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“Ah, this is going to be so much fun! I’ve heard that London is great!” Inez said and popped a bottle of beer. “I so agree, leaving Montana feels so good. Anywhere but home is great right now!” Sophie answered, grabbed Inez’ bottle and had a big swig. Sophie and Inez were the wild girls of the gang, and they were always looking for a place to party. Emmy and Hannah closed the bags and carried them down to the car. Alice was sitting in the passenger side of the car, trying to fix her makeup in the mirror. Alice was the girl who always had money, cars and the finest clothes. Her father worked in a huge law firm and he traveled a lot, so he gave her everything she wanted when he was home. She was actually the one who paid for the trip.
When the girls got to the airport, they checked in and rushed for the Duty Free. Not surprisingly Sophie and Inez were in the alcohol section, Alice in the makeup section and Emmy and Hannah in the book’s and music section. “When do we arrive?” Emmy asked and looked nervously out the window. Emmy was a bit scared of flights, and the other girls enjoyed teasing her for that. “We’ll be down on the ground in twenty minutes.” Hannah said, and grabbed her hand. Hannah was very protective and was always in charge, and then she would start bossing around, giving orders to the rest of the girls. None of the girls liked that. In fact, they hated it. “First thing when we arrive will be to have a warm shower.” Inez said. “Second thing will be to pop a cold beer.” The girls laughed. “Third thing will be to find a club and the fourth thing will be to find a cute boy with an English accent.” Inez finished.
And as Inez said; they took a shower, had a few drinks and went to a nightclub. “This place rocks! It’s overfilled with cute boys, great!” Sophie said, and ran to the dance floor.
After a lot of alcohol and dancing, the five girls ended their evening. Sophie could barely walk back to the hotel and Inez puked a few times, but they made it. “I really need some sleep,” Inez mumbled as they waited for the elevator. Emmy was the only one sober and stood by her side to catch her if she fell. The rest of the girls followed Emmy and Inez when they stepped into the elevator.
When the five girls entered the second floor, where their hotel room was located, Inez puked again. Sophie screamed with disgust and stepped back, but Emmy remained calm. Suddenly, Inez froze. “What was that?” she whispered. “What was what?” Sophie answered. Her voice was horse after all the yelling she had been up to this evening. “There was a shadow right there. It was moving really fast.” “It was probably nothing. You’re just tired.” Emmy assured her. “Let’s go inside. I’ll call the reception and ask them to take care of the vomit.”
The hotel room was already overfilled with clothes, make-up and beer bottles, although the girls had only spent a few hours there before they went partying. It was incredible how the room had space for five beds, since it was pretty small. There were two beds by the door and three by the window. Since this was a cheap hotel, the bathroom was located across the hall. The girls had decided they would rather use their money on shopping and not expensive hotel rooms. “I hope these beds are comfortable,” Hannah said and sighted as she removed the clothes that covered her bed.
Inez fell asleep quickly, while the rest of the girls talked. They couldn’t help it; they always had so many thoughts on their minds. “Do you know what?” Alice began. “This is the part of London where Jack the Ripper used to commit his murders. Right here in Whitechapel. Isn’t that creepy?” Emmy nodded. She could barely keep her eyes open. “Yeah, it’s pretty creepy,” Hannah answered for her before she continued: “I think it’s time to sleep now, girls. Look at Emmy.” They laughed quietly. “I’m just going to the bathroom. See you in the morning,” Sophie said and disappeared out the door. That night, a quiet scream emerged in four of the girls’ dreams.
After some hours of sleep, Emmy woke up in the middle of the night. She looked at the watch and yawned silently, she didn’t want to wake up the others. Then she looked quickly across the room and noticed that Sophie was not in her bed. "Hannah?" she whispered. "Are you awake?" Hanna twisted and made a little grunt. Emmy laid back and waited for Sophie to come in the door again, sweet and happy as always.
After several hours the other girls began to wake up. Emmy had slept a little off and on since she woke up the first time. Hannah yawned loudly as she sat up; she looked very confused and pointed at the bed. Alice looked at Inez who made a plaintive whine when she sat up and rubbed her tired eyes, and then she directed her attention to Sophie's bed.
