8 - Separation
The pain was cold, I opened my eyes. Where am I? I stood up and looked around. It looked like an ice rink, this one however was familiar somehow, but I couldn't quite figure out where I was. I looked up and saw a big sign with a digital clock below it. The sign read "Hull ice arena" and the clock read '8:00' What the fuck? How did I get here? I recalled the last time I had heard the time, it 2:40 and that was just before we left the motorway. I looked around again, the arena was dark and lifeless. "Hey! You!" A torch light shon into my eyes "What are you doing here!? You shouldn't be in here! Get out before I call the police!" The light was finally diverted from my eyes, I could see it was a security guard who was more angry than happy to see me. How did I get in here without him seeing me? "Did you hear me young girl!? Get out before I call the police!" He was stood by one of the door exits on the outskirts of the ice rink, he unlocked the door for me and I proceeded to walk towards the exit trying my best to not fall over. Somehow I had made it to the ice rink exit, I looked at the security guard and he looked back at me, torch in my face. "This way young lass" the guard told me. He was tall with black hair, he also had a chubby face and a beer belly of adequate size, giving the typical security guard image. We turned a corner and walked straight on eventually reaching the next corner. As we turned the corner the exit to the road could be seen in front of me. "You have any way of getting home lass?" The guard asked me as we walked.
"Erm, no" I said, triggering my mind to ask me how I would get home. Do I want to go home? Where's Natalie? And Alex, and Daniella? Are they in trouble? Do they need me? Where is Natalie's family? Is it even the same day? Has this whole thing finished and Natalie will be waiting for me at home with all the answers?
"Hey! Missy! Snap out of it!" A sharp voice pinned down my mind, forcing it to stop thinking. "Huh? What? Oh... sorry" I replied back to the guard. "Look lass, you seem to be in need of help, how did you even manage to get in here anyway?" The guard asked me.
"erm... I don't know, one minute I was on the road to hull, and the next minute I wake up here in the middle of Hull ice rink with you shining a torch in my face" I replied.
"Ah, sorry about that, just doing my job miss" he said. "What's your name anyway?"
"It's erm, Tina" I replied, having to think what my name was.
"Well, it's nice to meet you Tina, but a job's a job and I've gotta do what I'm getting paid for and that includes kicking out any intruders" He told me.
"It's ok, I'll find my own way home" I told him.
"Wait, I may be doing my job but I still have a heart you know, is there anyone you can call to come pick you up?" He asked.
"I erm, yes there is, my mum" I replied, telling him the first person that came into my mind.
"Alright, here's my mobile, don't be on it too long Missy I ain't that generous, not when it comes to my job anyway" He told me, handing over his mobile phone. I took it off him and dialled my mum's number, I waited for a few seconds for the dial tone to kick in, it kept ringing, no answer. "No answer, she must have left her phone in her car or something, I'll try the house phone" I told the security guard. Quickly I put in the number for my home and held the phone to my ear, same response, no response. "No luck there either" I told the guard.
"Hmm" The security guard said with a sigh "Your pushing your luck here Missy, I'll lend you some money for the bus! Where is it your heading?" He asked.
"Immingham" I told him.
"Immingham!? That's a bit far isn't it for a girl as young as you to be travelling on her own all the way up here"
"I wasn't alone, I was with a few friends coming from college"
"Ah, that's alright then I guess, here, take four pounds, it seems the job does involve generosity after all" He said with a tight look on his face looking at me. He fondled around in his pocket for some money, bringing his fist out of his pocket he accidently dropped a pound coin on the floor which rolled between my legs and stopped behind me. I turned around to pick up the coin, kneeling down to pick it up I was met with a sharp thud on my head which made the pain from my previous attack even worse, but this time I did not pass out. "What the fuck!" I shouted, I turned around back to the guard who I saw was holding the gun as if to butt someone on the back of the head with it, that someone being me. "What the..." He said, but before he could finish his sentence I lifted my foot with great force so it could meet with his ball sack. "aaah! Fuck! Shit! Fuck! You fucking bitch! That fucking hurts! Oh my fucking god that hurts!" The guard did not sound so modest now, shouting various insults at me, whilst in what seemed to be a great deal of pain. No time to lose, I turned around and ran out the exit, darting my head around I could not see any familiar places that would indicate where to go next, so I decided to dash for the nearest corner, hoping to get away from the security guard, if that's who he really was, as fast as I could.
