Untitled – 08/01

Another body has be found by the Metropolitan police, a young woman who has not yet been named was found dead in her flat this morning. This is the second person this week found dead in London. With no comments from the police, we are yet to understand how far they are in their investigation and what the cause of both deaths are.

I can’t believe she sucked off Ron for that position!”
“Well, we don’t know how true that is Karen.”
“Of course we do! I mean,” Karen adjusts her focus to myself as she takes a swig of her cider. “She was nothing, nobody even noticed her during her internship. All of a sudden, there’s the Christmas party, her and Ron go missing and before you know it, she’s not only being hired, she’s in-line for the big job role?”
I look back at the screen where Celia had now began reporting another issue and looked back at Karen.
“I just don’t want to think of the worst.”
“Think what you want then, but after the Christmas party and Celia got all those fast tracked promotions, Ron and his wife got,” She placed her forefinger by her throat and slashed it as if to behead herself, “a divorce. You do the maths Taylor.”
She raises her eyebrow at me then makes her way into the kitchen. I watch Celia and can’t help envy her. Karen was talking about sucking, but what truly sucked was the fact that I had been studying almost my entire life to be where Celia was. Years upon years dedicated to being a journalist and yet all I had become was a measly receptionist for a low ranked radio station that no one had really heard of.

I take a sip of my strawberry and lime cider and change the channel. It was bad enough that Celia and I grew up in the same area together and even studied together, but somehow our worlds seemed light years far apart and watching her progression did nothing for my self-esteem. I settle on some late night talk show as Karen returned.
“You ever wonder how people like that go on with everyone knowing how you got to the top?” I ask her.
“Babe, when you’re at the top, do you really think you’ll care about those below?”
“I probably would!”
“Trust me Taylor, when you get high enough you don’t even hear the whispers of those below, let alone the gossip.”
“True.” I sigh as I roll my head back. What made our paths so different? Same age, same journey, practically same upbringing yet, she was Daisy Buchanan and I was Nick Carraway watching her from across the bay.
“What’s the time?” I tap my phone screen causing it to light up.
“Half past ten.”
“I’m off to my room, Damian is meant to call.”
“And off she goes!” She throws me a cheeky smirk and heads to her bedroom. I turn off the television calling it a night too. I didn’t expect any late night calls, but sleep was calling and I couldn’t afford to be late again this week. If I wanted to get to where Celia was, I had to make sure I made no mistakes on my journey in getting there and lateness was not going to be it.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Dammit! I’m going to be late. Bloody delays have now got me sweating as I run towards the office. Greg is going to kill me. I’ve been trying to impress Greg ever since I got the job. He’s not very known in the industry, but ever so often he gets invited to events and award shows that is basically an aspiring journalists wet dream. If I could get myself just included in the list of attendees, then I could network and who knows whom I could meet.

Yet without a doubt, every event, every award ceremony Greg invites the ‘more important’ employees. The radio hosts, his secretary, everyone known to man but me. Of course I know it’s a long shot, I’m just the receptionists, but I want to prove I can do much more and I can’t do that by taking calls and fetching refreshments.

I practically hurdle over people and push through the office doors when I notice that it’s still quiet. Without hesitation, I take off my jacket and bag, stuff them under my desk, neaten out the creases in my shirt and get to work. If he hasn’t noticed then it’s better to get my head down straight away than to apologise.

Time goes by, a few calls and emails come in that I attend to. Everyone upstairs is busying around as we have an ‘important’ guest arriving today for an exclusive interview – the only thing is what we classify as ‘important’, is far from that in reality. My telephone flashes as a call from upstairs reaches my line.

