Screams are the only thing I can hear. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard the sound of pure terror. Actual, real, true terror. My breathing is fast, wild like I’ve been running. There’s a girl under the sofa cushions in the back room – it’s not a good hiding place. I can see her arm draped over the side. He’s coming.
The room shakes from the pounding feet of the hundreds of people outside, which doesn’t help my stability as my whole body shakes with a fear I’ve never known. Hysterical sobs escape the girl under the cushions. Emily, my work colleague, stands in front of me, frozen in shock. I don’t know what to do. She doesn’t either. This isn’t just an angry customer wanting a return.
All is silent.
Footsteps echo across the floor. The door handle twitches, but doesn’t open. Oh God, please turn back. Don’t come inside. It’s the sound of the numbers beeping on the code lock that does it. He knows the password. Shit.
Revealing him to me, the door opens dramatically, slamming against the wall. His skin is dark tan and his eyes are almost black. His eyes – they’re intense with anger. No, not anger. Fury. Ferocious fury.
Emily collapses on the floor. Still and unmoving, the strong girl lays completely lifeless. I don’t know how he managed it. Just a pull on her central finger and she’s on the ground. Dead. I’ve not seen a dead body before. As if carried by the non-existent wind, he steps towards the sofa. The sobbing stops and I know what’s coming.
I take a step backwards, followed by another and another until my back is against the wall.
“Please don’t kill me,” I beg. “Please.” A tormenting smile etches its way on to his narrow mouth. “Don’t do it, please.” His feet carry him forward, closer and closer until he’s almost up against me. He doesn’t speak.
My hand is in his before I can stop it. Petrified shrieks escape me, loud and clear. He doesn’t speak, but pulls me forwards. As I feel his hand tug mine, I close my eyes, but nothing happens. Instead, I feel my feet move along the ground.
He’s pulling me away.
I open my eyes but the fear doesn’t stop. Where is he taking me? The sirens are wailing loud and clear now. People lie motionless on the shop floor. So many people. All because of this man, who could kill in the most delicate of ways.
Nobody stops him as he leaves through the customer entrance, holding me by the throat in what can only be described as a deadlock. They let him walk away.
Round the back is a black car – some sort of jeep with tinted windows. Opening the passenger door, he shoves me into the seat, slamming the door shut and locking it before I can act on a one-second escape plan. I try yelling, but nobody can hear. Nobody can hear my strangled cries.
“Nobody listens.” His voice is deep and rich, but his done is dark. Threatening. “Just sit back.” That’s when I notice the black ring of delicate lines around his left ring finger. A tattoo.
“Don’t kill me – please.”
“If I was going to kill you, I’d have done it back there, with the rest of them.” The speed dial creeps upwards as the engine starts. Never once does he look at me – his stare remains forwards, on a road he seems to be ignoring. The car swerves from left to right, dodging anything in its path. I find myself holding on to my seat in fear of flying forwards.
“Because you’re different, Rebecca. You are mine.”
That’s when I see it, inked on to my own finger. The ring tattoo.