Need a ride?
Written By: Amanda Luciano
I don't have an extensive Christmas list. Truthfully I have never been super into people getting me things, as I am used to not receiving much. I get way more out of giving people gifts personally.
Something about the looks on peoples faces when they open a gift to see something they wanted that they were sure they wouldn't get.
I have always had a thing for making that kind of stuff happen.
When I met my boyfriend he had two items on his bucket list. Now he has none. I want to say it comes from a place of making people happy but if i think really hard about it, I think it is more that nobody has ever done anything that big for me. I don't know how I would even handle a gift like that but I have pretty high hopes on other peoples responses when I give them.
With Christmas just a few weeks away I have been going crazy trying to figure out what I might do this year.
I had a pretty decent budget and started trying to plan out something but my boyfriend isn't really forthcoming about what he wants, he figured out pretty early on that any mention of something would probably send me on the hunt to get it for him.
I landed on going to the mall to see if anything jumped out at me, I had some intention of getting some video games and other little things but nothing for the "big gift" yet. I figured once I was in the swing of shopping it would come to me or something stupid like that.
My car was having issues lately so I ordered an uber and put my shoes on. I chose to wait at the office for my apartments as I always felt weird about people knowing exactly where I live but as i locked my door and turned around to head that way I noticed a car waiting. There was a familiar "U" decal in the window. The man driving rolled down his window and called out "Scarlet?". I was a little confused but nodded and headed towards the car.
I opened the back seat door and noticed another person in the back seat as I climbed in. That was weird. I was sure that there was no ride share in my town yet. I only lived about two minutes from the mall though and just told myself that it was probably a trick the driver pulled to make more money or something.
I managed a timid Hello and smile but neither the driver or the other mystery rider responded. I just sat nervously for the entire 120 second drive and then thanked the driver and exited his car.
I couldn't put my finger on it but there was something weird about that whole situation.
I barely made it through the doors of the mall before my phone rang and I noticed the number. It was the generic Uber number that they use for riders and drivers to contact each other anonymously.
I picked up to an older lady asking for my gate code. This was very strange, I advised her that another driver had already picked me up and completed the trip for me. There must have been a mistake in the app or something. She seemed just as weirded out and apologized for the wait and then hung up.
I shook it off and decided some retail therapy was just the thing I needed to cleanse the series of events that just transpired.
The mall in December is something I have always loved, the music and decorations. All of the people shopping for loved ones. I was suddenly over come with relief to be surrounded with happy strangers.
I skipped from store to store taking my time to look and choose things that I really thought my loved ones needed and would use. I even got a collection of wrapping material to make everything look really nice. I loved wrapping.
I had gotten a good amount for my boyfriend and something nice for each of my siblings and was feeling pretty worn out. I decided now was a good time to call it. I headed to the food court to sit down and figure out how i would get home.
I will admit that I was tempted to just walk but the two minutes that separated me from home included a freeway over pass with no sidewalks and I wasn't really feeling like attempting that in the dark. I decided that I would just call for another car, no way I could have two weird experiences in the same day, right?
I opened the app to request a ride but I kept getting an error about not having an internet connection. This mall wasn't really a great reception area. I decided to walk outside to see if I would have better luck and immediately noticed the same car that dropped me off.
It was a mid size SUV, I think it was a Honda? All black, even the rims. That's what gave it away. I walked off to the side and pulled out my phone to try again but was interrupted by the man calling my name again. I walked closer to the car but decided to keep a healthy ten or so feet between us.
"I haven't ordered an Uber sir." I said as politely as I could manage.
His face, which I hadn't paid much attention to until now, it was dark. Like he hadn't slept in years. His eyes were sunk in and his teeth were an ugly yellow as he smiled back at me. He didn't seem to register that I had answered him and I was getting really creeped out.
He just kept staring and smiling. I decided then that I would call my boyfriend to see if he could come grab me on his way home from work. I slowly started to back away towards the doors to the mall and collided with someone.