“Hi Bob.”
“Taylor, Aimee Lynn and her team will be arriving shortly – please ensure that they are offered refreshments before you send them up.”
“Sure thi-“
“Oh and another note,” He says cutting me off, “make sure you give Greg’s secretary a call when she arrives.”
“Will do.”
Before I could ask further questions the line cuts. I roll my eyes and put the receiver back on the phone. Bob wasn’t even ranked as anything, yet I got no respect from him. I roll my eyes again and checked my emails when I feel a breeze envelope me. I look up to expect Aimee and her entourage but instead see two men walking towards my desk.
“Hello, I’m DC Fletcher and this is my partner detective Williams, is Mr Evans available?”
Just as I am about to respond, Aimee Lynn walks through the office doors with her team. I look between the detectives and Aimee Lynn. Weighing which one I should respond to first. I excuse myself and rush towards Aimee.
“Miss Lynn –”
“Urgh, my mother is Miss Lynn.” With a nervous smile, I correct myself.
“Aimee, would you like to follow me and I will take you and your team to Greg Evans.” We walk pass the policemen and straight towards the elevator. It was then I was reminded that I was meant to call Greg’s secretary when Aimee arrived and offer beverages, but with the policemen catching me off guard, I’d failed to do any of what I was required to do. The elevator dings as the doors open and I’m left contemplating going in or running back to my desk to call Greg.

Before I have a chance to act, Aimee and her team walk through without my permission. I step inside with them, catching a glimpse of the officers who requested for Greg just only a few minutes ago and give them a nervous smile. Sort out Aimee then attend the officers, I chant to myself as the doors shut.
We reach the seventh floor and walk towards Kelly.
“Hi Kelly, could you let Mr Evans know Aimee Lynn is here.”
Her eyes flicker with confusion and anger for just a second before it’s gone.
“Sure Taylor, I won’t be a minute Miss Lynn.”
I hear Aimee groan behind me from what I can assume was due to being referred to as ‘Miss Lynn’. Kelly disappears into Greg’s office, returning with Greg closely behind her.
“Aimee, what a pleasure! Great to have you here, please follow me.”
He walks off with Aimee and her team, leaving me with Kelly.
“Wasn’t you meant to call me before she arrived?”
“I was caught up.” She chuckles and shrugs her shoulders.
“Have fun explaining that to Greg.”
I turn to walk back to the elevator when I remembered the two officers I left waiting for me.
“Well when he has a spare minute, there’s two policemen asking for him downstairs.”
“Pardon?” The confusion in her voice clearly showed she wasn’t paying attention to what I was saying up until ‘policemen’.
“Two policemen are asking to speak with Greg, I’ll have them up shortly.” The doors ping open.
“No! Have them wait downstairs, I’ll get Greg to come and see them.”
I nod my head and enter into the lift. By the time I’d reached the lobby, both officers were nose deep into the guest book I keep just in front of my monitor. The noise of my heels and the marble floor cause the men to look up from the book.
“Hi officers, my apologies that I left you so abruptly. Mr Evans is in a meeting –”
“With the girl you just took to him I presume?” The officer named Williams curtly said. Lost for words I nod and take my usual position around the desk.
“Yes, if you could give him a few minutes he should be with you shortly.”

The officers walk off talking to each other quietly. What were they looking for in the guest book? My curiosity gets the better of me, whilst still watching the men I grab the book and slide it to my keyboard. They’d left it on sign-ins from Monday this week. Looking for something I clearly had no idea what it was exactly I was looking for, my telephone rang, echoing around the lobby.
Hesitantly I pick up, knowing it could be Greg on the other line, “Hello?”
“I asked you to do two things Taylor, offer refreshments and call Greg’s secretary. You did none!” Bob shouts down the line.
“I was dealing with another issue for Greg, I was pressed for time.” I whisper, trying not to attract the attention of the officers, who were already making their way back to me.
“Clients are our priority, keeping them happy is our priority. Delivering outstanding service is just simple knowledge–” By now the officers stood before me.
“Bob I have a customer, I’ll call you back.” I drop the phone on him mid-sentence and address the officers.
“We don’t have all morning Miss?”
“Taylor.” I answer DC Fletcher.
“Taylor, we don’t have a lot of time. We have a serious investigation underway and need to speak with Greg Evans as quickly as possible. We don’t want to have to go up to meet him, but quite frankly, I don’t like waiting.”
Just as Fletcher finishes his sentence, Greg appears from the elevator, clearly confused by their visit.
“Officers I heard you were after me?”
“Mr Evans, I’m DC Fletcher and this is my partner detective Williams – do you have a spare moment, we have some questions we need to ask you?” DC Fletcher said addressing Greg.
“Of course, right this way.”

Greg and the officers take off as I’m left watching them walk away. I look back at the guest book remembering the officers mentioned they had an investigation underway and wonder what that had to do with who came to the office on Monday and Greg. I look back again and notice DC Fletcher staring at me. I wonder what Greg has gone and got himself involved in now?

