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Fiction Suspense Thriller

It’s dark. There is a ringing in my ears that feels like it is bouncing around, reverberating against the inside of my brain. My fingers are damp, and I can feel a tight, coarse cord binding my wrists together. There is a pressure digging into my skull, covering my eyes and secured in the back of my head. The taste of blood lingers in my mouth and a distinct bodily order is filling the air around me. A force is pulling me backwards as my heels drag limply, and I am suddenly aware of the presence of two arms interlocked with my own on either side of me. 

The intolerable ringing in my ears begins to subside, and I can hear two men quietly arguing back and forth in another language. I don’t understand a word, but their tones are easily distinguishable as hostile and hurried. The notion that I should be experiencing fear comes over me, but for some reason, I only feel calm. Is this my body’s reaction to shock? Pure peace?

We come to an abrupt stop, and I’m suddenly on my feet rather than being dragged. The men are silent, and the world as I know it is still pitch blackness. For a moment, I’m unsure if the men have abandoned me here, but it seems illogical–nearly as illogical as their kidnapping me in the first place.

For the first time since I came to, I try to think of the last thing I remember from before the darkness. Flashing colored lights, loud music vibrating the floor beneath me, a bartender sliding a gin and tonic across the bar to me, a tall, scruffy, but handsome man smiles from a few seats down, then starts walking toward me. Blair taps me on the shoulder and I spin around to see her mouthing something to me as she points to the dance floor. I smile and nod, as if I understood a word she said, watch her bounce off with a newfound gal pal she undoubtedly found in the restroom, in true Blair fashion. Then I turn back towards the man, who is now standing right next to me, and he leans down and introduces himself as Jack. I take a sip of the gin and tonic the bartender just made, pull a couple single dollar bills from my phone case and set them on the bar, then loudly, but likely still inaudibly, shout back to the man, “I’m Britt.” One more sip of my drink, and then BLACKNESS.

The men are speaking again, but this time in heavily accented English.

“They said to meet here,” one man says in a huff.

“Patience,” the other man says quietly.

I notice that my mouth isn’t bound or restricted in any way, and I wonder if I should say something. But what would I say?

It’s quiet for what seems like an eternity–and then I hear leaves crunching, and the sound is getting closer and closer. Whoever “they” are must be arriving. When the noise stops, I expect something to happen to me, but it doesn’t. No one is touching me, and yet, no one has thought to remove the band from around my eyes, or untie my wrists.

Finally, a man with a gentle, quiet voice finally speaks.

“Gentlemen,” he says calmly, “I appreciate your work in finding her and getting her to me safely. Please, if you could remove the blindfold so I can ensure that it is her.”

I feel hands at the back of my head, untying the fabric, and for a moment, I am almost excited to see who is standing before me. The blindfold falls to the ground, and I look up to see a stranger–tall, quite large in muscle, bearded, with gray hairs starting to poke through. The man is unfamiliar, but he does not seem dangerous. He doesn’t appear to have any weapons, and he doesn’t look angry or mean; in fact, it’s hard to picture him as threatening in any way.

I become much more aware of my surroundings as my eyes adjust to the “light”, although it is clearly nighttime still. The stars and moon are visible beyond the layers of tree branches above me. The leaves on the ground are red and yellow, but there are still some green leaves hanging onto the branches. The air is crisp, but not cold, and the earthy aroma is comforting despite the current circumstances.

The man steps closer to me, examining me. He looks me up and down, but doesn’t touch me. Finally, he settles on my eyes. He takes less than a second’s glance, then steps back. To my surprise, a smile spreads across his face, but still, it doesn’t seem menacing–it seems sincere.

“It’s her. Thank you so very much,” he says to the men. He hands them each a wad of cash, and the men all but sprint away.

When they are long gone, it is just me and the mysterious man standing in the middle of the woods. He smiles.

“I hope you aren’t too frightened,” he says quietly and steps behind me. For a moment, I am, but then I feel him untying the rope around my wrists. “I’ve been looking for you for a long time. I’m happy to explain everything, but for now, I need you to trust me. Can you do that?”

The thing about his question is that he seems to mean it. I actually believe that if I tried to run right now, he would let me go. But there is a part of me that does trust him, and I can’t explain it. There is a part of me that is desperate to know what he wants to explain.

I nod, and he steps back in front of me. He puts a hand out, and I take it. He leads me off the path in the woods and we are walking through leaves and dirt. I look down at my feet and realize how filthy they are, thanks to the strappy sandals I chose to wear to the club with Blair when I wasn’t aware I’d be hiking through the woods to end my night.

The man says nothing as we walk, nor do I. He finally stops in front of a large tree and looks at me. “Does anything here feel familiar to you?”

I take a beat to take in my surroundings, but the only thing that feels familiar to me is the man. I shake my head in response to his question, and although he appears a little disappointed, he nods and leads me closer to the tree.

With his left foot, he clears some leaves from the front of the tree, and when he is finished, there is a wooden hatch in the ground. Still, it doesn’t seem familiar, but I know if I want his explanation, I’ll have to follow him into this underground place. And in my mind, it isn’t even a question–I’m going.

He opens the door and quietly says, “Alright then. I’ll go first, you follow. Make sure you grab the rope to pull the door shut–we wouldn’t want just anyone finding this place.”

And then he steps forward and falls directly into the hole in the ground. I don’t hear anything after that–no noise, no thud–nothing.

So I grab hold of the rope on the bottom of the door with my right hand, dangle my feet into the hole in the ground, and hold my breath as if I were jumping into a swimming pool.

And when I start to fall, it’s as if I’m back to where I started–darkness.

October 06, 2023 14:33

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2 comments

Daniel Feagin
21:34 Oct 11, 2023

Very well put together. I question trusting a man that had you drugged and kidnapped, but hopefully she makes it out alright!

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AnneMarie Miles
21:11 Oct 10, 2023

I love the mystery of this. So much mystery! Initially, I assumed that she was roofied at the club with her friend - which was frightening with all the descriptions you gave of her being dragged and groggy. But then this mystery man and this mystery underground space... I am so curious! This could be a prologue to a very, very interesting book. I really enjoyed the suspense you built. I want more of this story and these characters!

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