Kate had an older sister. Her mother had wanted a boy. And when she was born, her mother was disappointed. The next year she had a sister. Both her parents were upset, and the three girls were also a heavy burden on the family.
When Kate was four years old, her mother got pregnant again, and they finally had a brother.
When her brother was three years old, Kate’s younger sister took him out to play by the river. Her brother fell into the river by accident, and her younger sister was scared to death and kept crying. Kate happened to find them. Her first reaction was that her brother was the most important person in their family, and he could not die. She jumped into the river without thinking.
Kate didn’t remember how she got back to the riverbank. She only remembered the freezing water with thin ice floating on the surface. It was so cold, and her body felt lifeless.
When she woke up, the first thing she saw was her grandma’s happy face. She told her that she had had a fever for three days and nights.
Her mother brought her ginger tea, saying that it could expel the coldness inside her. She hated ginger, but she drank it obediently, and her body warmed up.
Her mother was sitting by her bed and pushed her wet hair back and said, “Thank you, Kate. Thank you for saving your brother.” Her parents rarely expressed their feelings, and these were the warmest words they had ever said to her.
She shook her head, and her tears came out.
Her mother asked again, “Where is it?”
Ah? Kate raised her head in puzzlement.
Her mother’s loving face was fading away. She asked harshly, “The disc. Where is the disc Caroline gave you?”
She muttered, “What is the disc?”
“Still playing dumb?” Bang! She was slapped in the face.
She looked at her mother, who had never been so fierce and malicious.
Kate woke up because of hunger.
When she woke up, the day had broken. This time she was lying on a huge bed with complicated and exquisite designs on the head. She was covered with a comfy and soft quilt. The room was large with simple but elegant decorations—light-colored drapes and French windows, with a beige background and vague gold-patterned wallpaper. On one side of the wall, there was a full-length wardrobe that reached to the ceiling. And on the floor, there was a snow-white long-fur carpet.
Kate scanned the room blankly, and her memory came back to her slowly. She felt scared and disoriented. What was the situation now? Her first thought was to get away from here as soon as possible.
Right now. Immediately.
When Kate raised her hands, she saw they were bandaged. She was a little startled. She lifted up the quilt, and her chest hurt because of the movement of her arms. All her limbs were sore. She disregarded all these sensations. Fortunately, when she looked down, she was still wearing her sweater and jeans. Her coat was neatly folded on a chair nearby.
As she was going to get down from the bed, she heard footsteps from behind the door. She paused and got back on the bed, laid down under the quilt, and closed her eyes.
The door opened, and somebody walked in. He seemed to stop for a moment at the door and then approached. Kate’s heart was beating fast. The person stood by the bed for a while and sneered, “Get up if you are awake. Still acting?”
Kate had to open her eyes and see Curly-hair from yesterday, looking at her with a faint smile. The nightmare from yesterday came back to her. She couldn’t help withdrawing back to the quilt.
Curly-hair ignored her reaction and waved to the door, “Come in here.”
A middle-aged woman came in with a big tray. Kate’s stomach was empty, and her nose was sensitive to the smell of food. She smelled fried meat, onions, and spices.
The woman put a small collapsible table on the bed and put the tray on it. She said respectfully, “Miss, please eat while it is warm.”
Kate stared at her without moving. Curly-hair got impatient and urged, “Quick! Eat it because we have something else to do.”
She took the cup of chicken soup and gulped it down eagerly.
She was pondering inside while eating. Why were they suddenly treating her so nicely? Did she tell them something last time when she was not herself? Or would they continue to torture her after she ate?
She was so hungry that she swallowed the meat quickly without chewing. She coughed, and her lungs were pulled and hurt like hell. Curly-head frowned and said, “Slower. Nobody will be responsible if you die of choking. I will wait for you downstairs.” He waved his hand in annoyance and left.
Kate wondered what was waiting for her. Was the man who tried to drown her downstairs too? Her head tingled when she thought of him. But there was no way out for her. Why not enjoy the food first and deal with it later?
She had been prepared for more torture when she got downstairs, but she found Curly-hair and Buzz-cut sitting on the couch watching TV. They looked relaxed and turned off the TV as soon as they saw her. Curly-head picked up the car key on the coffee table and signaled her to follow them.
When they went outside, Kate saw she had been in a three-story house. Two large dogs with long fur growled at them from the porch. They jumped up when they saw her and barked, flashing their scary shining white teeth. Curly-head gave them a shout, and they strolled away.
Kate was glad that she didn’t try to escape from the window earlier; otherwise, the two big beasts could have torn her into pieces.
A shining dark sedan, parked at the door, looked familiar. It could have been the same one that kidnapped her.
Buzz-cut took the driver seat, and Curly-hair opened the back door and shoved Kate in. The car started, and Curly-hair took out a bag and covered her eyes. He did say “Sorry” when he did it but didn’t show any sign of feeling sorry.
The car drove fast, and Kate sat still with her back on the chair. She was worried and scared about where they would take her to, but she made no sound. The two of them didn’t speak either.
They rode in silence for about two hours until the car slowed down and stopped. Curly-hair took the bag off her head, and Kate adjusted her eyes to the light. She looked out of the window and identified that this was the alley where she was kidnapped.
Curly-hair drew a cigarette and lit it. He had one drag and exhaled it. And then he asked, “Will you call the police?”