Of Fear and Heat

Unfortunately, a dear friend of mine is having some issues reading my stories on my webpage, so… as promised, I am adding them to my blog so that she may see them. 🙂 Love you, Erika!

 

The desert was hot, roasting the passengers of the bus. She sat stewing in her own thoughts, frustrated that she was, yet again, on a ridiculous vacation with her parents. They had taken her to so many places as a child and now as a teenager. Why did they have to do this to her?! She could be on summer break with her friends at some beach, looking at hot guys and flirting relentlessly with every one of them! Instead, she was stuck there, listening to some man drone on about some historical monument in Cairo, or wherever they were currently traveling. She hadn’t been paying attention simply because she didn’t care. It would have been nice to have a phone signal! She would have spent her days surfing “YouTube” for their latest and greatest! Her mother nudged her frustratingly. “Are you listening, Kelsey?” She shifted uncomfortably in her seat. “No, why would I?!” She folded her arms haughtily before her. “You need to start listening or you could end up in a load of trouble here. Do you understand?” Her mother’s voice steamed with frustration as Kelsey rolled her eyes. She had no intention of listening, or even caring! They forced her to be there and they were going to know it whether they liked it or not! “Whatever.” She knew how the word singed her mother’s nerves, giving her a silent victory when her mother stood up to return to her husband.
She knew they were talking about her, watching as her father continued to look behind, directly at his daughter. What was she worried about?! He wasn’t going to do anything! As the bus came to a stop, Kelsey jumped to her feet, pushing herself through the crowd as she plotted her escape from her parents. It was easier than she thought. The streets were overcrowded with people at the street markets, making it easier to fade into the sea. For a foreign country, she was surprised to see so many normal looking people! True, some were dressed in things that Kelsey wouldn’t be caught dead in, but there were loads of individuals such as herself! Perhaps the trip would be better than anticipated! She looked around, hoping to spot someone her own age when she heard her mother calling for her. She turned around, seeing her mother turning frantically in circles to find her. Kelsey ducked down, trying hard to be invisible. Perhaps she should have worn something a little less revealing and slightly less loud. “I take it that is your mother?” A young man with a soft rolling accent stepped around to face her. He was tall and handsome, with dark chocolate hair and caramel colored skin to match. “Hey.” She straightened her back, her charm turning to full blast as she introduced herself. “Yeah, that’s me! Kelsey!” She giggled shyly at him, although she wasn’t the least bit shy. “Hello, my name is Hanif. It is very pleasant to meet you, Kelsey.” She liked the way he pronounced her name, giving her trimmers down her spine.
She wasn’t sure whether it was the sweltering heat of the desert or the sexual heat between them, but it was almost more than she could handle as she fanned her face with her hand. “Is it always this hot here, Hanif?” He chuckled at her reaction, “Yes, usually. Where are you from, Miss Kelsey?” She grinned, being smitten by his politeness “Oh, just a small town outside of Cardiff. In England?” He nodded his head, “Yes, I’ve been there before with my family.” He looked behind her, as if someone were standing there. She turned abruptly, curious as to his concern to see there was nobody staring back. “What’s wrong?” “Nothing, Miss Kelsey, I was just distracted briefly.” For a moment, she felt concern, uncertainty as to her next step. She could hear her father’s voice inside her head, instructing her. “Kelsey, just because a man has a nice smile and a cute face doesn’t make him trustworthy!” It was the same conversation she had as a young teen,  of her making poor decisions when it came to the opposite sex. “Oh,” She turned back to Hanif, his smile so kind and thoughtful. She couldn’t imagine such a man to be dishonest, or let alone hurt her! But there she was, in a land she didn’t know, with a man she had never met who continued to smile at her so innocently,  contemplating such ridiculous things as running off with the man and having a little bit of fun. “Sorry, I just thought that maybe you just saw someone you knew.”  She turned back around, still curious when another man came to her from beside her. “Hanif! How are you, my friend!” An older gentleman exited from the crowd to join them. He was much older than Hanif, although he seemed to carry on as if he weren’t, but the look of his attire. “Ah, hello!” They two men patted each other carelessly on the shoulders, “I’m doing well, how are you?” The other man looked at Kelsey, something unfamiliar and mischievous in his eyes. “Well, I am doing better than most, I suppose.”
“Just leave, Kelsey. Don’t wait for something to happen! If you’re uncomfortable, just leave!!” Her father’s voice came ringing through her mind, yet again. Should she leave? Should she just excuse herself and move on? That feeling came over her, hard and fast. She suddenly knew something wasn’t right. She had to walk away. Kelsey backed away from the two men as they continued talking, the man’s eye still fixed on her. After she had gotten out of arm’s reach, the older man turned his body to face her. “Where are you going, my dear?” She didn’t know what to say. She wasn’t sure how to sound nonchalant. How could she tell them she wanted to get away from them without sounding suspicious? “Uh, sorry. I just… I’ve been playing hide n seek with my parents long enough. I think I should go find them now. It was pleasant meeting you both!” She whisked her hand in the air flippantly as she gestured her good-byes. “Oh, I don’t think you should go just yet, dear. We were just getting to know each other!” The man smiled, leaving her blood cold. His smile was nothing like Hanif’s. She looked to Hanif,  searching for that smile; it was gone. In its wake, it had left a smile of demise and betrayal. She was in trouble. She had to run. As soon as the thought entered her mind, they charged at her, but not quick enough. She turned, bolting down the city street, her loose tank top catching on the bodies of the other shoppers. She had to find her parents or… The bus driver, perhaps? Where was the bus? Where had they parked? She continued running, searching for the old rickety contraption that had taken them to this horrific place! She turned to look behind her, the men still following her, although they hadn’t seemed to make much progress. Was the older man on the phone?
“Kelsey!! Kelsey!”  Rachel continued to turn around, looking for her daughter. How could she have just ran from them so carelessly?! Her husband, Jacob, returned from the crowd, “Kelsey!!” He had continued to call for her, despite his failed attempts. “Five minutes into this god forsaken trip and she’s already run off! What are we to do?” Jacob grabbed her hand, kissing it softly, “We will just continue to look for her, and pray that she’s alright.” As they kissed each other quickly, they heard a commotion coming from behind them. “Kelsey?!” As they turned to see their daughter running for them at full force, they had noticed two men racing behind her. “Oh my god!”
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