“Where are you taking me?” Ashley quickened her pace, trying to catch up with him as he pulled her along.
“Be patient” his voice sounded rasp as he panted from all the running “it’s not like I’m going to kill you” he chuckled menacingly, his baritone making it louder and more sinister than he meant for it to be… Ashley hoped it was just a joke as her heart began to race.
It was late, pitch black, the moon was high up, but not bright enough to defeat the darkness. Ashley was sure she had never been to this part of town- she had no idea were she was. Heck, on a normal day she wouldn’t be out of the house by this time, but that was the thrill that came with being friends with Bryan…he was spontaneous and just so random, a breath of fresh air from the reserved life she lived, her mum didn’t like him though.
It was really quiet too, save for the sound of gravel being crushed beneath her feet as she hurried along. It was cold, too cold- luckily she brought her jacket. She looked around- nothing but grass and gravel and u completed buildings, the street lights flickered, she tried to calm herself, it’s Bryan.. She trusts him, but then he was heading straight into the woods. She stopped abruptly, a confused look masked her face.
“Wait” she pulled back “Stop!”
He looked back at her, his right eyebrow arched quizically as he studied her “What is it?”
“Why are we in the woods?” she stuttered, a little shaken now, Bryan pulled her towards him “Why won’t you tell me where we’re headed?”
“It’s a surprise Ash! Trust me you’ll love it…”he used his hand to lift her chin, forcig their eyes to meet…and this weird smile spread across his face.
“No!” Ashley swatted his hands away “I don’t want to..I’m not going anywhere till you tell me what we’re doing in the woods” she struggled, trying to pull away but his grip tighten and he yanked her towards him effortlessly “No, Bryan let go of me” she was terrified now…her mind could already phathom what was going to happen, or even possible bad thing that could happen… Her mum was right, she needed to get away.
Adrenaline kicked in and she swung her leg towards him, he held it with his left arm just before it made impact with his face, and in one swift maneuver he swung her over his shoulder.
“You’re so stubborn” he seemed excited.
“I hate you!!” she yelled wiggling, slamming her fists on his back trying to free herself.
“Music to my ears, tiger” his voice was melodious, and even as she was headed for possible doom, hearing it melted her heart….she loved the way he called her tiger, but right now she wanted to punch him in the teeth.
” Aaarrgghh…” she screamed in frustration, all efforts to get off his shoulder failed. She gave up, hoping to escape when she saw an opening, she wondered how she didn’t see this coming, and how she could let herself get into this mess.
After what seemed to be ten minutes of walking in silence, he stopped.Bryan dropped her to the ground but still held on to her arm. Ashley quickly scanned the environment, it was a vast sea of trees and thick darkness, she couldn’t escape even if she tried. Suddenly her attention was drawn to the wooden structure before them; a wooden door, inclined on a stone, secured with hinges. Ashley was a little confused, why would there be a door in the middle of a forest?
He approached the door and knocked three times, a few seconds passed and a rectangular section of the door slid open to reveal only a set of eyes.
“State your business” a rasp baritone voice called out from behind the door.
“Enough with the formality Tony, it’s me- Bryan…I brought a friend” he said pulling a puzzled Ashley to his side.
The door flung open after multiple locks were unlocked, from what Ashley could decipher, three different locks were unbolted, and probably a chain was unraveled.
A loud cheer greeted Ashley as she stepped in with confusion. . . . Lights of different colours sent rays through the dark, cold corridor that welcomed her.
“you’re on sacred grounds now ” Bryan spoke, his eyes lit up with a wide grin, and his grip on her loosened.
The duo walked through the hallway for a few minutes which felt like forever for Ashley, the cheers were louder as they approached the lights.
Ashley quickened her steps, anticipation enveloped her, as excitement slowly drowned her. “Welcome to the underworld, tiger” Bryan whispered on her ear as they walked into the vast arena, lights on every side. . . She shielded her eyes with her arm, and caught sight of the bleachers with the red paint fading, the smell of freshly popped popcorn, hot dog, and peanuts all mixed together.
She walked forward as the sounds of revving cars caught her attention. . . . In the center of everything, the huge arena; which was pretty much the size of a stadium, was a racing track, cars raced by, all kinds; Nissan, Mercedes, Toyota, Audi, Chevrolet, some she didn’t even know. “a race track? ” she didn’t realised she was squealing till she finished her question ” Why didn’t you just tell me? ”
” It was meant to be a surprise” Bryan yelled trying not to let the unending echoes and cheers, accompanied by the occasional horn blaring and revving of car engines in the filled up arena drown his voice. “What were you afraid of anyway? You were freaking out back there, what did you think would happen? ”
” Uhh. . . Nothing” a fake smile spread across her face “woods just creep me out” she couldn’t let him know the horrible thing she had in mind. She had so many questions, like how a whole stadium sized race track was under the city the whole time, and how long it had even been here. . . And who owned it.
She threw herself against him, wrapping her arms tightly around him “Thank you” she said loud enough for him to hear. . . He hesitated then returned the gesture, adding a pat to the back “Yeah, well. . . You’re welcome, just don’t go all mushy on me”
“I already booked us a spot, hope you’re up for a race” he said walking away, she quickly followed, her whole body quivering in excitement.