The choice was made. Not my decision. What could I do? At a guess I had a full five minutes before I couldn’t hold back, maybe ten if I distracted myself from all around me. Perhaps I could sleep, think happy thoughts, but not those already crowding my head.
I looked back at Toni, her eyebrows raised in what I knew was a solemn communication. Sorry, but thanks for answering my call, I guessed, turning away. Yes, I’d come to her rescue on the flimsiest of information, but what good had I done? I was in a worse situation. pumped full of drugs, or whatever was in the syringe. I’d been bitten, infected by a disease I couldn’t even imagine, the first symptoms of which destroyed my world. At least she still has her life. Battered and bruised, broken maybe, but she would recover when she was out of this place. My future was less certain. To be put down like a rabid dog, or locked in a cage for however long I had left.
I stood, breathing through my mouth and took small steps across the room, ignoring the soldier’s words.
“Miss, please stay away from the prisoner,” he said, turning my way. I carried on my advance, standing my ground as his wide spread hand blocked my path and he stepped in to follow. I looked him up and down, trying not to linger on his sidearm, a Glock 17, a weapon I’d learnt to handle, trained by my Israeli bodyguard on my six month stint in Jerusalem. I saw his pouches packed full, guessed which one should hold the ammunition, could practically smell the chocolate on the other side that would melt in the building heat of the room. Only as he copied my look did I sit back down, he’d got the wrong idea, but I’d found a way out.
Closing my eyes, I let my mind drift, turning away from the thought of food, of urges I needed to satisfy. I thought of my parents sat in front of the telly, each with a glass of sherry and a box of chocolates spread across their laps. Still, the scents rolled in and I knew the four women would be standing in front of me as I opened my eyes, their gamey notes exciting the thin hairs along the inside of my nostrils. I could almost see in the air as their cocktail of scents untangled, their flavours becoming distinct, my attention caught by one in particular who had an undertone of burnt caramel.
There they were, silhouetted against the lamp. I closed my eyes again, but couldn’t help but open, their words already losing definition as I looked each of them with a growing desperation to know which one would make a great dessert. I stood, feeling saliva pour from my glands, the liquid hot in my mouth as I tried to concentrate on their words.
“Karen,” the tallest of the four said, with a high pitched voice she tried to keep quiet. She was blonde with great skin, her white coat hid her curves, but hung high off her chest. I only noticed her hand held out as the other three pairs of eyes followed down. I held mine out, hers so warm, could feel her energy filling me, my breath rising. “Where do you work again? I’ve not seen you around,” she said, her face alarming and she yanked back her hand. “You’re freezing,” she said and in unison each of their eyes went wide, fixed on my hand and then my face. “Do we,” the tall one said and before I could find my sweet treat, she’d pushed up my sleeve and were rearing back at the healing bite wound.
The world slipped down a gear, their speech slowing as if their batteries had drained. They moved back with a speed like they were stuck in treacle, the screams building as my arm fell back to my side. The game was up, their widening faces told me so. I had just enough of a chance to catch Toni’s face as it fell, before I caught the soldier’s eyes. He was good, had his rifle up, head looking slowly side to side, the fat in his cheeks carrying its momentum as he checked twice either side he was making the right decision.
The first bullet was easy to dodge, the round fired in a panic and like a fly, my body and brain were on overdrive, time had slowed for those around.
The second bullet grazed my arm, sending pain I would only feel moments later. The third was a wild shot, ricocheting twice before embedding deep in a brain. I hoped it wasn’t in the sweet taste of pudding. He had the Glock out as I closed the distance, but I saw it too late, heard the trigger pull back the first safety pin, felt the second vibrate through my temple, knowing the third noise would be the sound of my brain exploding.
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Reading out of sequence, here’s the rest of Season Two.
Not read Season One? Here it is.