7 Days in May
And maybe he should start dating again, perhaps find a mother for Dawn. That thought brought a tight smile to Alex’s
lips and he wondered if he’d even know how to go about dating after all these years.
Alex felt his eyes grow heavy and closed them, telling himself that he’d just have a short rest, then get back to finding
Dawn. The swim had really taken it out of him. His muscles ached as if he’d run a marathon. His last thought before
slipping into a deep sleep was whether or not he should use the internet to meet someone, or try speed-dating.
As Alex slept, a dark shadow made its way through the damp grass and across Military Road, its sensitive nose close to
the ground, following the scent trail. It moved nearer to where Alex was sleeping, its curiosity aroused. Something was
hiding here. Excitement rose in the animal and it pushed its head further under the bush, moving stealthily so as not to
frighten whatever was there.
Dawn and Sheena had sat at Terry’s side all through the long night waiting for him to die but he’d hung on, moaning
softly now and then, eyes moving beneath blackened lids as though he was dreaming.
Sheena had finished a quarter bottle of whisky and Dawn was swimming in coke. Neither of them had eaten. Apart
from a helicopter flying low overhead about half an hour before - which had revived their hopes for a short period - there
had been no sounds from outside.
The room was dark, except for the red glow of the morning sun reflecting from the high clouds. Outside the chorus of
birds had died down and a thick silence lay over the room - just the odd creak of expanding wood as the structure of the
house warmed up.
Dawn was sitting in a half-daze, thinking about her dad when someone spoke. “Huh? What did you say?”
Sheena sat upright, hands on her knees, staring at Terry open mouthed.
“I . . . tried . . .” The skin around Terry’s mouth split as he spoke.
“He’s trying to say something,” Sheena said jumping out of her chair.
Kneeling beside Terry, Sheena leant close to his ear, ignoring the smell. “Can you hear me Terry?”
The voice was almost inaudible, disjointed, as though each word was uttered with great pain. “The pilot . . . tried to
save him . . . but the cat . . . too late.” After a long pause, during which they thought he’d passed out again, he continued,
“The car is in the wood . . . wood . . .”
Sheena felt tears stinging her eyes and wanted nothing more than to hold the dying man in her arms to ease his pain,
but knew that was impossible. “Hush now Terry. Do you want a drink of water?”
“The car . . . take a knife . . . cut the lead . . . the lead to . . .” Terry gave a shudder and his head rolled to one side.
Dawn could see the rawness of his tongue protruding from his mouth and swallowed hard. “Is he dead?” she asked.
Sheena shook her head and sat back on her heels. “No, he’s passed out again. I wish there was something we could
“What do you think he meant about the car?”
“I don’t know.”
Dawn thought for a moment. “He said the car was in the wood. Do you think we could get it and take him to a
Without realising it Dawn was already replacing „Terry’ with „him’ in her mind, making it easier to deal with the
Sheena stood up, easing the muscles in her back. She looked weary and pale, not the vibrant woman Dawn had first
met such a short time ago.
“Perhaps . . .”
Sheena’s words were cut short by the noise of the French doors crashing open. A man in camouflaged fatigues stood
in the doorway, his swarthy face glinting with a light sheen of sweat, his hard gaze locked on Terry, along with the gun he
“Thank goodness,” Sheena said. “We need to get him to a hospital. Will you help us? Do you have transport? Where
you in that helicopter?”
Dawn shifted uneasily, her gaze darting from the intruder to Sheena and back again. She felt anxious and took a few
steps nearer Sheena. The man looked at her. His eyes were cold and uncompromising.
“You’re Doctor McKenzie,” he said.
Sheena nodded. “Yes but Terry needs help. It’s urgent.”
“He’s beyond help.”
The cold, clipped words made Dawn feel as if her heart had been dipped in icy water. She moaned softly.
“Sit over there,” the man told Sheena, pointing at the couch with his gun.
“Now wait a . . .”
Sheena’s protest was interrupted when the man kicked the French doors shut behind him and walked further into the
“Where’s your laptop. The one you took from Area 7?” he asked.
“Look, I don’t know who you think you are but . . .”
The slap was hard, almost taking Sheena off her feet. Dawn screamed, jumping up.
“Sit down! Unless you want some of the same,” he ordered, his finger stabbing at the couch in anger.
Dawn sat, her eyes wide, hands trembling as she watched Sheena wipe the blood from her lips.