"April you sure you don't want these?" I asked her. My cousin's beautiful girlfriend turned back and looked down at me with a soft smile. She was currently up a ladder doing stock inventory.
"No keep them! They were lying around my apartment anyway; and Casey doesn't appreciate decor!" she said with a grin. I looked down to the cardboard box she had filled with decorations and posters. I knew she had bought them all; some still had price tags on.
April had always been the best to me.
I smiled up at her knowingly.
"Laying around your apartment for ten dollars fifty? Wow I didn't know you lived at pottery barn" I told her. She looked back at me with a flat look.
"Just say thank you and smile Bonnie"
I laughed; it came out in a delighted giggle.
"Thanks April; it means so much"
"You deserve it! Getting into NYU is something worth a box of stuff" I rolled my eyes at her as I put it on the side.
I flicked the shop sign round to closed; it had turned 5pm and the cold October night had come in dark. Street lamps flickered outside the window illuminating streets as tall buildings shadowed the skyline.
It really was dark here.
I had been here less than three weeks; and with Casey and April helping me settle I felt better; I had all but nearly spent my time in their company.
They both said they didn't mind; which I was thankful for. Slowly home was becoming that; home and I was feeling more familiar to the city with every passing moment. I picked up the brush and started to sweep the floor as I usually did. April sang quietly along the the music as we worked in harmony with each other; it was pleasant and enjoyable. I could definitely see my self doing this over the next three years with her.
"So plans for the evening?" April asked as she jumped down from the third step. I turned to face her.
"oh you know, going home- getting in my comfortable clothes and binge watching documentaries on sharks or whales" I told her with a smile. She laughed.
"Why don't you come to dinner with me and Case?" she offered but I shook my head no.
"Jeeze, I'm becoming your child, you two enjoy your date- I'm more than fine, besides, I could do with a night in to myself just chill out with take out food…hey I might even read!" I told her with a grin. She chuckled.
"you're the highlight of all social groups" she laughed and I giggled with her. I had always had an easy friendship with April- I had only met her on four different occasions and each time we instantly clicked. I was overly pleased that she was still holding Casey down and he was enjoying it. They were so good together, and it meant I had a female friend for the first time in a long time.
I was never a lonely girl; just distant- people were hard to get by for me and I was never exactly the type of girl to join a clique or be part of a friendship group, but I was never unhappy about that.
I guess I was better being a lone wolf than a pack wolf.
"Anyway- I'm gonna go before it gets too dark"
"Oh, you want me to call Casey? He can drive you home" she told me and I shook my head.
"No its fine; I'll grab a taxi- its not too far. Don't worry about me April; I'm not a little girl- and I can take care of myself" I told her. I had been telling both of them that- they still seemed to think I was incapable.
Wonder what danger they thought I could get into…
"Are you sure?"
I rolled my eyes at her but reached over to grip her arm once in appreciation.
"I'm sure; enjoy your date- tell that cousin of mine I will see him tomorrow!" I told her pulling my coat on as I walked out the doorway.
I waved to her as she watched me go. Smiling at her care; it wasn't often I felt that.
I walked down a side street aiming to reach the taxi rank in under five minutes as I took a turn down another street I thought I recognised.
This is easy I told myself finding I was able to recognise street names and distances a lot easier than a few weeks ago.
That was until the taxi rank didn't appear like I thought it would.
I stood still, waiting for something. Almost waiting for the taxi rank to appear as if from no where. I bit my lip and pulled my cherry red coat further round me. The chill was setting in, in the air.
I turned back on my heels and took a left; oh wait- did I need to go right?
Frustrated I touched my forehead and pulled my phone out of my pocket. I clicked on the web app trying to find my destination wandering slowly down the alley way I had come down.
Then I heard a crunch ahead of me.
My eyes flicked up.
The wind whipped above my head making a whistling sound on the fire escapes above. The dark settled here in an eerie way; putting me on high alert making me nervous. I eyed the alleyway ahead of me.
No one stood; but I felt it- eyes on me; watching me as I pulled my coat around me even closer.
Get out of here Bonnie c'mon
I moved swiftly, heading straight back down the alley way on onto a street not recognising this new one either. I gulped. I continued to walk down the path, and then another and another; constantly turning down alleys and streets hoping to find one I recognised.
It was only when my feet started to ache did I consider phoning Casey, flicking through my contacts. I took note of the time; 7:04pm; how had I wandered for nearly two hours?!
And that's when my phone that was in my hand; turned a solid white- then flashed to an empty screen.
"Alright Bonnie- you can do this…we just gotta find a taxi that's all" I told myself trying to stop the clawing hysteria that threatened to spill over.
I carried on walking; but it seemed futile; the busy streets of New York everyone had spoken of ran empty and dull down here; windows blacked out and in some places broken. My heightened senses told me I was in the complete wrong area of town.
I stood for another moment; grabbing my bearings as I took a deep breath.
Alright…its okay; you'll laugh about this tomorrow with Casey- you will. In half an hour you'll be in your PJ's on the sofa.
I took another deep breath finding myself calming at my own thoughts.
"Its good- everything's good- everything's-"
"Hey boys! Look what I found!"
I froze completely. The voice came from behind me. I didn't wanna listen; I couldn't. it wasn't for me. They were not shouting at me.
I did as my conscience asked and began power walking forward. Trying to ignore the sound of feet that were suddenly coming louder and louder. A whistle called to me-three times.
"C'mere girl- let me see ya!"
Another hurl of words; this one a little slurred. I picked up my speed. And so did they.
It was only then I drove into my fight or flight mode feeling the power of terror surge through me as I began sprinting away.
They followed. I couldn't dare to even look as I ran, pushing myself further and further.
I turned a corner sharply hoping to loose them.