Running for the corner I could hear footsteps behind me. "Come here you little fucking bitch im gonna rip your fucking head off!" The insults gave me a good indication to where he was and how close he was to me. I eventually made it to the corner, where I was greeted by numerous bushes which would help me with my cover. I kneeled down behind them and looked through a gap in one of the bushes. I could see the guard had made it to the exit, limping as if he had just been kicked in the balls, flash light vigorously swinging from side to side looking for my presence. I raised my legs up a bit so I was stood up in a sneak-like position, carefully, silently, I edged my way farther away from the guard, who was now walking in the opposite direction from me. To the left of me was a double laned road, to the right of me was the bushes, I kept on walking till I could walk at a normal stance using some taller trees and various signs as cover. "There she is! Get her! Don't let her get away you fools!" I heard shouting in the distance, which was typically coming from the direction I was heading. Tipping my head up in awareness I could see torchlight shining from behind the building across the road. They must be here for me, I can't go forward I can't go back, shit. "Tina! Ruuuuun!"
"What!? Who's there?!" I shouted in the direction of the voice.
"It's me! Alex! Fucking run!" Alex shouted back. She was running from where I could see the torchlight.
"Alex! Wait! There's someone back there, he's looking for me!" I shouted after Alex, who had now ran past me as I stood motionless, nerves racking with all the excitement and fear.
"Well one's better than five in my book don't you think?!" She shouted back at me. Turning away from Alex there was five men with guns pointing in my general direction, I took them as a scare tactic, nothing to worry about then. A loud crack ripped through the air echoing on for miles, shortly followed by a large spark on the ground just a few meters from my feet. One of them had just fired a gun at me, one of the men had just fired a fucking gun at me! With that I turned around and began running after Alex, the man that had been unsuccessfully tracking me had been baited by all the noise and had now found Alex. "Aha! Thanks for making my job easier for me! Now come here you bitch" he told Alex, with a pissed off look on his face. Alex stopped and put her hands up to signal surrender, the man got closer gun pointed at her face. In response to this Alex raised her foot and with great force thrusted it forward into the man's bollocks. In response to Alex's response the man fell to floor and crawled up into a ball "ooh fuck me this cannot be happening" he said with a whimpering voice. "Don't stand there for too long Tina" Alex told me.
"what?" I said, realising I had been standing and gawking "Oh, right, yeah, the other men" I immediately began running, eventually catching Alex up who was also running. "What the fuck is going on Alex? How did you get here? How did I get here? Who are these men? How did they know I would be here?!" I hounded Alex with questions, who was blatantly too tired to answer.
"Just... run... Tina!" A few words was all that Alex could seem to muster.
We were now both running down the double laned road in Hull that ran past the arena, the men with guns close behind us. 'Tina'
'yes?' I replied to Alex
'There's what seems like an abandoned building there, straight ahead of us' Alex replied pointing past Tina and into the distance at a grey dull abandoned building, the windows had been boarded up and the door was missing, although inside looked pretty dim.
'It looks promising, should we try it? Maybe we'll lose them in there if we're lucky' I replied.
Alex nodded at me and we ran to the building, we went inside and straight up the stairs, all the windows had been boarded up and there was no way that they would be able to see us from the outside. Suddenly a loud screeching noise startled me and I screamed out. 'Tina! It's only a rat! Be quiet or they'll find us!' Too late. The men were all shouting orders, their voices becoming closer and closer by the second. I looked through a tiny crack in one of the boarded up windows, there was five men, each with gun's poised in their hands and holding torches. The front man, I presumed was their leader, was giving hand signals to the other men, two men went either side of the building to scout the outside area, and the other three went inside. We could hear the men downstairs, then suddenly footsteps coming up the stairs, I peeked around the corner and could see a shining light touching the wall at the top of the stairs erading from the bottom of the stairs. "Oh shit, oh shit!" I quietly shouted.
"What, what is it?" Alex asked impatiently.
"One of them's coming upstairs! Oh crap, there's nowhere to hide and all the windows are boarded up!"
Peeking round the corner once again the man had reached the top of the stairs and I hid behind the wall just before he turned around. I looked at Alex then pointed towards the other room as a gesture to move in there. We moved in there quietly and by now I could hear the man slowly creeping towards the first room, walking along side the stair banister. "What now?!" Alex asked.
"Erm, I don't know!" I hesitantly looked around, looking for a quick and simple solution to our dilemma, there wasn't any. "Fuck it, kick the window in"
"but, there boarded up!"
"I know, kick the plank things covering it up!"
"He'll hear us!" By now the man had reached the first room and the torchlight was shining into their room.
"You got any better ideas?! Kick the fucking window in!" I whispered, not wanting to startle the guy too early. Alex ran towards the window and started hammering at the wooden planks with her foot. "Hey!" The mans voice could be heard, he started running to our room. I stood at the edge of the doorway, ready to punch him in the face as he came in. "Alex, hurry up!" I looked to Alex and she had just finished kicking in the last plank.
"Got it! Let's go!" she jumped out the window and onto the grass below. "Tina! Come on jump!"
