Written by Princess Juliet
Their darkest hour
Physical and mentally exhausted, Jayden managed to stifle a yawn as he shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He was dying to get out of the insane conversation and leave the crowded clubhouse at once.
The more Hilton talked, the more bored he got. Gosh! Can�t he read between the lines and just shut the f**k up!
His frustration boiled over and he bit his lip hard to stop himself from groaning out loud.
Hilton noticed his discomfort and asked concernedly. �Are you all right, doc?�
�No, I am not,� Jayden replied bluntly, not bothering with the common courtesy his fan might�ve expected. �It is late, I need to be on my way.� He added seeing the surprised look on his face.
Hilton panicked silently. �Where the hell is Nancy? He wondered and thought to himself. �She asked me to divert his attention from his girlfriend for a couple of minutes right, then why hasn’t she returned yet? Dammit!� The coldness of fear within him grew stronger. He clenched his teeth and grinned harder. �That sly brat had better not go against our deal, or else I will confess everything I know right here and right now…�
�It was really nice talking to you, Hilton.�Jayden�s deep voice interrupted his thoughts and he forced himself to smile.
�But I still have a lot of questions to ask about the leukaemia cure.� Feeling pressured, he tried to stall him but Jayden�s mind was already made up.
He rose to his feet and put on his best smile. �We�ll see some other time, Hilton.�
Without waiting for a response, he started toward the dance hall, searching for the girls when the music suddenly stopped and a weird voice sounded from the jam-box speakers
�Sorry for the interruption guys, but there is a young red-haired lady dressed in a beautiful red gown crying her eyes out and threatening to hurt herself……�
Jayden�s heart skipped a beat. �Red hair! Red gown! Nancy? Oh no!�
�If you know her, kindly please step outside for a moment and…….� He rushed out of the clubhouse before the announcement ended and met an appalling sight. Nancy was sprawled out on the floor, kicking and pulling her hair like a child as she wept profusely.
A tingle of alarm and trepidation went through him, and he frantically looked around her for Atarah. When he didn’t find her, his head felt ready to explode with anger, and adrenaline warmed him from the inside out. On an impulse, he marched to Nancy, fuming mad and yelled at the top of his voice. �Where the hell is my girlfriend?�
Her face turned pale on hearing his voice and she shivered from cold and pain. �I-I-l don�t know, Jayden.�Filled with regret, she managed to stutter a reply.
For a moment, Jayden was too stunned to speak and then he burst out into a fit of his broad, good-natured laughter. Nancy gazed up at him in surprise. �This must be a joke, right?�He held her gaze, his expression unreadable and she shivered again, this time out of fear.
�I don�t know where Atarah is.�Her eyes silently pleaded with him to believe her.
At that moment, Jayden felt a stabbing pain in his chest, it was like a thousand daggers were thrown at him. He gasped. �You don�t know where she is?� He didn�t, couldn�t believe her words and his ears.
Nancy nodded and swallowed hard nervously. �Erm�She was standing here�erm�no, there.� She carefully avoided his eyes as she pointed to the pavement. �And a car came out from nowhere and�erm�erm�took her away and�erm��
�What the heck are you saying?� Jayden growled in a deep, menacing voice, cutting her off abruptly.
Gosh! He could feel his anger rising and it didn�t feel righteous at all. Disgusted and horrified, he reached down and hauled her to her feet. She trembled in his arms.
�I�m going to ask for the last time, Nancy.� He shook her so hard that her head throbbed and she winced in pain. �Where is my girlfriend�Atarah?�
�She is with your step mum.� A soft masculine tone sounded in his ears. He turned slowly to Hilton who now stood by his side and waited impatiently.
�That is what you told me right?� Hilton glanced at Nancy accusingly and she looked suitably abashed. Then to Jayden, he said, breathing hard and sweating. �She told me your step mum and girlfriend wanted to surprise you and then paid me to distract you.�
His confession came as a shock to Jayden, but before he could react, his cell phone suddenly began to ring. Out of anger, he pushed Nancy to the floor and she landed on her butt with a hard thud. �D**n!�
He glared daggers at her and ran a frustrated hand through his hair before fishing the phone out of his pocket and receiving the call.
