The Charm – Chapter 21


“Oh no, why? Why did you do that?”

She stares at the irretrievable pile of bubbling plastic and moans with despair. A mental lash slaps the hulking presence sharply away, out of her mind. It returns to the Charm , taunting her with a high pitched ringing.

Mark and Terry wouldn’t just rape them now. They’d be murderously angry. The Charm silences its jeering and ominously heats up. Jemma understands the impossible correlation between its moods and the proximity of danger. She also understands the manipulation of this situation is for its own ends.

The spear of hate directed at it is wasted. The creature sucks energy out of the emotion leaving Jemma weaker and filled with fear. A sudden thought strikes her. How long has she been here, sparring with the vindictive inhabitant of this piece of tin?

She walks fast then runs past the van, towards Traci. Her eyes dilate slowly. She knows the pin pricks of light from two torches are too close.

Jemma stumbles over Traci in the dark. She hasn’t moved at all. Tears of relieve instantly run down Jemma’s face though her corpse-like stillness turns relief into cold fear. She leans close, holding her own breath to listen for Traci’s. The brief puffs of air against her give her the lift she needed.

Hauling Traci up is such an awkward affair Jemma chokes with hysterical laughter. The inappropriate amusement warns her how close she is to losing it. The Charm does nothing to help them get to the van. Jemma uses reserves of strength across the pain threshold. Shouts from the two searching men spur her on. They are heading this way.

Jemma lays Traci’s rag doll body in the van tucking arms and legs out of the way of the door. It jams as she’s sliding it closed. She can’t leave it that way, Traci will fall out. Throwing all her weight against it shifts the door a few more centimetres. It shrieks on damaged bearings as it lets go and slams shut with another hefty tug. The sound echoes across the water.

“Shit, that tears it.”

She runs to the driver’s seat, thanking a random God that neither of the men have thought to take the keys. Jemma stands on the clutch and turns the ignition. A click, then nothing. The battery is stone dead. Despair and rage threaten to snap her stretched thin self-control. The Charm senses its host’s dangerous mental state and resurfaces, flashing cold light lights across the cabin.

The tired engine roars into life. Jemma releases the now twisted key. With no time to register surprise she examines the unfamiliar column mounted shifter. She’d driven manuals but this column shifter was all new to her. Where’s reverse? All positions she tried only lurched the van forward, almost stalling the motor each time. She yanked the lever back and forth, popping the clutch repeatedly. Another panicked check through the passenger window shows two torch beams pointing directly towards the camp. There’s no time. Jemma floors the throttle, hoping this gear will get them out of here.

(Chapter 22)

Published in: on Sunday, 30 November, 2008 at 7:20 pm  Leave a Comment  
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