Something brushed against her bare leg, something small and furry. It had to be a
rat. She tried to slow her breathing down so she could listen for the scrabbling of
sharp claws on stone, but the more she tried to control her breathing, the harsher it
became. The only thing which stopped her screaming was the thought that her captor
might come to her “rescue”, and she felt safer with the rats right now.
She flapped her elbows up and down as if they were wings, and slid her knees apart
twelve inches or so, before clenching them shut again. She wanted to try to convince
the rat (or rats?) that she was not helpless, that she was still mobile and able to
defend herself, but these were about the only movements she could manage with the
manacles on. She tried this two or three times before giving up. If there was one
thing worse than being bitten by a rat, it was looking like a chicken on a bicycle
while she tried to scare it off.
She shouldn’t have used the alleyway, she could see that now. But it was the
quickest way to her mother’s house, and she needed to be there and back before
Mike came to pick her up. She’d heard a deep chuckle behind her, and had turned
round, convinced there was someone there. But the alleyway had been empty. She
turned back to the front again, ready to run to the far end, even if it made her look
like a scared child. She remembered taking one step, two steps, maybe a third. And
then nothing, nothing at all. The whole world had just vanished. And then this.
She tried not to succumb to the swell of panic which threatened to sweep her away
and drown her. Someone had kidnapped her, brought her back here, removed all her
clothes, and chained her up in his cellar (she had no doubt it was a “him”, as women