The Charm – Chapter 23


“Whachoo doin’ to me, Jemma?”

Traci’s glazed eyes and drool-coated mouth makes her look childlike and fragile. Jemma rubs Traci’s clammy arms as her eyelids threaten to close.

“Stay awake, you might throw up again. Try not to get any more of it on me.”

“I throwed up…”

“Yeah, you did. Stand up, we have to get out of here.”

Manhandling Traci into the front seat takes an awfully long time. Jemma imagines she hears running men crashing through the bush, drawing closer and closer. A dull increasing pain thuds in her head, mirrored by the Charm’s inner pulse validates her premonition.

With Traci secured she throws herself behind the wheel and for thirty agonising seconds studies the gearshift. Her headache doubles. She slams the lever into first and spins the tyres, gaining speed with more fluid gear changes. The sickening feeling of a hand landing on her shoulder slowly eases. The road forks and she takes a left after getting no input from the Charm. The road opens onto a wide flat plain. Bright moonlight shows a dilapidated fence-line racing along on her right. Strings of sagging barbed wire hang between the white-ant chewed posts. It is long abandoned. They probably weren’t going to run into a farmer out here.

The kilometres click over comfortingly, separating them from the last stop. Jemma’s headache and paranoia quieten. If their pursuers had almost caught them they’d have to run a lot further this time.

Traci can hardly keep her eyes open.

“What’s goin on? Where we goin?”

“Sorry Trace, I forgot you missed all the good stuff. Let’s see. It would seem our new mates are drug dealers. We got a free sample and were about to be raped when I got us the hell out of there. Yep, that about covers it.”

“Drug dealer’s…? Gonna rape me…?”

“And me. It’s not all about you, ya know. Remember the bit where I said I saved you? So far all you’ve done is take drugs, drink too much, and have a nice sleep while I dragged you all over the bush. Then you threw up on me.”

“Uh. Sorry.”

“Sorry, huh? I know your virginity doesn’t need protecting, but I thought you’d at least thank me for not letting a couple of AIDS ridden axe murderers maul you.’

“Axe murderers… really…?”

Jemma sighs. She’d have to wait until drug wore off a little more before Traci could take it all in.

“Where we goin?” Traci asked again.

“I’m trying to find the road out of here. I don’t recognise any of this.”

“Me neither.”

She couldn’t even reprimand Traci for getting stoned on the way in.

“This fence line…? We didn’t go past a fence did we?”

Traci shrugs.

“Now, I know we didn’t cross this wide open bit. We were in thick bush. Shit, I think I took the wrong turn. I don’t want to go back. I think they almost caught up to us when we stopped.”

At that moment the van lurches sharply down on Jemma’s side. There is a loud bang and the wheel whips painfully through her hands. They bounce and grind to a sudden halt in a cloud of dust. They stare at each other in disbelief, taking in a breath the locked seatbelts had slammed out of them.

Whatever just happened to the van felt terminal.

(Chapter 24)

Published in: on Wednesday, 10 December, 2008 at 1:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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