"She is probably only in the bathroom, or she is trying to scare us!" Alice said the last part a bit higher, as if Sophie was in the room. Emmy looked frightened at Hannah; "What if she is gone?" her voice shook. The other girls laughed a little of her and said she probably was taking a shower or something like that.
When they had woke up a little and got dressed, they went to the toilet to freshen up and to find Sophie. They didn’t find her. When they didn’t find her on the toilet, Hannah suggested that they would ask the receptionist if he had seen her.
It smelled puke in the corridors, or a mixture of moth balls, puke and iron. "It smells funny in here" Inez said. "It's you, from yesterday night" Emmy informed. ”You don’t remember, do you?” Inez shook her head, and the girls laughed again.
When they asked the receptionist, they were surprised when he said that he hadn’t seen her. The girls were getting scared and went back to the room to find out what they should do.
"What do we do now?" Alice said afraid. "The police are the only solution." Hannah commanded, as always. Inez looked at Alice and rolled her eyes. To resolve the mood a little Inez started to tell about the dream she had that night. "… Also, I heard a yell, but it was nothing there ..." Emmy thought a little. "In my dream, it was a little boy who stood counting, eventually I heard a yell, then the boy turned and I woke up.” Hannah and Alice looked at each other; both eyes were wide with shock. “You too?” Alice asked. Hannah nodded. “Nah, I’m sure it’s nothing”, Inez said, smiling as always.
They decided to look around the hotel. Inez suggested they took one floor each; Inez the first, Hannah the second, Emmy the third and Alice the fourth. They were going to make contact to each other fifteen minutes. After the first fifteen minutes they hadn’t found any traces. Alice called Inez and said that she was OK and Inez told her that she hadn’t seen anyone, apart from a fat, low and bald man who said hello to her.
After five minutes, they decided to hold on. Another fifteen minutes went without any result. Emmy called Hannah, and Alice called Inez. In the middle Alice said quietly:”Oh my God… Wait one minute…” Inez heard Alice call Sophie’s name, then she heard a scream and a thump.
“What is going on here?” Hannah said a bit angry. “This is hopeless. We’re merely going on a vacation to have fun and just relax, and after one night, two of us have disappeared!” Emmy shed some tears. “What if we all just disappear one by one?!” She was so upset. “Anyway, can’t we just contact the police? I want to be on the safe side” Hannah said. “Hello! The police? It’s just weaklings who contact the police. We can do this by ourselves” Inez yelled out, as though the decision was hers to make.
The sky was overcast and the three remaining girls sat close to each other in one bed, trying to calm down Emmy. “I miss mommy. Don’t you want to go back to Montana, Hannah?” Emmy wiped. “We will not leave this hotel before we have found Sophie and Alice” Inez said convincingly. “I suggest we go back to the reception and ask some questions about this strange hotel. Maybe a hunter lives in the bath tub here or something...” She smiled, but the smile did not reach her eyes. “There’s got to be a clue here or something. I think the best thing to do is to ask one of the receptionists here. They know everything.” “What about the other guests here? We can also ask them if they have seen or suspect something” Emmy said. “I can ask the man in the room beside here. Just wait here, and make sure that everything is okay”.
Emmy knocked at the door, as Hannah and Inez disappeared in the bathroom. A tubby man opened it. He’s eyes were so big that Emmy couldn’t refrain from them. “Yalla!” he screamed. “Oh, hey. I was just wondering if you have seen two girls around here. Or some hunted people” Emmy said. The man’s big eyes grew bigger and bigger, and suddenly he ran to his bed and hid under his pillow. Emmy turned away safely and could barely glimpse a pale face. “Sophie!” she shouted, and saw the pale shadow of her face coming toward her.
Coming back from the bathroom, Hannah and Inez did just catch the shadow of Emmy as she ran down the hall. Their eyes met both showing nothing but fright and desperation. “Was that..?” “Did she just..?” “Shouldn’t we like..?” The girls started running down the hall, following Emmy.
