Into darkness by Sebastian Zuhury

Music and cheer danced throughout the large room, the sound bouncing off the lavishly decorated walls and luxurious furniture. It was still so surreal to her. Four years at University, a few months of job searching…a lifetime of anxiety. Not tonight, she told herself. But Dawn Green had made it. Not only that but she had made it big. Yet her mind still wandered, straying into dark locked away corners. Not tonight, she told herself again. She tried to focus on the here and now, to be proud of what she had accomplished.

”Dawn! Hey, how are you?”, her colleague snapped her back to reality.

”Oh hey, Matthew. I’m good, you?”, everybody had dressed extravagantly for the evening but she noticed Matthew the most.

He was a tall and handsome man, with symmetrical features and deep blue eyes. Dawn was impressed with his attire; a simple black tuxedo was highly underrated nowadays and it was nice to see some simplicity in a sea of complex colour.

”Not too bad, you look beautiful by the way”, she couldn’t hide her blush. Matthew always tried to be a gentleman but he was never too forward either, another quality of his that she found charming. It helped with her generally low self-esteem.

Dawn was just about average height for a woman and had gentle vixen like features and a gleeful smile, she had dyed her naturally curly blonde hair a light brown to compliment her sweet honey coloured eyes.   

”I certainly hope so, the dress was pricey!”, it wasn’t really, but they both shared a laugh. She had gone for a simple white, backless dress that sparkled in the vibrant light.

Matthew then ordered drinks for them both, vodka and coke for her and a pint for himself. They then started chatting, in the six months that they’ve know each other Dawn had come to trust Matthew and felt comfortable talking to him about anything.

“So, how does it feel to have your story on the front page?”, asked Matthew.

“It hasn’t been printed just yet, that’s’ tomorrow. But yeah, I can’t describe it! I became a journalist because I wanted to get the truth out to people and do some good. Now that I’ve done that…”, she took a moment to lose herself in the blissful feeling, “I feel fulfilled, like not only I have done something good but that people will benefit from it”.

Dawn’s first big story for their paper was reporting on a recent bust of a gang that had been peddling cocaine in that suburbs of Birmingham, up until then she was just stuck reporting on the lives of celebrities.

“Well, you are a talented journalist and a treasure to The Morning Mail“, she smiled at his flattery. Matthew was a senior editor for their paper, he himself also focused on organised crime and drug trafficking. He was very welcoming and supportive to Dawn when she first joined.

‘’I kept asking the boss for a chance to report on something real, something that affects people’s lives. I guess if you shout loudly enough then somebody will turn and see what all the fuss is about’’, she said to Matthew as they finished their drinks. Truth be told she was very nervous when she first started her job, she was lucky that she even got it considering a couple of the other candidates had several years of experience behind them. But her boss told her that he saw something special in her.

‘’The boss really went all out didn’t he?’’, Dawn changed the topic and gestured to their surroundings. She knew that chief editors earn a lot, but theirs must earn double that to afford hiring out the most expensive pub in Birmingham!

Matthew nodded in agreement, “I know, but I think that…oh look here he comes now”, suddenly his smile died when he saw their boss walk in.

“Hey, Phillip!”, Dawn wasn’t sure if he’d hear her over the music.

“Hello Dawn!”, he said and then shook her hand but she noticed that he brushed his fingers along her palm at the end of it, “Matt”, he added quickly and turned back to Dawn, “Are you enjoying the party?”, his booming voice almost blocked out the music.

Dawn liked Phillip, she was very grateful that he took her on, but she did wish that he showered more often. He was a loud and portly man who stood a foot above Dawn. He could get out of breath just from walking and was always sweating, giving his skin a very greasy complexion. His face was so big that it looked like he always had a mouth full of food. But Dawn always noticed his eyes first, a warm and deep hazel.

“Yes, thank you. I can’t imagine how much it must have cost!”, she did feel slightly bad that he had spent so much money on them all, but it was nice to have a boss who cared about his workers.

