Carter hesitated at this but finally managed to bring himself to say something.
“Let’s just calm down everyone.” He started, his voice quivering like a leaf flapping wildly in a strong gust of wind. “I’m Carter, this here is George.” He cleared his throat at this hoping he didn’t came off as too whimpish. George turned to him with a look of scorn as if to tell him that he had done something very stupid.
“Hands down gramps.” The woman in the tank top said as she continued to point the gun to his head. It was clear in her eyes that she had every intention to fire a bullet right into the man’s skull if he had irritated her some more. She wasn’t some kind of a pushover as a lady and she intended to make that clear to everyone around.
George turned to the lady again, gun still pointed to her forehead. “Ladies’ first.” He said.
This clearly ticked off the woman as her eyes widened in rage. Her teeth started grinding at each other as her fingers gripped onto the handle of the gun even tighter than before causing the skin on her palm to glow bright red. “You fucki-“
Before the lady could do anything further, the big bulky man standing right next to her stepped in and disarmed the woman by pushing both her arms down. “Enough of this. It’s bad enough we lost one guy already.” His tone was serious, making sure his message was loud and clear to the fuming lady in red.
Both Carter and George turned to each other at this. The bald man still clearly mad at Carter for giving off their identities to the strangers now standing in front of them. He was most definitely looking for an apology later on from the boy.
“Sorry, alright?” Carter said to him as the stare down continued, knowing that it was probably the only way to bring George’s boiling nerves down to a simmer. “Now, just put the gun away will you?”
The bald man breathed out a deep sigh in an attempt to signify the acceptance of his apology and holstered the gun back into the side of his pocket. Turning his attention now to the people standing in front of him, he scratched the back of his head and spoke. “Sorry for the cold reception.” He said rather nonchalantly, as if the little squabble between him and the woman had meant little to him if anything at all. “But now that we’ve given our names, it’s your turn to do the same I believe.”
“The name’s Mariah, you old twat.” The lady in red spewed out as she holstered her gun back into her pocket as well. Her voice was laced with scorn, speaking every word with a sprinkle of hot blooded hatred.
“Cane’s the name.” Said the big mountain of a man as he flung both his arms onto the sides of his stomach. “Let’s not fight can we?”
The boy in the turtleneck looked at both of them before speaking “I think I’ll reserve my name for now.” He was a bit more wary of the group and it showed in his eyes. They looked like the eyes of a serpent, slick and sharp. He was an Asian boy and from the way he was standing, Carter could tell he was less than happy to be in the same room as them.
In a thick windbreaker, the blonde teenage girl observed both George and Carter carefully before speaking. “I’ll reserve mine as well.” She breathed in with a sigh. “You all are just too trusting of each other, you know that?” There was a distinct sharpness in her expression like that of a hawk looking down unto its prey.
“I….I’m…” The little girl choked on her words as she was trying to speak. She was nervous and the entire group could tell. Grabbing her teddy bear tighter, she tried to speak. “I’m Carla from Wood…Woodlands Hills.” She sniffled a bit as she bit the bottom half of her lips. She seemed like the most innocent one among the group.
Carter nodded as everyone introduced themselves. “So, does anyone know what’s going on here?” He asked, still blur about what was going on.
“Well, for starters.” Mariah looked at him in the eyes as she spoke, affirming to him that she was indeed wearing the pants around here. “We’ve established the five of us have no idea where we are so we assume you’re clueless as well.” Carter nodded along as she spoke. “Well, than your guess is as good as mine.”
“So, nobody knows where the hell we are and why we’re here?” George grumbled as he scratched the top of his balding head.
“Well, that’s life is it not?” The Asian boy spoke as he lay one arm over the other across his chest. “All you fools just running around having no clue what the hell’s going on. Just like all the useless bums around campus.”
“Hey! Cut it!” The girl in the wind breaker snapped at the boy. “You’ve been spouting all this shit ever since I got you out of that cell, you want to shut up for a while or something?”
The Asian boy thought for a moment and decided he didn’t want to get into an argument again. Keeping his mouth shut he turned to look at the big hulk of a man, waiting for a response from him.
Cane turned to George with a weary expression on his face as if to apologize for the rather rude actions of the group so far. “Well, one thing we do know is that we all got abducted in the same way.”
Carter squinted at this. “We were abducted? I don’t remember being abducted by anyone.”
“What?” Cane looked surprised. ”The last thing most of us remembered before waking up in this hell of a place was an oncoming car or something that sort of crashed into us.”
