They drove up in two columns of four cars.
Nothing local. Vehicles driven straight off a cargo plane.
Looking back at Gracie, it’s difficult to keep my voice even.
‘They’re not here for anyone else,’ I said.
She wiped her eyes and took a deep breath.
‘Thank you,’ she said.
Turning around, they had pulled up, doors opening and boots on the ground, safeties off.
There’s always a way.
It took a moment to will my legs to move. Exhausted and the bandage was coming loose.
Taking off across the parking lot, they came after me.
The world went white, then red. My feet tingled and my eyes glazed over, but then a deep, raw surge of instinct burst through me as the first shots rang overhead.
Some time ago.
He hadn’t listened to the radio in years. He had grown up with television, then the internet.
Foreign television was an excellent way to pick up a language.
Children’s television. He smiled to himself, amused by his memories and the broad vowels of the DJ.
The van was his until Wednesday. Everything was in a few boxes and a crate. He took a quiet pleasure in considering whether to buy decent sheets.
He focused on the roads, small and winding capillaries choked with trees which plunged him into long stretches of civil twilight.
He saw the village as he came over the hill. It felt like a wonderful place to stop.
He ran his tongue over his teeth, picked at a stray fleck of beef which had stuck between his front teeth. It was a comforting, ridiculous thing to do and when he saw the flash of amused green eyes, he swallowed. Blood rose to his cheeks as he looked at her.
She drove past him. The gleam of intelligence, which made his heart thump a little faster. Pretty, he thought.
June, the estate agent, judging by her voice. An avian chirp, softer in person, met him with the keys in a thick, cream envelope. Dressed like a television presenter forced out of the studio.
‘You’ll find where everything is, I’m sure, ‘ she said.
He smiled as he weighed the contents of the envelope.
‘I’m used to that,’ he said.
She had to move her car, a worn Estate, so he could get the van close to the house, but he noticed how she hummed with a thin, restless energy. Little to no eye contact.
He thought of asking, but the impending weight of knowledge was something he needed to forego.
Thanking her was enough, he decided.
‘Stay safe, Mr Cameron,’ she said.
He smiled at her as she drove off. Some people conducted energy like copper. Not bad, but too much of it.
It could have been me, he thought.
Which was why he was there?