“Anything for you! But don’t worry your pretty little head about the money”, he leaned in and whispered, “Not to brag but my pockets run deep…and my friends’ pockets too”, he laughed and his whole body jiggled along, “Anyway, I need to go and see everyone else. Be sure to find me later and I’ll buy you a drink”, he said and made for the crowded pool table.

“He got pretty close didn’t he”, Matthew commented when their boss Phillip was out of earshot. Dawn wasn’t sure why they never got along. A few weeks ago, Matthew was even telling her that he was planning on leaving and that he had been for a while. But he apparently had some loose ends to tie up before he could, she wasn’t really sure what he meant.

Dawn tried to lighten the moment with a quick joke, “That’s because his belly is always ten minutes ahead of him”, she laughed but Matthew’s expression suggested he was sceptical.

“Come on, let’s just enjoy our night”, she grabbed his hand and dragged him to the neighbouring room which was cleared for dancing.

Dawn danced, drank and smiled the night away. She wondered if she was just lucky or if there really was something special about her. But that didn’t matter, tonight she could just enjoy herself and tomorrow she can finally see how her story helped better people’s lives. And they that say newspapers don’t care about the truth anymore.

In the morning Dawn was woken up by the sound of strong gales smashing against her window and the pulsations of her headache, mostly it was the headache. After a short struggle, she opened her eyes and the rays of sunlight beaming into her bedroom blinded her. Dawn never liked early Autumn, the weather was so confusing. One day it was warm and sunny, another it was cold and windy and sometimes it was all four at the same time! She sat on the edge of her bed and tried to rub the sleep out from her eyes.

What a night, she thought, I hardly remember anything but that means it was a good night. Her headache seemed to intensify and she made her way to the kitchen for some paracetamol, I should tidy this place, she mused as she walked through her home.

Her flat was always a mess, but it was her mess. Dawn had her eyes on it while she was finishing University, Halesowen was her home and she was glad that she managed to find an affordable place where she grew up. It was a quaint little one bedroom flat. The living room was spacious and was connected to the kitchen. She was happy here, but it could get lonely very quickly. Sometimes it felt like the walls were closing in on her, trapping her with herself. Her mind began racing. Will I always be alone? She took the paracetamol and rubbed her temples, hoping her headache would go away soon.

Dawn noticed her reflection in the nearby mirror, I hope drunk me didn’t do anything too embarrassing in front of Matthew last night. Then she noticed the reflection of the clock as well. It was 12:30 p.m. Oh no.

How could she forget? She was barely dressed and still needed to shower, but she had no time. She couldn’t be late. Not with her. Dawn ran back to her room and began frantically searching for a top and a pair of jeans. She can’t be late.

She flung open the doors to her wardrobe and began throwing clothes out. Finally, she found a pair of jeans and dragged them on. She looked at the clock again. 12:32 p.m. She can’t be late.

Dawn scrambled and found an old top on the floor by her bed. She put the top on and bolted across her living room and to the kitchen. The shopping was still there. At least she remembered that. She looked at the clock. 12:36 p.m. Time was against her.

She frantically put on a pair of shoes, grabbed the shopping and ran out of her apartment. Keys, she thought. Idiot. Dawn ran back into her apartment. The keys were by the TV, she grabbed them and looked at the clock again. 12:40 p.m. She just can’t be late. Not with her. Not with that woman.

Dawn bolted down the stairs, clumsily opened the main doors of the building and ran to her car. After loading the shopping in the boot, she got in the driver seat. No time for a seat belt of mirror checks. She drove away only to stop at nearby traffic lights. Dawn slammed her hands on the steering wheel in frustration, one was trembling. She was going to be late.

