This story is by Austin Bartolo and was part of our 2018 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
After a night of drinking at the Sinner’s Den nightclub, Laura and Ann sit on the curb waiting for their Uber. Laura likes to unwind after a long week working at the shooting club. Laura looks up into the night sky and almost falls backward.
Jace, the Uber driver, pulled up in a 2017 Mercedes Benz and stopped in front of the girls. The passenger window lowered.
“You ladies call for an Uber?”
“Yeah,” Ann said.
Ann and Laura get into the backseat of the Mercedes. Jace drives off toward the girls’ destination.
“I think you missed a turn,” Ann said.
Jace ignored her.
“Hey, you missed our turn.”
Jace locks their doors and the girls panic. Laura’s buzz dissipates.
“Where you takin’ us? Let us out. Stop this car now.”
“Quiet,” Jace said.
Ann kicks the back of Jace’s seat repeatedly. Laura leans over and puts a choke hold on him. Jace jerks the car to the side of the road and stops, as the girls continue their onslaught. He struggles trying to get out of Laura’s hold. Jace extends his arm pointing toward the dash. His eyes start to involuntarily close.
“Sleep shitbag, sleep,” Laura said.
With one final, strong reach to the dash, Jace manages to push a button and the trunk lifts open. Jace’s friend, Mark, crawls out with gun in hand. He closes the trunk and gets into the front passenger seat.
“Need some help?” Mark asked.
Mark pops the glove box, grabs the cloth and bottle. He pours the contents of the bottle onto the cloth and shoves it into Laura’s face. After about three seconds, her grip loosens from around Jace’s neck. After five, she falls back unconscious. Mark douses the cloth some more and does the same to Ann.
“Tie those bitches up,” Jace said. “The brunette has some fight in her.”
“Open the trunk again and unlock their doors. Hurry though, the chloroform won’t last long,” Mark said.
Jace did as requested. Mark got out, retrieved some zip ties, and tied the girls wrists and ankles together.
“Not too tight,” Jace said.
“Don’t worry, I got this.”
Mark went into the glovebox again and pulled out two black hoods. He placed one over Laura’s head and the other over Ann’s.
“All right. Let’s get out of here,” Mark said.
Jace finished collecting himself and drove off toward his destination.
Laura and Ann slept the entire way. Jace parked the car and he and Mark got out. Mark looked around.
“What are you doing?” Jace asked.
“You can’t be too careful,” Mark said.
“No one is around, Mark. And even if they were, it’s too dark for anyone to see anything.”
Mark shoved the Beretta down the back of his pants and opened Laura’s door.
“Wakey, wakey,” Mark said as he tapped on Laura’s face.
It took her a few seconds to collect her bearing.
“Let me go,” Laura said as he grabbed her arm.
“I’m going to untie your legs,” Mark said. “No funny business, okay?”
“What are you going to do, kill me?”
“There are other fates worse than death,” Mark said. “You’re not dying tonight.”
Mark clipped the tie around her ankles. Laura gave him a quick knee to the face.
“I said no funny business, Bitch.”
“Get her inside.”
Mark pulls and guides Laura following Jace and Ann into the house and down into the basement. Mark stands behind the girls and yanks off their hoods. Their hair is a mess and their eyes are dilated as they adjust to the light.
“Mark, grab the brush and brush their hair,” Jace said.
“Fuck off,” Ann said.
Mark reached to his backside and grabbed the gun. Click. Mark pulled the hammer back.
“Let him brush your hair,” Jace said. “I won’t ask again.”
Mark brushes their hair one after the other making them halfway presentable. Jace snaps a photo of each of them.
“Get their clothes off,” Jace said.
“Screw you, Buddy,” Ann said.
Jace got into Ann’s face.
“I really don’t want any lip out of you,” he said. “If you don’t let him take off your clothes, you’re going to be in worse shape than you are right now. Your choice.”
They let Mark take their clothes off and Jace snapped another picture of them.
“Dress them back up,” Jace said.
“What’s going on?” Laura said.
After getting their clothes back on, Mark manhandles Laura into a cage and locks the door. He puts Ann in a second cage.
