The Terrors of Loneliness - Chapter 1

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Disclaimer: [Spooks], Lucas North and all other characters you may recognise belong to the BBC and Kudos. All original characters and the plot belong to me.

It wasn't often she got lost. She could have sworn she knew the way so had decided not to take a map...anyway, she had GPRS on her phone, how hard could it be to find for goodness sake? Admitting defeat she took the phone out of her bag and was horrified to discover that it was dead. She could have screamed. This was stupid and she was going to be horribly late...if she ever got there! She looked at her watch and sighed. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be. She was supposed to be at a job interview in exactly 10 minutes and had no idea if she was even close to where she needed to be. She stopped and looked around her in the vain hope of seeing a telephone box. The street seemed unusually quiet for London, and as she looked around a shiver ran down her spine. Suddenly aware of her surroundings she realised that all the nearby buildings were derelict. There was no telephone box in sight and she was developing a very uneasy feeling. She couldn't put her finger on it but she was sure she was being watched.

She turned around and started to walk back in the direction from which she had come. It seemed the most sensible option. She walked past a side entrance to one of the buildings and was suddenly aware that she wasn't alone. Too scared to turn around she quickened her pace but was brought to a halt by his voice "Stop and don't move." She stood still, hardly daring to breathe. She sensed him move behind her and felt his breath on her ear as he whispered, "If you make a single sound I'll have to use this," and she felt something hard pushed into her back. Without seeing it she knew it was a gun. "Nod if you understand," his whisper sounded harsh and terrifying. She nodded shakily.

He grabbed her arm and pulled her backwards into the side entrance he'd been hiding in. She was trying to think straight but panic was setting in and tears had already started falling down her cheeks. She was shaking from head to foot and her heart was racing so fast she felt sick. He was still behind her so she hadn't seen him but she sensed he was slightly taller than her and probably a lot stronger. Trying to overpower him would be foolish and she had no idea how to disarm someone who had a gun pressed to your back. She didn't want to die.

Suddenly she heard the sound of someone running and then a voice shouting. "Selby...Selby...I know you're there...if you give yourself up I'll make sure you're protected. You can't run all your life."

The man behind her suddenly put his arm around her neck and she felt the coldness of metal against her temple. She stifled a cry and whispered, "Please...please don't hurt me." His response was to press the gun harder against her head and push her forwards out into the street.

As they stepped back out into the street, she could see another man standing a few metres away. He was pointing a gun at them. She was getting hysterical now. She didn't understand what was happening she just wanted it to stop. She heard him swear, "Shit Selby...let the girl go, this has nothing to do with her."

Selby didn't move. "You must think I'm stupid. If I let her go you'll kill me. Now, put the gun down or I'll shoot her."

She found she couldn't breathe properly, panic was taking over. She was vaguely aware of the words "Help me" leaving her lips and then darkness overcame her and she passed out.

--

Lucas North was horrified when he saw Selby had a hostage. This wasn't supposed to happen. It should have been a straightforward operation. They knew he was working alone. He was just some madman with a grudge. He'd shot a prominent politician earlier in the day and they'd followed him here before losing him briefly when he'd ditched his phone. He hadn't intended to kill Selby. He was hoping to wound him at the very most, disarm him and then take him in for questioning. Selby appearing with the girl was a complication he didn't need. "Shit....shit!"

Lucas knew Selby would have no qualms about shooting the girl. He could see she knew it too. She looked like she was having some sort of panic attack. She was breathing heavily and all the colour had drained from her face. He heard her plea for help, and as she passed out she slumped back against Selby, her head falling to one side away from the gun he had pressed to her temple. Selby turned his head to look at her in surprise and Lucas took his chance. He pulled the trigger and the bullet caught Selby in the head, throwing him backwards. The girl fell with him and Lucas ran over.

He heard the sound of Dimitri running up behind him. "Is he dead?" he asked as Lucas knelt down next to Selby and the girl. Lucas nodded.

"How the hell did this happen?" Dimitri asked.

"I don't know, he just appeared with her. You better call for an ambulance." Lucas checked the girl was breathing. She seemed to be unhurt but was out cold. He gently picked her up and lifted her away from Selby's body. He laid her back down on the ground with her legs bent. He took his jacket off and gently slipped it under her head. As the blood flowed back to her head he saw her eyelids flutter and she moved her head slightly. "It's OK, you're safe now," he said softly. Her eyes flew open and the look of terror returned to her face. He gently touched her face and repeated his words, "You're safe now."

--

She looked up at the man she'd last seen pointing his gun in her direction, "What happened? Who are you?"

He smiled softly, his face full of concern. "Plenty of time for that...the ambulance will be here soon."

Suddenly she became aware that she was covered in blood and the panic set in again. She started screaming, the terror of what had happened returning. She found a pair of strong arms wrapped around her, holding her close to him, whispering calming words, gently rocking her back and forth. "It's OK, it's not your blood...you're safe now."

She heard sirens and another voice say "The ambulance is here."

Before she knew what was happening she was lying in the ambulance with an oxygen mask on to help with the panic. The paramedic was speaking to her but she wasn't listening. She realised he was asking for her name and she lifted the mask and whispered, "It's Hannah...Hannah Curtis."

The paramedic smiled, "Well Hannah, you're going to be OK but we're going to take you to the hospital and get you properly checked over, OK?"

Hannah nodded and wondered if she'd ever find out what the hell just happened to her.

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