The remainder of the journey was easier, there were no red lights or obstructions. Dawn looked at the clock. 12:55 p.m. She estimated that she would be about ten minutes late. Not too much, but that woman wouldn’t care. It’s not my fault, she thought. I was out celebrating, I even told her I would be. Dawn finally got to her destination. But maybe I shouldn’t have drunk so much. I should have set an alarm. I should have left earlier. Idiot. Maybe it is my fault.

She got the shopping out the boot and took a deep breath, exhaling slowly to try and stop her hand from trembling and steady her mind. Dawn locked her car and calmly walked towards the house, the steady breeze cooled her as it rolled across her skin. She lifted her fist and gently knocked three times. To her surprise, it wasn’t the woman who opened the door.

‘’Daniel?’’, she said with surprise in her voice as she saw her brother.

‘’Dawn! Hey, how are you?’’, he said as he hugged her, ‘’Come on in’’, he picked up a few of the shopping bags while she got the rest.

‘’I…I’m okay. I wasn’t expecting to see you here’’, while it was a surprise, Dawn was beyond relieved to see her brother. It would make being here so much easier.

Daniel Green was tall, broad-shouldered and slender. He had short light brown hair and stubble and possessed calming dark brown eyes. He was wearing a simple blue shirt with a pair of light brown trousers. Dawn always thought that he was born in the wrong era, as he was so old-fashioned for his age.

‘’Yeah, mom called me the other day and asked if I could come over today. Seeing as its only teacher training today I thought that I might as well’’, Daniel valued routine and hard work, but also knew when it was appropriate to break rules.

Dawn smiled, ‘’Tut. What would your pupils think?’’, before they could continue their conversation, the woman’s voice echoed through the house.

‘’Dawn! Is that you?’’, her voice stabbed at Dawn like a thousand knives, ‘’You’re late! Always late! How can you be so useless at your age?! Why can’t you be more like your brother, he made something out of himself”, Dawn looked at the clock. 13:15 p.m. She had made it for around 13:10 p.m. The other five minutes were just her talking with Daniel.

‘’Dawn!’’, she shouted again. Her mother’s voice always pierced Dawn…through her heart and through her mind. She froze up, scared to say anything. It was pointless anyway, no matter what she said her mother would just retort with abuse. Her brother saw the dismay in her face and answered instead.

‘’Calm down mom, she’s here now and that’s all that matters. We’ll be in after we put away the food she brought for you’’, Daniel answered in a firm and yet gentle tone. He put a reassuring hand on Dawn’s shoulder, ‘’Don’t worry, I’m here okay? We’ll just stay for a couple of hours and we can go to the pub for a drink afterwards’’.

Dawn felt the anxiety that was building up in her settle, Daniel was always good to her. Even when they were little, when their mom would shout at or belittle her, Daniel would always defend her. He was the reason Dawn’s childhood was bearable.

‘’Okay’’, she answered with a wobbly smile.

As they were putting the shopping away, Dawn couldn’t help but notice how little the house which she grew up in had changed. The downstairs carpet was the same beautiful light blue, though the years had given it a stale smell. The decorative wallpaper with bright red roses had withered slightly but it was impossible to tell that it was thirty years old. The kitchen was refurbished due to mould but the design bore tiles and a green floor, maintaining the vintage look of the house.

Home, she pondered on the meaning of the word. It was supposed to be a place where a person could feel safe, where they could be themselves and not feel like a burden, where they could feel comfortable and free of judgment. Dawn felt none of those things whenever she was in this house.

‘’Thank you for coming. I know mom has never been easy on you’’, Daniel snapped her back to reality.

She finished putting away the shopping and neatly tucked away the bag so that it could be reused, ‘’She’s my mom, I owe her this at the very least’’, her voice was monotone, almost lifeless. Their mother never lay a finger on Dawn, she always made sure there was food on the table and she always gave her money if it was needed and yet… ‘’She only loves you, you know? Not me though. Ever since I could remember, she has always blamed for everything bad that has happened in her life. Even for dad leaving us’’.

