will buy one of these?’

‘If you’re a good girl,’ he grinned.

The bouncer didn’t even ask her age as Neal flashed his member card and ordered drinks.

‘How did you know I wanted a gin and tonic?’ asked Jen.

‘Good guess,’ he said. ‘No, actually I’ve seen you drink it when you swapped soda with your friend’.

‘What? Do you mean Mary? When she was drunk?’

‘Shall we dance?’

One dance led to many. Drinks flowed as they slumped back in their seats.

‘My God. What a fantastic birthday. Thank you.’

‘My pleasure. Jeez, it’s two o’clock already. Last drink before we go?’

‘I’d better not. I feel a bit drowsy,’ said Jen as she forced her eyes open.

Some time later, Jen had no idea how long, she awoke.

‘Ow, my head hurts. Where the hell am I?’ Jen said as she attempted to stand.

‘Christ, it’s dark in here.’

Her hands padded the floor around her, bare concrete, rough and cold.

‘Help, let me out,’ she screamed.

She stood, needles jabbed her head, and hands covered her ears as she dulled the pain. After three steps in each direction, she hit the wall and placed her hands on the rough brick surface.

‘Where is the door?’

Once again she screamed until her lungs felt like a miniature Hindenburg. Nothing. She looked up. Out of reach, she could make out squares of rusting metal surrounding a lump of black.

Once more she bellowed. No sound or movement from above, and she slumped to the floor. Then she began wondering what had happened. She had no clue why, she got there or how to get out.

There was movement above. A grunt and a cut-off wail.

’What in hell’s name?’ was mumbled. A slash then quiet once more.

‘Neal, is that you?’

The body above collapsed across the metal squares. Arms and legs akimbo, agonised coughing accompanied the pounds of flesh against iron.

‘Who is that? What are you doing?’ The gloomy light gave no hint.

The gentle patter of drops hit Jen’s matted hair.

‘What the… It is warm water.’

Drops were spreading in a line across the cell. Jen attempted to sniff the liquid, she touched her wet fingers against her nose, shaking her head decided against sniffing or tasting. Gradually the dripping line became a wet cloudburst.

‘Anyone up there? Let me out.’

Jen curled into a ball, head between her knees, hands across her ears, she wailed, a puppy stuck in a well.

There was a scuffling, a creak of metal, she felt something against her calf. Her eyelids creased as she refused to peek. Then a door opened, then another. Light from a distant room eased the dark surround.

Jen’s hands felt cold metal touching her leg. Her eyes opened, one at a time. All was still. She saw a step ladder reaching the now open top. Dare she?

She moved step by step, ears straining. Fear hit her hard as she noticed the liquid below was dull red. Blood.

‘Oh God, it’s Neal.’

She poked the dead lump behind the metal grill. Holding back a scream as she crept through one door and then another, a fire escape flashed a way out. She burst the door open and fell through onto a driveway. A car with its engine running was parked in front of the building. Its lights illuminated the front of Winkers. She ran the the taxi. The back door opened.

‘Please help,’ she said.

‘Get in,’ said the driver.

As he moved off her tears flooded.

‘Where are we going,’ Jen asked.

Silence was her answer. She recognised the streets and the buildings. Then home. The car door opened. She rushed to her open front door as she fell to the carpeted floor of the hallway. Her father’s slippered feet greeted her. She looked up and spotted stained trouser legs.

‘Why, Dad?’


February 27, 2024 07:47

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