‘Damn it Squonk why the hell don’t you want us to have weapons for god sake. After what they did to Sinead, I thought that you’d be the first one to be wanting to go after those bastards’ Prez yelled at me. Her face was barely a foot from mine. A bit of spittle found its way from her mouth onto my nose. I left it there, not wanting to stop Prez in full flight. I looked at her face. Her curly brown hair framed a contorted face that looked years older that it had only a week ago. I could see a vein throbbing in the middle of her forehead. Prez, perhaps, was way more passionate about the struggle than we ever were. She wanted to take vengeance not just for Sinead, but for Reubus who she had admired greatly.
She was right, I should want to hit them hard for what they’d ripped from me. After the slaughter I’d wanted to hit them back, a week ago I was all set for vengeance and if we’d have acted then I’d have taken up a weapon with as much zeal as Prez.
‘Look Prez,’ I said for what seemed the hundredth time in the past couple of days, ‘I can’t kill anyone. Sinead wouldn’t have wanted that. If I kill someone, then someone else will have the same pain and anguish that I’ve had. I just couldn’t harm anyone. I’ve no problem about helping on this raid, but I’m not going to have a gun. I’m not stopping you or anyone else, but I don’t like violence’
‘It was those bastards who started the violence, Squonk. They killed Reubus and then they shot Sinead in cold blood. Don't you care what happened, have you forgotten or have you found someone else...'
I felt my fists clench as she spat these words in my direction. My heart pounded as I sat there rooted to the seat. I felt like flying at her, how dare did she accuse me of not caring. Instead I slowly got up and left the chalet building. I walked away from the camp centre to the edge of the woods overlooking a huge activities field. It was one of those barmy summer days. Under the leaf canopy it was still cool but the temperature rose dramatically along with the glare from the overhead sun.
Gazing into the distance I watched the vehicles negotiating the motorway, the sound of traffic droning like a large insect in the distance. We'd been a week now, the frustrations were every bit a part of our everyday life now. Prez and Ahlaam spent most of their days pacing around, their irritations at the lack of action palatable among us. Through long conversations into the evening we'd gone over and over the same ground. At first I'd gone along with their intensity. I wanted to kill everyone one of them, even their families. However during the week, whilst the anguish hadn't gone, the anger had subsided. I guess in some respects the group dynamics had changed as well over the past week as well. Crissy spent a lot of time with her sister Lily and EH. Prez and Ahlaam would be off in the woods. Occasionally you'd hear the staccato rhythm of an automatic weapon discharging. At those moments the wildlife would stop its merry song and peace would be heard, apart that is from the constant hum of tyre on road that continues all through the night anyway. They had been warned not to attract attention, but Prez wasn't going to be stopped by anyone.
That had left Zee and I to spend time together, inevitably we'd become a lot closer as a result. I smarted at the throwaway remark from Prez about me finding someone else. Over the past week, Zee and I had got close. We’d been thrown together and ever since that day on the cliffs we’d found a new respect in each other. However we were still at the friendship stage.
I reached behind a tree, my fingers searching anxiously for the item I had secreted in the grass. My fingers came into contact with it and I lifted it from the hiding place, the bulky object felt cold and angular in my hands. I'd secreted the gun earlier in the week. I wasn't quite sure why I'd done it but no-one appeared to have noticed it had gone. I was at my lowest point and holding the heavy weapon in my hands I sought solace in my own death. Just a slight pressure on the trigger and there would be no more hurt, no more agony. I'd be able to rush into Sinead's arms and we could continue our vows. My eyes misted over as I cradled the gun, a smile developing on my face as I thought of holding my love in my arms again. I raised the nuzzle towards my head looking down its stubby barrel, my fingers going towards the trigger. I could smell the cordite from the barrel as I moved it closer to my mouth. I took a sharp intake of breath as I squeezed the trigger of the weapon feeling the slight resistance give beneath my grasp waiting to be delivered into Sinead's arms, waiting for the end of my grief.
