When I wake up, I have a sickening sense of déjà vu. This has happened before. Me in a car. Me passing out. Me waking up with no recollection of how or when I left the car. Me in a bare room on a small mattress with no covers. Me in a room with a dirty floor and musty smell. Me in a place that’s cold. And dark.
I hold my breath and sit still for some minutes, willing this to all be a dream. I know where the light is. I stand up and run my fingers along the wall. Is it…? No, it can’t be the same place... I come across a switch. Light fills the room when I turn it on.
The room is exactly the same. The small window I escaped from earlier is there. Minus the sheets and the trunk that aided my escape. It’s no dream. I’m back in the hellhole. I can’t believe it. My stomach drops. I scream. But there is no sound. My scream is similar to Al Pacino in The Godfather, when his daughter is gunned down. Eyes wide with shock, bulging from their sockets. Mouth wide open, veins bulging. Fists clenched, nails digging deeply into the palms of my hands. The silent scream.
I stand there for a good 10 minutes. Screaming, with no sound. I don’t know what is worse. To be back here or to know that I was betrayed by the very man I trusted the most — Mr N. It was him all along. Now I know why the quote from ‘Luther’ kept going through my head. “People lie to themselves about three things: They view themselves in implausibly positive ways, they think they have far more control over their lives than they actually do, and they believe the future will be better than the evidence of the present can possibly justify.”
This is me: Stupid, stupid, stupid! It’s gut-wrenching. My mouth slowly closes and my ‘scream’ fades. How could I have misread Mr N in such a spectacular way? How could I have been so blind? What did he give me? Mchele?
That’s what they like to call date-rape drugs here. Not sure why. I always assumed the tranquilisers resemble rice grains. I make a mental note to find out. Not that it matters now, I suppose. I’m already a victim.
They are very powerful. They affect you quickly without you even knowing it. Girls use it to rob men in bars. Half an hour tops and you’re out. It’s ten times more potent than valium. Especially when mixed with alcohol. It dissolves in liquids and can’t be detected through taste. I remember Mr N offering me the hip flask that was filled with scotch. He didn’t drink from it. How could I have been so stupid?
Nabil, his friend, brought me here. Why did I assume Mr N wasn’t part of the whole thing? It explains why he showed up in a pick-up truck and dressed so roughly. That way, the shopkeeper would not be able to accurately describe him to a policeman, if it ever came to that. His baseball cap covered half his face. And God only knows whose car that was. The signs were there all along. He didn’t want me to go to the police station and had initially asked me to take him back to where I was being held. He seemed particularly despondent when he said the police would find the boss of the operation based on whoever owned the place. So the million dollar question: Is it him?