The man driving asked where she was going and if she was all right. He wanted to know if he should call someone. Ala shook her head, placing her phone in one of the cup holders. The man handed her a cord, which was part of a phone charger that was plugged into his cigarette lighter. She plugged it into her phone and waited for the green light on top to go on, to indicate that it was working. She then leaned back in the seat and fell asleep. She dreamt of the fire, making her believe she was still locked in the room and dying from the black smoke. She saw the man who burned alive, wearing a suit and holding an infant.
When she woke up it was morning, and the man driving the car had not murdered her.. She was tempted to pull down the passenger mirror, but did not want to have a panic attack in front of this stranger. The blanket made her itch, but she remembered the holes in her underwear and did not want to expose herself by adjusting it. She held up her phone, which was now fully charged. There were forty three missed calls and twelve voicemails. She knew that if she started listening to them, she would break down in tears.
She wondered why the man had picked her up if he wasn’t going to try to harass or abuse her. It would be a long time before she would be able to trust anyone again, and had she not been so exhausted and frightened that she would be captured, she would never have gotten into a stranger’s car. At the time, it seemed the safer of two very dangerous options.
“Why did you stop?” She whispered.
“You looked like you needed help,” the man said, brushing his bangs out of his eyes. She noticed his upper teeth jutted out and there was a crescent shaped scare under his lower lip.
“How long have I been asleep?” She asked.
“About fours hours,” he said. His voice was steady and he did not seem alarmed at all by her condition.
“Where are you going?”
“I’m going to drop you off in the nearest town with a bus station, and then finish my delivery.”
“I don’t have any money,” she said.
“I’ll take care of a ticket for you,” he said. She wanted to insist that wasn’t necessary, but there was no other way to pay for a bus ride. She thought of asking to be taken to a hospital, but felt fine. “What happened to you?” He said timidly.
“I was kidnapped by some men. They locked me in a room and stuck needles in me.”
“Are you serious?” He said, looking over at her. She suddenly felt ashamed for not having makeup on and nodded. ‘Well, don’t you think you should report them, go to the police?”
“No,” she said. “I just want to go home. I don’t want to cause more trouble.” He was kind enough to pick her up and was willing to help. She wanted him to believe she had a home so that he wouldn’t worry about her once he dropped her off. She did not want to incriminate him by informing him of what she would eventually do to those men.