When they came downstairs, the reception was empty, but the door leading out to the street was ajar. “She must have gone that way”, Hannah said, her voice weak and horse. “Should we go after her?” Inez asked. “I mean, it’s turning dark outside, and we might get lost, or…“ She didn’t finish, but both the girls had the same thought in mind. Three down, two to go – this wasn’t a coincidence. “I think we better go after her, we might catch her before something happens. It hasn’t been that long since she ran, and calling the police is out of the question, right?” she said icily. “I... Let’s just go after her, OK?” Inez answered.
Out on the street, there was absolutely nothing. No cars, no bicycles, no pedestrians - and most important: No Emmy. “If I was a crazy kidnapper, where would I be?” Inez whispered. Hannah didn’t answer; she just stood there, waiting for the slightest clue to tell them which direction Emmy ran. Both girls jumped as a loud scream cut through the silent evening. “I suppose I’d take her in that direction” Hannah said, and the girls started walking.
The further down the street they got, the shadier the neighborhoods became. The windows of the houses were broken, the paint on the houses was fading and the streets were filled with broken beer bottles, dirt and stray cats. But apart from that there were no signs of their three friends. They had walked in silence, barely looking at each other as they stressed along the shady streets of London. Finally they got to a fork in the road, and both girls stopped. “Which way?” Hannah asked. “They look pretty much the same, if you ask me” Inez replied, her voice was shaking. “If we don’t get some sort of sign or something soon, I suggest we go back to the hotel, sleep on it for a while.” “Well, I still think it would be best to…” Hannah froze. “Did you hear that?” she asked her voice suddenly high-pitched and nervous. “What, that squeaking noise? I thought that was your phone or something?” “No, its Emmys watch! It makes that sound every hour, we even yelled at her for it last night, telling her to turn it off while we were sleeping!” “Well, where did it come from? It was that house, wasn’t it?” Both girls turned around, and their eyes met an old, wooden door. “Should we go in, or…?” Hannah seemed unsure. “We’ve gotten this far, right?” Inez tried to smile. “They are our friends, no matter what. “Yeah, you’re right” Hannah tried to return the smile, without success. Inez started walking toward the door, but Hannah stopped her. “Hey, if we... I love you, OK?” Inez could see that her eyes were glazed with tears, but her voice was steady and convincing, somehow. “Yeah, I love you too”, Inez said, fighting the tears. “We’ll be OK, I’m sure.” As she turned around to hug Hannah, she saw the dark shadow of a man coming toward them. “RUN!” she screamed, and started to move up the street, to where they came from. She could hear Hannah’s high heels click-clack against the street, glass from broken beer bottles flying everywhere. But behind Hannah’s click-clacking, she heard loud, thumping steps against the ground, coming closer and closer. She ran faster, she could see the lights from the main street far, far away. And then – a loud scream. She turned around, but found herself completely alone: Both Hannah and the man were gone.
Inez froze. This was like a never ending nightmare. She couldn’t comprehend with the fact that all of her best friends now were gone. Disappeared. Lost. She understood that whoever that man in the alley was, he would come for her as well. She started running again, towards the hotel. When she entered the main street, she slowed down while gasping for air and clutching her ribs. Finally she saw the shabby doors of the place on earth she hated the most.
She knew that she had to get home, and for that she needed her passport, which inconveniently was located in the small room with five beds. When she walked through the door she saw the clothes that Sophie had thrown on her bed before deciding what to wear, she saw Alice’s make-up on the small coffee table, Emmy’s diary with unicorns was lying on her pillow and Hannah’s CD’s were in a neat stack on her bedside table. Inez couldn’t take it anymore. She broke down and started crying. She was so scared, so sad. All alone in this giant city? How could her friends abandon her like that?
“No, Inez, that’s mean. It wasn’t like they wanted to leave you” she thought fiercely. She stood up, took a deep breath and braced herself. Then she turned around, and stared into the eyes that belonged to the feet she had heard when she was lying on the floor, crying. The last thing she remembered was a loud noise, and pain.
The five girls from Montana never made it home.
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