My lungs emptied as I hit the bonnet. Instinct bent me at the waist to slow the impact as the bumper hit. It worked and worked well, so well it took a few seconds of resting on the warm bonnet to realise the car had slowed before it hit, leaving my feet still under me, the borrowed shoes barely scraping along the floor. There was no pain as I pushed up from metal and stumbled back into the blinding headlights. I listened to the click of driver’s door as I struggled to walk sideways out of the dazzle. The man had climbed out of the car, but he’d turned away, not facing me, instead snapping toward the way he’d come, looking long into the distance with his neck extended, his head pushed out like a chicken. The rev of motorbike engines grew stronger and he finally turned, barely noticing me, his brow low, forehead pale and bunched. About to jump back in the car, he hesitated before looking again in my direction, surprise lighting his face.
“Get in,” he said, confusion clear on his voice. “Quick,” he added when I hadn’t move. He didn’t wait and was back in the car, leaning over the seat to push open the passenger door. I hovered, waiting for what, I wasn’t sure, staring past the car, searching out what he’d been looking for. The car rolled forward and he nodded with impatience to the open passenger door. Motorbike engines rang in my ears, dots of light bounced in the distance and I swear I could hear the heavy breath of the four legged beasts racing in our direction. I had no choice.
I barely touched the fabric before I was forced back in the seat, my hands crushed together against the gun as the car sped. Lunging forward, metal clattered in the footwell as he dabbed the brakes and the door slammed at my side. I caught the mirror image of ambling legs in the glow of the red lights before being enveloped again by the darkness.
“Where are we going?” I said, my voice a little unsure as I stared out of the side window to search the dark horizon. I caught the tang of alcohol in the air as my eyes roved along the line of the land in the distance. Lingering on every imperfection I squinted, but the car moved too quickly for me to make out what I was seeing. When he hadn’t replied for what seemed like a long time, I turned to watch his profile, his concentration as he leant forward, his body nearly at the steering wheel, eyes peering out wide into the distance. The beat in my chest refused to settle, doubt filling my mind as I looked at his face only just more than a silhouette. Had I left the hornet’s nest only to jump straight into the web of a poisonous spider?
From what I’d already seen, he was young, a similar age. In the darkness he looked like he’d not seen the sun in years, his face white, apart from the stubble of a beard. He was tall, but not lanky, wore a black t-shirt over a dark shirt half tucked into his jeans. If first impressions were anything to go by, he didn’t look like he scared easily.
“Where are we going?” I said again and he replied straight away, his voice deeper than I expected.
“Anywhere,” he said, coughing away the tremble in his voice. “You saw those things? Right?” he said as he gripped his hand back tight to the steering wheel. He turned to catch my reply and I nodded. “What are they?” he added, his eyes wide on me. I shook my head and he turned back to the road. With the moon high in the sky, my night vision had improved, his must have too and he turned back for the first time seeming to take note in the dark, looking at how I sat uncomfortable with my hands at my back.
The car slowed as we took a corner, both of us pulling up in our seats as we couldn’t help but see the floodlights lighting up the road up ahead, the dark trucks parked across its width, dots of figures moving around in the light. A roadblock. His hand jumped at the switch for the lights and he slowed the car, turning back then looked forward to the road, letting the car stop, before twisted around, his brow furrowed in my direction.
“What’s wrong with your hands?” he said. I took a deep breath, my options racing through my head. I could jump from the car and run in to the darkness. The dogs would have lost the scent by now. We’d travelled far enough away to get from what had frightened him, but would he risk following me? It all depended on his intentions. I shouldn’t take a chance. I should run, my gut told me over and again. If only I could get the door open.
I twisted in my seat, showing my cuffed hands, leaving the gun still resting in the small of my back. I waited for his reaction, trying to suppress my urge to scream as I questioned why I was giving myself up to him.
“You weren’t running from those,” he paused with the same hesitation I’d seen before. The same stall in the brain people have as their minds try to come to terms with a new reality. “Those things?”
I shook my head whilst trying to keep calm, opening my eyes wide and holding my breath.
“What were you running from? Did you escape from the police?”
I gave a shallow shake of my head.
“A man,” I said, letting my voice catch. “He tried to rape me,” I said. “He, he,” I stuttered.
“It’s okay, you don’t need to say,” he said, pushing out his left hand in my direction.
I backed away, pushing myself to the door, conscious of the pistol pinching in my back as he snapped his hand away.
“But, he, he’s a soldier. I can’t,” I said looking up to the roadblock. “I can’t let them find me,” I said, peering straight into his eyes. He stared at my face, then looked down to my hands still twisted down on show at my side. He turned to the lights ahead, twisting back at me with a nod, then grabbed the wheel, pinning me in my seat as he accelerated, swinging the car out to the side as he turned the wheel, bumping us off the road. The car jumped up and down, metal clattered in the footwell, the underside of the car scraping against what sounded like giant boulders. As I peered into the dark night ahead, we both screamed, a dark figure flashing into view, a great cracking sound ran through the windscreen as its head hit square in the centre. In a flash the body had gone, but the scrape if its bulk across the roof was clear to hear. I lost my concentration as my head hit the screen.
Waking from a daze, I realised the car had stopped. Through cotton wool ears, I listened to a door open, cold air rushing in as my eyes flashed wide to the see a blurred crowd of faces in the moon light stumbling towards us across the uneven ground.
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Reading out of sequence, here’s the rest of Season Two.
Not read Season One? Here it is.