“Come for a walk with me,” he said. His voice was soft, but there was something in the way he said it that suggested I didn’t have a choice. No matter how gentle they might have seemed or how much they said they were going to take care of me, I had to remember that I was their prisoner, and like any good prisoner I was going to try to escape.
I followed him out of the door. I was quite frankly surprised that he didn’t put a leash on me, or at least some handcuffs. He must have been that confident that he could handle me if I tried to escape. Well, I wasn’t going to try to escape just yet. That was perhaps the worst thing I could have done. I needed to get them comfortable, to lull them into a false sense of security. Only then could I hope to escape. I had to keep my wits about me, and observe as much as I could. Unfortunately, it didn’t help that the place was dark. Jack led me down a dark corridor. I could hear sounds coming from other parts of the building; murmurs of conversation and some music playing. There was also the roar of a motorcycle as well, fading as the rider drove off into the distance.
Another door opened, this one to the outside world. The night was dappled with moonlight. The air was fresh and cool. It couldn’t have been too long until dawn rose. The fading night was beautiful and ethereal. Shadows danced and the leaves of trees fluttered as the night breeze wafted by. Owls hooted and deep in the distance a wolf howled. Jack’s ears pricked up and his gaze drifted towards the origin of the noise. I didn’t pick up on the significance of that at the time.
The grass was covered in dew. The forest was a place of mystery, stretching out for miles all around. It was an easy place to lose oneself in, and I was starting to get an idea of how I might escape. I turned around to see the back of the building. It was low and wide, with a slanted roof. A long road stretched out in front of it, leading to eternity on either side. There were no twinkling lights of a city; a sight that I had grown used to. Out here it felt as though we were the only people in the world, in the only place that existed. It was easy to feel lost.
We walked about halfway between the building and the edge of the forest. Fear clutched my heart as it felt as though we were marching towards my doom, but then Jack stopped abruptly and lifted his head to the moon with a reverent gaze, in silent worship. I wasn’t sure how I should act or what I should say, so I remained quiet until he spoke.
“She’s beautiful, isn’t she?” he eventually said. He closed his eyes and smi
“Yes, she is.” I couldn’t deny that the moon looked even more impressive than usual, as did the stars. I was used to living in the city, so they were always hidden behind the bright neon lights that twinkled in a city that never really slept. The moon was just a part of the scenery, a pale dot in the background, receding behind the flashing lights, promising fame and fortune, capturing attention away from what was truly beautiful in the world. But out here the moon and the stars had no equal. They glittered with resplendent beauty against the inky backdrop of the night sky and it was easy to believe that miracles could happen.
“I was told a story when I was a child, that the moon was once a woman who wanted to be near the sun. One day she leapt up from her home, leaving her village and her family behind, and she became the moon, for of course the sun was too warm to get close to. I used to try it myself. One day I jumped from the top of my home. I broke my leg,” he laughed dryly. “My mother scolded me and told me to never listen to stories again, but ever since that day I’ve wondered if there’s a way to touch the moon.”
“That’s a lovely story,” I lied. I didn’t particularly care about his childhood, his mother, or the goddamned moon. It had become quite clear to me that he wasn’t going to listen to my demands, so there was no use in begging him to tell me what he wanted with me. He would tell me in his own time, or not at all, and I just had to live with that. But I was already tracing a path with my eyes, looking to the forest and thinking about where it might lead. As I peered into the darkness I was thankful for the brightness of the moon as it highlighted certain landmarks, like a mountain to the right of me. The jagged peak cut out some of the stars and I thought that would make a good direction for my escape. I could almost see myself running through the forest, losing myself in the darkness as I escaped this most dangerous situation. There was an urge in my heart to do so then, but my feet were rooted to the spot. My skin crawled as I thought of the way Jack’s hands would pull me back and throw me to the ground, how even though the grass was soft and wet it might as well have been daggers stabbing into me.
“After that Mom told me that the only way to touch the moon was through a song. Do you believe in magic Trish?” he asked.
“Magic? I…I can’t say that I do.”
“Really? You should…you conjured magic over the entire bar with your song. Magic doesn’t have to be from witches and wizards and all those sorts of things. It’s deeper than that, more personal. It happens when you expose your soul to others. They see something pure, something vibrant and alive, and they respond to that. When you sang every single person in that bar was transfixed by you, spellbound. Hearing you sing was as beautiful as seeing the moon like this.”
His words were beautiful, and if he had spoken like this at the bar I may well have gone home with him and given him whatever he wanted, but he had already taken me away by force, ripped me from the night without mercy. I wasn’t going to let him get away with doing everything he wanted. When I replied there was cold steel in my voice.
“That might well be true, but that doesn’t help me at the moment. What is this place? What do you want with me?” I asked again, tiring of his musings on magic and the moon. It seemed crazy, and the more he spoke the more I wondered if this was some kind of dangerous cult. There were moments when he didn’t seem to be making any sense. It was as though he saw the world in a different way than anyone else and I wasn’t entirely sure how to handle it. I glanced down to make sure that he wasn’t holding a knife or other weapon in his hands. I was afraid that I might be a sacrifice to the moon.
He turned his head. There was a strange look in his eyes, and once again I was reminded of that moment when I had seen gold in them. Was that just a trick of the mind or was there something more? I was so tired and my mind was strung out. It was easy for me to believe in the dangers of the world. In a place like this the impossible seemed more believable and things like magic rose from the ground, seeping into every pore, until daylight would come again and wash it away in its brilliant light.
“I want you for your song Trish, for your song and for everything that means,” he said.
I frowned. That still didn’t make any sense. He turned away from me and it seemed to be the only answer he was going to give.
“And what is this place?”
“We’re a motorcycle club. We’re small, but it means a lot to us.”
“A motorcycle club?” I asked skeptically, folding my arms across my chest. Jack wasn’t what I expected. He seemed aloof, almost as though he wasn’t really there. “And do you make a habit of kidnapping innocent young women?”
“No, we don’t. Just you,” he said.
His words took me by surprise. My breath caught in my throat and I wasn’t quite sure what to say about that. I didn’t think there was anything special about me. My hackles rose and my skin prickled with unease. I shifted my weight between my feet and furrowed my brow even deeper, wanting to snap at him, wanting to lash out in anger. He was so sure of himself, so confident that I wouldn’t dare do anything against him, that he wasn’t even worried that I might escape. And what was so special about me anyway; that I was vulnerable? That I had no family? That I was practically alone in this world without any direction or purpose? Those things didn’t make me special…they made me a failure.
“And what if I just ran away right now? What if I fled into the darkness and disappeared into the forest? You might think you’re stronger and faster than me, but you have no idea. You don’t have your bike here and you don’t have your cronies. Maybe I could have a chance,” I dared to express the idea of a challenge and instantly his hand shot out to grip my arm, so tight that it left bruises. His eyes flashed with anger.
“Try it,” he growled. There was such animal intensity in his voice that I could barely think straight. All thoughts of challenging him disappeared from my mind as I knew he wasn’t going to let me go. I pulled my arm away.
“Get your hands off me!” I cried. I stepped away a few paces, retreating back to the building we had just left. I nursed my arm. Pain throbbed and a hopeless feeling entered my heart. I knew this wasn’t going to be easy, but I dreaded what they might do to me.
Jack turned back to the moon.
“Your place is here with us now. It has been decided. Go and rest. You shall learn more tomorrow.”
“Decided? By who? By what? I haven’t decided!”