I jumped, turning through the pain to see the shadow of the solider in the back of the van.
“What’s happening again?” he said, his voice urgent as he drew forward, his eyes falling to my hand resting at my stomach.
“Shit,” Toni said, her reaction sharper than mine. She closed her eyes and drew a deep breath. “She’s hungry that’s all, I need to get her something to eat,” Toni replied pulling open her door, turning back as she left. “It’s not time yet.” I smiled back in her direction, wincing as I turned away, my stomach aching with emptiness.
“Thank you,” I said, my eyes closing.
“For what?” he said. “Are sure you’re all right?”
I nodded, unable to do anything else as Toni took me from the seat and helped my feet to the floor.
“What is this place?” I heard his voice join at our backs to the sound of Toni pushing keys into a lock. She stopped, I felt her body turn and I squinted open my eyes as she pushed her head out towards the soldier.
“What are you doing?” Toni said, holding her free hand at the door.
“I need to you use your phone,” he said. “I need to call this in. Make sure they’re sending everyone this way.” Toni paused on his face, then turned, her eyes narrowing.
“You think they don’t know?” she replied and just as she did, I heard the beat of helicopter rotors in the air. Pain ripped across my stomach, a feeling like something was about to burst. I bent, letting out a column of air. Strong hands gripped around my waist, catching before I could fall, but Toni took over and I was lead through the door, my eyes on the wooden floor as I fell down to a soft sofa. I heard words exchanged through the pain, but with my eyes sealed shut all I could make out was a throbbing beat in my ears.
“Jess.” It was Toni’s voice near. “I’ll get you something to eat, just hold on a minute.” I kept my eyes sealed tight, squirming on the sofa while I listened to the sounds of a kitchen close by, my mind wandering over what she could have to satisfy the ache. A newly slaughtered lamb, a side of uncooked steak? I felt bile rise in my stomach as it contracted. “Jess,” the words came again and I forced my eyes open and saw the cheese sandwich on the plate offered out in Toni’s hands.
I pulled my hanging jaw closed and focused on Toni’s smile.
“What were you expecting?” she said. I shook my head and pulled the bread from the plate, stuffing the food in my mouth like it was the first thing I’d eaten in days. The flavours were out of this world, the taste of the cheese so intoxicating. “Slowly,” I heard her say as the pound in my ears lessened. My fear subsided, the pain easing with every swallow.
“All because I was hungry?” I said with the last mouthful pushed down.
“Better now?” she said, a soft smile on her lips as she handed over a tall glass of water. I nodded with enthusiasm and took my first look around the room as I drank. The space was open plan, faded sunflower relief on the walls with a small kitchen to the right. Underneath exposed steps running above our heads, I sat on three seat sofa facing a wall hanging TV. The soldier had gone.
“Where’d he go?” I replied.
“To do his job, I hope,” she said, dismissing my enquiry to the growing sound of helicopter rotors blades passing over our heads. “We need to get out of here.”
“You think he’ll tell them where we are?” I said, stretching my back to work out the last of the pain.
“They won’t care for now. Too much going on, I hope. It’s us that need them.” Her eyes drifted to the red vials laid out on a kitchen cloth on a table at the far wall. “You’ll need another dose tomorrow morning, then we’ll need more. And we need a few other supplies before then,” she said, turning away.
“How many doses do you think I’ll need?” I replied, looking back to the table.
Her first reply was silence, her head not turning my way.
“Honestly,” she said, eventually meeting my eye. I gave a slow nod. “I don’t know,” she said, her words quiet. Her hands rested on top of mine clasped at my lap. Her eyes went wide, her eyebrows lowering as she squeezed my hands. “I don’t even know if it will work long term.”
This wasn’t news and I gave a nod as I drew a deep breath. It was all that had been going through my head since the first dose.
“But we’ve got to try, right,” she said, lifting her hands off as I pulled up mine to take her in my arms. Pulling back, she winced. “Shower first,” she said. I stopped and looked down, raised an eyebrow and nodded back. I watched as she stood, following, steading myself on the arm of the chair, freezing as a shadow moved across the window by the door, both of us drawing back in a start as a heavy fist knocked hard against the wood.
Thanks for reading and if you enjoyed, like my Facebook page and drop me a message. Let me know if you like what you’re reading.
Reading out of sequence, here’s the rest of Season Two.
Not read Season One? Here it is.