An entry in The Crocodile Prize
SHE stirred in the darkness, pain filling her body and her head felt like it would burst. She lay quietly, gently moving each limb to see if anything was broken.
Thankfully, nothing was, but every breath she took felt like she had a ton of lead on her chest. It was impossible to even think with her head throbbing so. As she lay there in the dark, she could hear voices and laughter.
She was bare-chested, of that much she knew. Her left arm groped around in the darkness painfully as she managed to locate the remains of her favourite green dress and placed it over her battered body. Slowly, the events of the night came rolling back and she could not help but hope that the next painful breath would be her last.
The office was always stuffy in the afternoons, but today it was unbearable with the air conditioning out of order. The technical crew was working on it, but Lila felt as though she were in a desert. She glanced at her watch “Three-thirty,” thought Lila. “Only half an hour and my weekend will begin!”
Minutes later, she felt her pocket tingle as the vibration of her cell phone announced a new text message. “Dance tonight??!” Lila couldn’t help but giggle. Her friend Millie certainly was one to party. She was only three cubicles away, and as the clock neared 4.06, Lila packed her things and slipped over to see her friend. “So, are we on?” Millie was definitely not one to waste time. “Sure,” replied Lila. “Besides, my brother’s in town for his break so I can force him to pay”.
Both girls giggled at the mention of Lila’s twin brother Philip, whom Millie had had a crush on since forever. As they left their office, they ran into their friend Sue, who announced that she was going with them. The three girls made their way to the hostel where they lived and proceeded to get ready for their night of fun.
It was impossible to have a conversation with the music of the club blaring so loudly. Many people were on the dance floor with others mingling around the bar getting wasted. The girls were gathered around a table, where Lila’s brother Philip was buying them another round of drinks.
Philip, older than Lila by seven minutes, worked at one of the mining companies and had a fly-in-fly-out schedule. Being twins, he was not only very close to his sister but also very protective of her. He wasn’t too fond of her friend Millie although he knew she was in love with him, and thought her a bad influence on Lila. But tonight, he was just glad to see his sister again. During the course of the night, they ran into some of Philip’s friends from work who were more than happy to join them.
He was sitting at a quiet table towards the corner of the room. The minute the little group entered, he only had eyes for her. He took a swig of beer as he focused on the girl in the green dress. Her creamy brown skin and thick curly hair, pretty pink lips and those beautiful, dark eyes. Feeling that familiar urge, a sudden jolt of pure lust coursing through his body, he quickly tore his gaze away from her. He had done this before, and he knew he could do it again if he played his cards right. Patience was indeed a virtue.
As the night wore on, the young people danced and had several more rounds of drinks. Millie couldn’t help but notice a particular older man in a corner table, who had been staring at her for quite some time. She was flattered by the attention and thought he might be some sort of high-ranking public servant because he looked so distinguished. His scrutiny and obvious interest in her scared her a little, and yet her curiosity was aroused.
She took to the dance floor with one of Philip’s friends, but her eyes locked with the stranger’s as she slowly enticed him with her provocative moves. The man gave a sly smile and stood, making his way over to the bar. Millie, feeling immensely pleased with herself, left her dance partner and made her way over to the man at the bar. She was used to picking up men at dances. One-night stands were a norm for her.
And although she was hopelessly in love with Philip, he’d made it very clear that he despised her. If she couldn’t get with Philip, she got with any other man she could. She knew she was beautiful, and men found it hard to resist her. She could be extremely charming when she chose. She gave her sweetest smile as she sat down opposite this intriguing man and accepted the drink he offered.
“Who is that man with Millie?” Philip asked his sister. “He looks like a pervert!” Lila took a quick glance at her friend’s companion. The man had a rugged handsomeness to him and she could see his appeal. She smiled as she shook her head. She was used to Millie’s ways. “No idea bro, but I wouldn’t worry. This is just a typical night in Millie’s world!” The twins shared a laugh and had another round of drinks.
It was nearing 2am when Philip suggested they make tracks as they had to visit their mother in the morning. Lila wandered over to see if Millie would leave with them, though she knew her friend well enough to know the answer to her query. “Lila darling, this is Joe!” Millie was as lively as ever. Lila smiled as she shook the man’s hand, but as she left them she couldn’t help but feel the slightest bit of apprehension as she thought of how he’d looked at her.
“I must be drunker than usual,” she thought to herself. “Millie will be fine. This is just another of her one night stands.” Besides, Lila was more than a little interested in Philip’s friend Samson and her thoughts filled with plans of how she’d interrogate her twin for more information on Sam. Within minutes, she’d put Millie and the strange Joe out of her mind as she hooked her arm into her brother’s and they left to find a taxi.
“I wonder what hotel I’ll be waking up in tomorrow morning,” Millie thought to herself as she accepted another drink from the handsome stranger before her. He was so intriguing; it was as if she were under a spell. Even the very sound of his voice kept her spellbound. “Shall we make our way out of here?” asked Joe with a smile.
Millie felt a strange tingle through his body when he smiled at her. Adrenaline raced through her body and she could feel her blood pounding. She gathered her bag and stood, certain that this was her greatest catch yet. She wondered how the night would end as she stood on the curb and waited for Joe to bring his car over.
As he walked over to fetch his car, he felt almost impatient with desire. But he knew he had to keep his cool. He knew she was interested, had hinted several times what she wanted. “Too bad for her”, he thought. She had no idea what she had gotten herself into. He glanced over at her. She was so drunk, and that green dress clung to her body seductively. The game was almost over.
Millie had to hold on to the seat. Joe was driving so fast and she was scared. He’d taken so many turns and as his car was tinted, she’d just about lost all sense of direction and had no idea where she was or where he was taking her. As he came to a screeching halt, Millie steeled her stomach against the oncoming waves of nausea. It wouldn’t do to throw up in front of this man.
As she opened the door, there was no hotel in sight; she was in the middle of nowhere! Surrounded by trees and bushes in the dark night, Millie found herself suddenly sober. Fear started to creep into her, and as she lunged toward the relative safety of the car, two other figures stepped out from the shadows.
They were too quick for her. She opened her mouth to scream but a large hand covered her mouth. She fought like a mad cat, but the men had been through this before. Eventually they overcame her and all she knew was pain before the blissful darkness came.
Monday’s newspaper had a small article on page four entitled, “Body of unidentified young woman found in drain.” Nobody knew who she was or how she had ended up there, but the article stated that she had been raped and stabbed several times before been thrown in the drain and left for dead. When they found her, she was still clutching her torn green dress.