The next minute I felt a pain run through my head. A hard knock to the side of my cranium knocking me sideways. I dropped the weapon into my lap the cold metal felt strangely hot against my skin. What had happened, was I already dead. if so where was Sinead. I looked up to see a figure at the side of me. My eyes were blurred from the tears that had gathered in my eyes. She crouched down next to me pushing the gun from my grasp and at the same time throwing her arms around me and hugging me tight. I smelt a perfumed scent, the same scent Sinead used to wear. My arms went around her holding her. I felt the soft hair falling on my face, Sinead. My eyes still not focusing correctly I saw her face close to mine. I felt her kiss my lips tenderly before she pulled away.
I felt pain again as a hand slapped me across the face. Just a minute, should I be able to feel pain in the afterlife ?
'Squonk, you stupid f***ing idiot. What the hell do you think you're going to solve by killing yourself.'
it wasn't Sinead I was hearing but the mid American drawl of Zee.
'You didn't even take the safety catch off it, did you ?' she carried on. 'thank god you're useless at this sort of thing. Why ?'
I shrugged my shoulders, a few minutes ago I'd know exactly what I wanted. Now Zee had stopped me I wondered why I'd tried.
Zee looked into my face searching for an answer.
'Look Sinead has gone, we're all heartbroken about it but life must go on, she would have wanted it to. We're all here for you, we know it's difficult but don't give up. '
Zee settled back into my arms and we sat there content once more with the heat from each others body. I thought about life. Prez had accused me of turning my attentions to someone else, I suspect she meant the person who was in my arms. Yes I loved Zee and probably in ways that were most than just sibling affection. I always had I suppose, ever since we'd started talking during NaNoWriMo one year. These couple of weeks had thrown us together more and I have to admit to myself that we'd become more like a couple in others eyes. We'd shared the odd sweet good night kiss, spent hours sat like we were now and when we wandered around we were usually hand in hand. Without Zee I don't think that I could have survived the last weeks.
I suddenly realised what I'd been contemplating, what I'd done or tried to do. I started shaking at the enormity of the actions, the shock hitting my body in waves. Zee comforted me as usual, her words and actions slowly calming me as she worked her usual magic.
'Are you OK ?' I heard a voice say. I looked up and saw silhouetted against the sun Crissy. Her voice was calm and collected. I could feel the concern in her tone even from those three words.
'He's OK now I think, just needs a bit of looking after' Zee said standing up. Zee was whispering away to Crissy, occasionally looking down at me. Crissy kept glancing my way and nodding. I felt like I was an exhibit in a museum being perused and talked about by visitors.
'Right Squonk, I need to go back to the chalet. Crissy's staying with you for a while. I won't be long' Zee said kissing me lightly on the head before walking back into the tree line. I watched her go, her blond hair swaying as she walked.
I turned back and saw Crissy had sat next to me. We sat in quiet, neither one of us talking. Over the past week we'd taken to talking in the dark when others had drifted off to sleep. Over the nights her calm and reassuring voice had helped me a lot. She never spoke about the past, never mentioned Sinead. She talked about other things, taking my mind completely off thinking about her. As we talked we realised how many things we had in common, unusual things. Over the nights we'd talked long into the night, silence falling as we both took time answering each other. I'd grown to respect her over this time. At times it seemed I was talking to myself, the answers were so much like my views. At times I wondered if she actually was there or inside my head.
In the day however I never saw her or talked to her, until the lights went off and we'd start our nocturnal chat. This was the first time we'd sat together and it was like we were two strangers who'd never met or talked before. We sat for ages quietly.
'It's a nice day isn't it' she said eventually, her voice seeming a little uneven as though she was finding it difficult to talk to me.
'Mmm,' was all I could say. Why was this happening. Why couldn't we talk when last night it had been three in the morning before we'd fallen asleep?
'Try closing your eyes and imagine we're in the hut' she eventually said as if reading my mind. I closed my eyes and then it was so much simpler to talk. We talked away like this for over half an hour about nothing in particular. Time flew as it did in the night, an easiness about our conversation.
'Why are you two sat with your eyes closed,' Zee said. I had been oblivious to her arrival so caught up with talking to Crissy was I. I looked across at Crissy and saw the same sheepish expression on her face as I knew was on mine.
'Just resting our eyes' I said smiling across at Crissy. Why did I feel so guilty?
Zee looked puzzled, her eyes glancing from one to another, trying to figure out why we were both a little embarrassed.
'Jacqueline's back and wants to speak to us all. Seems like Prez will get her action.'