All too soon it was nighttime again, and there was still no traces of Reuben to be found. I was beginning to grow tired, hungry and desperate. Where was he?! He couldn't have gotten into trouble...could he? He could take care of himself. The memory of the older man the first day we had arrived flashed through my mind. The look of pure and utter fury was plain in my brother's eyes, his mouth twisted into a vicious snarl. To say Reuben was protective of me was an understatement...
I decided to head back to the flat and just pray he'd be there. I was walking along the dimly lit streets, my mind wandering when, without warning, something shoved into me and I found myself pinned against the wall.
Blinking through disorientated eyes, I found myself staring into the angry glare of the guy I had run into earlier. The one with "gothic influences". Except now he looked even more menacing. Devastatingly terrifying. The light from the street lamp cut across his face, plunging half of it into shadows. Vivid red irises stared down at me beneath a single eyebrow piercing.
I whimpered involuntarily; a natural reaction to the fear that coursed through me. I could feel my heart kicking against my chest, threatening to explode; my breath came out in short, shallow gasps.
Without warning he lowered his head and licked my throat. I shrunk away from him, as much as was possible considering I had nowhere to shrink. All sorts of images flashed through my mind: the dark, dangerous streets of London where men like these preyed on young naive girls like myself. It was always on the news, but I'd always thought that I was safe. I never imagined it could happen to me... And yet here I was, staring death straight in the face.
I was going to die.
'Nice to meet you love, sweet dreams.'
The next few moments were a little hazy to me, I could only recollect the look of pain etched across his face, feeling confused but not wasting a single second in escaping. His grip had loosened considerably and he staggered back, clutching his head between his hands.
Then I ran.
I ran, and ran like my life depended on it, never once looking back, never once faltering. Tears streamed down my cheeks; my legs began to buckle and the fear threatened to consume me whole, but I didn't stop. I couldn't stop now. He was right behind me; I could sense it.
I rounded the corner and ran straight into someone, sending us both flying to the floor. I had an urge to scramble to my feet and leave whoever I had just ploughed down but I didn't want to leave them to the psycho I had just encountered. But then the terrifying possibility that I had just run straight into the psycho entered my mind and I literally leapt to my feet, trying to see through the darkness who I had knocked down.
When I saw it wasn't him, my breath came out in one long whoosh.
It was a girl, probably in her early twenties with light blonde hair and startled violet eyes.
'I'm sorry,' I apologized automatically, surprised at how out of breath I was. 'This man - he was... he was, chasing me and I.. ran...'
'Are you alright?' she asked.
'I don't know,' I gasped. 'Is he following me?'
'Is who following you?'
'This... man, he ... he tried to...'
'Tried to what?' she helped me to my feet, her eyes were cautious but concerned.
'Tried to kill me...' I wasn't looking at her, I was too busy peering round the corner I had just come, trying to see if there was a dark figure, a pair of intense blood-red eyes, anything out of the ordinary. There was nobody there though. I had lost him.
I sagged in relief.
'Did you want me to help you home?'
'Shouldn't I tell the police?'
The girl shifted uncomfortably. 'I doubt the police would help in this area it's...a little unheard of.'
'Why?' I blinked, uncomprehending.
'Never mind. Did you want me to help you home or not?'
'Okay thank you. I'd appreciate that.'
'Great. The name's Calla.'
After Calla had left, I locked all of the doors and firmly bolted the windows shut, double checking everywhere that there wasn't a way to get in. To my ultimate dismay and worry, I noticed Reuben wasn't home either.
Where the hell was he?
For the rest of the night, I sat on my bed with my knees tucked under my chin, clutching my mobile phone like my life depended on it. When my stomach growled, I ignored it. I refused to eat until I found Reuben safe. Why hadn't he called me? Had he really gotten hurt?
My eyes had begun closing, my body sagging against the headboard when a thunderous bang on the front door brought me back to full attention. I literally flew to the door, praying it was who I hoped it would be and cried out in relief when I saw Reuben standing there.
Quickly unlocking the door I yanked him inside, wasting no time in bolting it up again.
'Where the HELL have you been?' my voice was deafening, far louder than I had ever spoken before. It even made Reuben flinched slightly.
'Relax,' he mumbled. 'Just out, looking for jobs y'know. Speaking of, I have one at The Pig's Head.'
'What?' I spluttered. 'For nearly 24 hours you were JOB HUNTING? And you didn't have the decency to even text me? Do you know how worried I've been?'
I stared at him in complete disbelief. Was he really telling me to chill? I was overcome by an incredibly bout of anger and I shoved him as hard as I could in the shoulders, sending him stumbling back into the wall.
'Do you know what the hell I've been through tonight?! I was nearly killed by some psycho, all because I was out looking for you! How can you be so insensitive? What the hell has come over you?!'
He stared at me, absolutely seething and that's how we both stood for several minutes. Both trying to out stare the other. But looking at him, I noticed something different about him. His face was slightly...sallower. His eyes had dark bruises under them and he had a red line running across his neck.
'What's that?' I enquired through narrowed eyes, forgetting my anger for the moment.
'Nothing, just some twat trying to pick a fight.'
I sighed. 'Reuben please. You've got to let me know where you are. I just wanted to know if you were safe or not. I'm not comfortable being alone for too long, you know that.'
His features softened and his glare melted away, along with the angry set of his mouth.
'I'm sorry,' he apologized. 'I won't do it again. Now if you don't mind Ana, I'm shattered.'
Before I could say another word, he turned round and headed into his room, slamming the door shut with a resolute bang behind him.