Her brother frowned, ‘’That’s true’’, he said with a sad sigh, ‘’But no matter how difficult she is Dawn, you still have a duty to her. We both do’’, Dawn didn’t reply. She knew Daniel was right, but she hated it. She felt an obligation to visit her mother, but every time she came over she wished that she could make the feeling go away. A short tremor surged through her hand.

‘’Hey, your story is out today, is it not?’’, asked Daniel.

One positive of today at least, ‘’Yeah. Yeah it is.’’, he spirits were lifted slightly. At least she could share the joy with her brother.

‘’Well, mom does collect the newspapers. Shall we?’’, Daniel gestured towards the living room, where today’s issue of The Morning Mail was…and their mother.

They walked in and were immediately hit by a dry and lung constricting smell, Dawn saw that Daniel had managed to convince their mom to open at least one of the windows but the smell was still lingering. Their mother was sat in the arm chair, wrapped in a thick blanket and focused on her knitting.

She was a small and lithe woman with a droopy face that was in a constant grimace, wrinkled beyond her fifty-five years. Her hair was short and grey, bearing the odd snowy white strand. Her eyes were a stern dark brown and her bushy eyebrows gave her a fierce look.

‘’What did you think of my story, mom?’’, asked Dawn, in a meek tone. Every time she called her mom, a bitter taste was left in Dawn’s mouth. It just did not feel right.

The woman huffed, her gaze still fixed on her knitting, ‘’Pointless. I don’t know why you wasted your time in this journalism rubbish. Why can’t you be more like Daniel, he’s got a proper job. He’s teacher…’’. Spiteful as always, Dawn wasn’t surprised. But the pain cut as deep as it always did.

‘’Mom come on, Dawn worked hard on this’’, said Daniel as he picked up the newspaper and began to skim read his sister’s story.

‘’Sitting and typing all day is not hard work. The news isn’t exactly new anyway; those Muslims not only take our jobs but they’re polluting our streets with poison’’, she said in a bitter and angry tone.

Dawn cocked her head in confusion, ‘’What do you mean?’’, her mother may be racist but her mind was healthy. Yet she must have made a mistake, ‘’That’s not what I wrote?’’.

‘’That’s what it says in the paper, Dawn’’, said Daniel as he finished skim reading the story. He then passed the paper to his sister.

She took the newspaper and read out loud, ‘’Migrant crime wave’’. A gradual rage began building up in Dawn, each word she read adding to it, ‘’Two young Muslim men were leading a ruthless cocaine business in and around Birmingham. Abdul-Kadir and Bashir Fawaiz were apprehended by police in their shared house in Oldbury early on Wednesday morning. The duo and their gang had been flooding the inner West Midlands for years with the infamous ‘Auténtico’ cocaine, the rarest and most expensive in the whole of Europe. Further inquiry revealed that the Home Office practically held the door open for Abdul-Kadir and Bashir Fawaiz when they first entered the country in 2001…’’

Dawn couldn’t believe her eyes; her entire body was flooded with emotions. Rage, Fear, Anxiety and trembling…

‘’This is not what I wrote!’’, she said, far louder than she intended, ‘’Abdul and Bashir were five when they entered the country! I interviewed them myself! Sam McAndrew was the leader and he’s English! They changed everything!’’, her words became hysterical screams near the end.

Her brother grabbed her by the shoulders, ‘’Dawn! Calm down, you’re shaking’’.

Their mother huffed once more, ‘’They probably changed it because they realised everything you wrote was stupid nonsense’’, she said without even looking up at them.

Her mother’s words only fuelled her rage, but Dawn tried her best to ignore her, ‘’They completely shifted the story to immigration! How could they?! People need to know the truth!’’

Their mother spoke up once more, ‘’We already do. You’re just naive to what the truth actually is’’.

