A whirlwind of profanities flew from the glossy red lips of Jessica. The driver waved her manicured fingers dismissively in response, though she bit her lip.
‘No phone signal’ muttered Sarah, who hadn’t spoken for some time. Far from their usual haunt, the small broken-down car was swallowed by the green hills of the seemingly endless countryside. Against the bleak grey clouds, they looked like a trio of clowns in their sequins and makeup.
‘We’ll just have to walk to the nearest petrol station,’ Layla sighed. Turning to see vacant eyes, she slammed her hands against the steering wheel and left, alone. The clack of high heels gradually faded away as she stormed down the hill. Jessica continued cursing under her breath, stroking her fingers through her long brown hair. The day was dwindling away, darkness rising through the cloud.
‘Do you think Brad will find us?’ Sarah asked anxiously.
Jessica didn’t turn, just spoke through gritted teeth, ‘Not if you can’t ring or text him.’
‘I told him we’re lost, and he knows we’re supposed to be going to the club.’
‘Lost in the middle of nowhere. There’s no way he’ll find us.’
When darkness filled the sky, Layla had still not returned. The car keys lay on the empty seat. A little shoe key-ring glinted in the dim interior car lights. The low, steady snoring still didn’t calm Sarah’s nerves as she stared into the emptiness. Sarah reached forward and grabbed Jessica’s arm. Grunting, Jessica flapped her away. ‘Okay, okay.’ She brushed her hand across her face, rubbing the sleep away, and opened the car door. ‘I’ll go and have a look. Ten minutes. You stay here.’
Just like before, the clack of high heels against the concrete gradually died away.
As a light appeared, shining towards the car, Sarah shouted ‘It’s Brad!’ Her wide eyes focused on the bright headlights of the oncoming car. Hastily unfastening her seat belt, she slid out of the car into the night air. But as her jeweled high heel reached the ground, it slipped, twisting her ankle. Like a drunk, she lost control of her body, falling on to the muddy road. Her flailing hands were concealed by a blanket of blackness.
Gulping breaths of cold air, Sarah felt the sticky blood flow down her leg. Cowering underneath the body of the unfamiliar car, she let out a small cry. Immediately she felt the hands of a stranger pulling her out. ‘I’m so sorry. Oh my god. I’m so sorry,’ a hoarse voice spoke quietly. Dizzy, all Sarah could do was reach out to the man for support. Guiding her back to the car, wincing, the wrinkles deepened in the old man’s face, as he struggled to hold her up.’You’re not Brad,’ she whispered.
A sudden scream startled the strangers. The man nearly dropped Sarah, both out of shock and weakness. ‘Jessica!’ Sarah cried, recognizing the scream of her friend. The scream echoed through the hills again. It was distant.
‘I’m sorry, but I can’t help you any further.’
Sarah’s eyes-wild with pain and fear- stared into the stranger’s. She saw his pain and sighed heavily. Shaking her head, she limped forward, towards the screams. ‘I think you’ve broken your leg. You can’t walk on it!’ he protested. But she struggled forward. Speaking through shallow breaths, she told him she didn’t care. As far away from the night clubbing she had imagined, instead of glitter and makeup, her body was adorned with blood and tears.
‘An ambulance is on its way!’ The man shouted, but she wasn’t listening. Blinking back the tears, she followed the screams. But soon she struggled to fight the blackness. It was so dark, she stumbled into thorny bushes. All over her skin, she felt the jab of thorns. Giving up, she allowed the pain to take her consciousness.
Just as her muscles relaxed, allowing gravity to push her body to the floor, the piercing ambulance sirens brought her back. Drifting in and out of consciousness, different faces appeared and disappeared again into the blackness. The old man. And ambulance person. Jessica. Words became blurred into a single noise. The last thing Sarah heard clearly before the blackness took her was Jessica’s voice. ‘Yes, her name is-I mean, was- Layla Richards’ She could hear the tears choking her every word. And finally, ‘Stabbed.’