“What the hell’s going on?” Laura asked again.
Jace sat at his computer and uploaded the pictures to his auction website on the dark web. There was a monitor hanging on the wall across from the cages. Laura and Ann saw their pictures pop up on the screen.
“What the…,” Ann said.
Jace put a starting bid price of $5,000 for Laura and $4,000 for Ann.
“Fuck you,” Ann said.
Jace clicked the start button. The bids flew in. There was a timer counting down across the top of the screen. A ticker was crawling across the bottom showing bid rankings. When the timer hit 0:00, the bidding stopped. Laura’s final price was $11,250.00 and Ann’s was $6,500.00. The phone rang and Jace answered.
“Congratulations, my friend. Exchange will take place at same location midnight tomorrow. I look forward to seeing you again.”
Jace ended the call.
“Get comfortable ladies,” Mark said. “Looks like you’re staying the night. And please don’t scream. No one can hear you… No one will come.”
“What about a bathroom?”
“There’s a coffee can in your cage, use that.”
“Our hands are still tied,” Ann said.
“Figure it out.”
Midnight the next morning, Jace and Mark arrive at the exchange location with the girls. Two armed men come out of the other car. One holding a briefcase.
“Stay here and watch the merchandise. I’ll be back.”
Jace exits the car to greet the buyers. Laura leans over to Ann.
“Grab the gun.”
“What?” Ann asked.
Once Jace was a safe distance away, Laura wrapped her arms around Mark’s neck. Laura squeezed as hard as she could and leaned back, choking the life out of Mark. Mark reached behind grabbing at anything to escape.
“I’m going… to… kill you… Bitch,” Mark said.
“Grab the gun, Ann.”
Ann leaned over the front seat. The gun fell on the floor in front of Mark.
“I can’t get it,” Ann said.
“Ann, if you don’t get that gun now, we are dead.”
Ann crawled over into the driver’s seat. Mark kneed her in the head slamming it against the steering wheel. She elbowed Mark in the rib cage, leaned down, and snatched the gun.
“Ok. Now shoot this son-of-a-bitch.”
“Shoot him now.”
Ann used both hands, pointed the Beretta at Mark’s chest, and jerked the trigger back. The gun recoiled and hit the roof. Laura released her grip from around Mark’s neck and reached for the gun. Ann sat motionless. The scent of gunpowder filled the car and tickled Ann’s nose. Mark wasn’t moving.
“Get down, Ann,” Laura said.
Bullets rain into the car from the front and Ann gets low on the front floorboard. Laura swings her door open and takes cover. She leans out, gets a round off, and ducks under cover again. The buyer holding the briefcase fires. The round hits the passenger window breaking glass onto Laura’s head.
“Son of a bitch,” Laura said.
The buyer tries to get another round off, but the gun jams. Laura leans out, aims, and drops him. Jace picks up the briefcase.
“Not so fast you piece of shit.”
Laura shoots and hits Jace in the back. He falls forward. Laura rises from behind cover and moves toward the second buyer. She gets another round off hitting him in the leg. The buyer turns and hobbles back toward his car. Laura is in hot pursuit. He gets into the car, starts it, and puts it into reverse. As the car moves backwards, Laura stops… aims carefully… exhales… and squeezes the trigger.
“Eat this,” Laura said.
The buyer catches the round in his head. The car accelerates backwards until it hits a guard rail and crashes. Laura looks down at Jace and puts a second round into his body.
“Asshole,” she said.
Laura searched Jace’s body and took his keys. She grabbed the briefcase, walked back to the car like a fashion model on a runway, set the briefcase and gun on the ground, and opened the driver’s door.
“Find something to cut these ties off,” Laura said.
Ann popped the glovebox open and moved things around looking for anything that could help.
“Here,” she said handing her a pair of nail clippers.
“Are you kidding me?” Laura said. “Give me your wrists.”
Laura proceeded to cut the tie. After a few minutes, the zip tie broke. Ann returned the favor and their hands were finally free.
“Let’s go home,” Laura said.