“What did you say?” I said spinning around to find her standing peering past me to the block in the road, the knife scraping around the inside of the tin.
“You need to go the other way,” she said, dropping the can to the thin table mounted to the side of the van.
“No,” I said stepping forward. “What did you say about the doctor? What do you know about Toni?”
She raised her left eyebrow, her eyes meeting mine for the first time as she licked the meat from the tip of the knife. Letting her right hand and the knife drop, with her left hand she swept hair from her face one side, then the next, tilting her head, before catching one last glance through the windscreen. Nodding forward, she spoke.
“That’s where they were going,” she said. “That’s where I don’t want to be.”
“Who?” I said. She narrowed her brow.
“The Doctors,” she replied. I took a step toward her, my heart pulsing in my ears and my swollen hand.
“What do you know about the doctors?” I said, voice raised. She lifted her brow, pulling herself up to full height, which was only just a little shorter than my five foot ten. “Speak, for goodness’ sake,” I shouted when she didn’t reply. Her chest thrust forward as she filled her lungs, her hand gripped hard around the knife. “I’m sorry,” I added, pushing out my palms. “They did things to me, the doctors,” I said softening my tone. “I need to find them. Make them pay.” I watched as her brow fell forward, lips covering her teeth. “How do you know the Doctors? Did they do things to you?” She squinted, her forehead creasing, fingers tightening around the knife handle again. I took another step. “You don’t have to say, just tell me what you know. Tell me where they are.”
The van moved, rolling, but in the wrong direction. I turned back to see the coach and the truck receding in the view.
“No,” I shouted, jumping the few steps to back within the seats. “No,” I repeated. “We have to find a way round. What if this is our only way of getting through, it could take hours to go another way, even if we can find an empty road?” The van rocked to a stop with Ryan silent, just his frown voicing his discontent with the plan, but the light coming from behind and the click of the lock span my attention around to the back.
I raced through the open doors, jumping to the tarmac as the woman ran down the road, she’d left one bag behind and soon dropped the last as I called after.
“Please, I need to know.” I watched on as she slowed, her head turning over her shoulder, her eyes falling from me to the bag and its contents spilt on the floor at my feet. She kept on walking. I sobbed, quickly turning back to make sure Ryan had done nothing stupid like getting out of the van and following. Picking up the bag I let the tears fall to the tarmac as I lifted the tins of food and pushed them back into the bag.
A breath sucked in hard as two dirty trainers arrived at the top of my vision. I stood up straight, wincing with the pain, offering out the full bag as I tried to draw my tears away with a deep breath. She stood in front of me with a crisp white handkerchief offered in her hand. The tears stopped, my face relaxing as I set the bag down between us, taking the folded square from her dirt clogged hand and dabbed at the moisture on my cheeks.
“Thank you,” I replied, her eyes staring as I wiped my face.
“Why do you want to find them?” she said, her soft voice nearly lost in the wide open space. “They’re terrible people. The worst.”
“I’m a reporter,” I said.
“I know,” she replied.
“I was in love with Toni,” I said.
“I know,” she said, nodding. I ignored her reply, putting it down to exposure, tiredness or maybe hunger.
“They did bad things to me,” I said. Still she nodded.
“They did bad things to many people,” she replied.
“They did this,” I said, sweeping my hands across the view, taking in the columns of smoke.
“I know,” she replied. “But what are you trying to achieve?”
“I want the world to know what they did, what they’re doing so they can be stopped, so people can prepare. I want to destroy them and make them pay.” She nodded. “Tell me,” I said, knowing the answer before I asked the question. “How do you know all this?”
“I’ve seen your picture in her office. I’ve seen the grand plan spread across her wall.”
“How?” I replied. She took a deep breath and swallowed down hard.
“I used to be one of them,” she replied, drawing the knife up high, but my brain was too fogged to give any reply.
“What’s she doing at the hospital?” I said, ignoring the glint of the knife raised above my head.
“Collecting samples,” she replied, leaning down to take the bag. I didn’t move, didn’t back away, just stared to the ground, not seeing anything but Toni’s face.
“Samples of what?” I said, the words barely voiced.
“Children who’ve been exposed.”
“Exposed to what?”
“The virus in the air,” she said, the bag raising through my vision.
She didn’t reply, instead took a step back.
“Why children?” I repeated looking up.
“Because they’re the future. Right? And they make the best hosts.”
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Reading out of sequence, here’s the rest of Season Two.
Not read Season One? Here it is.