Someone who then reached their arms around me and pressed a cloth over my face. I struggled to see my phone, to make a sound, anything. Something that might alert anyone that I was in danger but the only thing that came was darkness.
When I opened my eyes next it was with a massive head ache. It felt like my skull was caving in and I struggled to see anything but I recognized the back of the car driving away. There were no plates.
I faded off again after that.
I woke the second time to my boyfriend shaking me and yelling my name. I was so confused.
He had found me on the ground in front of our apartment, I still had everything with me. Everything I bought and my purse, my phone, my wallet. Nothing seemed to be missing.
I tried to recall what happened but I was struggling to get it together and my head was killing me. Jason, my boyfriend, carried me upstairs and got all of my things inside. Once everything was settled I explained to him what I could remember about the entire day. He looked at me with concern growing more and more apparent on his face.
When I finished everything, he called the police. They came and took a report, they said that they would contact Uber to get more details on what driver was assigned to me to see if they could get any details on who might have done this.
I know there wasn't really anything else that could be done but I was scared. They knew where I lived, they could get to me if they wanted.
Once they finally left, I kissed Jason on the cheek and told him I was going to take a shower. I trudged to the bathroom groggily and decided to lock the door behind me. I started the water first and then took a look at myself in the mirror.
Hair disheveled and make up all over my face from crying but other than that I looked okay. No cuts or bruises. I shed my clothes and inspected my body, I wanted to make sure they hadn't touched me anywhere. I couldn't find anything, filled with relief and the bathroom filling with steam I decided to get in the shower.
But something caught my eye.
Shoved into the over flowing little trash can next to the towel rack there was a business card. All black and only a number a short phrase printed on it.
"Need a ride?" The number printed on the opposite side 702-454-6366.
I reached for my phone and punched in the number. It rang only once before someone picked up.
"Scarlet?" The man said. The same exact way. I dropped my phone and backed away. I only reached for it to disconnect the line.
What does this mean? I know I have never seen this business card before and I was terrified to keep it in the event it had belonged to someone else. I put everything back the way it was and got in the shower.
I let the hot water run over my face and tried to calm down. What was I going to do. Had they planted it there or had it been Jason. I decided I would ask him when I was done. He wouldn't put me in danger, i know this man. I love this man.
As I argued with myself I heard Jason come in to the bathroom. I thought I had locked the door.
"Babe, are you alright? I just wanted to check on you." He asked with a little edge in his voice. I couldn't tell if it was concern or something else.
"I'm fine honey, I just got lost in thought for a bit. I'll be out in a minute."
He didn't answer, I only knew he left because I heard the door shut.
I turned off the water and grabbed a towel from the rack. I towel dried my hair and then wrapped the towel around me. I drew the curtain then and immediately noticed the empty trash can.
I know I hadn't imagined that. I walked out into the bedroom then and saw Jason sitting on the bed working on his computer.
"Did you take the trash out?" I just more than whispered.
"Mhm." He didn't even look away from his laptop.
This didn't mean he had something to do with it. I should just tell him about the business card. Or maybe I should wait and tell the police.
The doorbell rang then and I almost dropped my towel. Jason stood up and kissed me on the forehead.
"Relax sweetheart, I ordered pizza. I thought it might make you feel better." He said softly.
I tried to breathe, it had been a crazy day and I was probably being paranoid. I just nodded back to him and started to get dressed.
I don't know what came over me but I decided to peak out the window and saw the delivery car then. The little neon light on top marking it as a delivery car but it did little to brighten the completely black exterior. Mid size SUV, black rims, no plates.
Jason yelled for me then to come eat.
I don't know what to do. I called off of work today even though Jason offered to drive me. I tried to call that number again but it's been disconnected. Reverse phone lookup registered the number to a local pizza shop that had been closed for years.
I don't know what to do, somebody please help.