I’m running late – nothing new there you might think – but I can normally make up the time by taking a short cut down a little alleyway. It’s well-lit so it doesn’t feel scary, and it cuts off a good ten minutes compared with going the long way round, often even longer as I don’t meet friends who want to chat, and won’t understand if I cut them off mid-sentence.
However, tonight the alleyway is dark. Not well lit as it usually is, as the several lamp posts are unlit. A power cut perhaps? There is no moon tonight either, and the alleyway is between tall buildings. I haven’t got a torch with me. Do I take a chance and go for it anyway? Or play safe and keep to only the well-lit areas of the village? There have been tales of young girls being assaulted late at night in just such a place. But I am neither young nor beautiful and will be of no interest to the young hooligans who sometimes cause problems here. And I must not be late tonight of all nights.
I walk as fast as possible, feeling my way along the tall buildings. I hear a scratching noise behind me, and fear takes over. I run full pelt, breathing hard. I don’t hear that noise again, but suddenly I am tripped up, and land, splat, on the ground. Screaming now, and in pain, I am terrified to hear running footsteps behind me. I am going to die, I have no doubt about that.
I curl into as tight a ball as I can manage, expecting blows about the head, or worse. The footsteps slow down
‘Are you OK? Are you hurt?’ A deep rumble of a man’s voice, with a strong foreign accent.
‘Let me help you up’
He sounds kind and concerned. I uncurl, and give him a hand to pull me up. By the faint light of his mobile I can see that I am filthy, my dress is ruined, and my nose is bleeding. What a sight I must be.
‘Let me look at your nose, I’m a doctor’. He unfolds a clean linen hankie, I didn’t know people still carried them, and cleans up my face.
‘Well your nose is broken, I’m afraid. And your ankle is swelling fast. My car is just round the corner. Let’s get you to the hospital, I was on my way there anyway.’
I hobble, being supported by him, and he lifts me effortlessly into his car, and lays me down on the back seat with my swollen ankle supported on a cushion. He removes my shoes, and covers me with a blanket.
Now that there are proper lights I can see that he is really rather dishy. Definitely tall, dark and handsome. No wedding ring, I notice. Mmm!
‘I was supposed to be meeting a friend, in the marketplace’
‘No problem, we can drive that way to the hospital and you can tell them what has happened’
As he starts the engine I can hear the child locks being activated. Oh, so he must have children.
Then, I quickly realise that he is driving in the opposite direction from the marketplace and the hospital.
I am trapped.