By: Idle Wanderer
It all happened so quickly that at first the danger was not obvious. The horns were blearing that morning in the crowded streets of Rio. Crowds of people were walking through the street when I noticed them step out of the cab onto the sidewalk. I rushed over and greeted them cheerily,
“Hey! You made it!” I exclaimed, surprising them with my sudden appearance.
“Jesus, Liz! Don’t scare us like that, girl!” Dana replied in shock but with a smile on her face.
Lyn and Rika stood behind her and giggled as they watched Dana blow a fuse. I laughed and told Dana to relax and just have some fun. We proceeded to walk in the direction of the bustling market. The air was full of exhaust fumes and the people walking squeezed us together. We stayed close to each other and approached a likeable stall displaying lots of costume jewellery.
Rio, crowded as it was, was one of the best shopping hangouts in the country. Since we were already in the city we thought it would be stupid not to take advantage of the opportunity. The girls fussed over accessories while I looked through the collection of model magazines. An odd feeling stirred in the pit of my stomach and a sudden anxiety crept over me. I looked up suddenly and glanced around; it felt like I was being watched.
I looked across at the girls but they did not seem to notice anything. I quickly surveyed the area but there were so many people that it was difficult to arrive at a conclusion or possible ‘starer’. I sighed and shrugged off the feeling believing it to be a random case of the jitters.
As we continued down the line of vendors I gradually forgot about my earlier wave of anxiety and became as engrossed in the shopping as the girls. I reached in my purse and was pulling out some cash when I saw it. The black van was racing around the corner straight down our street.
In the split second that it took me to pay the woman, I realized several things. The anxiety was back and it was stronger than the last time. A chill ran down my spine and my heart began to pound. There were five of them closing in fast.
The men clad in black with dark hair covering most of their faces were boxing us in on every side. Two came from across the street and the other two from the left and right. These men were looking around until one caught my eye and looked dead at me.
I could see the murderous intent in his coal eyes.
I refused to acknowledge this to be a coincidence; something was going down on this street. Inconspicuously, I made the girls aware of what I was seeing and they laughed it off. However I urged them still, determined to get off the street before we were caught in something bad. “Let’s go!” Something is going to happen! You know my senses never lie,” I said feverishly, trying desperately to rush them down into an alley and then a café.
But it was too late. The black van disappeared in a cross street and reappeared, screeching through the very same alley we were about to enter.
Suddenly, the side door flew open and a man grabbed Lyn and yanked her in whilst pulling a black bag over her head. The rest of us screamed and turned to run to the nearest policemen, but the four men in black had converged on us and we were trapped between them and the van. They tried to force us in and the rest happened so quickly it was a blur. Dana kicked one of the men in the groin causing him to step back in anguish while Rika head-butted her assailant in the van. Lyn, with her head still covered by the bag, lunged out of the van while the man was holding his bleeding nose and landed on the tallest one in front of us. The man holding me put his hand over my mouth with a rag. I followed Riko’s lead and slammed my head back into his nose and made a break for it. Our little resistance did not faze them much however, and it was soon after that I realized I was the only one running.
I turned to look back and saw the girls being showed into the van once more by the burly driver and the man I had head-butted raised his gun and aimed at my head. I spun around and ran for my life until, BANG!! The sound rang out in my ears and I fell to the ground. The last thing I remember was seeing the blood pool around me, the screech of the van’s tires as it sped off, the screams of onlookers and passers-by who kept on passing. I closed my eyes with the cold realization that I was going to die.
“That’s all I remember,” I said shakily to the detective, wincing at the pain coursing through my shoulder as I put the pen down. The events that I had just recollected would become their statement.
“Thank you, Liz,” said the man, “You have been a great help to us. Rest up and heal. We will do all in our power to save your friends. You are lucky to be alive and free.”
I sighed and looked out of the window, wondering how in heaven the man had missed my head and shot my shoulder instead. How in heaven I was in the hospital while my friends were being taken to who knows where. Slowly, the tears dripped down and I murmured a thank you to the guardian angel that had saved me from death or much, much worse.