Mila heard a noise in the passage and then another man came into the room. He must be Monza’s boss, she thought. He would be interviewing her. The man just stared at her, tilting his head, sizing her up. Mila thought he was going to greet her but instead he kept on puffing on his cigar, then blowing the smoke out in rings in her face.

“How old are you, baby girl?”

Hesitantly, Mila answered: “Nineteen years old, sir.”

Joyce came back into the room then, carrying a drink – it looked like berry juice. She handed it to Mila as the boss strutted back out.

“Some refreshment,” said Joyce. “You must be thirsty and it will help the nerves,” she offered, smiling.

Mila took a sip. The juice tasted strange … like no other juice she had ever drunk. It smelled strange too.

“The delivery went well, it seems,” Monza told Joyce, as he came back in. He stood in front of Mila, waiting for her to finish the drink.

“Oh great! We are in business, boy!” Joyce laughed.

“Hurry up, girl,” said Monza. “Drink up; we haven’t got all day.”

“It tastes funny,” she said. “I don’t want–”

Then he grabbed the glass and forced her to drink a bit. He held her wrist hard.

“Noooo! Nooo! Monza stop it,” she spluttered. “Why are you hurting me?”

Monza slapped her so hard across the face that she fell off the chair, hitting the wall with her head.

“Hey shut up, bitch!” Charming Monza had suddenly turned into a monster! Another guy came into the room. He was dressed in a smart suit. He looked at Mila and smiled.

“Oh, is this the one? Let’s keep the ball rolling guys. Let’s get her out of here.”

Monza pulled Mila up.

Suddenly a girl of about 16 years staggered into the room. She looked drunk … or drugged.

“Nooo!” screamed Joyce. Monza let go of Mila to grab the girl before she fell. She was retching. Liquid trickled from her mouth.

“Take her back! Take her back Sting, quickly. Sies! She’s vomiting,” shouted Joyce.

While the three were distracted Mila ripped off her high heel shoes and sprinted out of the room, back down the corridor, towards the gate.

“Dammit!” shouted Monza. Mila heard him coming up behind her.

She tugged on the gate and it swung open. As she was running up the steps he grabbed at her jacket, but she shrugged it off quickly and kicked back at him.

She heard him crash back down the stairs.

“Help! Help! Yhoooo!” she screamed as she reached the street. She didn’t look back to see Monza get up and come after her.

“Help me, people! Help me!” Mila cried, out on the street.

“Hey! What’s going on?” shouted one woman, but so much was going on in that busy street that no-one else paid attention to her cries. Still clinging to her handbag, bare feet and jacketless, Mila heard a young boy shouting for commuters for his taxi.

Tears streaming down her face, she jumped inside the taxi just as it sped off again. She looked back out of the window to see Monza standing there waving his fist in fury.

Her head was swimming now; the drug was taking effect. She could feel it. Soon she would be like the other girl who they had in that place. She had to call her sister quickly. She asked the woman next to her where they were headed.

“We are going to Claremont train station. Are you okay Sisi?” she asked Mila. But Viola picked up quickly and Mila slurred into the phone.

“I’m … at the train station … in Claremont.”

“Wait there! I’m coming to fetch you,” said Viola as Mila staggered out of the taxi and slumped down against the station wall. Then she vomited. A woman selling food from a stall came over and offered her water from a bottle when she had finished throwing up.

It’s good to get rid of the poison, Mila thought, as she gulped down the water.


Tell us: Were you surprised at what Monza was really up to?