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

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Rachel – Part 3(a)

A gentle touch on my shoulder pulled me out of the sleep I’d managed to fall into. In a daze, I looked at my surroundings, confused with where I was and why I was with Damion, until the last few hours came rushing back to me. Remembering the images of Craig and my sister make intimate love was enough to wake me up completely. I sat up fully, looking passed Damion to see what I could only imagine was a mansion which stood firmly behind him. I looked back to Damion who was sat still watching me.
“I thought you was taking me to a hotel?”
“I was,” he said calmly, “But then you fell asleep and I did not want to wake you up to get you checked in to a hotel, so I bought you to my home.”
Instantly I coiled into myself, was he assuming I was going to sleep with him in exchange for a place to stay? I was about to voice my opinion when Damion raised his hand.
“It’s not like that Rachel, I have a guest room – where I would want you to sleep.
  I did not want you to be woken up early to check out of the hotel and also, I did not want to leave you alone tonight. I will give you all the space you require, but I have a perfectly good room here and it would be stupid to pay for a hotel room.”
With that, he got out of the car and held the door open for me, waiting for me to follow him. Reluctantly I exited the car. He shut the door and walked towards his house door, feeling his suit jacket for his keys. Once he located them, he opened the door giving me a full view of the grand stairs which were adjacent to the door. The stairs lead to a fork split, taking residents to hidden mysteries on the left or the right. I slowly walked in, admiring the chandelier that hung sophisticatedly in the middle of the foyer. I stood silently, feeling foreign in such a place like this. The golden aura created by the decretive jewels that hung loosely on the chandelier made me feel as though in here, anything was possible – it was almost like a fairy-tale. Damion stood beside me pulling me out of my trance.
“Want me to show you to the guest room?” I nodded with no words as Damion led the way. My heels echoed across the marble floor, causing the sound to ricochet across the walls and sing loudly around the house. We took a left when we came to the split in the stairs, which led us to a hall of closed doors. The corridor was dimly lit from the nightlight that shone through the windows, but that did not make the hall eerie, in fact it made it solemn. Behind each door lay a secret I wasn’t aware of, it gave me something to busy my mind with as my own issues were forcefully reappearing in my mind constantly. Images of myself proudly clinging onto Craig’s arm as he greeted his co-workers and potential prospects, made me feel foolish. I pushed those memories to the back of my mind and brought myself back to Damion’s home.
“The house where the party is, is that not yours?”
Damion looked back at me, a little surprised I spoke but hadn’t missed a stride in his step.
“My father left it for me and Chase but we decided that using it for business and meetings was better than us fighting over who should own it.”
“So, you decided on using your father’s house as a business location?”
“Well, even my father would hardly call that place a home. The number of events and meetings he hosted there barely made that place a home.”
“Makes sense.” He walked me to a door and opened it. Revealing a small room, with a double bed up against the wall. The room was completely dark, apart from the little light the thin curtains allowed through. Damion, turned on the light and gestured for me to enter.
“Behind that door to your right, is the bathroom. If you need any help, my room is the last door at the end of this corridor. Just call me and I’ll be happy to help.”
I walked over to the bed, feeling like an intruder in this unknown room. I turned to look at Damion and realised that he didn’t have to do what he done for me tonight. He could have let me run home crying, he could have even dropped me off to a hotel and left me for the night. Instead, he took me in when I was down and comforted me when I felt as though I had no one. I knew I owed him more than a simple thank you, but that was all I could offer him.
“Damion, I just want to thank-”
“Rachel,” He cut me off. “You don’t have to. Get some rest and I’ll see you in the morning.”
With that he closed the door and made his way to his room, his footsteps growing quieter as he moved further away from me. I looked around the room once more, admiring the simplicity of the interior design and the way in which the house in general was built and designed. I kicked off my heels, placed my clutch bag on a nearby drawer and crawled into bed, remembering once again that night why I found myself sleeping in Damion’s guest bedroom. I hadn’t thought to look at my phone since it had stopped vibrating in the car. I reached for my bag, opening the mouth of the bag and grabbed my phone, before returning the bag back onto the drawer. I pressed the home button and saw a number of missed calls and texts from both Craig and Camila. At one point, I found myself hovering over the reply button to one of Craig’s text messages, but in that same minute, I locked my phone and placed it beside my bag. There was nothing I had to say to either Craig or Camila tonight or for a very long time and if I could hide here in Damion’s guest room for tonight, then I was going to happily do so.
It didn’t take too long for me to fall asleep, allowing all my thoughts and worry to drown in a blissful abyss as I lost consciousness and allowed myself to be taken by the exhaustion that crept over me. Craig and Camila would be the issue of tomorrow, for now I slept.

