Thanks to Collette for her three words (time, true, temptation. I have just noticed an error in that I’ve used the word truth instead of true. I’m sorry about the mix-up. I’m also sorry that this isn’t really my best work.
I ummed and erred about posting this piece because I don’t think it’s that good. Then I remembered why I’d started doing the three-word challenge and blog and that was to give me a focus and to get better at writing.
I’ve read no end of get-better-at-blogging posts telling me to only post quality material but if I did that then 1) my site probably wouldn’t have much content and 2) it wouldn’t be a true reflection of my journey to becoming and wordsmithing wizardess. So here it is, in all its naked honesty….
Mike turned and ran away from the loud bangs and screams, others joined him, not knowing what they were running from or where they were running to. A tide of panicked people appeared from a side street, rounding the corner they too ran in the direction Mike was heading.
As Mike approached the corner a woman stumbled then fell. Someone stood on her leg as they followed the throng. She yelled out in pain. The temptation to carry on running was strong but when he saw several other people jump to avoid her, he knew he had to help.
‘‘Can you stand?” Mike looked down into a pair of beautiful brown eyes and further down to her pregnant belly.
“My ankle, I twisted it.”
“C’mon, I’ll help you. I don’t know what’s happening but I do know it’s not safe.” Mike bent low, in one swift and manly move Mike hauled the woman to her feet. He put her arm over his shoulder and held her hand. His right hand slipped around her waist and pulled her close. The scent of a wildflower meadow filled his nostrils like he was in a laundry detergent advert.
“Terrorists! It’s terrorists. Run!” Shouted some guy as he rounded the corner and narrowly missed knocking into the pair.
More bangs echoed off the buildings around them. Screams followed and fear spread. People were running faster now, or maybe it only seemed that way because Mike was now going slower.
“What’s your name?” He asked.
“Natalie, Nat, people call me Nat.”
Silence befell them as both concentrated their efforts on escaping. Sirens blared out, flashes of blue light struck windows as police cars headed against the flow of the stampede. A green door opened and a woman called out to them.
”In here, come on, bring her in here! You’ll be safe in here.” She yelled. “Come on, there’s no time!”
Mike and Nat looked at each other, both knew that danger was right behind them, both knew the woman was right. Mike gave the last ounce of his strength getting Nat over the threshold and into the woman’s house. They slid past the woman and she slammed the door behind them.
“Straight on down there, into the kitchen, it’ll be safer at the back.” The woman commanded. “I’m Cordelia by the way.”
“I’m Mike, this is Nat.” That sentence felt more familiar on his tongue than he cared to admit. He helped Nat on to a chair next to the dining table. She sat quietly, her head down low. Mike knelt down in front of her and swept her mousey hair away from her face. Her doe eyes met his. She smiled, Mike smiled, she threw up on his shoes.
“Oh God, I’m so sorry, Mike. Sorry. Sorry, Cordelia.” Nat looked from one to the other and to the puddle of vomit.
“Don’t worry dear, no harm done,” Cordelia said, nipping off into the kitchen and reappearing with some kitchen towels and a bowl. “In case there’s any more…” she added, proffering the bowl to Nat.
Mike cleaned the vomit off his shoes and trouser leg, the smell of vomit always made him wretch but he tried to hide from Nat. “Water? Do you want some water?” He asked.
Nat nodded, her face was buried in the bowl balanced on her baby bump. Cordelia headed back to the kitchen, they heard the swoosh of the tap. Mike noticed he was squeezing Nat’s knee, an act that felt natural. He wondered if she felt the same, he hoped that she did, despite her circumstances.
“Grrr, arrrgghh, arrgghh.” Came a muffled sound from the front room. Nat looked up, Mike wasn’t sure where to look.
“Here’s you water dear. Excuse me for a moment.” Cordelia swept past them and into the front room. Mike strained to hear anything that would give them a clue as to what had made the noise. He was annoyed at how loud his breathing was, he could only hear his heart pounding. He was beginning to regret accepting the help of a stranger as he suddenly noted a creepy vibe to the place. Everything seemed normal enough but now, that sound, the perfect placement of ornaments, pictures perfectly square on the wall. Not a speck of dust. Mike began to feel nervous. Something wasn’t quite right.
“We shouldn’t have come here, Nat. I don’t think it’s safe.”
“It’s safer than the violence outside!”
“Maybe, maybe not.”
“Mike, I can’t go anywhere. I think I’m in labour.”
“What? You can’t, not here, not now!” Mike looked up as Cordelia appeared next to him.
“Is everything thing ok? You still look peeky dear.”
Mike flashed a wide-eyed, subtle shake of his head to Natalie.
”I’m starting to feel a little better, I think,” Nat replied.
“Oh, good. I just need to pop down to the cellar.” Cordelia headed to a cupboard under the stairs and disappeared into it.
“Oh shit, she’s up to something, I don’t like it, Nat!” Mike became twitchy, he loosened his tie and his shirt. “I’ve got to see what was in that room.”
”Mike! You’re being ridiculous. She’s a perfectly nice lady.”
A thud followed by a dragging noise came from below them.
“Shit! Did you hear that! She’s getting ready to chop us up! Oh, shit!” Mike was pacing around the little dining room. “I’m going to have a look in the front room. Cough if she comes back up.” He ducked out the room the way they’d come in.
Nat clutched the table as another contraction took hold. She was unable to cough when Cordelia reappeared dusting herself down.
Cordelia saw that Mike had gone and headed out to the hallway. Mike was frozen in the doorway to the lounge.
“Come on dear. Come away from that.” She said, gently, but firmly, putting her hands over his shoulders and guided him back to the dining room.
“She’s got a…she’s a…there’s a, a…m-m-man i-i-in…She’s going to kill us!” Mike leapt towards Nat and tried to heave her to her feet. Cordelia laughed, the trouble was, it was a maniacal laugh and that made the situation worse, for Mike anyway.
“You’re not going anywhere, she’s definitely not, that wee bun in the oven ain’t gonna be in there for much longer. Am I right lass?”
Nat nodded. Mike gripped Nat like he was having a contraction himself.
”You’re a killer! You’re torturing that man and I’m calling the police.”
“Call the police if you like! Half of ’em come ‘ere anyway for a bit of fun with old Cordy.” She took pity on the young man. “Look, I’m no killer you silly boy. The truth is I’m a well-respected dominatrix. That man in there’s a paying, consenting customer! Now, by my reckoning, the emergency services have got their hands tied and it could be a while till they get to our lass here. I’ve made up a bed in the basement, it ain’t much but it’s the best I can do in the circumstances. You can stay here, or you can risk it out there?”
”We’ll stay.” Managed Nat, clutching Mike’s hand.
“Fine, but I’m calling an ambulance and the police so that they know we’re here, just don’t you try anything, lady,” Mike said in his best manly voice.
Cordelia nodded and smiled. If only he knew the wicked things she’d like to do him. All in good time, all in good time, she reassured herself as she locked the pair in her cellar.