I didn’t have an answer for him, but something he said had made my ears prick up and that unsettling feeling swam around my stomach again.
“Why did you say three brothers?” I asked.
Harper tossed his head to the new girl who was sitting in the lounge. “Amy there had some problems with them. She won’t talk about it much. It always sickens me when I’m reminded of the kind of people that live in this world.” He snarled and shook his head, his flabby cheeks wobbled as he puffed away. I furrowed my brow in concern and walked into the lounge, sitting beside the girl.
“Amy, is it?” I asked. She was thin and gaunt, wearing barely anything. She had a tattoo scrawled across the inside of her forearm, although I couldn’t make out what it was. Her nose was pierced and there were shadows under her eyes. “I’m Millie, I’m kind of the unofficial welcoming committee around here. Harper is a good guy…is there anything I can do for you?”
I waited a few moments, but Amy just stared ahead and I wondered if she was watching the TV at all. I cleared my throat and decided that there was no time to try and ingratiate myself with the girl. If she had information about the men that Mel was currently with then I needed to know as soon as possible.
“What were the brothers like?” I asked, getting to the heart of the matter. Amy still didn’t respond. I exhaled sharply. “Look, my friend met three brothers tonight. She’s with them now. I almost went with them. If she’s in danger then I have to know so I can do something about it. There were three of them, right? Jackson, Logan, and Jamie?”
As soon as I said their names Amy’s eyes widened and her jaw dropped. She swallowed and instantly crossed her arms. Her head dipped and she rolled her bottom lip under her teeth. The reaction was unmistakable. She knew them.
“What do you know about them? What did they do to you?” I asked. “I need to know.” I looked at her more carefully and saw marks on her arms and body, marks that looked as though they had been given to her by a wild animal. I suddenly feared for Mel’s safety.
“They’re…they’re monsters,” Amy said in a faltering voice. That was all I needed to hear. I snapped up and paced around the room, cursing loudly. I fell to my knees and took hold of Amy’s arms, trying to find her gaze. Amy seemed dazed and it took her a few moments to focus.
“You need to tell me exactly what happened and exactly where they are so I can find them and stop whatever they’re doing to Mel. Did you go to the police about them?”
Amy shook her head. That wasn’t a surprise. Most people who came to this place didn’t want to involve the police in anything.
“Amy, come on, you have to work with me here. You got away, right? Well, my friend might not be so lucky. I’m sure you don’t want anyone else to fall victim to these men. I don’t want that either, but if I’m going to stop them then I’m going to need your help. I promise that you don’t have to be any more involved than that. All I need is information and then you can stay here. Harper will look after you.”
I was just about ready to promise her anything no matter how impossible it was to get. Amy spoke softly and slowly, her voice barely a whisper.
“They…they said they were looking for someone, one girl, but they didn’t say what for. They just…they turned on me and they…they…” at this she burst into tears and her head fell into her hand. She sobbed and her entire body trembled. I held her for a few moments, feeling the shuddering tremors shaking against me, and then I pulled away from her and strode out of the house.
“Look after her,” I told Harper. He looked at me, puzzled, as if to say ‘why would I do otherwise?’
I stalked my way back to the Rainbow Bar. It was one thing to leave Mel to her own devices, quite another to leave her in the arms of men who had been proven to be dangerous. I knew I shouldn’t have left Mel on her own, and I could only hope that it wasn’t too late to stop her from going with them.
I practically ran back to the Rainbow Bar, so my lungs were burning and my clothes clung to my sweaty skin as I returned. The couple that had been making out earlier had disappeared, and other people had moved on further into the city to the other bars and nightclubs, but the Rainbow Bar was still open. I pushed the door and scanned the room, and I cursed when I didn’t see Mel or the brothers there. I pressed my lips together and walked to the table. Other people were sitting there now, and they expressed their disgust when I inspected the area for clues. I ignored them, but I found nothing. I turned to the bar, but then Damian walked across my path and intercepted me.
“So, back again. I knew you couldn’t stay away. Have you thought anymore about my proposal? There’s still plenty of time left in the night to do all manner of things,” he said. I glared at him.
“I don’t have time for this Damian.” I tried to push past him, but he stepped with me and blocked my path.
“Come on Millie, you know we’ve been doing this dance for a long time now and I think it’s time it comes to an end. We should just give in to our desires and let the good times flow. There is a reason you’ve come back here after all, and I think that reason is fate.”
I stared at him blankly. “I’m here to help Mel. Now get out of my way or I’ll get you out of my way.”
Damian smirked and then stepped aside.
“Until next time,” he said, and melted away. I shrugged him off and ran to the restroom in the hope that Mel was there. It was empty, so I returned to the bar and slammed my hand on the counter.
“Has anyone seen Mel?” I yelled desperately.
Mickey gave off a low whistle.
“Cool your jets. What’s gotten you so fired up?” he asked, walking over.
“I’m looking for Mel,” I said, panic making my voice tremble as I explained what had happened and what I had learned from Amy. My eyes still darted about the bar, hoping to see her emerge from somewhere, but she didn’t. Damian kept catching my gaze and I pulled myself away from him.
“She left a while ago with those three men.”
“What?” My face paled.