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun

His Eyes.

It was the cold air that woke me up. The slightly chilled wind that passed me was what had me blinking my eyes to darkness. I was sure I slept with the bed lamp on, so I was beyond confused when I awoke to utter darkness. All that filled my sight was dark shapes that surrounded me. Still in a haze, I try to pull the duvet over my cold body, but realise my arms are tightly bound above my head. I pull a few times, hoping the knot would ease, but instead, it cut into my flesh, burning my skin as I pulled harder to free myself. My arms grew tight and heavy, but I continued to pull hoping to loosen my arms. I look around hoping for some sort of answer for where I was and what was happening to me, but all that accompanied me was darkness and silence. Breathing out a trembling shudder, I tried to move my feet. Not surprised that my ankles too were tied together and then against another object. But even with the assumption in my mind, I still found myself shaking in fear. Becoming more powerless as the seconds flew passed, my desire to break free became erratic. Simultaneously, I struggled to free both my ankles and wrists, but with the bounds only getting tighter with my fight to break loose, I was only making things worse.

Trying to calm the heart that crashed against my chest, I took a deep breath. The air blew against my skin, making me realise I wore nothing but the restraints that held me captive. Inhaling a large amount of air, I prepared to scream, but when the air moved passed my throat, a burning sensation arose. My throat was dry, causing my helpless scream, to become a pitiful whisper. Without the ability to free myself, losing the power to use my voice and the fact that I couldn’t see anything, all rational thoughts dissolved. I pulled, wiggled and rocked uncontrollably, trying to break something…anything. Yet, nothing but my muscles and bones ached, pleading with me to stop my attempts. The feeling was something I was familiar with. As I lay trembling in fear, all my body could do was remind me that this was not the first time I’ve experienced this. Even with my wrist tied together firmly, my fingers quivered as my nerves took control of my body. I was beginning to remember this scene. Images flashed in my mind, as my brain worked to remind me what was meant to come after the shock and realisation of being kidnapped. I shut my eyes, horrified knowing what was to come next.

With a click, dim lights filled my surroundings. My body reacting to the slight warmth the lights gave and my eyelids slightly becoming lighter with the help of the lights. For a few seconds nothing happened. There’s no movements, no breathing, nothing but the lights slowly brightening. The only noise apparent was my breathing that seemed to bounce around in the room I was in. With no action after the lights being turned on, my curiosity pushed me to slowly lift my eyelids. With images flashing in my mind as to what was to come when my eyes were opened. As my eyes fluttered open ever so slowly, a frame filled my face, causing me to feel suffocated. My breathing no longer bounced across the room, but was colliding with an intruding frame that had taken its place in front of me. My whole body shook, as I opened my eyes to witness the same dark glassy blue set of pupils that stared right back at me every night.

Immediately I sat up, holding my mouth from the scream that had burst through my lips. It was a nightmare…a nightmare I was too familiar with. With tears uncontrollably streaming down my cheeks, I clutch onto my chest, trying to steady my heart that was punching my chest. It was always those eyes I found myself screaming myself awake to. I feared to close my eyes even to blink, in case the eyes awaited me as my eyelids covered my eyes. I slid out of bed, still shuddering as I made my way to the kitchen. Making sure every light was turned on. Once I reached the kitchen, the cold wooden floor helped chill my sweaty body as I ran the tap to get a glass. I opened the draw above the sink and grabbed a glass cup, glad my hands were steady to hold the cup without it slipping through my grip. I ran it under the tap and then locked the tap. Bringing the cup to my parched lips, I drank the water, thankful the water managed to relax my tense muscles and ease me slightly. I rested against the sink and took a deep breath, remembering he’d been arrested and had been for six years. I am safe…if only I felt safe.

 

© All Rights Reserved by Sarah E. Balogun