7 Days in May
Sheena chuckled. “The same old Dimitrios I see. I’ve been doing a little digging around for a book I’m writing and
I’ve come across one or two rumours about some research being undertaken by the army on induced aggression. I just
wondered if you had heard anything about it.”
There was a long silence on the line as though Dimitrios was considering his answer, but he just said, “No Red.
Nothing at all.” Another pause. “And you just happened to call me at four-thirty to ask me that? All I’ll say is be careful
girl, that type of research is usually backed by hard-ball players who don’t like publicity.”
Sheena’s voice took on a defensive tone. “Look, I’m sorry I bothered you Dimitrios. It’s just that my publisher wants
to put the book to bed tomorrow.”
“Okay then,” he said. “And you owe me a free signed copy when it comes out.”
“You’ll have it,” Sheena said. “Bye Dimitrios.”
Putting down the telephone, Sheena rubbed her temples. She hoped that her call wouldn’t get Dimitrios thinking too
hard. He had a quick mind and it had been chancy calling him, but if anyone outside of Area 7 were to have any hint of
whispers regarding what was happening at the AspByte project, it would be him.
Sheena was satisfied that she’d done all that she could to cover their tracks and pulled herself out of her chair. It was
time to go home. Shrugging on her coat, she switched off the office lights and closed the door behind her.
Calling a tired, “Goodnight,” to the cleaning crew working their way through the empty offices, Sheena made her way
out to the car park. She couldn’t wait to tuck herself up under her duvet and get a good night’s sleep.
In his comfortable Chelsea flat, Dimitrios Hampus frowned, picking up his mobile. Having worked for Biosphere
Cojoin Ltd for the past two years, he felt his boss, Sir Craig Holland, would be interested in the telephone call that he’d
Edna Riley moaned as she turned in her bed, trying to get comfortable. Her stiff old joints were giving her more
trouble than usual. She’d have to ask Shirley to get that nice young doctor to call around with some stronger pain-killers
Edna, eighty-nine, had been bed-ridden for the past five years and spent most of her time listening to Radio 4. Her
thin white hair hardly covered her scalp anymore and the veins on the back of her hands, plainly visible through her
translucent skin, were like blue faded branches that had been painted on. Arthritis had made Edna’s joints so stiff and
painful that she could barely move, so she relied on the wardens of the sheltered housing complex to help her shower
twice a week, cook her meals, and do a little cleaning now and then.
Edna was picking at the bedsheets with knobbly fingers, wondering what time it was. Something had woken her. She
knew it must be early because the darkness still held the daylight at bay and a full moon flooded through her window,
reflecting from the TV screen at the end of her bed.
What had woken her, she wondered.
Edna frowned in concentration. The TV was off - it was seldom on - yet she’d seen a movement in its screen.
There it was again. What was it? Something . . .
Edna’s breath caught in her throat when she realised the movement wasn’t in the TV at all but was a reflection.
Something was moving outside her bedroom window. Concentrating harder on the screen, she made o ut the shape of a
large cat, stretching itself up against the window, trying to reach the half-open top casement.
Edna’s old heart fluttered in her chest. It was her Candy come back to her after all these years. They’d told her that he
was dead, but she’d never really believed them. He wouldn’t do that to her, not her Candy. Edna suspected that they had
taken him away to some cat’s home because she wasn’t able to look after him anymore. Like her, he’d grown old and had
found it difficult to jump up on her bed. He’d never get in the window, poor thing. Edna fussed at the sheets, praying to
the Lord that her beloved cat wouldn’t go away before Shirley came in the morning and let him in.
Please God, please!
The cat patted at the glass with its paw and Edna saw that he couldn’t quite reach the top window, and that even if he
did, he wouldn’t be able to squeeze himself through the small opening, he was far too big. Her Candy patted at the
casement again, giving a low yowl, so full of meaning that it melted her old heart.
As Edna listened to her cherished pet trying to reach her, tears flooded down her face. Why was life so hard, so cruel?
Then, painfully, a centimetre at a time, she began rolling over on her side, a determined look in her faded blue eyes.
“I’ll be there in a minute my darling, just wait. Just wait now.”
The cat watched the old woman through the window while she struggled in her bed, its tail whipping back and forth,
sitting patiently on the sill as though it understood every word.
Edna reached out a trembling hand, her crumbling old joints making her cry out in agony at every movement.
Just a little further, please, just a little further. Don’t go away again Candy. Please, just . . . a . . . little . . . bit further.
Then Edna had it and relief flooded through her trembling body. She’d done it, as she knew she would. They might
have marked her down as a feeble old trout but she knew better.
Holding her heavy walking stick in one withered hand, she raised it above her head, cradling her elbow with her other
hand to lend support, the stringy, worn out muscles hanging from her arms like curtains. It was so painful that she almost
gave up, but the thought that her wonderful Candy had come back to find her after all these lonely years drove her on.
The rubber feral of the walking stick slid its slow, tremulous way up the glass of the window until it reached the top
casement. Edna held her breath, knowing this was her one and only chance.