Throwaways is the second Crime Files book to feature crime-fighting duo Nancy Kerr and Tommy McIntyre.
As the ball gag cut off her cries for help, Diane tried to steady her breathing. If she didn’t, she’d suffocate. She sang Somewhere Over the Rainbow in her head and imagined she was in the kitchen singing along with Kyra as they washed the dishes; little Kyra standing on a stool so she could reach the sink, her wee sleeves rolled up so her top didn’t get wet. But, no matter how hard she tried to tune everything out one thought was trapped in her head: she’d never see her daughter again.
“It’s good money,” Traci had chirped as she’d flicked a strand of hair behind her ear. She was platinum blonde today. “All we need to do is put on a girl on girl show, lez it up a bit and we’re onto a big score. It’ll be fun.”
She made a gesture with her hand as though she was counting money. “From what I’ve heard this punter is seriously loaded, and not shy about throwing his cash around either.”
The prospect of a big pay day was tempting, but Diane had never done anything like that before. With her, a blowy down a dark lane and a wee car ride to the back of a disused warehouse was more her usual. She’d never done any lezzy stuff, but she couldn’t afford to turn this job down. Not with her Kyra needing some shoes.
Despite the protests in her head, she said, “Okay, sounds good. But, how did you find out about this gig? Do you know the guy?” She’d long since learnt that if something sounded too good to be true, it always was.
Traci shook her head. “Nah, but a friend of mine vouched for him.”
“Who’s your friend?”
Her question made Traci smile, but it wasn’t a friendly smile. “If I told you that, doll, what’s to stop you cutting me out and doing the gig yourself?”
There was an implied threat in her words. Diane knew she’d get rag dolled if she crossed Traci. She’d seen her in action enough times; once she’d dragged another girl along the pavement by the hair because she accused her of stealing one of her punters. The other girl had screamed like a banshee, but nobody had gone to help her. You looked after yourself on the streets and never got involved unless you wanted your face rearranged. That was rule number one.
Traci hadn't been capable of battering anyone the last time she'd seen her. Her ginger hair (he must have ripped off her wig) had been hacked off. Tufts of it stuck out, reminding Diane of one of the hairdressing dolls Kyra was always playing with. She called it Angel, but it was the ugliest thing she'd ever seen, especially after Kyra had cut off its hair with nail scissors when she’d been out of the room.
What Diane wouldn't give right now to have the doll on her lap whilst Kyra used her best lipstick as blusher.
A tear trundled down her cheek. Nobody was ever going to find her. She'd die here, alone in this damp, dark room, with rats that were as big as cats scuttling around. She’d starve to death and then they’d eat her, gnawing on her face first; sharp, jagged teeth tearing into skin and bone. She’d seen that in a movie once. All she'd been given to eat was bread that was only fit for the birds and milk that smelled funny. She’d thought about not drinking it, but with nothing else to drink she was always glad when she saw the plastic cup.
When he brought the food, it was the only time he removed her gag. He'd leave her for five minutes then return to replace the gag. If she resisted he'd inject her with one of those needles he always carried. Pain would scream through her veins and then she’d be out of it. She’d wake up with a raging thirst and tendrils of hair sticking to the sweat on her face. But then there were worse things than being injected…
As a division of labour, it didn't come more unfair than this. As Tommy sat in a comfy car, heater up full bung, sipping a Starbucks and leisurely munching on a cheese and onion bagel (with extra fried onions), I was standing outside, shivering my barely covered butt off, as the wind whooshed up my skirt and the rain came down like nails.
This was summer, in
Huddled in a doorway, in a scraggy blonde wig, and my best Pretty Woman outfit, I'm already soaked to the skin. And, I know it won’t get any better because there are men who will pull over in their cars and ask how much I charge for a blow job or full sex.
As downward spirals go, this was bad. At least it would have been if I hadn’t been out here to catch a killer and not because I was reduced to turning tricks for a living.
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I know I don't have to say it, but all text is © Copyright Jenny Thomson 2014.
Any breach of copyright and I'll send Nancy round.
Be warned: she carries a Taser and has a seriously bad attitude:)