I make it back to my abandoned shoes as Colin starts to walk toward me. I had noticed that the shouting is louder but I’m still surprised at the yelling and gesturing going on. It looks as if they are about to come to blows.
Colin reaches me and takes me by the elbow, moving me out of direct sight.
“What?” I ask.
He shakes his head. “Where did you go?”
I nod to the door. “The agent came out of there and I had a few words.”
“What did he say?”
“What did they say?” I counter.
He sighs and drops my arm. I’m surprised that I liked the contact.
“You first,” he says. I look at him. I don’t know him, but I also know that I am not going to get out of this situation without help. And somehow I am not sure the rest of the group will be much help.
“It’s a bug, a flu or something. The army closed down Heathrow and he said that someone would be coming back to quarantine us.”
“That’s what he said.”
Colin is silent for a moment. “Okay, that doesn’t sound good. The others think that there has been some sort of terrorist attack.”
“That would make sense.”
“Not if it is flu.”
I smile but I know there is no humour there. “It could be both.”
He frowns and nods, but stays silent. The sound the others are making comes in waves, louder and then quieter.
“What are they arguing about?” I ask.
“Whether they ought to stay or leave.”
“Leave.” I don’t hesitate.
“I agree, but the rest of them are against it.”
“So, run away with me.”
Colin grins. “We’d really be on the run.”
I shrug. “If it is bad enough to close Heathrow then will they bother to look for us?”
“What if we are carrying the flu?”
I shrug but I understand the problem. If we leave and are sick we will spread it. But… “I’m not sure I can cope with quarantine.” In my head I’m picturing a prison with people crammed in, all ill.
While we are chatting neither of us are paying attention to the others. Not until a big man comes toward us.
“Max?” I notice that although Colin sounds calm he is tense and has placed himself in front of me. Chivalry isn’t dead.
“We want you both to come back to the group.”
“Because it is the right thing to do.”
Colin looks away and then at me. “What do you think?”
I’m about to answer when we hear shouts from the group.
“Stay where you are!”
And then the sound of popping.
But Colin shushes me. He grabs my hand and pulls me toward the door that the agent came from.
Max stands undecided and then follows us. I don’t remember him from the plane.
The door is slightly open. Colin slips inside and pulls me with him. Max barrels his way in and closes the door. There are no lights and we are plunged into darkness.