Having her back to the street as she concentrated on obeying the ATM’s commands she was unaware of the man behind her until his hand clapped over her mouth preventing the scream that rose in her throat from cutting into the winter’s night. Kicking he dragged her to a waiting London black cab. Once inside he removed his hand from her mouth. She looked at the unknown man sitting opposite, an older man, a man old enough to be her father. He lounged back with a self-satisfied smile upon his face.
“Where are you taking me? What are you going to do to me?” Her white face, round eyes and quavering voice gave away how she felt despite the defiant stare she was giving him.
“No harms going to come to you love. I promise you that.”
Suddenly she recognised the red scarf around the man’s neck. It was one she had given her father when she was eight, just before he had disappeared. They had looked for him but no trace had ever been found. She sat back. Not quite relaxed but somehow that scarf reassured her. It was going to be okay.
The car drove up to a huge stately house. A butler hurried forward, paying the cab driver and leading them in. No-one spoke. They waited in the lobby before a man hobbled down the stairs holding a kerosene light. He was almost bent double, his face road-mapped with lines of not only age but also pain said “This way miss.” He continued down the next flight of stairs into the basement and then down another flight of stairs which led to a narrow tunnel. Single file they continued, the light of the lamp guiding them until once again they were in a larger area lit with candles. The fear rose like a wave in the surf about to break as she felt the deadly ambience of the place that made her think of satanic rites involving sacrifice. She could see her body laid out, naked with her long blonde hair hanging off the table, moving slightly as she struggled to free herself from her bonds. She hadn’t noticed the stalls had BIN numbers written on them as terror gripped her, not releasing as they continued on, into another tunnel which led from the end of the cavern.
Claustrophobia now added another dimension to the fear as the tunnel was now damp and descended rapidly. A warm light suddenly replaced the darkness. They had entered a grotto with light shafting in through holes in the rocky roof. The water in the cave bottle green and calm. Opposite her she saw her boyfriend, just before the world went black.
The boyfriend rushed to her side whilst the old man and the man from the taxi gathered around her.
“She hasn’t got a pulse” the boyfriend said as he pulled her onto her back and started doing cardiac massage. “Ring for an ambulance” he said in between breaths.
“There’s no reception down here”
“Get some help”. The boyfriend frantically pumped her chest and inflated her lungs whilst the younger of the two men raced back up the tunnel.
“Don’t die. I just wanted to surprise you.” the boyfriend whispered, the engagement ring lying forgotten in its box on the rocks.