Nancy lowered her head and spotted her headdress on the floor beside her handbag. Nancy groped for the strap. The seat continued to convulse beneath her. Vince was not letting her off that lightly.
They all should let us be…
|Nora by Charles J Harwood|
She administered a vicious tug. The fabric tourniqued at her ankle. Her hand quivered. His resistance exceeded hers. She begged oblivion would take him from his misery.
Her shuddering fingers tried one last time. Her bag slid towards her. Blood squished against her eardrums as she unzipped the bag and foraged for her phone. A rubber skin now coated her hands rendering her fingers into mitts. Her mobile flopped around like a fish. She spurned her selection of this slimline Samsung.
The display lit up; the swipe of the screen conjured the keypad. She tapped the three digit number and the dreaded two bleeps came back to her. Signal failed, location undetermined, the hole is too deep, the place is too dark, the walls of this cavern are too thick. Nancy wanted to smash the cursed thing against the fascia. Instead she kept uttering a frantic mantra into the mouthpiece as if someone were there. ‘Please, please, please.’
A hush now snuck over the cab. The rain hissed on the roof. Barry was reaching the final bar. The single headlamp continued to suffuse enough light to see. Nancy knew she would, even if she didn’t want to.
Vince had fallen back in his seat. Her hem remained imprisoned within his clasp. Sleep had apparently overwhelmed him. His flesh, a subdued blush clashed against his bloodied shirt. But his lifeless state meant she could make a last bid attempt. She made cautious approach and brought her cheek to his mouth. His cologne and sweat had suffused with a spice she couldn’t place. But no breath caressed her skin. No pulse prodded at his throat.
Vince no longer appeared concerned. Eyes closed and head rolled back, he could have been awaiting a kiss.
And it’s him she needs to show…
The rain cut Barry’s closing enquiry.
Nancy clasped her hands together. Her grunts on attempting chest compressions gave acoustic severity in the wake of Barry’s mellow intones. Vince’s head jerked in response but she was making a mess of it. He wasn’t laying flat and she couldn’t get her fists into position. Her vision blurred over. His life had drained away because she possessed no skill or talent, just brute force and a vague recollection.
He wouldn’t have chosen her to save his life.
With a shaky hand, she lowered Vince’s jaw and looked inside. Shadows gave nothing away.
Vince was getting displeased with her.
She pinched his nostrils together and closed her mouth over his. She forced a shuddering breath inside. Her lungs had vacated but a morsel of air before resisting. His lungs were getting none. A full obstruction.
Vince was most unimpressed with her.
Nancy’s next motion was fuelled by a wretched source. She dragged her body to the floor. Logic and hope had taken leave. She would burrow her way beneath the front seat even though the dark obscured her vision; even though the gap forbade her shoulders. Shards paved the way. They prickled her palms on her route. Her fore-hair teased her lashes and a waft of gin ionized the air. Just keep going, keep going. Her fingernail tapped a bottle. London gin took a meander to the wheel arch. She flicked the bottle towards her.
The present could take nothing else from her, but the past was rearing up from behind. Aunt Millie. Stick to Aunt Millie, Cluedo, crosswords, warm milk before bed. A thin membrane was breaching. Please God no. Would seven years be enough to seal up the memory? Nancy realised no amount of time may be enough.
Her finger landed upon a daggered shard, two inches long.
The Weston Hill Care Centre.
Nancy’s lips quivered.
She closed her eyes. She closed her hand.
The shard pinched her palm.
Nancy enforced a withdrawal from the enclosure. The memory was just a memory, she reminded herself, not a rat or a snake about to bite her.
Her hem slapped her thighs. A shriek scoured her throat. Had someone else entered the cab? Her knees chafed the carpet. She kicked her shoes aside. The cabin whirled around her. Was someone there?
Leon remained in his seat, forever oblivious to sensations. The doors remained closed, the rain continued to whisper. Nancy barred her sights from Vince’s form, glancing briefly at the gouged leather. A pale hand rested crab-like over her hem. Nothing seemed to have changed, but someone else still shared the cab with her. A nerve ending had misfired.
But soon, she would be alone.