In the process of being bundled into the back of the car, her head struck the door frame. Stars exploded behind her eyes and as she faded from consciousness her last thought was please god don’t let them find it.
Pain filled her mind and sparked across the back of her head like pins and needles from hell. She struggled to make sense of what was happening, trying to remember why she hurt so much. She could remember dividing up the control sheet with the other two. The information was far too important for just one of them to have.
“At least this way, if they find one of us they can’t get their hands on this.” She had said as she cut the paper into three. “If they get there stinking hands on this information, it will be the end for all of us.”
They left the building one at a time and she was the last to leave. As she walked through the front door of the hotel, she suddenly felt more vulnerable than she had since she was a child. Panic rose in her like a snake slithering up her spine and all she knew was that she had to get as much distance between her and that hotel as possible. She hailed a cab and as they sped away she had started to realise how much danger she was in. She could remember the driver was joking with her about kung-fu, trying to get her to relax but… The realisation hit her square in the chest and she was sure that her heart actually missed a beat. They had got her! She had no idea how they had found her so quickly. The three of them had been so careful. The panic was back again but she forced herself to calm down and concentrate on her immediate predicament.
She was lying down on what felt like a bed or maybe a sofa. Her hands were tied behind her back and her feet were also tied. She daren’t open her eyes or move until she was sure that she was alone. She really didn’t want, whoever had grabbed her knowing that she was awake. She shifted all her concentration to her hearing and started to discern a few details.
The first thing was, how quiet it seemed. A clock ticked behind her and she thought that it must be a wall clock but that was all she could hear. No traffic, no rumble of the elevated trains, no shouts or conversations. If she was in the city, she must be in a sound proof room. In the city, it’s sounds leaked into every room, even in the tallest of the scrapers you could hear it droning away far below.
Slowly, she started to make out other sounds. Birdsong. Now she knew she was outside the city. Any small birds that did make the mistake of venturing into Atlas city were soon picked off by cats or bullied back out again by the pigeons. She strained to hear more and was sure that she could make out a stream, well running water at least. That ruled out the suburbs, she must be in the country side somewhere. Christ how long had she been unconscious?
Suddenly she heard footsteps coming towards her from what sounded like a corridor outside of the room she was in. The sound of a door opening and then 4 steps towards her. She could hear the rough breathing of what could only be a man and then a smell of cheap aftershave and cigar smoke. She realised then, that if she opened her eyes she would be staring right at the ape that had grabbed her from the cab. The breathing gave way to a slight grunt and then, with relief she heard her captive leave the room and walk away. She risked opening her eyes.
“So you are awake then. I thought as much. It seems that I am far better at pretending to walk out of a room than you are at pretending to be unconscious.” Her giant kidnapper was standing at the foot of the bed. “shall we dispense with the games.” It was not meant as a question.
“My name is Mr Dreg and I would like to start our relationship by stating that, you are in absolutely no danger as long as you follow my rules and do not do anything to upset me. We could be here together for some time, while we wait for my associate to arrive so let us spend that time as pleasantly as possible. Of course if you decide to play any more games or try to get the better of me, I will not hesitate in snapping your neck like a dry twig” Mr Dreg spoke like an English gent. If there was ever a man, whose appearance didn’t fit his voice, Mr Dreg was it.
“Are you comfortable enough for the time being, while I rustle you up something to eat?” He enquired
“Um, my head hurts quite a bit but other than that I am ok I suppose.” The girl managed to whisper
“I will get you something for your head in just a moment but first please, for the sake of politeness, tell me your name”
“Candi.” She whispered “Candi Strype.”
“Nice to meet you Candi.” And with that he turned and walked from the room.