I woke up with a start, feeling frightened. Swallowing hard, I realised my tongue felt thick and my mouth was dry. Slowly I opened my eyes properly, blinking in disbelief as I took in my surroundings. I sat up suddenly, regretting it immediately as my head began to pound. It looked like I was in a luxurious hotel room. I’d never been in a place like this before, it was way above what I could ever afford! What the hell was going on?
Glancing at my wrist, I saw my watch was missing, and in its place dangled a gold bracelet. Confused, my heart beating loud and fast, I searched the room with my eyes. Ah, a clock radio. Squinting at it, I see it is 11:05am. Okay, but where am I? Which hotel is this? My mind was now racing. Last night, last night……. blank. Hang on, where’s my handbag? That would maybe have a clue in it. I got up and looked around everywhere, but did not find it. Then I saw a folder on the top of the fridge. Desperation filled me as I reached for the folder, my hands shaking. “El Dorado Maroma” Quintana Roo, Mexico.
The folder fell from my hands as a yelp escaped me. Mexico? How did I get here, and when? I tried to remember again, but got nothing. All I knew was that I was from Australia. My head was aching and I felt a wave of nausea as panic enveloped me. Sweat broke out all over me and I felt faint. Steadying myself against the bench, I made my way to the nearest chair and collasped into it, tears streaming down my face.
A knocking on the door made me jump clean out of my chair, but then I stood frozen in place. The knocking came again, much firmer this time.
“Miss Wendy, I come in now!” said a deep masculine voice in broken English.
The door clicked then opened, and I fell back down into my chair as a tall, well built and very well dressed man entered. He had an air of great authority, and I sensed there was no arguing with this man. He moved with grace and ease as he came to stand before me.
“I trust you sleep very good last night, si?”
“I, er, um….” I was tongue-tied.
“Miss Wendy, you now have shower,” he ordered, producing a leather travel bag. “Here, some clothes you wear, you find towel in there, and your handbag too” he continued gruffly.
Wide eyed, I took the bag from him, and met his gaze.
“Who are you? Why am I here?” I managed.
“Go have shower now, we talk in car” he said, turning away to take out his phone.
Showered, dressed and make up on, I couldn’t help but admire my reflection. Such a beautiful dress, which fitted me perfectly, and the shoes! How did he….. I sighed, pulled my shouders back and lifted my chin. I would not let Mr Intimidation take my dignity, I would not show him how scared I was. Bracing myself for whatever, I inhaled and stepped out of the bathroom. The room was empty, it seemed. No, that can’t be right, I thought. Fear was rising in me now, as I imagined him hiding somewhere there with a gun. Then I noticed a sheet of paper on the table, held down by a rock of Amethyst. Next to it was a box of Panadol. I crept over gingerly, as if any wrong movement of mine may set off a bomb, carefully picked up the Amethyst and then the page.
“Miss Wendy, I had to go, do important thing. Do not worry, I be back in half hour. Mr Denez.”
I wondered how long he had been gone for, as I took about half an hour getting ready myself. Gratefully, I took 4 Panadol, gulped them down with as much water as I could take. Again, I wandered the large room, inspecting every inch, hoping to find a clue. Nothing.
The telephone rang. I looked at it like it was foreign object for a moment, then lifted the receiver. “Hello?”
“Hello, is this Wendy Sharman?” came crisp professional female voice.
“Mr Denez has been delayed and I will be coming to get you and take you to meet him. My name is Lietta.” Click. I stared at the phone receiver still in my hand, then put it down. What was going on? I was starting to feel so dazed with shock and confusion, there was no room left for fear.
3 minutes later (yes, I watched the clock) there was a rap at the door, followed by a click, then in strode another man. He was dressed entirely in black and he stared at me with cold eyes.
“W-where is Lietta?” I bravely asked. He didn’t answer, he just took a giant stride to me and wrapped my hands around behind my back, switching to a one hand hold while the free hand clamped down on my mouth, suffocating my scream. I kicked at his shins with my heels and struggled hard, then I heard a crash! Then a shot rang out and my attacker dropped to the floor, blood seeping from his head.
“Wendy! Are you alright?” the woman who saved me ran to me and put her arms around me. “Don’t worry, you are safe now.” She spoke beautiful Australian English.
“Lietta?” I noticed she had what looked like a police badge on her hip, and radio on the other side. Three heavily armed and padded officers then burst into the room. They checked the dead man’s pulse, then radioed the information in as they trailed back out the door.
“Yes, I’m Detective Seargent Lietta Rayez. I’m here to get you safely back to your home in Australia” she purred. “We will just wait here until forensics arrive”.
“What happened? Who are these men? Where did Mr Denez go?”
“You’ve been missing for four days, and we were able to track you down thanks to CCTV cameras at the club you were in when Denez got to you. Then we pinged his phone and followed him over here. He drugged you at the club, and from intelligence we now have, he kept you sedated until last night.”
I was struggling to take this in. Four days!
“The drugs he has been giving you are designed to give you amnesia. He was going to give you a new identity and sell you to the highest bidder. You were meeting that bidder tonight. A drug lord we’ve been after for a decade, now we’ve got him!”
I still did not know what to say, I was just gaping at her like an idiot. My head was just starting to clear, but I couldn’t recall going to any club.
“You are lucky that he took you off the drugs last night. Your memories will return, it just might take a few weeks to all come back.”
As Lietta and I got into the lift, she looked me deep in the eyes and said,
“You don’t remember at all, do you?”
“No, it’s all blank. All I can remember is that I’m Australian!” I replied, frustrated.
“Babe, your full name and title is Chief Inspector Wendy Anne Sharman,” Lietta gently said, “and I am honoured to have been in service to you, and to have saved your life”.
Then she smiled warmly, and I remembered her.