“Wait a second.” Carter gasped at this. Memories started to flicker through Carter’s mind and he did finally remember. He saw it like a play being fleshed out before him.
It was a cold Tuesday night when Carter walked out into the campus grounds. He was heading to the closest convenience store to grab a cup of instant noodles and some groceries for breakfast the next day. As he tredged across the front entrance of the campus, he could see no one insight. A lonely road stood before him as he reached the pavement. The shops were just a short walk down Aldwych on Kingsway.
As he walked down Aldwych, he could feel a cold breeze stirring in the air. The cobble stones that paved the streets were ever so slightly drenched in a layer of dew as the seasons were about to turn from autumn to winter. It was a tad bit unusual though for the streets to be so silent that time of night though. Usually there would still be activity going on – students drinking hot coffee while chatting under a street lamp, lovers sitting around the benches sprawled into one another’s arms, the occasional geek sitting out in the cold air typing away on his laptop. But tonight was different, it was a cold and truly silent night. Only the sounds of the flickering lamps that paved the streets followed Carter out on his journey to buy groceries.
This made him feel rather lonely if not vulnerable at this time of night. He sincerely hoped that he wasn’t about to get mugged seeing as he had brought along around all the allowance he had left for the week. At some point, he even contemplated the choice of heading back to his dorm and waiting till the next morning before getting some grub to fill his stomach. After a quick debate within his mind though, he determined that he would rather wake up late than waking up early just to get breakfast done and over with.
As he turned the corner onto Kingsway, he could see a brightly lit shop being the only one still open at that time of night. It was an Asian grocery mart with lit embezzled letters which stood out like a sore thumb on the front end of the shop entitled ‘Lee’s & Lang’s Cash & Carry’. He had shopped at the same place for almost two years now and the Asian family who owned the shop treated him like one of their own.
Carter had a rather strange liking for the family, seeing as they would often give him free food as an offer to stay over for dinner. He was even close to their daughter, Ling, who was coincidentally in the same tax class as he was for the semester. He’d often walk to the shop with her after class to have some home cooked dinner before heading back to his dorm to do some studying. It was a nice cozy place he would have gladly called home if he had the chance to.
Carter looked both left and right before crossing the street and then determined it was safe. He hopped onto the cobble stone streets and strolled briskly across to the other side. Walking down Kingsway, he saw from a distance, two bright halogen lamps racing down the street. It was a slick blue sports car, but he wasn’t sure of its brand or model. Carter wasn’t one of those bourgeois car fanatics that knew every single little thing about cars. He had an interest to own one but not to the point of fanaticism.
As he strolled to the shop, the lights grew brighter and brighter. That was when Carter noticed something wrong. It was driving on the completely wrong lane. It was driving on anti-flow. The car sped down Kingsway at almost 80 miles per hour causing stray pieces of newspaper and wet grit to be kicked up into the air behind it, leaving a trail blazing path of damp dirt and garbage behind. As it drew closer, it seemed to swivel closer and closer to the curb. As Carter saw this, he grew somewhat afraid the car would end up knocking him down, but he shrugged it off as just a drunk driver on the wheel. Surely whoever that was driving wouldn’t be stupid enough to hit him.
But he was wrong.
As the lights started to blind Carter’s sight, the car swiveled onto the curb heading directly for Carter. He screamed in a last ditch effort and jumped onto the road to avoid being hit. As he collapsed into the cobble stone streets, the car smashed into the shop next to him. Splinters of glass and metal flew into the atmosphere and landed all over the place. As he tried to grasp what was going on, he felt a painful and yet numbing sensation of his head being smashed into the cobbled stones below him. His vision grew dark and the only last memory he had was of the car alarm going off, the sound ringing into his ears as he passed out.
“Yea, I…” Carter shook his head in disbelief for a while. He was at a loss of words as the memories became clearer and clearer. “I remember something like that.”
“Then it’s all of us then.” Mariah nodded. “Anyways, how are we going to get out of here?”
“Oh no. You don’t my dear.” A voice from above caught everyone’s attention. Suddenly, inklings of chains and gears could be heard all throughout the room. Dust and dirt started to fall from one corner of the large ballroom and the ceiling creaked and cracked open up. A big hole was spontaneously created from the cracks and a large iron cage was lowered from above. 8 chains spanned the tops of the cage which brought it down gently. The metal of the cage in itself looked quite new and didn’t match the bars of the cells in the prison section of the building. There was somebody in the cage being lowered down along with it.
“What the hell?” Carter spoke under his breath.
Written by HoiHoiSoi
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