The man reached the doorway and as soon as he showed his head I put as much effort into a punch to his face as I could then ran for the now-open window. "Ah fuck! You fucking bitch!" the man shouted at me. I had reached the window and suddenly I heard a loud crack drumming through the air, my sight went blurry and my legs couldn't support me any more, I stumbled to the ground and I could feel a warm sensation on my tummy, it slowly went black and I closed my eyes.
I opened my eyes, me and Alex were stood in front of the abandoned building, Alex was pointing at it, silently, waiting for me to say something. "Tina?" Alex asked me.
"Huh? What? What just happened?!" I replied.
"what do you mean? I just told you there's an abandoned building straight ahead of us, come on lets get inside quick!" Alex began running towards the building.
"Wait! Alex! Don't! Its too dangerous!" I shouted after her.
"How do you know?" She asked.
"I just do ok? Lets find somewhere else"
"Hmm, ok, I hope your going suddenly crazy isn't going to get us killed!"
I looked at Alex with an evil glare as if to say 'ha-ha very funny Alex'. Music from the distance suddenly caught my ears, a great plan sprung to mind and made me wonder why had never thought of it before. "You hear that Alex?" I asked Alex.
"Yeah, I do, are you thinking what im thinking?" She replied.
"I hope so, because what im thinking is a very good plan in my mind"
"Come on lets hurry before they catch up with us" Alex was quick to move and so was I. Our plan was to blend in with the fair, Hull fair, it was always jam-packed full of people and the people that were after us had no chance of finding us in there. We had run away from the abandoned building and quickly en route to Hull fair, I looked over at the building to my right and saw the same man giving hand signals to the other guards. "heh... that's strange" I said out loud.
"What? What is?" Alex asked me.
"The guys were stood in that exact same position before, and the one giving them hand signals made the exact same hand signals as before"
"Erm... Tina? What are you on about?" Alex asked me. Realising that Alex could not possibly have any recollection of what never happened I just said "Heh, erm, neither do I, never mind!"
"Well, it looks like they think that were in that building, its a good thing after all you going crazy! Might have just saved our lives there Tina" Alex told me. I observed the building; two of the men separated from the other three and went either side of the building. "Are you even listening to me?"
"Huh? What?" I was startled by Alex's voice and turned to look at her to let her know I'm not ignoring her, then I went back to observing the building. The other three men went inside the building and looking through the open window I could see that one of the men started his ascent up the stairs to the top floor. "No your not! What are you up to Tina?!" Alex startled me once again.
"What? Erm, hold on... I'll explain later" I told her
"What's that meant to mean? Tina? Tina?!" I started slowly edging forward, something was wrong, something was very wrong, it wasn't me and Alex in that building, so who was it? "Oh no..." I said aloud.
"What? What is it? Tina! Talk to me!" Alex was getting very impatient, but that would have to wait.
I was still moving towards the building, but now I had picked up a pace, confident none of the men would see me and Alex, who was following behind me. "Hey!" I heard a familiar voice coming from inside, from the top floor. The two men that had been scouting the bottom floor had heard this and began making their way upstairs with guns poised in their hands aimed up the stairs. The two men circling the building had been startled by this too and made their way into the building via the back door. With the back of the building in my sight I had a gut wrenching feeling knowing what was coming next, if it wasn't me and Alex in that building, it had to be Daniella and Natalie, who else could it be? The men were after us four girls, they wouldn't start chasing random strangers.
Surely enough someone jumped out the top floor and onto the grass below, it was Daniella. "Come on Natalie! Jump!" She shouted, just like Alex shouted at me. Crack. My worst nightmare had come true, my worst thoughts of what this could have possibly led to have been made real. "Natalie!? Natalie!? Natalie what's wrong!? Natalie?!" Daniella was shouting up at the window, anguish in her voice, scared and worried sick at the same time. "Daniella!" I shouted. She looked at me then suddenly gun shots cracked through the air, hitting the wall behind her and on the ground around her feet. "What the fuck are you doing you fucking idiot!" Shouting could be heard from window. "We need them alive not dead you fucking prick!" Another gunshot. Daniella ran towards us as the gunfire stopped. "Tina? Alex? Is that you?! Oh thank god" Daniella went to hug me, she was trembling with fear, her voice suggested she was on the verge of crying. I hugged her back. "Are you alright?" I asked her.
"No, im not, Natalie's just been shot and you two turn up out of the blue!" She replied.
"What happened in there?" Alex asked. I would have asked, but I already knew.
"We were running from some men, I think we lost them in that building, but then those five come out of nowhere and start searching the building! How could they have possibly known we were in there?! They were no where in sight when we got here" Daniella's eyes were darting between me and Alex, looking for an answer.
"I erm, I mean we, we erm, they were chasing us" I replied, with regret and guilt.
