stories about diversity.
It was drizzling when Ellie and Mike got off the bus at Camden High Street. It wasn’t quite 10am and there were still people rushing for the bus hurrying to work, the last of the commuters.
Ellie had told Morgan that she had had an appointment, that she had forgotten about, explaining away her reason for her lateness.
Mike and Ellie turned into Plender Street from amen High Street, Ellie recalled the fruit and vegetable markets along it on the weekends, but today it was empty, the odd scrap of paper being blown around in the slight breeze.
Ellie couldn’t talk, she was so nervous. Mike looked at her and instinctively took her hand.
“It’s okay. If she’s not here, we can arrange another meeting.”
Up ahead they saw the corner of King’s Terrace, a real estate agents and chapel positioned on opposite corners. Ellie apprehensively scanned the area as she neared the meeting point but there was no sign of Kate. They stopped at the corner and turned down King’s Terrace, a sudden flash of unexpected colour catching her eye in a doorway. It was Kate, pushed into the entrance of some flats above the real estate agents.
Ellie ran to Kate and held onto her.
“God, what happened to you?” Ellie asked, pushing her away from her so she could look at Kate’s face, noticing the red scars and splits on her forehead that had not yet healed.
“I’m, I’m okay. I don’t know what to do, Ellie.” Kate said breathlessly, her eyes darting back and forth.
“Tell me, what’s happening, Kate?”
But before she said anything Kate broke free of Ellie’s hold and ran back to the house, Ellie and Mike in following behind her.
Kate fumbled with the key before opening the door and then slamming it shut leaving Ellie and Mike on the door step.
“Ellie go away. You’ll get me and you killed. He has everything on camera.” Kate called from behind the closed door.
“Tomorrow. Meet me tomorrow. Now go! Please.”
“Okay, tomorrow. Same time, same place.”
Mike took note of the address and dragged Ellie away, looking for cameras in the entrance of the unit.
Back on the corner, Ellie pulled Mike to stop.
“What was that?”
“I think you’re first suspicion of Kate being held captive was correct.” He answered, looking back down the laneway.
“Did you see her face?”
Mike nodded and looked at Ellie.
“Why would you be in danger?”
Ellie looked up at him. “The mugging?”
Mike nodded, “I’m going to get onto Jo. See if he can’t find out who lives at this address before tomorrow.”
“What if we’ve been filmed already?” Ellie asked, allowing Mike to lead her back to Camden High Street.
“There was one camera, above the door. I’m not sure we got completely into view of it.” Mike said, dialling Jo’s number on the phone.
+ + +
The following day Mike lead Ellie down Plender Street. It was a little busier than the previous day, as they rounded the corner, Ellie’s began searching the laneway, hoping to see Kate
There was no sign of her. They went to the doorway she had entered the day before, staying clear of the camera. The industrial facade had high frosted windows on either side of the doorway, they couldn’t knock and the windows were too high to peer in.
Ellie turned to Mike. He shrugged his shoulders.
“What do we do?” Ellie asked, “call the police, get them to storm the building?”
Mike shook his head, “on what grounds?”
“What evidence? They won’t do anything not on the flimsy evidence we have.”
“Can’t they just knock on the door and ask for her?” Ellie offered.
“What and put your life and Kate’s in danger?”
Ellie stared up at him, tears beginning to roll down her face.
+ + +
Later that day, Ellie sat across from Noni in the cafe.
“She just ran back to the warehouse?” Noni asked incredulously.
Ellie nodded, “she said we’d get me and her killed.”
Noni stared at her with a blank expression.
“She was banged up bad, and so skinny despite being pregnant.” Ellie shook her head and stared out of the window, the grey drizzle forming rivulets down the large glass pane.
“Are you in danger now?” Noni’s eyes widened.
Ellie looked at her, “I’m not sure.”
“Don’t go anywhere on your own. What about tonight, at your place? You said Mike’s on night shift. You can’t stay there, it’s too dangerous.” Noni’s eyes were wide, her face had paled and she gripped Ellie’s hand.
“Stay with me and Billy, we can clear out the lounge, just for the rest of the week.” Noni offered.
“Noni, do you think you’re over reacting?” Ellie said, trying to make her voice light with a little giggle. But it came out like a gasp.
“No. Trust me I know these people, who beat up women, keep them like prisoners.” Noni offered.
Ellie looked at Noni, studying her face. She noticed the fine scars she had around her hair line or along the side of her mouth as if for the first time. Ellie nodded and looked into her tea, suddenly not being able to stomach it.
“Let me talk to Mike, when we get back. I’ll see what he says.”
+ + +
“Mike, Noni’s put the wind up me! She says I shouldn’t be on my own.” Ellie said breathlessly into her mobile. “She says I should stay at Billy’s with her for the week.”
“Okay, okay. I understand.” Mike sighed. “Are you okay to go to tonight? I’ll swap shifts and do days for the rest of the week.”
“Shit. You really think she is right?”
“I don’t know.” Ellie could hear him scratching his stubble, “I’d rather be safe than sorry.”
“Alright. I haven’t got any clothes for tomorrow. I’ll have to drop by and pick something up?”
“Look, you know what, tomorrow is the scan, I can drop you down at your parents in Kent afterwards. You’ll be safe there?” Mike suggested.
“Yeah.” Ellie nodded, “so pack enough for a week or so?”
“Yep. I’m coming to get you, we’ll go together.”
“Thanks.” Ellie sighed into her phone.
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