�Hello, son.� A familiar voice boomed from the other end and he cringed inwardly.
Her laugh was low, and Jayden could imagine her mocking expression. �I can see you recognised my voice.�
�Where is Atarah?� He gritted his teeth in silent fury as he asked and Mary smiled wickedly at the phone.
�You have just thirty minutes to bring the hospital documents to me, or else your girlfriend’s corpse will be the last you will see of her.� She threatened and Jayden�s heart caught in his throat.
Panicking, he asked. �H-How can I get it to you?�
�I�ll send you the address.� Mary simply replied and ended the phone call.
Jayden felt as though something had walked through him and left him numb shaking. He was disoriented, confused and breathless.
�Just 30 minutes! What am I going to do now? Will my girlfriend really be safe?� The never-ending questions began to stroll his mind and he paced back and forth restlessly.
Think. He had to think.
Fortunately, the hospital documents were still in his car, safe and secured. That eased his worry a little and brought him down to the question of who he was going to call.
His dad? Toby? Greg? Or the���His thoughts were interrupted by a beeping sound from his phone and he stared down at the message the witch had sent.
With trembling hands, he read it out loud. �The abandoned high school in the suburbs.� And then he glanced down at Nancy. �Call Greg and tell him everything that�d happened here.�
She nodded her head vigorously. �What about you, will you be alright?� Her voice was laden with concern.
He completely ignored her question and climbed into his car, for he had no time to waste on hypocrites.
Hastily, and without wasting time, he jammed his boot on the accelerator and drove down the street and bounced into the highway.
His phone rang just then. Without checking the caller Id, he received the call right away.
�Where�re you, Jayden?� Greg�s baritone voice rang out through.
He hesitated and pondered his brother�s question for a moment before replying.�On the highway leading to the suburbs.�
�But you can�t go there all alone.� Greg was worried about his safety. �I mean, what if my�erm�that woman decides to do something nasty.�For although he loves his mother, he was ashamed of her.
�That�s why I�m counting on you,� Jayden told him point-blank and huffed. When he ended the phone call, he increased his speed, impatient to reach his destination. He didn�t want to take any chances for he knew that Mary was a beast.
Greg sat alone in his room, his head buried in his hands, long after his younger brother had hung up.
He was stuck in the middle. That was bad enough. But how far did his mother intend to go? Very far, obviously!
For starters, everything was already getting out of hand and he knew his mother to be so stubborn and desperate. She would do anything to get what she wants, killing included, for he�d seen the raw look in her eyes on the day he�d helped her escape.
He swallowed hard, aware of the lump in his throat. The thought of her harming Atarah and Jayden sent cold shivers down his spine and at that moment, he knew what to do. But in a much more real sense, he had no idea what to do.
With a deep sigh, he grabbed his car keys, rose to his feet and stormed out of his room and down the stairs into the sitting room.
�I will text you an address right now.�He told his dad who was laying idle on the sofa, half-covered with a blanket as he watched television. Trent looked at him with his eyebrow raised questioningly. �Inform the police about an abduction case and meet there asap.�
�Abduction?� He gasped at his son�s words.
Greg nodded. �Atarah is in danger, as well as Jayden.�And Trent sat up in a huff on hearing that.
The colour draining from his face, he asked. �Who abducted them?� Despite knowing the answer, he still wanted to be sure.
�Your wife.� Was the response Greg gave to him as he walked outside to his car. Wrenching the door open, he climbed into the driver’s seat and started the engine and sped off down the paved road.
If anyone would stop his mother’s tyranny, then it should be him.
Atarah�s side was aching. So was her shoulder. She shifted position and flinched. The floor was hard.
Where the hell was this place?
Opening her eyes, she blinked. In front of her was a white wall with a photograph of what looked like a sunrise, although she couldn�t make it out for certain. Her vision was still slightly hazy.
