I open my eyes. The absence of light and my own inability to focus on anything in my immediate surrounds brings a chill to my spine. I shudder. My body feels cold and I recognize that my hips hurt. I try to move my legs but they appear to be incapacitated and pain courses through my body.
I’m exhausted. The last time I looked at my watch was at 2:45. I was sitting inside the bus shelter and had already called a taxi three times, yet none had arrived and after walking around the city for the past 14 hours, I had absolutely no intension of walking a further 5 kilometers home. I would wait.
My husband stood a few steps from me, doing a Google search for a different taxi company. His cussing was proof that he was having no luck.
From my peripheral vision I could see a maroon station wagon speeding around a corner, no more than 100 meters from us. It came to a grinding halt alongside my husband.
“Where are you going?” the female driver hollered. “To St Ives,” my husband replied, rather shocked, as he had not heard the vehicle approaching.
“Jump in,” the driver said, as her passenger opened the back door for us, “That’s where we are going too, we’ll take you home.”
“Come on, Ness,” my husband called out to me, “get in.” I was reluctant, however after having waited for more than an hour for a taxi, I realized one might not arrive at all, so climbed into the car.
I immediately felt sick to my stomach as I realized the enormity of what we had done by accepting a ride from two strangers. Furthermore, the passenger sitting alongside the driver was a man whom I feared was probably the stronger one if they were considering abducting us.
The backseat of the car was filthy and I immediately scanned my surroundings to see if I’d be able to open the door in a hurry if need be. I couldn’t see the lock to the door, and the windows were electrically operated; the driver would control both. My heart began to pound in my chest.
“You guys are very lucky we came along,” the driver was saying, “God knows there’s no busses well before midnight. Where have you come from?” “The city,” my husband replied, “and thank you so much for the ride.”
“What street in St Ives?” the driver was now asking. We told her and she said: “Same here, it’s a real luck we saw you.”
I was feeling increasingly uncomfortable. What are the chances of something like this happening, I was thinking. Is it even possible that they are going to the exact same location and how is it possible that I then don’t recognise their vehicle or them. I grabbed my mobile phone and prepared it for an emergency phone call.
There was a strong smell of alcohol in the vehicle and I wondered if it was from our good Samaritans or us. We had spent a night on the town but I doubted we had drunk too much alcohol.
“What were you doing in the city?” my driver was now asking. “We met with a friend of ours who flew in from Canada.” My husband replied.
“That must have been a long day,” the driver was almost musing to herself, “was there something special happening?” “Excuse me?” my husband inquired, for he is a little hard of hearing. The driver repeated herself, “Were you celebrating something?” “No no,” I answered, “we haven’t seen him in a while, that’s all.”
“Where did you go to?” she now asked. “We just did all the touristy things,” my husband said, “where have you guys come from?” he added, changing the focus of our conversation.
“We’ve just come from a three-hour-long rock concert, it was soooo long.” I calculated back three hours and wondered where in the world a concert would begin at midnight for it was now after 3 am. “It was a very long concert,” the passenger echoed, “very long.”
“So where do you guys live,” my husband asked. “Right where you live.” The reply came. By now I was starting to feel a little terrified and wondering what these two could possibly want from us. I don’t believe in coincidence so doubted that they lived where we lived.
Again, my thoughts were interrupted. “Did you visit any special places,” we were asked. “No, nothing special at all.”
“How about fun? Did you have good fun?” My mobile phone beeped a message through and I almost cried when I read the taxi’s text announcing that it was approaching us. If we were a tiny bit patient, we would not be in this situation.
Our driver appeared to be in a hurry as she drove over bumps at a fairly high speed. Her passenger was clearly unhappy for he kept announcing that she should slow down. Then he began to whistle, no tune in particular as he looked out the side of his window. The driver then asked, “were you guys at a party?” “No, not at all,” we echoed.
The familiarity of our street makes my heart pound even faster as the driver asked us which way to turn. My husband announced that we were home and that she could stop the car. She asked us to point out our property and we both pointed in no particular direction. The car didn’t seem to slow down.
“You must be tired she said.” “Yes,” we replied, “very tired.” The vehicle came to a grinding halt and I held my breath. I wasn’t sure she was going to stop.
We both thanked the driver and her passenger profusely and jumped out of the vehicle before she changed her mind.
“What the hell was that?” my husband asked as we tried to catch our breath. “I’m not sure,” I replied, my body convulsing as a chill ran down my spine. “Just get me home.”
Lying here in the darkness, I try to recollect my thoughts. I’m not sure what happened. It feels like I have been dreaming. Were we actually dropped off or did something awful happen to us?
I stretch my hand out and feel the darkness until I reach a cord. My hand works its way up the cord. I find a switch and press it as light floods the room. I sit bolt upright and look around. I am indeed at home and I am indeed safe.
My abductors turned out to be good Samaritans after all.
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