Conor looks at me. “Is that a gun?”
I nod. “But it is empty.”
I start to scan the horizon but I can see nothing except the hanger. I look at Max and he gives a quick nod.
“I’ll go first,” Colin says.
Max hands Conor to me and whispers in my ear to say back. My face wrinkles at that. I have no wish to be the one at the back, but then someone must look after Conor. The kid waits until Max and Colin are a distance away before he starts to wriggle.
“What?” I ask.
“I want to walk,” he says.
“Are you feeling okay?”
He nods. I must admit he isn’t hot and his eyes are clear. Slowly I put him on the ground and he gives a smile. We start to walk toward the hangar. Conor picks up his pace and is jogging.
“Bitsy,” he says, “I love to run.”
I smile and increase my pace to match his. I have to agree with him though. Running is the best.
Max looks back at us and I’m surprised that we are so close to him. My smile fades. “Conor, you need to stop,” I call out.
The boy just laughs and puts on a burst of speed. I know that we are fast but the turn of speed he puts on makes him look like a blur in my eyes.
“Max!” I cry. He turns again and sees the flash that is Conor streak past him.
I’m worried that he is going to the hangar but instead he runs to Colin and around him, all the time a blur. I jog to Max.
“He is so fast.”
Max grunts and together we all walk to the hangar. There is no way that I can catch him. The first thing I notice is that the door is open. And it looks as if it has been forced. I kneel and look at the lock. I’m not close but I can see the lock well. It has been pried open from the outside. I’m guessing that Aaron or Eric have done it.
Behind me I can hear Max talking to Conor and telling him to stay back. I ignore the talk. I know that he is probably wanting me to do the same, but something seems off. I can’t smell any of the gone, so I simply open the door wider and step through.
In the darkness I hear a click.
“Would prefer it if I didn’t get shot,” I say.
I hear a weak grunt and another click. This time I’m hoping it is the safety.
“Bitsy?” It’s Aaron and he sounds weak, not the man from earlier.
I move toward the voice. In the corner of the hangar, behind the door, I can see Aaron. He is clutching his side. Except he only glances at me and then goes on looking into the darkness. I follow his line of sight and I’m surprised to see Eric.
Except he is standing with his back to us. He is totally still. Slowly and silently I make my way to Aaron. Behind me I hear footsteps and without looking to see who it is I point at Eric’s form.
Kneeling next to Aaron I pull my eyes away from Eric. “What is wrong with him?”
Aaron takes a breath and I can smell the blood on it. He is in serious trouble.
“He was bit, but instead of turning he shot me and just stopped.”
“Stopped?” I ask.
“Just like you see.”
I shake my head. At least if he is not moving I don’t have to worry about him. Instead I bend over Aaron and see what the damage is. The first thing that hits me is the smell. The shot has gone into his stomach and I can smell that the internal damage is massive. The only problem is we need him.
I look up to see Conor at the door and Max next to him. He is watching something behind me, and I suspect that Colin is having a look at Eric. I turn. Behind me Eric doesn’t appear to have moved. Except that he has Colin by the neck, and by the colour of Colin’s face I would suspect that he is cutting off all his air.
Max moves to intercept. Eric turns his head and watches. I see his eyes and the intelligence in them.
“He’s one of the smart ones,” I say. Max reaches Eric and grabs his arm, bending back his hand.
At first he just watches and then Eric releases Colin, who falls to the floor coughing. I can see that each finger has left a bloody impression.
“I am,” Eric says, and I’m shocked in the change in his voice. It is soft and slow, and incredibly creepy.
Max releases him. “We only want to leave.”
“I know.” Eric turns and looks at Aaron. “Sorry about shooting him. We would prefer it if you left.”
I don’t question the we, but simply nod. I can see Max is considering killing him, but he is busy holding Colin upright.
“Be gone by sundown.” And then Eric is gone in a flash. I look at the guys and at the same time Aaron makes a rattling gurgle.
“Shit,” I say. “Max, I think he’s dying.”
Max lowers Colin to the floor. He rushes over and inspects the wound. I look up.
For a moment there is silence, and then from deep in the hanger there is a small voice.
I give a huge sigh.
“Is he gone?” Conor asks, still hidden from view.
“Yes,” I say.
He walks from the shadows and I can see him scanning the hanger. “He was wrong.”
I agree with him. “He’s gone.”
Max is standing. “We are going to have to turn him to save him.”
I can tell that he isn’t happy about it.
I look at Aaron, and he gives a small nod. There is no choice; we need him to fly the helicopter. I look around. Where is the helicopter?