Margaret looked over the hood of Dominic’s car. No one was coming. Slowly she stood up and climbed onto the hood. Standing on the car put the windowsill slightly below chest height, allowing Margaret could see into the room.
She was right about the building having been a school. The room was littered with broken desks and chairs, and an old blackboard had been well-vandalized by the local vagrants. She couldn’t see Dominic. Margaret leaned against the windowsill.
“Dominic, is that you?” she asked into the wreckage of the classroom.
“Margaret?” It was Dominic, and his voice took on a more optimistic tone. “Margaret, did you come back for me?”
She hesitated for a few seconds. This all seemed too perfect. First, he wanted to pick up Sybill. Then Sybill came back for Margaret at the bus station. Then all of this craziness with the guns and the locked gate and the abandoned school… it was the perfect set up.
“Nice one, Dominic,” Margaret said. “I thought this was some serious stuff out here, but I’m on to your joke now. I’m sure you’ll have some great blog material. Well played, sir.”
“Margaret, please,” Dominic said, hope slipping from his voice. “Please help me. What they’ve been doing to me… it’s horrible.” She could hear his voice cracking, then he started to sob. Margaret rolled her eyes. He was putting a lot of effort into this prank.
Voices bounced off the walls as Sybill and Elvis approached the corner of the school. Her mind drifted to the bullet lodged in her cell phone. It didn’t add up. Real bullets?
“Your buddies just about killed me out here,” Margaret said. “I’m coming in, and you’d have one hell of an explanation because you’re all going to jail as soon as I can get to a phone.” She tossed her purse through the window and climbed in behind it.
Margaret brushed the dust off of her clothes as she stood. Her eyes took a few seconds to adjust to the darkness inside the classroom, and the first thing she saw were the plates and silverware on a small table nearby. Someone had enjoyed a meal recently. A cutting board was on another table against the wall. A large butcher knife sat on the table next to the cutting board, upon which she saw some meat, and bones, and…a hand?
“Margaret,” Dominic moaned from a corner.
Margaret couldn’t turn around. She didn’t have the courage to actually see what she had already pictured in her imagination. To turn would be to eliminate the possibility that this was a prank, or a dream, or anything that she could banish.
The voices under the window brought her back to her senses.
“I could have sworn I heard her,” said Sybill.
“Must’a gone inside,” said Elvis. “That door right there’s open.” Margaret heard the creak of a door. Her time was running out. She turned to face Dominic and covered her mouth to hold in the scream that would have meant discovery.
He was tied to a table, his face was badly beaten. His left arm was severed at the elbow, the stump tied off with a cloth tourniquet. “Help me… please,” he whispered.