Sarah's hair whipped around her face in windswept tendrils as she focused on keeping her balance, climbing out along the rocks until she reached the furthest point that was still above water.
She reached into the pocket of her old leather jacket and gently took out the photograph of Marj and Cleo. If she closed her eyes, she could almost pretend that none of this had been real, that she would go home to Edinburgh tonight, then get up tomorrow morning and go to work at di Marco's. Almost. She set the photo down on the rocks at her feet, and she spoke, voice shaking.
"Marj, I can't go without saying something. I'm sorry this isn't as eloquent as it should be. I'm sorry no-one else who knew you is around to hear it. And I'm sorry about the Silver Bullet. I couldn't bring it with me. It saved my life though. You saved my life. And I know this isn't quite the same as sailing around the world, but I'm going to leave this here so you and Cleo will always have the sea."
Alright, she said to herself, let's do this. As she turned to start picking her way back along the outcrop of rocks to Richie and Evan, something caught her eye.
People. Two of them. Sarah stopped in her tracks and crouched down, anything to make herself less immediately visible, right hand instinctively finding the knife tucked in her waistband. Just in case.
They hadn't seen her. Yet. They were both carrying rucksacks and although they were walking side by side, they didn't seem to be talking to each other.
One of them walked with a determined spring in their step, looking up at the sky, then around at the landscape, then out towards the water. The other, slightly taller, walked with a limp and was throwing something into the air and catching it again, over and over.
Suddenly, the smaller of the two stopped and grabbed the other by the arm, almost causing him to drop whatever he'd been throwing and catching. They both looked right at her, said something to each other, then started walking towards her.
Shit. There's no point in hiding now.
Sarah took a deep breath and stood up, knife in hand, ready. Maybe it would be OK. But also, maybe it wouldn't. Another deep breath, then, "Hey! Don't come any closer. I'm armed."
The one with the limp reached into both sides of his coat at the same time and pulled out something with each hand. A flick of his wrists and the somethings extended into metal batons.
Shit shit shit.
The other person shook their head and motioned for him to stop, before continuing to walk towards Sarah alone. Could a person walk cheerfully? Because this person was walking cheerfully.
"Hey, are you alright? We're not going to hurt you, I promise. It's OK. Please."
The voice sounded almost familiar but Sarah couldn't place where from.
"Don't come any closer!" she shouted back. "How do I know I can trust you?"
"You don't, but...OK, you don't at all. I'm not asking you to put down the knife or anything. I'm just saying hello. I'm Jac. That's Chance. He's not as scary as he looks. What's your name?"
"Sarah. Are you—"
"We're immune. We're not going to do anything to you. We're trying to get away from here and we didn't think we'd run into anyone else who was, well, who wasn't going to try and kill us, I guess. Are you alone?"
"You look alone."
"I'm not. I'm with friends. Two of them. They're armed too. They're just around that corner so all I have to do is shout and—"
"Please, I don't know what to say to convince you, but please, don't be scared. It's alright, we're alright, I promise. I'm not saying don't shout for your friends, but it's OK. It's OK. We're not going to fight. We don't want to hurt anyone."
Jac shot a look back at Chance, gestured with a slight tilt of their head, and Chance somewhat reluctantly slid the batons back into his coat before starting to walk again, closer, slowly closer. The whole thing reminded Sarah of watching people approach a dangerous animal. Is that what she was now?
"Alright," said Sarah. "Alright. I believe you."
Chance smiled at her. It was the most out-of-place smile she'd ever seen on a person's face. "Jac's telling the truth," he said, "But if it helps, call your friends. We're not going to hurt you and you're not going to hurt us, right?"
"Right," said Sarah, fingers twitching around the handle of the knife. Without taking her eyes off Jac and Chance, she shouted, "Richie! Evan! Come here!"
YOU ARE READING
Car ThievesScience Fiction
The year 2027. Edinburgh, Scotland. Disease has swept a deadly path through society. A nightlife mogul with a violent past, a sadistic drug dealer, an artist craving companionship, a privileged playboy and a fiercely independent motor mechanic strug...