Chapter Nine Part Five - Annalise's Law

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Annalise breathed deeply as soon as the sack was removed from her head and immediately wished that she had not done so, for instead of her lungs being filled with whatever rancid foulness had been in the sack before it had been placed over her head, the smell and taste of rubber was all she could sense and she hacked, violently.

She had no idea whereabouts she was but whatever her location it was dark and murky, the only light coming through a high window, narrow and grimy to her right.

She heard a door slam shut and a bolt fire across.

Locked in, she thought. Lovely.

As her eyes grew accustomed to the gloom and her other senses heightened, Annalise realised that she was not alone. Someone was sobbing, more than one someone unless she was very much mistaken.

“Hello?” she ventured. “Is anyone there?”

Ssshhh!” A hiss, much closer to her than she had expected. “We're not allowed to talk. They punish us for that.”

“Who's they?” Annalise asked in a whisper. “And how do they administer this punishment?”

“The men.” Another voice. “You don't want to know.”

As time passed by, how much time Annalise had no idea but it still appeared to be light on the other side of the narrow window, though she suspected that it was no longer natural light, she discovered that there were twelve girls and young women, the youngest of whom was thirteen years of age, locked in the dank, dark room.

“There's no escape,” said Grace, a girl around Annalise's age. “If you try, they kill you.”

Annalise cast her mind back to the girl with the broken arm she and Simon had fleetingly seen at the boat yard and grimaced at the fact that if what Grace said was true, she was now dead.

Oh God, Simon!

She doubted the men would have permitted him to live, and wished she could have protected him, wished that she knew for sure...

Her thoughts were interuppted by an incredibly loud noise outside, a noise that sounded very much like an explosion, no... a series of explosions.

“What were you saying about no escape?” she asked, grinning into the darkness. “Be ready to run!”

 

***

“What do you reckon?” Johnny asked with a smile. “Think that'll draw a few Zeds here?”

“I should say,” Verity replied. “In fact I wouldn't be surprised if Jack, Jen and Joan heard that racket out in the Channel!”

“We wait,” said Helen, her eyes focused on the locked gates that led to a place called Vintage Tyre Supplies. “These guys seem cocky enough to open the gates to see what's going on and when they do, we go in under cover of Zed.”

“Do you think eight cars were enough?” Harry asked. “I mean, I can always blow a few more.”

“There's no need for that,” said Verity, looking down the road to the east. “Look, we've got Zeds!”

“Right on cue,” said Helen, smiling. “They're opening the gates.”

“Into the van, now.” On Verity's order, the other three clambered into the back of the battered Ford Transit whilst Verity hopped into the driver's seat. The engine was ticking over nicely, and as soon as the men coming through the gates turned their attention to the Zeds ambling their way down the road she dropped it into gear and put her foot to the floor, accelerating quickly towards the opening.

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