I take a lazy breath, my eyes shut tight. Why is it so warm in here? I must have not turned the air on last night. My stomach rumbles at the scent of my morning hazelnut coffee. I just love appliances that do it all for me. Jeremy spoils me.
I try to adjust my position and stretch out my legs, but my feet hit something. I wish Cranston didn’t always sleep at the foot of the bed. Dumb dog. I try to lift my arms, but they feel like 1,000 pound barbells. How hard did I sleep?
I don’t want to get up yet, but Cranston will need to be walked before I meet Jeremy’s parents for brunch. There are so many wedding details to go over. I smile, my stomach exploding with butterflies. I wonder what time it is.
I yawn. Oh well, it never hurts to be fashionably late. I try to throw off my sheet, and whack my hand against something hard above me. What on earth?
I drag my eyelids open against what feels like sandpaper. Did I sleep with my contacts in? My eyes fight to focus in the darkness. I jump as the bed shakes. I fumble for the nightstand light only to find it isn’t there. My mind begins to focus through the haze. I reach out finding hard surfaces covered in scratchy fabric. Sweat trickles down my forehead, my voice shaking as I whisper, “Oh, God.” I’m not in my bed, not in my home. I’m in the trunk of a car.
Something bounces me and I strike my head, hard. Tears pour from my eyes. How did I get here? This and a thousand more questions run through my mind, dragging me deeper into panic. From somewhere in my childhood, a memory comes back to me.
I rub my hand on the carpet building up heat until it feels like my fingers are on fire, I focus on the pain. With my other hand I search for another sensation until I find something. It’s small and hard like a stone, but it’s light. I take a slow deep breath and feel the hot air.
When I’ve calmed down, I realize the small thing is an old cell phone. I flip it open, blinking in the light. Holding my breath, I listen.
“45 minutes left until arrival, Ms. Venton.” My eyes widen hearing the customized navigation system Jeremy had installed for me the week before. I’m in my own car! With shaking hands I punch in Jeremy’s number.
“We’re sorry,” a robotic voice says, “but we cannot complete your call. Your minutes have expired.”
“Can I still send a text message?” Tears pour from my eyes. What am I doing? I open a new message and type in Jeremy’s number: This is Selena. Call 911.
I hit send and the message disappears. With one arm I brace myself against the trunk lid as the car bounces. I use the phone as a flashlight and look for the emergency release. I find where the release cord should be, but it’s been cut. Why did a smart criminal have to kidnap me?
The phone buzzes and I jump. Please let this be Jeremy.
Message could not be delivered.
I scream in frustration, covering my mouth a second too late.
The temperature of the trunk is getting hotter. My shirt sticks to me. Am I in one of my satin blouses? I rub the fabric between my fingers and realize that I am. I hadn’t been wearing that when I went to sleep last night. I feel further down and find my leather pencil skirt. This doesn’t make sense. I had laid out this outfit last night. I was planning to wear it to meet Jeremy’s parents. I touch something sticky on my leg. My heart skips. Am I bleeding? I gently poke the area. It doesn’t feel painful. Bringing my fingers to my tongue I taste caramel and hazelnut. My mind spins.
Why don’t I remember having coffee this morning? Why am I in the trunk of my own car? Where am I going? Who would do this? Calm down! I bit down hard on my lip.
I have to get out of here.
“Thirty minutes until arrival, Ms. Venton. You’re entering an area of low communication, would you like to switch to manual drive mode? GPS guidance will still be available.”
Manual drive mode? “Hello?” I yell as loud as I can. “If someone is there, please answer me! I’ll do whatever you want, just please let me go.” I listen for anything, but all I hear is the tires. “Computer?”
Darn it, why didn’t I listen when Jeremy told me “her” name? He had said it had something to do with my favorite Disney—“Bell!”
“Yes, Ms. Venton? I’m having a hard time hearing you. Shall I turn up the microphone?”
“Yes!” What had he told me she could track? “How many passengers in the car?”
“Zero passengers detected.”
I listen for a human voice, but there’s nothing.
“Bell, how much do I weigh?”
“Checking driver’s weight.”
I hold my breath.
“I’m sorry, but something must be wrong with my sensors. I’m not detecting your weight.”
No one is driving! “Bell, I’m stuck in the trunk, let me out.”
“Request command not recognized.”
“Bell, where are we going?”
“Location unnamed. Destination twenty minutes away. Switch to manual drive?”
“No!” My head feels like it’s about to lift off my shoulders. “Bell, open the trunk.”
“I cannot while the vehicle is in motion.”
“Please! I can’t breathe. I have to get out of here.”
“Would you like me to open the windows?”
“No! I need to get out of the trunk. Don’t you understand you stupid machine? There is a person in the trunk. I don’t fit in here.”
“Do you require more trunk space?”
I laugh wishing, for the first time in my life, that I could strangle a computer program. “Yes.”
“One moment, please.”
My heart skips as I hear a pop. A thin line of daylight appears in front of me. Reaching for it, I push down the back seat. The air conditioning sends chills over me. I really am alone.
I pull myself through the hole. Looking out the window I see nothing but desert.
“Bell, where am I?”
“GPS location indicates the Nevada border.”
“Nevada?” Climbing into the driver’s seat, I take control of the car. “Bell, who told you to take me to Nevada?”
“Connection strength poor. Switching to GPS only mode.”
In the cup holder in the center console, a second old cell phone buzzes. Pulling over, I flip it open:Are you sorry yet?
Thank you all so much for reading. I know you can spend your time doing anything you want and I so appreciate your spending a little time here in my imagination. Have a question you’d like to ask Selena? Leave it in a comment below and I’ll be sure to include it in my next character interview.
*Side note* I’m sorry for how late this post was, but I so appreciate your patience. I have the best readers on the planet!