“She was going to shout out. She was going to give us away.”
Still Toni hadn’t moved her hand from behind the stranger’s head.
“What have you done?” I said, my voice high as I kept my feet planted firm. “What have you done?”
“She wouldn’t be quiet, I was just holding her down, but she stopped moving, stopped struggling. I wasn’t holding her that hard.”
“Maybe she’s okay,” I said, my legs stiff as I moved between the seats. “Let go,” I said leaning down. Toni kept her hand to the back of the stranger’s head as she stared back at me, her eyes wide, but with her brow heavy, lips pursed. “Let go,” I said raising my voice. “What’s wrong with you?” I said putting my hand out to touch Toni’s, but before I could she pulled her hand away and the woman slid down Toni’s body, turning as she fell, her eyes open as she gave no reaction when the back of her head banged hard against the floor.
My eyes stuck on the woman’s, her bloodshot whites fixing back as if asking why I hadn’t done something sooner.
“What have you done?” I said snatching a look back at Toni. She hadn’t looked down at the body, kept her eyes fixed on me. “She dead,” I said glancing down. “She’s dead,” I said again when she didn’t seem to have heard. “Look at her,” I said peering down once more, but still her eyes didn’t follow. “Look at her,” I said, my voice high, almost shouting and she gave her first reaction, flinching back, mouth hanging wide as she took a tentative look down, but twisted away, scrabbling to get to her feet as she spoke in a hurried voice.
“She was going to give us away. I didn’t mean to,” she said rushing along the van and between the seats. I watched as she pulled open the passenger door and jumped to the tarmac. I picked myself up and followed, eyes glancing at the vicar still rambling around the graveyard. Toni was walking fast the way we’d come, her head shaking, mumbling quietly to herself. I pushed the door of the van and took after her, trying my best to match her pace, despite the heels.
“Toni,” I called out, flinching a look to the graveyard, pushing a fixed smile on my face as the vicar looked up with concern in my direction. “Toni,” I said a little quieter, but still she rushed on, nearly running down the narrow road. I stopped, pulling off the heels and ran after her, sidestepping as much of the loose gravel as I could. “Toni,” I said as I caught up, but she didn’t slow, made no move to acknowledge she’d even heard my words. It was only as I my hand went to her shoulder and I pulled she flinched at my touch and let me slow her.
I took hold of her by the upper arms and turned her towards me, her eyes vacant as she stared right through me, still mumbling words I couldn’t make out.
“Toni,” I said, giving her a shake and her eyes latched on to mine for the first time. “Where are you going? We can’t go this way, it’s not safe,” I said pleading wide eyed. She blinked, twisted her head the way she’d been heading and turned back with her eyes wider than before she’d looked along the narrow country road. “I know you didn’t mean it. It was an accident,” I said and she nodded. “She was going to get us caught, then we wouldn’t have been able to break the story and keep everyone safe.” She nodded harder. “And now we’ve just got to deal with it.” The words caught up in my head. What was I saying? Toni had just murdered someone and now I was telling her how we were going to cover it up.
Blooded faces burst into my vision, teeth snapping at my face as I remembered the world had changed. The world I lived in would never be the same, for me at least. I’d spent the day killing already, although they’d already died once before. The stranger had saved Toni’s life and now Toni had taken her’s. Why didn’t I feel bad about it? I was going to help cover it up and was already thinking in this new world it would be easy where the line between life and death blurred.
The roar of an engine caught my ear and I turned away from Toni, her head following. A Land Rover flashed into view around a corner. It was going too fast, the side panels slapping the foliage lining the lane, great stones from a section of wall scraped down the side, sparks flying as the driver struggled to keep control. The windscreen had shattered, marbled with a hole in the centre. The Land Rover corrected, swerving into the middle of the road, almost too quickly, the wheels sliding left, then right and for a moment I saw daylight underneath.
Taking a step back, I tried to look at the driver’s face, took another step, my hands still holding onto Toni’s t-shirt when I saw the red eyes of a soldier in the driver’s seat, his face white like snow, breath panting. In his terror he hadn’t seen us, or didn’t care, the road not much wider than the vehicle. I lunged at Toni, pushing as hard as I could towards the bush, knowing there wasn’t enough time to save us both.
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Reading out of sequence, here’s the rest of Season Two.
Not read Season One? Here it is.