Allie squinted in the darkness. It smelled dusty inside. Her eyes began to adjust and she could make out some tables and chairs strewn around, and a hallway that led to more darkness.
"Tim," she whispered. "Tim!"
"Shh. I'm right here," he responded quietly. "Come on." He led her towards the hallway.
"What is this place?" she asked. He didn't respond.
As they made their way down the hallway, Allie could hear a voice. It got louder and louder as they approached. At the end of the hallway, there was a room and a soft light spilled out. That's where the voice was coming from.
"I don't care what happened. Just find him. Or I'll have your head!" the voice yelled, and then slammed down the phone. Allie and Tim stood silently in the doorway. The voice belonged to a woman, who was huffing violently. She whirled around and pierced them with her angry glare. "Oh. Hello, Tim. Where have you been? My guys have been all over town looking for you." Her tone had changed, from angry to menacingly sweet.
Allie felt Tim squeeze her hand reassuringly. "Hey, Regina. I'm sorry I'm late. I came as quick as I could."
Regina inhaled sharply. "Keep your 'sorry'. I've told you a hundred times that punctuality is important to me. Very important." She paused. "Who is this?" She pointed at Allie.
"This is my girlfriend, Allie."
"Girlfriend, eh?" Regina chuckled dismissively. "Hello, Allie. You're a pretty girl. What are you doing with this loser? He's in a lot of trouble with me, did you know that? And now you are, too."
Allie felt a cold chill down her spine. She wasn't sure what the hell was going on, but she knew it wasn't good. "I don't understand. I haven't done anything. I don't know what you're talking about," she answered nervously. She saw Tim imperceptibly shake his head. He was trying to tell her something.
"Oh, you don't know. I see. I guess you expect me to care what it is that you do and do not know, is that it?" Regina stepped closer to Allie. She began to laugh, her large belly shaking in her too-tight shirt. It had a picture of a playing card with the queen of hearts on it. Allie thought that was a little ironic, as there was nothing at all loving about this woman.
Allie realized Regina was waiting for an answer. "Um. No, I suppose not," she stammered. Tim squeezed her hand again. Regina looked at her for a brief moment and then turned her attention back to Tim.
"So. Little rabbit. You care to explain where you've been? I ask you to do one simple thing, and you can't even do that. You know what I do to people who don't follow my directions?"
Tim nodded. "I know. I'm prepared to accept the consequences." Allie could feel his arm trembling.
Regina seemed disappointed. "Hmm. No fight in you, huh? You think you're a martyr or something? What's the fun in that? Now this one," she gestured at Allie, "she's got a pretty little neck. Maybe I'll take your punishment out on her. How does that sound?"
Allie, still utterly confused as to what was happening, blurted out, "No, please. I don't know anything. I have no idea who you are or what's going on. Please don't hurt me. Just let me go."
Regina smiled dangerously. "Oh yes. This will be fun," she whispered.
To be continued...
To be continued...