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Chapter 8 Knock, Knock

  • Zeno's head was the first one to whip towards the side to look for Hana. His face was stern, ready to glare at her to prompt her into coming up the stage, but that stern look burst into a laugh. Hana was at the side looking at Tony. She had her mask on but Zeno could tell that she was questioning why she won with that stupid look on her face. He crumpled a piece of paper into the size of a marble and flicked it with his fingers towards Hana.
  • Bull's eye! It hit her right in the chin.
  • Hana regained her senses. She closed her mouth and straightened her tilted head. She was too confused to mind the ball of paper that hit her. She walked up the stage, still wondering why she won the competition. Upstage, Tony congratulated Hana as he handed her the prize. People clapped their hands for her. They have no problems with her winning the competition. They enjoyed her performance. She just bowed towards the crowd to thank them.
  • "Folks, the night has ended. This has been Tony, the master of ceremony for tonight's events. See you next time!”
  • People started to leave the place now that the contests had ended. Thankfully, the police did not raid the venue. The launching of the new contest was successful. The night ended on a happy note. While Hana was going down the stage, she was approached by another staff who whispered to her a special way out of that shady place. The organizers have always made special arrangements for the winners because of the danger that prizes attract. Hana followed the female organizer out. Her phone suddenly vibrated in her back pocket. She took it out to find Lacy and Sam's congratulatory messages. She thanked them and promised to share the prize with them by giving them tokens the next time they meet. The two were ecstatic and replied with a barrage of emojis, implying that they liked her proposition. Hana was too engrossed in typing. She did not notice that she was not following the organizer anymore. The woman made another turn somewhere and Hana did not notice that. Now, she's lost. When she looked up from her phone, she found herself in the middle of a deserted car park. It was wide and Hana did not know where to go next.
  • "Hello?” her voice echoed. Hana felt shivers running down her spine. Her situation at that moment made her feel like she was the main protagonist in a horror movie. Good thing the lights were still on in the car park despite it being deserted. "Miss Organizer? Anyone?” Hana tried to look for the exit but she just kept on going around in circles. It exhausted her so she decided to rest for a while. She sat on the floor and leaned on one of the pillars. Remembering her phone, she took it out and messaged Samantha, asking her for help. After a while, she received a message saying "Don't worry, I messaged the organizers. Someone will come and fetch you. Just wait for a moment.” Samantha also sent Hana the number of one of the organizers. Since they were already aware of her situation, Hana sat in a daze on the floor while waiting. That was when she felt her exhaustion kick in. She was so tired she felt the need to close her eyes. Just for a while… I’ll close my eyes just for a while… Hana fell asleep in that abandoned car park.
  • "Hah! Wasn't that too easy? Take this woman away!”
  • Hana woke up groggily. No one was here yet? How long did I sleep? She tried to wake herself up by rubbing her eyes but she found herself unable to move. She looked down just for her to see herself bound to a pillar. Her hands were wrapped around the pillar and were handcuffed to prevent her from moving away. She was still slumped on the floor but the setting had severely changed. The area now looked like that cliché place where kidnapped victims were taken while the kidnappers were waiting for the ransom to arrive. The steel barrel was present. Trash was burned in it and it lighted up the area. Hana can see broken furniture and old lumbers scattered all over.
  • Huh? Her alertness was brought forward in an instant. She struggled to free herself from being bound. "Looks like you're awake now, bitch. How was your nap?” Hana saw Audrey sitting on the cleanest chair in that place. Hana stopped struggling. "Ah… it's you, huh?” "Yes, it's me. Surprised?” "Not at all. Sigh, I thought I could finally treat myself to good food after winning that much money. Who would've thought that…” "Don't worry. I did not take the money. You can still treat yourself. That is, if you still have the appetite to eat.” "You didn't take the money? Why?” "What matters to me is winning the competition, but you took that away from me!” "It's not my fault. You made it so obvious that you knew about the competition beforehand. You would've won if you didn't look so prepared. Because of your costume and make-up, the audience was suspicious about the contest so your boyfriend made me, the crowd's favorite, win for the audience to accept the competition’s result. You lost because of your stupidity.” "Shut up! I say that it's your fault so it's your fault!” "You're already a grown-up but you still use such lines? You sound like you don't know how to refute my words. Or maybe… this kidnapping is not about me winning, isn't it?”
