Michael Collins

We drove for hours, only stopping once in all that time to siphon more fuel from a crashed car on a deserted stretch of road.

We gave up for the night when I couldn't keep awake to drive any longer. We'd been following a twisting road which led along one exposed edge of a high mountain valley when I spotted an empty car park. Emma didn't want to drive. We decided to rest.

I parked the car, stopped the engine and got out. A stupid thing to do, perhaps, but it didn't seem to matter anymore. If any bodies were near by (and I couldn't see any) then what could they do to us? What could they take from us? We had nothing and we could lock ourselves into the Landrover if we needed to.

We were in a beautiful place, and for a short time nothing seemed to matter. The moon was high and proud in the sky and the night was still. Across the valley a steep, jagged mountain-face climbed away from us. It was as remote and inhospitable a place as we could have hoped to find.

'You all right?' Emma asked as she walked round to stand next to me. I nodded and instinctively pulled her close. The warmth of her body was comforting.

'Want to keep going?' she asked me suddenly.

'Don't know,' I answered truthfully. 'Do you?'

She shrugged her shoulders.

'Is there any point?'

'There's got to be somewhere we can go,' I said. 'Somewhere they can't get to. Another Penn Farm...'

I looked down into her face and stopped talking. She was half-smiling, and her expression seemed to be telling me that although she really did want to believe me, she didn't. Tears of pain and frustration began to roll down her delicate cheeks from her tired eyes.

In silence we clambered into the back of the Landrover together and lay there on the floor, holding each other tightly.

'We'll be okay,' I heard myself say.

She smiled briefly and then buried her head in my chest.

We had nothing left to lose but our lives. We lay there in the darkness and waited for morning.


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