“Happy?” the guy with the foreign accent snorts. “We’ll see about that.”
“What do you mean?” the first guy that spoke asks a little nervously. “We got some girls, we’re good.”
“Yes,” the one with the foreign accent agrees with disdain, and I finally place it. It’s Russian. “You got some girls, but not the right girls, so we’re not good.”
“Who the fuck cares where they came from?” the first one argues.
“Alexei cares,” the Russian says with some finality and there’s a tense moment of silence.
Who is Alexei? I wonder. I’ve never heard that name before. Is he the guy behind all of this?
Rubbing at my eyes, I try to blink them then hiss as a new wave of stinging pain radiates from them.
Suddenly, I feel eyes upon me and freeze.
“What the fuck is wrong with her? Why does she have all that snot coming out of her nose?” the guy with the deep voice asks.
“Her friend fucking maced her,” the second voice snickers.
“Fuck, she’s ugly,” the deep voice says. “Maybe we should just throw her out…”
“Yeah, toss her out with this puking one.”
“No,” the Russian says firmly. “No throwing out. We’ve already drawn enough attention to ourselves. This was a huge risk. Alexei does not like risks.”
“There’s been nothing on the scanners,” deep voice argues. “We’re free and clear.”
The Russian makes an annoyed sound in his throat and says, “We’ll see.”
“Fuck, man, you’re such a buzzkill,” the first guy whines. “All you Russians are so fucking pessimistic.”
“Yeah,” second guy agrees. “We got some babes. Alexei is going to get top dollar for their asses. Just look at this blonde…”
There’s some shuffling to my left and my ears strain as I try to figure out what the hell is going on.
“Look, the carpet even matches the drapes,” he says and I feel suddenly sick. Are they lifting up Lindsey’s or Sophia’s skirt? Oh god. “Alexei will get at least six figures for her.”
“Get your fucking hands off the merchandise,” the Russian says angrily and I sense someone standing up.
“Okay, okay, man! Fuck.” There’s some more shuffling to my left and then it sounds like whoever is over there is moving away. “I was just making a point.”
“Fuck your point,” the Russian says angrily.
Deep voice mutters something unintelligible and the van falls back into a tense silence.
Blinking my eyes, I will them to open, to work so I can fucking see. I need to figure out a way to get us out of this but I can’t do it blind. Through the slits of my eyelids, all I can make out is darkness. I can’t even make out any shapes.
The van begins to slow and then comes to a stop. Fuck. Is it just a traffic light or are we at the destination?
I nudge the body next to me but get no response. I’m pretty sure it’s Sophia, and she’s so still, so unresponsive, it’s starting to scare me a little. What did they do to her? How did they knock her out? My hand starts to roam over her, searching for a pulse or a heartbeat, when I’m suddenly grabbed.
I let out a startled little scream and my throat throbs and aches. That one little scream was enough to make it feel like I just gurgled with razorblades.
Someone backhands me across the face. “Shut the fuck up, you ugly bitch.”
My head whips back and my lip throbs painfully. My already abused face flares with heat and the pain is so strong I’m momentarily stunned by it.
“No damaging the merchandise,” the Russian hisses.
“This one was already hit with the ugly stick. What’s one more hit?” deep voice says as he begins to drag me back. “Open the fucking doors.”
The doors swing open and the cool air that hits my face is a welcome relief. Someone passes by my right and there’s a thud as they jump down. I’m swung out and then a new set of hands grabs me, pulling me down.
“No, please, no,” I hear Amanda whimper, and there’s a bunch of movement. “Please let us go.”
“Fuck, these two are more trouble than they’re worth,” deep voice says from above me. “Move it or I’ll give you something to fucking cry about.”
I start to fight against the hands gripping my upper arms, wiggling and twisting as I struggle to get free of them. Even blind, I need to figure out a way to get away. To get to help. If I could just scream, if I could just fucking see, I know I could get us out of this.
The hands around my arms tighten, the fingers biting down through my flesh until they reach bone.
“Stop fucking fighting or I’ll knock your ass out,” the man holding me says menacingly. The grip of his fingers is so hard, so harsh, I feel myself start to weaken.