  • Audrey laughed heartily. Hana’s guess was spot on. "Stop cackling like a witch. Why did you do this?” "Your guess is right. So, why don't you guess the reason, too?” Hana pretended to think. "You invited me here to play guessing games with you?” Audrey laughed even more upon hearing her answer. "I have entertained you already and I'm getting bored. Why don't you let me go now?” "Hah! Tough luck, lady. I admit the competition is not the main reason why you're here. You took the victory away from me tonight but I won’t let you take something away from me the second time!” "What do you mean?” Audrey's demeanor changed all of a sudden. The mirth and amusement in her eyes due to their lively banter a while ago vanished and were replaced with a look of unadulterated madness. "Zeno is mine!” "Well, did someone say otherwise?” Audrey was caught off-guard when Hana did not challenge her statement. "No, but he kept on trying to talk to you, kept on looking at you… if he behaves that way, it's only a matter of time before he ditches me! I need to get rid of you. That's right! If you're gone, he will stay with me!” The pretty Audrey who danced on the stage ago was gone now. In her place stood someone about to go crazy because of that stupid thing called 'love'. She kept on mumbling things that Hana could not understand. "Audrey? Knock, knock… Audrey, can you hear me? Moshi moshi?” (moshi moshi- 'hello' in Japanese)
  • Audrey acted like Hana did not exist at all. She stood up from her seat and walked around in circles. Suddenly, as if something snapped in her brain, her sanity was back. "Boys!” Two men entered that dirty place. The two looked clueless as if they do not know how to think for themselves, only waiting for commands for them to know what to do next. *"*Bitch, they were the ones who brought you here. When you passed out because of the incense sticks, you were immediately brought here.”
  • Hana, who looked like she was having fun entertaining a child's whims, suddenly turned cold and serious. She was anxious to find the exit a while ago and she did not even notice the incense sticks Audrey was talking about. No wonder she felt tired and let her guard down that easily. Audrey approached the two and without any warning, stabbed each of them in their necks with syringes that suddenly appeared in her hands. The two did not even wonder why Audrey was injecting something unknown into their bodies. "Be good, boys. Watch over her while I'm gone, okay?” Audrey walked away after emptying the syringes' contents into the bodies of the two men. Hana panicked a little. That woman did not inject the kind of drug that I'm thinking about, right?
  • "Audrey! Where are you going?! What did you inject into these guys?" Hana screamed but Audrey did not even turn around to look at her. The fact that Audrey did not even bother to cover Hana’s mouth up indicated that even if she screamed till she died, no one would be able to hear her. Hana was not able to continue screaming for Audrey because the two men near her started acting strangely. They kept on looking at her like she was some kind of delicious food offered in front of starving people shipwrecked on an uninhabited island. Their faces reddened and their breathing got louder each second. One of them kept on tugging the collars of his shirt as if he was feeling hot and itchy all of a sudden. This is dangerous. They were probably drugged by an aphrodisiac!
  • Hana had been squeezing her hand smaller for her palm’s diameter to be of the same size as her wrists. That way, she can pull one of her hands out of the handcuff and leave that place. She had small wrists so handcuffs were always a little loose on her. With the right technique, Hana can squeeze her hand out of the handcuffs. But, she had to do it slowly and carefully, or else, the handcuffs would scrape the skin off her wrist and damage the veins in that area. It will then cause her to bleed a lot which was something she did not want to happen. While Audrey was walking out, Hana was almost done with squeezing her hand out of the handcuff, but because she was slightly panicking due to not knowing when the two would start attacking her, it was taking extra effort to squeeze her hand out.
  • Focus… focus…
  • It's done!
  • Hana stood up and grabbed the nearest chair. She then lifted that chair and slammed it full force towards the men who had started to approach her. The two did not expect that to happen at all. One moment, Hana was bound and helpless. The next, she was hitting them with a chair. Hana repeatedly attacked them until they were unable to stand. Looking around, Hana spotted a bundle of rope. She dragged the men one after the other towards the column where she was bound a while ago and tied them up using that rope. She crouched in front of them and said, "I'm sorry, guys, but, I'm not that nice to seek help for you here. How I wish Audrey was still around so I could tie her up together with you.” "Scream for help if you want. Maybe someone will hear you in this isolated place.” Hana shook the specks of dust off her hands and left the place. Audrey was nowhere to be seen anymore. She reached the end of that place. It was an iron gate and Hana was about to open it when someone also pushed the gate open towards her. Before she was able to see who it was, a familiar scent flooded into her nose. The gate opened and Zeno, who was huffing and puffing, greeted her.