But it was no use as my face was met full on by a hard warm chest.
I fell to the floor and looked up at the wall I had slammed into.
A very very tall brutish looking man who eyed me like I was a steak on a plate.
"Well…what do we have 'ere?" his thick accent shone through as my eyes stared hard at him in fear. The feet that were following me caught up to me and the breath of three other strangers filled my eyes.
"Well well well…red riding hood huh?" Another new man; this time I gulped loudly trying to stay as alert as I could. I had always been good with a bat in my hand. I blamed Casey for that skill, but here surrounded by four creepy men who smelt about as bad as they looked-
I was totally helpless.
Then an arm grabbed at me, hauling me to my feet as it went round my waist tightly. I gasped and began thrashing.
"Get offa me!" I growled at the guy behind. He was about a foot taller than me and completely obese. I thrashed again, my legs trying to kick him in his groin.
"Oooo a thicker girl! Man I like em the most!" The sleaze ball to my right chuckled as they moved in closer. Another arm touched mine.
"C 'mon baby- give us a feel"
And that's when one of my arms got loose. I threw a punch out with my right hand, feeling my fingers crunch into the side of sleaze balls nose. he fell down to the floor as I pushed my heel of my foot into the guy's toes. He yelped and in a second loosened his grip.
I moved forward ready to sprint away when two more arms grabbed me, pulling me to a wall as they held me there- trying to pull at my now open coat. I thrashed again acting completely on adrenaline.
They held me tighter, probably enough to bruise me…
The breath of a heavy smoker met my face as his mouth turned towards my neck.
"Ooooh you got a fight in you…I like that"
"Then your gonna love me…"
And then I was released. Both men were pulled away from me as I fell back against the wall with a small crack to the back of my head. My eyes searched for them; wailing their attack; but the only sounds that filled the air were the sounds of thuds and cracking. The screams and wails of the men that had me could be heard; but nothing else.
Still terrified and utterly confused. I tried to grip onto the brick that was behind me my fingers almost clawing into the cement as if trying to hold me there.
The obese man and his accomplice searched the dark shadows where the screams rose from.
"Its one of those freaks! We gotta go!" and they took of running; leaving me completely alone again.
With a final thud, all noise ceased. All accept the pounding of my heart in my ears and head and the slight dripping of water from a near by pipe.
I froze waiting for them to come to me, but the shadows remained black and the noise still silent.
Was I safe now?
I should run.
I should go- I should…
The smooth Brooklyn accent hit me head on as I gasped.
The same voice as my mystery rescuer.
I closed my mouth forcefully, my eyes still wide and alarmed. I didn't blink- I don't think I could blink.
But then I found myself nodding, up and down slowly.
So I was conversing with this stranger now? After nearly being raped by four complete strangers in this neighbourhood!
My brain was starting to come down from its high as I felt the inevitable exhaustion creep in from my adrenaline high. I swallowed again trying to still my breathing and calm the waves of terror that rode through me.
"Ya lost?" it asked again.
Who was there? Who was I speaking too? More importantly why was I not running?
Again, my body responding wilfully to the complete strange shadow as I nodded again unsure and nervous. I willed my voice to find words; to say something strong and sure.
"T-thank you" I breathed mentally slapping my self at this display. But deep down in my pit; I knew I owed this guy. This guy who could have been a girl.
I thought better of that though; his vocal chords were deep and husky…This was New York though…
I could hear a shuffle and then thud as soft feet padded near by.
I was still frozen, unable to thaw out my body parts to get myself to move.
"Ya should go back- take a left dere, it'll getcha back on da street" he told me as I nodded again pathetically. Then we seemed to still for a moment; it was as if he was waiting for me to move. But I couldn't. I stared hard into the shadows; waiting for the person to arrive.
"Ya movin' or what?" a growl came to me and with that- I was gone. I had whipped myself round and my body completely responded to my thoughts. I pushed forward going left like he had told me to do, and just as he said, a taxi rank appeared. I all but threw myself into one.
I told him my address as I sat there, wide eyed and pale.
"You alright miss?"
I nodded swallowing down the overly developed lump in my throat as I breathed in and out deeply.
It was over. I was safe- someone had saved me. I was okay.
I turned my head around in the car, looking back to the alleyway I had run down. Nothing came, but then my eyes were focused on a fast moving shadow, one that stood on the building above.
A dark silhouette appeared as my driver sped off slowly.
It was a man, no, way too big to be a man, way too big. Maybe 7ft at a minimum and wide- with something circular on its back. Something pointed in each of its hands, and ribbon tails coming from its head shape- blowing in the wind.
The dark shape seemed to crouch as I focused hard on it, then as my taxi veered left. I lost the dark shadow.
Was that…. person…my rescuer?
I swallowed again. I most definitely wasn't in jersey anymore.
I scrambled out of the taxi almost as soon as it hit the curb of my apartment building. I threw my cash at him and fled, flying up the stairs until I reached my floor.
I locked my door, twice over checking it was shut.
I threw my bag down onto the floor and looked straight to my balcony door.
I had left it slightly open to keep fresh air moving throughout my apartment getting rid of the old smell from the past owner. I was the highest apartment in the whole building and with no fire escape in reach of my balcony- I felt it was safe as could be.
Not like someone could reach down and get into my apartment from above right?
But with all things happened, I wasn't sure I wanted to leave the door open anymore.
I rubbed down my face with my hand and rushed over to the balcony door.
My hand reached for the door handle as I pushed the drape away from the door. My fingers grabbed the handle as I looked down to pull it closed.
Only there was another hand through the other side of the glass.
A green three fingered hand.
Sooo how we faring up guys? I had to include some form of Batman reference- it is Raph after all.
Thanks to everyone who's reading this- this is my first Raph story if you didnt already know! let me know what you think!