Naturally, I wanted to ask him if this was an elaborate set-up by my boyfriend. Danny was a joker, but he’d never go to the effort of setting up a fake abduction, putting me in a holding cell and then trying to convince me my nighttime gibberish was a lost language. That would be too much effort, even with help.
No, this had to be real.
‘Miss Salter?’ Mister Brown interrupted my daydreaming.
I shook my head, ‘100,000 years old? I… I have no explanation.’
I expected him to look at me with suspicion at that admission, or at least – with disbelief or disapproval. What I didn’t expect, was for the man to look at me with something resembling disappointment.
‘You look as if you were expecting more?’
He took a long, thoughtful drag on his cigarette. ‘To be quite frank, I was. We were.’
Now I had him… them… on the back foot and I moved in for the kill.
‘Mister Brown, I can’t really help you until you help me understand what is going on. Me and Danny, we went to bed last night after a takeaway and some wine. We didn’t wake up in our bed; I woke up here, in this strange room not knowing where I am and without my boyfriend beside me. You insist you mean no harm and that is all I have got out of you. And where the fuck is Danny?!’
He looked shocked at my language, this tiny English woman with a mouth like a sewer. Meh, who said women shouldn’t swear? I find it works in the right context.
He took a deep breath, ‘I am limited in what I can tell you at the moment.’
I crossed my arms. ‘Fine. You won’t get any more help out of me until one… you start telling me what’s going on, and two… my boyfriend gets here.’
He looked at me with an expression that was a mix of the quizzical, admiration and amusement. ‘I cannot promise anything, but I will organise for your boyfriend to come here soon.’
‘Soon… perhaps one hour.’
We were interrupted then by a voice over the intercom. I did not identify the language but it sounded a bit like Hebrew or Arabic to me. Mind you, going by past experience it could have been Gaelic for all I could tell.
Mister Brown responded in short snappy answers each time the voice came through the intercom. After a brief conversation, it shut off.
He cleared his throat, ‘Miss Salter, I must leave you now for an urgent meeting but Danny will be here in five minutes.’
I felt my heart skip a beat. I really wanted to hug him then. On one hand that would have shown him toil much of my vulnerability and on the other, it was probably not his decision that I could see Danny.
Mister Brown stood, smiled apologetically and left the room.
They made good on their promise. Danny did indeed arrive five minutes later; accompanying him was a woman – probably in her mid fifties with the same stern expression that Mister Brown had. She paid me no attention; the whole time her gaze flicked between the intercom and Danny. I threw my arms around the big lug, my big lug.
‘Are you alright?’ he asked and planted a kiss firmly on my lips.
‘Yes, I’m fine. They gave me a bacon and egg sandwich for breakfast so they can’t be all bad.’
He laughed and hugged me tightly, ‘they gave me my favourite coffee and a full English breakfast. What have they told you?’
‘That video you uploaded. It’s a real language and it’s like… a hundred thousands years old or something. Only about ten people can speak it.’
Danny looked aghast, ‘ wow, really? They’ve told you more than they’ve told me. All I know is it’s to do with that video. They’ve been monitoring me but it seems I don’t talk in my sleep like you do. Why they brought us all the way to Tehran for that I don’t know.’
‘Tehran? What the hell are we doing in Iran?’ I looked at Danny’s companion quizzically.