Dawn was livid, she felt tears building up in her eyes. She didn’t want to do something that she would regret, so she stormed out of the room, through the kitchen and out into the garden.

She felt like screaming. Why? How? Both questions kept circling around in her mind. Dawn felt a hand on her shoulder and jolted away from it, ‘’Daniel!’’, her brother’s face was full of concern. She knew that she should try and calm down but she just couldn’t.

‘’I feel so worthless. How could they do this? They lied to everyone. Journalists are supposed to tell the truth. Apart from those two, the rest of the gang are all English. What does it matter anyway? They were trafficking cocaine and the police got them, they may even give up information on their distributor. That’s what my story was!’’, she stopped and gasped for air.

‘’Dawn, I love you but I’m surprised that you weren’t expecting this’’, his words were gentle but they stunned her beyond expression. Daniel saw that she was left speechless and continued, ‘’People don’t like the truth, it’s too scary for them. Britain is by no means the only country that does this, but people would much rather blame the alien foreigners than admit that they have faults as well. The papers know this and take full advantage of it’’

His words cut deep. The rage inside Dawn was overwhelmed by a fear, fear and trembling. No, that can’t be true. People are decent, ‘’Even if I believed that, it doesn’t matter. My story was about cocaine trafficking and they completely humiliated me…’’

‘’It was wrong that they didn’t inform you that they’d change it, but you still should have seen it coming’’, this time Dawn struggled to note the gentleness in her brother’s tone. He continued, ‘’The thing about the war on drugs is that it’s unwinnable, Dawn. Sure, it’s nice that the police caught this gang, but they’ll just be replaced by another. People need drugs, even cocaine. It’s a form of escapism. That and there’s a lot of money in it’’, he said calmly. As if it was some natural fact.

Dawn couldn’t react, she didn’t want to hear any of this. The sheer horror was overwhelming. How could anyone live a normal and happy life thinking that their neighbour, their teacher, their shopkeeper…just anyone that you meet is that way. It was too much.

‘’Look, just talk to your editor on Monday and tell them that you understand but you want to be consulted on changed in the future. Come on, we’ll say bye to mom and head over to the pub’’, said Daniel. He then reached for her hand but she pulled away from him.

‘’Daniel…’’, she paused and steadied her breath, still battling with the turmoil inside her, ‘’Please tell me that you have never, and I mean never, done coke. Tell me that you have never given money for that poison, each gram of which costs three lives’’. He was her brother and she loved him, they grew up together and ever since they were little they had promised each other to always say the truth and always be there for one another. Dawn knew she could trust him, but she just needed to hear it. She just needed to know…

Daniel exhaled, his face softening in defeat, “I have done coke, Dawn’’.

Suddenly, her whole world collapsed in on itself. Her desire to share truth had been perverted into the sharing of lies, and in the process, she herself had uncovered something…grotesque. She didn’t want to believe it, but how could she ignore it?

Dawn stormed off, pushing past her brother and ignoring her mother on the way out. She got in her car and drove away. She wished she could drive away from it all. Phillip has to tell me why. I’ll go to his flat and he has to look me in the eyes and tell me why.

Ever since she started working for him, Phillip would regularly e-mail Dawn invites to his home for dinner. Whenever her saw her around in the office, he would boast about his big and expensive apartment on outskirts of Edgbaston. Dawn needed to get to his flat, she chose the side roads just so she could get there quicker. She swerved wildly around corners, ignored give way signs, didn’t bother with mirror checks and narrowly escaped crashing several times all the way to Edgbaston. She didn’t notice just how quickly she got there, her mind was too busy fighting everything Daniel had told her. But most of all, she was still asking herself why.

Dawn got out of the car and stormed towards the apartment block, thankfully someone was leaving so she wouldn’t have to wait at the gate for security to let her in. She pushed passed them and bolted up the stairs, taking two steps at a time. She finally got to his door and violently slammed her fist on it, Open. Open. I need to hear it from you, she kept thinking.

