The room is small and dimly lit. Adjusting her eyes to the darkness. Katie looks around and sees that she is sitting on a small mattress in the corner. There is a small boarded up window opposite her, hideous green carpet on the floor, and the walls are covered in old worn out black wallpaper. Not sure what to do, Katie just sat there and tried not to cry. Her memory wasn’t clear on how she got to this room and she had no idea how she was going to get out. All of the sudden she heard the rattling of the door knob and it slowly creaking open to reveal a tall man of about six feet with a mischievous smile on his face. He walked slowly towards Katie and reached out his hand as if to touch her but stopped and mumbled something to himself, which Katie could not understand.
A few days before, Tag was walking down the busy streets of the city minding his own business when he saw a young girl standing on the corner waiting to cross the street. She was tall and slender with beautiful green eyes and the most curly blond hair he had ever seen. She was wearing black leggings with a blue floral print top. Her curly hair was pulled up in a loose ponytail. He was instantly attracted to her. He watched her cross the street and he followed closely behind, trying not to lose her in the crowd of people. She was walking very fast as if she was in a hurry to be somewhere.
Katie had only been in New York for a few short months, yet she still had no idea where anything was. She had been walking around for about an hour trying to get to her first modeling job. Looking down at the piece of paper where she had written the address: 956 132nd St, and back at the street sign, which read 132nd St. It was times like these where she missed living back home in Hudson Ohio, where she knew everyone and where everything was located. She missed her parents and her friends and wished they were here to help her right now. “Move it!” She heard from behind her. “Sorry” she quickly said. Katie continued to cross the street not really paying attention to where she was going.
“Fuck!” Tag said out loud. He had lost her the crowd.
Scanning the crowd he spotted her a few people ahead of him. He followed her for a few more blocks where he was able to catch up to her. He tapped her on the shoulder and said “Hello.”
Startled, Katie turned to see a rather tall, muscular man with tattoos covering the bulk of his arms,.He was wearing worn out jeans with holes, a black shirt and black baseball cap covering his brown hair. His blue eyes shone in the sun. His smile, although less than perfect, was charming.
“Hello” She finally managed to say.
“Sorry I didn’t mean to startle—-”
“I saw you from across the street and had to met you.”
Blushing, he said quickly, “Nice to meet you, I’m Tag.”
“I’m Katie” She said quietly and kept walking.
Trying to keep up with her, Tag started to run. “Slow down, where are you going in such a hurry?”
“I’m late for my first modeling job.”
“Skip it and come have coffee with me.” He said as he caught his breath.
Still walking rather fast down the busy sidewalk Katie, ignores him.
Not giving up, Tag ran after her and asked again “Come have coffee with me? There’s a nice little coffee shop right down the street. We can go and get to know each other better.”
He looks decent enough, Katie thought to herself. “OK, I’ll have coffee with you.”
They continued down the busy sidewalk in silence until they reached their destination. Katie felt uneasy, but ignored her gut and walked inside. Instantly greeted with the sweet smell of coffee and laughter from the table near the door. She made her way to the back to a little table tucked in the corner and sat down with her back to the wall. She glanced across the table expecting Tag to sit down but was instead startled when she turned to see him taking the seat next to her.
With nowhere to go, she was stuck. His breath smelled of rotten eggs and his teeth were yellow. Trying not to vomit she waited in silence for the waitress.
“Can I get you anything?” The blond haired waitress said in a sing-song voice.
Katie opened her mouth to speak but heard, “Two black coffees no cream or sugar.”
She glared at Tag but said nothing.
‘Quick, say something to break the ice.’ Tag thought to himself. But he wasn’t quick enough. The waitress had appeared. If this was going to work, he would have to be fast. “Two black coffees” he interrupted, “no cream or sugar.” ‘I have her right where I want her. She’s so beautiful,’ he thought.
‘Why is he staring at me? Do I have something in my teeth?’ Katie sat there twirling her hair with her finger and looking around the coffee house. The place was small with only a few tables and a counter where the coffee was made. All the tables were full with other guests chatting away about everyday topics. The two people closest to them seemed to be in love. They kept smiling awkwardly and holding hands, not really saying much.
Finally, the coffee arrived. Grabbing them both, Tag discreetly slipped the powder into Katie’s coffee and passed it to her. She takes a sip and instantly passes out.
Sitting on the couch in the living room of his apartment, Tag started to panic, ‘What have I done?…Oh no, she’s waking up.‘ He stood up and fumbled with the key to the spare room in his pocket. He opened the door and walked over to the mattress where she sat. He reached his hand out to comfort her but stopped and mumbled “No”.
Standing there fumbling with the key, Tag dropped the key. He stood there dumbfounded while the key flipped through the air and hit the floor. . He bent down to grab the key before Katie, he missed and Katie snatched the key and yells “Fuck you!” as she ran out the door, slamming it shut and locking it behind her.
Panicked, Katie ran as fast as she could down a dark hallway and a flight of stairs, stopping to figure out her next move and get her bearings. The building was old and smelled of weed and tobacco. The paint on the walls was peeling and the wood floor was sticky. Looking every which way for the exit she spotted it and continued out the door into the bright sunlight. Adjusting to the light she noticed she was across the street from the coffee shop, the last place she remembered being before she woke up in that room.
Suddenly sliding back into reality, Katie noticed people were starting to surround her. “What’s wrong?” She heard someone ask. She must have been standing still for a long time. “What is your name?” “Katie” she blurted out. “I’m not sure what happened to me, please help?” she choked as she started to cry. “He’s still up there. I locked him in the room.”
“What room?” said the woman standing next to her.
“The one at the top of the stairs.” Katie pointed to the building behind her.
“Let me call the police.” The woman said.
When the police arrived, Katie told them everything she could remember: how she met him on the street about five blocks away, that they had walked to the coffee shop across the street, and how she didn’t know how she ended up in the room at the top of the stairs in the building behind her. The policeman didn’t say much, but nodded his head and asked “What did he look like? Do you know his name?”
She described Tag, detailing his black attire and arms covered in tattoos “I stole the key and locked him in the room.” She said as she handed the key to the officer.
Katie was told to wait where she was as the officer took the key and headed inside where she had directed. After a few long minutes he reappeared with a handcuffed Tag on tow. After securely shoving him into the back of his car, the officer asked Katie, “Do you have someone you can call to come take you home?”
“My roommate, Darlene. Can I borrow your phone?”
Katie was barely able to dial Darlene’s number between the tears. After a few rings she heard Darlene’s voice, “Hello, Katie is that you? I have been worried sick. Where are you?”
“I’m on the corner of the 125th and Broad, can you come get me?”
“I will be right there.”
The ride home was a blur, all she wanted to do was sleep. Finally getting home she stumbled in the front door and down the hall to her bed where she fell fast asleep.