The call and response drifts through the fog almost making words almost making sense but meaning is elusive a foreign language never written down. Sometimes behind her, sometimes far away sometimes so close she feels like she could reach out and touch whatever it is whoever it is. She manages to stay on these roads somehow, blind luck. Blind chance. Blind. It’s cold. Cold in her teeth and bones cold that seeps into your heart. Your soul.
You soul my child. Your soul will be eternally damned eternally the fires of hell will surround you will eat you up and everyday it will begin again every day the same except harder. If you tell. The birds will tear your eyes out. The birds know, they see everything. I’ll protect you Sarah. Come here child. Just a little closer.
I don’t belong to you. I don’t belong I will make it through.
Out in the scrublands, out on the city’s edge our intrepid heroes we could be heroes drift across the lanes of an empty highway by empty houses and empty lakes full of dead people that no one has claimed full of dead fish floating on the surface their scales silver and red under a full moon. The road skitthers out the lights disappear and then it’s darkness apart from the distant bonfires its silence apart from the radio hiss and burr of some far way city in the sun. Radio Luxembourg calling this is the vote of the Belgian jury.
Tooler stares into the night wishing it would swallow them up and spit him out somewhere that wasn’t here. He dreams of home, of childhood, of bottles of tea and high nellie bicycles of endless evenings running out to the sea of old farmers palming off shillings and don’t spend it all in the one shop and he’ll be in long trousers soon and God bless him he’s a bit slow but he’s good with his hands oh yes his big shovel hands deadly weapons he’s smiling again like a half-cut Johnny is he all there atall away with the fairies.
“Why are you sitting in the back Boss? Have I done something wrong?”
“Undoubtedly Tooler, undoubtedly, we’ve all done something wrong. Many things. Are we not men?”
“You’re feeling philosophical captain my captain.” He smiles. He could be stuck with worse people.
“I need to think. I need to stop thinking. This case is littered with events so grotesque, unbelievable, bizarre and unprecedented that I’m beginning to believe we are part of some elaborate hoax…..”
“GUBU.” Then, after a while – “Where is she Boss?”
“Where? I don’t know exactly, she’s fallen off our maps, she’s fallen into the other. I hoped we’d have kept her here for at least a while. It’s a right fucking balls up….”
“Tits up Boss.”
“If you like. Balls up tits up it makes no difference to me.”
“How will we find her?”
“We keep driving. Keep driving and stop talking.”
“It’s a big country boss.”
“It’s a small country Tooler , full of small people with tiny minds and broken hearts. Well find her, it’s what we do.”
“Right so boss.”
The bonfires are closer now, high up on the hills, figures run in and out of the flames, sparks crack and spit high into the cloudless night red and orange stars caught on the breeze. Down in the valley the fog drifts and they begin the long slow descent into whatever it is that’s there.
And just as suddenly as the road is empty it’s not and he’s there in front of her. All dead skin, rotten teeth and red eyes. Dog collar still in place. A badge of honour. And didn’t he earn it. He stands and stares. He’s been waiting here forever. She knows. Waiting for her. He holds his arms out.
She’s walking into his arms, back into his arms. Back where she belongs….
An engine roars, headlights flash and a black car accelerates veering wildly across the road, taking high speed aim and whacking Sean mowing him down destroying what he was throwing him high into the air arms and legs it’s a crash course for the ravers
Sarah turns and starts to run, the car pulls her in easily, comes alongside and she gives up, tumbles to the ground, go on without me go on.
The Jaguar stops. The window winds down and he’s there.
“For fuck’s sake Sarah, get in.”
He’s wearing shades and his fur coat, some kind of Panama hat. Cigar.