I turn in a slow circle, keeping an eye out for the others getting too close.
“I’m scared,” Conor says. I give his slight frame a squeeze.
“Don’t worry,” I say. “We will be fine.”
“Where’s Max gone?”
“We have friends who are meant to be getting a helicopter ready.”
“Where are they?” Conor asks.
I nod toward the hangar. So far none of the others have noticed me or Conor but I know they will. I’m just glad that it isn’t a windy night. It is very still and that is helping us, stopping Conor’s almost human scent to spread. The problem is that no sooner have I thought it than an other turns and looks in my direction.
It lets out the mewling of a kitten and I wonder if there is a sort of language. I’m answered when five others turn and look in our direction.
“Shit,” I say.
Conor has gone quiet and I see that he is staring at the others, his eyes wide.
“Are they going to hurt me?” he asks.
“Not if I can help it,” I say.
I look around me, but apart from the burnt out terminal, all I can see is tarmac and a few abandoned planes. I slowly start to move toward one. It seems to be the only cover around. The others track me but none move. I’m considering sprinting when Max pushes his way through. He is followed by Colin.
They both jog toward us. Colin is covered in blood.
Max reaches us first and takes Conor from me. Colin smiles at the sight of the kid. “Hey,” he says.
Conor smiles, but says nothing. I can understand that. Colin looks like he has bathed in blood.
“What happened?” I ask, again.
Colin looks at me and I see anger and hate in his eyes. “Eric shot me and then he and Aaron took off. I heard the sound of an aircraft and then nothing.”
“It’s a habit with you,” I say.
“What?” Colin says, sharply.
Max tries to hide a smile, and Colin looks thunderous.
“Are you okay?” Conor asks.
“I am,” Colin says. “We are the good guys.”
“The cavalry,” Conor says.
“Yeah, I like that.”
“What now?” I ask.
Max shakes his head. I stand there at an impasse. We are back to where we were before we met Dee. We really need to get away from the damn airport.
“What about the Tate Modern?” I ask.
“What?” Max counters.
“I talked to the WHO and they said that there were soldiers who could help us at the Tate Modern.”
Colin nods and Max shrugs. “It’s worth a shot,” he says.
“Unless anyone knows how to fly?” I ask.
I notice that behind us the others are getting closer. “We need to move anyhow.”
We start off at a jog, trying to find the route to Paddington station. I think of the problems that Eric had and I stop. “You sure you heard a plane?”
“Yes,” Colin says.
“Where was that hanger with the helicopter?”
Max points out over the tarmac. “You think we ought to check?”
I nod. “Easier to check and then go to the Tate Modern if they have gone.”
“If they haven’t I’m killing Eric,” Colin says.
Conor looks at me with concern. “He doesn’t mean it. Colin will just have words with him.”
I notice that Conor relaxes when he’s with Maxand I realise that he must feel safe with him. But then I feel safe with him as well, so I can’t complain. Colin heads out toward the hangar that I can’t see.
“You heard a plane?” I ask.
“Yes,” Colin says, “but I was in a bit of pain at the time…”
“So they could still be there?” I ask.
Colin shrugs and breaks into a run. We all jog onto what appears to be endless tarmac. Behind us the shuffling gait of the others gets quieter as we pull away. I tell Colin about the smart gone.
“He talked to you?” he asks.
“Yes, and it was very creepy,” I say, not mentioning the fact that the creature scared me.
Max is listening and Conor is watching with wide fearful eyes. “He was different,” Max says. “Evolved.”
“Great,” says Colin. “As if we didn’t have enough to worry about.”
I interrupt them. “Is that it?”
In the distance I can see a large building. The sun is almost completely gone, but the moon is reflecting off the large frontage.
“Must be,” Colin says.
I slow. On the tarmac in something thin and black. I jog over and look down. Colin appears next to me and crouches.
“It’s the shotgun,” he says. He picks it up and checks it. “It’s empty.”
We all look toward the hangar. Why can nothing be easy?