Feeling dizzy and nauseous, she tried to raise her hand to wipe the sleep and hair from her eyes, but realise she couldn�t move her arms as they were bounded together with ropes.
�Good lord!� She groaned, her face scrunching up as sharp pain drummed in the back of her head. �Where exactly am I?� She wondered, her eyes darting around anxiously as the world slowly came back into focus.
She was being kidnapped! By Mrs Hobson? Oh no! Her heart began pounding louder and louder in her chest and her head was spinning so fast.
�Somebody, help me, please.� She heard a loud pitch scream; she didn�t realise it was hers until much later. Her jaw quivered. Hot tears filled her throat, making her eyes sting. She bit her lower lip till it bled. �If only my hands were not tied, I could have found a means to escape.�
Mary chose that moment to barge in through the door. Trailing behind her was Connor and they were arguing in a heated manner.
�How could you send him the address of this building?� Connor was yelling. �We�d planned to meet him at the train station, right? What if he calls the police on us?� Try as he might, he couldn’t understand what was going on in his old lover’s head.
�I know my stepson too well, he wouldn’t try such,� Mary spoke with an air of confidence and enthusiasm. �He loves his girlfriend too much to joke with her life.�She laughed the way school girls do, with her hand over her mouth.
Atarah flinched at her words. �What exactly are they planning to do with her, to do with them?� She was scared to death.
�Moreover.� Mary tried not to stare at her as she continued. �I want this little girl here to see him one last time before I send her to hades.�
Atarah gasped in shock.
�You want to ki*ll her?� Connor was equally shocked as well. �That is ridiculous.� He mumbled these words under his breath so she wouldn�t hear
Mary nodded her head and started toward Atarah.
�Please don’t ki*ll me, ma,� Atarah desperately begged for her life and she smiled a tiny wicked smile.
�You should blame your mother, honey. She is responsible for your ill fate.�
�My mum didn’t do anything.� Atarah half yelled, suddenly becoming furious. �How dare this old b**ch lie against my mother?� �She is the victim and you are the murderer.� She spat out, venom in her voice.
Mary’s eyes turned icy and she gave a little snort of disgust. �Is that what you think, hun?� She asked mockingly. When Atarah didn’t respond, she dragged her hair and kicked her in the stomach.
She let out a piercing scream and Mary laughed like the bloody psychopath that she was. Intentionally, she stepped on her fingers and kicked her in the stomach again, harder this time around.
Atarah’s stomach twisted in knots. And then she felt something warm on her thighs and stared down to see blood. She panicked.
Mary saw it too and her eyes widened in surprise. �She was pregnant?� The realisation made her want to laugh and cringe at the same time.
She chose to laugh with pleasure. �How interesting will it be to watch Maria’s facial expression when she learns about the death of her child and grandchild! Wow!� Feeling ecstatic, she wanted to mock her but the sound of a car driving into the bushy lawn stopped her and she glanced at Connor, silently passing a message across to him.
Without a word, he walked out of the room and Mary smiled down at Atarah. �It is time to say your last prayer, girl.�
Before Atarah could react, Jayden rushed into the room, hugging the hospital documents to his chest. He was looking so disoriented and haggard.
Despite her pain, Atarah smiled faintly at him and he immediately looked away from her, silently cursing his bad luck. He couldn’t stand seeing her that way. He knew she was in pain and also knew that agreeing to Mary�s terms and conditions was the only way they could get out of there alive and he was going to do just that.
�These are the documents, Mary.� He handed the papers to her. With a light smile, she took it from him and flipped through its pages.
�So can we leave now?� He began to tap his right foot impatiently.
�Of course, Yes.� She nodded her head excitedly and smiled sweetly at him. But when he started toward Atarah, she chuckled and said calmly. �Only you, sweetheart.�
Slowly, Jayden turned around and stared at her in aghast. �What do you mean by that?� He didn’t understand her at all.
