"Line up!" The Man yelled.
We scattered into a disordered, miserable looking line. Nobody knew what was happening but then again, nobody dared to argue with this pale, gaunt looking man. He wasn't overly muscular, nor was he particularly tall. There was an... aura around him that struck fear into my heart.
I clung to my Grandmother's clothes, playing nervously with the scratchy fabric of her coat like a child. For a sixteen year old, I felt terribly small. I delved my hand into her pocket, wanting to feel protected and comforted by the warmth. It did not comfort me. My fingers moved swiftly throughout the warm crevices and folds of material. My fingers brushed against a plastic wrapper. I did not have to withdraw my hand to know that it had been wrapped around a toffee. Grandma always carried them around. Then something colder rubbed against my thumb. I couldn't tell what it was but it seemed like metal.
Grandma didn't chastise me for pulling on her coat or searching through her pockets. She was distracted, staring blankly at the man in front of us. He walked up and down the line like a soldier, his heels clacking on the concrete floor. He stared at the group of us like we were scum, something that he wouldn't look twice at on the street unless it was to glance at us with disdain. Never in my life had someone looked at me like that.
I tried to look at the situation logically, as I always did to calm myself. This Man- at least I assumed he was a man- and his companions had brought us out here onto the street. The rest of them were standing behind him in total, unnatural silence. All of them had the same pale skin and haunted looking eyes. I didn't need to count them, the number just absorbed into my brain. I'd always been good with numbers. I didn't need to work things out in my head; I just somehow knew the answer. I doubted that my mathematical brain would help me at all in this situation though; there were eleven of them plus The Man.
Twelve of them against- I glanced down the line- sixty three of us. The numbers were hugely uneven and yet nobody was standing up to fight. I knew why. I figured that everyone must feel the daunting presence of these people and be as petrified as I was. My grandmother's frame was certainly rigid. I hugged her tightly, the smell of perfume and baking wafting strongly up my nose.
The Man came to stand in front of me. He leaned down to examine my face, my figure, and my clothes. No part of his body but his eyes moved. Then his eyes fixed back on my face and a shiver ran down my spine. Purple circles ringed his whole eye socket like some sick parody of a racoon. His pupils were scarily large in pale, pale grey eyes. He leaned forward until I could feel his breath on my forehead.
Grandma's grip tightened on me and I felt my knees shaking. I didn't dare take my eyes off The Man's face to blink because if I did I had a feeling that he'd attack. Eye contact, maintain eye contact. I repeated this mantra in my head.
"She is attractive enough, her health seems in good condition." The Man seemed to be directing his words at me although he was speaking in the third person, "You will do."
Do for what? Oh my gosh, he wasn't going to kill me was he? I didn't know why that thought was the first to pop into my head. I forced myself to think logically. He would not be examining my looks and health just to kill me. This didn't calm my inner voice.
The Man straightened up and held his hand out to me, obviously wanting me to take it. That was naturally the last thing I was inclined to do. There was a second silence as I stared at his hand. The other sixty two people in the line stared at his hand as well.
"What are you going to do with her?" Grandma's voice came, shaking but defiant beside me.
I wished that she hadn't spoken. I didn't want her to draw attention to herself.
"I really do not think it is any of your concern." The Man's smooth liquid voice trickled into my ears.
"Oh, I think you'll find it is!" Grandma spoke again, bravely.
The Man did not reply. Instead he turned his gaze back to me and stared pointedly at his hand. I squeezed my Grandma around the waist, trying to show her how much I loved her, how grateful I was for all that she'd done. I didn't want to take his hand, it was the last thing I wanted to do. But what would happen if I didn't?
|Alex Pettyfer||as Ashley Sancruor|
|Emma Watson||as Elizabeth Bourne|
|Matt Lanter||as Joe Williams|
|Victoria Justice||as Abriella Marino|
|Danielle Panabaker||as June Anderson|
|Steve Buscemi||as Goliath Sancruor|
|Anthony Hopkins||as Dane|