Chapter 8

Written by: Donna McTavish

They sat side by side wrapped in shock as Charlotte drove through the empty town. Street lights bounced off the tarmac slick with drizzle and cast a sickly orange pallor on their skin. Mandy blinked rapidly as if to shake herself free from the nightmare. Art sat with shoulders rounded and eyes lowered, his body shrunken and defeated. Charlotte stole anxious glances from the driver’s seat and kept up a continuous commentary to prevent a silence that would consign each one to their terrifying, horrifying thoughts.


She parked the car and urged Art and Mandy to follow. In the apartment, Charlotte made strong sweet tea and found blankets and pillows. Mandy closed her eyes and slept in a chair but Art sat like a breathing stone.


“What happened?” Charlotte spoke hesitantly, desperate to avoid disturbing the delicate hold Art had on reality. His struggle was reflected in his wide open eyes.


Art's body shuddered and he began to speak, incoherently at first, but then faster and more fluently. When he had told her everything he was calm and determined. 


“I know what it is,” he said not understanding how he knew so precisely what Clarke wanted. He gave none of his attention to how Clarke could get inside his mind. “I have to go to Brettamol and find it. I have to go now.” Art stood quickly looking at his watch, his agitation returning. Charlotte looked at him calmly.


“Not now. Sleep first, then we will figure out what to do.” 


The day dawned brightly and with it their mood lifted a little. They sat at Charlotte’s small table and made their plan. Mandy would stay at her sister’s flat but first she would set up a meeting at Brettamol for Art and herself later that day, a meeting that Charlotte would attend in her place. Charlotte would go shopping for three disposable mobile phones, a pair of rubber gloves, three small plastic containers with well-fitting lids and a large packet of cotton wool. She would also buy a shirt and tie for Art and a strong briefcase. Art would access Brettamol’s security system from Charlotte’s laptop and schedule a code one security incident at 2.45pm.


At 2.25pm Charlotte and Art arrived at the Brettamol office, a low red bricked building surrounded by clipped hedges and shiny BMWs. The receptionist’s painted fingernails clattered on the keyboard as she typed their names into the security system and handed them two visitor passes. 


They sat on a hard leather sofa and waited for Dr Syed. Art had met the Doctor before and had thought how easily he could be distracted with a few well posed questions and a mediocre show of interest in his work. Art fervently hoped that he was right. Their plan depended on it.  His watch said 2.30pm as he picked up the briefcase and followed Charlotte and the Doctor along a narrow corridor that led them to the Brettamol Research & Development annex.


As usual you have tied together the key points and pushed the story towards its next destination and I wonder what that will be... (:
You write tightly and you gives the story a clear direction as it moves towards its conclusion. One of the reasons for our 500 word limit is to make sure every writer leans how much we can say with a few words ad you have demonstrated this well. Good luck next writer.