After what felt like hours, Phillip opened the door. He was wearing nothing but a bathrobe and slippers, and the bath robe barely covered anything, ‘’Dawn!’’, his eyes lit up and his face jiggled into a smile, ‘’What a pleasant surprise. Come in…’’, he reached for a hug but Dawn pushed him away, or tried to anyway.

‘’How could you humiliate me like that?! You made me out to be some ignorant racist’’, she shouted hysterically.

The confusion on his face only angered Dawn more, ‘’What are you talking about?’’, asked Phillip.

‘’The story you idiot! My story! You changed it all to immigration! How can you call yourself a journalist when you feed the people lies instead of honesty?!’’, she stopped and tried to get her breath back.

Phillip’s smiled faded slightly, ‘’Here I was thinking that you came just to see me’’, he chuckled, likely in the hope to get her to ease up on the issue, but Dawn’s expression remained cold and furious, ‘’Well I am an editor, Dawn. It is my job to edit before approving a story for publishing’’

He was going to say something else but Dawn cut him off, ‘’You didn’t edit. You changed the entire story!’’

‘’I don’t like being shouted at by my employees, Dawn’’, his voice was stern and the light from his bright hazel eyes seemed to dim, ‘’Look, let’s just say that the owner of the paper doesn’t like it when he isn’t paid back and leave it there. Why do you care so much anyway? You’re well off, have a nice flat in Halesowen…’’

How the hell does he know where I live? While that was her first thought, Dawn interrupted Phillip with, ‘’Because it’s not right!’’

‘’I’ve been working in this business for thirty years and I can tell you that what’s right never sells papers’’, Dawn felt physically sick when she processed his words.

He clearly didn’t care for honesty, nor for decency or for the people. All he cares about is money. His gluttony disgusted her but what disgusted her more was the fact that up until now she was blind to it. What kind of world do we live in if people would rather listen to lies than the truth, even if it’s harsh? She shuddered at what the answer could be.

Phillip placed his hands on her shoulders, ‘’How about you come in and I’ll make you a cup of tea, or you can have something stronger if you like’’

Dawn shoved his hands off and shouted, ‘’Keep your tea and you can have your job back. I quit!’’, and she left with tears in her eyes from the raw emotions she was experiencing.

The sun had all but set when she left the building. She found herself back in her car but unable to function. Dawn felt as if she was lost in a deep and never ending horror, her hand couldn’t stop trembling and she just wanted to cry. She had failed, not only as a journalist but as a human being, she had allowed filth to be published and worst of all people will think it was her that wrote all of it. All hope seemed lost.

A knock on her car window startled her back to reality, she struggled to see him clearly though the tears but the image was unmistakable, ‘’Matthew!’’

He walked around to the passenger seat and got in the car with her, ‘’Dawn, is everything okay? What’s happened?’’

She threw herself at him and embraced him in a hug, ‘’You have no idea how happy I am to see you’’

Matthew returned the hug, letting her cry a bit before continuing, ‘’Why are you here?’’

She pulled back and wiped the tears from her face, ‘’Phillip has completely butchered my story into crap on immigration. I’m so humiliated, Matthew. He just cares about money and selling papers, I’m so stupid. I came here in a fit of rage and ended up telling him I quit’’

‘’Look, you’re in no state to drive so let me take you back home. I’ll just get the bus back or something’’, his tone was kind and reassuring. Dawn wiped the tears away and simply nodded in agreement.

Suddenly a loud bang pierced their ears and the rear window shattered, ‘’Get down!’’, shouted Matthew and they both ducked their heads.

Another bang followed, Dawn looked in the rear-view mirror and saw a man approaching the car with a gun in his hand pointed straight at them, ‘’What’s happening?’’, she screamed in terror.

Matthew didn’t respond, instead he pulled out a pistol from his coat pocket and shot back. Dawn looked in the rear-view mirror again and saw the man jolt from the impact of the bullet and fall to the ground.