�Well,� Mary shrugged her shoulders as if to say that there is nothing she could do about it. �Your girlfriend isn�t leaving here and that is final.�
�But why?� His voice turned to a whisper and he looked at her conflicted. �Why can�t she leave with me?�
�Simple! I want her to pay for her mother’s betrayer.� She replied nonchalantly and glared hard at Atarah.
Clutching her stomach, Atarah gritted her teeth in pain and sucked in her breath as she bleed profusely. What was happening to her? She couldn’t tell, it was like thousands of knives were in her abdomen digging her intestines out.
Right at that instant, Jayden noticed the blood streaking down her legs and he clenched his fists so hard that his nails cut into his skin. �You are the only betrayer here, Mary.� He gave her a response and she shot him a stern and icy look. But Jayden didn’t care one bit, he moved closer to her and whispered. �How many more people will you hurt before you get satisfied? ten, twenty, a hundred.� He studied her face with mocking eyes and she withered him in derision.
�You know nothing, Jayden.�
�And that is where you got it all wrong.� He hurled a retort at her. �I know a lot about your past and your crimes. I know you manipulated Mrs Jones into doing your bidding, I know you murdered my mother….�
�That’s because she deserve it.�Mary felt no remorse or regret. Her voice shaking, she asked. �Have you ever wondered what happened between your mother and me?� When Jayden didn’t react, she shook her head slowly and continued. �Your mother was my best friend, she is also the biggest betrayer ever. She knew I was in love with your dad, she knew I was pregnant with his child but what did she do?� She yelled so loudly that her voice shook everywhere and a heavy silence fell upon the room �She had her father arrange a contract marriage with the Hobsons because her family were wealthier.� She spat out, her voice filled with anger.
Stunned, Jayden was speechless with emotion. Although her story was sad, it still didn’t justify her actions. �You…You…killed my mum because of a man?� Tears of pain filled his eyes and rolled down his cheeks.
Mary nodded and smiled wryly at him. �And when I thought I had everything�a good home, a wonderful husband and two handsome sons who were ever willing to make me smile, this witch mother……�She gnashed her teeth as she pointed to Atarah. �Came into the picture and ruined everything.�
Anger stirred within her. In one swift move, she pulled out a gun, taking them by surprise and pointed it at Atarah�s head. Atarah let out a piercing scream and Jayden immediately rushed to her.
�This is not right, Mary.� Connor tried to talk some sense into her head but she wasn�t listening to him. Her intense gaze was fixed on Atarah and Jayden.
Connor sighed tremendously and ran a frustrated finger through his hair. �What type of mess did I get myself into?� He hadn�t expected it to go this far at all. �Fine!� He decided to try again. �What if the police eventually show up?�
�Then we�ll escape through the window,� Mary replied cooly as she�d already had everything planned out. Then to Jayden, she screamed. �Move away from her.�
�No.� He shook his head stubbornly, for he couldn’t be alive and watch her breathe her last. She was his soulmate, his world and living without her almost seemed so impossible. He didn’t even want to think of it, which was why he made the decision. �You�ll have to go through me first to get to her.� Feeling his temperature rising, he held the witch’s gaze, silently daring her to do her worst.
Mary stared at the boy whom she�d lived with for twelve years, the boy that she could have still been living with if he hadn�t found out the truth about his mother�s death and the only emotion she felt towards him was anger. Yes, pure anger! She was angry that he was siding with the daughter of the woman she hated the most and this awakened the demon in her.
�Fine, I will do as you wish.� She cocked the gun and aimed it at him. �Rest in hell, child.�
If Jayden was frightened, he didn’t show it. He wrapped his arms around Atarah and she went limp in his chest. �Goodbye, princess.� He whispered and squeezed his eyes shut, anticipating his death but it never came. All he heard were hurried footsteps and a muffled gunshot sound.
�Greg,� Mary screamed and collapsed on the floor at the exact moment the police siren wailed.
When Jayden opened his eyes, he was paralysed to the spot. He stared down at his hands and they were covered with blood.