I lay there, unable to do much else. Listening. After a few seconds discussion beyond the door a guard came in the room and stood, lazily watching me. No escape for me this time. I was too tired to attempt anything anyway.
I started coughing, which was agony for my chest.
The bindings were cutting into my wrists now I was sideways. I glared at the man opposite me. I wasn’t going to beg or plead. I knew it wouldn’t help me, but I hoped he could come put my chair upright again.
I closed my eyes, tired of our little staring contest. I was beyond caring now. Besides, the room was slowly spinning and it was beginning to make me feel ill.
I was thinking of Beth, I’d like to have nice thoughts before I died. I got a lump in my throat, thinking of all the things we could have done together. We could have gone to see another film. I liked the cinema, it was exciting. I’m sure I could save up enough to get another ticket. Maybe if I got a job I could buy one for Beth…
Voices punctuated my thoughts. My head must have gotten hit harder than I thought. I could hear Mike talking, muffled in the distance.
Trust Mike to come save me. Why couldn’t I hallucinate Beth though? That would be nicer. His voice was clearer now.
“Come on, give me half an hour with her. We don’t normally get girls my age.”
“The boss said to always keep an eye on her. She’s already tried to escape once. She fucking killed Johnny!” The guard said. This was a very detailed audio hallucination. I wondered if it would be visual too? I didn’t want to open my eyes in case it wasn’t and I’d banish it away. I could almost lie here and believe Mike had come to help me.
“Look at her, she’s fucked up. Besides, I’ll be watching her wont I? Anyway you won’t want to see what I get up to with my girls. Do I have to go talk to my dad?” Why was he saying these weird things?
“Well, alright, no need for that.” That got you scared Mr Guard!
I heard the door close.
“Fucking hell Alexis, are you still alive?” His voice. Close. This was very elaborate. I’ll open my eyes and I’ll be back to my staring contest with the guard.
I scrunched my eyes up tighter.
“Alexis?” Fuck I couldn’t handle this. I was going insane.
Fingers touched my face. My eyes burst open.
There he was.
“Mike?” I said, but it didn’t come out all that clearly. “Are you real? I don’t understand.”
“Fuck, you had me scared then. I thought you were… Jesus he really messed you up. Hold still, I’ll get you free.” He stepped over me and started pulling at my bindings.
“Mike, what are you doing here? It’s dangerous. How did you get in? You have to get away now.” My thoughts were moving faster now. It still felt like my head was full of treacle but it was slowly warming up, getting less viscous.
My hands came loose.
“Mike, seriously, what are you doing here?” I twisted to look at him, now untying my ankles.
“It doesn’t matter about that. I’m here to get you out. Get you home.” He said quickly. He was avoiding the question.
If that conversation hadn’t been my overactive mind… The guard knew him. He mentioned his father to shut them up. Connections formed in a brain that had gone through too much lately.
“Mike… Laas?” I said, quietly. It was the only thing that made sense. He stopped untying and looked at me.
“I was given my mother’s name, they were never married.” He was the son of Andres Laas. Grandson of Anton Laas. Fuck.
“We need to get you out of here Alexis, we can make it look like you escaped – I don’t think anyone would be that surprised after what happened earlier.” He said.
“I don’t understand Mike, how did you know I was even here?” I asked.
He looked at me thoughtfully. I could tell he was wondering whether to tell me the truth or not. He glanced at the door, then sighed.
“Fine. I’ve been hearing about you for the last few weeks from my father, from his men. The rumours, some of them would make you laugh I tell you. You wouldn’t expect people like that to be superstitious.
But you had them rattled. They had some CCTV footage you know, of one of your fights, the one with Chad. He’s well respected as one of the best fighters around. You had him beat to a pulp.”
“He was drunk.”
“He’s always drunk, but he’s still a good fighter. Anyway, I saw that footage. It was blurry as hell but it reminded me of something. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until this Saturday.”
“When we met in town?” I was kind of dazed. I’d been so careful yet I got found out after such a short amount of time.
“Yep. I saw what you had. I knew you didn’t even have enough money to buy lunch but that helmet must have cost a bomb. What on earth did you need it for?” He was standing now, pacing back and forth, his voice animated. “Then I realised what that footage reminded me of. You. In the mall when you fought that guy with the knife. It all fell into place.”
He stopped pacing and spun to face me.
“So I followed you. I lost you when you went into some building though.”
At least my policy of never leaving the flats with my garage in same place I entered had the desired result.
“Imagine my surprise when later that day I hear that they managed to capture the person who’d been troubling them so much and that it was a little girl.”
He stood there looking at me sitting on the floor. I had one question. “Why did you decide to help me?” I asked.
“You’re my friend.” He said offering me a hand.
“But your father… won’t he be angry with you?” I said, taking it. He pulled me to my feet where I swayed a little.
“He won’t know, you escaped remember?” He was grinning, like he always does.
“But, the guard… He knows you came to talk to me.” I said as he took his jacket off.
“Here take this, and keep the hood up.” He passed me it and I wrapped it round my shoulders. “I’ll deal with that guy. Here pass me that rope.”
“Deal with?” I said, confused. “What do you mean?”
“Kill him.” He said, almost cheerfully. I wondered if I’d miss-heard.
“Uh… You…” I spluttered, words failing me.
“Oh come on, you killed Johnny earlier Alexis. I thought you were…” He stopped when he noticed the expression on my face.
“Th- That was an accident! I didn’t mean to. Well, I don’t know. I was desperate…” I had to stop or I might cry – I felt tears threatening just under the surface. What had I done? This whole situation was so out of control, I hadn’t expected it to go this far.
I wanted to go home, but I didn’t even know where home was anymore I didn’t even have one. I turned my back to Mike and put my face in my hands even though it hurt.
“Hey, I didn’t know you cared!” Cared? Who doesn’t care about killing someone? “We could do this another way. Hey, how about you overpowered me then surprised the guard? We could just knock him unconscious.”
“Ok.” I still wanted to get out of here badly, as long as no one else has to die… I looked at my hands. They were red with blood, it was my blood but…
“Ok, you aren’t in a fit state to fight. Stay here.”
Mike opened the door, rope in hand, and I heard some scuffling and muffled noises coming from outside. He returned slightly red in the face and breathing heavily.
He was still smiling. I think he was enjoying himself. “Come on…”