‘’Drive!’’, he shouted. Dawn was too scared to think and simply did what he said.

‘’What the hell just happened? Why do you have a gun?’’, she said as the terror continued surging through her.

‘’Dawn, do you trust me?’’, asked Matthew while looking back through the whole than now stood in place of the rear window.

‘’Right now, I don’t know’’, she replied and was debating in her mind if she should stop the car and call the police right now. Matthew looked back at her, visibly hurt from her response.

‘’I can’t say I blame you. Look, I promise that I’ll explain. But first we need to get somewhere safe. Please’’, Dawn was still terrified but still felt that Matthew was being honest, she decided to take a chance on him and continued driving.

After everything that happened today, Dawn wasn’t sure exactly where safe was. Yet, she drove back to her apartment out of instinct and a feeling that somehow everything would just go away if she hid in there with Matthew, Do I trust him? I don’t know what else to do. She was going to park in her usual spot but Matthew insisted that they leave the car somewhere else, after some searching they managed to find a side road tucked away from cameras and prying eyes. They walked back in silence, Matthew was constantly looking around for who knows what and everyone person and had his hand on his gun. After what seemed like an eternity, they finally walked through the main doors, up the stairs and into her flat. Matthew locked the door behind them and then closed the curtains in the living room.

Dawn wasted no time, ‘’Matthew. What just happened?’’

He looked at her but was clearly unsure what to say, ‘’Do you remember when I said that I had some loose ends to tie up before I could leave?’’, Dawn nodded in response, ‘’Well, one of those loose ends tried to shoot us. You see Dawn…I…I haven’t been honest with you…That gang that you wrote about, I…well they’re after me. They have been for a while and they are much bigger than you can imagine’’

It was happening again, more things that she didn’t want to know about; that she didn’t want to believe, ‘’Why?’’’, she asked, fearful of what the answer would be.

Matthew paused and took a deep breath, ‘’I’ve been looking into them for a while now. They’re like nothing this country has seen. The people who were arrested were just the goons; the tip of a monstrous iceberg. What’s worse is that their leader, whoever he is, is smart. They only smuggle in cocaine every five years but when they do, in a year they bring in over one-hundred tonnes of Auténtico’’

Dawn was beyond shocked, ‘’But only about forty tonnes of cocaine gets imported to the UK’’

‘’That’s only the amount that the government knows about. This gang sells most of it to other gangs in Europe, the rest they sell themselves and at a higher price because of its purity. I’ve been working on exposing them, or at least what I have on them so far, but they must have somehow caught on to me’’, his voice was steady and yet Dawn could sense something else.

‘’Matthew…I’m scared’’, was her only response. That was the most potent emotion she was experiencing amidst an anarchy of feelings.

‘’I’m scared too, Dawn’’, he took a step closer to her, ‘’But I can’t do this on my own. Look, I…I know that I have no right to ask you this. But please, I need your help. You’re the only person I have ever trusted…I know that together we can bring enough evidence to the police and maybe they can put is in witness protection or something’’

There was still so much Dawn didn’t understand. Why was Matthew even in Edgbaston and why has he not told her about this before? He usually tells her everything, surely if he was investigating this gang then he would have announced so at the office. But he saved her today. That and Dawn could just tell, from the moment that she met him, that Matthew was a good and decent man who’d never lie to her, she was scared and confused but at least she had him…he’s all that she had.

‘’Okay…okay, I’ll help you, Matthew’’, she finally managed to say, causing him to sigh in joy and relief.

The fear and trembling in her subsided and finally, after a day sheer horror, Dawn finally felt as if some goodness had been restored to her own corner of the world. Perhaps this could be a second chance, an opportunity to not only help Matthew but to make sure that people get the truth.

She embraced Matthew in a hug, happy that she had him with her but still fearful of the darkness that they were both now delving into.