My mind was racing. It was obviously a coincidence we had met. We had not seen each other for almost ten years, when we were all sixteen and I was in a gang of four girls. At best, we were unpleasant and at worst outright evil. It was not my proudest achievement, being part of that unnamed little coterie. I had not seen the other members for a long time and that was fine by me. The last I had heard Donna was a pole-dancer in a 'Gentleman's Club' somewhere in the East Midlands. Stacey was on her third pregnancy - the first having gifted her a darling little bundle of joy on her seventeenth birthday - and Ellie had been in and out of Young Offenders Institutions for possession and Actual Bodily Harm more times that we had mocked poor Sabrina. We had done everything we shouldn't, from smoking to taking drugs, to doing favours behind the gym block for a few ciggies or a joint. I had tried to forget it because it was a horrible period of my life and I deeply regretted being part of it. I had only been that girl for a few months, and I was nothing like her before or since. I did it all to fit in -- to be one of the Alpha Pack and when I left school at sixteen, I put it all behind me and locked it in a small padded cell at the back of my brain, barely giving the other three girls or Sabrina a second thought. But now, thanks to a chance encounter with the girl who's life we made a misery, it had all come crashing back down on me. The thought of causing her to self-harm revolted me and I hated myself for being such a craven little bully, even for a few short months. I had no idea how she had come to be where she was now, but I had no doubt I would find out pretty soon. I did a quick recce of the room, which didn't take long. Apart from the bed, the locked outer door and the bathroom, there was little else but a table on which sat a large tv, speakers and a land-line telephone. Inevitably, it was blocked for outgoing calls. The view was pretty damned fine and it would have made a lovely little Airbnb. At least it would if I hadn't been locked in and apparently a prisoner. I was just beginning to come round and feel a bit more human when the phone rang with an excruciatingly loud, old-fashioned bell-like ringtone and I almost soiled the bed in shock. It took me a moment to realise that the incoming number shown on the screen was my mobile. Things were getting weirder by the minute. With a shaking hand I picked up the receiver. The voice on the other end sounded jaunty and in good spirits. "Morning Chloe, hope you slept well. Don't say a fucking word or I will keep you locked in there all day, understand?" Determined to comply with her instructions, I stayed mute. There was a long silence, then, "Oh for Donald Duck's sake - not literally, you muppet!" Oh shit. Her rules, her game. "I understand." "Good girl. Now you can shut the fuck up and listen." In the interests of retaining my sanity, I shut the fuck up and listened. She sounded breathless. "Bloody hell, Chloe - you've got some nice clothes. Bloody suitcase weighs a ton. Just checked you out of your hotel. Amazing how the receptionist never realised a strapping five-foot ten brunette wasn't the five-foot-nothing blonde midget that checked in eh? Never mind -- I've got your gear and I'm on my way back. Just think of the fortune I've saved you. Got you a nice little refund and for the next few days you'll be staying free-gratis at a lovely little Bree and B!" There was a little giggle. "See what I did there? Bree and B? Not bad for an ex-teenage bitch, eh?" There was silence for a moment. "Oh well - I did tell her to be quiet, I suppose. Right, I'm heading down to the Circle Line so see you soon. It's only three stops then a few on the Docklands Light Railway. Be about twenty minutes then I'll be in for a little chat and tell you what I've got in store for you. Fucking hell, Chloe - fate dealt me a killer hand last night and believe me, girl - I am going all in!"
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