"What?! They were following you?" She asked. I couldn't think what to say, anything I say right now in this mind-set can only make things worse, I decided to stay silent. "Yes, yes they were, but we had no idea they would look in that building! We're so sorry Daniella, we had nowhere else to run, we would have gone in there, but Tina warned me not to" Alex said. With that both Alex and Daniella looked at me with a 'What the fuck how did you know not to go in there?' look on their faces. "I erm..." My answer was cut short by the sight of the one of the men holding Natalie up on his shoulder. "Oh please no..." I suddenly burst into tears.
"That fucking idiot Hopwood shot her, even though the bosmanator himself gave us the bloody order to get them to him alive!" the men were all now outside the building and within earshot, we were hiding round the corner as to not be seen.
"Where is he?" Another one asked.
"I took care of him, he won't be causing us any more trouble now" His question got answered.
"What?! You killed him?! What the fuck did you do that for?!"
"The bosmanator specifically told us he doesn't want no slack-jawed daffodils on his jobs! I did what was necessary to keep the integrity of our organisation!"
"Organisation?! What the fuck are you on about organisation?! We're fucking mercenaries you idiot!"
"Whatever, what's done is done, now lets find the other one, she couldn't have gone far"
"Oh so that's it is it? You just kill him and forget about it?! In case you hadn't realised, Hopwood and I both signed up for this together! We were fucking mates!"
"Oh, in that case" The man subsequently pulled out his gun from the holster and shot the other one in the head.
"What the fuck man?! Have you lost your fucking mind?!" another of the mercenaries spoke up.
"I have no room for emotions in this job, if any of you have any hidden gay emotions for eachother then I suggest you keep them hidden! We can't afford any more casualties on this job, we'll be lucky if the Bosmanator goes easy on us for this!"
I poked my head back around from the corner "Fucking hell man..." I said quietly.
"Erm, we're so screwed" Daniella said with anxiety. "What about Natalie?"
"I don't know, hold on" I went back to poking my head around the corner to get a glimpse of what was going on. "So what about the girl?" One of the men asked the one holding Natalie.
"What about her?"
"Is she alive? I mean, that's a hell of a lot of blood, she'll be lucky if she survived that."
"Don't worry about her, she's alive. The bosmanator is keeping the unknown ginger, otherwise known as Tim, in captivity. As long as Tim has the fringe's power, he will keep Natalie alive for as long as possible"
"What the hell is this Fringe thing anyway? How is it giving him all these great powers? I thought it was strange enough when he made the girls disappear back at the motorway, let alone keeping someone alive!"
"I don't know either, all you two and me need to worry about is getting paid, and we're not getting paid for not doing our job, so lets find the other three bitches and get this shit over and done with, ok?"
"Oh forget them three, they'll be long gone by now, all that gunfire would have scared them shitless, ha-ha! Come on, lets go."
The man holding Natalie looked at the other guy with a confused look on his face.
"Is it just me or are you fucking dumb? Did you miss the part when the Bosmanator told us to do it properly, or not at all? Did you even hear what he said he would do to us?! Let alone give us the money"
"Yes I did, but there's no point in looking for them now is there?"
"Yeah, I agree with him, come on, we've been looking long enough! They probably got bored of running from us by now and are playing on the rides at Hull fair!" The third guy spoke for the first time.
"Perhaps you didn't hear me the first time, look, I'll show you so you understand it better" The guy holding Natalie held up his gun which was already in the grip of his hand and shot the other guy in the chest. "Holy shit!" the third guy shouted, he pulled out his gun and shot the other guy at point blank into his head, he subsequently fell to the floor with a thud. The guy, now on his own, looked around and observed the current situation, two of the men were lying dead in pools of their own blood.
The guy that had been shot in the chest was whimpering and moaning out for help "Take me to a hospital, oh my fucking god this hurts so fucking much! Take me to a fucking hospital don't just stand there staring at me!"
"No" The much-alive guy said, with his gun still pointed forward, he shot the already-wounded guy in the head. "There's more for me that way" He told the dead corpse. With the safe knowledge that Natalie was still alive, he picked up her body, holstered her on his shoulder and walked off away from the bloodbath. "erm... what now?" Alex asked.
"Huh? Erm... foll...ow... him?" I hesitantly asked, staring at all the dead corpses with a look of shock on my face after what I had just witnessed.
"Are you crazy? These men are fucking mental!" Daniella told me with an angry voice.
"That might be so, but it doesn't hide the fact that Natalie's still alive, we have to rescue her, god knows what Michael will do to her"
"Actually, it's our only option, plus we have the added bonus of finding Tim and the fringe!" Alex agreed with me. "But first... some questions" She said, staring at me.
"Aye, me too" I said.